The Life of Jose Rizal: Philippine Patriot HTML version
The Deportation to Dapitan
As soon as Rizal was lodged in his prison, a room in Fort Santiago, the Governor-General
began the composition of one of the most extraordinary official documents ever issued in
this land where the strangest governmental acts have abounded. It is apology, argument,
and attack all in one and was published in the Official Gazette, where it occupied most of
an entire issue. The effect of the righteous anger it displays suffers somewhat when one
knows how all was planned from the day Rizal was decoyed from Hongkong under the
faithless safe-conduct. Another enlightening feature is the copy of a later letter, preserved
in that invaluable secret file, wherein Despujol writes Rizal's custodian, as jailer, to allow
the exile in no circumstances to see this number of the Gazette or to know its contents,
and suggests several evasions to assist the subordinate's power of invention. It is certainly
a strange indignation which fears that its object shall learn the reason for wrath, nor is it a
creditable spectacle when one beholds the chief of a government giving private lessons in
A copy of the Gazette was sent to the Spanish Consul in Hongkong, also a cablegram
directing him to give it publicity that "Spain's good name might not suffer" in that colony.
By his blunder, not knowing that the Lusitania Club was really a Portuguese Masonic
lodge and full of Rizal's friends, a copy was sent there and a strong reply was called forth.
The friendly editor of the Hongkong Telegraph devoted columns to the outrage by which
a man whose acquaintance in the scientific world reflected honor upon his nation, was
decoyed to what was intended to be his death, exiled to "an unhealthful, savage spot,"
through "a plot of which the very Borgias would have been ashamed."
The British Consul in Manila, too, mentioned unofficially to Governor-General Despujol
that it seemed a strange way of showing Spain's often professed friendship for Great
Britain thus to disregard the annoyance to the British colony of North Borneo caused by
making impossible an entirely unexceptionable plan. Likewise, in much the same
respectfully remonstrant tone which the Great Powers are wont to use in recalling to
semi-savage states their obligations to civilization, he pointed out how Spain's prestige as
an advanced nation would suffer when the educated world, in which Rizal was Spain's
best-known representative, learned that the man whom they honored had been trapped
out of his security under the British flag and sent into exile without the slightest form of
Almost the last act of Rizal while at liberty was the establishment of the "Liga Filipina,"
a league or association seeking to unite all Filipinos of good character for concerted
action toward the economic advancement of their country, for a higher standard of
manhood, and to assure opportunities for education and development to talented Filipino
youth. Resistance to oppression by lawful means was also urged, for Rizal believed that
no one could fairly complain of bad government until he had exhausted and found
unavailing all the legal resources provided for his protection. This was another expression
of his constant teaching that slaves, those who toadied to power, and men without self-
respect made possible and fostered tyranny, abuses and disregard of the rights of others.