Awards from the Sovereign for Replenishing the Customs and Excise Treasury (1620s – Early 1630s)
Keywords:17th-century economic history; customs; tavern; customs heads; tselovalniks; awards
This article considers awards from the sovereign granted to customs heads and tselovalniki (sworn men) for replenishing the customs and excise treasury between the 1620s and 1630s when the income they provided exceeded the pre-determined amount. It is possible to find information about these awards in notes made by contemporaries and in the historical literature, but, thus far, there has been no special study devoted to them. Referring to records in the documents of the Treasury Prikaz in the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts, the author reveals data about awards granted in Kursk, Vyazma, and Mozhaisk. It is fruitful to compare them with data from the account ledgers of other central prikazes with information about customs and tavern expenses and profits per town. The author also examines records about awards to customs heads and tselovalniki in Totma, Kostroma, and Nizhny Novgorod; similar documents from other towns are mentioned in the accounts of the Treasury Prikaz between 1621 and 1631. Awards are classified according to their amount. It is established that the Treasury Prikaz oversaw the distribution and financing of the awards rather than the prikazes that controlled the collection of customs and tavern taxes. Awards were not granted in cash and their content did not depend on the amount of taxes collected: they were more of a symbolic character, and did not possess economic importance for the receiver. Additionally, granting such awards to heads and tselovalniks was not obligatory, even if they made a profit while collecting taxes. In most cases, awards were granted to representatives of the customs administration who served in the main trade centres of Muscovy. The article contains a register of such documents issued between 1621 and 1631.
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