José Rizal and Being Known For The Enemy (1887, 1892)

It was not long after I had begun to write a letter, and was already virtually finished with it, when I was summoned by the Governor General …

My book [Noli me Tangere] has raised a great storm, and everyone is asking me for it. They wanted to anathematize me and the General summons me to obtain a copy of the same. He told me: You have written a novel that has caused much comment; they tell me there are subversive ideas in it. I want to read it.”

“General—I told him—I have the intention of sending copies to Your Excellency and to the Archbishop as soon as I receive them from Europe. I did not have more than one copy and I gave it to a friend. If Your Excellency permits it, I will search for one.”

“I not only permit it, but command it.”

I went to the Jesuits to obtain their copy, but they did not want to be parted with it; thus it was that I had to take to the General a copy quite dirty. He received me with more friendliness and asked me whether or not I will return to my home [in Calamba] …

-José Rizal, Letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt, Calamba, September 5, 1887


I arrived at Manila on June 26 [1892], Sunday, at 12 in the morning. I was met by many guards, including a commandant. There was in addition a captain and a sergeant of the G[uardia] C[ivil] V[eterana] in disguise. I descended with my luggage and passed the Customs. From there I went to the Hotel de Oriente where I occupied Room 22 that gives out on the church of Binondo.

In the afternoon, at 4, I presented myself to His Excellency [at Malacañan] and was told to return at 7. At 7, I met with him and was granted my father’s freedom, but not that of my brother’s. He told me to return on Wednesday at 7:30. From there I went to see my sisters. I met first with my sister Nacisa [López], later with Neneng [Saturnina Hidalgo].

On the following day, I went at 6 in the morning to the railway station to go to Bulacan and Pampanga. I visted Malolos, San Fernando and Tarlac and, on the way back, Bacolor. I arrived in Manila on Tuesday at 5 in the afternoon.

At 7:30 on Wednesday I met with His Excellency, and again did not obtain the lifting of the exile; but he gave me hope for my brothers. As it was the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, our interview was ended at 9:15, with arrangements for me to present myself on the following day at 7:30.

On Thursday the following day we spoke of the Borneo question and the General showed himself opposed to it, indeed very opposed.  He told me to return on Sunday.

On Sunday I returned, we spoke of indifferent things and I was made to give thanks for the exile of my brothers having been lifted. I announced that my father and brother would arrive on the first mailboat. He asked me if I wanted to leave and return to Hong Kong; I told him yes. He told me to return on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, he asked me if I insisted on my desire to return to Hong Kong; I told him yes. After some conversation, he told me that I had brought manifestos in my luggage; I told him that I had not. He asked me to whom could the pillows and bed mats belong; I told him they were my sister’s. With this reason he told me that I would be sent to Fort Santiago.

Don Ramon Despujol, his nephew and aide, took me in a Palace carriage…

On Thursday the 14th in the evening, at 5:30 or 6, the nephew came to notify me that at 10 at night I would leave for Dapitan. I prepared my luggage and was ready at 10; but as they did not come to get me I slept.  At 12:15 they came for me: the aide brought the same carriage that I had taken, and by the gate of Santa Lucia was taken to the Pier…

The Cebu left at 1 in the morning…

José Rizal, Diary, 1892


The Rizal Sisters and Cries for Mercy (1896)

The sisters of Rizal went to the gates of the palace of Malacañang, where they waited for Polavieja to emerge. When he finally appeared, they “collapsed into tears”, “throwing themselves at his feet, pleading for clemency. The General would have wished that the fulfillment of unavoidable duties could permit to identify the clemency of authority with the pity of his own intimate feelings.”

-Wenceslao Emilio Retana, Vida y Escritos del Dr. José Rizal, 1907, citing a telegram by correspondent Santiago Mataix to the Heraldo de Madrid which was published in the evening edition of December 29, 1896