A vicar’s tale

While researching the births in Lipnik parish for the year 1814, I stumbled upon an interesting review of the economic and social situation on Croatian soil during the French occupation under Napoleon. The text was written by the Lipnik vicar Matija Sečen in 1814. His parish was part of the Ilyrian Provinces (a major part of the French Empire during Napoleon’s rule).

I could not translate the whole written text because it was written in a language different from today’s standard Croatian.

Part of the text goes:

„Ovo leto vina nikoji arga bura i mraz Bozji Korbacz vu mladju szu ofurila. Kruha jako malo = glad je vre velik, smiluj se nam Bože, ljudi nisu pobožni, kradu, merze, kunnu. Francuz bil je i pri nas do Save od 27.11. leta 1809, do leta 1813. dan 19 augusta – potiran od vojske Austrijanske: leto 1812 potučen od Moskova i od zime i od glada…“


In this year there was not much wine because of bura (strong wind) and frost. God’s horsewhip destroyed the whole cultivation. The amount of bread is very low – the famine is too great. God have mercy on us,  the people are not devout, they steal, hate, curse. The Frenchman was with us all to Sava river from 27. November 1809 to the 19 August 1813. He was banished by the Austrian army. In the summer of 1812 he was beaten by Moscow, the winter and the famine…

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