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The Political Testament of Frederick William I ("the Soldier King") (February 17, 1722)

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I beg my successor most earnestly to impose no cuts in the pay of the regimental commanders, junior officers, and rank and file, and to leave their commissariat as he will find it after my death. Insofar as you do that, I give my dear successor my blessing, that God may prosper him in all his enterprises and make him formidable, that God may bestow on him more blessings than He did on Solomon. But if you act otherwise and cut down the commissariat, I withdraw my fatherly blessing from you and call down on you the curse that God sent down on King Pharaoh, that it may go with you as it went with Absalom. [ . . . ]

[Next follows a list of Frederick William’s regiments, their pay and the sources of it. This section ends:]

My dear successor, what will the world say of the increase in the army when you mount the throne? That you are a formidable Power in the face of your enemies, of whom our House has very many, and your friends will hold you to be a clever and sensible ruler; may Almighty God help you to be it, I wish it from my heart, Amen.

I must make my dear successor acquainted with all my Provinces, the Lands and their inhabitants.

Prussia is a very fine and big land and very fruitful. The people make good servants of the State for they are very intelligent, but my successor must keep his eye on them, for the nation is false and cunning. But with good words you can do what you will with them.

They understand nothing of accounts or economics, so you must not employ them in those departments.

But they make excellent employees in the army, in negotiations, and in the judicial services. The previous organization of my domains was unsuccessful, but this year I have taken it in hand seriously and begun building and improving. If this can be kept up for four or five years more, it is certain that the revenues from the domains will be at least doubled. May God bless and preserve Göhren, because he has a thorough understanding of how to organize and improve the domains. If he should die, my successor can find no better men than Privy Councillors Thile and Rocho.

As to the Contribution, my successor must not raise it, but leave it at the single land tax [Generalhufenschoss] and by no means reintroduce the old Provincial funds [Landkasten], for it cost me a great deal of trouble to get things as far as I have. For it is a big infringement of the privileges of the Province, which are very detrimental to the Prince’s sovereignty, and the Prince used to depend on the nobles, and now everything depends on me, without argument; is that not better?

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