The Fric Dynasty

9-10 2007 Dějiny English
obálka čísla

Josef Frantisek born March 6 in the town of Slane was the father and founder of the Fric family of Prague. He was sent to the Prague Karl-Ferdinand University to study law. He was not only an outstanding student, but later became a lawyer, entrepreneur, and politician. He got the post of municipal barrister and lectured at his alma mater, the Prague University. Since he came from a Czech family, he tried to enforce the Czech language into legal practice. Along with J. K. Erben and Strobach, he translated the judicial order, which became the foundation of Czech legal language. The political opinions of J.F. Fric were naturally conservative. In the turbulent year of 1848 he became a member of the St. Wenceslas Committee and took part in forming and wording its petitions and declarations, being sent to the Vienna government. He proposed the draft of the constitution and the new male constitution, which was to take place of an ordinance originating in the Middle Ages. The Constitution was to become the basic law of Constitutional Monarchy.

Unfortunately, all the negotiations were interrupted by the Pentecostal Uprisings. Fric was arrested and imprisoned at Hradcany. After he was released, he became member of Prague Council. In 1849 he represented the journalist and writer K. H. Borovsky in a Court case. After the fall of the Bach Absolutism, he became an active member of the Municipal Council and towards the end of his life he defended Czech interests as a representative of Parliament. He died in May 1876. The salon of the Fric family was one of the few that existed in Prague in the 19th century. It was the social center of Czech patriots.

Even more dramatic was the fate of his son, Josef Vaclav Fric. Even during his studies at the Academy he had already decided to become a poet and journalist. At the age of 19 in 1848, he defended the Klementinum barricade with his schoolmates. His armed participation in the Pentecostal Uprising decided his further destiny. After the fall he fled and stayed briefly in hiding. In 1849 inspired by the Russian anarchist Bakunin, he hatched a plot. He was arrested and sentenced to many years in prison in the fortress of Komarno. After amnesty and his return to Prague, along with Sabina and other authors, he published an almanac with the poetic name of “Lada-Niola”, and a few years later, the famous almanac “Maj”. In this manner they joined with the legacy of the romantic poet Macha without whom modern Czech poetry would not have been born. Young J. V. Fric was highly inconvenient to the Bach regime and thus he was constantly spied upon by secret police and at the end he, himself asked to emigrate. The Austrian authorities gladly obliged.

He died October 14th, 1890

Jana Volfova (short form)
Translated by Paula Schultz

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