Page:Edvard Beneš – Bohemia's case for independence.pdf/90

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VII

 

THE NATIONAL SPIRIT OF THE CZECHO-SLOVAKS

 

Thus we had three inveterate enemies who continually opposed the accomplishment of the task so enthusiastically undertaken by us.

By our energy and sheer force of will we succeeded in contributing our share to the progress of civilisation. In the Middle Ages our literature was highly developed, and our country gave birth to such men as Hus, Chelčický, and Comenius. We have given the world an example of a people who placed liberty of conscience and a lofty idealism above all else; we were the pioneers of the modern philosophy of individualism, and, thanks to the devotion of a small handful of courageous men, we have succeeded in regenerating our country, in bringing it back to new life, after a martyrdom unparalleled in history.

Our national "awakeners," inspired by our ancient moral and religious ideals, now spread them broadcast. Dobrovský, Kollár, Šafařík, Palacký, are the men who rendered unforgettable services to the Slav world. Dobrovský and Šafařík are famous for their linguistic and archæo-

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