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Speech held to Montenegrins in June 1796 before going to the Battle of Martinići

Speech held to Montenegrins in June 1796 before going to the Battle of Martinići against Mahmud-paşa Bušatlija

Petar I Petrović-Njegoš

Gentle knights and dear brothers!

Our sworn enemy did not want to give up the upcoming bloodshed when I asked him to and to let our troubled brothers Highlanders* be, but I lay my hopes in God Almighty that today you will expel the cruel fiend from your borders in disgrace. He has gathered a mighty army, but his armies are poor and bitter and more than anything God's might will help you. Here we have come, my dear knights and honest heroes, we have come to spill our blood with the foe; we have come to show our honour before the world; we have come to show the foe of our faith, our name and our overly dear freedom that we are Montenegrins, that we are people, a willing people, a people who of their own free will fight unto the last drop of their blood for freedom and leaves their own dearest lives on the borders of their immortal great-grandfathers: but one that will not let the damned enemies of Christendom over them into our dear mountains, which out great-grandfathers, out grandfathers our fathers and we ourselves justly watered with blood!

Is there among you, dear sons and chosen bloom of my God-saved and our happily free state, who would not of their own free will cherish and love this good of his, this glory of his, this knighthood of his and preserve it with his life?! Is there one among you, proud knights, who hesitates to duel on this heroic field? I am, dear sons precious brothers mine, convinced that there is not, because you yourselves do not tolerate faint hearts, you hold faint hearts as the lowest of people, because free mountains do not give birth to faint hearts, but to proud knights, who know the price of knighthood, who know the price of national pride and glory, which is yours and your own wreath!

You are, dear sons, a people free, because you have no other reward for your holy struggle than the defence of your free will; but you know that the reward of a free hero is: the defence of freedom and your dear homeland, because whoever battles for another reward, that is not a noble hero, but the lowest slave, for whom knighthood has no price, who has no heroic pride and his own freedom.

For that, dear sons and my kind brothers, did our forefathers fight, for that we fight and for that our descendants will fight.

Therefore to arms and to the field of blood, dear knights - let us show the foe what the heroic mountains are capable of! To show that in us beats the unquenched Serbian heart, Serbian heart boils, to show how the muscles of the mountain heroes beats on the field of battle any enemy when it comes to heroism!

My supreme pastoral blessing I give to you and recommend you and myself to merciful God, to be of aid to us, he who sees everything and justly directs it!

Cetinje, June 1796

* Tran. note: residents of the area of Brda

Translated by Books of Jeremiah

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