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LINEAGE LIFE AND LABORS
A Study of the Growth of Free Ideas in the Trans-Pacific American Territory
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR ORIENTAL HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES
AUTHOR OF “THE STUDY OF JOSE RIZAL,”
“EL LINEAJE DEL DOCTOR RIZAL,” ETC.
JAMES ALEXANDER ROBERTSON, L.H.D.
To the Philippine Youth
The subject of Doctor Rizal’s first prize-winning poem was The Philippine Youth, and its theme was “Growth.” The study of the growth of free ideas, as illustrated in this book of his lineage, life and labors, may therefore fittingly be dedicated to the “fair hope of the fatherland.”
Except in the case of some few men of great genius, those who are accustomed to absolutism cannot comprehend democracy. Therefore our nation is relying on its young men and young women; on the rising, instructed generation, for the secure establishment of popular self-government in the Philippines. This was Rizal’s own idea, for he said, through the old philosopher in “Noli me Tangere,” that he was not writing for his own generation but for a coming, instructed generation that would understand his hidden meaning.
Your public school education gives you the democratic view-point, which the genius of Rizal gave him; in the fifty-five volumes of the Blair-Robertson translation of Philippine historical material there is available today more about your country’s past than the entire contents of the British Museum afforded him; and you have the guidance in the new paths that Rizal struck out, of the life of a hero who, farsightedly or providentially, as you may later decide, was the forerunner of the present regime.
But you will do as he would have done, neither accept anything because it is written, nor reject it because it does not fall in with your prejudices–study out the truth for yourselves.
In writing a biography, the author, if he be discriminating, selects, with great care, the salient features of the life story of the one whom he deems worthy of being portrayed as a person possessed of preeminent qualities that make for a character and greatness. Indeed to write biography at all, one should have that nice sense of proportion that makes him instinctively seize upon only those points that do advance his theme. Boswell has given the world an example of biography that is often wearisome in the extreme, although he wrote about a man who occupied in his time a commanding position. Because Johnson was Johnson the world accepts Boswell, and loves to talk of the minuteness of Boswell’s portrayal, yet how many read him, or if they do read him, have the patience to read him to the end?
In writing the life of the greatest of the Filipinos, Mr. Craig has displayed judgment. Saturated as he is with endless details of Rizal’s life, he has had the good taste to select those incidents or those phases of Rizal’s life that exhibit his greatness of soul and that show the factors that were the most potent in shaping his character and in controlling his purposes and actions.
A biography written with this chastening of wealth cannot fail to be instructive and worthy of study. If one were to point out but a single benefit that can accrue from a study of biography written as Mr. Craig has done that of Rizal, he would mention, I believe, that to the character of the student, for one cannot study seriously about men of character without being affected by that study. As leading to an understanding of the character of Rizal, Mr. Craig has described his ancestry with considerable fulness and has shown how the selective principle has worked through successive generations. But he has also realized the value of the outside influences and shows how the accidents of birth and nation affected by environment plus mental vigor and will produced Jose Rizal. With a strikingly meager setting of detail, Rizal has been portrayed from every side and the reader must leave the biography with a knowledge of the elements that entered into and made his life. As a study for the youth of the Philippines, I believe this life of Rizal will be productive of good results. Stimulation and purpose are presented (yet not didactically) throughout its pages. One object of the author, I should say, has been to show how both Philippine history and world history helped shape Rizal’s character. Accordingly, he has mentioned many historical matters both of Philippine and world-wide interest. One cannot read the book without a desire to know more of these matters. Thus the book is not only a biography, it is a history as well. It must give a larger outlook to the youth of the Philippines. The only drawback that one might find in it, and it seems paradoxical to say it, is the lack of more detail, for one leaves it wishing that he knew more of the actual intimate happenings, and this, I take it, is the best effect a biography can have on the reader outside of the instructive and moral value of the biography.
JAMES A. ROBERTSON.
MANILA, P. I.
Dedication. To the Philippine Youth
I. America’s Forerunner
II. Rizal’s Chinese Ancestry
III. Liberalizing Hereditary Influences IV. Rizal’s Early Childhood
V. Jagor’s Prophecy
VI. The Period of Preparation
VII. The Period of Propaganda
VIII. Despujol’s Duplicity
IX. The Deportation to Dapitan
X. Consummatum Est
XI. The After Life In Memory
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Portrait of Rizal Frontispiece
Painted in oils by Felix Resurrection Hidalgo (in color).
Philippine Money and Postage Stamps
Portrait of Rizal
Painted in oils by Juan Luna in Paris. Facsimile (in color).
Columbus at Barcelona
From a print in Rizal’s scrapbook.
Rizal at thirteen. Rizal at eighteen. Rizal in London. The portrait on the postage stamp.
The Baptismal Record of Domingo Lam-co Facsimile.
1. In Luna’s home. 2. In 1890. 3. The portrait on the paper money. 4. In 1891. 5. In 1892.
Pacific Ocean Spheres of Influence
Made by Rizal during President Harrison’s administration.
Father of Rizal
Mother of Rizal
Made by Rizal when in Dapitan.
Birthplace of Jose Rizal
From a photograph.
Sketches by Rizal
A group made during his travels.
Bust of Rizal’s Father
Carved in wood by Rizal.
The Church and Convento at Kalamba
From a photograph.
Father Leoncio Lopez
From a photograph.
The Lake District of Central Luzon
Sketch made by Rizal.
Rizal’s Uncle, Jose Alberto
From a photograph.
Sir John Bowring, K.C.B.
From an old print.
Jose Del Pan of Manila
From a photograph.
Governor De La Torre
From an old print.
From an old print.
The Very Rev. James Burgos, D.D.
From a photograph.
Gen. F. T. Ward
From a photograph.
Monument to the “Ever-Victorious” Army, Shanghai From a photograph.
Mrs. Rizal and Her Two Daughters
From a photograph.
From an old print.
Model of a Head of a Dapitan Girl
From a photograph.
Memorial to Jose Alberto in the Church at Binan From a photograph.
Books from Rizal’s Library
From a photograph.
Rizal’s Carving of the Sacred Heart
From a photograph.
Bust of Father Guerrico, S. J.
From a photograph.
Two Views of a Composite Statuette by Rizal From photographs.
Model in Clay of a Dapitan Woman
From a photograph.
Sketch of Himself in the Training Class Photograph from the original.
Oil Painting of Rizal’s Sister, Saturnina Photograph from the painting.
Rizal’s Parting View of Manila
Pencil sketch by himself.
Sketches: 1. Singapore Lighthouse. 2. Along the Suez Canal. 3. Castle of St. Elmo
From Rizal’s sketch book.
Studies of Passengers on the French Mail Steamer From Rizal’s sketch book.
Aden, May 28, 1882
From Rizal’s sketch book.
Don Pablo Ortigas y Reyes
From a photograph.
First Lines of a Poem by Rizal to Miss Reyes Facsimile.
Rizal in Juan Luna’s Studio in Paris
From a photograph.
The Ruined Castle at Heidelberg
From a photograph.
Dr. Rudolf Virchow
From a photograph.
The House where Rizal Completed “Noli Me Tangere” From a photograph.
Manuscript of “Noli Me Tangere”
Portrait of Dr. F. Blumentritt
Pencil sketch by Rizal.
The Victory of Death over Life and of Science over Death Statuettes by Rizal from photographs.
Jose T. De Andrade, Rizal’s Bodyguard From an old print.
Jose Maria Basa of Hongkong
From a photograph.
Imitations of Japanese Art
From Rizal’s sketch book.
Dr. Antonio Maria Regidor
From a photograph.
A “Wheel of Fortune” Answer Book
Dr. Reinhold Rost
From a photograph.
A Page from Andersen’s Fairy Tales Translated by Rizal Facsimile.
Dedication of Rizal’s Translation of Andersen’s Fairy Tales Facsimile.
A Trilingual Letter by Rizal
Morga’s History in the British Museum From a photograph of the original.
Application, Recommendation and Admission to the British Museum From photographs of the originals.
From photograph of the original.
Staff of “La Solidaridad”
From a photograph.
Rizal Fencing with Luna in Paris
From a photograph.
General Weyler Known as “Butcher” Weyler From a photograph.
Rizal’s Parents during the Land Troubles From photographs.
The Writ of Eviction against Rizal’s Father Facsimile of the original.
Room in which “El Filibusterismo” was Begun Pencil sketch by Rizal.
First Page of the Manuscript of “El Filibusterismo” Facsimile from the original.
Cover of the Manuscript of “El Filibusterismo” Facsimile of the original.
Rizal’s Professional Card when in Hongkong Facsimile of the original.
Statuette Modeled by Rizal
From a photograph.
Don Eulogio Despujol
From an old print.
Proposed Settlement in Borneo
Facsimile of original sketch.
Rizal’s Passport or “Safe Conduct”
Photograph of the original.
Part of Despujol’s Private Inquiry
Facsimile of the original.
Case Secretly Filed against Rizal
Facsimile of the original.
Luis De La Torre, Secretary to Despujol From an old print.
Regulations of La Liga Filipina
Facsimile in Rizal’s handwriting.
The Calle Ilaya Monument to Rizal and La Liga Filipina From a photograph.
Three New Species Discovered by Rizal and Named After Him From an engraving.
Specimens Collected by Rizal and Father Sanchez From photographs.
Statuette by Rizal, The Mother’s Revenge From a photograph.
Father Sanchez, S. J.
From a photograph.
Drawings of Fishes Caught at Dapitan
Twelve facsimiles of Rizal’s originals.
Plan of the Water Works for Dapitan
Facsimile of Rizal’s sketch.
Jewelry of Earliest Moro Converts
From a photograph.
Hill and Excavations where the Jewelry was Found Facsimile of a sketch by Rizal.
List of Ethnographical Material
The Blind Mr. Taufer
From a photograph.
From a photograph.
Carved Portrait of Josefina Bracken
From a photograph.
Josefina Bracken’s Baptismal Certificate Facsimile of the original.
Josefina Bracken, Afterwards Mrs. Jose Rizal From a photograph.
Pencil sketch by Rizal.
Leonora Rivera at the Age of Fifteen
From a photograph.
Letter to His Nephew by Rizal
Ethnographical Material Collected by Rizal From a print.
Cell in which Rizal was Imprisoned
From a photograph.
Cuartel De Espana
From a photograph.
Luis T. De Andrade
From an old print.
Interior of Cell
From a photograph.
Rizal’s Wedding Gift to His Wife
Facsimile of original.
Rizal’s Symbolic Name in Masonry
Facsimile of original.
The Wife of Jose Rizal
From a photograph.
Execution of Rizal
From a photograph.
Burial Record of Rizal
Facsimile from the Paco register.
Grave of Rizal in Paco Cemetery, Manila From a photograph.
The Alcohol Lamp in which the “Farewell” Poem was Hidden From a photograph.
The Opening Lines of Rizal’s Last Verses Facsimile of original.
Rizal’s Farewell to His Mother
Monument at the Corner of Rizal Avenue From a photograph.
Float in a Rizal Day Parade
From a photograph.
W. J. Bryan as a Rizal Day Orator
From a photograph.
Governor-General Forbes and Delegate Mariano Ponce From a photograph.
The Last Portrait of Jose Rizal’s Mother From a photograph.
Accepted Model for the Rizal Monument From a photograph.
The Rizal Monument in Front of the New Capital From a sketch.
The Story of the Monkey and the Tortoise Six facsimiles from Rizal’s originals.
THE lineage of a hero who made the history of his country during its most critical period, and whose labors constitute its hope for the future, must be more than a simple list of an ascending line. The blood which flowed in his veins must be traced generation by generation, the better to understand the man, but at the same time the causes leading to the conditions of his times must be noted, step by step, in order to give a better understanding of the environment in which he lived and labored.
The study of the growth of free ideas is now in the days of our democracy the most important feature of Philippine history; hitherto this history has consisted of little more than lists of governors, their term of office, and of the recital of such incidents as were considered to redound to the glory of Spain, or could be so twisted and misrepresented as to make them appear to do so. It rarely occurred to former historians that the lamp of experience might prove a light for the feet of future generations, and the mistakes of the past were usually ignored or passed over, thus leaving the way open for repeating the old errors. But profit, not pride, should be the object of the study of the past, and our historians of today very largely concern themselves with mistakes in policy and defects of system; fortunately for them such critical investigation under our changed conditions does not involve the discomfort and danger that attended it in the days of Doctor Rizal.
In the opinion of the martyred Doctor, criticism of the right sort–even the very best things may be abused till they become intolerable evils–serves much the same useful warning purpose for governments that the symptoms of sickness do for persons. Thus government and individual alike, when advised in time of something wrong with the system, can seek out and correct the cause before serious consequences ensue. But the nation that represses honest criticism with severity, like the individual who deadens his symptoms with dangerous drugs, is likely to be lulled into a false security that may prove fatal. Patriot toward Spain and the Philippines alike, Rizal tried to impress this view upon the government of his day, with fatal results to himself, and the disastrous effects of not heeding him have since justified his position.
The very defenses of Old Manila illustrate how the Philippines have suffered from lack of such devoted, honest and courageous critics as Jose Rizal. The city wall was built some years later than the first Spanish occupation to keep out Chinese pirates after Li Ma-hong destroyed the city. The Spaniards sheltered themselves in the old Tagalog fort till reenforcements could come from the country. No one had ever dared to quote the proverb about locking the door after the horse was stolen. The need for the moat, so recently filled in, was not seen until after the bitter experience of the easy occupation of Manila by the English, but if public opinion had been allowed free expression this experience might have been avoided. And the free space about the walls was cleared of buildings only after these same buildings had helped to make the same occupation of the city easier, yet there were many in Manila who foresaw the danger but feared to foretell it.
Had the people of Spain been free to criticise the Spaniards’ way of waiting to do things until it is too late, that nation, at one time the largest and richest empire in the world, would probably have been saved from its loss of territory and its present impoverished condition. And had the early Filipinos, to whom splendid professions and sweeping promises were made, dared to complain of the Peninsular policy of procrastination–the “manana” habit, as it has been called–Spain might have been spared Doctor Rizal’s terrible but true indictment that she retarded Philippine progress, kept the Islands miserably ruled for 333 years and in the last days of the nineteenth century was still permitting mediaeval malpractices. Rizal did not believe that his country was able to stand alone as a separate government. He therefore desired to preserve the Spanish sovereignty in the Philippines, but he desired also to bring about reforms and conditions conducive to advancement. To this end he carefully pointed out those colonial shortcomings that caused friction, kept up discontent, and prevented safe progress, and that would have been perfectly easy to correct. Directly as well as indirectly, the changes he proposed were calculated to benefit the homeland quite as much as the Philippines, but his well-meaning efforts brought him hatred and an undeserved death, thus proving once more how thankless is the task of telling unpleasant truths, no matter how necessary it may be to do so. Because Rizal spoke out boldly, while realizing what would probably be his fate, history holds him a hero and calls his death a martyrdom. He was not one of those popularity-seeking, self-styled patriots who are ever mouthing “My country, right or wrong;” his devotion was deeper and more disinterested. When he found his country wrong he willingly sacrificed himself to set her right. Such unselfish spirits are rare; in life they are often misunderstood, but when time does them justice, they come into a fame which endures.
Doctor Rizal knew that the real Spain had generous though sluggish intentions, and noble though erratic impulses, but it awoke too late; too late for Doctor Rizal and too late to save the Philippines for Spain; tardy reforms after his death were useless and the loss of her overseas possessions was the result. Doctor Rizal lost when he staked his life on his trust in the innate sense of honor of Spain, for that sense of honor became temporarily blinded by a sudden but fatal gust of passion; and it took the shock of the separation to rouse the dormant Spanish chivalry.
Still in the main Rizal’s judgment was correct, and he was the victim of mistimed, rather than of misplaced, confidence, for as soon as the knowledge of the real Rizal became known to the Spanish people, belated justice began to be done his memory, and then, repentant and remorseful, as is characteristically Castilian, there was little delay and no half-heartedness. Another name may now be grouped with Columbus and Cervantes among those to whom Spain has given imprisonment in life and monuments after death–chains for the man and chaplets for his memory. In 1896, during the few days before he could be returned to Manila, Doctor Rizal occupied a dungeon in Montjuich Castle in Barcelona; while on his way to assist the Spanish soldiers in Cuba who were stricken with yellow fever, he was shipped and sent back to a prejudged trial and an unjust execution. Fifteen years later the Catalan city authorities commemorated the semi-centennial of this prisoner’s birth by changing, in his honor, the name of a street in the shadow of the infamous prison of Montjuich Castle to “Calle del Doctor Rizal.”
More instances of this nature are not cited since they are not essential to the proper understanding of Rizal’s story, but let it be made clear once for all that whatever harshness may be found in the following pages is directed solely to those who betrayed the trust of the mother country and selfishly abused the ample and unrestrained powers with which Spain invested them.
And what may seem the exaltation of the Anglo-Saxons at the expense of the Latins in these pages is intended only to point out the superiority of their ordered system of government, with its checks and balances, its individual rights and individual duties, under which men are “free to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.” No human being can be safely trusted with unlimited power, and no man, no matter what his nationality, could have withstood the temptations offered by the chaotic conditions in the Philippines in past times any better than did the Spaniards. There is nothing written in this book that should convey the opinion that in similar circumstances men of any nationality would not have acted as the Spaniards did. The easiest recognized characteristic of absolutism, and all the abuses and corruption it brings in its train, is fear of criticism, and Spain drew her own indictment in the Philippines when she executed Rizal.
When any nation sets out to enroll all its scholarly critics among the martyrs in the cause of Liberty, it makes an open confession of guilt to all the world. For a quarter of a century Spain had been ruling in the Philippines by terrorizing its subjects there, and Rizal’s execution, with utter disregard of the most elementary rules of judicial procedure, was the culmination that drove the Filipinos to desperation and arrested the attention of the whole civilized world. It was evident that Rizal’s fate might have been that of any of his countrymen, and the thinking world saw that events had taken such a course in the Philippines that it had become justifiable for the Filipinos to attempt to dissolve the political bands which had connected them with Spain for over three centuries.
Such action by the Filipinos would not have been warranted by a solitary instance of unjust execution under stress of political excitement that did not indicate the existence of a settled policy. Such instances are rather to be classed among the mistakes to which governments as well as individuals are liable. Yet even such a mistake may be avoided by certain precautions which experience has suggested, and the nation that disregards these precautions is justly open to criticism.
Our present Philippine government guarantees to its citizens as fundamental rights, that no person shall be held to answer for a capital crime unless on an indictment, nor may he be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The accused must have a speedy, public and impartial trial, be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, be confronted with the witnesses against him, have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and have the assistance of counsel for his defense. Not one of these safeguards protected Doctor Rizal except that he had an “open trial,” if that name may be given to a courtroom filled with his enemies openly clamoring for his death without rebuke from the court. Even the presumption of innocence till guilt was established was denied him. These precautions have been considered necessary for every criminal trial, but the framers of the American Constitution, fearful lest popular prejudice some day might cause injustice to those advocating unpopular ideals, prohibited the irremediable penalty of death upon a charge of treason except where the testimony of two reliable witnesses established some overt act, inference not being admissible as evidence.
Such protection was not given the subjects of Spain, but still, with all the laxity of the Spanish law, and even if all the charges had been true, which they were far from being, no case was made out against Doctor Rizal at his trial. According to the laws then in effect, he was unfairly convicted and he should be considered innocent; for this reason his life will be studied to see what kind of hero he was, and no attempt need be made to plead good character and honest intentions in extenuation of illegal acts. Rizal was ever the advocate of law, and it will be found, too, that he was always consistently law-abiding.
Though they are in the Orient, the Filipinos are not of it. Rizal once said, upon hearing of plans for a Philippine exhibit at a European World’s Fair, that the people of Europe would have a chance to see themselves as they were in the Middle Ages. With allowances for the changes due to climate and for the character of the country, this statement can hardly be called exaggerated. The Filipinos in the last half of the nineteenth century were not Orientals but mediaeval Europeans–to the credit of the early Castilians but to the discredit of the later Spaniards.
The Filipinos of the remoter Christian barrios, whom Rizal had in mind particularly, were in customs, beliefs and advancement substantially what the descendants of Legaspi’s followers might have been had these been shipwrecked on the sparsely inhabited islands of the Archipelago and had their settlement remained shut off from the rest of the world.
Except where foreign influence had accidentally crept in at the ports, it could truthfully be said that scarcely perceptible advance had been made in three hundred years. Succeeding Spaniards by their misrule not only added little to the glorious achievement of their ancestors, but seemed to have prevented the natural progress which the land would have made.
In one form or another, this contention was the basis of Rizal’s campaign. By careful search, it is true, isolated instances of improvement could be found, but the showing at its very best was so pitifully poor that the system stood discredited. And it was the system to which Rizal was opposed.
The Spaniards who engaged in public argument with Rizal were continually discovering, too late to avoid tumbling into them, logical pitfalls which had been carefully prepared to trap them. Rizal argued much as he played chess, and was ever ready to sacrifice a pawn to be enabled to say “check.” Many an unwary opponent realized after he had published what he had considered a clever answer that the same reasoning which scored a point against Rizal incontrovertibly established the Kalamban’s major premise.
Superficial antagonists, to the detriment of their own reputations, have made much of what they chose to consider Rizal’s historical errors. But history is not merely chronology, and his representation of its trend, disregarding details, was a masterly tracing of current evils to their remote causes. He may have erred in some of his minor statements; this will happen to anyone who writes much, but attempts to discredit Rizal on the score of historical inaccuracy really reflect upon the captious critics, just as a draftsman would expose himself to ridicule were he to complain of some famous historical painting that it had not been drawn to exact scale. Rizal’s writings were intended to bring out in relief the evils of the Spanish system of the government of the Filipino people, just as a map of the world may put the inhabited portions of the earth in greater prominence than those portions that are not inhabited. Neither is exact in its representation, but each serves its purpose the better because it magnifies the important and minimizes the unimportant.
In his disunited and abased countrymen, Rizal’s writings aroused, as he intended they should, the spirit of nationality, of a Fatherland which was not Spain, and put their feet on the road to progress. What matters it, then, if his historical references are not always exhaustive, and if to make himself intelligible in the Philippines he had to write in a style possibly not always sanctioned by the Spanish Academy? Spain herself had denied to the Filipinos a system of education that might have made a creditable Castilian the common language of the Archipelago. A display of erudition alone does not make an historian, nor is purity, propriety and precision in choosing words all there is to literature.
Rizal charged Spain unceasingly with unprogressiveness in the Philippines, just as he labored and planned unwearyingly to bring the Filipinos abreast of modern European civilization. But in his appeals to the Spanish conscience and in his endeavors to educate his countrymen he showed himself as practical as he was in his arguments, ever ready to concede nonessentials in name and means if by doing so progress could be made.
Because of his unceasing efforts for a wiser, better governed and more prosperous Philippines, and because of his frank admission that he hoped thus in time there might come a freer Philippines, Rizal was called traitor to Spain and ingrate. Now honest, open criticism is not treason, and the sincerest gratitude to those who first brought Christian civilization to the Philippines should not shut the eyes to the wrongs which Filipinos suffered from their successors. But until the latest moment of Spanish rule, the apologists of Spain seemed to think that they ought to be able to turn away the wrath evoked by the cruelty and incompetence that ran riot during centuries, by dwelling upon the benefits of the early days of the Spanish dominion.
Wearisome was the eternal harping on gratitude which at one time was the only safe tone for pulpit, press and public speech; it irritating because it ignored questions of current policy, and it was discouraging to the Filipinos who were reminded by it of the hopeless future for their country to which time had brought no progress. But with all the faults and unworthiness of the later rulers, and the inane attempts of their parasites to distract attention from these failings, there remains undimmed the luster of Spain’s early fame. The Christianizing which accompanied her flag upon the mainland and islands of the New World is its imperishable glory, and the transformation of the Filipino people from Orientals into mediaeval Europeans through the colonizing genius of the early Castilians, remains a marvel unmatched in colonial history and merits the lasting gratitude of the Filipino.
Doctor Rizal satirized the degenerate descendants and scored the unworthy successors, but his writings may be searched in vain for wholesale charges against the Spanish nation such as Spanish scribblers were forever directing against all Filipinos, past, present and future, with an alleged fault of a single one as a pretext. It will be found that he invariably recognized that the faithful first administrators and the devoted pioneer missionaries had a valid claim upon the continuing gratitude of the people of Tupa’s and Lakandola’s land.
Rizal’s insight discerned, and experience has demonstrated, that Legaspi, Urdaneta and those who were like them, laid broad and firm foundations for a modern social and political organization which could be safely and speedily established by reforms from above. The early Christianizing civilizers deserve no part of the blame for the fact that Philippine ports were not earlier opened to progress, but much credit is due them that there is succeeding here an orderly democracy such as now would be impossible in any neighboring country.
The Philippine patriot would be the first to recognize the justice of the selection of portraits which appear with that of Rizal upon the present Philippine postage stamps, where they serve as daily reminders of how free government came here.
The constancy and courage of a Portuguese sailor put these Islands into touch with the New World with which their future progress was to be identified. The tact and honesty of a civil official from Mexico made possible the almost bloodless conquest which brought the Filipinos under the then helpful rule of Spain. The bequest of a far-sighted early philanthropist was the beginning of the water system of Manila, which was a recognition of the importance of efforts toward improving the public health and remains a reminder of how, even in the darkest days of miseries and misgovernment, there have not been wanting Spaniards whose ideal of Spanish patriotism was to devote heart, brain and wealth to the welfare of the Filipinos. These were the heroes of the period of preparation.
The life of the one whose story is told in these pages was devoted and finally sacrificed to dignify their common country in the eyes of his countrymen, and to unite them in a common patriotism; he inculcated that self-respect which, by leading to self-restraint and self-control, makes self-government possible; and sought to inspire in all a love of ordered freedom, so that, whether under the flag of Spain or any other, or by themselves, neither tyrants (caciques) nor slaves (those led by caciques) would be possible among them.
And the change itself came through an American President who believed, and practiced the belief, that nations owed obligations to other nations just as men had duties toward their fellow-men. He established here Liberty through Law, and provided for progress in general education, which should be a safeguard to good government as well, for an enlightened people cannot be an oppressed people. Then he went to war against the Philippines rather than deceive them, because the Filipinos, who repeatedly had been tricked by Spain with unfulfilled promises, insisted on pledges which he had not the power to give. They knew nothing of what was meant by the rule of the people, and could not conceive of a government whose head was the servant and not the master. Nor did they realize that even the voters might not promise for the future, since republicanism requires that the government of any period shall rule only during the period that it is in the majority. In that war military glory and quick conquest were sacrificed to consideration for the misled enemy, and every effort was made to minimize the evils of warfare and to gain the confidence of the people. Retaliation for violations of the usages of civilized warfare, of which Filipinos at first were guilty through their Spanish training, could not be entirely prevented, but this retaliation contrasted strikingly with the Filipinos’ unhappy past experiences with Spanish soldiers. The few who had been educated out of Spain and therefore understood the American position were daily reenforced by those persons who became convinced from what they saw, until a majority of the Philippine people sought peace. Then the President of the United States outlined a policy, and the history and constitution of his government was an assurance that this policy would be followed; the American government then began to do what it had not been able to promise.
The forerunner and the founder of the present regime in these Islands, by a strange coincidence, were as alike in being cruelly misunderstood in their lifetimes by those whom they sought to benefit as they were in the tragedy of their deaths, and both were unjustly judged by many, probably well-meaning, countrymen.
Magellan, Legaspi, Carriedo, Rizal and McKinley, heroes of the free Philippines, belonged to different times and were of different types, but their work combined to make possible the growing democracy of to-day. The diversity of nationalities among these heroes is an added advantage, for it recalls that mingling of blood which has developed the Filipinos into a strong people.
England, the United States and the Philippines are each composed of widely diverse elements. They have each been developed by adversity. They have each honored their severest critics while yet those critics lived. Their common literature, which tells the story of human liberty in its own tongue, is the richest, most practical and most accessible of all literature, and the popular education upon which rests the freedom of all three is in the same democratic tongue, which is the most widely known of civilized languages and the only unsycophantic speech, for it stands alone in not distinguishing by its use of pronouns in the second person the social grade of the individual addressed.
The future may well realize Rizal’s dream that his country should be to Asia what England has been to Europe and the United States is in America, a hope the more likely to be fulfilled since the events of 1898 restored only associations of the earlier and happier days of the history of the Philippines. The very name now used is nearer the spelling of the original Philipinas than the Filipinas of nineteenth century Spanish usage. The first form was used until nearly a century ago, when it was corrupted along with so many things of greater importance.
The Philippines at first were called “The Islands of the West,” as they are considered to be occidental and not oriental. They were made known to Europe as a sequel to the discoveries of Columbus. Conquered and colonized from Mexico, most of their pious and charitable endowments, churches, hospitals, asylums and colleges, were endowed by philanthropic Mexicans. Almost as long as Mexico remained Spanish the commerce of the Philippines was confined to Mexico, and the Philippines were a part of the postal system of Mexico and dependent upon the government of Mexico exactly as long as Mexico remained Spanish. They even kept the new world day, one day behind Europe, for a third of a century longer. The Mexican dollars continued to be their chief coins till supplanted, recently, by the present peso, and the highbuttoned white coat, the “americana,” by that name was in general use long years ago. The name America is frequently to be found in the old baptismal registers, for a century or more ago many a Filipino child was so christened, and in the ’70’s Rizal’s carving instructor, because so many of the best-made articles he used were of American manufacture, gave the name “Americano” to a godchild. As Americans, Filipinos were joined with the Mexicans when King Ferdinand VII thanked his subjects in both countries for their loyalty during the Napoleonic wars. Filipino students abroad found, too, books about the Philippines listed in libraries and in booksellers’ catalogues as a branch of “Americana.”
Nor was their acquaintance confined to Spanish Americans. The name “English” was early known. Perhaps no other was more familiar in the beginning, for it was constantly execrated by the Spaniards, and in consequence secretly cherished by those who suffered wrongs at their hands.
Magellan had lost his life in his attempted circumnavigation of the globe and Elcano completed the disastrous voyage in a shattered ship, minus most of its crew. But Drake, an Englishman, undertook the same voyage, passed the Straits in less time than Magellan, and was the first commander in his own ship to put a belt around the earth. These facts were known in the Philippines, and from them the Filipinos drew comparisons unfavorable to the boastful Spaniards.
When the rich Philippine galleon Santa Ana was captured off the California coast by Thomas Candish, “three boys born in Manila” were taken on board the English ships. Afterwards Candish sailed into the straits south of “Lucon” and made friends with the people of the country. There the Filipinos promised “both themselves, and all the islands thereabouts, to aid him whensoever he should come again to overcome the Spaniards.”
Dampier, another English sea captain, passed through the Archipelago but little later, and one of his men, John Fitzgerald by name, remained in the Islands, marrying here. He pretended to be a physician, and practiced as a doctor in Manila. There was no doubt room for him, because when Spain expelled the Moors she reduced medicine in her country to a very low state, for the Moors had been her most skilled physicians. Many of these Moors who were Christians, though not orthodox according to the Spanish standard, settled in London, and the English thus profited by the persecution, just as she profited when the cutlery industry was in like manner transplanted from Toledo to Sheffield.
The great Armada against England in Queen Elizabeth’s time was an attempt to stop once for all the depredations of her subjects on Spain’s commerce in the Orient. As the early Spanish historian, Morga, wrote of it: “Then only the English nation disturbed the Spanish dominion in that Orient. Consequently King Philip desired not only to forbid it with arms near at hand, but also to furnish an example, by their punishment, to all the northern nations, so that they should not undertake the invasions that we see. A beginning was made in this work in the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-eight.”
This ingeniously worded statement omits to tell how ignominiously the pretentious expedition ended, but the fact of failure remained and did not help the prestige of Spain, especially among her subjects in the Far East. After all the boastings of what was going to happen, and all the claims of what had been accomplished, the enemies of Spain not only were unchecked but appeared to be bolder than ever. Some of the more thoughtful Filipinos then began to lose confidence in Spanish claims. They were only a few, but their numbers were to increase as the years went by. The Spanish Armada was one of the earliest of those influences which, reenforced by later events, culminated in the life work of Jose Rizal and the loss of the Philippines by Spain.
At that time the commerce of Manila was restricted to the galleon trade with Mexico, and the prosperity of the Filipino merchants–in large measure the prosperity of the entire Archipelago–depended upon the yearly ventures the hazard of which was not so much the ordinary uncertainty of the sea as the risk of capture by English freebooters. Everybody in the Philippines had heard of these daring English mariners, who were emboldened by an almost unbroken series of successes which had correspondingly discouraged the Spaniards. They carried on unceasing war despite occasional proclamation of peace between England and Spain, for the Spanish treasure ships were tempting prizes, and though at times policy made their government desire friendly relations with Spain, the English people regarded all Spaniards as their natural enemies and all Spanish property as their legitimate spoil.
The Filipinos realized earlier than the Spaniards did that torturing to death shipwrecked English sailors was bad policy. The result was always to make other English sailors fight more desperately to avoid a similar fate. Revenge made them more and more aggressive, and treaties made with Spain were disregarded because, as they said, Spain’s inhumanity had forfeited her right to be considered a civilized country.
It was less publicly discussed, but equally well known, that the English freebooters, besides committing countless depredations on commerce, were always ready to lend their assistance to any discontented Spanish subjects whom they could encourage into open rebellion.
The English word Filibuster was changed into “Filibusteros” by the Spanish, and in later years it came to be applied especially to those charged with stirring up discontent and rebellion. For three centuries, in its early application to the losses of commerce, and in its later use as denoting political agitation, possibly no other word in the Philippines, outside of the ordinary expressions of daily life, was so widely known, and certainly none had such sinister signification.
In contrast to this lawless association is a similarity of laws. The followers of Cortez, it will be remembered, were welcomed in Mexico as the long-expected “Fair Gods” because of their blond complexions derived from a Gothic ancestry. Far back in history their forbears had been neighbors of the Anglo-Saxons in the forests of Germany, so that the customs of Anglo-Saxon England and of the Gothic kingdom of Castile had much in common. The “Laws of the Indies,” the disregard of which was the ground of most Filipino complaints up to the very last days of the rule of Spain, was a compilation of such of these Anglo-Saxon-Castilian laws and customs as it was thought could be extended to the Americas, originally called the New Kingdom of Castile, which included the Philippine Archipelago. Thus the New England township and the Mexican, and consequently the early Philippine pueblo, as units of local government are nearly related.
These American associations, English influences, and Anglo-Saxon ideals also culminated in the life work of Jose Rizal, the heir of all the past ages in Philippine history. But other causes operating in his own day–the stories of his elders, the incidents of his childhood, the books he read, the men he met, the travels he made–as later pages will show–contributed further to make him the man he was.
It was fortunate for the Philippines that after the war of misunderstanding with the United States there existed a character that commanded the admiration of both sides. Rizal’s writings revealed to the Americans aspirations that appealed to them and conditions that called forth their sympathy, while the Filipinos felt confidence, for that reason, in the otherwise incomprehensible new government which honored their hero.
Rizal was already, and had been for years, without rival as the idol of his countrymen when there came, after deliberation and delay, his official recognition in the Philippines. Necessarily there had to be careful study of his life and scrutiny of his writings before the head of our nation could indorse as the corner stone of the new government which succeeded Spain’s misrule, the very ideas which Spain had considered a sufficient warrant for shooting their author as a traitor.
Finally the President of the United States in a public address at Fargo, North Dakota, on April 7, 1903–five years after American scholars had begun to study Philippine affairs as they had never been studied before–declared: “In the Philippine Islands the American government has tried, and is trying, to carry out exactly what the greatest genius and most revered patriot ever known in the Philippines, Jose Rizal, steadfastly advocated,” a formal, emphatic and clear-cut expression of national policy upon a question then of paramount interest.
In the light of the facts of Philippine history already set forth there is no cause for wonder at this sweeping indorsement, even though the views so indorsed were those of a man who lived in conditions widely different from those about to be introduced by the new government. Rizal had not allowed bias to influence him in studying the past history of the Philippines, he had been equally honest with himself in judging the conditions of his own time, and he knew and applied with the same fairness the teaching which holds true in history as in every other branch of science that like causes under like conditions must produce like results, He had been careful in his reasoning, and it stood the test, first of President Roosevelt’s advisers, or otherwise that Fargo speech would never have been made, and then of all the President’s critics, or there would have been heard more of the statement quoted above which passed unchallenged, but not, one may be sure, uninvestigated.
The American system is in reality not foreign to the Philippines, but it is the highest development, perfected by experience, of the original plan under which the Philippines had prospered and progressed until its benefits were wrongfully withheld from them. Filipino leaders had been vainly asking Spain for the restoration of their rights and the return to the system of the Laws of the Indies. At the time when America came to the Islands there was among them no Rizal, with a knowledge of history that would enable him to recognize that they were getting what they had been wanting, who could rise superior to the unimportant detail of under what name or how the good came as long as it arrived, and whose prestige would have led his countrymen to accept his decision. Some leaders had one qualification, some another, a few combined two, but none had the three, for a country is seldom favored with more than one surpassingly great man at one time.
Rizal’s Chinese Ancestry
Clustered around the walls of Manila in the latter half of the seventeenth century were little villages the names of which, in some instances slightly changed, are the names of present districts. A fashionable drive then was through the settlement of Filipinos in Bagumbayan–the “new town” to which Lakandola’s subjects had migrated when Legaspi dispossessed them of their own “Maynila.” With the building of the moat this village disappeared, but the name remained, and it is often used to denote the older Luneta, as well as the drive leading to it.
Within the walls lived the Spanish rulers and the few other persons that the fear and jealousy of the Spaniard allowed to come in. Some were Filipinos who ministered to the needs of the Spaniards, but the greater number were Sangleyes, or Chinese, “the mechanics in all trades and excellent workmen,” as an old Spanish chronicle says, continuing: “It is true that the city could not be maintained or preserved without the Sangleyes.”
The Chinese conditions of these early days are worth recalling, for influences strikingly similar to those which affected the life of Jose Rizal in his native land were then at work. There were troubled times in the ancient “Middle Kingdom,” the earlier name of the corruption of the Malay Tchina (China) by which we know it. The conquering Manchus had placed their emperor on the throne so long occupied by the native dynasty whose adherents had boastingly called themselves “The Sons of Light.” The former liberal and progressive government, under which the people prospered, had grown corrupt and helpless, and the country had yielded to the invaders and passed under the terrible tyranny of the Tartars.
Yet there were true patriots among the Chinese who were neither discouraged by these conditions nor blind to the real cause of their misfortunes. They realized that the easy conquest of their country and the utter disregard by their people of the bad government which had preceded it, showed that something was wrong with themselves.
Too wise to exhaust their land by carrying on a hopeless war, they sought rather to get a better government by deserving it, and worked for the general enlightenment, believing that it would offer the most effective opposition to oppression, for they knew well that an intelligent people could not be kept enslaved. Furthermore, they understood that, even if they were freed from foreign rule, the change would be merely to another tyranny unless the darkness of the whole people were dispelled. The few educated men among them would inevitably tyrannize over the ignorant many sooner or later, and it would be less easy to escape from the evils of such misrule, for the opposition to it would be divided, while the strength of union would oppose any foreign despotism. These true patriots were more concerned about the welfare of their country than ambitious for themselves, and they worked to prepare their countrymen for self-government by teaching self-control and respect for the rights of others.
No public effort toward popular education can be made under a bad government. Those opposed to Manchu rule knew of a secret society that had long existed in spite of the laws against it, and they used it as their model in organizing a new society to carry out their purposes. Some of them were members of this Ke-Ming-Tong or Chinese Freemasonry as it is called, and it was difficult for outsiders to find out the differences between it and the new Heaven-Earth-Man Brotherhood. The three parts to their name led the new brotherhood later to be called the Triad Society, and they used a triangle for their seal.
The initiates of the Triad were pledged to one another in a blood compact to “depose the Tsing [Tartar] and restore the Ming [native Chinese] dynasty.” But really the society wanted only gradual reform and was against any violent changes. It was at first evolutionary, but later a section became dissatisfied and started another society. The original brotherhood, however, kept on trying to educate its members. It wanted them to realize that the dignity of manhood is above that of rank or riches, and seeking to break down the barriers of different languages and local prejudice, hoped to create an united China efficient in its home government and respected in its foreign relations.
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It was the policy of Spain to rule by keeping the different elements among her subjects embittered against one another. Consequently the entire Chinese population of the Philippines had several times been almost wiped out by the Spaniards assisted by the Filipinos and resident Japanese. Although overcrowding was mainly the cause of the Chinese immigration, the considerations already described seem to have influenced the better class of emigrants who incorporated themselves with the Filipinos from 1642 on through the eighteenth century. Apparently these emigrants left their Chinese homes to avoid the shaven crown and long braided queue that the Manchu conquerors were imposing as a sign of submission–a practice recalled by the recent wholesale cutting off of queues which marked the fall of this same Manchu dynasty upon the establishment of the present republic. The patriot Chinese in Manila retained the ancient style, which somewhat resembled the way Koreans arrange their hair. Those who became Christians cut the hair short and wore European hats, otherwise using the clothing–blue cotton for the poor, silk for the richer–and felt-soled shoes, still considered characteristically Chinese.
The reasons for the brutal treatment of the unhappy exiles and the causes of the frequent accusation against them that they were intending rebellion may be found in the fear that had been inspired by the Chinese pirates, and the apprehension that the Chinese traders and workmen would take away from the Filipinos their means of gaining a livelihood. At times unjust suspicions drove some of the less patient to take up arms in self-defense. Then many entirely innocent persons would be massacred, while those who had not bought protection from some powerful Spaniard would have their property pillaged by mobs that protested excessive devotion to Spain and found their patriotism so profitable that they were always eager to stir up trouble.
One of the last native Chinese emperors, not wishing that any of his subjects should live outside his dominions, informed the Spanish authorities that he considered the emigrants evil persons unworthy of his interest. His Manchu successors had still more reason to be careless of the fate of the Manila Chinese. They were consequently ill treated with impunity, while the Japanese were “treated very cordially, as they are a race that demand good treatment, and it is advisable to do so for the friendly relations between the Islands and Japan,” to quote the ancient history once more.
Pagan or Christian, a Chinaman’s life in Manila then was not an enviable one, though the Christians were slightly more secure. The Chinese quarter was at first inside the city, but before long it became a considerable district of several streets along Arroceros near the present Botanical Garden. Thus the Chinese were under the guns of the Bastion San Gabriel, which also commanded two other Chinese settlements across the river in Tondo–Minondoc, or Binondo, and Baybay. They had their own headmen, their own magistrates and their own prison, and no outsiders were permitted among them. The Dominican Friars, who also had a number of missionary stations in China, maintained a church and a hospital for these Manila Chinese and established a settlement where those who became Christians might live with their families. Writers of that day suggest that sometimes conversions were prompted by the desire to get married–which until 1898 could not be done outside the Church–or to help the convert’s business or to secure the protection of an influential Spanish godfather, rather than by any changed belief.
Certainly two of these reasons did not influence the conversion of Doctor Rizal’s paternal ancestor, Lam-co (that is, “Lam, Esq.”), for this Chinese had a Chinese godfather and was not married till many years later.
He was a native of the Chinchew district, where the Jesuits first, and later the Dominicans, had had missions, and he perhaps knew something of Christianity before leaving China. One of his church records indicates his home more definitely, for it specifies Siongque, near the great city, an agricultural community, and in China cultivation of the soil is considered the most honorable employment. Curiously enough, without conversion, the people of that region even to-day consider themselves akin to the Christians. They believe in one god and have characteristics distinguishing them from the Pagan Chinese, possibly derived from some remote Mohammedan ancestors.
Lam-co’s prestige among his own people, as shown by his leadership of those who later settled with him in Binan, as well as the fact that even after his residence in the country he was called to Manila to act as godfather, suggests that he was above the ordinary standing, and certainly not of the coolie class. This is bogne out by his marrying the daughter of an educated Chinese, an alliance that was not likely to have been made unless he was a person of some education, and education is the Chinese test of social degree.
He was baptized in the Parian church of San Gabriel on a Sunday in June of 1697. Lam-co’s age was given in the record as thirty-five years, and the names of his parents were given as Siang-co and Zun-nio. The second syllables of these names are titles of a little more respect than the ordinary “Mr.” and “Mrs.,” something like the Spanish Don and Dona, but possibly the Dominican priest who kept the register was not so careful in his use of Chinese words as a Chinese would have been. Following the custom of the other converts on the same occasion, Lam-co took the name Domingo, the Spanish for Sunday, in honor of the day. The record of this baptism is still to be seen in the records of the Parian church of San Gabriel, which are preserved with the Binondo records, in Manila.
Chinchew, the capital of the district from which he came, was a literary center and a town famed in Chinese history for its loyalty; it was probably the great port Zeitung which so strongly impressed the Venetian traveler Marco Polo, the first European to see China.
The city was said by later writers to be large and beautiful and to contain half a million inhabitants, “candid, open and friendly people, especially friendly and polite to foreigners.” It was situated forty miles from the sea, in the province of Fokien, the rocky coast of which has been described as resembling Scotland, and its sturdy inhabitants seem to have borne some resemblance to the Scotch in their love of liberty. The district now is better known by its present port of Amoy.
Altogether, in wealth, culture and comfort, Lam-co’s home city far surpassed the Manila of that day, which was, however, patterned after it. The walls of Manila, its paved streets, stone bridges, and large houses with spacious courts are admitted by Spanish writers to be due to the industry and skill of Chinese workmen. They were but slightly changed from their Chinese models, differing mainly in ornamentation, so that to a Chinese the city by the Pasig, to which he gave the name of “the city of horses,” did not seem strange, but reminded him rather of his own country.
Famine in his native district, or the plague which followed it, may have been the cause of Lam-co’s leaving home, but it was more probably political troubles which transferred to the Philippines that intelligent and industrious stock whose descendants have proved such loyal and creditable sons of their adopted country. Chinese had come to the Islands centuries before the Spaniards arrived and they are still coming, but no other period has brought such a remarkable contribution to the strong race which the mixture of many peoples has built up in the Philippines. Few are the Filipinos notable in recent history who cannot trace descent from a Chinese baptized in San Gabriel church during the century following 1642; until recently many have felt ashamed of these really creditable ancestors.
Soon after Lam-co came to Manila he made the acquaintance of two well-known Dominicans and thus made friendships that changed his career and materially affected the fortunes of his descendants. These powerful friends were the learned Friar Francisco Marquez, author of a Chinese grammar, and Friar Juan Caballero, a former missionary in China, who, because of his own work and because his brother held high office there, was influential in the business affairs of the Order. Through them Lam-co settled in Binan, on the Dominican estate named after “St. Isidore the Laborer.” There, near where the Pasig river flows out of the Laguna de Bay, Lam-co’s descendants were to be tenants until another government, not yet born, and a system unknown in his day, should end a long series of inevitable and vexatious disputes by buying the estate and selling it again, on terms practicable for them, to those who worked the land.
The Filipinos were at law over boundaries and were claiming the property that had been early and cheaply acquired by the Order as endowment for its university and other charities. The Friars of the Parian quarter thought to take those of their parishioners in whom they had most confidence out of harm’s way, and by the same act secure more satisfactory tenants, for prejudice was then threatening another indiscriminate massacre. So they settled many industrious Chinese converts upon these farms, and flattered themselves that their tenant troubles were ended, for these foreigners could have no possible claim to the land. The Chinese were equally pleased to have safer homes and an occupation which in China placed them in a social position superior to that of a tradesman.
Domingo Lam-co was influential in building up Tubigan barrio, one of the richest parts of the great estate. In name and appearance it recalled the fertile plains that surrounded his native Chinchew, “the city of springs.” His neighbors were mainly Chinchew men, and what is of more importance to this narrative, the wife whom he married just before removing to the farm was of a good Chinchew family. She was Inez de la Rosa and but half Domingo’s age; they were married in the Parian church by the same priest who over thirty years before had baptized her husband.
Her father was Agustin Chinco, also of Chinchew, a rice merchant, who had been baptized five years earlier than Lam-co. His baptismal record suggests that he was an educated man, as already indicated, for the name of his town proved a puzzle till a present-day Dominican missionary from Amoy explained that it appeared to be the combined names for Chinchew in both the common and literary Chinese, in each case with the syllable denoting the town left off. Apparently when questioned from what town he came, Chinco was careful not to repeat the word town, but gave its name only in the literary language, and when that was not understood, he would repeat it in the local dialect. The priest, not understanding the significance of either in that form, wrote down the two together as a single word. Knowledge of the literary Chinese, or Mandarin, as it is generally called, marked the educated man, and, as we have already pointed out, education in China meant social position. To such minute deductions is it necessary to resort when records are scarce, and to be of value the explanation must be in harmony with the conditions of the period; subsequent research has verified the foregoing conclusions.
Agustin Chinco had also a Chinese godfather and his parents were Chin-co and Zun-nio. He was married to Jacinta Rafaela, a Chinese mestiza of the Parian, as soon after his baptism as the banns could be published. She apparently was the daughter of a Christian Chinese and a Chinese mestiza; there were too many of the name Jacinta in that day to identify which of the several Jacintas she was and so enable us to determine the names of her parents. The Rafaela part of her name was probably added after she was grown up, in honor of the patron of the Parian settlement, San Rafael, just as Domingo, at his marriage, added Antonio in honor of the Chinese. How difficult guides names then were may be seen from this list of the six children of Agustin Chinco and Jacinta Rafaela: Magdalena Vergara, Josepha, Cristoval de la Trinidad, Juan Batista, Francisco Hong-Sun and Inez de la Rosa.
The father-in-law and the son-in-law, Agustin and Domingo, seem to have been old friends, and apparently of the same class. Lam-co must have seen his future wife, the youngest in Chinco’s numerous family, grow up from babyhood, and probably was attracted by the idea that she would make a good housekeeper like her thrifty mother, rather than by any romantic feelings, for sentiment entered very little into matrimony in those days when the parents made the matches. Possibly, however, their married life was just as happy, for divorces then were not even thought of, and as this couple prospered they apparently worked well together in a financial way.
The next recorded event in the life of Domingo Lam-co and his wife occurred in 1741 when, after years of apparently happy existence in Binan, came a great grief in the loss of their baby daughter, Josepha Didnio, probably named for her aunt. She had lived only five days, but payments to the priest for a funeral such as was not given to many grown persons who died that year in Binan show how keenly the parents felt the loss of their little girl. They had at the time but one other child, a boy of ten, Francisco Mercado, whose Christian name was given partly because he had an uncle of the same name, and partly as a tribute of gratitude to the friendly Friar scholar in Manila. His new surname suggests that the family possessed the commendable trait of taking pride in its ancestry.
Among the Chinese the significance of a name counts for much and it is always safe to seek a reason for the choice of a name. The Lam-co family were not given to the practice of taking the names of their god-parents. Mercado recalls both an honest Spanish encomendero of the region, also named Francisco, and a worthy mestizo Friar, now remembered for his botanical studies, but it is not likely that these influenced Domingo Lam-co in choosing this name for his son. He gave his boy a name which in the careless Castilian of the country was but a Spanish translation of the Chinese name by which his ancestors had been called. Sangley, Mercado and Merchant mean much the same; Francisco therefore set out in life with a surname that would free him from the prejudice that followed those with Chinese names, and yet would remind him of his Chinese ancestry. This was wisdom, for seldom are men who are ashamed of their ancestry any credit to it.
The family history has to be gleaned from partially preserved parochial registers of births, marriages and deaths, incomplete court records, the scanty papers of the estates, a few land transfers, and some stray writings that accidentally have been preserved with the latter. The next event in Domingo’s life which is revealed by them is a visit to Manila where in the old Parian church he acted as sponsor, or godfather, at the baptism of a countryman, and a new convert, Siong-co, whose granddaughter was, we shall see, to marry a grandson of Lam-co’s, the couple becoming Rizal’s grandparents.
Francisco was a grown man when his mother died and was buried with the elaborate ceremonies which her husband’s wealth permitted. There was a coffin, a niche in which to put it, chanting of the service and special prayers. All these involved extra cost, and the items noted in the margin of her funeral record make a total which in those days was a considerable sum. Domingo outlived Mrs. Lam-co by but a few years, and he also had, for the time, an expensive funeral.
Liberalizing Hereditary Influences
The hope of the Binan landlords that by changing from Filipino to Chinese tenantry they could avoid further litigation seems to have been disappointed. A family tradition of Francisco Mercado tells of a tedious and costly lawsuit with the Order. Its details and merits are no longer remembered, and they are not important.
History has recorded enough agrarian trouble, in all ages and in all countries, to prove the economic mistake of large holdings of land by those who do not cultivate it. Human nature is alike the world over, it does not change with the centuries, and just as the Filipinos had done, the Chinese at last obiected to paying increased rent for improvements which they made themselves.
A Spanish iudge required the landlords to produce their deeds, and, after measuring the land, he decided that they were then taking rent for considerably more than they had originally bought or had been given. But the tenants lost on the appeal, and, as they thought it was because they were weak and their opponents powerful, a grievance grew up which was still remembered in Rizal’s day and was well known and understood by him.
Another cause of discontent, which was a liberalizing influence, was making itself felt in the Philippines about the time of Domingo’s death. A number of Spaniards had been claiming for their own countrymen such safeguards of personal liberty as were enjoyed by Englishmen, for no other government in Europe then paid any attention to the rights of the individual. Learned men had devoted much study to the laws and rights of nations, but these Spanish Liberals insisted that it was the guarantees given to the citizens, and not the political independence of the State, that made a country really free. Unfortunately, just as their proposals began to gain followers, Spain became involved in war with England, because the Spanish King, then as now a Bourbon and so related to a number of other reactionary rulers, had united in the family compact by which the royal relatives were to stamp out liberal ideas in their own dominions, and as allies to crush England, the source of the dissatisfaction which threatened their thrones.
Many progressive Spaniards had become Freemasons, when that ancient society, after its revival in England, had been reintroduced into Spain. Now they found themselves suspected of sympathy with England and therefore of treason to Spain. While this could not be proved, it led to enforcing a papal bull against them, by which Pope Clement XII placed their institution under the ban of excommunication.
At first it was intended to execute all the Spanish Freemasons, but the Queen’s favorite violinist secretly sympathized with them. He used his influence with Her Majesty so well that through her intercession the King commuted the sentences from death to banishment as minor officials in the possessions overseas.
Thus Cuba, Mexico, South and Central America, and the Philippines were provided with the ablest Spanish advocates of modern ideas. In no other way could liberalism have been spread so widely or more effectively.
Besides these officeholders there had been from the earliest days noblemen, temporarily out of favor at Court, in banishment in the colonies. Cavite had some of these exiles, who were called “caja abierta,” or carte blanche, because their generous allowances, which could be drawn whenever there were government funds, seemed without limit to the Filipinos. The Spanish residents of the Philippines were naturally glad to entertain, supply money to, and otherwise serve these men of noble birth, who might at any time be restored to favor and again be influential, and this gave them additional prestige in the eyes of the Filipinos. One of these exiles, whose descendants yet live in these Islands, passed from prisoner in Cavite to viceroy in Mexico.
Francisco Mercado lived near enough to hear of the “cajas abiertas” (exiles) and their ways, if he did not actually meet some of them and personally experience the charm of their courtesy. They were as different from the ruder class of Spaniards who then were coming to the Islands as the few banished officials were unlike the general run of officeholders. The contrast naturally suggested that the majority of the Spaniards in the Philippines, both in official and in private life, were not creditable representatives of their country. This charge, insisted on with greater vehemence as subsequent events furnished further reasons for doing so, embittered the controversies of the last century of Spanish rule. The very persons who realized that the accusation was true of themselves, were those who most resented it, and the opinion of them which they knew the Filipinos held but dared not voice, rankled in their breasts. They welcomed every disparagement of the Philippines and its people, and thus made profitable a senseless and abusive campaign which was carried on by unscrupulous, irresponsible writers of such defective education that vilification was their sole argument. Their charges were easily disproved, but they had enough cunning to invent new charges continually, and prejudice gave ready credence to them.
Finally an unreasoning fury broke out and in blind passion innocent persons were struck down; the taste for blood once aroused, irresponsible writers like that Retana who has now become Rizal’s biographer, whetted the savage appetite for fresh victims. The last fifty years of Spanish rule in the Philippines was a small saturnalia of revenge with hardly a lucid interval for the governing power to reflect or an opportunity for the reasonable element to intervene. Somewhat similarly the Bourbons in France had hoped to postpone the day of reckoning for their mistakes by misdeeds done in fear to terrorize those who sought reforms. The aristocracy of France paid back tenfold each drop of innocent blood that was shed, but while the unreasoning world recalls the French Revolution with horror, the student of history thinks more of the evils which made it a natural result. Mirabeau in vain sought to restrain his aroused countrymen, just as he had vainly pleaded with the aristocrats to end their excesses. Rizal, who held Mirabeau for his hero among the men of the French Revolution, knew the historical lesson and sought to sound a warning, but he was unheeded by the Spaniards and misunderstood by many of his countrymen.
At about the time of the arrival of the Spanish political exiles we find in Manila a proof of the normal mildness of Spain in the Philippines. The Inquisition, of dread name elsewhere, in the Philippines affected only Europeans, had before it two English-speaking persons, an Irish doctor and a county merchant accused of being Freemasons. The kind-hearted Friar inquisitor dismissed the culprits with warnings, and excepting some Spanish political matters in which it took part, this was the nearest that the institution ever came to exercising its functions here.
The sufferings of the Indians in the Spanish-American gold mines, too, had no Philippine counterpart, for at the instance of the friars the Church early forbade the enslaving of the people. Neither friars nor government have any records in the Philippines which warrant belief that they were responsible for the severe punishments of the period from ’72 to ’98. Both were connected with opposition to reforms which appeared likely to jeopardize their property or to threaten their prerogatives, and in this they were only human, but here their selfish interests and activities seem to cease.
For religious reasons the friar orders combatted modern ideas which they feared might include atheistical teachings such as had made trouble in France, and the Government was against the introduction of latter-day thought of democratic tendency, but in both instances the opposition may well have been believed to be for the best interest of the Philippine people. However mistaken, their action can only be deplored not censured. The black side of this matter was the rousing of popular passion, and it was done by sheets subsidized to argue; their editors, however, resorted to abuse in order to conceal the fact that they had not the ability to perform the services for which they were hired. While some individual members of both the religious orders and of the Government were influenced by these inflaming attacks, the interests concerned, as organizations, seem to have had a policy of self-defense, and not of revenge.
The theory here advanced must wait for the judgment of the reader till the later events have been submitted. However, Rizal himself may be called in to prove that the record and policy is what has been asserted, for otherwise he would hardly have disregarded, as he did, the writings of Motley and Prescott, historians whom he could have quoted with great advantage to support the attacks he would surely have not failed to make had they seemed to him warranted, for he never was wanting in knowledge, resourcefulness or courage where his country was concerned.
No definite information is available as to what part Francisco Mercado took during the disturbed two years when the English held Manila and Judge Anda carried on a guerilla warfare. The Dominicans were active in enlisting their tenants to fight against the invaders, and probably he did his share toward the Spanish defense either with contributions or personal service. The attitude of the region in which he lived strengthens this surmise, for only after long-continued wrongs and repeatedly broken promises of redress did Filipino loyalty fail. This was a century too early for the country around Manila, which had been better protected and less abused than the provinces to the north where the Ilokanos revolted.
Binan, however, was within the sphere of English influence, for Anda’s campaign was not quite so formidable as the inscription on his monument in Manila represents it to be, and he was far indeed from being the great conqueror that the tablet on the Santa Cruz Church describes him. Because of its nearness to Manila and Cavite and its rich gardens, British soldiers and sailors often visited Binan, but as the inhabitants never found occasion to abandon their homes, they evidently suffered no serious inconvenience.
Commerce, a powerful factor, destroying the hermit character of the Islands, gained by the short experience of freer trade under England’s rule, since the Filipinos obtained a taste for articles before unused, which led them to be discontented and insistent, till the Manila market finally came to be better supplied. The contrast of the British judicial system with the Spanish tribunals was also a revelation, for the foulest blot upon the colonial administration of Spain was her iniquitous courts of justice, and this was especially true of the Philippines.
Anda’s triumphal entry into the capital was celebrated with a wholesale hanging of Chinese, which must have made Francisco Mercado glad that he was now so identified with the country as to escape the prejudice against his race.
A few years later came the expulsion of the Jesuit fathers and the confiscation of their property. It certainly weakened the government; personal acquaintance counted largely with the Filipinos; whole parishes knew Spain and the Church only through their parish priest, and the parish priest was usually a Jesuit whose courtesy equalled that of the most aristocratic officeholder or of any exiled “caja abierta.”
Francisco Mercado did not live in a Jesuit parish but in the neighboring hacienda of St. John the Baptist at Kalamba, where there was a great dam and an extensive irrigation system which caused the land to rival in fertility the rich soil of Binan. Everybody in his neighborhood knew that the estate had been purchased with money left in Mexico by pious Spaniards who wanted to see Christianity spread in the Philippines, and it seemed to them sacrilege that the government should take such property for its own secular uses.
The priests in Binan were Filipinos and were usually leaders among the secular clergy, for the parish was desirable beyond most in the archdiocese because of its nearness to Manila, its excellent climate, its well-to-do parishioners and the great variety of its useful and ornamental plants and trees. Many of the fruits and vegetables of Binan were little known elsewhere, for they were of American origin, brought by Dominicans on the voyages from Spain by way of Mexico. They were introduced first into the great gardens at the hacienda house, which was a comfortable and spacious building adjoining the church, and the favorite resting place for members of the Order in Manila.
The attendance of the friars on Sundays and fete days gave to the religious services on these occasions a dignity usually belonging to city churches. Sometimes, too, some of the missionaries from China and other Dominican notables would be seen in Binan. So the people not only had more of the luxuries and the pomp of life than most Filipinos, but they had a broader outlook upon it. Their opinion of Spain was formed from acquaintance with many Spaniards and from comparing them with people of other lands who often came to Manila and investigated the region close to it, especially the show spots such as Binan. Then they were on the road to the fashionable baths at Los Banos, where the higher officials often resorted. Such opportunities gave a sort of education, and Binan people were in this way more cultured than the dwellers in remote places, whose only knowledge of their sovereign state was derived from a single Spaniard, the friar curate of their parish.
Monastic training consists in withdrawing from the world and living isolated under strict rule, and this would scarcely seem to be the best preparation for such responsibility as was placed upon the Friars. Troubles were bound to come, and the people of Binan, knowing the ways of the world, would soon be likely to complain and demand the changes which would avoid them; the residents of less worldly wise communities would wait and suffer till too late, and then in blind wrath would wreak bloody vengeance upon guilty and innocent alike.
Kalamba, a near neighbor of Binan, had other reasons for being known besides its confiscation by the government. It was the scene of an early and especially cruel massacre of Chinese, and about Francisco’s time considerable talk had been occasioned because an archbishop had established an uniform scale of charges for the various rites of the Church. While these charges were often complained of, it was the poorer people (some of whom were in receipt of charity) who suffered. The rich were seeking more expensive ceremonies in order to outshine the other well-to-do people of their neighborhood. The real grievance was, however, not the cost, but the fact that political discriminations were made so that those who were out of favor with the government were likewise deprived of church privileges. The reform of Archbishop Santo y Rufino has importance only because it gave the people of the provinces what Manila had long possessed–a knowledge of the rivalry between the secular and the regular clergy.
The people had learned in Governor Bustamente’s time that Church and State did not always agree, and now they saw dissensions within the Church. The Spanish Conquest and the possession of the Philippines had been made easy by the doctrine of the indivisibility of Church and State, by the teaching that the two were one and inseparable, but events were continually demonstrating the falsity of this early teaching. Hence the foundation of the sovereignty of Spain was slowly weakening, and nowhere more surely than in the region near Manila which numbered Jose Rizal’s keen-witted and observing great grandfather among its leading men.
Francisco Mercado was a bachelor during the times of these exciting events and therefore more free to visit Manila and Cavite, and he was possibly the more likely to be interested in political matters. He married on May 26, 1771, rather later in life than was customary in Binan, though he was by no means as old as his father, Domingo, was when he married. His bride, Bernarda Monicha, was a Chinese mestiza of the neighboring hacienda of San Pedro Tunasan, who had been early orphaned and from childhood had lived in Binan. As the coadjutor priest of the parish bore the same name, one uncommon in the Binan records of that period, it is possible that he was a relative. The frequent occurrence of the name of Monicha among the last names of girls of that vicinity later on must be ascribed to Bernarda’s popularity as godmother.
Mr. and Mrs. Francisco Mercado had two children, both boys, Juan and Clemente. During their youth the people of the Philippines were greatly interested in the struggles going on between England, the old enemy of Spain, and the rebellious English-American colonies. So bitter was the Spanish hatred of the nation which had humiliated her repeatedly on both land and sea, that the authorities forgot their customary caution and encouraged the circulation of any story that told in favor of the American colonies. Little did they realize the impression that the statement of grievances–so trivial compared with the injustices that were being inflicted upon the Spanish colonials–was making upon their subjects overseas, who until then had been carefully guarded from all modern ideas of government. American successes were hailed with enthusiasm in the most remote towns, and from this time may be dated a perceptible increase in Philippine discontent. Till then outbreaks and uprisings had been more for revenge than with any well-considered aim, but henceforth complaints became definite, demands were made that to an increasing number of people appeared to be reasonable, and those demands were denied or ignored, or promises were made in answer to them which were never fulfilled.
Francisco Mercado was well to do, if we may judge from the number of carabaos he presented for registration, for his was among the largest herds in the book of brands that has chanced to be preserved with the Binan church records. In 1783 he was alcalde, or chief officer of the town, and he lived till 1801. His name appears so often as godfather in the registers of baptisms and weddings that he must have been a good-natured, liberal and popular man.
Mrs. Francisco Mercado survived her husband by a number of years, and helped to nurse through his baby ailments a grandson also named Francisco, the father of Doctor Rizal.
Francisco Mercado’s eldest son, Juan, built a fine house in the center of Binan, where its pretentious stone foundations yet stand to attest how the home deserved the pride which the family took in it.
At twenty-two Juan married a girl of Tubigan, who was two years his elder, Cirila Alejandra, daughter of Domingo Lam-co’s Chinese godson, Siong-co. Cirila’s father’s silken garments were preserved by the family until within the memory of persons now living, and it is likely that Jose Rizal, Siong-co’s great-grandson, while in school at Binan, saw these tangible proofs of the social standing in China of this one of his ancestors.
Juan Mercado was three times the chief officer of Binan–in 1808, 1813 and 1823. His sympathies are evident from the fact that he gave the second name, Fernando, to the son born when the French were trying to get the Filipinos to declare for King Joseph, whom his brother Napoleon had named sovereign of Spain. During the little while that the Philippines profited by the first constitution of Spain, Mercado was one of the two alcaldes. King Ferdinand VII then was relying on English aid, and to please his allies as well as to secure the loyalty of his subjects, Ferdinand pretended to be a very liberal monarch, swearing to uphold the constitution which the representatives of the people had framed at Cadiz in 1812. Under this constitution the Filipinos were to be represented in the Spanish Cortes, and the grandfather of Rizal was one of the electors to choose the Representative.
During the next twenty-five years the history of the connection of the Philippines with Spain is mainly a record of the breaking and renewing of the King’s oaths to the constitution, and of the Philippines electing delegates who would find the Cortes dissolved by the time they could get to Madrid, until in the final constitution that did last Philippine representation was left out altogether. Had things been different the sad story of this book might never have been told, for though the misgovernment of the Philippines was originally owing to the disregard for the Laws of the Indies and to giving unrestrained power to officials, the effects of these mistakes were not apparent until well into the nineteenth century.
Another influence which educated the Filipino people was at work during this period. They had heard the American Revolution extolled and its course approved, because the Spaniards disliked England. Then came the French Revolution, which appalled the civilized world. A people, ignorant and oppressed, washed out in blood the wrongs which they had suffered, but their liberty degenerated into license, their ideals proved impracticable, and the anarchy of their radical republic was succeeded by the military despotism of Napoleon.
A book written in Tagalog by a friar pointed out the differences between true liberty and false. It was the story of an old municipal captain who had traveled and returned to enlighten his friends at home. The story was well told, and the catechism form in which, by his friends’ questions and the answers to them, the author’s opinions were presented, was familiar to Filipinos, so that there were many intelligent readers, but its results were quite different from what its pious and patriotic author had intended they should be.
The book told of the broadening influences of travel and of education; it suggested that liberty was possible only for the intelligent, but that schools, newspapers, libraries and the means of travel which the American colonists were enjoying were not provided for the Filipinos.
They were further told that the Spanish colonies in America were repeating the unhappy experiences of the French republic, while the “English North Americans,” whose ships during the American Revolution had found the Pacific a safe refuge from England, had developed considerable commerce with the Philippines. A kindly feeling toward the Americans had been aroused by the praise given to Filipino mechanics who had been trained by an American naval officer to repair his ship when the Spaniards at the government dockyards proved incapable of doing the work. Even the first American Consul, whose monument yet remains in the Plaza Cervantes, Manila, though, because of his faith, he could not be buried in the consecrated ground of the Catholic cemeteries, received what would appear to be a higher honor, a grave in the principal business plaza of the city.
The inferences were irresistible: the way of the French Revolution was repugnant alike to God and government, that of the American was approved by both. Filipinos of reflective turn of mind began to study America; some even had gone there; for, from a little Filipino settlement, St. Malo near New Orleans, sailors enlisted to fight in the second war of the United States against England; one of them was wounded and his name was long borne on the pension roll of the United States.
The danger of the dense ignorance in which their rulers kept the Filipinos showed itself in 1819, when a French ship from India having introduced Asiatic cholera into the Islands, the lowest classes of Manila ascribed it to the collections of insects and reptiles which a French naturalist, who was a passenger upon the ship, had brought ashore. However the story started, the collection and the dwelling of the naturalist fared badly, and afterwards the mob, excited by its success, made war upon all foreigners. At length the excitement subsided, but too much damage to foreign lives and property had been done to be ignored, and the matter had an ugly look, especially as no Spaniard had suffered by this outbreak. The Insular government roused itself to punish some of the minor misdoers and made many explanations and apologies, but the aggrieved nations insisted, and obtained as compensation a greater security for foreigners and the removal of many of the restraints upon commerce and travel. Thus the riot proved a substantial step in Philippine progress.
Following closely the excitement over the massacre of the foreigners in Manila came the news that Spain had sold Florida to the United States. The circumstances of the sale were hardly creditable to the vendor, for it was under compulsion. Her lax government had permitted its territory to become the refuge of criminals and lawless savages who terrorized the border until in self-defense American soldiers under General Jackson had to do the work that Spain could not do. Then with order restored and the country held by American troops, an offer to purchase was made to Spain who found the liberal purchase money a very welcome addition to her bankrupt treasury.
Immediately after this the Monroe Doctrine attracted widespread attention in the Philippines. Its story is part of Spanish history. A group of reactionary sovereigns of Europe, including King Ferdinand, had united to crush out progressive ideas in their kingdoms and to remove the dangerous examples of liberal states from their neighborhoods. One of the effects of this unholy alliance was to nullify all the reforms which Spain had introduced to secure English assistance in her time of need, and the people of England were greatly incensed. Great Britain had borne the brunt of the war against Napoleon because her liberties were jeopardized, but naturally her people could not be expected to undertake further warfare merely for the sake of people of another land, however they might sympathize with them.
George Canning, the English statesman to whom belonged much of the credit for the Constitution of Cadiz, thought out a way to punish the Spanish king for his perfidy. King Ferdinand was planning, with the Island of Cuba as a base, to begin a campaign that should return his rebellious American colonies to their allegiance, for they had taken advantage of disturbances in the Peninsula to declare their independence. England proposed to the United States that they, the two Anglo-Saxon nations whose ideas of liberty had unsettled Europe and whom the alliance would have attacked had it dared, should unite in a protectorate over the New World. England was to guard the sea and the United States were to furnish the soldiers for any land fighting which might come on their side of the Atlantic.
World politics had led the enemies of England to help her revolting colonies, Napoleon’s jealousy of Britain had endowed the new nation with the vast Louisiana Territory, and European complications saved the United States from the natural consequences of their disastrous war of 1812, which taught them that union was as necessary to preserve their independence as it had been to win it. Canning’s project in principle appealed to the North Americans, but the study of it soon showed that Great Britain was selfish in her suggestion. After a generation of fighting, England found herself drained of soldiers and therefore she diplomatically invited the cooeperation of her former colonies; but, regardless of any formal arrangement, her navy could be relied on to prevent those who had played her false from transporting large armies across the ocean into the neighborhood of her otherwise defenseless colonies. That was self-preservation.
President Monroe’s advisers were willing that their country should run some risk on its own account, but they had the traditional American aversion to entangling alliances. So the Cabinet counseled that the young nation alone should make itself the protector of the South American republics, and drafted the declaration warning the world that aggression against any of the New World democracies would be resented as unfriendliness to the United States.
It was the firm attitude of President Monroe that compelled Spain to forego the attempt to reconquer her former colonies, and therefore Mexico and Central and South America owe their existence as republics quite as much to the elder commonwealth as does Cuba.
The American attitude revealed in the Monroe Doctrine was especially obnoxious to the Spaniards in the Philippines but their intemperate denunciations of the policy of America for the Americans served only to spread a knowledge of that doctrine among the people of that little territory which remained to them to misgovern. Secretly there began to be, among the stouter-hearted Filipinos, some who cherished a corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, the Philippines for the Filipinos.
Thoughts of separation from Spain by means of rebellion, by sale and by the assistance of other nations, had been thus put into the heads of the people. These were all changes coming from outside, but it next to be demonstrated that Spain herself did not hold her noncontiguous territories as sacred as she did her home dominions.
The sale of Florida suggested that Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippines were also available assets, and an offer to sell them was made to the King of France; but this sovereign overreached himself, for, thinking to drive a better bargain, he claimed that the low prices were too high. Thereupon the Spanish Ambassador, who was not in accord with his unpatriotic instructions, at once withdrew the offer and the negotiations terminated. But the Spanish people learned of the proposed sale and their indignation was great. The news spread to the Spaniards in the Philippines. Through their comments the Filipinos realized that the much-talked-of sacred integrity of the Spanish dominions was a meaningless phrase, and that the Philippines would not always be Spanish if Spain could get her price.
Gobernadorcillo Mercado, “Captain Juan,” as he was called, made a creditable figure in his office, and there used to be in Binan a painting of him with his official sword, cocked hat and embroidered blouse. The municipal executive in his time did not always wear the ridiculous combination of European and old Tagalog costumes, namely, a high hat and a short jacket over the floating tails of a pleated shirt, which later undignified the position. He has a notable record for his generosity, the absence of oppression and for the official honesty which distinguished his public service from that of many who held his same office. He did, however, change the tribute lists so that his family were no longer “Chinese mestizos,” but were enrolled as “Indians,” the wholesale Spanish term for the natives of all Spain’s possessions overseas. This, in a way, was compensation (it lowered his family’s tribute) for his having to pay the taxes of all who died in Binan or moved away during his term of office. The municipal captain then was held accountable whether the people could pay or not, no deductions ever being made from the lists. Most gobernadorcillos found ways to reimburse themselves, but not Mercado. His family, however, were of the fourth generation in the Philippines and he evidently thought that they were entitled to be called Filipinos.
A leader in church work also, and several times “Hermano mayor” of its charitable society, the Captain’s name appears on a number of lists that have come down from that time as a liberal contributor to various public subscriptions. His wife was equally benevolent,