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Emperor Joseph II's Taxation and Urbarial Patent (1789)

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To avoid undue delays: should any question arise whether any land is demesne or rustical, the existing situation is to be retained, and a peasant who claims as rustical any land now in de facto possession of the landlord, or vice versa, must bring proof that the land in question fell within the category claimed by him in the “normal years” fixed in each Province for the determination of the demesne and rustical areas in them.

14. Cottagers of all categories and livers-in continue to pay their previous dues, which they may also commute against cash with the agreement of their masters, and, where their obligations consist of payments to be made on death or change of tenure, these are to be commuted for annual payments calculated on the basis of the average receipts over the last twenty years.

Where cottagers hold taxable land besides their cottages, or where livers-in hold such land, they are to be treated in respect thereof in accordance with Our general rules for all landholders.

Millers, brewers, innkeepers, and other owners of assets deriving from a license to trade, if they also possess rustical holdings, are taxed like other rusticalists in respect thereof. The remainder of their obligations, attached to the property as a whole or, more properly, to the trade license, is, where occasional duties and payments on death and change of tenure are levied, commuted into an annual payment calculated on the basis that such payments recur every twenty to twenty-five years, but only on the yield from the real property. [ . . . ]

Given in Vienna, February 10, 1789

Joseph, Leopold, Count Kollowrat, Franz Karl, Count von Kressel,
Johann Wenzel, Count von Ugarte
ad mandatum, etc., Joseph von Kaller

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. 181-84. 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: Karl Grünberg, ed., Die Bauernbefreiung in Böhmen und Mähren [The Emancipation of the Serfs in Bohemia and Moravia]. Leipzig, 1893, II, pp. 443ff.

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