GHDI logo

The Legal Status of Subject Villagers in Prussia, as reflected in the General Law Code for the Prussian States (1794)

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

248. Nor may they, without such consent, impose labor services or other continuing burdens on their properties.

249. The lordship’s permission is also required to mortgage or pawn the holdings.

250. The lordship may not refuse such permission in cases involving less than half the value of the holding as officially estimated in the public Mortgage Register. [ . . . ]

Sixth Section. On Subjects’ Labor Services

The Allowable Purposes of Services.

308. The services the subjects are obliged to render the lordship are dedicated specifically to exploitation and use of the lordship’s own landholdings. [ . . . ]

311. As a rule, subjects bound to labor services are responsible for all forms of transport and manual work that are necessary to agricultural production on the landlordly estate.

312. Contrariwise, it may not be demanded of them that they perform other work in the course of their labor services intended for manufacture or other activities not customary in the countryside.

313. Yet, where at the time of this Law Code’s publication subjects have been obliged to perform such services, whether under existing contracts or old-established, time-honored arrangements, they shall continue to be binding.

Most Precise Definition of Labor Services Possible.

314. All types of manorial service shall in future be precisely specified, so far as possible, as to time, place, measure, and weight.

315. In determining the extent of legally unlimited services, both the needs of the landlordly estate whose cultivation the subjects undertake as well as their own needs are to be taken into account. [ . . . ]

319. In designation and distribution of labor services, necessary time must remain for the subjects to cultivate their own holdings and secure the necessities of their own livelihoods.

Source: Allgemeines Landrecht für die Preußischen Staaten von 1794. [General Law Code for the Prussian States from 1794]. Text edition. Edited by Hans Hattenhauer. Frankfurt am Main/Berlin: Metzner, 1970, pp. 433-44.

Reprinted in Walter Demel and 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, Volume 6. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1995, pp. 307-13.

Translation: William Hagen

first page < previous   |   next > last page