Bentheim County from the Beginning to the Present : The Legal Consequences of the German Revolutionary Year 1848 for the Kingdom of Hannover and Bentheim County  

The period following the Revolutionary year 1848 brought a series of laws to the Kingdom of Hannover, in whose design noticeably liberal ideas left their mark. Yet in 1848 the law of the modification of the Land constitution recognized - here the influence of the newly appointed minister Stüve showed itself - all communities as statutory corporations and assigned to them particular self-governing duties, such as the management of their assets, the election of - to be approved by the authorities - community officers and the regulation of internal community affairs including the police. The legislation of 1852 emphasized this, in which it called for the management of the communities to their own competent administration of their affairs.

The bailiwicks as sub-districts were done away with, and the police duties placed henceforth with the Amt or with the communities. The town ordinances were enacted in 1851 pursuant to this political reform. for the historical cities of the Grafschaft It meant the loss of their designation as cities; they were crossed off the list of independent cities, and for them, in a new chapter of community autonomy, the Rural Community Ordnance entered into force.

Through the law over the constitution of the courts of 1850, the administration of justice was separated from the administration. The designation district court still brought to mind the former regulatory unity. After the bureaucratic reorganization of 1852 the entire public administration of the lower courts in their district fell to the Amtern, insofar as it was not transferred to other authorities. In the jurisdiction of the Amter fell in addition to the hitherto sphere of authority also sovereignty matters, military and fiscal matters; the independent control for the ongoing commercial operations was emphasized through a compulsion and penal power, with which their directives were reinforced.

The law, also passed in 1852, over the Amtsvertretung positioned near the as yet bureaucratic structure of the Amt as administrative authority the indirectly elected representation in the form of the Amts assembly and enabled thereby the beginnings of the development of a municipal association, even if a decree of the Hannoverian Interior Ministry clarified, that the Amts district represented no regional authority.

With the establishment of 31 new Amtern the Hannoverian Kingdom counted nearly 45 independent cities, 175 Amter, of which Neuenhaus, with 18500 people was the largest Amt. The revised Amt order of 1859 reduced the number of Amter to 102, so that the average number of inhabitants of an administrative district amounted to 16000 people; the Bentheim Amt still comprised in 1880 according to the census only 10476 inhabitants, the Neuenhaus Amt in contrast 20520 people.
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Bentheim County from the Beginning to the Present : Introduction of the Hannoverian Administrative and Legal Constitution on May 24, 1824 

That the circumstances regarding the territorial sovereignty of the Princes of Bentheim and Steinfurt, pursuant to federal acts and in accordance with laws decreed in other states were to be controlled was reflected in the royal decree of April 18, 1823. Subsequently, the Princes in Graftschaft Bentheim would be granted a Standesherrschaft with precisely defined (subordinate) governing rights, which included important police powers, the control over municipal, religious, and educational services, as well as forest and border police jurisdiction. Their station was turned into that of a noble senior civil servant. The function of the royal administration in Bentheim ended, a royal commissioner's office was established in Benthieim in its place to carry out rights reserved to the state, over which the Landdrostei Osnabrück was in charge.

Only with the settlement of the lordly rights was Hannover free to insert Bentheim into an administrative organization already well established in other lands. In addition, the king decreed on May 20, 1824 the edict over the Administrative and Legal Constitution in Bentheim county, which, because it was too large for a single district, was divided according to the recommendation of the Prince into the two princely Bentheim Mediat-Aemter Bentheim and Neuenhaus. For each district a baillif and a district assessor were appointed. All parishes in the upper county (with the exception of Nordhorn), the city of Schüttorf and the Bentheim Flecken belonged to the Bentheim district, while the parishes of the lower county, the city of Neuenhaus as well as the parish of Nordhorn and the Wietmarschen community were added to the Neuenhas district. Within the districts the parish communities were merged into bailiwicks after the abolition of the Cantonal unions dating back to the French period. In each of the three cities of Schüttorf, Nordhorn and Neuenhaus and in the Bentheim Flecken should be a magistrate responsibile for local administration, the villages and flat lands fell to the bailifs. The activities of the Bentheim districts were matched to the king's, in other words, they had the same judicial and administrative duties, namely the administration of justice as well as the sovereign and police administration of first recourse. The smaller Bentheim district was at the same time the criminal investigation bureau for the county. A lordly Bentheim Justice Chancellery for Bentheim county with a chancellor, two assessors with voting power and a secretary corresponding to the will of the Princes was set up as the appellate court.

The edict over the new organization came into effect on September 1, 1824. On this day, the royal commissioner Duncker, in the presence of princely court counselor Bornemann conducted the installation of the two Mediatämter and the lordly chancellery.
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Bentheim County from the Beginning to the Present : The County is freed from the Napoleonic Yoke in the year 1813 

The Vienna Congress of 1815 decisively renewed the affiliation of the Grafschaft with the King of Hanover. With the definitive expulsion of the French from the Grafschaf in 1813 by Russian troops following the Battle of Leipzig, count Alexis of Bentheim and Steinfurt was able to take possession of the country in his father's name for a few days, but had to yield to the Hanoverians. The Royal Britannic Hannoverian administration of Bentheim county was set up in Bentheim. The omission of references to the pledge characterized the objective of Hannoverian politics, with the intent to annex the Grafschaft permanently. In fact, the laws and regulations passed during the French Occupation were generally repealed, the legal authorities retained and also the city and local community administration related regulations remained in force, in doing so the concept of the mayor was replaced by Bürgermeister.

In 1815, the Vienna Congress arranged anew the territorial circumstances in all of Europe at the expense of many small states; its final act bestowed (which was elevated to a kingdom in 1814) to Hannover considerable territorial gains, it confirmed at the same time the Hannovarian pledge rights over the Bentheim Grafschaft and dictated that through its redemption the Grafschaft should be brought under the control of the Kingdom of Hannover.

In terminating the pledge contract of 1752 the discernably far sighted Hannoverian policy had the hoped for success; Prussia was eliminated as a competitor in the border region with the Netherlands, that is, Rheina-Wolbeck and Meppen, and surrendered East Frisia. An all around territorial stranglehold of Hannover by Prussia, which was completely within their means, was thereby avoided.

Against the provisions of the pledge contract, whose validity particularly regarding territorial sovereignty the Congress act of 1815 had explicitly acknowledged, Hannover began at once with the objective to virtually integrate the Bentheim territory into the prevailing system in the rest of the Hannoverian territories with concrete and massive inroads in its law and administration.

In 1816 the Hannovarian Military and Postal Administration, and in 1817 the general Taxation system were established. In 1818 even the general royal estates assembly was made responsible for Bentheim.

Hannover was completely aware of the questionable legality of its behavior, it was only possible for the Ministry to report in 1821 that apart from the pledge contract, Hannover had not yet obtained Sovereignty over Bentheim.

After years of tough negotiations between the two very unequal contractual partners, the king and the count (he was elevated to the rank of Prince by the Prussians; Hannover recognized the elevation) who due to widely divergent prospects about options and details of a compromise over the mutual financial claims and sovereign authority led to no conclusion, the king, in contempt of recognized legal principles, terminated the pledge on September 1, 1822 and discontinued the payments to the prince. Following these measures the prince was forced in 1823 to approve an arrangement over the annulment of the pledge, in which against the aim fixed in the Congress act he was exempted from only a portion of the pledge amount; it restored his domain to him and compensated him for the renunciation of effective sovereignty, ceded to him notably the goods of the disbanded Wietmarschen Cloister and also partially of the Frenswegens disbanded cloister.
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Bentheim County from the Beginning to the Present : In 1810, Bentheim county is absorbed into the French Empire 

With the authority of the victor, Napoleon disregarded customs and old ties and introduced the French way of governing. Bentheim county, which he had attached to the Ems departement, was broken up, and by 1808, three Cantons were established, of which the Bentheim Canton was integrated into the Coesfeld Arrondissement, and the Nordhorn and Emlignkamp Cantons into the Lingen Arrondissement. At the same time, municipal charters with the establishment of Prefectures and sub prefectures were integrated into Départements and Arrondissements and later the Town Halls into the Cantons. The High Court was initially transfered to Coesfeld and abolished soon after.

Around 1810, with the borders of the effective implementation of Napoleon's Continental blockade newly drawn, and the Grafschaft annexed to the hitherto French Imperial Ems department, it was again absurdly divided between the Dutch Départements Ijsselmündung and West-Ems. This territorial grouping was also not to last, already in April 1811, the entire Grafschaft became a part of the Lippe-Départements as the Arrondissement Neuenhaus. The seat of a sub prefecture was established in Neuenhaus,to which the Bentheim, Nordhorn and Neuenhaus cantons were subordinate. At the same time, Neuenhaus received a Tribune of the first Instance, added to which Justices of the Peace were appointed in Bentheim, Nordhorn and Emlichheim.
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Bentheim County from the Beginning to the Present : In 1804 Napoleon Bonaparte initially gives the county back its independence, but then incorporates it into the Great Duchy of Berg in 1806. 

During the Seven Year's War (1756 - 1763) under the protection of French troops, Count Karl succeeded in temporarily regaining possession of his lands.

Hannover thereupon stopped its payments to the county debt redemption and at the end of the war did not initially resume them. Instead, the counts' king granted them a loan. The king wrote to his finance minister about it : "The more indebted the count is to us, the less he can hope to make his county free again."

Against this backdrop it is not surprising that in the following decade all efforts by the Bentheim counts to redeem the mortgage fell through. Hannover interpreted the provisions of the mortgage contract unilaterally to its own advantage. The king managed to discourage, through political pressure and as a result of the contractually guaranteed option to purchase of potential lenders to the counts, with whose help the mortgage redemption amount would have had to be raised.

In May 1803, the French/English war suspended the mortgage with the invasion of French troops in Bentheim. The military phases of the conflict soon gripped all of Europe. Due to a convention of 1804, the house of Bentheim-Steinfurt under count Ludwig obtained possession of the county again for a period of two years.

But Napoleon Bonaparte again deprived the count of his rights in 1806 and incorporated the county into the Great Duchy of Berg. The Grand Duchy of Berg Provincial administration of Bentheim and Steinfurt governed the land. In the inner organization of the county lands innovations now occurred that would have far reaching consequences.

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