Mr. Fogg to Mr. Seward

No. 84.]

Sir: At the request of a large number of the persons interested, I forward to you the enclosed letter from Professor J. Koronikolski to the President of the United States, in behalf of the Polish refugees now temporarily in Switzerland. The total number of these unfortunate men now within the limits of the Swiss Confederation is, I am told, about five hundred, mostly young men, and in many cases belonging to the best families in Poland. Having been engaged in the late unfortunate insurrection, they are unable to return to their native land, and are desirous to go to America.

Professor Koronikolski, whose letter I herewith forward, is the agent of these refugees, and is, I am assured, an honorable, patriotic and trustworthy man, and posseses the confidence of the federal council, who, as you will see by copy of a note addressed to him, (marked A,) takes a warm interest in the aspirations of these Poles to reach America.

Of course I have not felt at liberty to give any assurances of the government aid asked for in the enclosed letter, but 1 have assured them of the warm sympathy both of our government and people towards their brave and unfortunate nation.

Enclosed I send you, marked B, a copy of my note acknowledging reception of Professor K.’s letter to the President.

With the highest respects, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States of America.


The Federal Council to Mr. J. Koronikolski

The Swiss federal council has resolved—

1st. To authorize the federal department of justice and police to give a contribution of one hundred francs each to such Poles as may desire to emigrate to the United States, provided that they find the other necessary means of transportation.

2d. To instruct the Swiss consul general at Washington to inform the government of the United States that a number of Polish refugees intend to emigrate to the United States with the purpose of founding a new home by the acquisition of lands, &c., and that the federal council requests the American government to facilitate to these unfortunate men the execution of their plan as far as practicable.

The Chancellor of the Swiss Confederation, SCHEISS.

Made out for communication to Mr. J. Koronikolski.

[Page 215]

Mr. Fogg to Mr. Koronikolski

My Dear Sir.: Your letter addressed to the President of the United States in behalf of a portion of your unfortunate countrymen Polish refugees now finding a temporary asylum in Switzerland, but wishing to secure a permanent home in America, has been received, and will be forwarded to Washington at the earliest moment.

Without being authorized to promise that all the prayers of your letter will be granted, I can assure you of the warm sympathy of the government and people of the United States for the sufferings and misfortunes of the brave patriots of Poland.

Wishing you, my dear sir, every possible success in your laudable efforts to ameliorate the condition of your countrymen, I am, very truly, your obedient servant,



Berne, April, 1865.

Sir: Animated by the desire to procure for his unfortunate countrymen, the Polish refugees, the best means of finding a new home, the undersigned, professor of gymnastics at St. Gall, Switzerland, has come to the conviction that by emigrating to the United States they would best secure a new civil existence under the protection and laws of that country. The noble aspirations of the great republic are a pledge that its President will not withhold from them his generous support.

The Polish emigrants are scattered over a great many European states, where they have met with the most sympathetic reception, but no prospect of securing any durable futurity. The only hope left to them in Europe would be to see the regeneration of their country—a hope which, we must say, to our great pain, has vanished for a long time to come. We may therefore unhesitatingly say that, at present, we have no future in Europe.

Under these circumstances it is very natural that the Poles, like other political proscripts, should look towards America and seek to place themselves under the protection of the Union, which is assuredly the last and most secure asylum of the world, and in which they hope to become useful citizens under the star-spangled banner.

Far from it to be the intention to solicit from the Union the assistance usually accorded to the indigent. On the contrary, it is our purpose to establish a Polish colony, under the auspices, and, if possible, with the aid of our own resources—a colony which, at the same time, would have the means of being useful to all its countrymen emigrating thither.

Our principal purpose is to obtain assistance of the government at Washington in order that we may find on its hospitable soil some basis for the realization of our project and for keeping together our countrymen by a common tie. Besides, we would wish that the government would assign to us, for cash, lands in some part of the country where an extension of the colony according to its necessities would be practicable.

We can, of course, not know to what extent our request will be received by the government of the Union; considering, however, the facility with which colonization is going on in the Union, and in the conviction that the Union will receive the Polish proscripts as cheerfully as other emigrants, and that we will prove ourselves to be citizens equally useful, we take new courage in the certainty of success.

The undersigned takes the liberty respectfully and earnestly to entreat the American minister at Berne to forward this petition to his excellency the President of the United States, accompanied by his recommendation.

At the next meeting of Congress we, of course, reserve to ourselves to solicit the gratuitous cession of lands which, according to information given us by Minister Fogg, might be granted to emigrated American citizens. At the same time we desire, at a later period, to come to an understanding with the American committee of emigration as to the alleviation of the costs of transportation, although we do not venture to express the hope of being transported at the expense of the Union on board of its vessels. It may be the case that the government in its generosity will accord to us that favor spontaneously, in which case we would not consider it indiscreet to accept such favor from the hands of a great nation.

Flattering ourselves in the hope of a favorable response, we cannot conclude without urgently recommending the unfortunate homeless Polish proscripts to your generosity and to the sympathy of the brave and liberal nation.

I have the honor to be your excellency’s most obedient servant,


His Excellency Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America.