FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA
The Cuban Revolutionary pens a kind letter to a friend informing him about
his plans for going to New York, the realization of a project and the neccesary
immediate action of one of the revolutionaries Generals.
Autograph Letter Signed: "Aguilera" in iron gall ink. 10x8. Fully
Translated in English: "C. Hilario Cismeros. Baltimore, April 14, 1874.
My dear friend: I just arrived to this city where I received your letter from
the 7th of the current month, having also prior received the one from the 9th.
So, I'm planning on going to New York tomorrow in order to find a house and move
the family and dedicate myself in body and soul to the realization of the known
project. After being notified by you about Ruiz and the one hundred thousand
pesos gotten in Paris by Quesada, who you well know acts fast and wants to be
ahead of us, I consider necessary that Aldama also acts fast and sends me out
quickly in order to avoid the pernicious influence that would occur if Quesada
arrived before us. Regarding the report you say you have made, I don't want you
to send it to me, because it might get lost, especially now that I am planning
on going to the United States of America tomorrow morning. For that reason, I
decide not to write too much on this letter and rather wait until our meeting.
Me and my family send our affection to Nanita and the rest of the family. Until
soon, 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. Multiple mailing folds. Toned and lightly soiled. Worn at folds.
Soiled finger print marks (not effecting signature). Otherwise, Fine
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FRANCISCO VICENTE AGUILERA
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