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Emperor Joseph II, Letter to Austrian Chancellor and Bohemian Governor Heinrich Cajetan Count von Blümegen on the Reform of Higher Education in the Austrian Empire (November 29, 1781)

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5th One will draw on and apply the best of those features introduced at different foreign universities and make an effort to attract some skilled professors as well.

6th One will select from the discontinued universities the most skilled professors, transferring them to the one to be established in Galicia. In the meantime

7th, until one is quite sure of finding something better, one will stick to the existing theological, philosophical, and legal lecture texts in all respects.

8th The combination of normal school training with the humanities is the main task to which one probably must adhere, and one will have to see principally whether the grammar of the national language in particular might be taught, so that the people would become even more firmly grounded in the language in which they have to serve the state most often.

9th It will be necessary to draft an essay on how to divide the university studies and schools in the Bohemian and Austrian ancestral lands on the whole, so that the number of Latin schools does not become excessive and board can be determined exactly. For the number of those learning to read and write must be as large as possible, the number of those applying themselves to higher studies smaller, and finally, those taking the entire range of university studies must include only the most select talents.

Source: Die Österreichische Zentralverwaltung [The Austrian Central Administration]. Part 2: Von der Vereinigung der Österreichischen und Böhmischen Hofkanzlei bis zur Einrichtung der Ministerialverfassung (1749–1848) [From the Unification of the Austrian and Bohemian Court Chancellory to the Creation of the Ministerial Constitution (1749–1848)]. Vol. 4: Die Zeit Josephs II. und Leopolds II. (1780–1792) [The Age of Joseph II and Leopold II (1780-1792)] Documents, edited by Friedrich Walter. Vienna: Holzhausen, 1950, pp. 118-19.

Reprinted in Helmut Neuhaus, ed., Zeitalter des Absolutismus 1648-1789 [The Age of Absolutism 1648-1789]. Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, vol. 5. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1997, pp. 432-34.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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