Acceptance of the Emperor Paul of the post of Grand-Master
We, by the grace of God, Paul I., Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, &c. &c.
In consideration of the wish expressed to us by the Bailiffs, Grand-Crosses, Commanders, Knights of the illustrious Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of the Grand-Priory of Russia, and other members assembled together in our capital, in the name of all the well-disposed part of their fraternity, we accept the title of Grand-Master of this Order, and renew, on this occasion, the solemn promises we have already made in quality of protector, not only to preserve all the institutions and privileges of this illustrious Order for ever unchanged, in regard to the free exercise of its religion, with everything relating to the Knights of the Roman Catholic faith, and the jurisdiction of the Order, the seat of which we have fixed in this our Imperial residence; but also we declare that we will unceasingly employ for the future all our care and attention for the augmentation of the Order, for its re-establishment in the independent position which is requisite for the salutary end of its institution, for assuring its solidity, and confirming its utility. We likewise declare, that in taking thus upon us the supreme government of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, and considering it our duty to make use of every possible means to obtain the restoration of the property of which it has been so unjustly deprived, we do not pretend in any degree, as Emperor of all the Russias, to the smallest right or advantage which may strike at or prejudice any of the powers, our allies; on the contrary, we shall always have a peculiar satisfaction in contributing, at all times, everything in our power towards strengthening our alliance with the said powers.
Our grace and imperial favour towards the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in general, and each of its members in particular, shall ever remain invariably the same.
Given at St. Petersburg, the 13th of November, in the year 1798, in the third year of our reign.
(Countersigned) Prince Besbobodko.
A History of the Knights of Malta, Vol 2., Porter, Wintworth., (c) 1858, Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, & Roberts, London.