SKARBEK, Fryderik Florjan [Count]. O ubostwie i ubogich. Warsaw, Galezowski, 1827.
8vo. Original [?] plain wrappers; pp. , iii, 150, [2, blank]; apart from light toning, and the final blank partly stuck to rear wrapper, a fine copy in its original state.
Rare first edition of an early Skarbek title on political economy, based on the Polish experience, his On Misery and the Poor, dedicated to Zofia Zamoyska (1780-1837), member of the Polish high nobility, hailed at the Congress of Vienna as the most outstanding beauty.
'The conception of the moral unification and solidarity of all social states was ... developed and popularized on a European scale by Fryderyk Skarbek, writer, activist, and educator, who today is too little remembered. In his book On the Misery and the Poor (O ubóstwie i ubogich), edited in 1827, speaking about duties of the privileged he applied a theory of social models which he later developed in his essay in French entitled Essai de Morale Civique (1860), touching upon the so-called active people' (Zygmunt Komorowski, Universal Values in Polish Culture, online).
Skarbek was befriended by and godfather to the composer Frédéric Chopin (1810–49), who had been born on the Skarbek estate in Żelazowa Wola. As well as stage plays, Skarbek wrote on social issues, fiction, satires, worked on prison reform in Britain, Holland and Russia, and is responsible for the design of the infamous Pawiak prison in Warsaw. Count Fryderyk Skarbek (1792-1866) studied in Warsaw and Paris, where he obtained private tuition in economics from Saint-Aubin and Piotr Maleszewski. ‘In 1818 he was called to the chair of political economy at the University of Warsaw, where he taught with great success until the closing of the institution by the Russian authorities after the collapse of the Polish insurrection in 1831 … His literary legacy includes besides several works on economics, which established his reputation as the foremost Polish economist of his period, a number of studies in the field of history, criminology, statistics and general social reform. While Skarbek regarded himself as a follower and interpreter of the classical school of economics, he departed from its teachings in a number of significant respects. Even in his early writings he drew a sharp distinction between theoretical economics, which has for its purpose the discovery of universal principles on the nature and source of the wealth of nations, and applied economics, in which the general principles shoud be modified in accordance with the geographical location, degree of economic development and other peculiarities of the respective nations' (Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences).