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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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10th. In affairs to serve the state, no personal like or dislike can have any influence. Just as different characters and ways of thinking cannot be compelled into a friendly relationship in social intercouse, likewise in affairs, their weal and promotion must be the sole goal of the servants, and the one dearest and most esteemed by all must be the one who is most capable and hard-working. [ . . . ]

13th. Since it all comes down to orders being correctly understood, precisely implemented, and so that the individuals who are employed are correctly judged and recognized for their ability or inability and employed accordingly, it is indispensably necessary that every year or so, as often as there is a mere suspicion that in one or another province things are either in disorder or proceeding too slowly or not effectively, either the head himself, or the man dispatched by him, promptly seek out the territorial office or the general command, investigate the circumstances in loco, examine the subjects who are being used, listen to everyone, and thereafter immediately and according to the already existing orders remedy what is not right, reprimand, or notify me of significant nuisances found, and at the same time arrange for the dismissal of the unfit subjects. [ . . . ]

14th. Everyone who is a true servant of the state and thinks rightly must, in all proposals and improvements that can clearly be more useful, simpler, or more befitting to the common good, be it in documentation, in taxation, or in economic conduct, never consider himself and [must never] assess the matter in accordance with his personal interest or convenience, and come out against it if it is troublesome to him, or in favor, if it is useful; instead, he must always act in accordance with the great principle that he is only a single individual, and that the common good of the greater number far surpasses his own, as it does that of any particular individual, and even that of the territorial lord, seen as a single man; he must consider that he himself, even if he does not grasp it at first, will subsequently share an advantage from what is useful to the general public, of which he forms a single part.

These, in brief, are my thoughts; my words and my example can prove that duty and conviction guide me to follow them, and one may hereafter be assured that I will implement the same. He who thinks this way with me and who wants to devote himself, by completely setting aside all other considerations, as a true servant of the state, for as long as he serves the same, he will understand my above sentences, and implementing them will be no more difficult than it is for me; but he who has his eyes only on the usefulness or honor attached to this service, and regards the management of the state as merely a secondary matter, he should rather say so beforehand and leave an office for which he is neither worthy nor made for, the administration of which demands a warm soul for the best interest of the state and the complete renunciation of himself and all leisure.

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