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Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff, Excerpts from Teutscher Fürsten-Staat (1656)

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(3.) If the Roman Empire is afflicted or insulted by external enemies or by internal rebellions, he is obligated, upon request from the Imperial Majesty and the Empire, or from the person who is directed to do so through a unanimous decision and decree, to place himself before the freedom and protection of the fatherland and render aid with a substantial part or all of the powers of his land and people, or in their stead with a certain monetary or imperial tax.

(4.) Now, other high potentates who have no superior lord in the land are also bound to Christian virtues, decency, and honor, and to what is on the whole right and wrong to other people, or in a word, to divine, natural, or all the nations’ law. However, [only] in rare cases can one recover from them [i.e., the potentates] in this world if they act contrary to these things; instead, those, especially, who are weak or subject to them must leave it to the just God to judge in His time their errors and acts of violence. However, a prince of the Empire is obligated and bound to answer the complaint of the person he is insulting or doing wrong, and unjustly impeding his freedom and privileges that he may have justly attained, according to the circumstance and distinctions of the case, including also social origins, before the high courts of the Empire, or in other ways, as the laws may provide, and to do or refrain from doing what he is granted or denied; in other words, that the German territorial lords are thus obliged – and justified – not only by the laws and customs described above, but also by the special laws and customs that are customary in the Roman Empire. However, in this regard the princes and lords have one privilege over lesser persons, in that their complaint is heard in a certain way and in certain places, namely in accordance with the distinction of the matter, before another prince of the Empire, whom they have chosen as an acceptable judge, or before their own councils, or at the Imperial Court or the Chamber of Justice, and that they bring suit against others there, so that their affairs are examined all the more importantly and adequately for the preservation of their respect and of the state, and that they are not hurried, as can be found in detail in the Holy Roman Empire’s Code of the Chamber of Justice, and other books that have emerged from the condition and constitution of the Holy Roman Empire.

§ 3. With respect to the other point, where we have said that the territorial lord has the power to make laws and regulations, he must, because of the dominion of the Empire hovering above him, see to it that such regulations and laws do not go against those laws and regulations that are prescribed for the entire German land by His Imperial Majesty and all of the estates; rather, they must be in accordance and concordance with them, unless he wanted to arrange the same in greater detail and more precisely to the conditions of his land, or it concerned a matter not touched upon in the imperial regulations and instead left open, or it concerned an unclear legal question that required clarification, or the contrary practice had been customary at all times in his principality and lands through long habit or the favor of the Emperor and the Empire.

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