CONSTITUTION of the German Empire.—Berlin, April 16, 1871.
His Majesty the King of Prussia in the name of the North German Confederation, His Majesty the King of Bavaria, His Majesty the King of Wurtemberg, His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Baden, and His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, for those parts of the Grand Duchy of Hesse which are south of the river Maine, conclude an everlasting Confederation for the protection of the territory of the Confederation and the rights thereof, as well as to care for the welfare of the German people. This Confederation will bear the name “German Empire,” and is to have the following
I. Territory of the Confederation.
Art. I. The territory of the Confederation is comprised of the States of Prussia with Lauenburg, Bavaria, Saxony, Wurtemburg, Baden, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Saxe-Weimar, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Oldenburg, Brunswick, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Anhalt, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Waldeck, Reuss Elder Line, Reuss Younger Line, Schaumburg-Lippe, Lippe, Lubeck, Bremen, and Hamburg.
II. Legislature of the Empire.
II. Within this confederate territory the Empire exercises the right of legislation according to the tenor of this Constitution, and with the effect take the Imperial laws take precedence of the laws of the States. The Imperial laws receive their binding power by their publication in the name of the Empire, which takes place by means of an Imperial Law Gazette. If the date of its first coming into force is not otherwise fixed in the published law, it comes into force on the 14th day after the close of the day on which the part of the Imperial Law Gazette which contains it is published at Berlin.
III. For entire Germany one common nationality exists with the effect, that every person (subject, State-citizen) belonging to any one of the Confederated States is to be treated in every other of the Confederated States as a born native, and accordingly must be permitted to have a fixed dwelling, to trade, to be appointed to public offices, to acquire real estate property, to obtain the rights of a State-citizen, and to enjoy all other civil rights under the same presuppositions as the natives, and likewise is to be treated equally with regard to legal prosecution or legal protection.
No German may be restricted from the exercise of this right by the authorities of his own State or by the authorities of any of the other Confederated States.
Those regulations which have reference to the care of the poor and their admission into local parishes are not affected by the principles set down in the first paragraph.
Until further notice the Treaties likewise remain in force which have been entered into by the particular States of the Confederation regarding the reception of persons expelled, the care of sick persons, and the burial of deceased persons belonging to the States.
What is needful for the fulfilment of military duty in regard to the native country will be ordered by the way of Imperial legislation.
Every German has the same claim to the protection of the Empire with regard to foreign nations.
IV. The following affairs are subject to the superintendence and legislation of the Empire:
1. The regulations as to freedom of translocation, domicile and settlement affairs, right of citizenship, passport and police regulations for strangers, and as to transacting business including insurance affairs in so far as these objects are not already provided for by Article III of this Constitution. In Bavaria, however, the domicile and settement affairs, and likewise the affairs of colonization and emigration to foreign countries are herefrom excluded.
2. The customs and commercial legislation and the taxes which are to be applied to the requirements of the Empire.
3. The regulation of the system of the coinage, weights and measures, likewise the establishment of the principles for the issue of funded and unfunded paper money;
4. The general regulations as to banking;
5. The granting of patents for inventions;
6. The protection of intellectual property;
7. The organisation of the common protection of German commerce in foreign countries, of German vessels and their flags at sea, and the arrangement of a common Consular representation, which is to be salaried by the Empire;
8. Railway affairs,—excepting in Bavaria the arrangements in Article XLVI,—and the construction of land and water communications for the defence of the country and for the general intercourse;
9. The rafting and navigation affairs on water ways belonging in common to several of the States, and the condition of the waterways, and likewise the river or other water dues;
10. Postal and telegraph affairs; in Bavaria and Wurtemburg, however, only with reference to the provisions of Article LII;
11. Regulations as to the reciprocal execution of judgments in civil affairs and the settlement of requisitions in general;
12. Likewise as to the verification of public documents;
13. The general legislation as to obligatory rights, penal law, commercial and bill-of-exchange laws, and judicial procedure;
14. The military and naval affairs of the Empire;
15. The measures of medicinal and veterinary police;
16. The regulations for the press and for union societies.
V. The Legislation of the Empire is carried on by the council of the Confederation and the Imperial Diet. The accordance of the majority of votes in both Assemblies is necessary and sufficient for a law of the Empire.
In projects of law on military affairs, on naval affairs, and on the taxes mentioned in Article XXXV, the President has the casting vote in cases where there is a difference of opinion, if his vote is in favour of the maintenance of the existing arrangements.
III. Council of the Confederation.
VI. The Council of the Confederation consists of the Representatives of the Members of the Confederation, amongst which the votes are divided in such a manner that Prussia has, with the former votes of Hanover, Electoral Hesse, Holstein, Nassau, and Frankfort,
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Each member of the Confederation can nominate as many Plenipotentiaries to the Council of the Confederation as it has votes; but the totality of such votes can only be given in one sense.
VII. The Council of the Confederation determines:
1. What Bills are to be brought before the Imperial Diet, and on the resolutions passed by the same;
2. As to the administrative measures and arrangements necessary for the general execution of the Imperial Legislation, in so far as no other Imperial Law has decreed to the contrary;
3. As to defects which have made themselves manifest in the execution of the Imperial laws or the above-mentioned measures and arrangements.
Every member of the Confederation has the right to propose bills and to recommend them, and the Presidency is bound to bring them under debate.
The decisions take place by simple majority, with the reservation of the stipulations in the Articles V, XXXVII, and LXXVIII. Non-represented votes or votes without instructions are not counted. In equal divisions the Presidential is the casting vote.
In decisions upon affairs, wherein according to the rules of this Constitution, the whole Empire has not a common interest, only the votes of those Confederated States are counted which are interested in common.
VIII. The Council of the Confederation forms permanent Committees from its own members;
1. For the land-army and fortresses.
2. For naval affairs.
3. For customs and taxes.
4. For commerce and intercourse.
5. For railways, post, and telegraphs.
6. For affairs of justice.
7. For finances.
In each of these Committees, besides the Presidency, at least 4 of the Confederated States will be represented, and in the same each State only has one vote. In the Committee for the land-army and fortresses, Bavaria has a perpetual seat, the other members thereof as well as the members for the Naval Committee are nominated by the Emperor; the members of the other Committees are elected by the Council of the Confederation. The composition of these Committees is to be renewed for every session of the Council of the Confederation or respectively every year, when the outgoing members may be re-elected.
Besides these in the Council of the Confederation a Committee for Foreign Affairs will be formed, comprised of the representatives of the Kingdoms of Bavaria, Saxony, and Wurtemburg, and of two other representatives of other Confederated States, who will be yearly elected by the Council of the Confederation, in which Committee Bavaria will occupy the chair.
The necessary officials will be placed at the disposal of these Committees.
IX. Every member of the Council of the Confederation has the right to appear in the Imperial Diet, and must at his desire at all times be heard, in order to represent the views of his Government, even when these views have not been adopted by the majority of the Council of the Confederation. No one may at the same time be a member of the Council of the Confederation and of the Imperial Diet.
X. The Emperor is bound to afford the usual diplomatic protection to the members of the Council of the Confederation.
XI. The Presidency of the Confederation belongs to the King of Prussia, who bears the name of German Emperor. The Emperor has to represent the Empire internationally, to declare war, and to conclude peace in the name of the Empire, to enter into alliances and other Treaties with Foreign Powers, to accredit and to receive Ambassadors.
The consent of the Council of the Confederation is necessary for the declaration of war in the name of the Empire, unless an attack on the territory or the coast of the Confederation has taken place.
In so far as Treaties with Foreign States have reference to affairs which according to Article IV, belong to the jurisdiction of the Imperial Legislation, the consent of the Council of the Confederation is requisite for their conclusion, and the sanction of the Imperial Diet for their coming into force.
XII. The Emperor has the right to summon, to open, to prorogue, and to close both the Council of the Confederation and the Imperial Diet.
XIII. The summoning of the Council of the Confederation, and of the Imperial Diet, takes place once each year, and the Council of the Confederation can be called together for preparation of business without the Imperial Diet being likewise summoned, whereas the latter can not be summoned without the Council of the Confederation.
XIV. The Council of the Confederation must be summoned whenever one-third of the votes require it.
XV. The presidency in the Council of the Confederation and the direction of the business belongs to the Chancellor of the Empire, who is to be appointed by the Emperor.
The Chancellor of the Empire can be represented, on his giving written information thereof, by any other member of the Council of the Confederation.
XVI. The requisite motions, in accordance with the votes of the Council of the Confederation will be brought before the Imperial Diet in the name of the Emperor, where they will be supported by members of the Council of the Confederation, or by particular commissioners nominated by the latter.
XVII. The expedition and proclamation of the laws of the Empire, and the care of their execution, belongs to the Emperor. The Orders and Decrees of the Emperor are issued in the name of the Empire and require for their validity the counter-signature of the Chancellor of the Empire, who thereby undertakes the responsibility.
XVIII. The Emperor nominates the Imperial officials, causes them to be sworn for the Empire, and, when necessary, decrees their dismissal.
The officials of any State of the Confederation, when appointed to any Imperial office, are entitled to the same rights with respect to the Empire, as they would enjoy from their official position in their own country, excepting in such cases as have otherwise been provided for by the Imperial Legislation before their entrance into the Imperial service.
XIX. Whenever members of the Confederation do not fulfil their Constitutional duties towards the Confederation, they may be constrained to do so by way of execution. Such execution must be decreed by the Council of the Confederation, and be carried out by the Emperor.
V. Imperial Diet.
XX. The Imperial Diet is elected by universal and direct election with secret votes.
Until the legal arrangement reserved in § 5 of the Election Laws of 31st May, 1869, (“Federal Law Gazette,” 1869, page 145) has been made, there are to be elected—in Bavaria, 48; in Wurtemburg, 17; in Baden, 14; Hesse, south of the Maine, 6 members, and the total number of the members consists, therefore, of 382.
XXI. Officials do not require any leave of absence on entering into the Imperial Diet.
If any member of the Imperial Diet accepts of any salaried appointment of the Empire, or of any State of the Confederation, or enters into any Imperial or State office to which a higher rank, or higher salary is attached, he loses his seat and service in the Diet, and can only regain his position in the same by re-election.
XXII. The proceedings of the Imperial Diet are public.
Accurate reports of the proceedings in the public sittings of the Imperial Diet are free from any responsibility.
XXIII. The Imperial Diet has the right to propose laws within the competency of the Empire, and to forward Petitions which have been addressed to it to the Council of the Confederation, or to the Chancellor of the Empire.
XXIV. The legislative period of the Imperial Diet is three years. For a dissolution of the Imperial Diet within this time, a resolution of the Council of the Confederation, with the assent of the Emperor, is requisite.
XXV. In case of a dissolution of the Imperial Diet, the meeting of the electors must be called within a period of 60 days after such dissolution, and within a period of 90 days the Imperial Diet must be summoned.
XXVI. Without the assent of the Imperial Diet the prorogation of the same may not be extended over 30 days, and it can never be repeated during the same session.
XXVII. The Imperial Diet scrutinises the legality of the credentials of its members and decides thereon. It regulates its own method of business and discipline by a business-order, and elects its President, Vice-Presidents, and Secretaries.
XXVIII. The Imperial Diet decides by absolute majority of votes. The presence of a majority of the legal number of the members is necessary for the validity of a resolution.
In voting on a matter which, according to the stipulations of this Constitution, is not common to the whole Empire, only the votes of those members will be counted who have been elected in those Confederate States to which the matter is common.
XXIX. The members of the Imperial Diet are Representatives of the entire people, and are not bound by orders and instructions.
XXX. No member of the Imperial Diet can at any time be proceeded against either judicially or by way of discipline, on account of his votes, or for expressions made use of in the exercise of his functions, nor can he be made responsible in any other way out of the Assembly.
XXXI. Without the assent of the Imperial Diet, no member of the same may be placed under examination or arrested during the period of the session for any deed subject to punishment, except when taken in the fact or in the course of the following day.
The same assent is needful in arrest for debt.
At the requisition of the Imperial Diet every correctional procedure against a member of the same, and all investigations or civil arrests must be relinquished for the duration of the period of the session.
XXXII. The members of the Imperial Diet must not receive any salary or indemnification in that capacity.
VI.—Customs and Commercial Affairs.
XXXIII. Germany forms one customs and commercial territory encircled by a common customs frontier. Those separate parts of territory are excluded, which from their position are not adapted for inclusion in the customs frontier.
All articles of free trade in any one of the States of the Confederation may be introduced into any other State of the Confederation, and can only be subjected to a duty in the latter in so far as similar articles produced in that State are subject to a home duty.
XXXIV. The Hanseatic towns Bremen and Hamburg, with so much of their own, or of the adjacent territory as may be needful for the purpose, remain as free ports outside the common customs frontier until they apply to be admitted therein.
XXXV. The Empire has the sole right of legislation in all Custom-House affairs, in the taxation of salt and tobacco produced in the territories of the Confederation, beer and spirit and sugar and syrup or other home productions made from beetroot, in the reciprocal protection of consumption duties raised in the separate States of the Confederation against defraudations, as well as in such measures as the Customs’ Committees may find requisite for the security of the common customs frontier.
In Bavaria, Wurtemburg and Baden, the taxation of the native spirit and beer remains for the present subject to the laws of the land. But the States of the Confederation will direct their efforts to bring about an assimilation in the taxation of these articles likewise.
XXXVI. The collection and administration of the duties and consumption taxes (Article XXXV) remain in the hands of each State of the Confederation, within its own territory, in so far as they have hitherto been so.
The Emperor watches over the observance of the legal procedure through Imperial officials, whom he attaches to the customs or excise offices, and to the directing authorities of the separate States according to the advice of the Committee of the Council of the Confederation for customs and excise affairs.
Information given by these officials as to defects in the execution of the common legislation (Article XXXV) will be laid before the Council of the Confederation for decision.
XXXVII. In decisions relative to the administrative instructions and arrangements (Article XXXV) for the execution of the common legislation, the Presidency has the casting vote, when it is given for the continuance of the existing instruction or arrangement.
XXXVIII. The revenue from the duties or other taxes mentioned in Article XXXV, the latter in so far as they are subject to the Imperial legislation, flows into the Imperial treasury.
This revenue consists of the whole income arising from the duties and other taxes after the deduction of:
1. The tax-compensations and abatements according to the laws or the general adminisirative regulations.
2. The repayments for incorrect levies.
3. The expenses of collection and administration, as follows:
a. For the customs, the expenses which are requisite for the protection and the collection of the duties in that part of the frontiers situated towards foreign countries and in the border district.
b. For the salt tax, the expenses which are ineurred for the salaries of the officials who are employed in the salt works to collect and control that tax.
e. For the beet-sugar and tobacco tax, the compensation which, according to the decisions of the Council of the Confederation from time to time, has to be made to the several Federal Governments for the expenses incurred in the administration of these taxes.
d. For the other duties 15 per cent. of the total income.
The territories situated outside the common customs frontier pay an agreed sum towards defraying the expenses of the Ennpire.
Bavaria, Wurtemburg, and Baden, do not participate in the income flowing into the Imperial Treasury from the taxes on spirits and beer, nor in the corresponding part of the above mentioned agreed payment.
XXXIX. The quarterly extracts which are to be made at the end of each quarter of the year by the collecting authorities of the Federal States, and the final statements to be made at the end of the year and the close of the books, on the income from duties and from consumption dues flowing into the Imperial Treasury according to Article XXXVIII, falling due during the quarter, or during the financial year, are to be collected into chief summaries, after previous examination, by the directing authorities of the Federal States, and therein each duty is to be separately shown; these summaries are to be sent in to the Committee of the Council of the Confederation for financial affairs.
On the basis of these summaries the said Committee makes out preliminarily every three months, the amount due from the Treasury of each State of the Confederation, to the Imperial Treasury, and communicates these amounts to the Council of the Confederation, and to the States of the Confederation, it also presents the final statement of these amounts every year, with remarks, to the Council of the Confederation. The Council of the Confederation decides on this statement.
XL. The stipulations in the Zollverein Treaty of July 8, 1867, remain in force in so far as they have not been altered by the provisions of this Constitution, and so long as they are not altered in the way pointed out in Article VII, or Article LXXVITJ.
XLI. Railways which are considered necessary for the defence of Germany, or for the sake of the common intercourse, may, by virtue of an Imperial law, even against the opposition of the members of the Confederation whose territory is intersected by the railways, but without prejudice to the prerogatives of the country, be constructed on account of the empire, or concessions to execute the works may be granted to private contractors, with the right of expropriation.
Every existing railway board of direction is bound to consent to the junction of newly constructed railways at the expense of the latter.
The legal enactments which have granted a right of denial to existing railway undertakings against the construction of parallel or competing lines are hereby, without prejudice to rights already gained, repealed for the entire empire. Nor can such a right of denial be ever granted again in concessions to be issued hereafter.
XLII. The Governments of the Confederation bind themselves to manage the German railways as a uniform network in the interest of the common intercourse, and likewise for this purpose to have all new railways which are to be made, constructed and fitted up according to uniform rules.
XLIII. For this purpose corresponding working arrangements are to be adopted with all possible dispatch, particularly with regard to railway police regulations. The Empire has likewise to take heed that the railway boards keep the lines at all times in such a state of repair as to insure safety, and that they provide them with the working material necessary for the traffic.
XLIV. The railway boards are bound to introduce the necessary passenger trains of the proper speed for the through traffic, and for the arrangement of corresponding journeys, also the requisite trains to provide for the goods traffic; likewise to arrange direct expeditions for passengers and goods traffic, with permission for conveying the means of transport from one line to the other for the usual payments.
XLV. The Empire exercises the control over the tariffs, and will especially operate to the end:
1. That working regulations, in conformity with each other, be introduced as soon as possible on all German railroads;
2. That the greatest possible equalization and reduction of the tariffs shall take place, and particularly for greater distances an abatement of the tariffs for the transport of coals, coke, timber, ores, stones, salt, raw iron, manures, and similar articles, so as to be more in proportion to the necessities of agriculture and industry, and that the one pfennig tariff may be introduced as speedily as possible.
XLVI. In times of distress, particularly when an unusual dearth of the necessaries of life occurs, the railway boards are bound to introduce a lower special tariff for the transport of grain, meal, pulse, and potatoes, temporarily, according to the necessity, as will be determined by the Emperor on the proposal of the respective committee of the Council of the Confederation, which tariff, however, must not be lower than the lowest rate already existing for raw produce on the respective line.
The above, as well as the stipulations made in the Articles XLII to XLV, are not applicable to Bavaria.
But the Empire has the right in regard to Bavaria likewise to lay down, by way of legislation, uniform rules for the construction and fitting up of the railways which are of importance for the defence of the country.
XLVII. The requisitions of the authorities of the Empire relative to making use of the railways for the purpose of the defence of Germany, must be obeyed without question by all the railway boards. In particular, the military and all materials of war are to be conveyed at equally reduced rates.
VIII.—Postal and Telegraph Affairs.
XLVIII. The postal and telegraph affairs will be arranged and administered for the entire German Empire as uniform institutions for State intercourse.
The legislation of the Empire in postal and telegraphic affairs, as provided in Article IV, does not extend to those objects, the regulation of which, according to the principles which govern the North German Postal and Telegraph Administration, has been left to definitive rules or administrative directions.
XLIX. The revenues of the postal and telegraphic service are in common for the entire Empire. The expenses will be defrayed from the commun revenues. The surpluses flow into the Imperial Treasury (Section XII).
L. The chief direction of the postal and telegraphic administration belongs to the Emperor. The officials appointed by him have the duty and the right to take care that uniformity in the organisation of the administration and in carrying on the service, as well as in the qualification of the officials, be introduced and maintained.
The issue of definitive rules and general administrative directions, as well as the sole care of the relations with other postal and telegraphic offices, belongs to the Emperor.
All the officials of the postal and telegraph administration are bound to obey the Imperial directions. This duty is to be recorded in the oath of service.
The appointment of the requisite principal officials for the administrative authorities of the post and telegraphic service in the various districts (such as directors, counsellors, chief inspectors), likewise the appointment of the officials acting as the organs of the before-mentioned functionaries, in the service of supervision, &c., in the separate districts (such as inspectors, controllers), proceeds, for the whole territory of the German Empire, from the Emperor, to whom these officials render the oath of service. Timely notice of the appointments in question, for the governmental approbation and publication, will be given to the Governments of the several States, so far as their territory is thereby concerned.
The other officials necessary for the post and telegraphic service, as well as all those required for the local or technical business, therefore the officials, &c., acting at the actual places of business, will be appointed by the respective State Governments.
Where there is no independent State post, or telegraph administration, the provisions of the special Treaties form the rule.
LI. In making over the balance of the postal administration for general Imperial purposes (Article XLIX), in consideration of the previous difference in the net incomes obtained by the State postal administrations of the separate territories, the following proceeding is to be observed for the purpose of a corresponding arrangement during the undermentioned period of transition.
From the postal balances which have accrued in the separate postal districts during the 5 years, 1861 to 1865, an average yearly balance will be calculated, and the share which each separate postal district has had in the postal balance thus shown for the whole territory of the Empire, will be fixed according to per centages.
According to the proportion ascertained in this manner, the separate States will be credited for the next 8 years after their entrance into the postal administration of the Empire, with such quotas as accrue to them from the postal balances produced in the Empire, in account with their other contributions for Imperial purposes.
At the expiration of the 8 years all distinctions cease, and the postal balances will flow in undivided account into the Imperial Treasury, according to the principle set forth in Article XLIX.
From the quotas of the postal surplus thus ascertained during the before-mentioned 8 years for the Hanseatic towns, one half will be placed beforehand every year at the disposal of the Emperor, for the purpose, in the first place, of paying therefrom the expenses for the establishment of normal postal institutions in the Hanseatic towns.
LII. The stipulations in the foregoing Articles XLVIII to LI have no application to Bavaria and Wurtemburg. In their place the following stipulations are in force for those two States of the Confederation:
To the Empire alone belongs the legislation as to the postal and telegraph privileges, as to the legal relations between both institutions and the public, as to exemptions from postage and rates of postage, exclusively, however, of the rules and tariff regulations for the home circulation of Bavaria, and of Wurtemburg respectively, likewise under similar reservation the settlement of the fees for telegraphic correspondence.
In the same manner the regulation of the postal and telegraph intercourse with foreign countries belongs to the Empire, excepting the direct intercourse of Bavaria, and of Wurtemburg themselves with the neighbouring States which do not belong to the Empire, the regulations as to which remain as stipulated in Article XLIX of the Postal Treaty of November 23, 1867.
Bavaria and Wurtemburg do not participate in the income flowing into the Imperial Treasury from the postal and telegraph service.
IX.—Shipping and Navigation.
LIII. The war navy of the Empire is one united navy under the chief command of the Emperor. The organization and composition thereof is the business of the Emperor, who appoints the Naval officers and officials, and into whose service they and the men are to be sworn.
The Harbour of Kiel and that of Jade are Imperial military harbours.
The necessary expenses for the establishment and maintenance of the war fleet, and the institutions in connexion therewith, are paid from the Treasury of the Empire.
The whole of the maritime population of the Empire, including engineers and shipwrights, are free from service in the land army, but on the other hand, are bound to serve in the Imperial Navy.
The apportionment of the recruits is arranged according to the number of the maritime population, and the quota which each State thus contributes is deducted from the contingent to the land army.
LIV. The merchant vessels of all the States of the Confedoration form one undivided commercial navy.
The Empire has to determine the method of ascertaining the burden of sea-going vessels, to grant bills of admeasurement, as well as to regulate the ship-certificates, and to determine the conditions upon which the permission to command a sea-going vessel depends.
The commercial ships of all the States of the Confederation will be admitted and treated on equal terms in the sea harbours, and in all the natural and artificial water-ways of the separate States of the Confederation. The dues to be levied in the sea ports from sea-going vessels or their cargoes for using the navigation appliances, must not exceed the expenses which are requisite for the maintenance and ordinary repairs of those appliances.
On all natural water-ways dues may only be levied for the use of such appliances as are especially intended for the furtherance of traffic. These dues, as well as the dues payable for making use of such artificial water-ways as are State property, must not exceed the expenses which are requisite for the maintenance and ordinary repairs of such erections and works. These regulations are also applicable to floatage so far as it takes place on navigable water-ways.
The imposition of other or higher dues on foreign ships, or their cargoes, than those paid by the ships of the Federal States does not belong to any single State, but solely to the Empire.
LV. The flag of the navy and of the merchant-shipping is black-white-red.
LVI. The whole of the Consular service of the German Empire is under the superintendence of the Emperor, who appoints the Consuls after consultation with the Committee of the Council of the Confederation for Commerce and Traffic.
Within the official district of the German Consuls no new Consulates for separate States may be erected. The German Consuls exercise the functions of a national Consul for any State of the Confederation, not represented in their district. The whole of the existing Consulates for separate States are to be abolished as soon as the organization of the German Consulates is so completed, that the representation of the interests of all the States of the Confederation is recognized by the Council of the Confederation as secured by the German Consulates.
XI.—Military Affairs of the Empire.
LVII. Every German is liable to military service, and cannot have that service performed by substitute.
LVIII. The expenses and burdens of the whole of the military affairs of the Empire are to be borne equally by all of the States of the Confederation and those belonging to them, so that no preferences, or overburdening of any single States or classes, are in principle admissible. Where an equal division of the burdens is not practicable in natura, without prejudice to the public welfare, the matter is to be arranged on the principles of equity by means of legislation.
LIX. Every German capable of service belongs for 7 years to the standing army, as a rule from the completion of the 20th to the commencement of the 28th year of his age; that is, for the first 3 of these years with the standards, and for the last 4 years in the reserve; then for the following 5 years of his life to the Landwehr. In those States of the Confederation wherein hitherto a longer period than 12 years of service altogether has been legal, the gradual reduction of such service can only take place in so far as regard for the readiness for war of the Imperial army permits it.
With respect to the emigration of the reserve men only those regulations are to be applied which are in force for the emigration of the Landwehr men.
LX. The effective strength of the German army in peace is fixed till the 31st of December, 1871, at one per cent. of the population of the year 1867, and the separate States of the Confederation supply it pro rata thereof. Subsequently the effective strength of the army in peace will be determined by Imperial legislation.
LXI. After the publication of this Constitution the whole Prussian Military Code of Laws is to be introduced throughout the Empire without delay, both the laws themselves and the regulations, instructions, and rescripts issued for the explanation and completion thereof, especially therefore the Military Penal Code of April 3, 1845, the Military Court Martial Regulations of April 3, 1845; the Ordinance upon Courts of Honour of July 20, 1843; the regulations upon recruiting, time of service, allowance and maintenance affairs, billeting, compensations for damages to agriculture, mobilisation, &c., for war and peace. The military Church ritual is, however, excluded.
After the uniform war organization of the German army has been effected, a comprehensive military law for the Empire will be laid before the Imperial Diet and the Council of the Confederation for their constitutional decision.
LXII. To cover the outlay necessary for the entire German army, and the arrangements appertaining thereunto until the 31st of December, 1871, there are yearly to be placed at the disposal of the Emperor, as many times 225 thalers, in words two hundred and twenty-five thalers, as the poll-number of the peace strength of the army amounts to, according to Article LX. See Section XII.
After the 3lst of December, 1871, these contributions must continue to be paid to the Imperial Treasury by each State of the Confederation. For the calculation thereof the effective strength in peace, as provisionally settled in Article LX, will be taken as the basis until it is altered by an Imperial law.
The expenditure of this sum for the entire Imperial Army and its arrangements will be determined on by the Estimate Law.
In settling the estimates of the military expenses the legal organization of the Imperial army, as laid down in this Constitution, wil be taken as the basis.
LXIII. The entire land force of the Empire will form a single army, Which in war and peace is under the command of the Emperor. The regiments, &c., bear running numbers for the entire German Army. For their clothing, the ground colours and fashion of the Royal Prussian army are to be the model. It is left to the chiefs of the respective contingents to determine the external marks of distinction (cockades, &c.).
It is the duty and the right of the Emperor to take care that all the divisions of troops within the German army are numerically complete and effective for war, and that unity in the organization and formation, in the armament and command, in the training of the men, as well as in the qualifications of the officers, be established and maintained. For this purpose the Emperor has the right to convince himself of the condition of the separate contingents at all times by inspection, and to order the reformation of any defects thereby discovered.
The Emperor determines the effective strength, the division and arrangement of the contingents of the Imperial army, as well as the organization of the Landwehr, he also has the right of determining the garrisons within the territories of the Confederation, and to order the embodiment of any part of the Imperial army in a state of preparation for war.
For the purpose of keeping up the indispensable uniformity in the administration, maintenance, armament, and equipment of all the divisions of troops of the German army, the orders issued thereon in future for the Prussian army will be communicated in a suitable manner, through the committee for the land army and fortresses mentioned in Article VIII, No. 1, to the commanders of the other contingents for observance.
LXIV. All German troops are bound to obey the commands of the Emperor unconditionally. This duty is to be specified in the banner-oath.
The Commander-in-chief of a contingent, likewise all officers who command troops of more than one contingent, and all commanders of fortresses are appointed by the Emperor. The officers appointed by the Emperor take the banner-oath to him. The appointments of Generals and officers acting as Generals within the contingents are at all times subject to the approbation of the Emperor.
The Emperor has the right, for purposes of transposition, with or without promotion, to select, for such appointments as are to be made by him in the Imperial service, whether in the Prussian army or in other contingents, from the officers of all the contingents of the Imperial army.
LXV. The right of erecting fortresses within the territories of the Confederation belongs to the Emperor, who proposes, according to Section XII, the grant of the necessary means for the purpose, in so far as they are not provided for in the ordinary estimates.
LXVI. Where nothing to the contrary is stipulated by particular Conventions, the Sovereigns of the Confederation, or the Senates, appoint the officers of their contingents, subject to the restriction of Article LXIV. They are the chiefs of all the divisions of troops belonging to their territories, and enjoy the honours connected therewith. They have especially the right of inspection at all times, and receive, besides the regular reports and announcements of alterations which take place, timely information, for the purpose of Governmental publication, of all promotions or nominations among the respective divisions of the troops.
Likewise they have the right to make use, for purposes of police, not only of their own troops, but also to make requisition for any other division of troops of the Imperial army which may be located in their territories.
LXVII. Savings from the military estimate do not belong under any circumstances to a single Government, but at all times to the Imperial Treasury.
LXVIII. The Emperor may, when the public safety is threatened in the territories of the Confederation, declare any part thereof to be in a state of war. Until the promulgation of an Imperial law, which will regulate the premisses, the form of publication and the effects of such a declaration, the rules of the Prussian law of 4th June, 1851, remain in force. (Collection of Laws for 1851 page 451 & 8qq.)
Final Stipulation to Section XI.
The provisions contained in this section come into force in Bavaria according to the special stipulations of the Treaty of Confederation, of November 28, 1870 (Federal Law Gazette, 1871, page 9), under III, § 5, and in Wurtemburg, according to the special stipulations of the Military Convention of November, 1870. (Federal Law Gazette, 1870, page 658.)
XII.—Finances of the Empire.
LXIX. All the receipts and disbursements of the Empire must be estimated for each year, and be brought into the Imperial estimates. These are to be fixed by a law before the beginning of the finaneial year, according to the following principles.
LXX. To provide for all common expenses, any balances of the preceding year are first of all employed, and likewise the common revenues derived from the duties, the common consumption taxes, and from the postal and telegraph services. In so far as they cannot be provided for by these revenues, they are, as long as Imperial taxes are not introduced, to be met by contributions from the single States of the Confederation, in proportion to their population, which contributions to the amount estimated in the budget will be assessed by the Chancellor of the Empire.
LXXI. The common disbursements are, as a rule, voted for one year; they may, however, in particular cases, be voted for a longer period.
During the time of transition mentioned in Article LX, the estimates of the expenditure for the army, arranged under heads, are to be laid before the Council of the Confederation and the Imperial Diet only for their information and remembrance.
LXXII. The Chancellor of the Empire is to give account yearly to the Council of the Confederation and to the Imperial Diet of the application of all the incomes of the Empire, for discharge of responsibility.
LXXIII. In cases of extraordinary requirements, the contracting of a loan, also the undertaking of a guarantee on account of the Empire, may take place in the way of Imperial legislation.
Final Stipulation to Section XII.
To the expenditure for the Bavarian army Articles LXIX and LXXI are only applicable in conformity with the stipulations of the Treaty of November 23, 1870, mentioned in the final stipulation to Section XI, and Article LXXII only so far that the assignment to Bavaria of the sums necessary for the Bavarian army is to be notified to the Council of the Confederation and to the Imperial Diet.
XIII.—Settlement of Differences and Penal Stipulations.
LXXIV. Every undertaking against the existence, the integrity, the safety, or the Constitution of the German Empire; finally, insulting the Council of the Confederation or the Imperial Diet, or a member of the Council of the Confederation or of the Imperial Diet, or any authority, or a public functionary of the Empire, whilst in the exercise of their vocation, or in reference to their vocation, by word, in writing, printing, drawing, figurative or other representation, will be sentenced and punished in the separate States of the Confederation according to the existing law, or the laws which may in future be enacted there, in pursuance of which a similar offence committed against that separate State of the Confederation, its Constitution, its Chambers, or Diet, the members of its Chambers, or Diet, its authorities and functionaries, would be punished.
LXXV. For those undertakings against the German Empire, mentioned in Article LXXIV, which, if they had been undertaken against one of the separate States of the Confederation, would be qualified as high treason, or treason against the country, the Common Upper Court of Appeal of the three free and Hanseatic towns, at Lubeck, is the competent deciding authority in first and last instance.
The special regulations as to the competency and the procedure of the Upper Court of Appeal are to be settled by way of Imperial legislation. Until the promulgation of an Imperial law, the competency of the courts in the separate States of the Confederation, and the provisions relative to the procedure of these courts, remain as they have hitherto been.
LXXVI. Differences between various States of the Confederation, in so far as they are not of a private legal nature and therefore to be decided by the competent judicial authorities, will, at the suit of one of the parties, be settled by the Council of the Confederation.
Constitutional differences in those States of the Confederation in whose constitution no authority for settling such disputes is provided, are to be amicably arranged by the Council of the Confederation at the suit of one of the parties, or if this should not succeed, they are to be settled by way of Imperial legislation.
LXXVII. If, in a State of the Confederation, the case of a refusal of justice should occur, and sufficient aid cannot be obtained by way of law, it is the duty of the Council of the Confederation to take cognizance of the complaints as to the refused or hindered administration of the law when proved according to the Constitution and existing laws of the respective State of the Confederation, and thereupon to cause the Government of the Confederate State which has given occasion for the complaint, to afford judicial aid.
LXXVIII. Alterations in the Constitution take place by way of legislation. They are considered as rejected if they have 14 votes in the Council of the Confederation against them.
Those provisions of the Constitution of the Empire, by which certain rights are established for separate States of the Confederation in their relation to the community, can only be altered with the consent of the State of the Confederation entitled to those rights.
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