Final Act of the Congress of Vienna/Constitution of the Free City of Cracow

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Constitution of the Free City of Cracow.[1][2][3] (1817)
The plenipotentiaries of the powers that signed the treaty
1415531Constitution of the Free City of Cracow.[1][2][3]The plenipotentiaries of the powers that signed the treaty

Constitution of the Free City of Cracow

ART. I. The Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion, is confirmed as the religion of the country.

ART. II. Every sect of the Christian religion is free, and cannot constitute any difference with regard to social rights.

ART. III. The existing rights of the agriculturist, shall be maintained. The law knows no distinction among citizens, protecting all alike. The law protects also the sects which are tolerated.

ART. IV. The government of the free City of Cracow and its territory, shall be vested in a Senate, composed of twelve members, called Senators, and a President.

ART. V. Nine of the Senators, including the President, shall be elected by the Assembly of Representatives; the remaining four shall be chosen by the Chapter and the Academy, each of which shall have the right of returning two of their members to the Senate.

ART. VI. Six members shall be appointed for life. The President of the Senate shall remain in office for three years, with the power of being re-elected. Half of the remaining senators shall retire from the Senate every year, to make room for the newly elected; the three members who are to vacate their seats at the end of the first year, shall be regulated according to age; that is to say, the youngest members shall go out the first, With regard to the four senators elected by the Chapter and Academy, two of them shall remain in office for life; the other two shall be replaced at the end of every year.

ART. VII. The members of the secular clergy, and of the University, as well as the owners of lands, houses, or any other kind of property, who pay fifty Polish florins land. tax; all proprietors of manufactories, merchants, and all who are registered as members of the Exchange, distinguished artists, and professors of schools, shall, as soon as they have attained the required age, have the political right of voting. They may also he elected, provided they fulfil the other conditions which the law enjoins.

ART. VIII. The members of the administration shall be appointed by the Senate, which has the privilege of dismissing, at pleasure, public officers employed under its authority. It has likewise the nomination to ecclesiastical livings, the presentation to which belongs to the State; with the exception of four places in the chapter, which shall be reserved for the doctors of the faculties discharging the offices of instructors, and to which places the Academy shall appoint.

ART. IX. The city of Cracow with its territory shall be divided into city and country communes. The former shall, each of them, is far as local circumstances may permit, have a population of two thousand souls, and the latter three thousand five hundred, at least. Each of these communes shall have a Mayor, freely elected and charged with carrying the orders of Government into effect. In the country communes, mayoralties may be discharged by deputy, if circumstances require it.

ART. X. The assembly of Representatives shall meet in the month of December each year, and their sitting shall not exceed four weeks. The legislative power shall be vested in this assembly; it shall examine the annual accounts of the public administration, and shall prepare the budget every year; it shall elect the members of the Senate, according to the contents of the organic Article in this respect; the election of judges is also vested in this assembly, and they shall have the right (by a majority of two-thirds) to impeach public officers, of whatever rank, if suspected of embezzling money, or guilty of exaction, or of any other abuse in the discharge of their offices, and to bring them before the Supreme Court of Justice.

ART. XI. The assembly of Representatives shall be composed:

  1. Of the deputies of communes, each electing one.
  2. Of three members chosen by the Senate.
  3. Of three prelates, appointed by the Chapter.
  4. Of three doctors of the faculties, appointed by the University.
  5. Of six magistrates of arbitration, actually in office, who shall serve in rotation.

The President of the Committee shall be chosen from the three members appointed by the Senate. No project of a law, tending to introduce any alteration in an existing law or regulation, shall be proposed to the Committee of Representatives, unless it shall have been previously communicated to the Senate, and have received their sanction by a majority.

ART. XII. The assembly of Representatives shall employ itself in framing a civil and code of laws, and in regulating the forms of proceeding. They shall appoint without delay a Committee to prepare the same, in the framing of which due regard shall be had to the local circumstances of the country, and to the habits of the people. Two members of the Senate shall be attached ta this Committee.

ART. XIII. If a law has not received the consent of seven-eighths of the Representatives, and if the Senate declares, by a majority of nine votes, that the public interest requires it to be submitted again to the consideration of the Legislators, it shall be referred a second time to the decision of the Assembly of the following year. If it he an object of finance, the law of the preceding year shall remain in force until the new law has passed.

ART. XIV. The assembly of Representatives shall appoint a Magistrate of Arbitration to every district, consisting of not less than six thousand souls. He shall exercise his functions for three years. Besides his duty as Arbitrator, his business shall be to watch over the interests of minors, as well as to take cognisance of all suits relating to funds and landed property belonging to the State, or to public institutions. Upon all matters referred to him in his double capacity, he shall communicate with the youngest Senator, whose special duty it shall be to attend to the interests of minors, and to actions of law concerning funds or landed property of the State.

ART. XV. There shall be a Court of "First Instance," and a Court of Appeal. Three, Judges in the former, and four in the latter Court, including their Presidents, shall hold their appointments for life. The other Judges attached to each of these Courts, to the number which local circumstances may require, shall depend upon the free election of the communes, and shall remain in office no longer than the period specified in the organic laws. These two Courts shall try causes of all descriptions, whatever be their nature, or the rank of the parties. If the decision of both Courts be alike, no further appeal can be had. If their verdicts are essentially at variance, or if the Academy, after having; examined the written pleadings, declare that there is ground for a complaint of a violation, of law, or that the essential forms of proceeding have not been observed in a civil cause, as well with regard to sentences inflicting capital or ignominious punishment, the suit shall again be brought before the Court of Appeal; but in this case, there shall be added to the ordinary number of Judges, all the Magistrates of Arbitration belonging to the city, and four individuals, two of whom shall be chosen by each of the leading parties concerned, from, among the citizens. Three Judges are necessary to give judgment in the first instance, five in the second, and seven in the last resort.

ART. XVI. The supreme Court appointed to try such causes as are referred to in the tenth Article, shall be composed:

  1. Of five Representatives, drawn by lot.
  2. Of three Members of the Senate, elected by that assembly.
  3. Of the Presidents of the two Courts of Justice.
  4. Of four Magistrates of Arbitration, in their turn.
  5. Of three citizens, chosen by the public officer brought to trial.

Nine members are necessary to pronounce the sentence.

ART. XVII. Civil and criminal causes are to be decided in open court. In the mode of proceeding, (and, in the first instance, in causes strictly criminal) the institution of Juries shall be introduced, and adapted to the local situation of the country, and to the information and character of the inhabitants.

ART. XVIII. The judiciary body is independent.

ART. XIX. At the expiration of the sixth year, dating from the publication of the constitutional charter, the necessary qualifications for becoming a Senator, by the election of the Representatives, shall be:

  1. He must be thirty-five years of age.
  2. He must have completed his studies in one of the universities within the ancient kingdom of Poland.
  3. He must have filled the office of Mayor during two years, that of judge during two years, and that of Representative during two sessions of the assembly.
  4. He must have possessed, for a year at least previous to the election, an immoveable property, charged with a land-tax of a hundred and fifty Polish florins.

The qualifications for a Judge are:

  1. To be thirty years of age.
  2. To have completed his studies in one of the above-mentioned universities, and to have obtained the degree of Doctor.
  3. To have been with an attorney for one year, and to have practised also with an advocate for the same period.
  4. To possess immoveable property to the value of eight thousand Polish florins, which must have been acquired at least a year before the election.

In order to be elected a Judge of the "Second Instance," or President of either of the courts, besides these qualifications, he must have filled the office of Judge in the first court, or that of Magistrate of Arbitration for two years, and have been a representative.

To be elected Representative of a commune, it is necessary:

  1. That he shall be twenty-six years of age.
  2. That he shall have gone through a course of studies at the university of Cracow.
  3. That he shall be possessed of immoveable property rated at ninety Polish florins, and acquired at least a year before the election.

The qualifications specified in the present Article shall not be applicable to those individuals who, during the existence of the duchy of Warsaw, filled situations, by gift of the Crown, or by election of the Diet, nor shall they be applicable to those who have now obtained them by authority of the contracting Powers. These persons shall be fully entitled to be appointed or elected to every office.

ART. XX. All acts of Government of the Legislature, and of the Courts of Justice, shall be in the Polish language.

ART. XXI. The revenues and expenditure of the Academy, shall be included in the general budget of the free city and territory of Cracow.

ART. XXII. The duty of the police and safety of the interior shall be performed by a sufficient number of the municipal militia. This detachment shall be alternately relieved, and commanded by an officer of the line, who, having distinguished himself in the service, shall accept such a retirement. A sufficient number of gendarmes shall be armed and mounted for the protection of the roads and country.

Done at Vienna the 3d day of May, 1815.


(L. S.) The Prince de Metternich.
(L. S.) The Prince de Hardenberg.
(L. S.) The Count de Rasumoffsky.

  1. Hansard, The Parliamentary Debates from the Year 1803 to the Present Time …, Volume 32. 1 February to 6 March 1816, T.C. Hansard, 1816. pp. 135139.
  2. Cracow is also know as Kraków.
  3. "This Treaty formed Annex III to the Vienna Congress Treaty of 9th June, 1815 and was Approved and Guaranteed by Article VII of the Treaty between Austria, Prussia, and Russia of the 3rd of May, 1815 [Act III] ... By a Treaty between Austria, Prussia, and Russia, of the 6th November, 1846, the Independent existence of the Free City of Cracow was put an end to, and the City and its Territory were incorporated with the Austrian Dominions. The British Government protested against this infraction of the Vienna Congress Treaty, on the 23rd November, 1846. The French Government also protested against it, on the 3rd December, 1846". (Hertslet, Edward (1875). "No.15", The map of Europe by treaty; showing the various political and territorial changes which have taken place since the general peace of 1814, London, Butterworths. (No. 12) p. 127)
  4. British Foreign Office British and Foreign State Papers. 1814—1815 Volume II. Compiled by the librarian and keeper of the papers, Foreign Office-London: James Rigway and Sons, Piccadilly, H.M.S.O., 1839. pp. 80-83. (Annexe III)—TRAITE ADDITIONNEL, entre l’Autriche, la Prusse, et la Russe, relatif à Cracovie: CONSTITUTION de la Ville Libre de Cracovie. — Fait à Vienne, le S Mai, de l'an de grâce 1814.