LINEAGE LIFE AND LABORS
A Study of the Growth of Free Ideas in the Trans-Pacific American
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR ORIENTAL HISTORY
UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES
AUTHOR OF "THE STUDY OF JOSE RIZAL,"
"EL LINEAJE DEL DOCTOR RIZAL," ETC.
JAMES ALEXANDER ROBERTSON, L.H.D.
To the Philippine Youth
The subject of Doctor Rizal's first prize-winning poem was The
Philippine Youth, and its theme was "Growth." The study of the growth
of free ideas, as illustrated in this book of his lineage, life and
labors, may therefore fittingly be dedicated to the "fair hope of
Except in the case of some few men of great genius, those who are
accustomed to absolutism cannot comprehend democracy. Therefore our
nation is relying on its young men and young women; on the rising,
instructed generation, for the secure establishment of popular
self-government in the Philippines. This was Rizal's own idea, for
he said, through the old philosopher in "Noli me Tangere," that he
was not writing for his own generation but for a coming, instructed
generation that would understand his hidden meaning.
Your public school education gives you the democratic view-point,
which the genius of Rizal gave him; in the fifty-five volumes of
the Blair-Robertson translation of Philippine historical material
there is available today more about your country's past than the
entire contents of the British Museum afforded him; and you have the
guidance in the new paths that Rizal struck out, of the life of a
hero who, farsightedly or providentially, as you may later decide,
was the forerunner of the present regime.
But you will do as he would have done, neither accept anything because
it is written, nor reject it because it does not fall in with your
prejudices--study out the truth for yourselves.
In writing a biography, the author, if he be discriminating, selects,
with great care, the salient features of the life story of the one whom
he deems worthy of being portrayed as a person possessed of preeminent
qualities that make for a character and greatness. Indeed to write
biography at all, one should have that nice sense of proportion that
makes him instinctively seize upon only those points that do advance
his theme. Boswell has given the world an example of biography that
is often wearisome in the extreme, although he wrote about a man
who occupied in his time a commanding position. Because Johnson was
Johnson the world accepts Boswell, and loves to talk of the minuteness
of Boswell's portrayal, yet how many read him, or if they do read him,
have the patience to read him to the end?
In writing the life of the greatest of the Filipinos, Mr. Craig has
displayed judgment. Saturated as he is with endless details of Rizal's
life, he has had the good taste to select those incidents or those
phases of Rizal's life that exhibit his greatness of soul and that
show the factors that were the most potent in shaping his character
and in controlling his purposes and actions.
A biography written with this chastening of wealth cannot fail to
be instructive and worthy of study. If one were to point out but
a single benefit that can accrue from a study of biography written
as Mr. Craig has done that of Rizal, he would mention, I believe,
that to the character of the student, for one cannot study seriously
about men of character without being affected by that study. As
leading to an understanding of the character of Rizal, Mr. Craig has
described his ancestry with considerable fulness and has shown how the
selective principle has worked through successive generations. But