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

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§ 13. However, should the estates, in their first reply to the proposed points, express a doubtful, or even negative and contrary opinion: where their invoked reasons do not seem significant, they will be handed a written counter-statement or reply, in the name of the territorial lord, to which they have to answer in another response or counter-statement; and in important and troublesome matters, it often gets so that even more letters are exchanged before a conclusion is agreed upon; however, in order to prevent prolixity, people tend not to want to engage in further letters; instead, through oral conference between the territorial lord’s councils and all – or some – of the territorial estates, the matters on which one is of different opinion are presented to each other, until a resolution is arrived at, either in accordance with the proposal of the territorial lord, or in other useful ways, according to the counsel of the estates, or the majority of them; and the territorial lord will then proceed all the more carefully with it, because such decisions of the territorial diets [Landtage] concern not only the described estates and their villeins, but also his immediate subjects of the bailiwicks that probably make up the larger part of the land, and because he must care for and act on their behalf in this case.

§ 14. At such meetings, the territorial estates usually also bring forward what they wish to complain about to the territorial lord, on account of his government, or because of some abuse or another that his officials and servants in the land would engage in.

The territorial lord listens to these complaints, and should it turn out [ . . . ] that it concerns a common complaint, which affects either the entire land or several noble estates of the same, or perhaps only a single one, or merely a few, but with frightful consequence and impact on others, he will either [ . . . ] declare that he properly understands and will remedy the abuse, or will submit it to further investigation, or, if need be, will select or appoint, in addition to his councils, several from the midst of the landschafft, which they themselves have proposed from among the most understanding and impartial men, which in such complaints or grievances shall summon those who are affected, be they estates of the land or the lord’s officials, investigate the nature of the matter, and institute a proper remedy.

§ 15. But if such matters fall to the territorial lord on which, from old custom and duty, he is not obliged to ask the territorial estates for counsel, even though he does not like to act without their foreknowledge; or the matter rests on a mere decree, but concerns the subjects as a whole; or there is talk of a suitable means of how the things agreed upon at the Landtage can be carried out most appropriately, it is the custom of the territorial lord not to summon all territorial estates as a whole, but, in order to avoid the costs and gain time, frequently also for the sake of keeping things more secret, appoint a committee of the same. Such a committee or appointment of several persons, sometimes smaller, sometimes larger in number, is for the most part agreed upon by all estates or classes of the Landschaften at a general Landtag, and set to work so that the territorial lord will know whom he needs to call upon in the above-mentioned cases.

Furthermore, as the course of events and time would have it, such a committee is authorized by all territorial estates for such matters that otherwise belong to the entire Landschaft, and when the territorial lord then comes to an agreement with those of the committee, this is just as good and valid as though it had been transacted at a regular Landtag. [ . . . ]

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