4000bce - 399
400 - 1399
1400 - 1499
1500 - 1599
1600 - 1699
1700 - 1799
1800 - 1899
1900 - 1999
In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity felicitously amen. Charles the Fourth, by favour of the divine mercy emperor of the Romans, always august, and king of Bohemia; as a perpetual memorial of this matter. Every kingdom divided against itself shall be desolated. For its princes have become the companions of thieves. Where fore God has mingled among them the spirit of dizziness that they may grope in midday as if in darkness; and He has removed their candlestick from out of His place, that they may be blind and leaders of the blind. And those who walk in darkness stumble; and the blind commit crimes in their hearts which come to pass in time of discord. Tell us, pride, how would's" thou have reigned over Lucifer if thou had'st not had discord to aid thee? Tell us hateful Satan, how would'st thou have cast Adam out of Paradise if thou had'st not divided him from his obedience ? Tell us, luxury, how would'st thou have destroyed Troy, if thou had'st not divided Helen from her husband? Tell us, wrath, how would'st thou have destroyed the Roman republic had'st thou not, by means of discord, spurred on Pompey and Caesar with raging swords to internal conflict ? Thou, indeed, oh envy, host, with impious wicked ness, spued with the ancient poison against the Christian empire which is fortified by God, like to the holy and indivisible Trinity, with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, whose foundation is happily established above in the very kingdom of Christ. Thou hast done this, like a serpent, against the branches of the empire and its nearer members; so that, the columns being shaken, thou Slightest subject the whole edifice to ruin. Thou Last often spread discord among the seven electors of the holy empire, through whom, as through seven candlesticks throwing light in the unity of a septiform spirit, the holy empire ought to be illumined.
Inasmuch as we, through the office by which we possess the imperial dignity, are doubly-both as emperor and by the electoral right which we enjoy-bound to put an end to future danger of discords among the electors themselves, to whose number we, as king of Bohemia are known to belong: we have promulgated, decreed and recommended for ratification the subjoined laws for the purpose of cherishing unity among the electors, and of bringing about a unanimous election, and of closing all approach to the aforesaid detestable discord and to the various dangers which arise from it. This we have done in our solemn court at Nuremberg, in session with all the electoral princes, ecclesiastical and secular, and amid a numerous multitude of other princes, counts, barons, magnates, nobles and citizens; after mature deliberation, from the fulness of our imperial power; sitting on the throne of our imperial majesty, adorned with the imperial bands, insignia and diadem; in the year of our Lord 1356, in the 9th Indiction, on the 4th day before the Ides of January, in the 10th year of our reign as king, the 1st as emperor.
(1) We decree, and, by the present imperial and ever valid edict, do sanction of certain knowledge and from the plenitude of the imperial power: that whenever, and so often as in future, necessity or occasion shall arise for the election of a king of the Romans and prospective emperor and the prince electors, according to ancient and laudable custom, are obliged to journey to such election,-each prince elector, if, and whenever, he is called upon to do this, shall be bound to escort any of his fellow prince electors or the envoys whom they shall send to this election through his lands, territories and districts, and even as much beyond them as he shall be able; and to lend them escort without guile on their way to the city in which such election is to be held, and also in returning from it This he shall do under pain of perjury and the loss, for that time only, of the vote which he was about to have in such election; which penalty, indeed, we decree that he or they who shall prove rebellious or negligent in furnishing the aforesaid escort shall, by the very act, incur.
(2) We furthermore decree, and we command all other princes holding fiefs from the holy Roman empire, whatever the service they have to perform,-also all counts barons, knights, noble and common followers, citizens and communities of castles, cities and districts of the holy empire: that at this same time-when, namely, an election is to take place of king of the Romans and prospective emperor-they shall, without guile, in the manner aforesaid, escort through their territories and as far beyond as they can, any prince elector demanding from them, or any one of them, help of this kind, or the envoys whom as has been explained before, he shall have sent to that election. But if any persons shall presume to run counter to this our decree they shall, by the act itself, incur the following penalties: all princes and counts, barons, noble knights and followers, and all nobles acting counter to it, shall be considered guilty of perjury and deprived of all the fiefs which they hold of the holy Roman empire and of any lords whatever, and also of all their possessions no matter from whom they hold them. All cities and guilds, moreover, presuming to act counter to the foregoing, shall similarly be considered guilty of perjury, and likewise shall be altogether deprived of all their rights, liberties, privileges and favours obtained from the holy empire, and both in their persons and in all their possessions shall incur the imperial bann and proscription. And any man on his own authority and without trial or the calling in of any magistrate, may henceforth with impunity attack those whom we, by the act itself, deprive, from now or from a past time on, of all their rights. And, in attacking them, he need fear no punishment on this account from the empire or any one else; inasmuch as they, rashly negligent in so great a matter, are convicted of acting faithlessly and perversely, as disobedient and perfidious persons and rebels against the state, and against the majesty and dignity of the holy empire, and even against their own honour and safety.
(3) We decree, moreover, and command, that the citizens and guilds of all cities shall be compelled to sell or cause to be sold to the aforesaid prince electors, or to any one of them who demands it, and to their envoys, when they are going to said city for the sake of holding said election, and even when they are returning from it: victuals at the common and current price for the needs of themselves or the said envoys and their followers. And in no way shall they act fraudulently with regard to the foregoing. We will that those who do otherwise shall, by the act itself, incur those penalties which we, in the foregoing, have seen fit to decree against citizens and guilds. Whoever, moreover, of the princes, counts, barons, knights, noble or common followers, citizens or guilds of cities shall presume to erect hostile barriers or to prepare ambushes for a prince elector going to hold the election of a king of the Romans or returning from it,-or to attack or disturb them or any one of them in their persons or in their property, or in the persons of said envoys sent by them or any one of them, whether they have sought escort or have not considered it worth while to demand it: we decree that he, together with all the accomplices of his iniquity, shall, by the act itself, have incurred the above penalties; in such wise, namely, that each person shall incur the penalty or penalties which, according to what precedes, we have thought best, relatively to the rank of those persons, to inflict..
(4) But if any prince elector should be at enmity with any one of his co-electors, and any contention, controversy, or dissension should be going on between them;-notwithstanding this, one shall be bound, under penalty of perjury and loss, for this one time, of his vote in the election, as has been stated above, to escort in said manner the other? Or the envoys of the other who shall be sent in said manner to such election.
(5) But if any princes, counts, barons, knights, noble or common followers, citizens, or guilds of cities, should bear ill-will to one or more of the prince electors, or any mutual discord, or war, or dissension should be going on between them: nevertheless, all opposition and fraud being laid aside, they ought to furnish such escort to this or to these prince electors, or to his or their envoys dispatched to or returning from such election, according as they each and all desire to avoid the said punishments declared by u s against them; punishments which those who act counter shall, we decree, by the act itself incur. Moreover, for the ampler security and certitude of all the above, we command and we will that all the prince electors and other princes, also the counts, barons, nobles, cities or guilds of the same, shall confirm all the aforesaid through their writings and through their oaths, and shall efficaciously bind themselves to fulfil them with good faith and without guile. But whoever shall refuse to give writings of this kind, shall, by the act itself, incur such punishment as we, by the above, have seen fit to inflict on each person according to his rank.
(6) But if any prince elector or other prince of whatever condition or standing, or any count, baron, or noble, or the successors or heirs of such, holding a fief or fiefs from the holy empire, be not willing to fulfill our imperial constitutions and laws above and below laid down, or shall presume to act counter to them: if such a one, indeed, be an elector prince, his co-electors shall, from that time on, exclude him from association with themselves, and he shall lose both his vote in the election and the position, dignity and privileges possessed by the other electors; nor shall he be invested with the fiefs which he shall have obtained from the holy empire. But any other prince or nobleman infringing, as we have said, these our laws, shall likewise not be invested with fiefs which he shall obtain from the holy empire or from any one otherwise, and shall, in addition, incur by the act itself all the aforesaid penalties concerning his person.
(7) Although, indeed, we have willed and decreed in general terms that all princes, counts, barons, nobles knights, followers, and also cities and guilds of the same are bound, as has been said, to furnish the aforesaid escort to any prince elector or his envoys: nevertheless we have thought best to designate for each one of them special escorts and conductors who will be best suited for them according to the nearness of their lands and districts as will directly be made clearer from what follows.
(8) For first the king of Bohemia, the arch-cupbearer of the holy empire, shall be escorted by the archbishop of Mainz, the bishops of Bamberg and Wurzburg, the burgraves of Nuremberg; likewise by those of Hohenlohe, of Wertheim, of Bruneck and of Hohenau; likewise by the cities of Nuremberg, Rothenburg, and Windesheim.
(9) Then the archbishop of Cologne, the arch-chancellor of the holy empire for Italy, shall be escorted-they being bound to furnish such escort-by the archbishops of Mainz and Treves, the count palatine of the Rhine, the landgrave of Hesse; likewise by the counts of Katzenellenbogen, of Nassau, of Dietz; likewise of Ysenburg, of Vesterburg, of Runkel, of Limburg and Falkenstein; likewise by the cities of Wetzlar, Gelnhausen and Friedberg.
(10) In like manner the archbishop of Treves, archchancellor of the holy empire for the Glallic provinces and for the kingdom of Arles, shall be escorted by the archbishop of Mainz, the count palatine of the Rhine; likewise the counts of Sponheim, of Veldenz. likewise the Raugraves and Wiltgraves of Nassau, of Ysenburg, of Westerburg, of Runkel, of Dietz, of Katzenellenbogen, of Eppenstein, of Falkenstein; likewise the city of Mainz.
(11) Then the count palatine of the Rhine, arch-steward of the holy empire, ought to be escorted by the archbishop of Mainz.
(12) But the duke of Saxony, the arch-marshall of the holy empire, shall, by right, be escorted by the king of Bohemia, the archbishops of Mainz and Madgeburg; likewise by the bishops of Bamberg and Wurzburg, the margrave of Meissen, the landgrave of Hesse; likewise the abbots of Fulda and Hersfeld, the burgraves of Nuremberg; likewise those of Hohenlohe, of Wertheim, of Bruneck, of Hohenau, of Falkenstein; likewise the cities of Erfurt, Mulhausen, Nuremberg, Rothenburg and Windesheim. And all of these last named shall likewise be bound to escort the margrave of Brandenburg, arch-chamberlain of the holy empire.
(13) We will, moreover, and do expressly decree that each prince elector who shall wish to have such escort shall make known this fact and the way by which he is to pass, and shall demand this escort in such good time that those who have been deputed to furnish such escort, and from whom it shall thus have been demanded, may be able to prepare themselves for this in good time and conveniently.
(14) We declare, moreover, that the foregoing decrees promulgated concerning the matter of escort shall, indeed, be so understood that each person named above-or perhaps not expressed-from whom, in the aforesaid case, escort may happen to be demanded, shall be bound to furnish it at least through his lands and territories, and as far beyond as he can, without fraud, under the penalties contained above.
(15) Moreover we decree, and also ordain, that he who shall be archbishop of Mainz at the time shall intimate this same election to the different princes, ecclesiastical and secular, his co-electors, by letters patent, through his envoys. In which letters, indeed, the day and the term shall be expressed within which those letters may probably reach each of those princes. And letters of this sort shall state that, within three successive months from the day expressed in the letters themselves, each and all of the prince electors ought to be settled at Frankfort on the Main, or to send their lawful envoys, at that time and to that place, with full and diverse power, and with their letters patent, signed with the great seal of each of them, to elect a king of the Romans and prospective emperor. How, moreover, and under what form such letters ought to be drawn up and what formality ought to be immutably observed with regard to them, and in what form and manner the prince electors should arrange what envoys are to be sent to such election, and the popover, mandate, or right of procuration that they are to have: all this will be found clearly and expressly written at the end of the present document. And we command and decree, through the plentitude of the imperial power, that the form there established be preserved unto all time.
(16) Moreover we ordain and decree that when the death of the emperor or king of the Romans shall come to be known for certain in the diocese of Mainz,-within one month of that time, counting continuously from the day of the notice of such death, the death itself and the summons of which we have spoken shall be announced by the archbishop of Mainz through his letters patent. But if this same archbishop should chance to be negligent or remiss in carrying out this and in sending the summons,-thereupon those same princes of their own accord shall, even without summons, by virtue of the fealty which they owe to the holy conspire, come together in the oft-mentioned city of Frankfort within three months after this, as is contained in the decree immediately preceding, being about to elect a king of the Humans and future emperor.
(17) Moreover any one prince elector of his envoys should, at the time of the aforesaid election, enter the said city of Frankfort with not more than two hundred mounted followers, among which number he may be allowed to bring in with himself only fifty armed men or fewer, but not more.
(18) But a prince elector, called and summoned to such election, and neither coming to it nor sending lawful envoys with letters patent, sealed with his greater seal and containing empowerment, full, free and of every kind, for the election of king of the Romans and prospective emperor; or one who comes, or perchance sends envoys, to the same, but who, afterwards, himself-or the aforesaid embassy- goes away from the place of election before a king of the Romans and prospective emperor has been elected, and does not formally substitute a lawful procurator and leave him there: shall forfeit for that time the vote or right which he had in that election and which he abandoned in such a manner.
(19) We command, moreover, and enjoin on the citizens of Frankfort, that they, by virtue of the oath which we decree they shall swear on the gospel concerning this, shall, with faithful zeal and anxious diligence, protect and defend all the prince electors in general and each one of them in particular from the invasion of the other, if any quarrel shall arise between them; and also from the invasion of any other person. And the same with regard to all the followers whom they or any one of them shall have brought into the said city among the said number of two hundred horsemen. Otherwise they shall incur the guilt of perjury, and shall also lose all their rights, liberties, privileges, favours and grants which they are known to hold from the holy empire, and shall, by the act itself, fall under the bann of the empire as to their persons and all their goods. And, from that time on, every man on his own authority and without judicial sentence may, with impunity, invade as traitors and as disloyal persons and as rebels against the empire, those citizens whom we, in such a case, from now or from a former time on deprive of all their rights: And such invaders need in no Lay fear any punishment from the holy empire or from any one else.
(20) The said citizens of Frankfort, moreover, throughout all that time when the oft-mentioned election is being treated of and carried on, shall not admit, or in any way permit any one, of whatever dignity, condition or standing he may be, to enter the aforesaid city: the prince electors and their envoys and the aforesaid procurators alone being excepted; each of whom shall be admitted, as has been said, with two hundred horsemen. But if, after the entry of these same prince electors, or while they are present, any one shall chance to be found in the said city, the citizens themselves shall, effectually and without delay, straightway bring about his exit, under penalty of all that has above been promulgated against them, and also by virtue of the oath concerning this that those same citizens of Frankfort must, by the terms of this present decree, swear upon the gospel, as has been explained in the foregoing.
(1) After, moreover, the oft-mentioned electors or their envoys shall have entered the city of Frankfort, they shall straightway on the following day at dawn, in the church of St. Bartholomew the apostle, in the presence of all of them cause a mass to be sung to the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit himself may illumine their hearts and infuse the light of his virtue into their senses; so that they, armed with his protection, may be able to elect a just, good and useful man as king of the Romans and future emperor, and as a safeguard for the people of Christ. After such mass has been performed all those electors or their envoys shall approach the altar on which that mass has been celebrated, and there the ecclesiastical prince electors, before the gospel of St. John: " In the beginning was the word," which must there be placed before them, shall place their hands with reverence upon their breasts. But the secular prince electors shall actually touch the said gospel with their hands. And all of them, with all their followers, shall stand there unarmed. And the archbishop of Mainz shall give to them the form of the oath, and he together with them, and they, or the envoys of the absent ones, together with him, shall take the oath in common as follows:
(2) " I, archbishop of Mainz, arch-chancellor of the holy empire throughout Germany, and prince elector, do swear on this holy gospel of God here actually placed before me, that I, through the faith which binds me to God and to the holy Roman empire, do intend by the help of God, to the utmost extent of my discretion and intelligence, and in accordance with the said faith, to elect one who will be suitable, as far as my discretion and discernment can tell for a temporal head of the Christian people,-that is, a king of the Romans and prospective emperor. And my voice and vote, or said election, I will give without any pact, payment, price, or promise, or whatever such things may be called. So help me God and all the saints."
(3) Such oath having been taken by the electors or their envoys in the aforesaid form and manner, they shall then proceed to the election. And from now on they shall not disperse from the said city of Frankfort until the majority of them shall have elected a temporal head for the world and for the Christian people; a king, namely, of the Romans and prospective emperor. But if they shall fail to do this within thirty days, counting continuously from the day when they took the aforesaid oath: when those thirty days are over, from that time on they shall live on bread and water, and by no means leave the aforesaid city unless first through them, or the majority of them, a ruler or temporal head of the faithful shall have been elected, as was said before.
(4) Moreover after they, or the majority of them, shall have made their choice in that place, such election shall in future be considered and looked upon as if it had been unanimously carried through by all of them, no one dissenting. And if any one of the electors or their aforesaid envoys should happen for a time to be detained and to be absent or late, provided he arrive before the said election has been consummated, we decree that he shall be admitted to the election in the stage at which it was at the actual time of his coming. And since by ancient approved and laudable custom what follows has always been observed inviolately, therefore we also do establish and decree by the plenitude of the imperial power that he who shall have, in the aforesaid manner, been elected king of the Romans, shall, directly after such election shall have been held, and before he shall attend to any other cases or matters by virtue of his imperial office, without delay or contradiction, confirm and approve, by his letters and seals, to each and all of the elector princes, ecclesiastical and secular, who are known to be the nearer members of the holy empire, all their privileges, charters, rights, liberties, ancient customs, and also their dignities and whatever they shall have obtained and possessed from the empire before the day of the election. And he shall renew to them all the above after he shall have been crowned with the imperial adornments. Moreover, the elected king shall make such confirmation to each prince elector in particular, first as king, then, renewing it, under his title as emperor; and, in there matters, he shall be bound by no means to impede either those same princes in general or any one of them in particular, but rather to promote them with his favour and without guile.
(5) In a case, finally, where three prince electors in person, or the envoys of the absent ones, shall elect as king of the Romans a fourth from among themselves or from among their whole number-an elector prince, namely, who is either present or absent:-we decree that the vote of that person who has been elected, if he shall be present, or of his envoys if he shall chance to be absent, shall have full vigour and shall increase the number of those electing, and shall constitute a majority like that of the other prince electors.
In the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity felicitously amen. Charles the Fourth, by favour of the divine mercy emperor of the Romans, always august, and king of Bohemia. As a perpetual memorial of this matter. The splendour and glory of the holy Roman empire, and the imperial honour, and the cherished advantage of the state are fostered by the concordant will of the venerable and illustrious prince electors, who, being the chief columns as it were, sustain the holy edifice by the vigilant piety of circumspect prudence; by whose protection the right hand of the imperial power is strengthened. And the more they are bound together by an ampler benignity of mutual favour, so much more abundantly will the blessings of peace and tranquillity happily flow for the people of Christ. In order, therefore, that between the venerable archbishops of Mainz, Cologne and Treves, prince electors of the holy empire, all causes of strife and suspicion which might arise in future concerning the priority or dignity of their seats in the imperial and royal courts may be for all time removed, and that they, remaining in a quiet state of heart and soul, may be able, with concordant favour and the zeal of virtuous love, to meditate more conveniently concerning the affairs of the holy empire, to the consolation of the Christian people: we, having deliberated with all the prince electors, ecclesiastical as well as secular, do decree from the plenitude of the imperial power, by this law, in the form of an edict, to be forever valid,-that the aforesaid venerable archbishops can, may, and ought to sit as follows in all public transactions pertaining to the empire; namely, in courts, while conferring fiefs, when regaling themselves at table, and also in councils and in all other business on account of which they happen or shall happen to come together to treat of the honour or utility of the empire. Be of Treves, namely, shall sit directly opposite and facing the emperor. But at the right hand of the emperor of the Romans shall sit he of Mainz when in his own diocese and province; and also, outside of his province, throughout his whole arch-chancellorship of Germany, excepting alone the province of Cologne. And he of Cologne, finally, shall sit there when in his own diocese and province, and, outside of his province, throughout all Italy and Gaul. And we will that this form of seating, in the same order as is above expressed, be extended forever to the successors of the aforesaid archbishops of Cologne, Treves and Mainz; so that at no time shall any doubt whatever arise concerning these matters.
We decree, moreover, that, as often as an imperial court shall henceforth chance to be held, in every assembly,-in council, namely, at table or in any place whatsoever where the emperor or king of the Romans shall happen to sit with the prince electors, on the right side of the emperor or king of the Romans there shall sit immediately after the archbishop of Mainz or the archbishop of Cologne-whichever, namely, shall happen at that time, according to the place or province, following the tenor of his privilege, to sit at the right hand of the emperor-first, the king of Bohemia, as he is a crowned and anointed prince, and secondly, the count palatine of the Rhine. But on the left side, immediately after whichever of the aforesaid archbishops shall happen to sit on the left, the duke of Saxony shall have the first, and, after him, the margrave of Brandenburg the second place.
But so often and whenever the holy empire shall hereafter happen to be vacant, the archbishop of Mainz shall Men have the right, which he is known from of old to have had, of convoking the other princes, his aforesaid companions in the said election. And when all of them, or those who can and will be present, are assembled together at the term of the election, it shall pertain to the said archbishop of Mainz and to no other to call for the votes of these his co-electors, one by one in the following order. First, indeed, he shall interrogate the archbishop of Treves, to whom we declare that the first vote belongs, and to whom, as we find, it hitherto has belonged. Secondly, the archbishop of Cologne, to whom belongs the dignity and also the duty of first imposing the royal diadem on the king of the Romans. Thirdly, the king of Bohemia, who, rightly and duly, on account of the prestige of his royal dignity, has the first place among the lay electors. Fourthly, the count palatine of the Rhine. Fifthly, the duke of Saxony. Sixthly, the margrave of Brandenburg. Of all these the said archbishop of Mainz shall call for the votes in the aforesaid order. This being done, the aforesaid princes his companions, shall, in their turn, jail on him to express his own intention and to make known to them his vote. Moreover, when an imperial court is held, the margrave of Brandenburg shall present the water for washing the hands of the emperor or king of the Romans. And the king of Bohemia shall be the first to offer drink; but, according to the tenor of the privileges of his kingdom, he shall not be bound to offer it with his royal crown on, except of his own free will. The count palatine of the Rhine, moreover, shall be obliged to offer food, and the duke of Saxony shall perform the office of marshal as has been the custom from of old.
Whenever, moreover, as has been said before, the throne of the holy empire shall happen to be vacant, the illustrious count palatine of the Rhine, arch-steward of the holy empire, the right hand of the future king of the Romans in the districts of the Rhine and of Swabia and in the limits of Franconia, ought, by reason of his principality or by privilege of the county palatine, to be the administrator of the empire itself, with the power of passing judgments, of presenting to ecclesiastical benefices, of collecting returns and revenues and investing with fiefs, of receiving oaths of fealty for and in the name of the holy empire. All of these acts, however, shall, in due time, be renewed by the king of the Romans who is afterwards elected, and the oaths shall be sworn to him anew. The fiefs of princes are alone excepted, and those which are commonly called banner-fiefs: the conferring of which, and the investing, we reserve especially for the emperor or king of the Romans alone. The count palatine must know, nevertheless, that every kind of alienation or obligation of imperial possessions, in the time of such administration, is expressly forbidden to him. And we will that the illustrious king of Saxony, arch-marshal of the holy empire, shall enjoy the same right of administration in those places where the Saxon jurisdiction prevails, under all the modes and conditions that have been expressed above.
And although the emperor or king of the Romans, in matters concerning which he is called to account, has to answer before the count palatine of the Rhine and prince elector-as is is said to have been introduced by custom:- nevertheless the count palatine shall not be able to exercise that right of judging otherwise than in the imperial court, where the emperor or king of the Romans shall be present.
We decree that, in holding an imperial court, whenever in future one shall chance to be held, the aforesaid prince electors, ecclesiastical and secular, shall immutably hold their positions on the right and on the left-according to the prescribed order and manner. And no other prince of whatever standing, dignity, pre-eminence or condition be may be, shall in any way be preferred to them or anyone of them, in any acts relating to that court; in going there, while sitting or while standing. And it is distinctly declared that especially the king of Bohemia shall, in the holding of such courts, in each and every place and act aforesaid, immutably precede any other king, with whatsoever special prerogative of dignity he may be adorned, no matter what the occasion or cause for which he may happen to come or to be present.
Among those innumerable cares for the well-being of the holy empire over which we, by God's grace, do happily reign-cares which daily try our heart,-our thoughts are chiefly directed to this: that union, desirable and always healthful, may continually flourish among the prince electors of the holy empire, and that the hearts of those men may be preserved in the concord of sincere charity, by whose timely care the disturbances of the world are the more easily and quickly allayed, the less error creeps in among them, and the more purely charity is observed, obscurity being removed and the rights of each one being clearly defined. It is, indeed, commonly known far and wide, and clearly manifest, as it were, throughout the whole world, that those illustrious men the king of Bohemia and the count palatine of the Rhine, the duke of Saxony and the margrave of Brandenburg, have-the one by reason of his kingdom, the others of their principalities, -together with the ecclesiastical princes their co-electors, their right, vote and place in the election of the king of the Romans and prospective emperor. And, together with the spiritual princes, they are considered and are the true and lawful. prince electors of the holy empire. Lest, in future, among the sons of these same secular prince electors, matter for scandal and dissension should arise concerning the above right, vote and power, and the common welfare be thus jeopardized by dangerous delays, we, wishing by God's help to wholesomely obviate future dangers, do establish with imperial authority and decree, By the present ever-to-be-valid law, that when these same secular prince electors, or any of them, shall die, the right, vote and power of thus electing shall, freely and without the contradiction of any one, devolve on his first born, legitimate, lay son; but, if he be not living, on the son of this same first born son, if he be a layman. If, however, such first born son shall have departed from this world without leaving male legitimate lay heirs,-by virtue of the present imperial edict, the right, vote and aforesaid power of electing shall devolve upon the elder lay brother descended by the true paternal line, and thence upon his first born lay son. And such succession of the first born sons, and of the heirs of these same princes, to their right, vote and power, shall be observed in all future time; under such rule and condition, however, that if a prince elector, or his first born or eldest lay son, should happen to die leaving male, legitimate, lay heirs who are minors, then the eldest of the brothers of that elector, or of his first born son, shall be their tutor and administrator until the eldest of them shall have attained legitimate age. Which age we wish to have considered, and we decree that it shall be considered, eighteen full years in the case of prince electors; and, when they shall have attained this, the guardian shall straightway be obliged to resign to them completely, together with his office, the right, vote and power, and all that these involve. But if any such principality should happen to revert to the holy empire, the then emperor or king of the Romans should and may to dispose of it as of a possession which has lawfully devolved upon himself and the empire. Saving always the privileges, rights and customs of our kingdom of Bohemia concerning the election, through its subjects, of a king in case of a vacancy. For they have the right of electing the king of Bohemia; such election to be made according to the contents of those privileges obtained from the illustrious emperors or kings of the Romans, and according to long observed custom; to which privileges we wish to do no violence by an imperial edict of this kind. On the contrary we decree that, now and in all future time, they shall have undoubted power and validity as to all their import and as to their form.
Inasmuch as, through our predecessors the divine emperors and kings of the Romans, it was formerly graciously conceded and allowed to our progenitors and predecessors the illustrious kings of Bohemia, also to the kingdom of Bohemia and to the crown of that same kingdom; and was introduced, without hindrance of contradiction or interruption, into that kingdom at a time to which memory does not reach back, by a laudable custom preserved unshaken by length of time, and called for by the character of those who enjoy it; that no prince, baron, noble, knight, follower, burgher, citizen-in a word no person belonging to that kingdom and its dependencies wherever they may be, no matter what his standing, dignity, pre-eminence, or condition-might, or in all future time may, be cited, or dragged or summoned, at the instance of any plaintiff whatsoever, before any tribunal beyond that kingdom itself other than that of the king of Bohemia and of the judges of his royal court: therefore of certain knowledge, by the imperial authority and from the plenitude of imperial power, we renew and also confirm such privilege, custom and favour; and by this our imperial forever-to be-valid edict do decree that if, contrary to the said privilege, custom, or favour, any one of the foregoing-namely, any prince, baron, noble, knight, follower, citizen, burgher, or rustic, or any aforementioned person whatever-at any time be cited in any civil, criminal, or mixed case, or concerning any matter, before the tribunal of any one outside the said-kingdom of Bohemia, he shall not at all be bound to appear when summoned, or to answer before the court. But if it shall chance that, against any such person or persons not appearing, by any judge outside of that kingdom of Bohemia no matter what his authority, judicial proceedings are instituted, a trial is carried on, or one or more intermediate or final sentences are passed and promulgated: by the aforesaid authority, and also from the plentitude of the aforesaid imperial power, we declare utterly vain, and do annul such citations, commands, proceedings and sentences, also the carrying out of them and everything which may in any way be attempted or done in consequence of them or any one of them. And we expressly add and, by the same authority and from the fulness of the aforesaid power, do decree by an ever-to-be-valid imperial edict that, just as it has been continually observed from time immemorial in the aforesaid kingdom of Bohemia, so, henceforth, no prince, baron, noble, knight, follower, citizen, burgher, or rustic-in short no person or inhabitant of the oft-mentioned kingdom of Bohemia, whatever be his standing, pre-eminence, dignity, or condition-may be allowed to appeal to any other tribunal from any proceedings, provisional or final sentences, or ordinances of the king of Bohemia or of his judges, instituted or promulgated, or henceforth to be instituted or promulgated against him, in the royal court or before tribunals of the king, the kingdom or the aforesaid judges. Nor may he appeal against the putting into execution of the same Provocations or appeals of this kind, moreover, if any, contrary to this edict, should chance to be brought, shall of their own accord be invalid; and those appealing shall know that, by the act itself, they have incurred the penalty of loss of their case.
We establish by this ever-to-be-valid decree, and of certain knowledge do declare that our successors the kings of Bohemia, also each and all future prince electors, ecclesiastical and secular, may justly hold and lawfully possess- with all their rights without exception, according as such things can be, or usually have been possessed-all the gold and silver mines and mines of tin, copper, lead, iron and any other kind of metal, and also of salt: the king, those which have been found, and which shall at any future time be found, in the aforesaid kingdom and the lands and dependencies of that kingdom,-and the aforesaid electors in their principalities, lands, domains and dependencies. And they may also have the Jew taxes and enjoy the tolls which have been decreed and assigned to them in the past, and whatever our progenitors the kings of Bohemia of blessed memory, and these same prince electors and their progenitors and predecessors shall have legally possessed until now; as is known to have been observed by ancient custom, laudable and approved, and sanctioned by the lapse of a very long period of time.
(1) We decree, moreover, that our successor, the king for the time being of Bohemia, shall have the same right which our predecessors the kings of Bohemia of blessed memory are known to have had, and in the continuous peaceful possession of which they remained: the right, namely, in every place and part of their kingdom, and of the lands subject to them, and of all their dependencies- wherever the king himself may have decreed and shall please-of coining gold and silver money and of circulating it in every way and manner observed up to this time in this same kingdom of Bohemia in such matters. (2) And, by this our imperial ever-to-be-valid decree and favour we establish, that all future kings of Bohemia forever shall have the right of buying or purchasing, or of receiving in gift or donation for any reason, or in bond, from any princes, magnates, counts or other persons, any lands, castles, possessions, estates or goods, under the usual conditions with regard to such lands, castles, possessions, estates or goods: that, namely, alods shall be bought or received as alods, freeholds as freeholds; that holdings in feudal dependency shall be bought as fiefs, and shall be held as such when bought. In such wise, however, that the kings of Bohemia shall themselves be bound to regard and to render to the holy empire its pristine and customary rights over these things (lands, etc.) which they shall, in this way, have bought or received, and have seen fit to add to the kingdom of Bohemia. (3) We will, moreover, that the present decree and favour, by virtue of this our present imperial law, be fully extended to all the elector princes, ecclesiastical as well as secular, and to their successors and lawful heirs, under all the foregoing forms and conditions.
We also decree that no counts, barons, nobles, feudal vassals, knights of castles, followers, citizens, burghers- indeed, no male or female subjects at all of the Cologne, Mainz and Treves churches, whatever their standing, condition or dignity-could in past times, or may or can in future be summoned at the instance of any plaintiff whatsoever, beyond the territory and boundaries and limits of these same churches and their dependencies, to any other tribunal or the court of any other person than the archbishops of Mainz, Treves and Cologne and their judges. And this we find was the observance in the past. But if contrary to our present edict, one or more of the aforesaid subjects of the Treves, Mainz or Cologne churches should chance to be summoned, at the instance of any one whatever, to the tribunal of any one beyond the territory, limits or bounds of the said churches or of any one of them, for any criminal, civil or mixed case, or in any matter at all: they shall not in the least be compelled to appear or respond. And we decree that the summons, and the proceedings, and the provisional and final sentences already sent or passed, or in future to be sent or passed against those not appearing, by such extraneous judges, -furthermore their ordinances, and the carrying out of the above measures, and all things which might come to pass, be attempted or be done through them or any one of them, shall be void of their own accord. And we expressly add that no count, baron, noble, feudal vassal, knight of a castle, citizen, peasant-no person, in short, subject to such churches or inhabiting the lands of the same, whatever be his standing, dignity or condition-shall be allowed to appeal to any other tribunal from the proceedings, the provisional and final sentences, or the ordinances-or the putting into effect of the same-of such archbishops and their churches, or of their temporal officials, when such proceedings, sentences or ordinances shall have been, or shall in future be held, passed or made against him in the court of the archbishops or of the aforesaid officials. Provided that justice has not been denied to those bringing plaint in the courts of the aforesaid archbishops and their officials. But appeals against this statute shall not, we decree, be received; we declare them null and void. In case of defect of justice, however, it is allowed to all the aforementioned persons to appeal, but only to the imperial court and tribunal or directly to the presence of the judge presiding at the time in the imperial court. And, even in case of such defect, those to whom justice has been denied may not appeal to any other judge, whether ordinary or delegated. And whatever shall Have been done contrary to the above shall be void of its own accord. And, by virtue of this our present imperial law, we will that this statute be fully extended, under all the preceding forms and conditions, to those illustrious men the count palatine of the Rhine, the duke of Saxony, the margrave of Brandenburg,-the secular or lay prince electors, their heirs, successors and subjects.
In view of the manifold cares of state with which our mind is constantly distracted, after much consideration our sublimity has found that it will be necessary for the prince electors of the holy empire to come together more frequently than has been their custom, to treat of the safety of that same empire and of the world. For they, the solid bases and immovable columns of the empire, according as they reside at long distances from each other, just so are able to report and confer concerning the impending defects of the districts known to them, and are not ignorant how, by the wise counsels of their providence, they may aid in the necessary reformation of the same. Hence it is that, in the solemn court held by our highness at Nuremberg together with the venerable ecclesiastical and illustrious secular prince electors, and many other princes and nobles, we, having deliberated with those same prince electors and followed their advice, have seen fit to ordain, together with the said prince electors, ecclesiastical as well as secular, for the common good and safety: that these same prince electors, once every year, when four weeks, counting continuously from the Easter feast of the Lord's resurrection, are past, shall personally congregate in some city of the holy empire; and that when next that date shall come round, namely, in the present year, a colloquium, or court, or assembly of this kind, shall be held by us and these same princes in our imperial city of Metz. And then, and henceforth on any day of an assembly of this kind, the place where they shall meet the following year shall be fixed upon by us with their counsel. And this our ordinance is to endure just so long as it may be our and their good pleasure. And, so long as it shall endure, we take them under our imperial safe conduct when going to, remaining at, and also returning from said court. Moreover, lest the transactions for the common safety and peace be retarded, as is sometimes the case, by the delay and hinderance of diversion or the excessive Frequenting of feasts, we have thought best to ordain, by concordant desire, that henceforth, while the said court or congregation shall last, no one may be allowed to give general entertainments for all the princes. Special ones, however, which do no impede the transaction of business, may be permitted in moderation.
Moreover we establish, and by this perpetual imperial edict do decree, that no privileges or charters concerning any rights, favours, immunities, customs or other things, conceded, of our own accord or otherwise, under any form of words, by us or our predecessors of blessed memory the divine emperors or kings of the Romans, or about to be conceded in future by us or our successors the Roman emperors and kings, to any persons of whatever standing, pre-eminence or dignity, or to the corporation of cities, towns, or any places: shall or may, in any way at all, derogate from the liberties, jurisdictions, rights, honours or dominions of the ecclesiastical and secular prince electors; even if in such privileges and charters of any persons, whatever their pre-eminence, dignity or standing, as has been said, or of corporations of this kind, it shall have been, or shall be in future, expressly cautioned that they shall not be revokable unless, concerning these very points and the whole tenor included in them, special mention word for word and in due order shall be made in such revocation. For such privileges and charters, if, and in as far as, they are considered to derogate in any way from the liberties, jurisdictions, rights, honours or dominions of the said prince electors, or any one of them, in so far we revoke them of certain knowledge and cancel them, and decree, from the plenitude of our imperial power, that they shall be considered and held to be revoked.
In very many places the vassals and feudatories of lords unseasonably renounce or resign, verbally and fraudulently, fiefs or benefices which they hold from those same lords. And, having made such resignation, they maliciously challenge those same lords, and declare enmity against them, subsequently inflicting grave harm upon them. And, under pretext of war or hostility, they again invade and occupy benefices and fiefs which they had thus renounced, and hold possession of them. Therefore we establish, by the present ever-to-be-valid decree, that such renunciation or resignation shall be considered as not having taken place, unless it shall have been freely and actual]v Elude by them in such way that possession of such benefices and fiefs shall be personally and actually given over to those same lords so fully that, at no future time, shall they, either through themselves or through others, by sending challenges, trouble those same lords as to the goods, fiefs or benefices resigned; nor shall they lend counsel, aid or favour to this end. He who acts otherwise, and in any way invades his lords as to benefices and fiefs, resigned or not resigned, or disturbs them, or brings harm upon them, or furnishes counsel, aid or favour to those doing this: shall, by the act itself, lose such fiefs and benefices, shall be dishonoured and shall underlie the bann of the empire; and no approach or return to such fiefs or benefices shall be open to him at any time in future, nor may the same be granted to him anew under any conditions; and a concession of them, or an investiture which takes place contrary to this, shall have no force. Finally, by virtue of this present edict, we decree I that he or they who, not having made such resignation as I we have described, acting Fraudulently against his or their lords, shall knowingly invade them-whether a challenge has previously been sent or has been omitted,-shall, by the act itself, incur all the aforesaid punishments.
Furthermore we reprobate, condemn, and of certain knowledge declare void, all conspiracies, detestable and frowned upon by the sacred laws and conventicles, or unlawful assemblies in the cities and out of them, and associations between city and city, between person and person or between a person and a city, under pretext of clientship, or reception among the citizens, or of any other reason; furthermore the confederations and pacts-and the usage which has been introduced with regard to such things, which we consider to be corruption rather than any thing else-which cities or persons, of whatever dignity, condition or standing, shall have thus far made and shall presume to make in future, whether among themselves or with others, without the authority of the lords whose subjects or serving-men they are, those same lords being expressly excluded. And it is clear that such are prohibited and declared void by the sacred laws of the divine emperors our predecessors. Excepting alone those confederations and leagues which princes, cities and others are known to have formed among themselves for the sake of the general peace of the provinces and lands. Reserving these for our special declaration, we ordain that they shall remain in full vigour until we shall decide to ordain otherwise concerning them. And we decree that, henceforth, each individual person who, contrary to the tenor of the present decree, and of the ancient law issued re~arding this, shall presume to enter into such confederations, leagues, conspiracies and pacts, shall incur, besides the penalty of that law, a mark of infamy and a penalty of ten pounds of gold. But a city or community similarly breaking this our law shall, we decree, by the act itself incur the penalty of a hundred pounds of gold, and also the loss and privation of the imperial liberties and privileges; one half of such pecuniary penalty to go to the imperial fisc, the other to the territorial lord to whose detriment the conspiracies, etc., were formed.
Moreover since some citizens and subjects of princes, barons and other men-as frequent complaint has shown us,-seeking to cast off the yoke of their original subjection, nay, with bold daring despising it, manage, and frequently in the past have managed to be received among the citizens of other cities; and, nevertheless, actually residing in the lands, cities, towns and estates of the former lords whom they so fraudulently presume or have presumed to desert, succeed in enjoying the liberties of the cities to which they thus transfer themselves and in being protected by them-being what is usually called in common language in Germany "pfalburgers": therefore, since fraud and deceit ought not to shelter any one, from the plenitude of the imperial power and by the wholesome advice of all the ecclesiastical and secular prince electors, we establish of certain knowledge, and, by the present ever-to-be-valid law do decree, that in all territories, places, and provinces of the holy empire, from the present day on, the aforesaid citizens and subjects thus eluding those under whom they are, shall in no way possess the rights and liberties of those cities among whose citizens they contrive, or have contrived, by such fraudulent means to be received; unless, bodily and actually going over to such cities and there taking up their domicile, making a continued, true and not fictitious stay, they submit to their due burdens and municipal functions in the same. But if any, contrary to the tenor of our present law, have been, or shall in future be received as citizens, their reception shall lack all validity, and the persons received, of whatever condition, or standing they may be shall, in no case or matter whatever, in any way exercise or enjoy the rights and liberties of the cities into which they contrive to be received. Any rights, privileges, or observed customs, at whatever time obtained, to the contrary notwithstanding; all of which, in so far as they are contrary to our present law, we, by these presents, revoke of certain knowledge, decreeing from the plenitude of the aforesaid imperial power that they lack all force and validity. For in all the aforesaid respects, the rights of the princes, lords and other men who chance, and shall in future chance, to be thus deserted, over the persons and goods of any subjects deserting them in the oft-mentioned manner, shall always be regarded. We decree, moreover, that those who, against the ordering of our present law, shall presume, or shall in the past have presumed, to receive the oft-mentioned citizens and subjects of other men, if they do not altogether dismiss them within a month after the present intimation has been made to them, shall, for such transgression, as often as they shall hereafter commit it, incur a fine of a hundred marks of pure gold, of which one half shall be applied without fail to our imperial fisc, and the rest to the lords of those who have been received as citizens.
We declare that those who, in future, feigning to have just cause of defiance against any persons, unseasonably challenge them in places where they do not have their domicile, or which they do not inhabit in common, cannot with honour inflict any harm through fire, Foliation or rapine, on the challenged ones. And, since fraud and deceit should not shelter any one, we establish by the present ever-to-be-valid decree that challenges of this kind, thus made, or in future to be made by any one against any lords or persons to whom they were previously bound by companionship, familiarity or any honest friendship, shall not be valid; nor is it lawful, under pretext of any kind of challenge, to invade any one through fire, spoliation or rapine, unless the challenge, three natural days before, shall have been intimated personally to the challenged man himself, or publicly in the place where he has been accustomed to reside, where full credibility can be given, through suitable witnesses, to such an intimation. Whoever shall presume otherwise to challenge any one and to invade him in the aforesaid manner, shall incur, by the very act, the same infamy as if no challenge had been made; and we decree that he be punished as a traitor by his judges, whoever they are, with the lawful punishments.
We prohibit also each and every unjust war and feud, and all unjust burnings, spoliations and rapines, unlawful and unusual tolls and escorts, and the exactions usually extorted for such escorts, under the penalties by which the sacred laws prescribe that the foregoing offenses, and any one of them, are to be punished.
To you, illustrious and magnificent prince, lord margrave of Brandenburg, arch-chamberlain of the holy empire, our co-elector and most dear friend, we intimate by these presents the election of the king of the Romans, which is about to take place on account of rational causes. And, as a duty of our office, we duly summon you to said election, bidding you within three months, counting continuously, from such and such a day, yourself, or in the person of one or more envoys or procurators having sufficient mandates, to be careful and come to the rightful place, according to the form of the holy laws issued concerning this, ready to deliberate, negotiate and come to an agreement with the other princes, yours and our co-electors, concerning the election of a future king of the Romans and, by God's favour, future emperor. And be ready to remain there until the full consummation of such election, and otherwise to act and proceed as is found expressed in the sacred laws carefully promulgated concerning this. Otherwise, notwithstanding your or your envoys' absence, we, together with our other co-princes and co-electors, shall take final measures in the aforesaid matters, according as the authority of those same laws has sanctioned.
We . . . such a one by the grace of God, etc., of the holy empire, etc., do make known to all men by the tenor of these presents, that since, from rational causes, an election of a king of the Romans is about to be made, we, desiring to watch with due care over the honour and condition of the holy empire, lest it be dangerously subjected to so grave harm, inasmuch as we have the great confidence, as it were of an undoubted presumption, in the faith and circumspect zeal of our beloved . . . and . . ., faithful subjects of ours: do make, constitute and ordain them and each one of them, completely, in every right, manner and form in which we can or may do it most efficaciously and effectually, our true and lawful procurators and special envoys-so fully that the condition of him who is acting at the time shall not be better than that of the other, but that what has been begun by one may be finished and lawfully terminated by the other. And we empower them to treat wherever they please with the others, our co-princes and co-electors, ecclesiastical as well as secular, and to agree, decide and settle upon some person fit and suitable to be elected king of the Romans, and to be present, treat and deliberate in the transactions to be carried on concerning the election of such a person, for us and in our place and name; also, in our stead and name, to nominate such a person, and to consent to him, and also to raise him to be king of the Romans, to elect him to the holy empire, and to take, upon our soul, with regard to the foregoing or any one of the foregoing, whatever oath shall be necessary, requisite or customary. And we empower them to substitute altogether, as well as to recall, one or more other procurators who shall perform each and every act, included in and concerning the foregoing matters, that may be needful, useful, or even in any way convenient, even to the consummation of such negotiations, nomination, deliberation and impending election. Even if the said matters, or any one of them, shall require a special mandate; even if they shall turn out to be greater or more especial than the above mentioned; provided that we could have performed them ourselves had we been present personally at the carrying on of such negotiations, deliberation, nomination and eventual election. And we consider, and wish to consider, and firmly promise that we always will consider satisfactory and valid any thing done, transacted or accomplished, or in any way ordained, in the aforesaid matters or in any one of them, by our aforesaid procurators or envoys, or their substitutes, or by those whom the latter shall substitute.
Since each and all the principalities, by virtue of which the secular prince electors are known to hold their right and vote in the election of the king of the Romans and prospective emperor, are so joined and inseparably united with such right of election, also with the offices, dignities and other rights connected with each and every such principality and dependent from it, that the right, vote, office and dignity, and all other privileges belonging to each of these same principalities may not devolve upon any other than upon him who is recognized as possessing that principality itself, with all its lands, vassalages, fiefs and domains, and all its appurtenances: we decree, by the present ever-to-be valid imperial edict, that each of the said principalities, with the right and vote and duty of election, and with all other dignities, rights and appurtenances concerning the same, ought so to continue and to be, indivisibly and for all time, united and joined together, that the possessor of any principality ought also to rejoice in the quiet and free possession of its right, vote and office, and dignity, and all the appurtenances that go with it, and to be considered prince elector by all. And he himself, and no one else, ought at all times to be called in and admitted by the other prince electors, without any contradiction whatever, to the election and to all other transactions to be carried on for the honour or welfare of the holy empire. Nor, since they are and ought to be inseparable, may any one of the said rights, etc., be divided from the other, or at any time be separated, or be separately demanded back, in court or out of it, or distrained, or, even by a decision of the courts, be separated; nor shall any one obtain a hearing who claims one without the other. But if, through error or otherwise, any one shall have obtained a hearing, or proceedings, judgment, sentence or any thing of the kind shall have taken place, or shall chance in any way to have been attempted, contrary to this our present decree: all this, and all consequences of such proceedings, etc., and of any one of them, shall be void of their own accord.
Inasmuch as we saw fit above, at the beginning of our present decrees, fully to provide for the order of seating of the ecclesiastical prince electors in council, and at table and elsewhere, whenever, in future, an imperial court should chance to be held, or the prince electors to assemble together with the emperor or king of the Romans-as to which order of seating we have heard that in former times discussions often arose: so, also, do we find it expedient to fix, with regard to them, the order of marching and walking. Therefore, by this perpetual imperial edict, we decree that, as often as, in an assembly of the emperor or king of the Romans and of the aforesaid princes, the emperor or king of the Romans shall be walking, and it shall happen that the insignia are carried in front of him, the archbishop of Treves shall walk in a direct diametrical line in front of the emperor or l;ing, and those alone shall walk in the middle space between them, who shall happen to carry the imperial or royal insignia. When, however, the emperor or king shall advance without those same insignia, then that same archbishop shall precede the emperor or king in the aforesaid manner, but so that no one at all shall be in the middle between them; the other two archiepiscopal electors always keeping their places-as with regard to the seating above explained, so with regard to walking-according to the privilege of their provinces.
In order to fix the order of proceeding, which we mentioned above, of the prince electors in the presence of the emperor or king of the Romans when he is walking, we decree that, so often as, while holding an imperial court, the prince electors shall, in the performance of any functions or solemnities, chance to walk in procession with the emperor or king of the Romans, and the imperial or royal insignia are to be carried: the duke of Saxony carrying the imperial or royal sword, shall directly precede the emperor or king, and shall place himself in the middle between him and the archbishop of Treves. But the count palatine, carrying the imperial orb, shall march in the same line on the right side, and the margrave of Brandenburg, bearing the sceptre, on the left side of the same duke of Saxony. But the king of Bohemia shall directly follow the emperor or king himself, no one intervening.
Furthermore, so often as it shall come to pass that the ceremony of the mass is celebrated in the presence of the emperor or king of the Romans and that the archbishops of Mainz, Treves and Cologne, or two of them, are present, -in the confession which is usually said before the mass, and in the presenting of the gospel to be kissed, and in the blessing to be said after the i' A gnus Dei," also in the benedictions to be said after the end of the mass, and also in those said before meals, and in the thanks to be offered after the food has been partaken of, the following order shall be observed among them, as we have seen fit to ordain by their own advice: namely, on the first day each and all of these shall be done by the first of the archbishops, on the second by the second, on the third, by the third. But we will that first, second and third shall be understood in this case, according as each one of them was consecrated at an earlier or later date. And, in order that they may mutually make advances to each other with worthy and becoming honour, and may give an example to others of mutual respect, he whose turn it is according to the aforesaid, shall, without regard to that fact, and with charitable intent, invite the other to officiate; and, not till he has done this, shall he proceed to perform the above, or any of the above functions.
(1) If any one, together with princes, knights or pri. vases or also any plebeian persons, shall enter into an unhallowed conspiracy, or shall take the oath of such conspiracy, concerning the death of our and the holy Roman empire's venerable and illustrious prince electors, ecclesiastical as well as secular, or of any one of them-for they also are part of our body; and the laws have decided that the intention of a crime is to be punished with the same severity as the carrying out of it:-he, indeed, shall die by the sword as a traitor, all his goods being handed over to our fisc. (2) But his sons, to whom, by special imperial lenity, we grant their life-for those ought to perish by the same punishment as their father, whose portion is the example of a paternal, that is of a hereditary crime-shall be without share in any inheritance or suceession from the mother 'or grandparents, or even from relatives; they shall receive nothing from other people's wills, and shall be always poor and in want; the infamy of their father shall always follow them, and they shall never achieve any honour or be allowed to take any oath at all; in a word they shall be such that to them, grovelling in perpetual misery, death shall be a solace and life a punishment. (3) Finally we command that those shall be made notorious, and shall be without pardon who shall ever try to intervene with us for such persons. (4) But to the daughters, as many of them as there are, of such conspirators, we will that there shall go only the "falcidia"-the fourth part of the property of the mother if she die intestate; so that they may rather have the moderate alimony of a daughter, than the entire emolument or name of an heir;-for the sentence ought to be milder in the case of those who, as we trust, on account of the infirmity of their sex, are less likely to make daring attempts. (I) Deeds of gift, moreover, made out to either sons or daughters by the aforesaid persons, after the passing of this law, shall not be valid. (6) Dotations and donations of any possessions; likewise, in a word, all transfers which shall prove to have been made, by any fraud or by right, after the time when first the aforesaid people conceived the idea of entering into a conspiracy or union, shall, we decree, be of no account. (7) But the wives of the aforesaid conspirators, having recovered their dowry-if they shall be in a condition to reserve for their children that which they shall have received from their husbands under the name of a gift,-shall know that, from the time when their usufruct ceases, they are to leave to our fisc all that which, according to the usual law, was due to their children. (8) And the fourth part of such property shall be put aside for the daughters alone, not also for the sons. (9) That which we have provided concerning the aforesaid conspirators and their children, we also decree with like severity, concerning their followers, accomplices and aiders, and the children of these. (10) But if any one of these, at the beginning of the formation of a conspiracy, inflamed by zeal for the right kind of glory, shall himself betray the conspiracy, he shall be enriched by us with reward and honour; he, moreover, who shall have been active in the conspiracy, if, even late, he disclose secret plans which were, indeed, hitherto unknown,- t. shall nevertheless be deemed worthy of absolution and pardon. (11) We decree, moreover, that if anything be said to have been committed against the aforesaid prince electors, ecclesiastical or secular,-even after the death of the accused that charge can be instituted.' (12) Likewise in such a charge, which regards high treason against his prince electors, slaves shall be tortured even in a case concerning the life of their master. (13) We will, furthermore, and do decree by the present imperial edict, that even after the death of the guilty persons this charge can be instituted, and, if some one already convicted die, his memory shall be condemned and Lois goods taken away from his heirs. (14) For from the time when any one conceived so wicked a plot, from then on he has to some extent been punished mentally; but from the time when any one drew down upon himself such a charge, we decree that he may neither alienate nor release, nor may any debtor lawfully make payment to him. (15) For in this case we decree that slaves may be tortured in a matter involving the life of their master; that is, in the case of a damnable conspiracy against the prince electors, ecclesiastical and secular, as has been said before. (16) And if any one should die, on account of the uncertain person of his successor his goods shall be held, if he be proved to have died in a case of this kind.
If it is fitting that other principalities be preserved in their entirety, in order that justice may be enforced and faithful subjects rejoice in peace and quiet: much more ought the magnificent principalities, dominions, honours and rights of the elector princes to be kept intact-for where greater danger is imminent a stronger remedy should be applied,-lest, if the columns fall, the support of the whole edifice be destroyed. We decree, therefore, and sanction, by this edict to be perpetually valid, that from now on unto all future time the distinguished and magnificent principalities, viz.: the kingdom of Bohemia, the county palatine of the Rhine, the duchy of Saxony and the margravate of Brandenburg, their lands, territories, homages or vassalages, and any other things pertaining to them, may not be cut, divided, or under any condition dismembered, but shall remain forever in their perfect entirety. The first born son shall succeed to them, and to him alone shall jurisdiction and dominion belong, unless he chance to be of unsound mind, or idiotic, or have some other marked and known defect on account of which he could not or should not rule over men. In which case, he being prevented from succeeding, we will that the second born, if there should be one in that family, or another elder brother or lay relative, the nearest on the father's side in a straight line of descent, shall have the succession. He, however, shall always show himself clement and gracious to the others, his brothers and sisters, according to the favour shown him by God, and according to his best judgment and the amount of his patrimony,-division, partition or dismemberment of the principality and its appurtenances being in every way forbidden to him.
On the day upon which a solemn imperial or royal court is to be held, the ecclesiastical and secular prince electors shall, about the first hour, come to the imperial or royal place of abode, and there the emperor or king shall be clothed in all the imperial insignia; and, mounting their horses, all shall go with the emperor or king to the place fitted up for the session, and each one of them shall go in the order and manner fully defined above in the law concerning the order of marching of those same prince electors. The arch-chancellor, moreover, in whose arch-chancellorship this takes place, shall carry, besides the silver staff, all the imperial or royal seals and signets. But the secular prince electors, according to what has above been explained, shall carry the sceptre, orb and sword. And immediately before the archbishop of Treves, marching in his proper place, shall be carried first the crown of Aix and second that of Milan: and this directly in front of the emperor already resplendent with the imperial adornments; and these crowns shall be carried by some lesser princes, to be chosen for this by the emperor according to his will. The empress, moreover, or queen of the Romans, clad in her imperial insignia, joined by her nobles and escorted by her maids of honour, shall proceed to the place of session after the king or emperor of the Romans, and also, at a sufficient interval of space, after the king of Bohemia, who immediately follows the emperor.
We decree that whenever the emperor or king of the Romans shall hold his solemn courts, in which the prince electors ought to serve or to perform their offices, the following order shall be observed in these matters. First, then the emperor or king having placed himself on the royal seat or imperial throne, the duke of Saxony shall fulfil his office in this manner: before the building where the imperial or royal session is being held, shall be placed a heap of oats so high that it shall reach to the breast or girth of the horse on which the duke himself shall sit; and he shall have in his hand a silver staff and a silver measure, which, together, shall weigh 12 marks of silver; and, sitting upon his horse, he shall first fill that measure with oats, and shall offer it to the first slave who appears. This being done, fixing his staff in the oats, he shall retire; and his vice-marshal, namely, he of Pappenheim, approaching-or, in his absence,the marshal! of the court,- shall further distribute the oats. But when the emperor or king shall have gone into table, the ecclesiastical prince electors-namely the archbishops,-standing before the table with the other prelates, shall bless the same according to the order above prescribed; and, the benediction over, all those same archbishops if they are present, otherwise two or one, shall receive from the chancellor of the court the imperial or royal seals and signets, and he in whose arch chancellorship this court happens to be held advancing in the middle, and the other two joining him on either side, shall carry those seals and signets-all touching with their hands the staff on which they have been suspended-and shall reverently place them on the table before the emperor or king. The emperor or king, however, shall straightway restore the same to them, and he in whose arch-chancellorate this takes place, as has been said, shall carry the great seal appended to his neck until the end of the meal, and after that until, riding from the imperial or royal court, he shall come to his dwelling place. The staff, moreover, that we spoke of shall be of silver, equal in weight to twelve marks of slaver; of which silver, and of which price, each of those same archbishops shall pay one third; and that staff afterwards, together well the seals and signets, shall be assigned to the chancellor of the imperial court to be put to what use he pleases. But after he whose turn it has been, carrying the great seal, shall, as described, have returned from the imperial court to his dwelling place, he shall straightway send that seal to the said chancellor of the imperial court. This he shall do through one of his servants riding on such a horse as, according to what is becoming to his own dignity, and according to the love which he shall bear to the chancellor of the court, he shall be bound to present to that chancellor.
Then the margrave of Brandenburg, the arch-chamberlain, shall approach on horseback, having in his hands silver basins with water, of the weight of twelve marks of silver, and a beautiful towel; and, descending from his horse, he shall present the water to the lord emperor or king of the Romans to wash his hands.
The count palatine of the Rhine shall likewise enter on horseback, having in his hands four silver dishes filled with food, of which each one shall be worth three marks; and, descending from his horse, he shall carry them and place them on the table before the emperor or king
After this, likewise on horseback, shall come the king of Bohemia, the arch-cupbearer, carrying in his hands a silver cup. or goblet of the weight of twelve marks, covered, filled with a mixture of wine and water; and, descending from his horse, he shall offer that cup to the emperor or king of the Romans to drink from.
Moreover, as we learn it to have hitherto been observed so we decree, that, after their aforesaid offices have been performed by the secular prince electors, he of Falkenstein the sub-chamberlain, shall receive for himself the horse and basins of the margrave of Brandenburg; he of Northemburg, master of the kitchen, the horse and dishes of the count palatine; he of Limburg, the vice-cupbearer, the horse and cup of the king of Bohemia; he of Pappenhelm, the vice-marshal, the horse, staff and aforesaid measure of the duke of Saxony. That is, if these be present at such imperial or royal court, and if each one of them minister in his proper office. But if they, or any one of them, should see fit to absent themselves from the said court, then those who daily minister at the imperial or royal court shall, in place of the absent ones,-each one, namely, in place of that absent one with whom he has his name and office in common,-enjoy the fruits with regard to the aforesaid functions, inasmuch as they perform the duties.
Moreover the imperial or royal table ought so to be arranged that it shall be elevated above the other tables in the hall by a height of six feet. And at it, on the day of a solemn court, shall sit no one at all except alone the emperor or king of the Romans.
But the seat and table of the empress or queen shall be prepared to one side in the hall, so that that table shall be three feet lower than the imperial or royal table, and as many feet higher than the seats of the prince electors; which princes shall have their seats and tables at one and the same altitude among themselves.
Within the imperial place of session tables shall be prepared for the seven prince electors, ecclesiastical and secular,-three, namely, on the right, and three others on the left, and the seventh directly opposite the face of the emperor or king, as has above been more clearly defined by us in the chapter concerning the seating and precedence of the prince electors; in such wise, also, that no one else, of whatever dignity or standing he may be, shall sit among them or at their table.
Moreover it shall not be allowed to any one of the aforesaid secular prince electors, when the duty of his office has been performed, to place himself at the table prepared for him so long as any one of his fellow prince electors has still to perform his office. But when one or more of them shall have finished their ministry, they shall pass to the tables prepared for them, and, standing before them, shall wait until the others have fulfilled the aforesaid duties; and then, at length, one and all shall place themselves at the same time before the tables prepared for them.
We find, moreover, from the most renowned accounts and traditions of the ancients that, from time immemorial it has been continuously observed by those who have felicitously preceded us, that the election of the king of the Romans and future emperor should be held in the city of Frankfort, and the first coronation in Aix, and that his first imperial court should be celebrated in the town of Nuremberg. Wherefore on sure grounds, we declare that the said usages should also be observed in future, unless a lawful impediment should stand in the way of them or any one of them. Whenever, furthermore, any prince elector, ecclesiastical or secular, detained by a just impediment, and not able to come when summoned to the imperial court, shall send an envoy or procurator, of whatever dignity or standing,-that envoy, although, according to the mandate given him by his master, he ought to be admitted in the place of him who sends him, shall, nevertheless, not sit at the table or in the seat intended for him - who sent him.
Moreover when those matters shall have been settled which were at that time to be disposed of in any imperial or royal court, the master of the court shall receive for himself the whole structure or wooden apparatus of the imperial or royal place of session, where the emperor or lying of the Romans shall have sat with the prince electors to hold his solemn court, or, as has been said, to confer fiefs on the princes.
We decree by this imperial edict that the prince electors, ecclesiastical and secular, when they receive their fiefs or regalia from the emperor or king, shall not at all be bound to give or pay anything to anybody. For the money which is paid under such a pretext is due to the officials; but since, indeed, the prince electors themselves are at the head of all the offices of the imperial court, having also their substitutes in such offices, furnished for this by the Roman princes, and paid,-it would seem absurd if substituted officials, under cover of any excuse whatever, should demand presents from their superiors; unless, perchance, those same prince electors, freely and of their own will, should give them something.
On the other hand, the other princes of the empire, ecclesiastical or secular,-when, in the aforesaid manner, any one of them receives his fiefs from the emperor or king of the Romans,-shall give to the officials of the imperial or royal court 63 marks of silver and a quarter, unless any one of them can protect himself by an imperial or royal privilege or grant, and can prove that he has paid or is exempt from such, or also from any other, payments usually made when receiving such fiefs. Moreover the master of the imperial or royal court shall make division of the 631 marks as follows: first reserving, indeed, 10 marks for himself, he shall give to the chancellor of the imperial or royal court 10 marks; to the masters, notaries, copyists, 3 marks; and to the sealer, for wax and parchment, one quarter. This with the understanding that the chancellor and notaries shall not be bound to do more than to give the prince receiving the fief a testimonial to the effect that he has received it, or a simple charter of investiture.
Likewise, from the aforesaid money, the master of the court shall give to the cupbearer, him of I`imburg, 10 marks; to the master of the kitchen, him of Northemburg, 10 marks; to the vice-marshal!, him of Pappenheim, 10 marks; and to the chamberlain, him of Falkenstein, 10 marks: under the condition, however, that they and each one of them are present and perform their offices in solemn courts of this kind. But if they or any one of them shall have been absent, then the officials of the imperial or royal court who perform these same offices, shall carry off the reward and the perquisites of those whose absence they make good, individual for individual, according as they fill their place, and bear their name, and perform their task.
When, moreover, any prince, sitting on a horse or other beast, shall receive his fiefs from the emperor or king, that horse or beast, of whatever kind he be, shall be the due of the highest marshal-that is, of the duke of Saxony if he shall be present. otherwise of him of Pappenheim, his vice-marshal!; or, in his absence, of the marshal! of the imperial or royal court.
Inasmuch as the majesty of the holy Roman empire has to wield the laws and the government of diverse nations distinct in customs, manner of life, and in language, it is considered fitting, and, in the judgment of all wise men, expedient, that the prince electors, the columns and sides of that empire, should be instructed in the varieties of the different dialects and languages: so that they who assist the imperial sublimity in relieving the wants of very many people, and who are constituted for the sake of keeping watch, should understand, and be understood by, as many as possible. Wherefore we decree that the sons, or heirs and successors of the illustrious prince electors, namely of the king of Bohemia, the count palatine of the Rhine, the duke of Saxony and the margrave of Brandenburg-since they are expected in all likelihood to have naturally acquired the German language, and to have been taught it from their infancy,-shall be instructed in the grammar of the Italian and Slavic tongues, beginning with the seventh Year of their age. so that, before the fourteenth year of their age, they may be learned in the same according to the grace granted them by God. For this is considered not only useful, but also, from the aforementioned causes, highly necessary, since those languages are wont to be very much employed in the service and for the needs of the holy empire, and in them the more arduous affairs of the empire are discussed. And, with regard to the above we lay down the following mode of procedure to be observed it shall be left to the option of the parents to send their sons, if they have any-or their relatives whom they consider as likely to succeed themselves in their principalities, -to places where they can be taught such languages, or, in their own homes, to give them teachers, instructors, and fellow youths skilled in the same, by whose conversation and teaching alike they may become versed in those languages.
The Golden Bull of 1356, was issued for the purpose of determining the form for the election and coronation of the emperor, and also of regulating the duties, rights and privileges of the elector princes. It distinctly defines to whom the electoral rights belong. There had been no doubt about the three archbishoprics or about Bohemia, but disputes had arisen between rival lines both in Saxony and Brandenburg, and the seventh vote was claimed alike by Bavaria and by the Palatinate.
To the electors the Golden Bull gave sovereign rights within their districts. No one could appeal from their decisions; tolls, coinage and treasure trove were to be their perquisites, and offenses against their persons were to be punished as high treason. They were to have an important share in the government of the empire.
The Golden Bull is not a law which introduced new features into the constitution. It determined, however, a number of questions that had long been wavering and became an unquestioned authority that was appealed to for centuries. The election of an emperor took place according to its articles so long as the empire lasted. It is important to note that nothing is said concerning the right of the pope, which had been recognized by Louis of Bavaria, to confirm the election.
The Golden Bull was oppressive to the lesser nobility as well as to the cities. The princes who were not electors were now only of secondary rank, and it was probably at this time that one of them, Rudolf IVth, Duke of Austria, took the opportunity of forging privileges to raise his sinking prestige (see above, No. VII.). The regulations concerning Pfalburgers and confederations were a severe blow to civic pride-however expedient they may have been,-and the cities were driven into permanent opposition to the crown. Thus the Golden Bull served to further a process of disintegration which was to lead almost to anarchy and to deaden all feeling of loyalty for the empire.
Henderson, Ernest F.
Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages
London : George Bell and Sons, 1896.