Piattoli, Scipione°

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PIATTOLI, SCIPIONE ° (1749–1809), Italian clergyman who later became a Polish statesman. He was born in Florence and lived in Poland from 1783. In 1789, on a tour of France, he supported the political demands of the third estate and was deeply impressed by the suggestion of *Malesherbes for an improvement in the situation of the Jews in Alsace. On his return to Poland in 1790, he made contact with the reformists in the Sejm, and took an active part in the formation of the constitution of May 3, 1791. His diplomatic qualifications led to his appointment as adviser to Stanislaus Augustus, the last king of Poland. Piattoli strove to rectify the unstable legal situation of Polish Jews, combining practical suggestions on behalf of the Jews with an effort to solve the king's personal financial debts. In September 1791 he proposed that Jews be given the right to buy land and houses, and juridical autonomy and the status of a separate urban class. For these rights the Jews were to pay the king's debts (about 20 million zlotys) in 10 annual installments. Piattoli first addressed his proposal to the leaders of the Jewish communities, then in Warsaw, asking them for their support. He also convinced certain statesmen, H. Kollątaj, A. Linowski, J. Jeziezski, and others, to discuss his plan in the Sejm. In 1792, however, Piattoli's proposal was opposed by urban representatives and those aristocrats who inclined toward Russia. The Sejm was dissolved on May 26, 1792 with the outbreak of war between Russia and Poland, and Piattoli's proposal lapsed.


N.M. Gelber, in: Nowe Życie, no. 6 (1924), 321–3; A. D'Ancona, S. Piattoli e la Polonia (1915); Encyklopedia Powszechna, 20 (1865), 640–1. add. bibliography: M. Balaban, Historja i literatura zydowska, vol. 3 (1925) 424–28; A.Eisenbach et al., Materialy do Sejmu czteroletniego, vol. 6 (1969), 544–45.

[Arthur Cygielman]