from "Dreadful Orders! Terrible Laws!" by Peter Nottke
Commemorative "750 Years Trittau", February 10, 1989

Agriculture was in the middle of the 18th century in a crisis situation. On the one hand, a growing population demanded more power, i. more agricultural products. On the other hand, farmers often lacked fertilizer because they could not buy enough animal feed. As a result, they achieved low yields, which in turn allowed them to raise insufficient funds for animal feed. Many farmers were in vicious circles like this one. The local historian H. Funck writes about the low level of productivity that "harvesting with the second grain", in which a sack of grain was seeded to harvest two sacks, was nothing unusual. "Harvesting with the third grain was already considered mediocre and those with the fourth or fifth grain were already considered good."

In fact, Trittau was no different. The earth book of 1765 speaks of buckwheat from a harvest with the second, in the "fat rocking" (= rye) of a harvest with the fourth, in the "thin rocking" of a harvest with the second grain and a half. In "Habern" (= oats) the farmers would have the third or fourth grain "free".

Before the middle of the 18th century, however, it was not common to worry about how to make more profit from agricultural work. If peasants in the duchies of Schleswig or Holstein were allowed to produce for themselves by and large (and did not have to work on farmyards as serfs), the effort was preferably directed at their own farm, their own house and their own family, but not primarily a market and its anonymous buyers.

From about the middle of the 18th century, members of educated circles began to discuss the untapped opportunities of agriculture. "Pastors gave advice from the pulpit on how to better farm his land."

The inefficient management of the soil was a habit that was suddenly attacked not only from economic considerations out. Behind the commitment for the coupling was also a change in the image of man. J.H.G. Justi (1717-1771) e.g. "that everything that belongs to many is less used, less improved, less cultivated than the possession of one". Justi was convinced that farmers would only show greater diligence and more ingenuity if they could hope to earn more in person and make a better life.

Chaos in the Kieler cash register

In the face of a catastrophic low tide in the treasury, a reform of the tax system seemed urgently needed. However, this was not primarily an increase in the levy on the sovereign, the "Praestando" in the eye, but its predictability. The size of the individual sites, which (...) decided on the load, was not determined by measurement, but indicated by the farmers themselves after their sowing (see Parish Trittau 1708). Consciously or unconsciously false reports could hardly be controlled.

The danger to the state in such unclear assessments was to overburden taxpayers, to charge them so severely in ignorance of the exact circumstances that prevailed that they did not pay as taxpayers at all. The latter was to be avoided, because the state needed people who liked to stay in the country and participate in its economic and financial development, without having to ask for new tax rebates from year to year.

For hooves this was called e.g. according to a regulation formulated in 1768 by a special commission in the Directorate-General that they should not be less than 50 tonnes and not more than 100 tonnes (i.e. between 31 and 63 ha). The half-hooves should only be between 23 and 50 tons (16 - 31 ha) and the herders between 12 and 20 tons (8 - 13 ha).

The fact that the consequences of these measures went in a different direction becomes clear when one considers the fate of the common pastures, which were originally protected by the village. The common pastures were largely dissolved as such, dissected into measured portions and distributed individually to the farmers. The landlord of the common pastures, who was originally given the villages by the right to use for free by the sovereign, was now to be levied the levy on the landlord, the praestando, payable by each according to his personal share.

As a culmination of all these steps, the General Directorate thought of the actual coupling of the village districts: on the basis of the numbers of the surveyors, the peasants were each to receive precisely allocated land plots, which they then enclose with "living fences", i. Knicks provided or limited with trenches, in short: couple. In order to replace the peasants with the costs associated with this work, they should benefit from the temporary enjoyment of certain reductions with regard to the annual praetando.

After the principles of the reforms had been developed, the first measures (for example surveying) were also initiated immediately. In 1772, Johann Andreas Thießen, a sworn geometer, presented the results of his measurement and arithmetic in the village of Trittau. In a separate book of the old chancellery, details of the possessions of the prisoners were recorded. In addition, Thießen drew a huge map of the district Trittau. This map, reproduced here partially in reproduction, does not fit on any single table; To expand it requires several additional facilities.

This map is shown here reduced. If you click on the scaled map, the map will be displayed in a new window in the largest resolution available to me (Attention: 2,7 MB - the Loading time is noticeably long, even with a DSL connection!) And you can zoom in on the scrolling details. You will notice that the town at that time mainly in the south only from the junction of today's Rausdorfer road (max including Volksbank) to the junction of today's Ziegelbergweg in the north went (up to a café on the market). The fieldmark began behind it.

On the enlarged map is - marked by numbers - deposited in many plots, who owned the place. If you stay with the cursor a few seconds on the property or house, appears for 5 sec a small window with the name of the former owner and the number belonging. Of course you have to scroll to the middle of the screen.

Peasant Bestmann

The example of the agrarian reform will be used to shed light on the role a peasant vow actually plays in a village. The corresponding documents or letters can be found in the Landesarchiv Rendsburg. The General Directorate had surveyed and coupled the village fields and common pastures and, as a result, redrafted (= set) the peasant taxes.

On 19.12.1775 the peasant Friederich Hinrich Bestmann wrote a long letter (LA, Dept. 8.3, no. 2064) to Andreas August von Hobe, Trittau bailiff from 1773 - 1802. He knew very well, the peasant Vogue wrote, that it was his "Excellent duties" belong to obeying the orders of the authorities "without any doubt", but he must now object. The General Directorate had given him the loss of "some very considerable fields and meadows of Ländereyen", which he could not and did not want to accept. His job should not fall under the "setting" of the General Directorate, as it was protected by over 200 years old privileges. As proof, Bestmann presented copies of old documents, from which it emerged that Bestmann's farmyard had a privilege of almost 200 years. It said that the respective holder of this position, together with his descendants, had no reason to fear any increases in the tax burden and never had to worry about being used to serve the government. In return, the person concerned must pay annually 18 Reichstaler praestando.

In the privileges of the "heirs and descendants" of the former court owner Bredendahl the speech. Unfortunately this did not belong to Bestmann, because he did not buy the farm until 1758. But, he argued, for the "certainly not mediocre sum" of 8,150 (mark?). He would have paid a sum "that no reasonable person throws for a quarter of a hoof." Incidentally, the fact that the office of peasant farmer could change his carrier with the purchase of a farm site was quite unusual. In the Duchy of Lauenburg, for example the peasant peoples of the villages were either hereditary or (later) ministries assigned by the authorities to good subjects.

The General Directorate had studied various books on the district of Trittau, and had come across details that made the officials very worried. There had to be strange changes going on, which came to the state of the farmer's estate. So they had found that this place in the Earth Book of 1765 attributed much more field and meadow than, for example, 1705. That is why Bestmann had to pay a praetand that was appropriate to the changed facts and that one should not pretend that everything was as in 1640. The 18 Reichstaler ruling had to be dropped and the peasants in Trittau, like their neighbors, had to pay a sum according to "law".

It is both instructive and piquant, as the peasants tried to rid themselves of the intrusive General Directorate, in order to remain in the enjoyment of the privilege attached to his farm.

At first he had the suspicion that his predecessors had broken land out of the common pasture and slammed his own homestead. According to Bestmann, such a sacrilege would not have been possible without "something known to those presently living near the village". These dutiful men would not have let a minute pass in this case without "stifling and preventing" such unlawful appropriations. On the same level, he also argued against the charge that he would now cut down ten times as many trees in the Trittau meanness as his predecessors according to Erdbuch 1640 could have taken out. For the rest, he thought it pointless to go on talking about the past. All these things, mysterious as they were, would have taken place "without my efforts and knowledge." He had relied on the old privilege to buy these quarter-hooves, and believed that he was "quite sure of a quiet, undisturbed possession and enjoyment of the goods he bought, and that he could not be endangered or deceived." He also had no idea that one day he would be treated like a thief who had "stolen" his possessions. If he were to be dragged into a "sitting," his fate would be sealed, and he would "burden the public with his wife and children, and end my life in the most wretched way, though not by my fault."

Now one has to keep in mind that Bestmann on the one hand demanded that he remain unmolested by the "settlement" in order to be able to continue to enjoy the old privilege of 18 Reichstaler. On the other hand, he wanted to benefit from the upcoming changes: He never had the slightest doubt that he wished to be given generous consideration in the distribution of the Trittauer Gemeine Weide.

So no normal subject behaved. We should not be fooled by the fact that Bestmann presented himself as a social hardship that sought to touch the heart of his authority. Bestmann was aware of his strong position. At least he'll have guessed that the lordship itself was interested in giving him everything he wanted.

Paustian's plea

Four months later, the office clerk Jacob Bernhard Paustian wrote a letter to the General Directorate on 19.04.1776. In it, the office clerk was fully behind the peasant Vogt, his arguments repeated in part literally. On one point, however, the provincial official put particular emphasis on the credibility of the state.

The Trittauer peasant Vogt 18 years earlier had bought the said Viertelhufe with all the privileges attached to it for expensive money. "Should this public judicial sale of this kind be annulled or even invalidated without the fault of the purchaser, this would be likely to result in ill effects. Who would ever trust a judicial sale? Would not the necessary reputation of an official jurisdiction become obsolete and public credit be turned down?"

Paustian was able to judge how necessary it was that the subjects considered the decisions of the District Court to be binding. In these years, since no one in Trittau heard of the separation of powers (it only came about 100 years later), every shadow that arose on the district court fell directly back to the government. The actions of the district court had to be unconditionally respected; Above all, however, the state authorities themselves had to adhere to it ...!

In a memorandum of the General Directorate of 27.05.1776 it was then said succinctly: Although a comparison of the Erdbuch certain significant deviations have been noticed, but the Trittauer peasant Bestmann should keep all that he currently owns. There could be no question of an increase in his praestando.

From all this it can be seen that the Trittauer Bailiff can not simply have been a kind of "head" of the village or "confidant" of the farmers. For someone who, like Bestmann, insisted on being distinguished from all the other peasants in the village by the highest privileges and under the special protection of the authorities, does not seem to be apt to act as a typical representative of the peasants.

Bestmann was still the "boss"

In September 1797, the peasant vow Johann Christian Daniel Bestmann, probably the son of Friederich Hinrich Bestmann, sent a salted letter to the General Directorate in Kiel (LA, Dept. 66 No. 604). The authority had assigned the village Trittau a "bull meadow" in the amount of three tons. But the peasantry, Bestmann complained, had nothing of this meadow, for there were nothing but oaks and beech on it, hence stately hardwood, which could not be cleared.

The General Directorate is well known, said the peasant Vogt, "that a wood-covered place by shading the growth of the grass eroded". And this is to the extent that the Trittau farmers would have to cut off extra "hay to feed our bull", very "to the detriment of our cows", who would also like to eat the hay themselves. "It seems to me unfair that we have to contribute more to an unusable meadow".

Bestmann demanded that the oaks and beech trees on the Bullenwiese be cleared away. If the gentlemen resisted, the village would have to get another meadow. The farmer's father urged clear conditions, the through and juxtaposition of the meadows and fields, the blurred transitions of stately and peasant-cooperative claims should come to an end. Thus, Bestmann was fully in line with the trend, and the authorities also advocated clear demarcation.

The Bestmann in this case appeared as spokesman for the farmers, it follows from the observation that he remarkably often the word "we" or "our" related.

In the case of the Trittauer peasant Vogt, the advancing state at the end of the 18th century had not yet succeeded in depriving the representative of a peasant-village protection sphere to the level of a servant. Et al probably because Trittau can be described as a "vacant" office, where the resulting services were limited and fixed. The Trittauer Bailiff can therefore not be regarded as a servant on the lowest rung of the administration. A noble nobleman will have been quite helpless in the face of the simple refusal of a peasant farmer. For not the bailiff as a superior was a peasant guilty obedience guilty. If he was personally responsible for loyalty, it was only the sovereign himself ... and he was always far away, in St. Petersburg or Copenhagen.