Dziennik Chicagoski -- November 28, 1893Polish Farming Colonies (Correspondence)
The dream of creating a new Poland beyond the sea is old. When the Russians, Germans and Austrians conquered Poland and partitioned it among themselves, the Poles were not permitted to speak or read in their native tongue, or to speak freely, or to organize Polish societies. When they were being oppressed and ruined, both in a spiritual and material way, it was natural that many were forced to flee their country. The Poles thought that those who migrated would settle together on some lands beyond the seas where they would create a new fatherland which would eventually join hands with the old country in as close ties as possible. In the meantime they hoped to live in freedom and continue to propagate the Polish race.
Fifty years ago, and even later, it was an easy matter in America to buy or 2get grants of hundreds of thousands of acres, but our countrymen at that time were preoccupied with thoughts of a new Poland, and even though they meant well they were not practical. There was no adequate commumication between Europe and America, and above all the Poles did not take the initiative, but just sat around stolidly in their various small settlements, because at that time there was no enlightenment; also there were not so many Poles and not so many burdens to carry, and one could not sail the ocean so often and so cheaply.
To-day things have changed a lot. Only in the Far West here in North America can one still purchase a great unbroken parcel of land. Brazil and Argentina are not to be thought of, because there the governing heads change continually, the administrations are bad, and the countries cannot possibly grow. And, then again, the conditions for creating new Polish colonies here in America are growing more favorable. There are many Poles in America, and new immigrants are arriving from Europe, because over there they have a 3superabundance of population caused by social and political problems rather than by the natural growth of the population.
Militarism and officiousness cause excessive burdens, and the Poles are tired of German and Russian rule. They are actually being forced to flee across the sea. The sailings across the ocean are speedier and cheaper now, and the Poles are becoming accustomed to traveling either short or long distances to improve their living conditions.
So there now is greater necessity than ever for the creation of colonies in groups, for the following reasons:
1. It is most important that the Polish people do not perish, meaning those leaving the fatherland and the future generations. It is not in our power to restore Poland, but it is our duty to see that Poles continue to exist, 4because if a majority of Poles should become Germanized, Russianized or Americanized, then God even if He should desire it, would not know for whom or from what to restore Poland. To insure that all Poles sailing across the ocean remain forever Polish, our advice is to form groups of Polish colonies, so that the Poles may live for each other only, and not permit any strangers to enter their fold. If our people cross the ocean in a haphazard manner, if they intermingle with other nationalities, if thousands of Poles settle among millions of strangers, then everything about them will be strange, and additional new generations will be lost to our nation.
2. The Polish nation is dedicated, as if by God's decree, to farming, which is the foundation on which other industries are built, and is a most worthy occupation. The basis of Polish colonies should be farming, with which, afterwards, business and industry would join hands. The Polish people employed in large city factories lose their simple and honest traits.
Polish settlers can buy land cheaply and even without a cash payment but 5not indiscriminately. Later on, as part of the plan of settling Polish colonists in groups, this land can be paid for by time payments, and with mutual help, settlements can be built, with many Poles living along a highway but with no greater distances between them than those that separate them in Germany and Austria today.
3. With Poles occupying the entire territory, they will have their own officials and schools, and their own bishops.
4. All persons, especially the Poles, have the yearning to become owners of a strip of land. In cities they can buy a house, but the value of this house is not permanent, because it loses value in time, especially if built of wood.
5. The surest way to welfare is farming and farmlands. The proof of this is evident in today's depression here in America. Hundreds of thousands of 6workers are without jobs, merchants and businessmen without any incomes because there is no business, and this condition is due to the understanding between the speculators and the capitalists; because of speculations, we have a surplus of factories and finished goods. Such depressions in commerce and business recur in cycles time and again. The powerful rich may survive, but the small man may lose everything he has saved. The farmer, even though he may not reap a profit, cannot lose entirely for he will always have something to eat, and if he has no debts nothing worse can befall him.
These are the reasons why Poles should settle in group colonies.
When groups of people gather to perform a certain act they need leaders, especially leaders who are honest and wise and will devote their time not for personal gain but for the welfare of the Polish nation and the Polish people. We do not advise anyone to leave their country until such leaders appear to 7lead them. It is not sufficient to say that nothing bad is known of a man; the man must have previously demonstrated his honesty,and he must be well known as a leader.
The Poles are easily deceived and become over-enthusiastic when some person begins praising a certain locality and the soil and the crops, instead of first convincing themselves as to the actual facts. A Pole will believe anything, especially about land where milk, sugar and honey presumably flow and mountains of gold are promised. The Israelites did not enter the promised land without first sending scouts to inspect it. The German colonists in Brazil and elsewhere did likewise. Poles migrated blindly to Brazil, and thousands perished there.
In North America the Poles were exploited terribly; they performed the hardest labor and were shipped to the least desirable farming localities. Hundreds of Poles suffered privation, and thousands of Polish dollars were lost. Many 8examples could be cited.
So here is my advice: group colonization should be consummated, but this should be done wisely and carefully; follow the experienced leaders, those who have been settled here many years, and whose characters and abilities are an assurance of the success of the venture.
Reverend Stanislaus Radziejewski
III A, I L, III H
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