In the Hessische Intelligenzblätter of October 1772 appeared the suggestion to use the Merlau schloss as a home for the children of dead soldiers. One of the arguments in favor of this was that otherwise there would be a danger that the number of beggars in the country would increase. As it turned out, this idea was not taken up, probably because the schloss was in too bad a condition to be used as a children's home. The document that appeared in the Intelligenzblatt has been transcribed and those interested in the details can find it here.

Announcement of the foundation of an Invaliden und Soldaten-Waysenhaus. Serene Highness graciously decided to establish an Invalids' and Soldiers' Wayside Home

His Most Gracious Highness and Lord High Prince, his Serene Highness have already issued two most charitable decrees on June 20, 1769 and March 7, 1770, aimed at providing the best possible care for soldiers who have become unfit for service.

Previous experience and the frequent complaints have proven, however, that these remedies are not sufficient for the intended purpose.

The fate of the orphans of soldiers who died in the line of duty, however, has so far remained almost without any help and advice; the local orphanage, according to its constitution and forces, has not sufficed to take in such abandoned children; their number increases from one quarter of a year to the next, the public is flooded with beggars, and these children, who in time could become useful citizens, perish through idleness and poverty already in their earliest youth.

These considerations have moved Your High Prince, Serene Highness to seriously consider the establishment of an institution encompassing both of these objects at the same time, and to create a separate institution for the help and comfort of those in need, as well as for the relief of the public from the beggary of this species, which is as burdensome as it is harmful in its consequences.

Invalids and Soldiers Orphanage

They have dedicated the schloss at Merlau in the Oberfürstenthum Hessen for the achievement and quickest promotion of this Christ-Princely intention and want to have it restored to its intended purpose and furnished with the necessary household goods etc. at their sole expense out of the hand of the Princely money. The Prince and Princess of Hesse has been granted the right to build the schloss in Merlau in the Upper Principality of Hesse and to have it restored to the condition for which it was intended and furnished with the necessary household furnishings, etc., at his sole expense from the Prince's own funds. Obristen and Oberbaudirektor M?ller in Giessen and others have already received the necessary orders.

However, as far as the persons to be admitted to the Invalids' Institution are concerned, His Princely Highness, Serene Highness's most gracious will: that, as a rule, all, both natives and foreigners, who are unfit for further service in the military service of the High Princely House and have therefore been discarded and dismissed, shall be eligible for reception, but with the following restriction, if such persons

1.) do not prefer to go to their home country themselves and support themselves there, as well or as badly as they can,

2.) if they still have something more or less of their own at home, but prefer to end their lives in the invalid institution among their comrades, then in such a case they should be allowed, but also be allowed

In such a case, they should be allowed, but also granted, that they either contribute a little annually to their upkeep and clothing, or, according to the proportion of their assets, buy themselves in with a certain sum, which money is immediately invested as capital and, after their early or late death, falls to the Invalids' Institution as property; consequently, no one should be admitted who, if he is a landowner, has not previously brought a certified and reliable testimony from the office under which he sat of the property he still has.

3.) If and as long as a person with a small land service can still be provided for, he should not have to apply to the Invalidenhaus, but because there will always be more invalids than services, invalids who are still capable of such services can be admitted to the institution until a service opens up; However, a constant control of such small rural services should be kept and the officials and mayors should be seriously bound to report the vacancies to the supervisor of the Invalidenhaus.

4.) All others who a) have no property of their own, b) cannot be placed in the country and c) are not capable of serving the public in some way due to too great a physical infirmity, have an acquired right to be admitted to the invalid institutions.

According to this ratio, those whose parents leave nothing at all or not enough for the education of their children, whose relatives are likewise too incapable to maintain them in whole or in part, and whose children are too young to take care of themselves, or are placed in craftsmen's workshops, in services, etc., shall be admitted in the same manner. All such children of both sexes shall be considered fit and worthy for reception.

Since such children must be cared for and supervised, capable widows of non-commissioned officers and soldiers, who are not too old or too used to work, and whose lifestyle is irreproachable, shall also be accepted, but only in the number required for the first-mentioned purpose.

And when the institution expands and improves in a few years, poor officers' widows and daughters shall also find a decent retreat there until other care is provided.

Your High Princely, Serene Highness would have liked nothing better than that the maintenance of this charitable institution could be financed from his own and sole income, but since this is quite impossible in the known circumstances of the Princely House: Therefore, they have taken into consideration that the necessary amount should at least be procured in the cheapest, most livable way and in a way that is pleasing to every not entirely insensitive mind; in which most gracious and trusting attitude, cherishing your entire faithful servants, they have decreed that

1.) Every new servant taken on from the beginning of the current month, without distinction as to rank, salary and service, shall leave behind the remuneration of half a quarter of a year for the benefit of this Invalids' and Orphanage and have it deducted from him when his first quarter of service is paid out, or if he is an accounted servant, he shall himself send it to the management of the institute under penalty of double compensation.

2.) However, because this would be too insufficient according to the ratio of the service changes, Your High Princely Serene Highness demands and orders that of every salary exceeding one hundred thalers, including the naturals, without distinction of status, rank, coat, and service, also local or foreign servants, one per cent shall be retained annually and given to the Invalids' and Soldiers' Welfare House, respectively.

3.) All taxes, charters and other favors of this kind shall also flow into the Invalidencasse from now on. Furthermore

4.) Every year at Easter, a public voluntary collection should be made in all churches of the country for this purpose, and the preachers themselves should arouse the generosity of the contributors by heartfelt introductions, and the contribution should be faithfully delivered to the official at each place, and sent by him to the Directorate. After also

5.) The common and pia Corpora have been relieved by this institution of a great burden hitherto incumbent upon them. Your Serene Highnesses would be pleased to see, and find it just, that the churches and the poor in the country, according to the measure of their strength and other needs, also contribute something annually, the closer determination of which will depend on the conscientiousness, insight and philanthropy of the superiors of those funds.

6.) In the same way as Your High Princely, Serene Highnesses have already taken into consideration, with regard to the employment to be provided for such an institute, that it be facilitated in every way, fortified with permanent facilities, and that the benefits be multiplied not only for the better maintenance of the institute, but also for the best of other subjects; In particular, they order that from now on all the flax and hemp that the subjects owe to deliver, and which has been charged in money in the official accounts, shall be given to the institute in kind, without exception or excuse, whereas the institute shall and will pay the officials the proceeds in cash at the price that has been charged to the Princely Chamber in the past.

Since also Your High Princely, Serene Highness will, according to the paternal sentiments of this institution, take several other ways in which the work can be supported and benefited without inconveniencing the subjects and servants, and therefore they have already made the most charitable resolutions regarding the required firewood and the necessary garden and field cultivation: It will also be a most gracious favor to them if good ideas for the promotion and fortification of this institution are contributed by their servants and subjects individually. With regard to the internal establishment and administration, His Serene Highness has already made the necessary dispositions. His Serene Highness has already made the necessary arrangements, and has graciously entrusted the supervision of the personnel to a competent and experienced officer, but the direction of the entire work to the President.

The actual date when the institution can be solemnly opened and the schloss dedicated for this purpose can be occupied by the invalids as well as by the children of the wards, will depend for the time being on the housing of the Merlau schloss, which is to be accelerated in every way, and will be made known to the country in due time through the local intelligence papers and in other ways. Your High Princely. Serene Highness, however, wants and orders that with the preparatory institutions already now the undelayed beginning shall be made, for which also the children of invalids and soldiers who need care and their respective relatives and friends shall already now immediately apply to me, the president or to the officials, the President, or with the officials under whom they have been sitting, in order not to delay the enjoyment of the benefit and assistance intended for them, but, as much as the first beginning permits, to be refreshed and comforted with active support.

Darmstadt, Oct. 3, 1772.

Ad Mandatum speciale Sereniffimi

F.C. Freyherr von Moser