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FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 03/20/1865 - DOCUMENT 218115

 
FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA
The Cuban Revolutionary pens a letter to a friend to inform him about his health condition, plans for meeting with him and to reassure his willingness to solve problems peacefully.
Autograph Letter Signed: "Aguilera" in iron gall ink. Fully Translated in English: "New York, March 20, 1865. C. Hilario Cisneros. Dear friend: Right now, at 8 pm, my son Antonio has just given me your letter from today. Since my godfather Nico is here, I will send you this letter with him, and he will deliver it to you tomorrow Sunday. I won't be able to go out tomorrow because my foot is still in pain, but I will be visiting you in your office on monday at noon or in your house in the evening. This afternoon I did send you with a friend of mine the response to your last letter to Aldama. Despite that, I am willing as always to solve things through diligence and good harmony as much as I can. In the meantime, give my salutes to the family. Always your friend, Aguilera." Francisco Vicente Aguilera (1821-1877) was a Cuban lawyer patriot who inherited a fortune from his father, and in 1867 the richest landowner in eastern Cuba, owning livestock, sugar refineries, extensive properties and slaves. Although he never bought any slave, he used the ones that he had inherited from his father but they were not enough of them to plant and harvest the sugarcane and work the farms, so Aguilera had to hire many free workers. He was Mayor of Bayamo, freemason and head of the Masonic lodge in Bayamo. Francisco Vicente Aguilera also traveled to several countries such as England, The United States of America, France and Italy. While traveling, he met governments with Chiefs of State who were nor monarchs, leading him to embrace the progressive ideas to which he was exposed. Aguilera turned into an idealist who was always trying to improve the conditions of his countrymen and at the age of 30 he began to conspire against Spanish colonial rule and joined a movement started by proto-independence patriot Joaquin Agüero in Camagüey, Cuba. Since then, in alliance with other wealthy landowners of the region, he openly spoke out against colonial Spanish rule. He was the leader of an anti-Spanish outbreak in Bayamo in 1867 and was elected as leader of a General Committee designated to carry out plans for the insurrectionists. The other two members of this committee were Francisco Maceo and Pedro "Perucho" Figueredo, lather author of the Cuban National Anthem. Aguilera had an active participation in the creation of conspiratorial groups in different regions of Cuba, including the planning of preliminary reunions that culminated in the declaration of independence on October 10, 1868 at Yara, led by planter and lawyer Carlos Manuel de Cespedes. Aguilera did not hesitate to use his money in the revolution, and at one of the conspiracy meetings he famously announced that he was willing and ready to sell all his private property and market value to raise funds for arming the new Cuban Army of Independence. On the next day, he published an ad on Bayamo's main newspaper offering all his properties, livestock and buildings, which included 35,000 head of cattle and 4,000 horses, for sale. Aguilera had many positions in the Cuban Army, including "Major General", "Minister of War", "Vice President of the Republic" and "Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern District". When commanding the army, he was distinguished for courage and ability, taking part in person in many engagements and skirmishes. Upon the outbreak of war in 1868, Aguilera decided to free all 500 of his slaves, an illegal action at that time under the Spanish law, and also joined ranks with a lot of them to retake the city of Bayamo from the Spanish. Many of his former slaves became soldiers and officers in the War of Independence, but it is uncertain whether or not his onetime slaves decided to enroll in the military or if their freedom was contingent upon Cuba winning the war. In 1871 Aguilera went to New York City in order to raise funds for the war effort and died in that city in 1877. The freed Cuban Republic honored him by printing his image on the Cuban $100 peso bill that circulated prior to the 1959 communist revolution. Sealed. Multiple Folds. Toned and lightly soiled. Moisture defects. 1½-inch at upper middle margin touches one word. 2¾-inch diagonal tear at lower margin touches three word of writing. 1½-inch tear at lower margin. Otherwise, fine condition.


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FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA  


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FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA
Born: June 23, 1821 in Bayamo, Cuba
Died: February 22, 1877 in New York City, New York





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