GHDI logo

Friedrich Weigandt’s Draft of an Imperial Reformation (May 18, 1525)

page 4 of 4    print version    return to list previous document      next document

11. The great disadvantage had by the poor in buying and selling should be considered, and a [consistent] mass – an ell, a tun, a weight, and a length for cloth and fustian, and [for] all other wares – should be established and maintained. This also means that all spices and other things which are sold by the centner [hundredweight] should have a consistent weight measure. Further, whatever gold, silver, pearls, and the like is bought or sold, it should be weighed with small weights as has been the case. Further, the tun of wine, the bucket, the quarter, and the measure should all be the same everywhere. But for beer, mead, and the like, the measure should be larger. Further, grain, wheat, peas, lentils, [and] chickpeas should have a level measure, but rough fruit [i.e., barley and oats] shall be sold by the same measure heaped. Further, everything sold from the barrel should be sold with same measure as beer or mead. That which is sold by the centner or pound should be offered and sold with the first-named as the largest weight.

12., The companies like the Fuggers, Hoechstetters, Welsers and the like should be disbanded because both the rich and the poor are burdened when they set the price for all goods as they please. If, however, another company should be formed or an individual wants to deal on his own, no one shall have more than ten thousand florins in trade, and whatever is found to be beyond that, the capital and the excess [profit?] should be surrendered to the Imperial Roman Chamber. Further, a merchant who has more than ten thousand florins may help others, whomever he wants, by advancing, loaning, and help them according to the Gospel.

Further, whatever a merchant has left over from his investments and trade, he is allowed to deposit it with a town council and take four florins per year for every hundred [deposited, i.e. 4% annual interest]. The men of the town council may in turn lend this money to poor craftsmen against security and take five florins for every hundred [i.e. 5% annual interest]. And thus a poor man should be better able to support himself.

Further, there should be an agreement between the “big men” and the merchants so that the poor can continue to purchase their goods by the penny’s worth [at a time].

Further, no one shall melt down coin under the threat of being branded, but silver and gold coins shall be sent to the appointed coinsmiths, and they shall be paid for according to the statutes or face value, unless they are too small or in some other way manipulated [counterfeited].

Further the chandler [e.g., travelling merchants and those with small stores], which sell assorted goods in small amounts [literally, a penny's worth at a time], shall be divided and each permitted to sell a particular type of good.

[13.] Finally, all alliances of princes, lords, and cities should be abolished and subject only to the imperial protection and peace without safe-conducts, complaints, or stipulations made to this end, under threat of the loss of freedom, fiefs, and rights. Further, everyone in the Empire, including strangers from other kingdoms shall be allowed free and safe passage on horseback, wagon, water, or by foot, and no one should be forced to have imperial safe-conduct or other burdens, whether physical or material, so that the poor man and the common good are advanced. Amen.

Source of original German text: Quellen zur Geschichte des Bauernkrieges, compiled and edited by Günther Franz. Darmstadt: WBG, 1963, S. 374-81.

Translation: Ellen Yutzy Glebe

first page < previous   |   next > last page