12. Rizal, Berlin, 30 December 1886

  Sinapism and sudorific against torticollis - Meaning of race, nation, tribe, clan, caste - Viola wants to meet Blumentritt - A gift of a cigar-box - Seeing still strong old men like the emperor, Moltke, and Bismarck, Rizal longed to see his father reach advanced age also.


Berlin, 30 December 1886

  Very esteemed Friend,

I answer today your welcome letter and I thank you for your kind remarks. I hope you are cured of your rheumatic pains. As a boy I suffered from torticollis, a rheumatism of the muscle, which I fought with sinapism and by taking some sudorific.

I looked up the word raza in my Dominguez dictionary and I believe its meaning is not "tribe". The races are the Caucasian, Mongolian, Malayan, and the black. We also give this name to a people of more than half a million souls that you call "nations", but we don't call "nations" peoples that are not independent; e.g. the Tagalog race, the Visayan, etc. But we say "Spanish nation" instead of "Spanish race". Tribe is less than race; it is part of race. For example, the Jewish race, but the tribes are Levi, Judah, etc. The word "clan" is already accepted in Spanish, but only in its primitive meaning, that is to say, the union of several Scotch families. "Caste" is more of a political than ethnographic term and from this point of view I give no importance to it. "Tribe" is the name the Spaniards give to small populations which have neither a government of their own nor great importance and they give this name as if alluding to the trunk of a tree from which branches come out. Thus, the tribes of Judah, Levi, Dan, have a certain reference to father Jacob. I don't find any synonym for the word "tribe".

I am a little excited for having taken too much arsenic and I am saturated with it. Perhaps another day I shall be better inspired, but arsenic is very good for my ailment.

My countryman[1] wishes to accompany me to Leitmeritz because he wants to meet you personally. It is possible that we leave this place the first of April, passing through Dresden, Leitmeritz, Prague and Vienna in order to go on to Switzerland.

I sent you by mail a little gift - a cigar-box. Don't smile when you receive it. I give it to you sincerely and with the best intention; only it is very insignificant.

I m glad that your father has reached 74 years. I should like mine, who is now 68, reach also that age. Whenever I see old men, like the emperpr, Moltke, Bismarck, I believe that my father will also reach that advanced age because he is healthier and stronger than I and he comes from a long-lived family.

My best wishes for the New Year for you and your whole family.

  Your most affectionate friend,


[1] Dr. Máximo Viola.

[Rizal-Blumentritt Correspondence] [Culture and History]
[Austrian-Philippine Homepage]
created: July 30, 1996
updated: March 20, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger