A Tenant Receives a Lease Contract (1750)
Taken from the 1750 edition of Franz Philipp Florinus’ Oeconomus prudens et legalis. Oder Allgemeine kluge und rechtsverständige Hausvatter [Oeconomus prudens et legalis. Or the Generally Prudent and Judicious Housefather], the scene below shows an estate owner bestowing a leasehold contract upon a young tenant farmer. It was common throughout the German lands for farmers subject to seigneurial overlordship to receive contracts or occupancy deeds spelling out the rents they owed their landlord, as well as other obligations, including those to elderly farm couples living in retirement on the new tenant’s holding. Such contracts must be distinguished from deeds of property-ownership in the modern sense of undivided property. In the early modern world, landed property was typically encumbered by multiple claims exercised by the state, the church, the seigneurial lord, and the commoner tenant (whatever his legal status, be it free or servile). Copperplate engraving by unknown artist published in Oeconomus prudens et legalis. Oder Allgemeine kluge und rechtsverständige Hausvatter (1750).