The czar confirms the changes put forward by the Noble Corporation of Estonia

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27. August 1804

In the Diet of the Noble Corporation of Estonia, taking place in February 1804, nobles passed two new documents: "Eestimaa Tallorahwa Seädus" ("Estonian Peasantry Law"), which fixed tax rates and corvee, and "Eestimaa Tallorahwa Kohto-Seadus ehk Walla-Kohto Kässo-ramat" ("The Rulebook for the Parish Courts"), which presented the personal rights of the farmers and set down the activities of parish courts.

Parish courts had to supervise the activities of the farmers: make sure the taxes were paid on time, the farm was properly run and that farmers did not quarrel among themselves; the parish court became the instance of solving problems among the farmers. In addition, the right to own personal property was granted to peasants, so far this right had had no legal foundation.

In Estonia, new taxes were fixed but lands were not remeasured, unless the farmer demanded it. Overall, Estonian laws were less favorable than those in Livonia; the gap became extremely obvious in the middle of the century, when farmers began to purchase farms for themselves.

New peasantry laws did not suit farmers, who believed that the laws had been forged and the land lords had hid the real ones.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. IV: Põhjasõjast pärisorjuse kaotamiseni, lk-d 203–211.


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