Dziennik Chicagoski -- April 23, 1894Outline of the Constitution of the Polish League in the United States, to Be Discussed at the Kosciusko Mass Meeting on May 8, 1894
[Translator's note: This constitution was adopted with a few changes.]
1. The Polish League is to represent all Poles in the United States of America. Its purpose is to unite all Poles in the name of Christian love and love for Poland, so that they may uplift themselves by engaging collectively in benevolent, educational, and patriotic work. The Polish League--as a combination of moral and physical forces the purpose of which is to promote an interest in nationalistic work--is to be a fraternal alliance standing above all factions.
2. The object of the Polish League is to defend, support, and foster the Polish 2national cause by open and legal means. The expression "Polish national cause" is understood to include the civil, political, and national rights of the Poles and such tasks as teaching the Polish language, educating the Poles, [preserving Polish] customs, promoting unity, teaching the history of our nation, promoting the development of national characteristics, and, finally, working for the prosperity [of the Poles]
3. The purpose of the Polish League may be summed up as follows:
a. To look after the interests of American Poles in an honest manner, especially, in the presence of public opinion.
b. To promote education by means of books, schools, and publications.
c. To keep the Poles morally united in a brotherly spirit through mutual and moral influences.3
d. To keep in contact with the mother country--both economically and intellectually.
e. To improve our material condition through the organization of all kinds of institutions for mutual help.
f. To help the weak and the poor.
g. To collect money in America for the Polish National Fund.
4. The Polish League shall never engage, either directly or indirectly, in any activity against the Holy Roman Catholic Faith or the principles of Christian morality set forth by the Church.
5. Polish priests, who, through their calling, are engaged in teaching Christian love toward the mother country among the people, especially the youth, 4will have the right to voice their opinions at mass meetings and sessions of the League. They also will have the right of representation in its administration.
6. Persons belonging to secret societies or organizations condemned by the Church cannot belong to the League. Anarchists, communists, and socialists shall be excluded from the League.
Organization of the Polish League
1. The Polish League in the United States of America will be a federation.
2. The League will embrace all Polish communities, parishes, societies, and organizations. Every Polish community, parish, society, or organization will have the right of representation at mass meetings, and in general it will have 5the right to control the affairs of the League in proportion to the number of members from whom it collects and pays a one-cent per capita assessment toward the Polish National Fund.
3. No community, parish, or organization will lose its autonomy by joining the League. However, they will take upon themselves an obligation to work for the good of the Polish nation under the direction of the Polish League.
4. Every large Polish community will constitute a district, which will be in charge of a district commission consisting of a president, two vice-presidents, a secretary, and a collector.
5. District commission will begin to function as soon as they are approved by the League.
6. If necessary, in order to facilitate its work or enlarge its field of action, 6every district commission can establish agencies and supervise them.
7. Agencies will be under the district commissions and their personnel will consist of a manager, a secretary, and a collector.
8. Agencies are nucleuses in direct contact with the Polish people. Their duties will be to promote education and patriotism by means of meetings, speeches, lectures; to enroll new members; to collect special dues and donations for the League; to send these funds to the district commissions, and to carry out all orders given by the district commissions.
9. Duties of the district commissions:
a. To see that the orders and decisions of the central board of the League are carried out.
b. To collect dues in the district.7
c. To inform the central board as to the needs of the district and see to it that the aims of the League are realized in their localities.
d. To keep proper records.
10. Collectors are to send accumulated funds at least once a month. When the sum collected exceeds twenty-five dollars, it must be sent at once.
11. Rules and regulations in regard to the activities of the district commissions and the manner in which they will communicate with other departments will be issued by the central board from time to time.
1. The funds of the League are derived:
a. From the one-cent monthly special assessment imposed upon every member of 8the League. Income from this assessment is to be set aside for the Polish National Fund.
b. From voluntary monthly contributions and other donations.
2. Societies, organizations, parishes, and communities shall collect from their members the one-cent special assessment and other contributions. The money thus collected shall be delivered to the local agencies, which shall send it to the district commissions.
3. The district commissions shall deliver all collected funds to the financial secretary of the League, who will turn them over to the treasurer.
4. Allocation of the League's funds:
a. The one-cent special assessment collected from the members of the League is 9to be set aside exclusively for the Polish National Fund of the Polish League.
b. All administrative and departmental expenses must be covered by voluntary contributions.
5. Care of the funds:
a. The control of the League's funds, and the issuing of yearly statements, etc., shall be under an executive committee of the League, according to the decision at the mass meeting.
b. The League's funds shall be entrusted to the treasurer of the League.
c. Rules and regulations governing the treasury will be prepared by a special committee, which will be chosen at the mass meeting.10
The Polish National Fund
1. Aim and purpose. The Polish National Fund shall be maintained by voluntary contributions for the purpose of supporting the Polish national cause and the Polish national movement in an endeavor to gain the independence and national rights of Poland.
2. The object of the Polish National Fund shall be:
a. To inculcate the principle of self-reliance among the Poles.
b. To accustom the Polish public to the duty of making contributions toward the national cause.
c. To provide funds for nationalistic work.
3. The Polish National Fund shall embrace all funds set aside for nationalistic 11work, regardless of source, as provided by the regulations.
4. Safeguarding the funds. The money of the Polish National Fund shall be invested in United States bonds.
5. Protection and control. The Polish National Fund shall be guarded and protected by trustees.
6. These trustees shall be chosen at the mass meeting and shall consist of trustworthy citizens financially responsible.
7. The trustees shall have the right to check the funds and examine the financial records of the League at any time. They shall issue quarterly financial statements.
8. Disposition of the Polish National Fund. The Polish National Fund shall be 12inviolable, its interest as well as the principal, until it reaches the sum of $100,000.
9. As soon as the Fund reaches $100,000, the interest of the previous year is subject to disposition. The one-cent assessment collected from members shall be continued and added to the Fund.
10. The problem of the disposition of the Polish National Fund shall be settled at the mass meeting, and the administration of the League, consisting of trustworthy men, shall dispose of it in accordance with the decision reached at the mass meeting.
The Legislative Power
1. The legislative power is vested in the conventions of the League.
2. Conventions shall be held every three years at the location chosen by a 13majority of the district commissions six months before they are scheduled to take place. Special conventions may be called by two thirds of the votes of district presidents.
3. The conventions of the Polish League shall be attended by delegates from Polish communities, parishes, organizations, and societies, in the proportion of one delegate for every one hundred members paying the one-cent special assessment to the League in their respective parishes, organizations, or societies. A community or society with less than one hundred members shall be entitled to send one delegate.
4. Delegates to the conventions of the Polish League shall be chosen from among pastors of Polish parishes or their assistants, and also from among editors of Polish newspapers in America, who work in the spirit of the League.
5. The by-laws of the League and the outline of its activities shall be made 14at the conventions.
6. The officers of the League shall be chosen at the conventions.
7. All basic problems of the League shall be decided at the conventions.
8. Rules and regulations for conducting the conventions and for the election of officers shall be prepared by a committee chosen and approved at the last two conventions.
Executive Department of the League
1. The central board of the Polish League shall consist of a president, two vice-presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, and ten directors, four of whom must be officers of the central board.
2. The central board is the executive branch of the Polish League and shall 15attend to all activities of the League, such as protection of Polish immigrants, welfare work, internal and external activities of the League, Polish National Fund and its problems, organization and control of departments, districts, and agencies.
3. As to immigration, the central board shall endeavor to aid Polish immigrants by protecting them against exploitation and, if possible, by securing them employment. It is also its duty to inform prospective immigrants about conditions in America and the difficulties of traveling, through special appeals and warnings in Polish newspapers published in Europe. In general, the central board shall work for the welfare of Polish immigrants as circumstances will permit.
4. As to welfare work, the central board shall support all Polish benevolent institutions, such as orphanages, homes for the aged, hospitals, etc.
5. As to its internal activities, the League will endeavor:16
a. To unite all Poles, reconciling those who are at odds with one another and reproving professional slanderers and intrigants who disrupt national unity.
b. To defend the honor and the rights of American Poles by legal, verbal, and written means.
c. To warn our public against wicked and harmful elements.
d. To voice publicly matters which concern American Poles.
e. To inform American Poles about the League's affairs, their civic duties, and about the benefits derived by performing them.
5. As to its external activities, the League will endeavor to keep in spiritual contact with the mother country, creating sympathy here for our oppressed countrymen and helping them by all means in emergencies.17
1. The central board of the Polish League will organize and control two permanent departments, namely, the Educational Department and the Welfare Department.
2. The Educational and Welfare departments shall consist of five members each, namely, a president, two vice-presidents, a recording secretary, and a financial secretary.
3. The duties of the Educational Department shall be:
a. To promote education in the Polish schools by standardizing their educational system and textbooks.
b. To publish inexpensive books suitable for the common people, establish reading rooms, libraries, trade schools, and hold public lectures.18
c. To settle all personal disputes that may arise in the League by arbitration or honor courts.
4. The duties of the Welfare Department shall be:
a. To interest the Poles in agriculture; b. to organize the workingmen; c. to establish employment offices; d. to encourage Polish business.
5. All decisions made by these departments shall be approved by the central board of the League before they may be carried out.
6. Every member of the central board must furnish a bond, the amount of which shall be decided at the convention. This shall apply also to the members of the League's treasury.
7. No officer of the League shall receive any remuneration for his services.19
8. Office expenses of the League shall be paid from its funds.
9. The problem of investing the League's funds and securing a charter for it will be entrusted to competent experts of this country.
10. The central board of the League will determine the rules and regulations to be followed by district commissions and agencies.
11. All members of the central board, departments, district commissions, and agencies must be Poles who are citizens of the United States (or at least they must have first papers). They must be patriotic, moral, and of good character and have an unblemished past.
(Editor's note: The foregoing outline of the constitution of the Polish League, which we have the honor of presenting to the Polish public in the United States, is nothing else but the material that will be submitted for consideration at 20the Kosciusko mass meeting. Whether this outline will be accepted, rejected or changed, wholly or in part, depends on the mass meeting, that is, on the delegates legally chosen by the Polish people in the United States of America.)
III B 2, I A 1 a, I E, I L, II B 2 g, II D 1, II D 4, II D 5, II D 8, II D 10, III C, III G, III H
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