GHDI logo

The Prussian Regulation Edict of 1811, signed by King Frederick William III, State Chancellor Hardenberg, and Justice Minister Kircheisen (September 14, 1811)

page 2 of 6    print version    return to list previous document      next document

In return, the former lordships shall be freed from any obligation to maintain buildings and the peasant farms’ inventory [of seed grain, livestock, farm equipment, servants’ beds, etc.], and from any other support or assumption of responsibility concerning payment of public dues and charges burdening such holdings. The lordships shall be duly compensated in consideration of the value of such previous support [e.g., in cases where lordships could claim to have outfitted peasant holdings with essential livestock].

Remaining dues and services should also be mutually balanced out as far as possible. However, they can also remain in place, in which case it should be arranged that they be divided into individual shares burdening the farms separately so that they do not form an obstacle to conversion of villages’ common lands into individualized holdings.

§5. It is our desire that the negotiations between landlords and their former subjects be carried out in amicable agreement, and, to this end, [We] set a term for their completion of two years from the day of this decree. If however this should not come to pass in a timely manner, the regulation process shall proceed according to the following paragraphs [§§], [and] unless one of the parties initiates such negotiations, a settlement shall be undertaken by the state.

§6. The elements that ordinarily figure in the reaching of a settlement are:

a) rights of the landlord or lordship:

1) property rights;
2) claims on labor services;
3) cash dues and product rents;
4) inventory of movable property essential to operation of the peasant holding [e.g., draught animals and other livestock, wagons and farm implements, basic household furniture]
5) rights of usage on village or seigneurial lands;

b) rights of lordships’ subjects:

1) the right to seigneurial assistance in cases of misfortune;
2) the right to collect windfall firewood, or other forest rights;
3) the obligation of the landlords to construct and maintain [peasant farm] buildings;
4) the [lordships’] further obligation, in case of [peasant farmers’] incapacity, to assume responsibility for payment of their subjects’ taxes and rendering of other public dues and services;
5) rights of pasturage and forest use.

§7. Of these elements, only a few—namely, cash and product rents, basic farm inventory, and rights of pasturage and forest use—allow for a reasonably precise calculation of monetary worth. The remaining factors can only be valued in estimation, for there is no clear point of reference. These include in particular:

first page < previous   |   next > last page