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Rizal's second sojourn in Paris and the Universal Exposition of 1889


Why did Jose P. Rizal go to Paris?

Rizal had a romantic interlude with Gertrude Beckett, a buxom English girl who
fell in love with Rizal. Rizal, being a man of normal emotions, found exhilarating joy in
Gertrudes company. Their friendship drifted towards romance. As their flirtation was
fast approaching to the point of no return, Rizal suddenly realized that he could not
marry Gertrude for he had a mission to fulfill in life. With iron will, he suppressed the
passionate yearning of his heart, and decided to go away so that Gertrude may forget
him. On March 19, 1889, Rizal bade goodbye to Beckett family and left London to Paris.

Worlds fair held in Paris, France. 100th Anniversary of the storming of the
Bastille, an event traditionally considered as the symbol for the beginning of the French
Revolution. It attracted thousands of tourists so that all hotel accommodations were
taken. It was extremely difficult for a visitor to find living quarters in Paris. Rizal was
very disgusted because the French landlords, take advantage of raising the rents of
their rooms. Valentin Ventura Rizals friend where he lived for a short time in No. 45
Rue Maubeugue.

Why did Jose P. Rizal called as a historian?

Rizals research studies in the British Museum (London) and in the Bibliotheque
Nationale (Paris) enriched his historical knowledge. His splendid annotations to
Morgas book showed his familiarity with the basic principles of historiography. As he
once told Isabelo de los Reyes: A historian ought to be rigorously imparted I never
assert anything on my own authority. I cite texts and when I do, I have them before me.

His knowledge of foreign languages enabled Rizal to read historical documents

and books in the languages in which they were originally written. For instance, he read;

Pigafettas, First Voyage Around the World in Italian.

The historical works of Marsden, Raffles, Lord Stanley, and Wallace in
The writings of blumentritt, Jagor, and Virchrow in German.
The books of M. Jaquet, J. Mallat, and A. Marche in French.
The works of T.H. Pardo de Tavera, Pedro A. Paterno, Miguel Morayta,
and Pi y Margall in Spanish.

By his extensive reading of archival sources and books in foreign countries, he

acquired wide knowledge not only of Philippines history, but also the history of
European colonization in Asia.
Aside from his excellence annotations in Morgas, Rizal wrote other works which
qualify him to be real historian. Among them were:

The two historical commentaries written In London Ma-yi (December 6,

1888) and Tawalisi of Ibn Batuta (January 7, 1889).
Filipinas dentro de Cien Anos (The Philippines within a Century),
published in La Solidaridad in four issues on September 30, 1889,
October 31, 1889, December 15, 1889 and February 15, 1890.
Sobre la Indolencia de Los Filipinos (The Indolence of the Filipinos),
published in La Solidaridad in five successive issues July 15, 1890, July
31, 1890, August 1, 1890, August 31, 1890, and September 1, 1890.
La Politica Colonial on Filipinas (Colonial Policy in the Philippines)
Manila en el mes de Diciembre, 1872 (Manila in the Month of
Historia de la Familia Rizal de Calamba (History of the Rizal family of
Los Pueblos del Archipelago Indico (The Peoples of the Indian


Rizal went to Paris after his stay in London. Despite the social parties and the
glittering lights of the city, he continued his fruitful artistic, literary, and patriotic labours.
He lived in a little room, together with two other Filipinos- Capitan Justo Trinidad, former
gobernadorcillo of Santa Ana, Manila and a refugee from Spanish tyranny, and Jose
Albert, a young student from Manila.

In Paris, Rizal continued to be busy in his pursuits. He checked up his historial

annotations on Morga's book. He wrote letters to his family in Calamba giving an
interesting account of his life in Paris. Like any ordinary Filipino tourist in a foreign land,
Rizal was fascinated by the Universal Expostion of Paris which opened on May 6, 1889.
Rizal and his friends attended the opening ceremonies and saw the cutting of the ribbon
by Pres. Sadi Cannot of the Third French Republic.

On May 19, 1889, Rizal organized his paisanos (compatriots) into a society
called Kidlat Club. Among its members were, Antonio and Juan Luna,Gregorio Aguilera,
Fernando Canon, Lauro Dimayuga, Julie Llorente, Guillermo Puatu and Baldomero

Kidlat Club was founded by Rizal to bring together the young Filipinos in the
French capital so that they could enjoy their sojourn in the city during the duration of the
Universal Exposition. Rizal and the members of the Kidlat Club were amazed to see the
Buffalo Bull show which featured the American Indians.

The red-skinned Indians were proud riding their sturdy ponies, elegantly dressed
in their native attire and wearing their war feathers and paints. Rizal was enchanted by
the dignified and proud bearing of the American Indians. They are ashamed of their
name. Let us be like them he said. Proud of the name Indio and make our Spanish
enemies revise their conception of the term. Then he said, they shall be Indios Bravos.
Thus was born a new society of Filipino patriots in Paris. It replaced the ephemeral
Kidlat Club.

Another society founded by Rizal in Paris during the Universal Exposition of 1889
was the mysterious Sociedad R.D.L.M. Society. The letters R.D.L.M. are believed to be
the initials of the socity 's secret name Redencion de los Malayos (Redemption of the
Malays). Only a few of Rizal's trusted friends became members of the RDLM, namely,
Gregorio del Pilar, Mariano Ponce, Baldomero Roxas, and Father Jose Maria Changco
(Filipino priest). The aim of the secret society was the propagation of all useful
knowledge - scientific, artistic, literary in the Philippines. And another aim was the
redemption of the Malay race.

Rizal's outstanding achievement in Paris was the publication in 1890 of his

annotated edition of Morga's Sucesos. The prologue was written by Professor
Blumentritt, who censured Rizal's errors namely: 1) Rizal commits the error of many
historians in appraising the events of the past in the light of present standards and 2)
Rizal 's attacks on the church were unfair and unjustified because the abuses of the
friars should not be construed to mean that Catholicism is bad. Rizal's annotated and
published Morga's Sucesos was the best of the many histories of the Philippines written
by early Spanish writers, being accurate in the narration of events, unbiased in
judgement, and unmarred by childish fantasies.

Rizal dedicated his new edition of Morga to the Filipino people so that they would
know of their glorious past.

In the fall of 1889 Rizal wrote another satirical work entitled Por Telefono as a
reply to another slanderer, Fr. Salvador Font, who mastermind the banning of his Noli.
Por Telofono was published in booklet form in Barcelona. This satirical pamphlet under
the authorship of "Dimas Alang" (one of Rizal's pen-names) is a witty satire which
ridicules Father Font. It describes in comical vein a telephone conversation between
Father Font who was in Madrid and the father provincial of the San Agustin Convent in

In December 25, 1889, Rizal and Jose Albert scraped enough money to
celebrate Christmas. Shortly after New Year, Rizal made a brief visit to London to check
up his annotated edition of Morga Sucesos with the original copy in the British Musem
and to see Gertrude Beckett for the last time.

By the middle of January 1890, he was back in Paris. He complained of a terrible

headache but was not stricken with flu.


Pitiful social conditions existed in the Philippines, was because of this social
malady that social evils like inferiority complex, cowardice, timidity and false pride
pervaded nationally and contributed to the decay of social life. This stimulated and
shaped Rizals life philosophy to be to contain if not eliminate these social ills. For Rizal,
the mission of education is to elevate the country to the highest seat of glory and to
develop the peoples mentality. Since education is the foundation of society and a
prerequisite for social progress, Rizal claimed that only through education could the
country be saved from domination. Proper motivation in order to bolster the great social
forces that make education a success, to create in the youth an innate desire to
cultivate his intelligence and give him life eternal. Being a critical observer, a profound
thinker and a zealous reformer, Rizal did not agree with the prevailing Christian
propagation of the Faith by fire and sword. This is shown in his Annotation of Morgas
Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas. Rizal did not believe in the Catholic dogma that salvation
was only for Catholics and that outside Christianity, salvation was not possible even if
Catholics composed only a small minority of the worlds religious groups. Nor did he
believe in the Catholic observation of fasting as a sacrifice, nor in the sale of such
religious items as the cross, medals, rosaries and the like in order to propagate the
Faith and raise church funds. He also lambasted the superstitious beliefs propagated by
the priests in the church and in the schools. The fact that the Philippines was under
Spanish domination during Rizals time led him to subordinate his philosophy to moral
problems. This trend was much more needed at that time because the Spaniards and
the Filipinos had different and sometimes conflicting morals. The moral status of the
Philippines during this period was one with a lack of freedom, one with predominance of
foreign masters, one with an imposition of foreign religious worship, devotion, homage
and racial habits. This led to moral confusion among the people, what with justice being
stifled, limited or curtailed and the people not enjoying any individual rights. That body
of knowledge relating to society including the wisdom which man's experience in society
has taught him the most part human behavior and capacities like his will to live; his
desire to possess happiness; the change of his mentality; the role of virtuous women in
the guidance of great men; the need for elevating and inspiring mission; the duties and
dictates of mans conscience; mans need of practicing gratitude; the necessity for
consulting reliable people; his need for experience; his ability to deny; the importance of
deliberation; the voluntary offer of mans abilities and possibilities; the ability to think,
aspire and strive to rise; and the proper use of heart, brain and spirit-all of these
combining to enhance the intricacies, beauty and values of human nature. All of the
above served as guide in his continuous effort to make over his beloved Philippines.