Stanisław Staszic


Stanisław Staszic

Infobox Person
name =Stanisław Staszic


image_size =250px
caption =
birth_date =November 6, 1755
birth_place =Piła
death_date =January 20, 1826
death_place =Warsaw
occupation =Philosopher and writer
spouse =
parents =
children =

Stanisław Staszic (November 6, 1755 - January 20, 1826) was a Polish priest, philosopher, statesman, geologist, scholar, poet and writer, a leader of the Polish Enlightenment, famous for works related to the "Great" or "Four-Year Sejm" (1788-1792) and its Constitution of May 3, 1791.

Life

Staszic was born into a burgher family in the town of Piła. He graduated from a Jesuit school in Poznań and became a Catholic priest. Between 1779 and 1781 he continued his theological studies in France and Germany. He also spent some time abroad between 1790-1791 and 1794-1797.

Due to his burgher origin, he was barred from owning land and holding many official posts in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but due to the friendship of Józef Wybicki he got a position of a tutor in the house of the great chancellor, Andrzej Zamoyski.

Staszic was a strong partisan of reforms and an ardent advocate of the interests of the lower classes, especially the peasants. A physiocrat, monist, pan-Slavist (after 1815) and laissez-fairist, he was a leading supporter of the reforms introduced by the May Constitution of Poland of 1791. He advocated the abolition of the second serfdom and improvements of the peasants fate (by granting them land and private rights). Founded the Hrubieszowskie Towarzystwo Rolnicze (Hrubieszów's Agricultural Society) in 1816, the first Polish cooperative.

After the partitions of Poland, he organized mining schools, societies of learning, departments of industry and arts. From 1808 he was director of the Society of Friends of Learning (or Society for the Promotion of Learning, Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk), predecessor to the Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk). After the fall of the Duchy of Warsaw in 1815, he became a member of the Council of State of the successor Congress Kingdom.

He studied and wrote about geography and geology, discovered coal in Dąbrowa Górnicza, where he initiated the building of a coal mine. He was also an active supporter of industrial development in Poland. Between 1816 and 1824, he was "de facto" minister of industry of the Congress Kingdom and began construction of the Old Polish Industrial Area ("Staropolski Okręg Przemysłowy"), with steel and zinc mills around Kielce and Sandomierz.

He died in Warsaw in 1826. His testament left his property at Hrubieszów to its tenants.

Awards

* Knight of the Order of the White Eagle

Works

His best-known works include:

* "Remarks upon the Life of Jan Zamoyski" ("Uwagi nad życiem Jana Zamoyskiego", 1787)
* "Warnings for Poland" (or "Warnings to Poland", "Przestrogi dla Polski", 1790)
* "On the Origin of Mountains in Former Sarmatia and Later Poland" ("O ziemorództwie gór dawnej Sarmacji, potem Polski", 1815)
* "Humankind" ("Ród Ludzki", 1820)
* A Polish translation of Homer's Iliad (1815).

Quotes

* "Even a worthy nation can fall, but only a worthless one can perish"
* "People will not work their best until they are [...] owners of their land"

See also

* Friedrich Wilhelm von Reden
* Hugo Kołłątaj
* Piotr Skarga
* History of philosophy in Poland

Persondata
NAME= Staszic, Stanisław
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Philosopher and writer
DATE OF BIRTH=November 6, 1755
PLACE OF BIRTH=Piła
DATE OF DEATH=January 20, 1826
PLACE OF DEATH=Warsaw


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