3. Rizal, Leipzig, 22 August l886

  Tagalog vocabulary by Blumentritt - Rizal wants to meet Kern - And to buy books in Vienna - He will study Dutch "because the Dutch have written much about us" - The friars.- Worldly and heavenly riches - "For our estates they would give us heavenly ones." - If Blumentritt could study life in our vil- lages - Christianity is more grand and sublime in Europe. Catholicism is more beautiful than Protestantism.

  Leipzig, 22 August 1886
  My dear Sir,

I have had the pleasure of receiving your letter as well as your new work(1) and I regret that I have nothing at hand to send you in return. I hope that this new work would be like all those that you have written with diligence, attention, care, and ability. I have already read your two vocabularies and I am astonished that you have taken so much trouble in studying a language like Tagalog which is so difliicult. You cannot be blamed for the little errors in them, for many times the people themselves commit them, as well as my learned and talented friend Dr. T. P. de Tavera(2) who has excelled himself in his exposition and has given me a pleasant surprise. I will lend you his works for a week, because I myself need them very greatly. Perhaps my annotations may be of some use to you.

I like to read your book at once so that I am in a hurry to finish this letter. Pardon the many errors due to the haste with which I am writing it.

By telling me about universities and professors you have awakened my eagerness. I should like to follow all that you advise me to do. I should like to meet Dr. Kerns in Leyden. I should like to go to Vienna and buy me a whole library; but I must have patience because I have neither time nor opportunity for it. I do not know Professor Gabelentz. Now we are on vacation and I cannot stay a long time at Leipzig. I will study Dutch also, because the Dutch are our neighbors and they have written much about us.

I agree with your method of learning languages. Tomorrow I am going to look for the works of Waitz-Gerland at the municipal library. If I am able to translate them, I will do so and I am going to send you a transcription so that you may see it and correct it. I am also engaged in other studies at this moment.

If I don't get sick during these months, I will surely go to Dresden, though for nothing more than shaking the and of a man as worthy and gentlemanly as you are. I will leave about September or October for that city. I am planning to get to Berlin towards the end of October and stay there for two or three months. Naturally I will then visit Professors Virchow and Jagor, if I can get from you letters of recommendation to them.

I will not forget your admonition concerning religion. I admit that the friars have done much good, or at least they wanted to do so. But allow me to remark that they are very well recompensed for their services, firstly, because they receive worldly riches and afterwards heavenly ones also; and because in truth they exchanged heavenly riches for the lands of our forefathers, however much earthly life . . . may not be exactly Christian life and nevertheless we have to live like other men.

Dear Sir: You know our country through the books written by the friars and Spaniards who copied one another. If you had grown up in our villages as I had and had seen the sufferings of our country folk, you would have a very different idea of Catholicism in the Philippines. I have had an opportunity to study the religions in Europe. There I found Christianity beautiful, sublime, divine; Catholicism attractive, poetic, the same Christianity, poetized and beautified, more beautiful than the insipid Protestantism. Our country folk do not know these differences.

Pardon my frankness which may perhaps seem to you strange for not having heard such a thing before. Perhaps you remember Lessing's fable about the boy and the serpent. Each one writes his history according to his convenience.

  Very sincerely yours,
José Rizal

 
(1) Vocabulario tagalo-alemán.
(2) Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera (1857-1925), Filipino physician, distinguished scholar and contemporary of Rizal. H ís works at that time were Contribución para el estudio de los alfabetos filipinos (1884) and La medicina en la nsla de Luzón (1884).
(3) Professor of Sanskrit at the Llniversity of Leyden, Holland, recognized Malay scholar, commentator of some of Rizal's treatises, from one of which he took the subject of his dissertation before the International Congress of Orientalists at Stockholm in 1889.

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created: July 30, 1996
updated: March 20, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger