Whether the name signifies the taking up of burdens or the acceptance of privileges is a disputed point.
Both classes were liable to civic burdens, but the incolae had none of the privileges of citizenship except a limited right of voting.
He did much too for the economic development of Prussia, especially for agriculture; he established colonies, peopling them with immigrants, extended the canal system, drained and diked the great marshes of the Oderbruch, turning them into rich pasturage, encouraged the planting of fruit trees and of root crops; and, though in accordance with his ideas of discipline he maintained serfdom, he did much to lighten the burdens of the peasants.
His right to exact military, financial and judicial duties for the state he had used to force men to become his dependants, and then he had stood between them and the state, freeing them from burdens which he threw with increased weight upon those who still stood outside his personal protection.
No amount of skill in the manipulation of figures, no ingenuity in shifting fiscal burdens, could prevent the addition of forty-one millions to the national debt, or could countervail the appalling mismanagement at the seat of war.