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The 1873 Exemption from Military Service

Below is a copy of the 1873 agreement between the Mennonite settlers and the Canadian government. It gives Mennonites certain special rights. These rights are noted in paragraphs 1 and 10. The original spelling mistakes have not been corrected.


The undersigned has the honour to report that he has made an arrangement with the following named delegates from the Mennonites settled in South Russia, in view of their announcement to him in their joint letter of the 23 rd July instant of their intention to settle, together with the Mennonite Colonists whom they represent, in the Province of Manitoba: David Klassen, delegate of Henboden Colony: Jacob Peters, delegate of Bergthar Colony: Heinrich Wiebe, delegate of Bergthar Colony: Cornelius Tows, delegate of Grienfeld Colony:


The arrangement made is to the following effect:


1 st. That an entire exemption from any Military service, as is provided by law and Order in Council, will be granted to the denomination of Christians called Menonites.




10 th. That the Menonites will have the fullest privilege of exercising their religious principles, and educating their children in schools, as provided by law, without any kind of molestation or restriction whatever.




(signed) J.H. Pope

Minister of Agriculture


Department of Agriculture

Ottawa, 28 th July, 1873

See copy of the original


[Toews, 116-118]

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