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Liberalizing Hereditary Influences

The hope of the Binan landlords that by changing from Filipino to
Chinese tenantry they could avoid further litigation seems to have
been disappointed. A family tradition of Francisco Mercado tells of
a tedious and costly lawsuit with the Order. Its details and merits
are no longer remembered, and they are not important.

History has recorded enough agrarian trouble, in all ages and in all
countries, to prove the economic mistake of large holdings of land by
those who do not cultivate it. Human nature is alike the world over,
it does not change with the centuries, and just as the Filipinos
had done, the Chinese at last obiected to paying increased rent for
improvements which they made themselves.

A Spanish iudge required the landlords to produce their deeds, and,
after measuring the land, he decided that they were then taking rent
for considerably more than they had originally bought or had been
given. But the tenants lost on the appeal, and, as they thought it
was because they were weak and their opponents powerful, a grievance
grew up which was still remembered in Rizal's day and was well known
and understood by him.

Another cause of discontent, which was a liberalizing influence,
was making itself felt in the Philippines about the time of Domingo's
death. A number of Spaniards had been claiming for their own countrymen
such safeguards of personal liberty as were enjoyed by Englishmen,
for no other government in Europe then paid any attention to the rights
of the individual. Learned men had devoted much study to the laws and
rights of nations, but these Spanish Liberals insisted that it was the
guarantees given to the citizens, and not the political independence
of the State, that made a country really free. Unfortunately, just
as their proposals began to gain followers, Spain became involved in
war with England, because the Spanish King, then as now a Bourbon
and so related to a number of other reactionary rulers, had united
in the family compact by which the royal relatives were to stamp out
liberal ideas in their own dominions, and as allies to crush England,
the source of the dissatisfaction which threatened their thrones.

Many progressive Spaniards had become Freemasons, when that ancient
society, after its revival in England, had been reintroduced into
Spain. Now they found themselves suspected of sympathy with England
and therefore of treason to Spain. While this could not be proved,
it led to enforcing a papal bull against them, by which Pope Clement
XII placed their institution under the ban of excommunication.

At first it was intended to execute all the Spanish Freemasons, but
the Queen's favorite violinist secretly sympathized with them. He used
his influence with Her Majesty so well that through her intercession
the King commuted the sentences from death to banishment as minor
officials in the possessions overseas.

Thus Cuba, Mexico, South and Central America, and the Philippines were
provided with the ablest Spanish advocates of modern ideas. In no other
way could liberalism have been spread so widely or more effectively.

Besides these officeholders there had been from the earliest days
noblemen, temporarily out of favor at Court, in banishment in the
colonies. Cavite had some of these exiles, who were called "caja
abierta," or carte blanche, because their generous allowances, which
could be drawn whenever there were government funds, seemed without
limit to the Filipinos. The Spanish residents of the Philippines were
naturally glad to entertain, supply money to, and otherwise serve
these men of noble birth, who might at any time be restored to favor
and again be influential, and this gave them additional prestige in the
eyes of the Filipinos. One of these exiles, whose descendants yet live
in these Islands, passed from prisoner in Cavite to viceroy in Mexico.

Francisco Mercado lived near enough to hear of the "cajas abiertas"
(exiles) and their ways, if he did not actually meet some of them
and personally experience the charm of their courtesy. They were as
different from the ruder class of Spaniards who then were coming to
the Islands as the few banished officials were unlike the general run
of officeholders. The contrast naturally suggested that the majority of
the Spaniards in the Philippines, both in official and in private life,
were not creditable representatives of their country. This charge,
insisted on with greater vehemence as subsequent events furnished
further reasons for doing so, embittered the controversies of the
last century of Spanish rule. The very persons who realized that the
accusation was true of themselves, were those who most resented it,
and the opinion of them which they knew the Filipinos held but dared
not voice, rankled in their breasts. They welcomed every disparagement
of the Philippines and its people, and thus made profitable a
senseless and abusive campaign which was carried on by unscrupulous,
irresponsible writers of such defective education that vilification
was their sole argument. Their charges were easily disproved, but they
had enough cunning to invent new charges continually, and prejudice
gave ready credence to them.

Finally an unreasoning fury broke out and in blind passion innocent
persons were struck down; the taste for blood once aroused,
irresponsible writers like that Retana who has now become Rizal's
biographer, whetted the savage appetite for fresh victims. The
last fifty years of Spanish rule in the Philippines was a small
saturnalia of revenge with hardly a lucid interval for the governing
power to reflect or an opportunity for the reasonable element to
intervene. Somewhat similarly the Bourbons in France had hoped to
postpone the day of reckoning for their mistakes by misdeeds done
in fear to terrorize those who sought reforms. The aristocracy of
France paid back tenfold each drop of innocent blood that was shed,
but while the unreasoning world recalls the French Revolution with
horror, the student of history thinks more of the evils which made
it a natural result. Mirabeau in vain sought to restrain his aroused
countrymen, just as he had vainly pleaded with the aristocrats to end
their excesses. Rizal, who held Mirabeau for his hero among the men of
the French Revolution, knew the historical lesson and sought to sound
a warning, but he was unheeded by the Spaniards and misunderstood by
many of his countrymen.

At about the time of the arrival of the Spanish political exiles
we find in Manila a proof of the normal mildness of Spain in
the Philippines. The Inquisition, of dread name elsewhere, in the
Philippines affected only Europeans, had before it two English-speaking
persons, an Irish doctor and a county merchant accused of being
Freemasons. The kind-hearted Friar inquisitor dismissed the culprits
with warnings, and excepting some Spanish political matters in which
it took part, this was the nearest that the institution ever came to
exercising its functions here.

The sufferings of the Indians in the Spanish-American gold mines, too,
had no Philippine counterpart, for at the instance of the friars the
Church early forbade the enslaving of the people. Neither friars nor
government have any records in the Philippines which warrant belief
that they were responsible for the severe punishments of the period
from '72 to '98. Both were connected with opposition to reforms
which appeared likely to jeopardize their property or to threaten
their prerogatives, and in this they were only human, but here their
selfish interests and activities seem to cease.

For religious reasons the friar orders combatted modern ideas which
they feared might include atheistical teachings such as had made
trouble in France, and the Government was against the introduction of
latter-day thought of democratic tendency, but in both instances the
opposition may well have been believed to be for the best interest
of the Philippine people. However mistaken, their action can only be
deplored not censured. The black side of this matter was the rousing
of popular passion, and it was done by sheets subsidized to argue;
their editors, however, resorted to abuse in order to conceal the fact
that they had not the ability to perform the services for which they
were hired. While some individual members of both the religious orders
and of the Government were influenced by these inflaming attacks,
the interests concerned, as organizations, seem to have had a policy
of self-defense, and not of revenge.

The theory here advanced must wait for the judgment of the reader
till the later events have been submitted. However, Rizal himself
may be called in to prove that the record and policy is what has been
asserted, for otherwise he would hardly have disregarded, as he did,
the writings of Motley and Prescott, historians whom he could have
quoted with great advantage to support the attacks he would surely
have not failed to make had they seemed to him warranted, for he
never was wanting in knowledge, resourcefulness or courage where his
country was concerned.

No definite information is available as to what part Francisco
Mercado took during the disturbed two years when the English held
Manila and Judge Anda carried on a guerilla warfare. The Dominicans
were active in enlisting their tenants to fight against the invaders,
and probably he did his share toward the Spanish defense either with
contributions or personal service. The attitude of the region in
which he lived strengthens this surmise, for only after long-continued
wrongs and repeatedly broken promises of redress did Filipino loyalty
fail. This was a century too early for the country around Manila,
which had been better protected and less abused than the provinces
to the north where the Ilokanos revolted.

Binan, however, was within the sphere of English influence, for
Anda's campaign was not quite so formidable as the inscription on his
monument in Manila represents it to be, and he was far indeed from
being the great conqueror that the tablet on the Santa Cruz Church
describes him. Because of its nearness to Manila and Cavite and
its rich gardens, British soldiers and sailors often visited Binan,
but as the inhabitants never found occasion to abandon their homes,
they evidently suffered no serious inconvenience.

Commerce, a powerful factor, destroying the hermit character of
the Islands, gained by the short experience of freer trade under
England's rule, since the Filipinos obtained a taste for articles
before unused, which led them to be discontented and insistent, till
the Manila market finally came to be better supplied. The contrast
of the British judicial system with the Spanish tribunals was also a
revelation, for the foulest blot upon the colonial administration of
Spain was her iniquitous courts of justice, and this was especially
true of the Philippines.

Anda's triumphal entry into the capital was celebrated with a wholesale
hanging of Chinese, which must have made Francisco Mercado glad that
he was now so identified with the country as to escape the prejudice
against his race.

A few years later came the expulsion of the Jesuit fathers and the
confiscation of their property. It certainly weakened the government;
personal acquaintance counted largely with the Filipinos; whole
parishes knew Spain and the Church only through their parish priest,
and the parish priest was usually a Jesuit whose courtesy equalled that
of the most aristocratic officeholder or of any exiled "caja abierta."

Francisco Mercado did not live in a Jesuit parish but in the
neighboring hacienda of St. John the Baptist at Kalamba, where there
was a great dam and an extensive irrigation system which caused the
land to rival in fertility the rich soil of Binan. Everybody in his
neighborhood knew that the estate had been purchased with money left
in Mexico by pious Spaniards who wanted to see Christianity spread in
the Philippines, and it seemed to them sacrilege that the government
should take such property for its own secular uses.

The priests in Binan were Filipinos and were usually leaders among
the secular clergy, for the parish was desirable beyond most in the
archdiocese because of its nearness to Manila, its excellent climate,
its well-to-do parishioners and the great variety of its useful and
ornamental plants and trees. Many of the fruits and vegetables of
Binan were little known elsewhere, for they were of American origin,
brought by Dominicans on the voyages from Spain by way of Mexico. They
were introduced first into the great gardens at the hacienda house,
which was a comfortable and spacious building adjoining the church,
and the favorite resting place for members of the Order in Manila.

The attendance of the friars on Sundays and fete days gave to the
religious services on these occasions a dignity usually belonging to
city churches. Sometimes, too, some of the missionaries from China
and other Dominican notables would be seen in Binan. So the people
not only had more of the luxuries and the pomp of life than most
Filipinos, but they had a broader outlook upon it. Their opinion
of Spain was formed from acquaintance with many Spaniards and from
comparing them with people of other lands who often came to Manila and
investigated the region close to it, especially the show spots such
as Binan. Then they were on the road to the fashionable baths at Los
Banos, where the higher officials often resorted. Such opportunities
gave a sort of education, and Binan people were in this way more
cultured than the dwellers in remote places, whose only knowledge of
their sovereign state was derived from a single Spaniard, the friar
curate of their parish.

Monastic training consists in withdrawing from the world and living
isolated under strict rule, and this would scarcely seem to be
the best preparation for such responsibility as was placed upon the
Friars. Troubles were bound to come, and the people of Binan, knowing
the ways of the world, would soon be likely to complain and demand the
changes which would avoid them; the residents of less worldly wise
communities would wait and suffer till too late, and then in blind
wrath would wreak bloody vengeance upon guilty and innocent alike.

Kalamba, a near neighbor of Binan, had other reasons for being known
besides its confiscation by the government. It was the scene of an
early and especially cruel massacre of Chinese, and about Francisco's
time considerable talk had been occasioned because an archbishop had
established an uniform scale of charges for the various rites of the
Church. While these charges were often complained of, it was the poorer
people (some of whom were in receipt of charity) who suffered. The
rich were seeking more expensive ceremonies in order to outshine the
other well-to-do people of their neighborhood. The real grievance was,
however, not the cost, but the fact that political discriminations
were made so that those who were out of favor with the government
were likewise deprived of church privileges. The reform of Archbishop
Santo y Rufino has importance only because it gave the people of the
provinces what Manila had long possessed--a knowledge of the rivalry
between the secular and the regular clergy.

The people had learned in Governor Bustamente's time that Church and
State did not always agree, and now they saw dissensions within the
Church. The Spanish Conquest and the possession of the Philippines
had been made easy by the doctrine of the indivisibility of Church
and State, by the teaching that the two were one and inseparable,
but events were continually demonstrating the falsity of this early
teaching. Hence the foundation of the sovereignty of Spain was
slowly weakening, and nowhere more surely than in the region near
Manila which numbered Jose Rizal's keen-witted and observing great
grandfather among its leading men.

Francisco Mercado was a bachelor during the times of these exciting
events and therefore more free to visit Manila and Cavite, and he was
possibly the more likely to be interested in political matters. He
married on May 26, 1771, rather later in life than was customary in
Binan, though he was by no means as old as his father, Domingo, was
when he married. His bride, Bernarda Monicha, was a Chinese mestiza
of the neighboring hacienda of San Pedro Tunasan, who had been early
orphaned and from childhood had lived in Binan. As the coadjutor priest
of the parish bore the same name, one uncommon in the Binan records
of that period, it is possible that he was a relative. The frequent
occurrence of the name of Monicha among the last names of girls of
that vicinity later on must be ascribed to Bernarda's popularity
as godmother.

Mr. and Mrs. Francisco Mercado had two children, both boys, Juan and
Clemente. During their youth the people of the Philippines were greatly
interested in the struggles going on between England, the old enemy
of Spain, and the rebellious English-American colonies. So bitter was
the Spanish hatred of the nation which had humiliated her repeatedly
on both land and sea, that the authorities forgot their customary
caution and encouraged the circulation of any story that told in favor
of the American colonies. Little did they realize the impression that
the statement of grievances--so trivial compared with the injustices
that were being inflicted upon the Spanish colonials--was making upon
their subjects overseas, who until then had been carefully guarded from
all modern ideas of government. American successes were hailed with
enthusiasm in the most remote towns, and from this time may be dated
a perceptible increase in Philippine discontent. Till then outbreaks
and uprisings had been more for revenge than with any well-considered
aim, but henceforth complaints became definite, demands were made
that to an increasing number of people appeared to be reasonable,
and those demands were denied or ignored, or promises were made in
answer to them which were never fulfilled.

Francisco Mercado was well to do, if we may judge from the number of
carabaos he presented for registration, for his was among the largest
herds in the book of brands that has chanced to be preserved with the
Binan church records. In 1783 he was alcalde, or chief officer of the
town, and he lived till 1801. His name appears so often as godfather
in the registers of baptisms and weddings that he must have been a
good-natured, liberal and popular man.

Mrs. Francisco Mercado survived her husband by a number of years,
and helped to nurse through his baby ailments a grandson also named
Francisco, the father of Doctor Rizal.

Francisco Mercado's eldest son, Juan, built a fine house in the center
of Binan, where its pretentious stone foundations yet stand to attest
how the home deserved the pride which the family took in it.

At twenty-two Juan married a girl of Tubigan, who was two years his
elder, Cirila Alejandra, daughter of Domingo Lam-co's Chinese godson,
Siong-co. Cirila's father's silken garments were preserved by the
family until within the memory of persons now living, and it is likely
that Jose Rizal, Siong-co's great-grandson, while in school at Binan,
saw these tangible proofs of the social standing in China of this
one of his ancestors.

Juan Mercado was three times the chief officer of Binan--in 1808, 1813
and 1823. His sympathies are evident from the fact that he gave the
second name, Fernando, to the son born when the French were trying
to get the Filipinos to declare for King Joseph, whom his brother
Napoleon had named sovereign of Spain. During the little while that the
Philippines profited by the first constitution of Spain, Mercado was
one of the two alcaldes. King Ferdinand VII then was relying on English
aid, and to please his allies as well as to secure the loyalty of his
subjects, Ferdinand pretended to be a very liberal monarch, swearing
to uphold the constitution which the representatives of the people
had framed at Cadiz in 1812. Under this constitution the Filipinos
were to be represented in the Spanish Cortes, and the grandfather of
Rizal was one of the electors to choose the Representative.

During the next twenty-five years the history of the connection of the
Philippines with Spain is mainly a record of the breaking and renewing
of the King's oaths to the constitution, and of the Philippines
electing delegates who would find the Cortes dissolved by the time
they could get to Madrid, until in the final constitution that did
last Philippine representation was left out altogether. Had things
been different the sad story of this book might never have been told,
for though the misgovernment of the Philippines was originally owing
to the disregard for the Laws of the Indies and to giving unrestrained
power to officials, the effects of these mistakes were not apparent
until well into the nineteenth century.

Another influence which educated the Filipino people was at work during
this period. They had heard the American Revolution extolled and its
course approved, because the Spaniards disliked England. Then came
the French Revolution, which appalled the civilized world. A people,
ignorant and oppressed, washed out in blood the wrongs which they had
suffered, but their liberty degenerated into license, their ideals
proved impracticable, and the anarchy of their radical republic was
succeeded by the military despotism of Napoleon.

A book written in Tagalog by a friar pointed out the differences
between true liberty and false. It was the story of an old municipal
captain who had traveled and returned to enlighten his friends at
home. The story was well told, and the catechism form in which, by
his friends' questions and the answers to them, the author's opinions
were presented, was familiar to Filipinos, so that there were many
intelligent readers, but its results were quite different from what
its pious and patriotic author had intended they should be.

The book told of the broadening influences of travel and of education;
it suggested that liberty was possible only for the intelligent, but
that schools, newspapers, libraries and the means of travel which the
American colonists were enjoying were not provided for the Filipinos.

They were further told that the Spanish colonies in America were
repeating the unhappy experiences of the French republic, while
the "English North Americans," whose ships during the American
Revolution had found the Pacific a safe refuge from England,
had developed considerable commerce with the Philippines. A kindly
feeling toward the Americans had been aroused by the praise given to
Filipino mechanics who had been trained by an American naval officer
to repair his ship when the Spaniards at the government dockyards
proved incapable of doing the work. Even the first American Consul,
whose monument yet remains in the Plaza Cervantes, Manila, though,
because of his faith, he could not be buried in the consecrated ground
of the Catholic cemeteries, received what would appear to be a higher
honor, a grave in the principal business plaza of the city.

The inferences were irresistible: the way of the French Revolution
was repugnant alike to God and government, that of the American
was approved by both. Filipinos of reflective turn of mind began to
study America; some even had gone there; for, from a little Filipino
settlement, St. Malo near New Orleans, sailors enlisted to fight
in the second war of the United States against England; one of them
was wounded and his name was long borne on the pension roll of the
United States.

The danger of the dense ignorance in which their rulers kept the
Filipinos showed itself in 1819, when a French ship from India having
introduced Asiatic cholera into the Islands, the lowest classes of
Manila ascribed it to the collections of insects and reptiles which
a French naturalist, who was a passenger upon the ship, had brought
ashore. However the story started, the collection and the dwelling
of the naturalist fared badly, and afterwards the mob, excited by
its success, made war upon all foreigners. At length the excitement
subsided, but too much damage to foreign lives and property had been
done to be ignored, and the matter had an ugly look, especially as
no Spaniard had suffered by this outbreak. The Insular government
roused itself to punish some of the minor misdoers and made many
explanations and apologies, but the aggrieved nations insisted, and
obtained as compensation a greater security for foreigners and the
removal of many of the restraints upon commerce and travel. Thus the
riot proved a substantial step in Philippine progress.

Following closely the excitement over the massacre of the foreigners
in Manila came the news that Spain had sold Florida to the United
States. The circumstances of the sale were hardly creditable to the
vendor, for it was under compulsion. Her lax government had permitted
its territory to become the refuge of criminals and lawless savages
who terrorized the border until in self-defense American soldiers under
General Jackson had to do the work that Spain could not do. Then with
order restored and the country held by American troops, an offer to
purchase was made to Spain who found the liberal purchase money a
very welcome addition to her bankrupt treasury.

Immediately after this the Monroe Doctrine attracted widespread
attention in the Philippines. Its story is part of Spanish history. A
group of reactionary sovereigns of Europe, including King Ferdinand,
had united to crush out progressive ideas in their kingdoms and
to remove the dangerous examples of liberal states from their
neighborhoods. One of the effects of this unholy alliance was to
nullify all the reforms which Spain had introduced to secure English
assistance in her time of need, and the people of England were greatly
incensed. Great Britain had borne the brunt of the war against Napoleon
because her liberties were jeopardized, but naturally her people could
not be expected to undertake further warfare merely for the sake of
people of another land, however they might sympathize with them.

George Canning, the English statesman to whom belonged much of the
credit for the Constitution of Cadiz, thought out a way to punish
the Spanish king for his perfidy. King Ferdinand was planning, with
the Island of Cuba as a base, to begin a campaign that should return
his rebellious American colonies to their allegiance, for they had
taken advantage of disturbances in the Peninsula to declare their
independence. England proposed to the United States that they, the two
Anglo-Saxon nations whose ideas of liberty had unsettled Europe and
whom the alliance would have attacked had it dared, should unite in
a protectorate over the New World. England was to guard the sea and
the United States were to furnish the soldiers for any land fighting
which might come on their side of the Atlantic.

World politics had led the enemies of England to help her revolting
colonies, Napoleon's jealousy of Britain had endowed the new nation
with the vast Louisiana Territory, and European complications saved the
United States from the natural consequences of their disastrous war of
1812, which taught them that union was as necessary to preserve their
independence as it had been to win it. Canning's project in principle
appealed to the North Americans, but the study of it soon showed that
Great Britain was selfish in her suggestion. After a generation of
fighting, England found herself drained of soldiers and therefore she
diplomatically invited the cooeperation of her former colonies; but,
regardless of any formal arrangement, her navy could be relied on to
prevent those who had played her false from transporting large armies
across the ocean into the neighborhood of her otherwise defenseless
colonies. That was self-preservation.

President Monroe's advisers were willing that their country should run
some risk on its own account, but they had the traditional American
aversion to entangling alliances. So the Cabinet counseled that the
young nation alone should make itself the protector of the South
American republics, and drafted the declaration warning the world
that aggression against any of the New World democracies would be
resented as unfriendliness to the United States.

It was the firm attitude of President Monroe that compelled Spain to
forego the attempt to reconquer her former colonies, and therefore
Mexico and Central and South America owe their existence as republics
quite as much to the elder commonwealth as does Cuba.

The American attitude revealed in the Monroe Doctrine was especially
obnoxious to the Spaniards in the Philippines but their intemperate
denunciations of the policy of America for the Americans served only
to spread a knowledge of that doctrine among the people of that little
territory which remained to them to misgovern. Secretly there began
to be, among the stouter-hearted Filipinos, some who cherished a
corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, the Philippines for the Filipinos.

Thoughts of separation from Spain by means of rebellion, by sale
and by the assistance of other nations, had been thus put into the
heads of the people. These were all changes coming from outside,
but it next to be demonstrated that Spain herself did not hold her
noncontiguous territories as sacred as she did her home dominions.

The sale of Florida suggested that Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippines
were also available assets, and an offer to sell them was made to
the King of France; but this sovereign overreached himself, for,
thinking to drive a better bargain, he claimed that the low prices
were too high. Thereupon the Spanish Ambassador, who was not in accord
with his unpatriotic instructions, at once withdrew the offer and
the negotiations terminated. But the Spanish people learned of the
proposed sale and their indignation was great. The news spread to the
Spaniards in the Philippines. Through their comments the Filipinos
realized that the much-talked-of sacred integrity of the Spanish
dominions was a meaningless phrase, and that the Philippines would
not always be Spanish if Spain could get her price.

Gobernadorcillo Mercado, "Captain Juan," as he was called, made a
creditable figure in his office, and there used to be in Binan a
painting of him with his official sword, cocked hat and embroidered
blouse. The municipal executive in his time did not always wear the
ridiculous combination of European and old Tagalog costumes, namely, a
high hat and a short jacket over the floating tails of a pleated shirt,
which later undignified the position. He has a notable record for his
generosity, the absence of oppression and for the official honesty
which distinguished his public service from that of many who held
his same office. He did, however, change the tribute lists so that
his family were no longer "Chinese mestizos," but were enrolled as
"Indians," the wholesale Spanish term for the natives of all Spain's
possessions overseas. This, in a way, was compensation (it lowered
his family's tribute) for his having to pay the taxes of all who
died in Binan or moved away during his term of office. The municipal
captain then was held accountable whether the people could pay or not,
no deductions ever being made from the lists. Most gobernadorcillos
found ways to reimburse themselves, but not Mercado. His family,
however, were of the fourth generation in the Philippines and he
evidently thought that they were entitled to be called Filipinos.

A leader in church work also, and several times "Hermano mayor" of
its charitable society, the Captain's name appears on a number of
lists that have come down from that time as a liberal contributor
to various public subscriptions. His wife was equally benevolent,
as the records show.

Mr. and Mrs. Mercado did not neglect their family, which was rather
numerous. Their children were Gavino, Potenciana (who never married),
Leoncio, Fausto, Barcelisa (who became the wife of Hermenegildo
Austria), Gabriel, Julian, Gregorio Fernando, Casimiro, Petrona
(who married Gregorio Neri), Tomasa (later Mrs. F. de Guzman), and
Cornelia, the belle of the family, who later lived in Batangas.

Young Francisco was only eight years old when his father died, but
his mother and sister Potenciana looked well after him. First he
attended a Binan Latin school, and later he seems to have studied
Latin and philosophy in the College of San Jose in Manila.

A sister, Petrona, for some years had been a dressgoods merchant in
nearby Kalamba, on an estate that had recently come under the same
ownership as Binan. There she later married, and shortly after was
widowed. Possibly upon their mother's death, Potenciana and Francisco
removed to Kalamba; though Petrona died not long after, her brother
and sister continued to make their home there.

Francisco, in spite of his youth, became a tenant of the estate as did
some others of his family, for their Binan holdings were not large
enough to give farms to all Captain Juan's many sons. The landlords
early recognized the agricultural skill of the Mercados by further
allotments, as they could bring more land under cultivation. Sometimes
Francisco was able to buy the holdings of others who proved less
successful in their management and became discouraged.

The pioneer farming, clearing the miasmatic forests especially, was
dangerous work, and there were few families that did not buy their
land with the lives of some of its members. In 1847 the Mercados
had funerals, of brothers and nephews of Francisco, and, chief
among them, of that elder sister who had devoted her life to him,
Potenciana. She had always prompted and inspired the young man, and
Francisco's success in life was largely due to her wise counsels and
her devoted encouragement of his industry and ambition. Her thrifty
management of the home, too, was sadly missed.

A year after his sister Potenciana's death, Francisco Mercado married
Teodora Alonzo, a native of Manila, who for several years had been
residing with her mother at Kalamba. The history of the family of
Mrs. Mercado is unfortunately not so easily traced as is that of her
husband, and what is known is of less simplicity and perhaps of more
interest since the mother's influence is greater than the father's,
and she was the mother of Jose Rizal.

Her father, Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo (born 1790, died 1854), is said
to have been "very Chinese" in appearance. He had a brother who was
a priest, and a sister, Isabel, who was quite wealthy; he himself
was also well to do. Their mother, Maria Florentina (born 1771, died
1817), was, on her mother's side, of the famous Florentina family of
Chinese mestizos originating in Baliwag, Bulacan, and her father was
Captain Mariano Alejandro of Binan.

Lorenzo Alberto was municipal captain of Binan in 1824, as had been his
father, Captain Cipriano Alonzo (died 18O5), in 1797. The grandfather,
Captain Gregorio Alonzo (died 1794), was a native of Quiotan barrio,
and twice, in 1763 and again in 1768, at the head of the mestizos'
organization of the Santa Cruz district in Manila.

Captain Lorenzo was educated for a surveyor, and his engineering books,
some in English and others in French, were preserved in Binan till,
upon the death of his son, the family belongings were scattered. He
was wealthy, and had invested a considerable sum of money with the
American Manila shipping firms of Peele, Hubbell & Co., and Russell,
Sturgis & Co.

The family story is that he became acquainted with Brigida de Quintos,
Mrs. Rizal's mother, while he was a student in Manila, and that she,
being unusually well educated for a girl of those days, helped him
with his mathematics. Their acquaintance apparently arose through
relationship, both being connected with the Reyes family. They had five
children: Narcisa (who married Santiago Muger), Teodora (Mrs. Francisco
Rizal Mercado), Gregorio, Manuel and Jose. All were born in Manila,
but lived in Kalamba, and they used the name Alonzo till that general
change of names in 1850 when, with their mother, they adopted the
name Realonda. This latter name has been said to be an allusion to
royal blood in the family, but other indications suggest that it
might have been a careless mistake made in writing by Rosa Realonda,
whose name sometimes appears written as Redonda. There is a family
Redondo (Redonda in its feminine form) Alonzo of Ilokano origin, the
same stock as their traditions give for Mrs. Rizal's father, some
of whose members were to be found in the neighborhood of Binan and
Pasay. One member of this family was akin in spirit to Jose Rizal,
for he was fined twenty-five thousand pesos by the Supreme Court of
the Philippine Islands for "contempt of religion." It appears that he
put some original comparisons into a petition which sought to obtain
justice from an inferior tribunal where, by the omission of the word
"not" in copying, the clerk had reversed the court's decision but
the judge refused to change the record.

Brigida de Quintos's death record, in Kalamba (1856), speaks of her
as the daughter of Manuel de Quintos and Regina Ochoa.

The most obscure part of Rizal's family tree is the Ochoa branch, the
family of the maternal grandmother, for all the archives,--church,
land and court,--disappeared during the late disturbed conditions
of which Cavite was the center. So one can only repeat what has been
told by elderly people who have been found reliable in other accounts
where the clews they gave could be compared with existing records.

The first of the family is said to have been Policarpio Ochoa, an
employe of the Spanish customs house. Estanislao Manuel Ochoa was his
son, with the blood of old Castile mingling with Chinese and Tagalog
in his veins. He was part owner of the Hacienda of San Francisco de
Malabon. One story says that somewhere in this family was a Mariquita
Ochoa, of such beauty that she was known in Cavite, where was her home,
as the Sampaguita (jasmine) of the Parian, or Chinese, quarter.

There was a Spanish nobleman also in Cavite in her time who had
been deported for political reasons--probably for holding liberal
opinions and for being thought to be favorable to English ideas. It
is said that this particular "caja abierta" was a Marquis de Canete,
and if so there is ground for the claim that he was of royal blood;
at least some of his far-off ancestors had been related to a former
ruling family of Spain.

Mariquita's mother knew the exile, since, according to the custom
in Filipino families, she looked after the business interests of her
husband. Curious to see the belle of whom he had heard so much, the
Marquis made an excuse of doing business with the mother, and went to
her home on an occasion when he knew that the mother was away. No one
else was there to answer his knock and Mariquita, busied in making
candy, could not in her confusion find a coconut shell to dip water
for washing her hands from the large jar, and not to keep the visitor
waiting, she answered the door as she was. Not only did her appearance
realize the expectations of the Marquis, but the girl seemed equally
attractive for her self-possessed manners and lively mind. The nobleman
was charmed. On his way home he met a cart loaded with coconut dippers
and he bought the entire lot and sent it as his first present.

After this the exile invented numerous excuses to call, till
Mariquita's mother finally agreed to his union with her daughter. His
political disability made him out of favor with the State church,
the only place in which people could be married then, but Mariquita
became what in English would be called a common-law wife. One of their
children, Jose, had a tobacco factory and a slipper factory in Meisic,
Manila, and was the especial protector of his younger sister, Regina,
who became the wife of attorney Manuel de Quintos. A sister of Regina
was Diega de Castro, who with another sister, Luseria, sold "chorizos"
(sausages) or "tiratira" (taffy candy), the first at a store and
the second in their own home, but both in Cavite, according to the
variations of one narrative.

A different account varies the time and omits the noble ancestor by
saying that Regina was married unusually young to Manuel de Quintos to
escape the attentions of the Marquis. Another authority claims that
Regina was wedded to the lawyer in second marriage, being the widow
of Facundo de Layva, the captain of the ship Hernando Magallanes,
whose pilot, by the way, was Andrew Stewart, an Englishman.

It is certain that Regina Ochoa was of Spanish, Chinese and Tagalog
ancestry, and it is recorded that she was the wife of Manuel de
Quintos. Here we stop depending on memories, for in the restored
burial register of Kalamba church in the entry of the funeral of
Brigida de Quintos she is called "the daughter of Manuel de Quintos
and Regina Ochoa."

Manuel de Quintos was an attorney of Manila, graduated from Santo Tomas
University, whose family were Chinese mestizos of Pangasinan. The
lawyer's father, of the same name, had been municipal captain of
Lingayan, and an uncle was leader of the Chinese mestizos in a
protest they had made against the arbitrariness of their provincial
governor. This petition for redress of grievances is preserved in
the Supreme Court archives with "Joaquin de Quintos" well and boldly
written at the head of the complainants' names, evidence of a culture
and a courage that were equally uncommon in those days. Complaints
under Spanish rule, no matter how well founded, meant trouble for the
complainants; we must not forget that it was a vastly different thing
from signing petitions or adhering to resolutions nowadays. Then the
signers risked certainly great annoyance, sometimes imprisonment,
and not infrequently death.

The home of Quintos had been in San Pedro Macati at the time of Captain
Novales's uprising, the so-called "American revolt" in protest against
the Peninsulars sent out to supersede the Mexican officers who had
remained loyal to Spain when the colony of their birth separated
itself from the mother country. As little San Pedro Macati is charged
with having originated the conspiracy, it is unlikely that it was
concealed from the liberal lawyer, for attorneys were scarcer and
held in higher esteem in those days.

The conservative element then, as later, did not often let drop
any opportunity of purging the community of those who thought for
themselves, by condemning them for crime unheard and undefended,
whether they had been guilty of it or not.

All the branches of Mrs. Rizal's family were much richer than the
relatives of her husband; there were numerous lawyers and priests
among them--the old-time proof of social standing--and they were
influential in the country.

There are several names of these related families that belong among
the descendants of Lakandola, as traced by Mr. Luther Parker in
his study of the Pampangan migration, and color is thereby given,
so far as Rizal is concerned, to a proud boast that an old Pampangan
lady of this descent makes for her family. She, who is exceedingly
well posted upon her ancestry, ends the tracing of her lineage from
Lakandola's time by asserting that the blood of that chief flowed
in the veins of every Filipino who had the courage to stand forward
as the champion of his people from the earliest days to the close of
the Spanish regime. Lakandola, of course, belonged to the Mohammedan
Sumatrans who emigrated to the Philippines only a few generations
before Magellan's discovery.

To recall relatives of Mrs. Rizal who were in the professions may
help to an understanding of the prominence of the family. Felix
Florentino, an uncle, was the first clerk of the Nueva Segovia
(Vigan) court. A cousin-german, Jose Florentino, was a Philippine
deputy in the Spanish Cortes, and a lawyer of note, as was also
his brother, Manuel. Another relative, less near, was Clerk Reyes,
of the Court of First Instance in Manila. The priest of Rosario,
Vicar of Batangas Province, Father Leyva, was a half-blood relation,
and another priestly relative was Mrs. Rizal's paternal uncle,
Father Alonzo. These were in the earlier days when professional
men were scarcer. Father Almeida, of Santa Cruz Church, Manila,
and Father Agustin Mendoz, his predecessor in the same church, and
one of the sufferers in the Cavite trouble of '72--a deporte--were
most distantly connected with the Rizal family. Another relative,
of the Reyes connection, was in the Internal Revenue Service and had
charge of Kalamba during the latter part of the eighteenth century.

Mrs. Rizal was baptized in Santa Cruz Church, Manila, November 18,
1827, as Teodora Morales Alonzo, her godmother being a relative by
marriage, Dona Maria Cristina. She was given an exceptionally good
fundamental education by her gifted mother, and completed her training
in Santa Rosa College, Manila, which was in the charge of Filipino
sisters. Especially did the religious influence of her schooling
manifest itself in her after life. Unfortunately there are no records
in the institution, because it is said all the members of the Order
who could read and write were needed for instruction and there was
no one competent who had time for clerical work.

Brigida de Quintos had removed to the property in Kalamba which Lorenzo
Alberto had transferred to her, and there as early as 1844 she is
first mentioned as Brigida de Quintos, then as Brigida de Alonzo,
and later as Brigida Realonda.

Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders


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Jose P. Rizal: The Women In His Life

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