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The Prussian Law on Freedom of Trade, signed by State Chancellor Hardenberg and King Frederick William III (September 7, 1811)

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159. By contrast, foreigners who come into the land to offer their services in commercial matters, or who, if they are particularly qualified, do not limit their services to a single, specific case, are subject to all obligations, without exception, that would be imposed on a native engaged in the same trade. Accordingly, foreign carters, in particular, who enter the land specifically to search for loads, are required to take out a trade license. However, carters and shippers who come from foreign locations with goods, and who merely accept return cargo, or who only occasionally load something up while passing through, do not need a carter trade license.

160. In particular, foreigners shall be permitted by governments to ply an itinerant trade only for special reasons, and the regulations under §§ 135-150 must be applied especially to them with appropriate strictness.

161. All police taxes on food, grocer’s wares, and baker’s goods are herewith repealed everywhere and completely.

162. Tavern keepers, too, are henceforth no longer subject to a police tax: however, all tavern keepers in cities of the first and second class are obligated, on a monthly basis, to set a tax, namely each for himself in particular, to post it in all taverns, and to pay it within a month. It is left to the police authorities in cities of the third class to introduce this practice also there, if they deem it appropriate to the traffic of the city.

163. All wage taxes for work performed by tradesmen are generally and completely abolished. [ . . . ]

Source: Gesetz-Sammlung für die Königlichen Preußischen Staaten 1811 [Law Collection for the Royal Prussian States]. Berlin: Georg Decker, [1811], pp. 263-80.

Reprinted in Walter Demel und Uwe Puschner, eds., Von der Französischen Revolution bis zum Wiener Kongreß 1789-1815 [From the French Revolution to the Congress of Vienna 1789-1815], Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller. Vol. 6. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1995, pp. 289-300.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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