Who was Thaddeus Kosciuszko?
The most legendary figure in Polish history. Friend of Humanity.
Famous all over the world…
In the United States …
- He tried to buy Thomas Jefferson’s slaves and free them.
- He designed the blueprints for West Point, which Benedict Arnold sold to the British.
- He planned the Battle of Saratoga, the turning point of the American Revolution.
- He stood up for the rights of Native Americans, and the chief of the Miami Indian tribe gave him a tomahawk/peace pipe as a sign of appreciation.
In France …
- The French Revolutionaries made him an honorary “Citizen of France.”
- He warned these same revolutionaries about Napoleon Bonaparte.
- Three weeks later, Napoleon staged a coup d’etat and took over France.
- He led a Revolution to free the peasants from serfdom and end feudalism.
- He was joined by a black man named Jean Lapierre who tried to help him to free white slaves.
- The Jews started a Jewish “Bearded cavalry” to fight along side of him.
- The Jewish cavalry leader called him “a messenger from God.”
Kosciuszko was a prince of tolerance who stood up for the rights of European serfs, African Slaves, Native American Indians, Jews, Women and all groups that were disenfranchised. Even Thomas Jefferson called Kosciuszko, “The purest son of liberty I have ever known.”
A Brief Story of Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko
Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko (Andrew Thaddeus Bonaventure Kościuszko;[note 1] February 4 or 12, 1746 – October 15, 1817) was a Polish–Lithuanian military engineer and a military leader who became a national hero in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the United States. He fought in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth‘s struggles against Russia and Prussia, and on the American side in the American Revolutionary War. As Supreme Commander of the Polish National Armed Forces, he led the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising.
Kościuszko was born in February 1746 in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, in a village that is now in Belarus; his exact birthdate is unknown. At age 20, he graduated from the Corps of Cadets in Warsaw, Poland, but after the outbreak of a civil war involving the Bar Confederation in 1768, Kościuszko moved to France in 1769 to pursue further studies. He returned to Poland in 1774, two years after its First Partition, and took a position as tutor in Józef Sylwester Sosnowski‘s household. After Kościuszko attempted to elope with his employer’s daughter and was severely beaten by the father’s retainers, he returned to France. In 1776, Kościuszko moved to North America, where he took part in the American Revolutionary War as a colonel in the Continental Army. An accomplished military architect, he designed and oversaw the construction of state-of-the-art fortifications, including those at West Point, New York. In 1783, in recognition of his services, the Continental Congress promoted him to brigadier general.
Returning to Poland in 1784, Kościuszko was commissioned a major general in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Army in 1789. After the Polish–Russian War of 1792 had resulted in the Second Partition of Poland, he organized an uprising against Russia in March 1794, serving as its Naczelnik (commander-in-chief). Russian forces captured him at the Battle of Maciejowice in October 1794. The defeat of the Kościuszko Uprising that November led to Poland’s Third Partition in 1795, which ended the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth’s independent existence for 123 years. In 1796, following the death of Tsaritsa Catherine the Great, Kościuszko was pardoned by her successor, Tsar Paul I, and he emigrated to the United States. A close friend of Thomas Jefferson, with whom he shared ideals of human rights, Kościuszko wrote a will in 1798 dedicating his American assets to the education and freedom of U.S. slaves. He eventually returned to Europe and lived in Switzerland until his death in 1817. The execution of his will later proved difficult and the funds were never used for the purpose he had intended.
KOSCIUSZKO’S FAMOUS LAST WILL … IGNORED?
The story of Kosciuszko’s Last Will is expained in great detail in a book by two outstanding American historians: Gary Nash, Graham Russell Gao Hodges: “Friends of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull: A Tale of Three Patriots, Two Revolutions, and a Tragic Betrayal of Freedom in the New Nation“. Read a fascinating review:
The entwined lives of two Revolutionary Era giants and another man who made a less well-known contribution to liberty. Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s engineering skills proved invaluable to the Continental Army, and he later became internationally famous for his efforts to liberate his native Poland. African-American Agrippa Hull, Kosciuszko’s orderly for seven years, lived a life far less grand than Jefferson and less adventure-packed than Kosciuszko, but he earned an honorable place in his small Berkshire society, becoming known as a model citizen and a kind of village sage, always ready to tell tales of his wartime service. Nash (The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America, 2005, etc.) and Hodges (Taxi!: A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver, 2007, etc.) concede at the outset that the thin historical record makes recovering Grippy’s life “unusually challenging,” and it’s a difficulty they never satisfactorily overcome. The authors are too often forced into hazy constructions—“likely,” “must have,” “may have,” “surely,” “perhaps”—that unbalance the narrative and make Hull’s inclusion feel forced, except insofar as he serves to demonstrate Kosciuszko’s utter lack of racial bias. The authors’ more rounded, better-grounded discussion of the Jefferson/Kosciuszko friendship centers on a remarkable footnote to American history: As the executor of the freedom fighter’s will, Jefferson was directed to purchase and educate “from among his own or any others” as many slaves as the monies would allow. How and why the aged Jefferson, author of some of history’s most stirring words about liberty, declined to seize this relatively pain-free chance to free his own slaves—some, we now know, his own children—retreated from the Enlightenment goals of his youth and failed, finally, to honor his friend’s wishes, makes for fascinating, if depressing, reading. A provocative discussion of an opportunity missed, where inspired moral leadership by one of the greatest of Americans could have made a difference. source: Kirkus Review
Kosciuszko – was he a believer?“His heart throbbed for the whole world”. Read the story. Below is the last portrait of Kosciuszko, painted by his friend Xavier Zeltner just 2 month before his death.