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FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED - DOCUMENT 218111

 

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FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA
The Cuban Revolutionary pens a letter to a friend regarding the departure of a Spanish general from the island and the victories the revolutionaries are accomplishing.
Autograph Letter Signed: "F.V. Aguilera" in iron gall ink. 7x4½, 3 pages. Fully Translated in English: "Carlos Juan Manuel Maria. London July 17, 1872. My distinguished friend: I have just gotten your letter from yesterday which I am immediately replying. The news you tell me can't be more encouraging. The exit of Valmaseda from Cuba as a little bit less of a fugitive is the greatest victory we could achieve. Not that I think he has superior military abilities, as you might remember from what I told you another time, but for his practical knowledge for the localities and most of everything, for the intimate relations that he cultivates with the towns, with the main pusillanimous Cubans. Ceballos or any other who might come from Spain without those specialties has no other remedy than failure. Even if Valmaseda himself came back in a year couldn't do anything productive for them, because men and things would have changed. If we add to this the general madness in every administration branch, especially in the war and treasure ones that the arrival of a new Baja produces you would easily understand if we as Cubans should be pleasant. Regarding to myself, I assure you that tonight I will sleep rocked by the sweetest hope. The other new that you also tell me cannot be any smaller. If the patriots of Paris, partners in emigrations and misfortune, wish me to keep the incognito, I will do it during the whole time they want me to. If it was necessary to go wherever, to the end of the world, to raise funds to quickly obtain the redemption of our fatherland, I would fly and not because of lack of human diligence I would not get it. Please show those gentlemen my warm gratitude for the benevolent admission to our efforts, and the vehement wish of mine to shake their generous hands. Good bye my friend. I am sorry for not having any news to communicate to you, but the correspondence from New York has not arrived yet. In the meantime, I say good bye, your friend. F.V. 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. Multiple Folds. Toned. 2½ separations at higher and lower margins on first page. Top center edge torned on second page. Corners torned and lightly worn. Edges frayed. Pencil note (unknown hand) 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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