letter – Lach Syzyma to Wentworth Blackett Beaumont – 6 Jan 1849

Document Type: letter
Date: 6 Jan 1849
Correspondent: Lach Syzyma
Recipient: Wentworth Blackett Beaumont
Archive Source: AE misc letters
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                                  2 Bateman's Buildings, Soho Square, London

                                                            6th January 1849.

To Blackett Beaumont Esq

Bretton Hall


The Committee of the Polish Refugees resident in Great Britain and Ireland


      The intelligence of your bereavement by your Father's demise has reached us most unexpectedly. It can easely be imagined with what profound grief that mournful event, which is so poignant to you as a son, was received by the Polish refugees who, during so many years, were wont to look on the lamented deceased as the main champion of their Country's cause, and to respect him for his generous liberality towards them in their difficult situation of the expatriated.

      They deem it to have been most fortunate to them, in their condition as exiles, to have possessed a friend of their Country like your honoured Father, one who, in the days of his youth, had visited Poland - saw her cities and villages - mixed with the Society and had become acquainted with the people and its character; and from the impressions he had received of them, and from the associations he had formed of all, could not, in after life, but fondly remember both the land and the natives, and thenceforward strongly sympathize with their fate.

      On these early recollections your honoured Father used often to dilate in the circle of his Polish friends; and the latter felt happy in hearing him dwell, with such a delight, on their native country, which at that time was not yet so debased and wretched as it is at present.

      Actuated by those reminiscences of Poland, after the Polish war of independence in 1831 had taken an unfavourable turn, no sooner had the news reached him of the formation of the ‘Literary Association of the Friends of Poland in London’ by Thomas Campbell than he was one of the foremost in joining it. Alas! that they both, who were then most sanguine in their wishes for the restoration of Poland, should be now no more; and that, before we could return to our native land, we should have had to bury the immortal Bard of the ‘Pleasures of Hope’, the Founder of the Association, at Westminster Abbey, with no other guerdon from us, poor exiles, than a handful of the Polish earth into his grave; as we now, again, have the painful duty to deplore the loss of your noble Father, who had for so many years been the main stay and support of that same Society. 

      Elected President of that Association  in 1833, at the most difficult period of its existence, your lamented Father succeeded  in reorganizing it; nay in saving it from dissolution. Subsequently, by inducing an extensive circle of his influential friends to join it, surrounded by them, he filled for fifteen successive years that Office, each of which years he signalized by fresh instances of his munificent liberality, in recruiting its exhausted funds, in contributing towards useful institutions formed among the Poles, and towards the cause of their country, in general. The latter has been the goal, to which all his wishes and efforts converged. 

      With the view of promoting the success of that cause, and of constantly keeping the interest of it alive, we saw him start a costly periodical publication ‘The British and Foreign Review’. Most distinguished writers, foreign and natives, were engaged by him to write for it: and he most liberally rewarded their labours. He was occasionally himself contributor to it, and for ten years its sole proprietor. And much that is known by the English public of Poland - of her sufferings, rights, and claims to independent existence - has been derived from and  is chiefly owing to the publication of that, in many respects most invaluable Periodical.

      Liberal in principles and following the strong impulses of his noble nature, the departed yearned to see them everywhere triumphant. His most ardent desire, not unlike that of his predecessor Campbell, was to see Poland restored. -’It is as friends of freedom, no less than humanity’, were his own words in the Prospectus, ‘that the conductors of the Review desire to see the spoliation of Poland avenged, and the example of justice, though tardy, substituted for that of unpunished crime’.

      And that time of righting Poland, as was desired by your blessed Father appears to draw well nigh, indeed; for the last year has been too eventful for Europe and its stirring movements not unconnected with the cause of Poland, not to make us anticipate that important result - a consummation of that great act of expiation, of justice done and crime punished, as foreshadowed by your Father's almost prophetic words. England is not to stand isolated, ‘her freedom cannot be alone’, were also words repeated by him; and that ‘Poland should be her Sister in freedom’.

      Such were your noble Parent's wishes and patriotic sentiments, and he did all to confirm them by deeds. He has not lived - to our great regret - to see the realization of them; but you will live (and may God grant you a long life!) to see Poland independent and free - grateful to your feeling as your Father's son. 

      We are authorised to assure you, Sir, that the Poles entertain a deep sense of gratitude for the services rendered by your lamented Father to their country's cause; and, also, that the name of Thomas Wentworth Beaumont  Esq., second President of the Literary Association of the Friends of Poland, will be long honoured and remembered by them, and throughout Poland.

      We no less bear in our grateful remembrance the kindly Christian charities practised by your honoured and amiable Mother, Mrs Beaumont. We therefore, beg you will convey to her the expressions of our most sincere and heartfelt condolence. 

      On behalf of the Polish Refugees resident in Great Britain, 

      The Polish Committee

Colonel Lach Syzyma - President

Ignatius Jackowzki

John Gielgud

Vincent F Kuczynski

John Terlecki - Secretary 

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