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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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3rd. It follows from this that in all offices, and without exception, everyone must have such a zeal for his business that he measures his work not according to hours, not according to days, not according to pages, but exerts all his powers when he has business in order to perform it according to expectations and his duty, and if he has none, then he may enjoy the rest that one justly experiences doubly so if one is conscious of having done one’s duty.

The person who does not possess love for service to the fatherland and his fellow citizens, who does not find that he is inflamed by a special zeal to preserve the good, is not made for affairs and does not deserve to posses honorary titles and receive emoluments.

4th. Self-interest of every kind is the ruin of all affairs and the least forgiveable vice of a state servant. Self-interest should not be understood solely in monetary terms, but also in terms of all secondary intentions that obscure, cloak, conceal, delay, or enfeeble what is the only true and best, the assigned duty and truth in reports and accuracy in implementation. Anyone who is guilty of this is dangerous and noxious to all further state service, just as the person who knows about it and does not reveal it is in cahoots with him, and either draws his own advantage from that man’s self-interest, or is simply waiting for an opportunity to do the same. [ . . . ]

5th. The person who wishes to serve the state and does so must put himself completely second, as was already said above. It follows from this that no other matter, no personal business, no conversation must keep him and take him away from the main business, also that no competency quarrel, no ceremony, courtesy, or rank must keep him in the least from effecting the best in attaining the main goal, from being the most zealous, for maintaining the most order among his subordinates. [ . . . ]

6th. Just as it is the duty of everyone to report reliably, judge all facts according to the main principles, and freely add his opinion, it is also the duty of every state official to ponder the elimination of all grievances, the true and best way of implementing orders, the uncovering of those acting against them, and, finally, everything that could redound to the prosperity and good of his fellow citizens, the service to whom is our calling. [ . . . ]

8th. Since the good can only be one thing, namely what concerns the general and the greatest number, and likewise all provinces of the monarchy make up simply a whole and can therefore only have one purpose, it is therefore necessary that all jealousy, all bias, which have until now often caused such useless writings between provinces and nations, then between departments, cease, and one must simply internalize that in the case of the body of the state, as with the human body, if not every part is healthy all suffer, and all must also contribute to healing even the smallest evil. Nation, religion must make no difference in all of this, and as brothers of a monarchy all must apply themselves equally to be useful to each other. [ . . . ]

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