GHDI logo

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

page 5 of 5    print version    return to list previous document      next document

15. Although We should in general like to see the taxation put on the footing of the Mark, as We have ordered Our German Chamber, yet We think that at present this would not be advisable in Lithuania; it would, in particular, probably frighten away the tenant farmers by imposing on them a system unfamiliar to them. Things are therefore to remain as before, until further notice.

16. Nevertheless, in order that there should be some basis for taxation, the fields of the demesne farms are to be measured, where this has not already been done, and local sworn men are to be present at the sowing for three or four years in succession, according to the number of the fields, and to make an accurate register of all the different crops sown.

17. And as it would appear contrary to Our interests if the persons at the head of the Chamber turned out their horses to feed and graze on demesne farms not rented by them, you, the President and the Chamber, shall keep no horses on demesne farms not rented by you.

18. We also desire the repeoplement of the land and the introduction of good cultivation to be carried forward with all imaginable diligence and care; it is your duty to submit to Us your respectful ideas on the subject.

Finally, We command you to obey all the above most strictly, and also to carry into execution without delay all agreements and undertakings conducted by you with Our Commission, as minuted. As We also expect periodical progress reports from you.

To the Lithuanian Chamber

Tilsit, July 2, 1718
Frederick William
C. B. v. Creutz

Source of English translation: C.A. Macartney, ed., The Habsburg and Hohenzollern Dynasties in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, in Documentary History of Western Civilization. New York, Evanston, and London: Harper & Row, 1970, pp. 292-98. Introduction, editorial notes, chronology, translations by the editor; and compilation copyright © 1970 by C.A. Macartney. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source of original German text: Rudolph Stadelmann, Friedrich Wilhelm I. in seiner Thätigkeit für die Landescultur Preussens [Frederick William I and his Work on Behalf of the Improvement of Prussian Lands]. Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1878, pp. 234-38.

first page < previous   |   next > last page