Theodore Pavlovic - Life, Work, and Legacy: The Complete Story of the Serbian Intellectual

In the depths of Serbian history, Theodore Pavlovic stands as a pillar of intellectual richness and national dedication. His life, intertwined with the strength of character and deep love for his people, tells a story of relentless effort and commitment that guided him through all challenges and obstacles. Born at a time when the Serbian people were seeking their identity, Pavlovic emerged as a prominent member of society, recognized for his exceptional talent and leadership abilities.

Teodor Pavlović

Attempting to dispute Pavlović's merit after 100 years (the renewal of Matica and Letopis)

All this effort and struggle regarding obtaining permission for Matica's work and the publication of Letopis are depicted quite differently in the aforementioned jubilee memorial of Matica's centennial "Matica Srpska 1826-1926." On page 496, there is a biography of Teodor Pavlović, immediately after presenting basic biographical data, stating that the renewal of the work of Matica Srpska was once presented as solely the work of Teodor Pavlović. However, the penultimate minutes from the session of Matica Srpska on March 10, 1835, contain the following conclusion:

"The editor of Letopis is recommended to provide a defense against the accusations of Matica to the Magistrate of Pest or, if necessary, even to the prestigious Council, and to show what Matica itself is, what Letopis is, and how this and other books are sold through Matica's publication."

The author of the biography does not limit himself to this citation from Matica's minutes but further states that Professor Aleksa Ivić (as the author of the first few chapters of the same jubilee memorial) came across information indicating that Pavlović's role in this renewal "was not as insignificant as it was portrayed." There are records in the minutes about the expenses incurred by Matica "in the part of its establishment and the highest approval" that Pavlović submitted invoices on April 10, 1837, and that Matica paid him 50 forints and 10 kreuzers in silver, which Pavlović donated to Matica. Pavlović donated 100 silver forints to Matica in 1838, "as much as he deserved for editing and proofreading two issues of Letopis (why 100 forints for two issues when Magarašević was paid 100 forints for each issue of Letopis - Editor's Note)."

We cannot help but wonder here, are these data for the biography of the most deserving man of that time? Could such an approach to the biography of Teodor Pavlović, presented in the jubilee memorial on the occasion of Matica's centennial, have been accepted by the editorial and publishing boards and ultimately by the Governing Board of Matica Srpska?

That this was not a random omission is indicated by Chapter III, CRITICAL DAYS OF MATICA SRPSKA, mentioned in the book, which states on pages 15, 16, and 17 how approval for work was obtained:
Contrary to what was stated by Pavlović himself and his contemporaries, it is stated here that the renewal of Matica and Letopis was achieved in a fairly straightforward and easy manner. With three representatives, they persuaded five members of Matica Srpska:
"The news of the ban on work caused consternation among Matica's members. President Mihajlo Jovanović, who at this time also held the position of treasurer, convened Matica's members for a session on March 12. After a long debate, Matica's members empowered Teodor Pavlović to compose a response to the accusation against their society to the Pest Magistrate, and if necessary, to higher authorities."

Before the mentioned session of Matica Srpska, a declaration was submitted to the Municipality on February 17, 1835. "that Emperor Francis I allowed the Serbian people to establish a fund for the advancement of their culture..." Furthermore, it is stated that Matica's members did not limit themselves only to submitting the declaration to the Magistrate but in mid-July, "the five of them, including treasurer Mihajlo Jovanović, manager Aron Dobrovojević, Petar Rajić, Đorđe Stanković, and Andrija Rozmirović, submitted a petition to the Viceregal Council, drawn up by Mihajlo Kostić, Matica's fiscal attorney, in which they expressed astonishment that their fund was referred to as a society..."

The Viceregal Council did not make a decision on this request; instead, on July 29, 1835, it requested a new report from the Pest Magistrate. The Pest Senate, at its session on August 22, 1835, again entrusted Captain Ajholc to conduct hearings with Matica's members and to examine the files and the state of the funds. As allegedly he did not hasten to carry out the assigned task, the year 1835 expired. Because of this, on February 23, 1836, the Viceregal Council ordered the Pest Magistrate to expedite the report.

It's hard to imagine that the Viceregal Council was so willing to help the membership of Matica to the extent that they urged to approve work as soon as possible without some sort of lobbying or pressure from someone associated with the former Matica.

After this urgency, the Pest Magistrate issued an order to Captain Ajholc on March 16, 1836, to expedite the report on the subject of Matica.
"In agreement with Ajholc, Matica's members once again submitted an extensive declaration in response to the intimations of the Viceregal Council from July 29 and the decision of the Magistrate from August 12, 1835. The declaration dated March 23, 1836, and signed by Mihajlo Jovanović, Aron Dobrovojević, Petar Rajić, Đorđe Stanković. Rozmirović was not among the living at this time: he died on December 21, 1835. It is noticeable that Teodor Pavlović did not sign any declaration of Matica. Although he stood in the background, he still played an important role in these events, and Ajholc mentions him as Matica's representative in one of his reports."

Ajholc submitted a report to the Magistrate with a translation of the statutes and other documents and the state of the funds, which the Pest Magistrate adopted on April 11, 1836, and recommended to the Viceregal Council to approve Matica's work. Emperor Ferdinand V confirmed the statute of Matica Srpska by decree of the Hungarian Court Chancellery on November 10, 1836, and placed it under the supervision of the Pest Magistrate.

We have presented this, although it may be argued that we have burdened the book with unnecessary references. But if Matica could accept this to occupy a prominent place in the jubilee memorial, then readers must understand our desire to highlight someone's efforts to devalue the role and dispute the merits of Teodor Pavlović for the survival and prosperity of Matica. For them, everything went smoothly for a straightforward process. This could even be convincing if Pavlović himself did not state in Letopis No. II for 1841 how the permission for Matica's work was achieved, as emphasized by Dr. Jovan Subotić in his speech at the solemn session of Matica on St. Sava's Day in 1871, when contemporaries of the events were alive and falsifications could not be made in front of them. This was also stated by Matica's secretary David Davidović at the solemn assembly of Matica held on October 24, 1854, where all present were witnesses to those events.

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