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Emperor Joseph II, Instructions to all State Officials on the Principles Governing the Fulfillment of their Duties (December 13, 1783)

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1st. From here on newly retrieve from the state registers, in accordance with the job of the state administration entrusted to him, all the chief decisions and normal resolutions I have passed, collect them and diligently read and peruse them in such a way that he completely absorbs their true meaning and intent.

2nd. Experience has unfortunately demonstrated that instead of searching out the good in a resolution and fathoming the meaning one does not immediately grasp, or, with just confidence in the known sentiments, grasping the same with zeal and making its implementation one’s charge, one looks at it only from the disagreeable or wrong side, delays its implementation as long as possible, giving no explanation to that end, instructing no one, and in this way seeks merely to spread an ineffectual clamor, indeed, in most cases issues a meaningless instruction that is often not clear enough for compliance. And with this, one fails to note that the territorial prince, with his orders, reveals only his views and intentions, while his court and territorial offices are enjoined to declare in more detail the intent of his will, and to chose all paths that can lead to its more correct, more precise, and swifter implementation, and to remove delays. Moreover, to be constantly attentive that they are being followed diligently and without exception, because the true good can and will happen only from their entirety and precise implementation. Without this intent and disposition, the maintenance of so many court and territorial offices and officials associated with them would constitute the most noxious economy of state, because it would amount to keeping at such cost so many people who serve more to confuse and frustrate affairs than to promote and implement them; if these offices remain merely in material terms, are not effective and do not look after things, there could be no more economical provision than to eliminate them all and thus save millions, which would be remitted from the taxes, and from which the subject would experience a much greater boon than now comes his way from the bad administration of so many officials. And one could just as well have the orders and reports arrive here at the center from the dominiis or district heads, have the directives printed right here, sent out to all, as well as all matters concering particulars taken care of, instead of, as is now the case, after a lenghty circulation, sending a mere note from the district captain or comitat, the state office, and likewise [sending] the subsequent decision without any further instruction, which only wastes time and money, as many are paid to write essays, ponder things, record them, copy them, and, finally, sign them. If, however, as I hope for the future and will know how to introduce, this entire administration paid for by the state will, solely in accordance with its office and with all its powers, adhere to all commands and watch over the explanation and introduction of all charges, and preserve and bring about the good in all parts, their number and maintenance is a fatherly provision, from which every individual in the monarchy will draw his usefulness and the good.

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