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Territorial Governance – Pomeranian Administrative Ordinance (November 21, 1575)

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Personnel of the Chancellery and the Council’s Secretariat

Because of the increase in affairs and for other reasons, business shall be handled as detailed in our judicial ordinance. Our protonotary,* secretaries, and all other chancellery personnel shall be and remain in our council’s secretariat from 5 o’clock in the morning in summer and from 6 o’clock in the morning in winter until 9:30 a.m., and then after the meal from 1 to 4:30 p.m. [ . . . ] Everyone shall keep to himself the secrets revealed to him or learned in the chancellery from the opinions, letters, seals, or other instruments. And, since we might be harmed thereby, he shall faithfully guard the letters, writings, and documents he receives. Everything pertaining to our princely affairs, which he prepares and seals, he shall enter in the proper volumes and in the register according to our princely chancellery ordinance or orders received. [ . . . ] Taking our affairs to mind and heart, he shall employ a clear, readable, elegant, and appropriate chancellery hand. He shall also guard whatever letters and acts are entrusted to him and keep a register of them, so that the chancellor and the administrator may at any time find what they seek. He shall give no one a protocol or registry volume, except with the knowledge and permission of the chancellor or the administrator. And he shall not carry to his house or to an inn any documents pertaining to princely affairs or actions at court. [ . . . ]

On the Number of Secretaries, Scribes, and Assistants in Our Chancellery

[ . . . ] These are the persons we will employ in our chancellery:
Three secretaries
Three copyists
One chancellery servant
And in the council secretariat:
1) The protonotary
2) The secretary
3) A substitute or copyist.

Specification of Writing, Compensation, and Fees

Only judicial documents shall be prepared in the council secretariat. Half the fee for documents issued from the secretariat under our judicial seal shall go to the administrator, the other half to the protonotary, but only after deducting the costs of paper, wax, ink, and other supplies. The court secretary shall also receive payment, because he is the vice-protonotary who must expedite the judicial documents.

Otherwise no sealed letter will be prepared in our council’s secretariat, and all others shall be written in our chancellery, and the chancellor shall receive half the fee. [ . . . ]

In our own affairs, however, all secretaries and personnel of the chancellery and the council’s secretariat, none excepted, shall be responsible and may be punished, at the chancellor’s discretion, being assigned to write and to copy day and night.

When judicial acts are to be sent for appeals to the Imperial Chamber Court, they shall be divided between the council’s secretariat and the chancellery. Whatever is written in either place shall be charged for by the page, and half the fee shall be paid to the chancellor in the chancellery and half to the administrator of the council’s secretariat, which shall also receive one gulden for the seal. Yet before the pages are gathered and sealed, the administrator and the protonotary shall examine them and compare them with the originals, and they shall see that every part is copied correctly word-for-word, copy-edited carefully, and collated. [ . . . ]

* A protonotary was the chief clerk or registrar, the term having been borrowed from the Church – trans.

Source of original German text: Deutsche Hofordnungen des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts, ed. Arthur Kern, vol. 1. Berlin, 1905, pp. 109-13; reprinted in Bernd Roeck, ed., Gegenreformation und Dreißigjähriger Krieg 1555-1648. Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, Volume 4. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1996, pp. 73-78.

Translation: Thomas A. Brady Jr.

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