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To Osman-pasha Skopljak

Cetinje, October 5, 1847.

Montenegrin bishop greets Osman-pasha Skopljak, vizier of Skadar.

I received your letter from February 17 this year in which you comically mentioned some affairs. Firstly what you say is to wash up our hearts and then make nice way and harmony on our borders. My heart is always clean and washed for humans, but with inhuman people a man is forced to behave inhumanly, otherwise he could not, even if he would like. Why you boast that you have near me friends who refer to you my intentions? It is well that you have them but do not reveal them to me because they will suffer. This and another affairs you can tell to those misled, not to me. My intention is open-hearted and chaste: who is as he has to be, let him to live in my neighborhood the same good way.

You tell that I always require something, but what I have to require and from whom? When Bayazit (called Ilberim) captured Bosnia and when wild Asiatic hordes destroyed our small, but heroic Empire, then my ancestors and other chosen families, who did not die from Turks, left their fatherland and escaped in this mountains. I am lonesome and isolated. Consider where are my brothers, the glorious and famous princes and dukes of our Empire. Where is Crnojevic (Busatlija), where is Obrenknezevic (Mahmudbegovic)? Where is Kulinovic? Where is Skopjak? Where is Vidajic? Where is Filipovic? Where is Gradicevic? Where is Stocevic? Where is Ljubovic? Where is Cengic? And so where are many others? Where are our nobles and bloom of our people to seek together our fatherland and glory, to be all united, and then I would with them claim something marvelous.

Only God knows when they will remember their glory and until when will those my brothers from their own ones separate themselves and call themselves Asians and until when will they work for foreign benefit not remembering neither themselves nor compatriots! From that unfortunate day since the Asiatic splashed our Empire, with whom fights this fist of highlanders for the sake of global honesty and name of our People? All the time with their own brothers converted to Islam. Brother beats brother, brother knifes brother, ruins of our Empire are drenched in our blood. Thus this is our global misery!

This disaster and feud among brothers had done more than any foreign force so that our heroic tribe became foreign hind and servant, as you are foreign hind. This destruction of our People had almost strangled poor Montenegro, but glorified as well. It made that now Montenegro is and will forever be the jewel in knight's crown. I would like more than anything on this world to see concord between brothers in whom one blood babbles, whom one milk raised and one cradle rocked. According to myself and this fist of people I do not need honesty more than I had before this great and wiser world, but something else is wished because food is bloody and sincerity is naked. I would like that I was born a little bit latter, therefore I would see my brothers who remembered themselves and all theirs and publicly, before world, tell that they are worthy great-grandsons of ancient knights of our People. When this holy word is proposed, bless be our entire tribe and then Montenegrin and Bosnian and other knights of Serb nation will respect our Name like holy talisman (behest, legend) kept near the heart.

I hear that you call Montenegrins brigands. This name is not at all infamous. Brigand means cavalier (ritter). For example, cavaliers were this brigands: Marko Kraljevic, Relja Omucevic, Gergeles Alija, Tale Orasanin, Skenderbeg, Stojan Jankovic, Ilija Smiljanic, Bajo Pivljanin, duke Drasko Popovic, duke Vuk Micunovic, Nikac Tomanovic, Karamahmut the Negro, Karadjordje, duke Veljko Petrovic. Those are only some between our People who are not today alive and those three are alive today: Abdel-Khader, Shamil and our duke Mico Moracki.

It is truth that some Montenegrins are murderers, robbers and bandits, but the unrestrained and savage Turkish force made men to use the force, but heroes' hardship as well. Just think, my dear countryman, that so many people are squeezed in this mountains, nearly from all sides closed. When the harvest is any rich it is possible to pass somehow, but when happens year like last one it is tremendous anguish. Last year I personally displaced myself in Vienna and Venice for couple of months just not to see that misery by my own eyes, and secondly I am kind-hearted so I would all that belongs to me give away to the others, and anyway very little is what is left. When you talk to me as my brother Bosniak, I am your brother and friend, but when you talk to me as a foreigner, as an Asiatic, as a foe of our tribe and Name, I disagree with that and every reasonable man will do so. I know you will say when you see my letter: "What that man ridiculously writes and dreams?" But I hope that our descendants, whenever it be, will give venerable price to beloved fatherland and bishop's letter, on whom is shouted from every side like on white crow.

Bishop Petar Petrovic Njegos

njegos2.jpg (21719 bytes)
Petar II Petrovic Njegos

Montenegrin Prince-bishop,
Petar II Petrovic Njegos, reminds Osman-pasha Skopljak, a Serb converted to Islam, on glorious medieval Serb Empire, reminds him that Orthodox Christian Montenegrins and Bosnian Muslims are both Serbs and therefore evoke unification of all Serbs in spite of religious differences. This letter is considered as the most patriotic Serb letter ever written.

English translation by
Stefan Branisavljevic