Dziennik Chicagoski -- January 04, 1892Continuation of the Polish "Filaretow" Society Written by Helen Sawicki (First article printed in January 2, 1892 issue.)
Through these worthy efforts, those who were willing to learn, both young and old, were lifted from the path of ignorance. However, this did not continue for long. This youthful movement for liberty was soon put to a stop by the Russian government, yet the seed of fraternity was well scattered.
Soon after a reorganization took place in Thomas Zan's ranks, and a new order was founded. This time it took on the name of "Filaretow" (Lovers of Virtue). This new body undertook the same platform of the former society, nevertheless there were a few changes. A new unit was added, bearing the name "Lovers of Education." At the beginning, there were only seven virtues, but this figure reached twenty later.2
The "Lovers of Virtue" were headed by the following: Thomas Zan, John Czeczot, Adam Michiewicz, Onufry Pietrowicz, Ignacy Domejko, and several other outstanding Polish notables. This new organ carried the banner of the previous one, but its doors were guarded with secrecy. This was done in order to avoid interference of the university and government. Whoever could pay, contributed a monthly fee, which amounted to about two and a half dollars in American money. These dues were converted into many useful means. Books were purchased, a reading room was kept, and many other incidentals were bought.
This organization was composed of groups. Each group met separately. At the head of each was a president, secretary, and treasurer. There was a circle of lawyers, authors, mathematicians, medical authorities, etc. The election of officers was open, and those that received the most votes were 3chosen for the respective offices. Each group held separate meetings at which the by-laws were read, the progress discussed, and plans for future programs were made out. At times, delegates from other units were invited. These representatives would tell of their work. During these sessions, the members would not only be instructed in the art of rhetoric, but open discussions were held and vital subjects were frequently presented. Exact interpretations of what went on were given. Public speaking was practiced to a great degree.
Besides these educational and instructive gatherings, parties of a social nature were held. Various affairs were held at which singing, reading, drama, and speech were given an open range. There were also annual Maytime festivals. These parties served a twofold purpose. They not only enlightened the burden of the hard work, but also instilled gaiety and friendship.4
Several organizers of this organ were responsible for these social functions. The backbone was composed of Thomas Zan, John Czeczot, A. Michiewicz, and Mr. Wolowicz (no first name given). Zan represented beauty and morality over which he exerted great influence for he had high respect for his office, and his zeal for these virtues was limitless. Mr. Czeczot was the agent of sincerity and happiness. Brotherhood was representative of Mr. Wolowicz. A. Mickiewicz, one of the later prophets of the people, brightened and added life to the parties by his songs and his poems. Oratory and poetry were under his banner. He devoted his entire life to help his people. He wrote many verses primarily to bolster the spirit of his brothers. These poems in turn were memorized by many, and passed by word of mouth to others. One of the many poems written by him is the following, which reflects the spirit of the organization he so devotedly worked for:5
Let your eyes with gladness shine,
And garlands of joy cover you,
And in new hope entwine,
For we are friends - one and two,
One for all and all for you.
Lift your poor heart from sorrow
Fill up with hope and glory -
Holy this will be tomorrow;
Pride, greed, and luxury
Sweep it away in hurry.6
This you should gladly do:
For our people guard the life
Of learning and of virtue
At home, at work, or in strife;
And keep it sharp as a knife!
Be sure that this in your mem'ry stays:
Your people --- learning and virtue --- always!
All of the flowering youth of the University of Vilno gave itself to the purpose of this brotherhood. They studied and passed on what they have been taught to others. The shroud of greed, hatred, and selfishness, was gradually shed through this brotherly atmosphere. Many individuals, after grasping the full purpose of this noble fraternity, devoted all of their 7lives to furthering its cause. They realized that through the education of the masses to the conditions, the Poland of yesterday could only be restored.
Propriety and decorum reigned throughout every unit. A watchful eye was kept on those that did not regard the by-laws to the fullest extent. Those that lost interest or were endangering the cause were expelled. This was generally considered a disgrace. Through cooperation, all of the spare time of the members was used to a good advantage.
It was believed that through more strict reorganization the continuance of the fraternity would be possible. However, this budding flower did not get an opportunity to come to full bloom. The despotic government cut down its growing stem once again. When all the units of the central organ were forbidden, all of the books of the organization were destroyed, and its members 8scattered over the entire country. These actions did not stop their mistreatment by the Russians. Despite persecution, this society existed in the hearts of every member.
In the junior year group at the Vilno University, Michael Plater wrote on the blackboard of his classroom: "Let the constitution of the third of May live." This was more or less a child's prank, yet it was taken as a sign of revolution by the Russians. The right hand men of Constantine, the Russian Tsar in Warsaw, began an investigation concerning this matter at the University. The investigators seized a student by the name of Jankowski, who tried to get into Warsaw through a false passport. Jankowski was a former student of the "Filaretow" Society, but was expelled for his lack of interest. A thorough search of his belongings revealed a pamphlet of the by-laws of the organization. Although he was 9under oath never to reveal any of its secrets, Jankowski, under pressure and with the promise of freedom, told everything he knew. After this, followed a general purge of the already crumbled fraternity. Riots and unjust violences prevailed.
Further persecutions of those connected with this organ can be found in the third part of Michiewicz's poem, the "Beggers" or "Dziadow."
This is the history of the origin of the "Filaretow" society. To us, they represent a great symbol of respect, our ideals. For at the present time, we are existing amidst trying conditions. It is difficult for us to uphold these ideals while we are struggling to earn our daily bread. But these traditions that have been brought with us to this country still flourish..... We must remember that there are many of our people abroad that would gladly 10leave their forced drudgery, but cannot because the hope and strength of their struggle has been sapped. They would gladly leave the soil to which they are imprisoned, but have no opportunity to leave. Though this has been true for over a hundred years, the fight for liberty is still being waged.....Although we are in a free country, we are facing many obstacles. Our struggle to be classed on the same level with the other people here is very great, and can be compared with the hardships of those young people that organized the society of "Filaretow" many years ago.
We are facing new problems here. It is for our own good that we organize and educate our people so that they can orient themselves to their new surroundings. We can take up the banner of the "Lovers of Virtue" here without any fear and blaze a trail for our people. Only through organization and work can we accomplish these aims. The curtain of ignorance can be substituted for one of culture.11
The purpose of the first public meeting at this society here is to restore hope in our once oppressed people. Plans, platforms, and programs, were discussed openly, and an outline of activity was adopted. Therefore, in order to restore hope and position in our people, we must get to work and organize.
II B 1 d, I C, I E, I H, II B 1 e, II B 2 g, III B 2
Secondary listingsPolish // Attitudes > Own and Other National or Language Groups (I C) ?
Polish // Attitudes > Social Organization (I E) ?
Polish // Attitudes > Social Problems and Social Legislation (I H) ?
Polish // Contributions and Activities > Avocational and Intellectual > Aesthetic > Literature (II B 1 e) ?
Polish // Contributions and Activities > Avocational and Intellectual > Intellectual > Forums, Discussion Groups and Lectures (II B 2 g) ?
Polish // Assimilation > Nationalistic Societies and Influences > Activities of Nationalistic Societies (III B 2) ?
Your search criteria returned no results.