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FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED - DOCUMENT 218110

 

FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA
The Cuban Revolutionary pens an affable letter to a friend regarding the organization of an army of hundreds of men with the appropiate armament
Autograph Letter Signed: "Aguilera" in iron gall ink. Fully Translated in English: "Carlos Juan Manuel Maria. London, July 22, 1872. My dear friend: I happily, as always, reply to your letters from the 18 and 19 of this month. The news you gave me about the good spirit in the immigrants to efficiently contribute to the great redemption of the fatherland cannot be more agreeable, you can assure them that if that contingent exceeds twenty thousand pesos we will do something of profit, but unfortunately because of the gravity of the situation, it won't be enough to beat the enemies up in occident, where they have the sources of their wealth. My golden dreams have always been to land in that apartment where I have some sympathies in the camps, for what Carlos Garcia and companion told me, and if they accomplished their mission, which I don't doubt, they should be getting things ready. It is necessary not to lose such good conjuncture, but in order to get it, the patriots also need to do a supreme effort. You know better than me to calculate the cost of organizing at least five hundred men with precision weapons, ammunitions, artillery, chiefs and officials circle, and for that reason I don't get into details. The emigrated Cubans in Spain couldn't make a contribution that would not be small? You have talked with those men about the particular, and a man of integrity and courage willing to do such important commission will be missing? Reply to me, my friend, so I can solve my doubts. I really wish to be on my way to work with you but I don't consider it opportune yet, not until the horizon is clearer and get out of the interested sides. This is a very thorny ground, and because of that, it is necessary that the initiative comes from them, leaving them in entire liberty. I have attached you the three letters to Bramosio, in order that you deliver them with your own hands, because I don't want to wait any longer, so when they write you they can refer to them. Mendive has come to see me twice, very polite, and always tells me to send his salutes to you. Today a vapor from New Year must arrive with correspondence, and that's why I might notify you about it tomorrow. Good bye my friend, until then, your friend tells you. Aguilera. P.S. I have received five letters from you and have replied to four of them". 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. Multiple Folds. Pencil note (unknown hand) on verso. Pin size foxing defects. Light moisture on verso. 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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