|85. Rizal, London,14 November 1888|
|The books Bauernspiegel seem to portray the life of the Filipinos with regard to courtesy - Desengaños says that Blumentritt sees in the Noli the best mirror through which he can look at the Philippines - Rizal declines the offer to manage a periodical - Vidal y Soler asks for Spanish and European immigrants giving them landed property - But not for Orientals - What are colonies for? - Rizal does not agree with the explanation of reason of state - No one ought to go to the neighbor's house and subordinate the interests of the neighbor to his own interests - "We came here," the Spaniards said to our forefathers, "to be your friends; recognize our king and pay him a small tribute and we are going to defend you against your enemies."|
37 Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill|
London, 14 November 1888
First of all permit me to thank you for the books Bauernspiegel. I have read them with great interest and I believe I have found in their various passages a description of the life of the Filipinos especially in reference to courtesy. With reference to coarse manners the following expressions used in the Philippines could be added: "Jesús!" "You eat now!" "It will be thrown away any way!" "We are going to give it to the pig afterwards!" And the like. It is lucky that Dr. Nagl is not a Filipino nor has he written about the Philippines. The difference between an Austrian peasant and a Filipino peasant is solely the fact that the Austrian is not as candid as and is more egoistic than the Filipino.
Now I know what Desengaños has written about us in La Ocean ía:
"Such learned men like Blumentritt see in that novel the best mirror through which to look at the Philippines!
"How it shows that Blumentritt has not corresponded with us for some months!"
After these statements I am afraid to hear soon that if Professor Blumentritt is worth something and knows something about the Philippines, it is because he has been corresponding with Desengaños. Now all Manila knows that Blumentritt has the great honor of corresponding with him! I hope he will become better informed! Quod erat demonstrandum!
Now, I take up your esteemed letter. Your letter unfortunately arrived too late and I regret this a thousand times because your advice and that of Dr. Czepelack would have changed my attitude. After much thinking and reflection I gave up the idea of being director. I got 50 votes in fact, or rather 60 against 5 who voted for Lete. But I saw that the sympathizers of Lete were very jealous and as Lete, my former friend, has not behaved well towards me when my articles appeared in España en Filipinas, I withdrew. No one, neither Lete nor his friends, could say that Rizal has accepted the management of the periodical for vengeance in order to be able to hurt and eclipse Lete. However, if I knew that I was the only capable Filipino, I would not mind what people might say. But there are many there, thank God, who are more worthy than I. On account of my withdrawal, they will probably elect Llorente, as they do not like Lete. In this case, as Llorente is also my friend, I will see to it that you are appointed representative of the Philippines.
Now I have to excuse myself as I should like to speak about Vidal y Soler. In his book Memoria del Ramo de Montes, which I have read, he not only asks for the immigration of Spaniards, but also of Europeans to whom he wishes to give landed property. I say nothing against it. Transeat! But, why does he not want the Chinese, Japanese, Cambodians, etc., who make the land fertile and work well to be proprietors also? Will the Chinese, Japanese, and Cambodians be more dangerous to Spanish sovereignty than the Spaniards themselves or their descendants who separated South America from the mother country? Where are the countries that the Chinese, Japanese, etc. have taken from the Europeans? Either Vidal y Soler is mistaken or he hates the colored races. And take this into account: The rich proprietors are in the majority more peaceful than the poor ones.
I cannot accept your kind explanation of reason of state. I suppose that the welfare of the country ought to be suppressed in the interest of the state as you say. That reason can be alleged only when the country forms an integral part of the state and if the happiness or the misfortune of the whole is the happiness or misfortune of each part, when the country is within the nation. This is not the case of the Philippines. The Philippines is not Spain; she only belongs to Spain. The happiness of Spain is not the happiness of the Philippines but indeed her misfortune. Here it is not a question of interests of state but only of Spanish rule. Spain already existed and was more powerful before acquiring the Philippines. This our sovereignty is only a name. They want to sacrifice our welfare to Spanish pride, and pardon me for not being in accord with this.
Moreover, a country should have colonies only when she has too many people and too much culture at home, and then she should pledge herself to promote the happiness and welfare of her colonies. No one ought to go to the neighbor's house and subordinate the welfare of the neighbor to his own interests. This would be an outrage; it would be the reign of force. If a colonizing nation cannot make her colonies happy, she ought to abandon them or give them their liberty. No one has a right to make others unfurtunate! We have not called the Spaniards. They came and said to our forefathers: "We came here to be your friends; we shall help one another; recognize our king and pay him a small tribute, and we are going to defend you against your enemies." In those times there was no talk of taking away our lands. The friars talked about heaven and promised us all kinds of wealth. To certain natives they did not mention the tribute but only friendship and trade, and now you want us to give up the welfare of the Philippines for a high-sounding name! No, my friend, you cannot think in this way! You give that explanation because you are a loyal friend, because Vidal y Soler is your friend. I cannot understand why a colored peasant ought not to be a landowner like a European; their work makes them equal. I shall understand reasons of state only when the Philippines can enjoy the same rights of sovereignty as Spain. Then her interests can be trampled upon in the interest of the State but not under the mere name of Spanish rule.
This letter is becoming long but I cannot let pass this question without a reply. If is a question of life and death for my native country. I would be exceedingly glad if you were of the same opinion; and if not, let us leave the question without touching it and talk about another thing, for almost always we are in accord.
I am now reading Gaspar de San Agust ín. He is very detailed. Only he is very pessimistic about the Indio. Otherwise he is one of the best references on Philippine literature. He interprets fact and event against the Indio. I find him too patriotic. Col ín pleases me much more.
They write me from Manila that the Jesuits are on my side. It is said that they reprimanded a student who read Rodr íguez' booklet and that his professor said to him: "That is the book that is written with the feet and not Rizal's Noli me tángere." They say that for this reason they are at war with the four religious corporations. But I believe that this enmity was caused not by my case but by Mindanao, as the Jesuits are too clever to commit such stupidities. At any rate, they were not invited by the four monastic orders to preach during the novenae.
Greetings to your family and to Dr. Czepelack.
[Rizal-Blumentritt Correspondence] [Culture and History]|
created: July 30, 1996
updated: March 10, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger