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Maximilian von Montgelas, "Ansbach Memorandum." Proposal for a Program of State Reforms (September 30, 1796)
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Here we have indicated only the main objects of reform. There are many others that stray too far into the details of internal administration, and thereby diverge from the subject of this memorandum, such as the abolition or at least the regulation of corvées, the elimination of arbitrariness in levying seigniorial duties on sales, the Laudemium, and other seigniorial duties and fees. This point is all the more important and requires a discussion all the more thorough because it is a question of reconciling the interest of the taxpayer and the promotion of the advance of agriculture, which cannot be avoided, with the respect we owe to the sacred right of property. Here we will not discuss whether it would be advisable to abolish trusteeships and majorats. Nor shall we discuss the abolition of a multiplicity of lower-level jurisdictions that needlessly complicate the administration of justice. We remain silent regarding the reform of civil law, the code of Bavarian laws, and especially criminal law, which has long been called for by all humane and enlightened persons.

IV. The ministry of ecclesiastical affairs [ . . . ]

Discussions with ecclesiastical tribunals have multiplied endlessly. They have led to a total relaxation of discipline among the clergy and promote the corruption of the priests by failing to hold them responsible for all their excesses. Without a doubt, ecclesiastical tribunals have allowed great attacks on the rights of the Sovereign, but the resistance was not always wise or systematic. [ . . . ]

The administration of ecclesiastical properties has been neglected to the point that it has become a disgrace to the government that permits it and also to the employees who allow themselves to forget their duties in such a strange way. [ . . . ]

The abbeys and convents require a reform that will make them more useful to society than they have been in the past. The mendicant orders should be completely eliminated. They are a burden on society, in that they live at its expense and preserve ignorance and suspicion within it. Other religious orders could be reduced to the number of monks or nuns involved at the time of their original foundation. The remaining members would continue to administer their properties in their current form, but they would be authorized to use only that portion of the revenues necessary to maintain themselves, in accordance with a rate set on a per capita basis, and they would be obliged to pay the surplus, after deducting management costs, into the ecclesiastical fund to be used for the benefit of the state. Attempts to carry out such a plan have been made in France. The Republic of Venice successfully implemented it in 1768 and 1769. The Marquis de Tanucci introduced it in the Kingdom of Naples in 1770. Since the superiors of most of these religious houses have seats in the legislatures of the provinces and are, in this respect, integral parts of the respective constitutions, it would be appropriate to arrive at an understanding with them regarding the ways and means of promoting these beneficial intentions.

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