IN THE NAME OF GOD - AMEN. Honor and the public weal are promoted when leagues
are concluded for the proper establishment of quiet and peace.
Therefore, know all men, that the people of the valley of Uri, the democracy of
the valley of Schwyz, and the community of the Lower Valley of Unterwalden, seeing
the malice of the age, in order that they may better deffend themselves, and their
own, and better preserve them in proper condition, have promised in good faith
to assist each other with aid, with every counsel and every favor, with person
and goods, within the valley and without, with might and main, against one and
all, who may inflict upon any one of them any violence, molestation or injury,
or may plot any evil against their persons or goods. And in every case each community
has promised to succour the other when necessary, at its own expense, as far as
needed in order to withstand the attacks of evil-doers, and to avenge injuries;
to this end they have sworn a solemn oath to keep this without guile, and to renew
by these presents the ancient form of the league, also confirmed by an oath.
Yet in such a manner that every man, according to his rank, shall obey and serve
his overlord as ist behooves him.
We have also vowed, decreed and ordained in common council and by unanimous consent,
that we will accept or receive no judge in the aforesaid valleys, who shall have
obtained his office for any price, or for money in any way whatever, or one who
shall not be a native or a resident with us. But if dissension shall arise between
any of the Eidgenossen (confederates; Eid = oath, Genosse = fellow, comrade),
the most prudent amongst the confederates shall come forth to settle the difficulty
between the parties, as shall seem right to them; and whichever party rejects
their verdict shall be held an adversary by the other confederates.
Furthermore it has been established between them that he who deliberately kills
another without provocation, shall, if caught, lose his life, as his wicked guilt
requires, unless he be able to prove his innocence of said crime; and if perchance
he escape, let him never return. Those who conceal and protect said criminal shall
be banished from the valley, until they be expressly recalled by the confederates.
But if any one of the confederates, by day, or in the silence of the night, shall
maliciously injure another by fire, he shall never again be considered a fellow-countryman.
If any man protect and defend the said evil-doer, he shall render satisfaction
to the one who has suffered damage.
Furthermore, if any one of the confederates shall spoil another of his goods,
or injure him in any way, the goods of the guilty one, if recovered within the
valleys, shall be seized in order to pay damages to the injured person, according
Furthermore, no man shall seize another's goods for debt, unless he be evidently
his debtor or surety, and this shall only be done with the special permission
of his judge.
Moreover, every man shall obey his judge, and if necessary, must himself indicate
the judge in the valley, before whom he ought properly to appear. And if any one
rebels against a verdict, and, in consequence of his obstinacy, any one of the
confederates is injured, all the confederates are bound to compel the culprit
to give satisfaction.
But if war or discord arise amongst any of the confederates and one party of the
disputants refuse to accept the verdict of the judge or to give satisfaction,
the confederates are bound to defend the other party.
The above-written statutes, decreed for the common welfare and benefit, shall
endure forever, God willing. In testimony of which, at the request of the aforesaid
parties, the present charter has been drawn up and confirmed with the seals of
the aforesaid three communities and valleys.
So done in the year of the Lord 1291 at the beginning of the month of August.