Max Havelaar (Wikisource)/39

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Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23 - Chapter 24 - Chapter 25 - Chapter 26 - Chapter 27 - Chapter 28 - Chapter 29 - Chapter 30 - Chapter 31 - Chapter 32 - Chapter 33 - Chapter 34 - Chapter 35 - Chapter 36 - Chapter 37 - Chapter 38 - Chapter 39


Yes, I, Multatuli, who have much suffered, take up the pen. I ask no apology for the form of my book. It appeared suitable for my purpose.

There are two purposes:

First of all I wanted to create something that will be a holy poesaka for little Max and his sister, when their parents have died of misery.

I want to give those children a patent of nobility, written by me.

And second: I want to be read.

Yes, I want to be read. I want to be read by politicians, whose task it is to mind the signs of the time; by literarians who want to see a book that is so much talked about; by merchants who are interested in coffee auctions; by lady's maids, who hire me for a few pennies; by retired Governors-General; by Ministers on duty; by the footmen of these Excellencies; by praying preachers who will say more majorum that I blaspheme the Almighty God, while I only kick against their little god which they made after their image; by thousands and myriads of people of the race of Drystubbles, who – while they do their business in the known way – will cry aloud that my writing is so wonderful; by the members of parliament, who are supposed to know what happens in that big empire over the sea, that belongs to the empire of the Netherlands...

Yes, I will be read!

When this purpose had been achieved, I will be satisfied. I did not intend to write well – I wanted to write so that is was heard. And, just like someone who shouts "Stop thief!" does not care for the style of his improvised speech to the people, I also do not care what people will say of the way I shouted "Stop thief!"

The book has too much variety, there is no graduality, attempt to create effect, bad style, no skilled author, no talent, no method.

Fine, fine, its all fine! But: the Javanese is maltreated!

Because: it is impossible to disprove the main point of this book!

And the louder people disapprove of my book, the better it is, for it means that there is a greater chance to be heard, and that is what I want!

And you, who are disturbed in your business or rest, Ministers and Governors-General, do not expect too much that my pen is unskilled. It could practice, and perhaps it could acquire skill which would have the result that even the People believe the truth! I'd ask that People for a seat in the parliament, only to protest against those certificates of integrity, which are given to specialties in the Indies and back, perhaps because they think that they attach value to that property.

To protest against the endless expeditions and heroic deeds against poor wretched creatures, after they have been maltreated so they were forced to revolt.

To protest against the shameful cowardice of letters which blame the honour of the nation by calling for public charity for the victims of chronical piracy.

It is true, those rebels were starved skeletons and the pirates are militant men!

And if one refused that place to me, if one continually did not believe me?

I would translate my book into the few languages I know, and into the many languages I can learn, to ask in Europe what I searched in van in the Netherlands.

And in all capitals they would sing songs with refrains like there is a state of robbers on the shore of the sea, between East-Friesland and the Scheldt!

And if this would not help either?

I would translate my book into Malay, Javanese, Soendese, Alfoerese, Boeginese, Batakish ...

And I would swing war songs to sharpen the klewangs in the minds of the poor martyrs to whom I promise my help, I, Multatuli.

Salvation and help, in a legal way, where it can be done, and on the legal way of force if is must be done.

And that would have a very disadvantageous consequence to the coffee auctions of the Dutch trade company!

For I am not a fly saving poet, not a meek dreamer, like that Havelaar who did his duty with the power of a lion and who suffered hunger with the patience of a dormouse in winter.

This book is an introduction.

I shall grow in strength and my weapons will be sharper, as it be needed.

King William III
God give that it be not needed!

No, it shall not be needed! For to YOU I dedicate my book: William the third, King, Grand Duke, Prince … no, not just Prince, Grand Duke and King … EMPEROR of the wonderful empire of INSULINDE which is there around the equator, like a belt of emeralds...

To you I ask in confidence whether it is the will of an Emperor:

That the Havelaars are splashed with the mud of Slimings and Drystubbles?

And that over there your more than thirty million subjects are maltreated and extorted in your name?