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Grand Duke Ludwig I of Hesse-Darmstadt, Edict on the "Abolition of the Previous Estates-System" (October 1, 1806)

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Guided by these reflections, experiences, and reasons, We have most graciously made the decision to abolish and dissolve herewith the provincial estates in all of Our provinces on Our own absolute authority, transferring the affairs managed by the former to Our State Colleges, to which, according to the duties placed on them, the best interest of the country is no less sacred than to the estates. We hope, by this uniformity introduced into the constitution of Our territories, to find Ourselves in a position to work more actively and effectively toward the welfare of Our beloved subjects.

To ensure, however, that upon dissolution of the corporatistic association, those who have advanced funds toward estates-related loans or loans guaranteed by the estates have no cause for disconcerting worries, We declare most solemnly and give Our sovereign promise that all obligations of the provincial estates or guaranteed by the provincial estates will still be left allotted with and mortgaged by the state and that the most punctual care shall be taken to adjust the interest payable from this as before prior to all the other payments, and that the assets payable or foreclosed in due form be discharged according to previously existing standards.

Source: Archiv der großherzoglich hessischen Gesetze und Verordnungen [Archive of the Grand Ducal Hessian Laws and Decrees], edited under the supervision of the ministries. Vol. 1, No. 4. Darmstadt, 1834. p. 19f.

Reprinted in Walter Demel and Uwe Puschner, eds. Von der Französischen Revolution bis zum Wiener Kongreß 1789-1815 [From the French Revolution to the Congress of Vienna, 1789-1815], Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, vol. 6. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1995, pp. 112-14.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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