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Prussian "Soldier King" Frederick William I Instructs his Officials on Peasant Colonization in East Prussia (July 2, 1718)

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3. And although it is not in principle advisable that either members of the Cameral staff or local agents should rent farms from the Crown, yet under the exceptional circumstances We authorize your Department to permit this practice, if thereby you secure good officials; but this is only a temporary provision, and We will go into the question further when the shortage of manpower has been made up.

4. And since We do not find it consonant with Our interests to allow many new demesne farms to be established, in default of tenant farmers or for other reasons, since those established to date, as hitherto administered, and not leased, are not nearly repaying the capital invested in them and are consequently of little profit, it is Our will not to go beyond those already established and in operation; and We are totally resolved, instead of demesne farms, to have the deserted villages rebuilt and repopulated, to which end you and the agents are to devote every effort and care to repopulating the country – building up one village after another, not beginning all of them at once. Each peasant in the new villages is to be given two hides of land, and for livestock, since We have observed that with the livestock hitherto allocated to them the peasants cannot farm their holdings properly nor plow their arable land as it should be done, he is to be given four horses and four oxen, besides the other stock, all to be given him at once on his entry into possession. Colonists of the same origin are to be brought together as far as possible, and, when the annual report is rendered, it shall state clearly how many villages you propose to construct in the year, how many farms they are to contain, how they are situated, and how much money will be needed for the purpose. We shall then take the necessary action and arrange for the money to be budgeted.

5. We further wish to have this, Our most gracious purpose, proclaimed by Patent, of which you are to prepare a draft, stating clearly what each settler is to receive and what he will have to pay in the future. You will submit this for Our most gracious approval. The new settlers must, as already stated, be given all stock punctually and complete, and also given stock books with accurate inventories, the winter crops sown and the fields ready for the summer crops, and, generally, they must receive very good and friendly treatment, to prevent them from becoming discontented at the outset, and to that end, none of the new settlers is to arrive before the spring, for so We save their keep for six months and they also find pasturage for their livestock at once. This is to be stated in the Patent. On the expiration of a year, then, you are to report fully to Us, and Our future enquiries will be based on the facts as stated in your reports.

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