The May Laws

Primary historical text: Russia, 1881

(1)

As a temporary measure, and until a general revision is made of their legal status, it is decreed that the Jews be forbidden to settle anew outside, of towns and boroughs, exceptions being admitted only in the case of existing Jewish agricultural colonies.

(2)

Temporarily forbidden are the issuing of mortgages and other deeds to Jews, as well as the registration of Jews as lessees of real property situated outside of towns and boroughs; and also the issuing to Jews of powers of attorney to manage and dispose of such real property.

(3)

Jews are forbidden to transact business on Sundays and on the principal Christian holy days; the existing regulations concerning the closing of places of business belonging to Christians on such days to apply to Jews also.

(4)

The measures laid down in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 shall apply only to the governments within the Pale of Jewish Settlement [that is, they shall not apply to the ten governments of Poland].

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