Wincenty Skrzetuski 1745-1791

He was born on 5 June 1745 in Grójec in the Kraków province and attended the Kraków Nowodworskie Schools. In 1760, he joined the Piarist Order. He studied at Piarist Seminaries in Rzeszów and Miedzyrzecze Korzeckie as well as in Kraków. In 1770 and 1771, he taught rhetoric at the college in Rzeszów. Subsequently, already in Warsaw, he supervised Piarist construction works. In 1772, he published Dzieje królestwa szwedzkiego od panowania Waldemara, to jest od r. 1250, aż do niniejszego roku według lat opisane [“The History of the Kingdom of Sweden from the reign of Valdemar, i.e. from 1250, until this year, described in chronological order”]. A year later, he published Mowy o główniejszych materiach politycznych [“Speeches on most important political issues”], in which he justified his views with references to statements by, among others, Montesquieu, Grotius, Vattel, Hume and Quesney. Among the topics discussed were, for example, dissertations O następstwie królów [“On the succession of kings”], O zachowaniu traktatów [“On the preservation of treaties”], O równi mocy między państwami [“On the equilibrium of power between states”] and O powinności narodów jednych ku drugim [“On the duties of nations towards one another”]. King Stanisław August honoured the author of the “Speeches” with the Merentibus order. However, the planned second volume was never published and the manuscript was lost. During his stay in France (1774–1776), he established contacts with local scientists, including Quesney. After unsuccessful attempts to find a parish, he worked as a tutor for the Stadnicki family, and then again in Piarist colleges. Another important work by Skrzetuski, a two-volume dissertation entitled Prawo polityczne narodu polskiego [“Political law of the Polish nation”], was published in the years 1782–1784. At that time, he promoted Mably’s ideas. In the late 1780s, he became coadjutor of the Grodno parish and later the Szawdy parish in Samogitia, but during the Great Sejm he found himself in Warsaw, closely following the course of the debates and supporting the patriotic party. He died on 2 December 1791.


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