In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
A Writ for the Rural People
Having stood up together with Poland and Lithuania against Muscovite rule in order to gain eternal freedom and happiness for all our Homeland, we declare before God, the whole world and the nation that we want no other happiness for our dear Homeland and do not seek it in anything else but in freedom, liberty, equality and the happiness of all inhabitants, regardless of their religion or estate. And desiring the most happiness for the rural people, we decide for all time:
1. The rural people in noble-owned and government villages and hamlets, odnodvortsy, tenants and others from this day on are free, unconstrained and equal in their rights to other citizens of the Homeland.
2. They may and have the right to move from place to place as they please and no one shall hinder them.
3. They may and have the right to study in all the schools and to be in national service on a par with other citizens of the Homeland.
4. Like others, they have the right to elect from among themselves deputies to courts, councils, rural, district, and land offices and to the highest public offices.
5. They shall judge and rule on an equal footing with others only through their courts and offices composed of their deputies, to safeguard sacred justice, the rights and safety of persons and of each one’s property.
6. They will pay national taxes, land duties and provide contingents for the national army only by a decision of the national Diet, composed of deputies from across the entire Homeland.
7. Noble-owned and public arable land, meadows and settlements which peasants held in exchange for rent, labour, or payment, shall from this day on be the property of each landholder without any dues. The heirs shall be compensated from the national treasury for their land.
8. As regards granting land to peasants who have none, such as forest workers, landless peasants, cottagers, those employed at the manor etc., the supreme state diet will decide [this issue] in due time.
9. Odnodvortsy and rent-paying nobles shall have, for all time and on a par with the peasants, settlements and land from the lords’ lands, where it shall be abundantly available in exchange for payment from the national treasury or for crown lands.
10. Rural Orthodox priests, apart from Orthodox Church land, shall receive wages in money so that they do not need to be paid by the people for their clerical services; the amount of priests’ salaries shall be decided by the supreme national Diet.
11. In addition to the above, anyone who takes arms with us against Muscovite rule and comes out either unscathed or wounded, shall receive at least 6 morgens of land and a settlement in the crown lands or will be paid a lifetime salary from the national treasury.
12. By giving the rural people the above rights of freedom and civic equality for all towards all, we guarantee and promise forever the freedom of rights and of religion, whatever faith one adheres to, and the use of [one’s] language in schools, courts and other land offices. Proclaiming all of the above to the rural people of Podolia, Volhynia and Ukraine, we vow to preserve and defend the rights granted in this Writ before the nation, the whole world, and God Almighty. Leaving the lot of the people, to whom we wish everlasting goodness, in God’s care, we give this Writ to the peasant administration on every estate.
Translated © by Jerzy Giebułtowski