Sześciu Polaków co Nową Anglię budowało

Wedle Pamiętnika Handlowca 1.  października 1608 wylądowało w Jamestown w Nowej Anglii sześciu wybitnych, polskich specjalistów: Zbigniew Stefański – od produkcji szkła; szkutnik Jan Bogdan – także od produkcji paku oraz dziegciu („Umiejętność produkcji dziegciu była kiedyś pilnie strzeżoną tajemnicą, a sam dziegieć bardzo cenioną i szeroko stosowaną substancją.”); Jan Mata – od produkcji mydła; oraz szlachcic Michał Łowicki wraz ze Stanisławem Sadowskim i Karolem Źrenicą.**

Warto tu przypomnieć iż Jamestown to „pierwsza stała osada angielskich kolonistów w Ameryce Północnej, na terenie dzisiejszego stanu Wirginia, założona 14 maja 1607.”  A William Kelso pisze iż właśnie w Jamestown miało początek Imperium Brytyjskie („where the British Empire began”)…

Polscy fachowcy błyskawicznie uruchomili hutę szkła – pierwszy zakład przemysłowy w Ameryce! Mimo wielkiego znaczenia „polskiego przemysłu” dla Nowej Anglii i Kompanii Wirgińskiej nasi rodacy nie mieli początkowo praw wyborczych. W efekcie doprowadziło to do pierwszego w historii Ameryki Północnej strajku! Spór został szybko zażegnany, a polskie żądania spełnione…

The court record of the Virginia company for July 21, 1619, puts it best: „Upon some dispute of the Polonians in Virginia, it was now agreed…they shall be enfranchised and made as free as any inhabitant there whatsoever.”

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**) „Captain John Smith, leader of the Virginia Company, previously had dealings with the Poles and knew of their enterprising ways. The Virginia Company hired Poles as experts and instructors in the manufacture of the products which England was so dependent on from Poland, viz., glass, pitch, and tar. A small group of six landed with the expedition on October 1, 1608: Zbigniew Stefanski–glass production expert; Jan Bogdan–pitch, tar, and ship construction expert; Jan Mata–soap manufacture expert; Michael Lowicki–nobleman; and Stanislaus Sadowski and Karol Zrenica. Soon after their arrival, these artisans constructed a glass furnace a mile from Jamestown.

Cutting down trees in the area, they also began the first wood products manufacturing center. They worked so industriously that within three years the Poles were able to repay the Virginia Company for their passage and become free citizens of the Jamestown colony.

The Poles continued to manufacture wood products in Virginia until 1622. Between 1608 and 1622, however, their relations with the English periodically soured and their vital work halted. Production on occasion was halted because the colony disfranchised the Poles. Possessing a keen sense of freedom and civil liberties, the Poles considered disfranchisement an affront to their sense of justice and liberty. On June 30, 1619, the Virginia House of Burgesses instituted a representative form of government which granted only those of English descent the right to vote. Automatically disenfranchised, the immigrants were incensed. In response, the Poles suspended operations in their glass factory, tar distillery, and soap factory. By withholding their labors, the Poles were able to exert powerful economic pressure; most of the cash products with the highest profits to the London Company were provided by the Polish industries. Governor Yeardly and the Virginia legislature readily reversed their decision, righting a political wrong perpetrated against the Poles.”

 

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