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The Brandenburg Recess: Resolutions agreed to by Frederick William ("the Great Elector") and the Brandenburg Estates in the Recess of July 26, 1653 (1653)

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We have had a special contract concluded with Jews, in virtue whereof all traffic of any kind is forbidden to them in Our Electoral Lands, except only on public and solemn festivals, on which, however, they must report themselves to the local magistracy, against which arrangement no one will have any cause to complain. For the rest, We will not permit to them any fixed domiciles or synagogues, and if they should offer inferior goods for sale or practice illicit usury, We will not fail to punish this severely.

3. Thirdly, We will leave the patronage of parishes to Our Estates, free and unrestricted as heretofore, and persons having the patronage or right of nomination and presentation shall further be empowered to install in them fit and qualified persons, and also to remove them, for serious reasons, as appropriate to the nature of the offense, but only by due process of law. We will also graciously protect and maintain persons who have the right of nomination and presentation.

[ . . . ]

[Candidates for ordination are to be examined by the Superintendant General in Frankfurt, and must satisfy certain standards laid down in the remainder of this article.]

4. Fourthly, parishes, churches, and their appurtenances are to be left in enjoyment of their old privileges, resources, and rights.

[ . . . ]

[The rest of this article and Arts. 5 to 10 are concerned with details of pastors’ stipends, fees, etc. Art. 11, which is included in the Recess in the articles concerned with religion but is of wider application than the purely religious, since it deals also with nonecclesiastical appointments, is concerned with the important question of “indigenat,” or nationality. There was at this time no single nationality for all the Elector’s subjects; a man was a Prussian, Cleves-Mark, or Brandenburg national. The article represents a compromise, for the Elector’s wish was to employ in any of his dominions anyone whom he thought fit, even if not a national thereof, but his hands were tied because in previous negotiations with the diets of Cleves and Prussia he had been obliged to promise to employ in those provinces only natives of them, so that he was now forced to accept the same principle for Brandenburg, but reserved his right here to depart from it in special cases:]

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