tv [untitled] CSPAN June 13, 2009 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
the polish military and their motto was the feet and defend. and duke molotsky, it was named duke molotsky and was given his freedom in the polls that the canons back to krakow. the following month in the european equivalent of lincoln's emancipation proclamation on may 17, 1794 kosciuszko issued a proclamation freeing the search and granting them civil liberties under the protection of the government. so kosciuszko was basically trying to free the white slaves and then he wrote to the russian orthodox church, saying quote why don't you join our hearts with the poles to defend our freedom and yours? later a polish historian turned the fraser bound to, for your freedom and hours and that became poland's on official motto. this army marched its way up the river from krakow to warsaw,
whereby now the word came out that kosciuszko's army was a multi-cultural army. they even had muslim soldiers in the army that are basically the sentence of the tartars who settled in poland. and kosciuszko was met by this man, a black man named jon lapierre who showed up in poland to join the revolution. now, in addition to jon lapierre, the joos decided that not only did they want to be part of the army but he decided he wanted to form a jewish cavalry made completely of joos. this was the first holy jewish military units since biblical times. kosciuszko was very pleased with this, and he wrote in his newspaper, the government gazette which was the propaganda organ of his revolution that nothing will convince other nations of the sanctity of our
cause and justice of our revolution and the fact that we set aside the different religions and traditions of those who support our uprising and that of their own free will that offered to lay down their lives. kosciuszko's article went on to explain how jews suffered over the centuries but now they were willing to die for poland and when the fighting started, even the ambassadors from austria and sweden started writing to their king saying this is unusual because even the jews are taking up arms. a couple of weeks later an appeal was written to the jews saying, listen children of the tribes of israel, he to have in their heart implanted the image of god almighty all that are willing to help in the struggle, we people should act. the time has come to kuntz and-- consecrate all of our strength. levitz 54 country as long as every drop of blood is left in us. my beloved brothers awaken like lions and leopards.
unfortunately, once again poland was attacked by three sides. and at the battle of machio visa, kosciuszko was surrounded andy how did giant pike driven to his hip. he had another one driven through his back in a punctured his sciatic nerve and he could not walk. he was thrown into prison in russia. in russia he spent two years in prison with john lapierre but after catherine the great died, kosciuszko was offered freedom by her son. here we see john lapierre to this side with kosciuszko during his incarceration in russia. at first kosciuszko was unsure if he should take this offer because he had 12,000 soldiers sitting in siberia. well, he made the deal with this are that okay if you let my men go i will go. and bizarre said okay but you can never come back to poland and you have to promise never to attack again.
in order to free his men who were in prison kosciuszko agreed. czar paul gave kosciuszko six delge-- 60,000 rubles which he put in a bank account for him in london and he also gave him a fur coats. because he was going to cross sweden in the winter to go to england so we figured he needed to be warm. now you see the fur here when kosciuszko made his way back to america after the revolution. he gave that fur coat to thomas jefferson. now thomas jefferson is seen here and the most famous portrait of him but in addition to that if you go down to the jefferson memorial you will see jefferson is portrayed wearing this fur coat. now, it was not just blacks, jews and peasants that kosciuszko stood up for. he also stood up for the native americans when they saw the founding fathers began murdering them and pushing them west. this is chief little turtle who
showed up in kosciuszko's room in philadelphia with the present. it was a combination tomahawk and peace pipe and he gave kosciuszko this piece by bennie said i hear you are this righteous white man who is standing up for everybody's so we wanted to show you we appreciate this. kosciuszko saab that chief little turtle was squinting so he gave him his glasses and chief little turtle put on these glasses and said my god you have given me new the eyes. kosciuszko also gave him his jacket and then he gave him two pistols and he said, these pistols i have carried and used on many hard-fought battle field in defense of the oppressed, the week, the wrong that my own race and i now present them to you with the injunction that with them you should dead the first man who comes to subjugate you or despoil you of your country. essentially in this room kosciuszko was visited quite often by thomas jefferson and they had very long discussions on slavery and the fact that
thomas jefferson, who was vice president at the time, owned slaves. kosciuszko decided that by now the americans owed him $17,000 in what he would do with this money was he would live up the salary but when he died he wanted jefferson to take that money can buy him slaves and to free them. so he left the last willen test millwood jefferson n.t. ameyde jefferson the administrator of his estate. this is kosciuszko's and written will at the time in which he wrote, i begged mr. jefferson in case i should die without will or testament he should buy out of my money so many blacks and free him that the remaining sun should be sufficient to give them education and provide for the maintenance. he went on to say that each of these black men that were freed must be married and have 100 acres of land with instruments, cattle for tillage and know how to manage and govern it as well as to behave towards their neighbors.
the only thing kosciuszko wanted in return from them was to make themselves as happy as possible. jefferson took this and every reaudit into his own legalese making his own slaves the beneficiaries of this will but unfortunately after kosciuszko died jefferson never carried it out. he washed its hands of this will and left the matter to others. now, kosciuszko always wanted to go back to poland and after the american revolution, there was a quasiwore b20 united states and france because much like we have the somali pirates now trying to capture ships and commerce off the horn of africa the french started capturing american ships because they didn't want the americans to do business with the british. so comment jefferson needed someone who knew the french quite well and as kosciuszko was made and on every citizen of france during the french revolution, after the xyz affair jefferson sent kosciuszko back
to try and help win the freedom of these american sailors. so, he did go back to paris and did help get the freedom of these soldiers. but while he was there, he also met napoleon bonaparte. napoleon had been running around with all of his different conquests. he had just returned from egypt, where he had stolen a bunch of artifacts and murdered a bunch of the egyptians in doing so and when he got back to paris the first person he wanted to see was kosciuszko. he walked into his room in paris and said i urgently wanted to meet the hero of the north. kosciuszko replied, and i am happy to see the comcare of europe and the hero of the east. but after talking to him for a while kosciuszko realized he does not care about freedom, liberty or any of those things and that he is going to be a tyrant so he contacted his friends and the french director of the government and he said, keep an eye on that young man.
he might spoil the arrangement. it turns of he was right because three weeks later napoleon stage the coup d'etat and declared himself in charge. now, there is much more i would like to tell you about kosciuszko but then you are not going to buy the book. [laughter] but there are two points i would like to making closing. in 1908, a there was a journalist named israel white, the literary editor of the newark evening news and he was writing about kosciuszko's well. he wrote, this will listen underwritten chapter in american history. it is possible with the suggestions have been followed the mite have been no civil war in the united states and the race problem of today would not be so perplexing to economists. years later an african-american educator named booker t. washington was traveling through europe and the stock in krakow. he wrote his memoirs, i knew from my school history what kosciuszko had done for america in its early struggle for
independence. i did not know however until my attention was called to krakow what kosciuszko had done for the freedom and education of my own people. the polish patriot is buried under the cathedral of krakow which is the westminster abbey of poland and is filled with memorials of the honored names of that country. kosciuszko lies in a faults beneath the marble floor of the cathedral. as i look on his tomb i thought how this all the world is that how curiously interwoven are the interest the bind people together. when i visited the tomb of kosciuszko i placed in rows on it in the name of my race. thank you very much. [applause] [applause]
i would be happy to take any questions then there is a microphone in the back for-- there's a gentleman over here. >> hello. >> kaniewski bemuddle bet so we can all hear you? [inaudible] three things came to mind when i was listening to your presentation. one of them was theology, philosophy and one was typography. could you flesh those topics out as to what you feel influenced him in terms of those three points? and also i have another one but i will send you an e-mail. [laughter] >> all three of those sound like
books and themselves. to a biography of obviously kosciuszko was always warning about the high ground and where he would be attacked from. his philosophy obviously was that we are all equal. in fact he wrote a letter to his sister in which you wrote remember we are all equal. except that some of us have more money and education than others and that is the only difference. said that with his philosophy in that everyone deserves a chance to make a living and be happy. he often used the word happiness. even his latter cece before the declaration of independence, he used the words we should all be as happy as possible. in terms of theology kosciuszko was born a catholic, but later on was more upset with the catholics because the catholic church also owned service and for him this was unconscionable. so, as he got older, he was more
distant from the catholic church and he died in exile in switzerland. there was one point where there was a protestant minister who was aging and for his retirement they decided that they were going to give him a fancy carriage in a fancy town, and this protestant minister decided know, he is happy where he is, giving masses to the poor peasants of switzerland in the mountains. when kosciuszko heard this, he jumped on his horse and he raised to that minister first thing in the morning. this poor minister with shaving and kosciuszko burst in on him and gave him a hug. he said, finally a cleric who i can identify with. and i look forward to your e-mail. >> the georgetown university library. i was curious about that fortress you showed before he started building them. it had kind of a star structure
and it reminded me-- >> in the drawing you mean? >> the drawing from above and that look like the start, a pattern of the great builder of fortresses and i am just curious, did you find any connection with him as a model? >> that is exactly right. >> steady devoe bun in paris because he had to enroll in an arts school buddy audited all of those classes that the military schools in paris. for those of you who don't novo bahn was perhaps the greatest expert in military history at seat crafted how to build forts, how to attack force and kosciuszko was very influenced by him, that is true. >> i am curious about why would czar paul do anything for kosciuszko-- why not just kill
him? >> harpal felt sorry for him and also had similar thoughts about easing up on the serfs. he later eased up on the surface of russia, not as quickly as kosciuszko would have liked him to but he was of the same thoughts kosciuszko and he was not a tyrant like his mother catherine the great to simply wanted to stretch russia as far as she could. >> in the preface of your book you mentioned there was little-- written about kosciuszko in polish and american. can you comment on any reasons why do you think that it is because it is a fascinating story. it is just as surprising so little is known about the-- >> well, i think for starters he has this unpronounceable name that american historians wouldn't even know where to begin, and he was this, he was this humble guy who didn't seek
the limelight like benedict arnold and other people from history and historians in poland for many years did not have access to archives in the united states, and american historians did not have archives, access to archives in poland and as i am fluent in both languages, i decided i am going to try to bridge that gap between the two. >> did you say anything about kosciuszko's linguistic ability? how did he communicate when he was here in the u.s.? >> squinny first arrived he spoke french because he had studied in paris for five years and in fact everybody thought he was french at first and the first references to him from george washington and others are, we hear there is this mark french engineer but he was here for eight years and as you read his letters going on, his english gets better and better every year.
>> but he arrived in 1776. he was a 30-year-old man. i think he was born 14 years after george washington was born in 1732, and kosciuszko, if i am pronouncing that correctly, was born in 1746, the same year as pulaski. and he arrived in philadelphia, as you had said, after he shipwrecked in the andes, but you didn't mention much about his encounters with george washington, who i read several places and also in a beautiful book that was given commemorating the 400 years of poland in america, which was given to all of us by mario's at the celebration of the second of october of last year, where-- in
the state of virginia in jamestown in 1608. but, george washington is reported in that book, celebrating american history, to have given kosciuszko to pistols. they warned by chance the two pistols he gave to little turtle where they? >> i think those pistols are now in a military museum in warsaw and in addition to that he gave him a sword with an inscription on it, and kosciuszko was actually at france's tavern when george washington said goodbye to the troops, and in fact, he gave kosciuszko-- kosciuszko was made a member of the order of the cincinnatus, and washington when he was saying goodbye to hammes elliptic can we obering on his finger.
i say in the book that the irony of this is that it was as if washington was passing the bataan to kosciuszko because you have one farmer general passing the bataan to another former general who was trying to win freedom for his country. as far as kosciuszko's relationship with washington, it was not as warm and fuzzy as the relationship he had with general horatio gates because general horatio gates later freed his slaves and he allowed slaves to join his army as themselves rather than in the name of their slave owner, so it was more of an official relationship, and washington spent probably the most amount of time with kosciuszko when they were at west point and on the visits to west point he would be given to wars of the various readouts and 40 was building.
in fact, later on when kosciuszko arrived in the united states for the second time george washington invited him to mount vernon and rather then traveled down to virginia he went to see horatio gates bill now had a number of black people working for him in new york and they were free black people. shoes go identified that would go into a slave plantation. >> all the plans for fortified in west point that kosciuszko had laid out, and burned them for fear that they would fall into the hands of the british. was there any evidence, anything written that showed that kosciuszko had ever cross paths or personally spoken? >> they did know each other. in fact, because kosciuszko was so close with general gates, they were all together at the battle of saratoga, and
kosciuszko had much more respect for the command of authority and gates and benedict arnold were constantly at each other's throats. gates was at the top of the hill and the british were marching up the hill. and, benedict arnold wanted to run down the hill and gates kept saying no, no we are shared-- fine where we are. in fact that found one memoir were kosciuszko talks about pen and angela and says he was a drunk at saratoga. so, i don't think that they were the same kind of people. i don't think they would have liked each other but they definitely knew each other at west point and at the battle of saratoga. there is a woman back there. >> my name is sylvia and i just wanted to say that actually, i wanted to thank you for writing this book, which i think was
long overdue. since you are involved in the kosciuszko foundation in new york, i wonder if you know that a few years ago, and i cannot remember exactly when, there was a plague done about kosciuszko and about his life in switzerland, and he lived with a swiss family that had-- and kosciuszko supposedly tutored her in various subjects. the girl fell in love with him, and i just wondered if it was a complete fantasy of the playwright, whose name unfortunately i can't remember, or if there was a touch of truth about it? at the same time, one eyewitness of this play it was so sad that this great he wrote of america and poland ended up with a, you
know, bourgeois swiss family to during a young girl and actually no one really knew who he was, though we had some visitors from poland, according to the play. i wonder if he would comment about this? >> well, kosciuszko dedicated the last years of his life to education and specifically education of serfs in poland and in france and yes he tutored, he did tutor the daughter of mr. zocor and he was very involved with different theories on education and there was one educator-- and there was one educated that kosciuszko became very involved with and tried to introduce him to napoleon. napoleon said i cannot waste my time with the abc's. you mentioned his family, the
swiss family. kosciuszko at the end of his life lived in paris for a while and so that he would not be living alone, he went to live with the zelder family and mr. zelder was a swiss diplomat who lived in paris. and, he married a very pretty french woman. by of rumors that the time for that one of the daughter's actually that mr. zeltner had was kosciuszko's daughter. this is a rumor that i present in the book as rumor and simply provide the evidence that existed at the time but unconvinced-- i am convinced that this was his daughter because he leaves money to her. so, i am convinced that kosciuszko had two children out of wedlock. he tried to get married twice and both times the father said you don't have enough money to marry my daughter.
there is the rumor that he had a child with mrs zeltner but there is also a rumor that he had a child with the wife of one of his officers in poland. recently, a friend of mine was here in washington and he met with a french politician by the name of natalie kosciuszko where i sit. >> elsewhere, kosciuszko, how do you you have this name? she said well, we were supposedly kosciuszko's descendants brother. i contacted her by e-mail and she said, within the family, essentially we all know that my great grandfather said that his great, great grandfather was a descendant of that relationship that kosciuszko had with the wife of one of his officers. so, i don't know about that play, but kosciuszko seems to
have had a very active social life on the side. [laughter] are there any other questions? over here. there is a microphone. >> one of the things in your book that it is sort of striking, at least it struck me, was the fact that jefferson actually offered kosciuszko to come to monticello to become a part of his family and be buried at monticello. now, that is an incredible offer, obviously. why didn't kosciuszko take up jefferson on that, because that was the very close relationship obviously, taken up on that? >> why do i think? kosciuszko was very good friends with jefferson and you were right, in one of the letters i
found jefferson rights to kosciuszko saying were both older now and we don't have many years leapt ahead of us and in fact i have this plot where i am going to be buried. come to virginia and live on my estate at monticello and you can be buried right next to me. but i think the reason kosciuszko did not return was because he had these high hopes that either napoleon or somebody would attack russia and free the poles from the russians and the prussians and the austrians to let all taken over. kosciuszko was also given 500 acres in ohio as a result of his being a general in the american revolution, so we had his own land. he could have lived in ohio on that land as well and i think the reason he didn't return i think was he always held out hope that he would be able to free the peasants. not only did he want to free american slaves but he went to
end feudalism, free the serfs and free the peasants of europe. >> you mentioned kosciuszko-- offered $12,000. how much would it be in current dollars and what happened to the acres and ohio? [laughter] >> does anybody have a calculator on them? [laughter] i don't know how much that would be, but i think it would be more than a bucket full of money. and diland in ohio, kosciuszko tried to lease it. jeppesen, he said find some farmer who is interested in leasing my land, figure out what the going rate is and give it to him for 1% less than that. some french farmer went and tried to farr for a while but did not have success and as for the money that had in the american, that the earned in the american revolution,