Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Knight as an Equal: Tadeusz Kosciuszko

This book review of The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution kicks some facts at you, aside from the obvious one that this guy came over from Poland and served the American cause in the Revolution. He was a fine engineer, and knew Washington, Jefferson, et al, and was made a Brigadier in 1783. But here are two things I have never heard before:

When Booker T. Washington visited Krakow, Poland, in 1910, he made a ­special point of paying tribute to Kosciuszko. He later wrote: "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 it in Krakow, what Kosciuszko had done for the freedom and ­education of my own people. . . . When I visited the tomb of ­Kosciuszko, I placed a rose on it in the name of my race."

Kosciuszko’s will, amazingly, included a provision that some of his fortune should be used to buy the freedom of American slaves and to pay for their education. The scheme was not carried out by Jefferson who recused himself as executor and Kosciuszko’s estate was never used as he had hoped.

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