His father Jan Skarbek’s financial profligacy resulted in the family estate becoming indebted, and Fryderyk’s father went abroad to avoid creditors, never to return. Skarbek received excellent classical education. His home teacher was Mikołaj Chopin, the father of the famous composer and pianist. In fact, Fryderyk Chopin was given his first name after Skarbek who was his godfather. From 1805 to 1808, Skarbek attended the Warsaw Lyceum, and in 1809 he went to Paris to study. After returning to Poland, he became an official in the Duchy of Warsaw in 1811. After Napoleon’s downfall, he remained a public servant of the Kingdom of Poland. At the time he contributed, among others, to Pamiętnik Warszawski [“Warsaw Diary”]. In 1818, he took over the Chair of Political Economy at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw, which remained vacant after the resignation of Dominik Krysiński (1785–1853); in 1820, he was appointed Full Professor and in 1821, he was elected member of the Society of Friends of Sciences in Warsaw. During the 1820s, he wrote a series of dissertations devoted to social and economic issues as well as novels and theatrical plays. He cooperated with the Governmental Committee of Internal Affairs. Having become acquainted in 1828 with the state of prisons and establishments for the poor in the German states and in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, he was considered a leading expert in the field and was appointed to the Directorate of Hospitals and Prisons, and soon afterwards to the Council of State. He was also an assessor in the Governmental Committee of Internal Affairs. He drafted a bill on vagrants and beggars, which was adopted during the parliamentary session in 1830. At the end of October 1830, he left for St. Petersburg, and was there when the November Uprising broke out. The fact that he stayed in Russia gave rise to considerable controversy. In March 1831, Tsar Nicholas I nominated him Minister of Religious Denominations and Education in the Provisional Government of the Kingdom of Poland, but he ultimately did not serve in that post as a result of the change in the Tsar’s policy. Further stages of his career in administration included the membership and presidency of the Central Welfare Council of Charitable Institutions, the office of State Councillor in the Governmental Committee of Internal Affairs and presidency of the Insurance Directorate. In 1847, he received the title of Privy Councillor. From 1854 to 1858, he was the resident director of the Governmental Committee of Justice and a member of the Kingdom’s Administrative Council. He subsequently lost these offices as a result of his dispute with the superintendent of the Warsaw School District and the head of the Governmental Committee of Internal and Spiritual Affairs Pavel Mukhanov. Subsequently, he returned to academic activity and writing. He became closer to the circle Andrzej Zamoyski, president of the Agricultural Society, while being conflicted with Aleksander Wielopolski. Despite the Russian proposal, he did not ultimately become a member of the reactivated State Council, because he set a condition that was unacceptable for the tsarist authorities, i.e. that an elected opinion-giving body be established, designed by him, which would review the proposed legal acts. He died on 25 November 1866 in Warsaw. Most important works: Gospodarstwo narodowe [“National economy”] (vols. 1–4, 1820), Rys ogólny nauki finansów [“General outline of the financial science”] (1824), O ubóstwie i ubogich [“On poverty and the poor”] (1827), Ogólne zasady nauki gospodarstwa narodowego... [“General principles of the national economy”] (1859, published in French as Théorie des richesses sociales, 1829), Dzieje Polski [“History of Poland”] (vols. 1–3, 1877); novels: Tarło [“Spawning Season”] (vols. 1–3, 1827), Damian Ruszczyc (vols. 1–3, 1827–1828), Życie i przypadki Faustyna Dodosińskiego [“Life and Adventures of Faustyn Dodosiński”] (vols. 1–2, 1838), Pan Antoni [“Mr Antoni”] (1824), Pamiętniki Seglasa [“Seglas’ Diaries”] (1845).
This website is a part of the project entitled ‘Polish Political Thought and Independence: A Program for the Promotion of Polish Intellectual Heritage Abroad’, generously funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland as A part of ‘Public Diplomacy 2017’ programme, component ‘Collaboration in the field of Public Diplomacy 2017’.