THE CROATIAN VOICE OF PEACE 1778
translated from German 1778 edition by Borislav Arapovic
Borislav Arapovic, Stockholm
in Croatian

A Remarkable Address
Given by a Croatian Minister
to Those Going to War
1778

O GOD, the lover of peace, the enemy of war, of bloodshed and of all the terrible evils that the monster, war, creates. Command every conflagration of war now blazing on your earth to be extinguished at this instant. Command also that the fire of war still smouldering in the ashes be put out for ever, and preserve for mantkind, preserve for us also peace!... peace!... Amen.

WAR, my brothers, what a terrible word! ... Terrible to the peaceable townsman, whose trade flourishes only in time of PEACE..., Terrible to the peaceful countryman, who can access till his fields properly only in the embrace of security!... Terrible also to the fighting man himself, who knows the value of his blood, his healthy body and his life, who is not consumed by arrogant ambition, nor by base greed for plunder! If the very word "war" terrifies us, what fearful horror does war itself not cause, the most dreadful of all earthly evils? My bones shake, my heart trembles, my blood runs cold when I imagine war in all its horror.

Allow me, esteemed brothers, to paint for your eyes today the hideous picture of war that my soul has conceived, and of the

HORRORS OF WAR
BOTH FOR THE COUNTRIES UPON WHICH THIS MONSTER FALLS,
and also
FOR THE ARMIES BY WHOM WAR IS CARRIED ON

In this I have, as a patriot (for you all know that I am a patriot) no shameful intention of weakening your martial courage. Least of all could I succeed in this with you, for who could instil fear in you, brave warriors? I want to lay before you the HORRORS OF WAR only in order to provoke in you an aversion to all excess, to all cruelty, all inhumanity which multiplies the evils of war, and in order to awaken in your hearts a love for humanity, a merciful compassion toward your innocent fellow Christians, and also that the great duty to pray for the preservation of peace should lie very close, very palpable to your hearts. May the eternal Father of mankind enable me to succced in my endeavour, for the sake of His grace, Amen!

What hideous monster does my spirit see? Menacing, blazing wrath flashes from its eyes, it gnashes its teeth and foams with rage. In its right hand it carries a dagger which drips reeking human blood. In its left hand is a torch, whose flame thirsts for palaces and hovels, its gaping jaws gorge on the wealth of the storehouses and the sweat of the countryman, its hunger devours wild game in the field, the birds of the air and flocks in the pastures. Beneath its heavy tread crops wither, the fruits of the fields and gardens are lost. Wherever it takes its devastating course, villages are set aflame, towns are burnt to ashes, fortresses besieged and stormed, their residents soon reduced to starvation; soon they are smitten by the edge of the sword; the possessions of whole families are turned to ashes, calamity and disaster are spread everywhere. Need I tell you the name of this monster?... Its name is war!... Oh war!... How terrible you are to those countries over which you spread your wings!

You have indeed... yet another aspect, which appears to me with equal horror. I see the battlefield. An appalling secne! Corpse upon corpse piled up! Fathers of children left unprovided for; only sons - the support and stay of aged parents; husbands - their tender spouses' only happiness, only delight; young men in the flower of youth - budding men of the future, pillars of society, smitten by the bullet and the sword, robbed of their clothes by the hand of inhumanity, stripped, drenched in rivers of their own noble blood. I see the dying, the unfortunate ones convulsed by their fatal wounds, writhing with shattered, mutilated limbs among their dead companions. I hear their moans, their screams... Help! Save me! (pleads one), Kill me! (cries another). My spirit is shaken. Turn away, my eyes... away from this ghastly scene!... from this terrible consequence of war.

Far away from the battlefield, in the dim future, I perceive things which are not indeed so terrible, though which camot leave a tender heart unmoved. Cripples, miserably dragging amround a body made incapable of earning a living, weighed down by poverty, often even to the point of hunger and wretchedness. The suffering ones, tormented by the constantly recurring pain of their wounds. The sick ones, slowly being consumed in consequence of the hardships of war - is not the horror of war seen in them too? OH, WAR! How dreadful you are even to the armies which you lead on to the fields of MARS thirsting after human blood?

And you, my brothers! Will you march onward to those terrible fields? Will you be led to face the sharpened swords, the thunderous fire, the deathspewing guns of the victorious Prussians? Will you march against the great FREDERICK, whom half of Europe could not defeat in the last war... will you join combat against his brave warriors, drilled in arms?... Have you seen him, the great KING, the laurel-winning HERO?... Have you seen his armed hosts? Greatness is enthroned on the MONARCH'S forehead! Majesty, exalted solemnity - but also magnanimity, also gracious mercy speak from his eyes. On his throne he is an ANTONY, in the council a SOLOMON, at the head of his army... I know no hero with whom I can compare him. Since the world has learnt of him, it has ceased to call an ALEXANDER great, or a CAESAR, a POMPEY, a CHARLES XII... these are CONQUERORS only, not HEROES. His men are like the children of ANAK. Their courage is the courage of a lion; their love for their king is the love of children for their father. The swords held by their sinewy arms are the scythes of death; from their barrels MARS launches the fastest lightning-bolts; their commanders are trained in the art of war at the war school of the greatest master; they know no fear, they have learned the whole art of war, all except retreat. There are more SCHWERINS, more WINTERFELDS, more KLEISTS among them; and will you overcome these? Oh, peace, peace! Do not withdraw from us!

Do not think, my brothers, that the aim of my address is to breathe fear into your hearts. He who makes a favourable image of his adversary for himself and regards him as strong and bold, will fight the more circumspectly, the more boldly against him. It is not for me to spur you on to courage. I must leave this to your commanders, who have a greater right to do so. I want only to ask that you pray with us for peace - not for the destruction of your enemies. If Christians pray against Christians, how can that please the Father in heaven, whose children both we and they are? I will only admonish you not to commit any act of brutality - not to rob, nor plunder, nor destroy the homes of the innocent with fire, nor mercilessly kill the defenceless old, nor babbling babes, nor those whose blood cries for vengeance; that you do not violently besmirch the virginity of women, nor maliciously practise wantonness, nor sinfully destroy the fruits of the earth, the victuals of the townsman and the countryman, nor expose yourselves to sickness and suffering through excess and dissipation. A Christian soldier must not be a robber, nor a murderer, an incendiary, a debauched libertine, a butcher, nor an inhuman brute. You are all followers of the ancient Christian faith. Oh, may you all, as your faith requires, be faithful to your GOD, faithful to your Emperor, faithful to your standards, true Christians, true heroes, Amen!

But you, mysterious One, you who so often speak to men saying:
PEACE BE UNTO YOU!
call with that almighty voice, by which you call worlds into being from nothing,
call divinely to those MIGHTY ONES, who have laid hand on sword:
PEACE BE UNTO YOU! AMEN

Njemačko izdanje iz 1778.
A Remarkable Address Given by a Croatian Minister, 1778,
published in German.

Nizozemsko izdanje (Hague!) iz 1778
A Remarkable Address Given by a Croatian Minister, 1778,
Published in Den Haag (sic!) in Felmish.



Croatian translation (from German translation from unknown Croatian original)

On this web with kind permission of Borislav Arapovic (2000).

Basic reference: Borislav Arapovic, Hrvatski mirospis 1778, Matica hrvatska, Mostar, 1999, ISBN 9958-9448-2-0


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