An Economic History of Russia - Vol. 1

By James Mavor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
THE INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES OF THE STATE IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

(a) STATE PEASANTS AT THE MOUNTAIN WORKS

AN account has already been given of the agricultural peasants of the State.1 The State peasants ascribed to the enterprises of the State in the mountains, and to private enterprises there, were distinguished from the agricultural State peasants in respect to their relations to the fiscal system. While the agricultural State peasants paid their poll tax and obròk in money, the State peasants ascribed to the mountain works paid their obligations in the earlier period altogether in labour, and after 1769 a portion of them in money and a portion still in labour.2 While the important development of the ascription of State peasants to private enterprises dates from the time of Peter the Great, there were instances of this practice early in the seventeenth century. In 1632 Andrew Venius, a Dutch merchant, received permission to establish ironworks near Tula, about 120 miles south of Moscow. Together with his partners, Peter Marselis and Philemon Akema, he built the works of Goroditschevsky, on the Great Tulitsa River, upon rented land. His mining force consisted of fifty Dedilovsky Cossacks and Streltsi. In 1633 there were ascribed to these works a volost in Kashirsky district, with 347 souls of Tsar's peasants. For this volost the company paid to the Treasury 286 rubles obròk, and in addition a specified quantity of wheat, hemp, and millet.3 Another volost, not quite so large as the first, was afterwards also granted. The total number of households in both volosts was 420, and the number of male souls about 580. The peasants were required to cut for the use of the works

____________________
1
See supra, pp. 267et seq.
2
Cf. Semevsky, Peasants in the Time of Katherine II ( St. Petersburg, 1901), ii. p. xviii.
3
Gamel, Description of the Ironworks at Tula ( Moscow, 1826), pp. 7, 9, 12, and 13; cited by Semevsky, ii. p. 296.

-434-

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