Jose Rizal Life in Europe
Jose Rizal left America for a trip across the Atlantic for London, arrived in Liverpool on May 24, 1888. He stayed as a guest in the home of Dr. Antonio Ma. Regidor, a practicing lawyer and an exile. He did some research work at the British Museum. He gained the acquaintance of Reinhold Rost librarian of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an authority on Malayan Languages and Customs. Rost was impressed by the intellect of Rizal that he recommended him to the authorities of the British Museum. Jose Rizal brushed up on the pages of Morga’s Sucesos and other historical works concerning Philippines and those written by Fr. Chrino, Fr. Colin, Fr. Argensola, Fr. Plasencia and others at the British Museum.
The greatest achievement of Jose Rizal in London was the annotation of Morga’s book, ‘Sucesos de Las Isla Filipinas’. This was published in Mexico in 1889. He underscored Morga’s book as written in scholarly fashion and in a very simple manner and did not contain “the superficiality and the exaggeration”. He viewed the book as being “accurate in the narration of the events, unbiased in judgement and unmarred by childish fantasies.
He received some news that Fr. Garcia defended the Noli against the allegations and attacks of Fr. Rodriguez. He was delighted to hear the news and tears fell from his eyes. In appreciation to Fr. Garcia he wrote a letter expressing his deepest gratitude on January 7, 1891 but the following news disappointed Jose Rizal:
- Persecution of the Filipino patriots who signed a petition of the “Anti-Friar Petition of 1888” which was presented by Doroteo Cortes to Jose Centino, civil governor of he Province of Manila, March 1, 1888. The petition was signed by 800 patriots and was written by M.H. del Pilar. It was addressed to the Queen Regent of Spain requesting the expulsion of the friars, including Archbishop Pedro Pay (Dominican), Manila;
- Persecution of the Calamba tenants, including Rizal’s family and relatives, for their courage to petition the government for agrarian reforms;
- Furious attacks on Jose Rizal by Senators Salamanca and Vida in the Spanish Cortes and by Desenganos (Wenseslao Retana) and Quioquiap (Pablo Feced) in Spanish newspaper;
- Governor Weyler exiled Jose Rizal’s brother-in-law, Manuel T. Hidalgo, husband of Saturnina, to Bohol without due process of law;
- A friend of Jose Rizal, Laureano Vida, a medical student of the University of Santo Tomas, was arrested and jailed in Bilibid Prison because copies of Noli was found in his house.
While staying in London, he was offered by Mariano Ponce to edit a newspaper that would serve the interest of the Filipinos. That would also defend them against the attacks of the Spanish detractors, which he turned down for he was busy then.
He went to Paris, then to Spain in the second week of December 1888 to determine the political situations in connection to the agitation of reforms of the Philippines. He acquainted with the two leaders of the Propaganda Movement, Marcelo H. del Pilar and Mariano Ponce, and shared ideas and plans in their fight for reforms.
He went back to London and participated actively in the reform movement and initiated his role in the in Philippine Revolution. He was voted unanimously as honorary President of the Filipino Patriotic Society in Barcelona called Asociacion La Solidaridad, which would involve in the crusade for reforms. His first article in La Solidaridad was entitled ‘Los Agricultores Filipinos’, it was published on March 25, 1889 before he left London for Paris.
Jose Rizal’s involvement to the founding of the La Solidaridad Asociation on December 15, 1889 jibed with Graciano Lopez Jaena’s founding of the patriotic newspaper called La Solidaridad. It served as the official organ of the Propaganda Movement. The objectives were as follows:
- To work peacefully for political and social reforms;
- To portray the deplorable conditions of the Philippines so that Spain may remedy them;
- To oppose the evil forces of reactions and medievalism;
- To advocate liberal ideas and progress; and
- To champion the legitimate aspirations of the Filipino people to life, democracy, and happiness.
Dr. Rost, editor of Trulnea’s Recurd, a journal devoted to Asian studies requested Jose Rizal to contribute some articles. In response to his request, the latter prepared two articles: (1) ‘A Specimen of Tagalog Folklore’ (2) ‘Two Easter Fables’.