9. Rizal, Berlin, 28 November 1886

  Rizal's translation of the Ethnography of Mindanao - Rizal's map - Remembrances of the Ateneo - "Those where happy days..." - Rizal will publish a geography textbook - As an explanatory work on the Malayans - Foreigners pay more attention to the study of the Philippines than the Filipinos themselves - Blumentritt's writings in Spanish - Tiruray language - He will translate Waitz - Humboldt's work is admirable - Rizal will visit the scholars Virchow and Jagor - An ethnographic picture.

  Jaegerstrasse 71, Berlin
28 November 1886
  My dear Sir,

Ms soon as I received your esteemed letter I went to the Royal Library to borrow the books you mentioned.[1] I received them the following day, but they did not give to the maid who went to get them the explanatory pamphlets, but only volume No. 28. As I was not feeling well then, I let it go. I started to work and translated your important article on the Ethnography of the Island of Mindanao. Enclosed you will find this little work which I finished in three days. It must have errors, but I could not do better for I have to return the book tomorrow. I have spent this day correcting my map of Mindanao, basing it on yours; mine is already too old; it is 1852.

Your conscientious work gave me much pleasure; it awakened in me old memories of good friends: The one who drew the map of Heras was my childhood friend and fellow boarder at the Jesuit college. His name was Anson, and when he drew the map by order of Fr. Heras, our friend and chief, he complained that the work was very tiresome. Fr. Pastells was my best friend; he was the most distinguished and the best traveled among the Jesuit missionaries. He was also very zealous. I sketched his picture by memory but Fr. Francisco Sánchez took it away from me. You say nothing about Fr. Federico Vila. He was a linguist; he also spoke German, French, English, Greek, Latin, etc. Speaking of Latin, I must confess to you having incurred in a great lapsus linguae et calami[2] in my last letter - I wrote a fabulous accusative instead of the plural genitive. May God forgive me like my professor Fr. Francisco Sánchez. I still remember the hardships of Fr. Torra when he entrusted to me the first page for the Cartas de los PP. etc. Those were happy days. But for the present enough of memories and let us return to your esteemed work.[3]

I have translated it in order to use some of your important data in a little school geography that I am planning to publish should I have an opportunity to do so. Moreover, it seems to me important that the Filipinos should know that foreigners take more interest in the study of their country then they themselves do. I also believe that it will be a good explanatory work (Appendix) on the Malayans. Several of your works have already been translated into Spanish. It is to be desired that they be published together in one volume and that this volume be translated into Spanish. The number of Filipinos who speak German is very small and they are mostly merchants. I compared your map with mine (Coello) and I found still more differences than those you mentioned in your interesting article; e.g. I did not find in yours the great lake of Mindanao.

About the Tiruray[4] language, yesterday I made a little outline which you will find at the end of the book. I believe that that language is easy to learn. Possibly I may some day study it at some length.

My translation in some parts is a little free, but I have endeavored always to translate the meaning when I cannot translate literally. You will find it mediocre for the reason that I don't yet have a good command of German. I believe that you are very busy and so I beg you to read my manuscript only when you have extra time. My purpose os solely to publish it in the Philippines and for that there is plenty of time.

Tomorrow I will begin translating Waitz[5]. I still have three weeks; I expect to finish it within this time.

Humboldts' work[6] is worthy of admiration, and though I cannot read the whole book, I'm going to buy a copy. I believe that the little errors that I found in it are only typographical, as for example, n for m, and some rules that Mr. Esguerra has not understood well.

If you believe that it will not be troublesome for Messrs. Virchow and Jagor that I pay them to call, I thank you very sincerely for your good intention of introducing me to them. I leave it to your discretion. You know the gentlemen better than I do and you know their mind. I do like to meet them; their fame has reached even the Philippines, but I avoid making calls at which I have nothing to say or to talk about; that seems to me something like wandering aimlessy. At any rate I leave the matter to your good judgment. I am convinced that you will resolve it best.

In the first page of the work of Waitz I find the following note: "The right of translation into foreign languages is reserved." How can we go over this notice of the author?

I was already expecting to receive your photograph with your letter last letter. Mine will follow or I will ask the photographer to take my ethnographic picture, or I will sketch it myself before a mirror, but it will be faithful and I will not flatter myself.

May you fare well, dear professor. From tomorrow on I will devote myself earnestly to the study of history. I greet you affectionately.

  Yours,
Rizal

  P.S.

Do you know that Miss Paz Pardo de Tavera[7] will be married on 7 December? the fiancé is my compatriot and friend J. Luna whom you already know like you do Mr. Hidalgo.


[1] Waitz-Gerland, Ethnography and Anthropology of Primitive Peo- ples;André, Ethnographies; Lippert and Helwald, History of Civilization.
[2] A slip of the tongue and pen. See note, letter No. 7, ante.
[3] F. Blumentritt, Ethnography of the Island of Mindanao.
[4] Dialect of the pagan tribe of the Tirurays who inhabit the west coast of Mindanao, south of Cotabato near the River Tran.
[5] Waitz, Anthropology of Primitive Peoples and General Ethnog- raphy recommended to Rizal by Blumentritt.
[6] Perhaps Rizal refers to the work of Baron William von Humboldt, the Languages of the Malayo-Polynesian Family in which the author asserts Tagalog is the richest ans most perfect language among them, considering it the prototype of that linguistic family.
[7] Sister of Dr. T. H. Pardo de Tavera.

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created: July 30, 1996
updated: March 20, 1998
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