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Imperial Reform (1495)

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8. Item, for the purpose of assessing, collecting, and guarding the proceeds, seven honest, reputable persons shall be appointed as treasurers at a reasonable salary, and they shall be sent to Frankfurt to collect the money and faithfully guard it. One shall be appointed by Us, King Maximilian; the second by Us, the electors; the third by the other Imperial princes spiritual and temporal; the fourth by the prelates; the fifth by the counts and barons; the sixth by the Imperial free knights; and the seventh by the Imperial free cities. Each shall be sworn on the Holy Gospels to Us, King Maximilian, to Us, the electors, also to the princes and Estates on behalf of the Holy Empire, as follows: "I, N., believe and swear, that I should and will be faithful to the Royal Majesty, electors, princes, and Estates of the Holy Empire, that I will promote, counsel, and act for the honor, dignity, and weal of the Holy Empire, and collect with my fellow commissioners the money from this tax, and place this money in a safe place in Frankfurt and keep it there. I should and will also, before or after the transferal, not remit, give, or promise anyone or allow anyone not to pay such money or a part thereof. But I will pay out only for those purposes clearly determined by the annual Diet for the preservation and safety of Christendom and law and order in the Holy Empire. Together with my follow commissioners, I should and will give an honest accounting to the annual Diet of each and every income and expenditure, and will obey my charge faithfully and according to my best understanding, commitment, and ability and do as I am commanded. And no envy, hatred, bribe, gift, promise, favor, friendship, enmity, or anything else shall in any way influence me. This I swear without reservation."

[ . . . ]

10. Item, these treasurers and commissioners shall in these affairs and duties be free of all oaths, by which they are bound to Us, King Maximilian, and to all electors, princes, and other rulers, spiritual and temporal.

11. Item, the seven treasurers shall immediately and without delay or neglect obey their orders, which they have from this mandate and the oath they have sworn. And, collectively and individually, on the part of Us, King Maximilian, and the electors, princes, and other Estates of the Empire, they shall be subjected to no sign of disfavor or displeasure but shall be graciously aided and protected.

12. Item, if the annual Diet decides to hire troops, such persons shall be recruited from all lands of the Holy Empire, though princes, counts, barons, knights, and others, who are regarded as more capable than others, shall be preferred; except that no land shall be favored above others.

13. If anyone shall give aid and counsel or military assistance to the Turks or to others who act against Christendom, the Empire, or the Nation in deeds or in any other way, he shall be banished from the Empire and his goods declared forfeited by public proclamation.

14. Item, it shall be ordered all over the Empire, that the people are to be admonished from the pulpits, that everyone is called upon to exert themselves more than formerly to promote the honor of God and the preservation and spread of the Christian faith and the Holy Empire, along with law and order. [ . . . ]

Source of original German text: Hanns Hubert Hofmann, ed., Quellen zum Verfassungsorganismus des Heiligen Römischen Reiches Deutscher Nation 1495-1815. Darmstadt: WBG, 1976, pp. 2-6, 15-18.

Translation: Thomas A. Brady Jr.

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