Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Rizal-Blumentritt (A Friendship That Started In Mistrust)

One thing the Blumentritt-Schuchardt Correspondence has revealed is that long before Jose Rizal and Ferninand Blumentritt were communicating with each other, Blumentritt was already in contact with some of the leading illustrados and Filipino intellectuals particularly Trinidad Pardo H. de Tavera and Isabelo de los Reyes. In early 1881,  Blumentritt came to know Tavera by chance. Helping Schuchardt with his “Studium” of creole languages in Santo Domingo (the Dominican Republic), Blumentritt came in contact with the secretary of the Dominican ambassador to Paris (2me Secrétaire de la Légation de la République Dominicaine) who happens to be Tavera. Blumentritt was also receiving journals and newspapers from Manila. He mentioned to Schuchhardt in their correspondence of receiving a letter from Isabelo de los Reyes. Finally in a letter dated 14 August 1886 Blumetritt wrote to Schuchardt:

“ In Heidelberg, Obere Neckarstraße 11 wohnt jetzt ein deutsch schreibender Tagale D. José Rizal, man muss diesem Schüler der Ges. Jesu gegenüber auf der Hut sein, sonst gibt er, das was man ihm mittheilt als sein eigenes "Product" zum besten. Er hat mich mit einem tagalischen Buche beschenkt” .

(In Heidelberg, Obere Neckarstraße 11 now lives a Tagalog who writes in German, D. Jose Rizal, one must be wary of this student of the Jesuits otherwise he might claim what one imparts to him as his own "Product ". He gifted me with a tagalog book”).

Incredibly Blumentritt mistrusted Rizal at the beginning: "gegenüber auf der Hut sein, sonst gibt er, das was man ihm mittheilt als sein eigenes "Product" zum besten, it simply meant copyright issue. Blementritt wrote that Rizal might claim that what he learns from them as his own.

Portion of the Blumentritt letter to Schuchardt dated 11 August 1886  (Univertity ogf Graz)

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