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Jose Rizal Trial And Execution

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Chapter X

"Consummatum Est"(It is Finished)

Notice of the granting of his request came to Rizal just when repeated disappointments had caused him to prepare for staying in Dapitan. Immediately he disposed of his salable possessions, including a Japanese tea set and large mirror now among the Rizal relics preserved by the government, and a piece of outlying land, the deed for which is also among the Rizalana in the Philippines library. Some half-finished busts were thrown into the pool behind the dam. Despite the short notice all was ready for the trip in time, and, attended by some of his schoolboys as well as by Josefina and Rizal's niece, the daughter of his youngest sister, Soledad, whom Josefina wished to adopt, the party set out for Manila.

The journey was not an uneventful one; at Dumaguete Rizal was the guest of a Spanish judge at dinner; in Cebu he operated successfully upon the eyes of a foreign merchant; and in Iloilo the local newspaper made much of his presence.

The steamer from Dapitan reached Manila a little too late for the mail boat for Spain, and Rizal obtained permission to await the next sailing on board the cruiser Castilla, in the bay. Here he was treated like a guest and more than once the Spanish captain invited members of Rizal's family to be his guests at dinner--Josefina with little Maria Luisa, the niece and the schoolboys, for whom positions had been obtained, in Manila.

The alleged uprising of the Katipunan occurred during this time. A Tondo curate, with an eye to promotion, professed to have discovered a gigantic conspiracy. Incited by him, the lower class of Spaniards in Manila made demonstrations against Blanco and tried to force that Page 230ordinarily sensible and humane executive into bloodthirsty measures, which should terrorize the Filipinos. Blanco had known of the Katipunan but realized that so long as interested parties were using it as a source of revenue, its activities would not go much beyond speechmaking. The rabble was not so far-seeing, and from high authorities came advice that the country was in a fever and could only be saved by blood-letting.

Wholesale arrests filled every possible place for prisoners in Manila. The guilt of one suspect consisted in having visited the American consul to secure the address of a New York medical journal, and other charges were just as frivolous. There was a reign of terror in Luzon and, to save themselves, members of the Katipunan resorted to that open warfare which, had Blanco's prudent counsels been regarded, would probably have been avoided.

While the excitement was at its height, with a number of executions failing to satisfy the blood-hunger, Rizal sailed for Spain, bearing letters of recommendation from Blanco. These vouched for his exemplary conduct during his exile and stated that he had in no way been implicated in the conspiracies then disturbing the Islands.

The Spanish mail boat upon which Rizal finally sailed had among its passengers a sick Jesuit, to whose care Rizal devoted himself, and though most of the passengers were openly hostile to one whom they supposed responsible for the existing outbreak, his professional skill led several to avail themselves of his services. These were given with a deference to the ship's doctor which made that official an admirer and champion of his colleague.

Three only of the passengers, however, were really friendly--one Juan Utor y Fernandez, a prominent Mason and republican, another ex-official in the Philippines Page 231who shared Utor's liberal views, and a young man whose father was republican.

But if Rizal's chief adversaries were content that he should go where he would not molest them or longer jeopardize their interests, the rabble that had been excited by the hired newspaper advocates was not so easily calmed. Every one who felt that his picture had been painted among the lower Spanish types portrayed in "Noli Me Tangere" was loud for revenge. The clamor grew so great that it seemed possible to take advantage of it to displace General Blanco, who was not a convenient tool for the interests.

So his promotion was bought, it is said, to get one Polavieja, a willing tool, in his place. As soon as this scheme was arranged, a cablegram ordering Rizal's arrest was sent; it overtook the steamer at Suez. Thus as a prisoner he completed his journey.

But this had not been entirely unforeseen, for when the steamer reached Singapore, Rizal's companion on board, the Filipino millionaire Pedro P. Roxas, had deserted the ship, urging the ex-exile to follow his example. Rizal demurred, and said such flight would be considered confession of guilt, but he was not fully satisfied in his mind that he was safe. At each port of call his uncertainty as to what course to pursue manifested itself, for though he considered his duty to his country already done, and his life now his own, he would do nothing that suggested an uneasy conscience despite his lack of confidence in Spanish justice.

At first, not knowing the course of events in Manila, he very naturally blamed Governor-General Blanco for bad faith, and spoke rather harshly of him in a letter to Doctor Blumentritt, an opinion which he changed later when the truth was revealed to him in Manila.

Upon the arrival of the steamer in Barcelona the prisoner Page 232was transferred to Montjuich Castle, a political prison associated with many cruelties, there to await the sailing that very day of the Philippine mail boat. The Captain-General was the same Despujol who had decoyed Rizal into the power of the Spaniards four years before. An interesting interview of some hours' duration took place between the governor and the prisoner, in which the clear conscience of the latter seems to have stirred some sense of shame in the man who had so dishonorably deceived him.

He never heard of the effort of London friends to deliver him at Singapore by means of habeas-corpus proceedings. Mr. Regidor furnished the legal inspiration and Mr. Baustead the funds for getting an opinion as to Rizal's status as a prisoner when in British waters, from Sir Edward Clarke, ex-solicitor-general of Great Britain. Captain Camus, a Filipino living in Singapore, was cabled to, money was made available in the Chartered Bank of Singapore, as Mr. Baustead's father's firm was in business in that city, and a lawyer, now Sir Hugh Fort, K.C., of London, was retained. Secretly, in order that the attempt, if unsuccessful, might not jeopardize the prisoner, a petition was presented to the Supreme Court of the Straits Settlements reciting the facts that Doctor Josй Rizal, according to the Philippine practice of punishing Freemasons without trial, was being deprived of his liberty



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