Letters of a Javanese princess
LETTERS OF A JAVANESE PRINCESS
By RADEN ADJENG KARTINI
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL DUTCH
By AGNES LOUISE SYMMERS
WITH A FOREWORD BY
LONDON: DUCKWORTH & CO.
3 HENRIETTA ST., COVENT GARDEN
First published in 1921
“When you sail from Chambra fifteen thousand miles on a course between south and southeast, you come to a great island called Java. And experienced mariners of those Islands who know the matter well say that it is the greatest Island in the world and has a compass of three thousand miles. It is subject to a great King and tributary to no one else in the world. The people are idolaters. The Island is of surpassing wealth, producing black pepper, nutmegs, spikenard, galingale, cubebs, cloves and all other kinds of spices.
“This Island is also frequented by a vast amount of shipping, and by merchants who buy and sell costly goods from which they reap great profit. Indeed, the treasure of this Island is so great as to be past telling.”
The letters of Raden Adjeng Kartini were first published at the Hague in 1911 under the title, “Door Duisternis tot Licht,” (from Darkness into Light). They were collected and edited by Dr. J. H. Abendanon, former Minister of Education and Industry for Netherland-India. Many of the letters were written to him and to his wife “Moedertje”. Dr. Abendanon has given me permission to publish this English version, which is a selection comprising about two-thirds of the original book.
I also wish to acknowledge my debt to Dr. Leonard Van Noppen, who, when Queen Wilhelmina Professor of Dutch Literature at Columbia University, first called my attention to the book and told me something of Kartini’s story.
A. L. S.