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S. Staszic

Stanislaw Staszic (1755 - 1826)

He is one of the brightest people of Polish Enlightenment, whose work has had significant meaning to the Motherland. He came from a small city Pila in Great Poland. Because of his burgher origin, he personally suffered by reason of inequality in society. His position as a priest and family welfare significantly helped him to achieve future goals. His great love of the Motherland and understanding other people led him to devote all his life to two things: Poland and Learning. He studied science at the University of Gottingen and Leipzig in Germany and as well College de France in Paris. His personal interest in geology pushed him to participate in much scientific research in the Alps and Appennines and in this way it became the major activity in his entire life. Stanislaw was deeply dissatisfied by reason of many obstacles met by people of peasant origin so he turned his attention to political and social writing. He was inspired by the French philosopher J. J. Rousseau and under whose influence he created program reforms which were very radical at the time. In his works he showed unjustified treatment not only to burgeoise but as well to peasants who prevailed in society. In two well known treatises, he aroused the lively interest of both his opponents and champions. "Remarks on the Life of Jan Zamoyski" (Uwagi nad zyciem Jana Zamojskiego) and his "Warnings for Poland" (Przestrogi dla Polski, 1790), appeared during the time of the Four Years' Diet. He pointed to the causes of the troubles and political weakness of the state, laying stress on the limitation of the king's power and the harmful predominance of the gentry, the lack of modern army and a modern treasury, and demanded rights for the underpriviledged burghers and peasants. "First the nation, and then freedom, first life and then comfort." was his chief watchword. His own estate was divided to the peasants and he organized many public utilities such as: schools, banks, hospitals, etc. Most of his personal assets were spent on the community by building a palace for the Science Association and the statue of Copernicus. To this day the memory of what he did still lives on through the monuments he left behind.

Stanislaw Staszic
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