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"Edict of Potsdam," issued by Frederick William ("the Great Elector") (October 29, 1685)

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13. All rights, privileges and other benefits mentioned in the above points and articles accrue not only to those who arrive hereafter in Our Lands, but also to those who escaped from France before publication of this Edict and took refuge in these Our Lands, before previous religious persecutions; but those who are devoted to the Roman Catholic faith have in no way to presume to like favor.

14. We propose to set up Commissions in each and every one of Our Lands and Provinces to which the said Frenchmen may apply both on their arrival and afterward, and receive from them counsel and assistance; whereby We most graciously and earnestly enjoin all Our Governors, Governments, and other Servants and Commanders in towns and in the country, in all Our Provinces, through this public Edict and also through special orders, to take Our said French Evangelical-Reformed co-religionists, all and sundry, as many of them as shall come to Our country, under their special care and protection, to maintain and keep them expressly in all the Privileges hereby graciously conceded them, and in no wise to suffer that the least harm, injustice, or vexation be done them, but rather that they be shown all help, friendship, and good treatment. We have signed this Edict for record with Our own hand and have had Our Seal of Grace imprinted on it.

Given at Potsdam, October 29, 1685

Frederick William

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. 270-74. 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: Christian Otto Mylius, Corpus Constitutionum Marchicarum, Oder Königl. Preußis. und Churfürstl. Brandenburgische in der Chur- und Marck Brandenburg, auch incorporirten Landen publicirte und ergangene Ordnungen, Edicta, Mandata, Rescripta [et]c. : Von Zeiten Friedrichs I. Churfürstens zu Brandenburg, [et]c. biß ietzo unter der Regierung Friederich Wilhelms, Königs in Preußen [et]c. ad annum 1736. inclusivè / ... colligiret und ans Licht gegeben von Christian Otto Mylius. Berlin und Halle, Zu finden im Buchladen des Waysenhauses, [1737]-1755, [Part 2, Section 1, No. LXV], pp. 183-88.

Source of original German text: Helmut Neuhaus, ed., Zeitalter des Absolutismus 1648-1789 [Age of Absolutism, 1648-1789]. Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, vol. 5. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1997, pp. 253-60.

[Please note: this edict was issued in both German and French.]

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