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Law #449 from the Levanda Index

Czar: Nicholas I
Year: 1842

Editor's Note: This decree was an attempt by Nicholas I to assimilate Jews by offering them monetary and other concessions for converting to Christianity. While most of Nicholas I's attempts in this regard involved the stick, this one offered a carrot. It largely failed to accomplish its purpose.

449. -- January 7. Imperial Ratification of the Legal Position of the Committee of Ministers, promulgated February 11. --

On regulations concerning Jews assuming the Christian faith.

The governing Senate heard the report of the Minister of Crown Lands, in which he joined with the presentation of local authorities on Jews assuming the Christian faith; therefore the Emperor, based on the legal position of the Committee of Ministers last January 7, is pleased to imperially order:
1) When Jews assume the Christian faith, those children under the age of 7 years must also undertake religious baptism, but if only the father, or only the mother assumes the Christian faith, then in the first case the sons, and in the latter case the daughters will also be baptised.
2) Jews who convert to the Christian faith and enter the clerical profession are excluded from receiving the salary of their previous position.
3) Jews turning to Christianity will, without regard to sex, be originally issued from 15 to 30 silver rubles each in financial assistance; their children half that.
4) Baptized Jews are permitted to register in the merchant class, merely by declaring capital and by payment of guild fees, and in these societies: farmers, petty townsmen, and artisans, without the prior consent of the societies and: a) living in settlements on Crown lands, without the consent of the rural communities, is allowed only where populated with peasants, on a fixed proportion of the land, where a surplus exists, or on lands earmarked for new settlements, and b) if, during the years these privileges are established, the Jews do not petition to obtain the assent of the communities, then in that case they will be assessed a tax, on grounds of statute 272, Legal Codes Vol. 9, for which each is personally responsible.
5) Establishment, and original provisioning of newly baptized Jews settling on Crown lands, is carried out by the regulations decreed for Jews transferred to Kherson gubernia.
6) Newly baptized Jews are allowed to enjoy, for settlements on Crown and private lands, the same privileges, based on current laws, as Jews in general, who converted to the agriculturalist class. On this Imperial order, the Minister of Crown Lands presented to the Governing Senate for proper promulgation. Ordered: (Send, where appropriate for decrees) (V.P.S.Z. Vol. XVII, No. 15,198).

Comments and corrections welcomed. Send to Michael Steinore