Foreword and Introduction from
"DIE POSTWERTZEICHEN DER RUSSISCHEN LANDSCHAFTSAEMTER"
By C. Schmidt
Valuable Postal Adhesives of Russian Zemstvos the Data for Studying of These Stamps as Compiled and Reworked by the Architect C. Schmidt.
|Volume I. Akhtyrka - Luga.||
Translation from German
Published by the Writer. Berlin, Scharlottenburg
With the present I am transferring to collectors my data for the study of the valuable postal adhesives of the Russian Zemstvos, whatever I was able to gather during over 40 years of investigation. The difficulties I had to overcome were exceedingly heavy; in the whole world there was not a single collection that could furnish the exhaustive material. Any study of the old archives was out there were none. So with difficulty I had to collect the material from all existing sources and collections; this demanded numerous trips and many years, enormous amount of correspondence in all directions. In this way I was able to correct the many errors of the previous catalogues and to introduce many new stamps to date unknown or unnoticed.
Still, I realise fully that even this work has many missions and gaps. Chances are they may be filled in sometime, or maybe will remain so forever. Probably many collectors will be able to make corrections and additions for which I will be always thankful.
My special gratitude for the help given to me in this work of mine to my colleagues of the old section "St. Petersburg" of the International Dresden Philatelic Society, who always and willingly placed their collections at my disposal, as did numerous collectors in Germany and abroad. In the first place I have to mention Mr. A. Faberge who used any means possible to collect the material for this work and furnish it to me for study,, especially the stamps in complete sheets which made possible the detailed study. I remember gratefully two of the collectors who are no more with us: Ferrari de la Renotier (Paris) who permitted me to see his treasures and to photograph the rarities, and Mr. Herman Holstein (Moscow) who was a most diligent collaborator, to whom I owe thanks for much data and who without stint furnished me the material from some collections unknown to me. Also I must remember thankfully Mr. F. Kosak who had willingly presented to me for the study his large stock from the Moens collection in whole sheets.
This work was started in 1909 and was published by the above mentioned section of "St. Petersburg". Since all of the written and organisation work of the issue rested on me only, having been overloaded with my business affairs, this work progressed very slowly. Until 1916, 20 sections were issued in two completed volumes of 884 pages of the text with 102 tables of photographs which developed the study of the Zemstvo postage stamps as far as the letter "L" inclusive. The work was suspended due to the war. All of unmailed sections, especially the two last ones became victims of the revolution. And only in 1930 1 decided to complete the work. Due to my completely changed circumstances, it became impossible for me to edit the work as it was done before due to the financial difficulties.
So, I sat myself at the typewriter to put on paper all that I have collected during the long years.
I am asking all friends-collectors to be lenient in their judgement of the presentation and contents.
October 1932, The Author.
The Activities of Zemstvos and their Growth from 1864 to their Abolishment in 1917:
Everything that was achieved in cultural work within the enormous Russian Empire during the last fifty years prior to the world wax is directly tied to the activities of the Zemstvos. They were attracting the industrious, progressive elements of the people, they were supporting the hopes of the people in the better future during the oppressive years of the autocratic reaction, finally they have awakened the creative forces of the people, have shown the road to the gifted ones and strengthened the forces of the fighters in their hard struggle with the reaction. Each Zemstvo had men whose activities the people remembered with touching and fanatical love, whose names they preserved in thankful memory.
Here, in the Zemstvo institutions, have met for the first time other wise entirely divided classes of the society: the peasant, noble, gentry, and merchant, as men of equal rights. Here they felt their common interests, felt that the welfare of the people was equally dear to all of them, that it depended to a large extent on their behaviour. Participation in self-government resulted in the appearance of the sense of duty and of love of his fatherland. Until then the population had to stand aside and take everything in silence. The elected representatives were not acquainted with the letter of the law but tried to really solve the vital demands and felt themselves not to be responsible to any authorities but to their electors.
The government decided to give such self-government to the people very reluctantly. Only the complete collapse of local authority, only the loud complaints of the nobility against the intolerable management of the officials and the demands of introduction of government by the elected representatives of the people extorted from the government the introduction of Zemstvos or a guarantee of self-government: But, the government's attitude towards the Zemstvos was hostile and distrustful until the last days. The rather limited rights that were granted to Zemstvos with time were not widened but there was a tendency to limit them. Everywhere, nearly in every branch of Zemstvos activities there were always difficulties and obstacles placed by the government. Many times the main work consisted not in satisfying the needs of the population but in fighting the resistance of the government in the simple and harmless matters. The government felt political suspicions everywhere, was afraid of the political consequences of the simplest decisions and with such contradictions even the existence of the Zemstvos was imperilled. But,, notwithstanding all this,, life itself carried the Zemstvos far past the frames of their original destiny. It was not possible to deaden their activities, their importance as an indispensable and irreplaceable organ of government was growing each day and their activities as the auxiliary organs of the state government, became the pride of Russian people.
1. The Origin of Zemstvos: During the time of serfdom all responsibility for the good or evil of peasants was the duty of the landowners. The government did not care about the peasants; it knew only the landlord who was responsible for the taxes being paid on time. In his turn, according to the law, the landlord was obliged to take care of his peasant serfs and to help them in case of bad crops, fir and epidemics. Some of the landowners even opened schools for their peasants and engaged medical help for them. But the peasants had to pay their taxes and to work for the landlord on certain days of the week.
The freedom of serfs accomplished February 18, 1861 changed the above relations with a single blow. About 23 million peasants became free; it was necessary to create the new life, and direct on the new road, numerous local management problems which were interesting both to the peasants and to the landowners.
Prior to the freedom of serfs the state also had its own peasants on various state lands. If the management of these lands had been satisfactory, then the government should have extended it to free such peasants. But the management of these state lands was in Petersburg and it officially knew very little, if anything about local conditions and necessities. Being strangers to the population, absolutely uninterested in satisfactory and just solution of local matters, the officials only complied with the letter of the laws that came from Petersburg, and in most cases were spending money unwisely received from peasant taxes that were entrusted to them.
The central government tried many times to solve these problems so far removed but they were not solved, and among them especially the question of collecting taxes.
It is true that prior to 1864 there was no Zemstvo activity in the sense of the later meaning of this word. Still there were numerous management problems which could have been classified as the "Zemstvo" ones, to satisfy which there were collected the "Zemstvo" taxes. These taxes were very heavy; during 45 years from 1814 to 1860 they were increased six times and were paid mostly by peasants since the land and the commerce were taxed very little. Besides the above taxes the peasants had to take care of the roads, furnish the postal horses and take care of the quarters for the military and officials. The tax money was mostly used to maintain postal stations and relay horses, to maintain the jails and moving of the criminals, for the maintenance of the roads and for quartering and victualling of the passing troops. The distribution of this money in the provinces was in the hands of a committee which consisted of government employees and the representatives of the nobility and the cities, which met once each three years to check the disbursements of the past three years and to prepare the budget for the next three years.
This meeting was named "Zemstvo taxes committee". The suggestions of the members of such committee were only a formality, no consideration being given to local interests since, later, they were completely changed by the government. That is to say: they had to be , studied in Petersburg by 7 secretaries of state (ministers), by ten different offices in each province seat, by 4 in each county, and by 3 in each city, each one of them introducing their changes. Thus was the budget made of the expenses which did not answer real needs, which never satisfied the real needs and which frequently permitted the dishonest elements to fill their pockets. Very soon such management was declared as incapable and the idea of self-government was on a firmer road.
The interrogation of the gentry that for a long time had been managing its affairs finally convinced the government that the local needs may be studied only by the representatives of the local population and that the elections of such persons must be done by the same population. Numerous gentry meetings asked the government to create in each province and in each county self-government that would consist of the representatives of all classes. The idea was supported by the society and the press and the whole country was so eagerly expecting the beginning of this new life, so intensely, that the government did not have any thing left but decided basically on the idea of self-government.
But the preparation of the corresponding law took an entire five years from 1859 to 1964, due to numerous disagreements about the rights of this new self-government. Some were afraid of too wide independence of Zemstvos and were afraid that the authority would be taken out of hands of the officials. Others were of the opinion that the population was sufficiently mature to be able to decide their own needs for themselves without anybody's tutoring. Finally, under the pressure from Emperor Alexander II, both sides had to agree, since he ordered that the law would be ready by January 1, 1864. It was signed by the Emperor on that date.
From 1865 to 1875 self-government was instituted in 34 provinces: in 1865 in Samara, Kostroma, Penza, Novgorod, Kherson, Pskov, Kursk, Yaroslav, Poltava, Tcherhigov, Moskva, Kharkov, Kazan, Petersburg, Nizhni-Novgorod, Riazan, Voronezh, Kaluga and Tambov; in 1866 in Smolensk, Tver, Tula, Simbirsk, Orel, Saratov, Vladimir, Ekaterinoslav, and Tavrida; in 1867 in Viatka, Olonetz; in 1870 in Vologda, Perm and Bessarabia; and in 1875 in Ufa province and in the Territory of Don Cossacks. The last one existed only until 1882 since all of the population of the Territory without exceptions was militarized and thus was exempt from taxes.
During the last decades there were numerous demands that the government introduce self-government in other provinces, but without success. During these years the autocratic reaction came in; the new liberties were not only not given, but even the existing ones were limited. Only on March 1911 self-government was granted to Vitebsk, Volyn, Kiev, Minsk, Mogilev and Podol provinces and on January 1, 1913 to Astrakhan, Orenburg, and Stavropol provinces.
Due to the considerable difference between the points of view in government circules during the preparation of the law, it resulted to being insufficient, not very clear and full of controversial points. Thus, immediately after the law was in force there started the struggle between the representatives of the government and the elected representatives of the people, the struggle that did not weaken until 1917 when the revolution destroyed the Zemstvos. The officials did not want to lose the old power from their hands and were afraid that the people would encroach on their actions; on the contrary. The peoples representatives based on the spirit of the law, on its unclear and imperfect form, fought more and more to get away from the control and guidance of the government officials. Finally, 15 years after it was decided to revise the Zemstvo laws and the appointed commission worked four rears on this revision when, by the 1885, the government policy had changed completely. The representatives of the old conservatives were predominant and as a result on July 12, 1890 there was issued a new law that took away part of liberties that were given to the Zemstvos and which gave again an increased influence to the gentry as the politically more trustworthy element.
This law was in force until the last days of the Zemstvos. Still, the self-government had very beneficial influence on all the country. During these fifty years the representatives of the population performed a gigantic task and actually culturally elevated all of the large interior of Russia. The population learned to defend its interests and to think politically; at the Zemstvo assemblies the representatives of the people have learned the first steps of the self-government.
2. The Interior Structure of Zemstvos: According to the 1864 law there should have been elected 13,329 members who would be defending the interests of their electors in the Zemstvo meetings. These interests varied with the different classes of people: peasants, city dwellers, gentry. A unit of land was taken as the basis for determining the number of representatives. Both the gentry and landowners chose one voter per 3,000 parcels of land. The peasants also elected one voter per 3,000 parcels of land according to the latest population census. The above considerations were used to determine the number of voters and the parcel of land ranged from 200 to 800 "diesiatina's"(one "desiatina" = 1.09 hectars), depending on the value of lana.
Other immovable interests. such as industries, etc., gave full unit values. The following persons had the right to be voters in the towns: all merchants with the legal documents; factory owners and business owners with a yearly balance of over 6,000 rubles and finally the real estate owners in towns which varied in. value in different towns from 500 to 3,000 rubles.
The small landowners who did not have a full unit of land but not less than 1/20 of it could participate in the elections through their representatives. They could elect as many representatives as many full units of land were summed up. Such chosen voters acted on the general elections as fully qualified voters. All peasants had the right to vote. First they would choose their electors within the county assembly and these later were having a meeting of several districts and chose their representatives either a peasant, or a priest, or a landowner.
The following proportions existed in 1883-1886: gentry and officials 5,595 peasants 5075, priests 305, and from other classes 2,223. After the law was modified in 1895 the proportions were changed considerably in favour of the gentry. The law was modified in such a way that the number of representatives was diminished from 13,329 to 10,229. More than half were gentry, while the peasants instead of 3357 representatives of their interests received only 3,167. City dwellers, such as merchants, industrialists and priests were completely excluded, while the amount of land required for the small landowners was nearly doubled. The peasants chose their candidate in each district; from the number of the elected representatives the governor of the province chose the ones he wanted, guided by the political loyalty of the representative. This last ruling was abolished in 1905.
As is customary at any election the lists of the voters were made public in advance so that it would be possible to correct any erroneous entries. The representatives were elected for three years. They were usually elected in the autumn, after the harvest, and very soon after it, mostly in the beginning of September the elected representatives met in the county Zemstvo assembly under the presidency of the head of the gentry. According to the law the assembly could not last over 10 days. After the representatives were sworn in, the general assembly began to discuss all management affairs that had accumulated during the year. Prior to the discussion the representatives received printed reports with detailed explanations of every subject. The subject was discussed the next days of assembly. Different propositions were made which were either accepted or rejected by the majority. If the subject was so complicated that the matter could not be resolved in the general meeting then a commission was chosen. Such a commission studied the subject and presented its decision to the assembly for voting. During such Zemstvo assemblies many matters were resolved, sometimes there were accumulated as much as 200 subjects. The most important subjects, i.e. the election of the president, of the numerous commissions, approval of the financial budget of the Zemstvo offices for the past year as well as of the next year's budget were done on the last day. The assembly meetings were held in the building of the Zemstvo office and admission was free. These assemblies brought fresh life into the quiet county towns and all of the interest of the society was directed to these meetings. Not only were there different subjects of interest, the discussions enabled the people to take sides in many matters and to spread the ideas of the Zemstvo government among very wide circles of population. Therefore, the meetings of the Zemstvo assemblies were very important.
After the decisions on the submitted matters were made, the Zemstvo representatives left for their homes. To be able to see that all the decisions made were carried out during the year until the next assembly, the representatives chose the heads of the Zemstvo office, for the three years period which consisted of the president and 2 to 3 members who were paid the salary as established by the assembly.
The different classes of work were divided between the members or done by all of them. To help them were the commissions chosen from the group of representatives, experts on the matters, which met periodically during the year and took care of the pending matters, made the decisions and sent them to the Zemstvo office to be carried out. The appointment of other persons, medical doctors, veterinarians, school teachers, engineers, and agricultural experts, secretaries, bookkeepers and other office employees was done by the president and the members of the Zemstvo offices. The Zemstvo office was responsible for carrying out all decisions of the Zemstvo assembly and had to present accounts of the disbursements of all the moneys spent. The members chose among themselves the control commission that checked all the work done during the year, as well as after it, and in its turn, submitted to the members its decision and at times its suggestions as to some changes or additions.
During the last days of the elections, apart from the election of the president and other officials of the county Zemstvo office, there were elected the deputies (2 to 7) for the province Zemstvo. In this last one were discussed the matters touching all of the province. It was much larger than the county one and consisted of, apart from the above mentioned county deputies, all presidents, all headmen of nobility and gentry of the province and of the officials of the state lands. Thus such a meeting could have as many as 90 members and it was carried out once a year, mostly in November or December. More important matters were discussed here, in a similar way as was done by the county meetings. However, here it was imperative to have wider knowledge and education as not only the local management matters were discussed but other ones of national importance. In the case of an accumulation of matters that could not be postponed, extraordinary meetings were called. The decisions on the most important matters mostly of national importance, had to be approved by the governor, or even by the state minister. Both of them had the right of veto, which however was used very rarely. Doubtful matters about competence were solved by the Senate.
According to the modified reactionary 1890 law, the governors were given the power to control all decisions of the Zemstvo members and cancel the ones which according to the governor's judgement were contrary not only to the interests of the government but also contrary to the interests of the local inhabitants. Of course all these were very doubtful matters since the decision depended fully on the arbitrary rule of this high official. Due to this, the Zemstvo assemblies lost much of their past independence since they always had to give in. Still, they continued their work without getting weary in all branches of their activities mostly with very miserable funds since they found nearly everywhere large areas untouched by culture. The activities of the Zemstvos grew yearly and very soon stepped out of the limits established in the beginning. Finally, they have reached national significance by their presenting to the government the problems of the land. Until the creation of the "Duma" (Parliament) the Zemstvos were the only route which the population could use to advise the government of their needs and hopes. Their importance reached the summit with the direct petitions to the Emperor. It was becoming clearer that the aims of the Zemstvo self-government were closely tied with the state interests and could not be separated from them; that with the joint peaceful work the population would be benefited best.
3. The Sphere of Zemstvo Activity: It is natural that the philatelists are interested first of all about the Zemstvo being the organiser of the postal service. But inasmuch as the postal service was only a small part of the Zemstvo activities it seems to be useful to describe their other activities so as to give the full picture of their activities. And the postal service will be described in detail in a special chapter.
The first problem that fell on the Zemstvos, one may say the inheritance of the previous management, was the necessity to supply the postal horses, followed by taking care of the justices of peace, jails and transportation and feeding of the arrested persons. Actually, the above duties had nothing to do with the management of the life of the county but they had to be accepted by the Zemstvos. Then the government gave to Zemstvos such matters as would have been handled with difficulty by the distant Petersburg, i.e. fire insurance, aid to the population in case of the failure of crops, maintenance of bridges, roads, care of the hospitals and of the state sanatoriums for the poor.; In the first version of the law nothing was mentioned about the education: this was added at the last moment by the state Senate.
These duties were so heavy that only very modest means were left to satisfy the main needs of the population. And the members of Zemstvos considered their aims to be not these state duties but the vital needs of the people and help in its needs. The government soon arrived at the same conclusion and freed the Zemstvos from this load. But the Zemstvos had such wide aims that their budget grew very fast; for example from 14 1/2 million rubles in 1868 to 220 million in 1912.
a) Popular education: The main activity of the Zemstvos was in public education, In 1868 education expenses were in sixth place - 738,858 rubles and in 1912 they were in first place - 66,403,300 rubles, reaching one third of all Zemstvo disbursements.
Prior to the creation of Zemstvos, the rural schools existed only on several landowners' properties. But the same government saw the necessity of some education and tried to have the clergy become interested in this.
The schools were established in the villages and the parish priests were given their management. But some priests were glad to pass the teaching jobs on to the other church workmen, they themselves giving only the false reports to satisfy the bishops. The pupils were treated badly, were punished corporally and were taught very little. The bad conditions in schools resulted in parents not sending the children to school. The schools were so empty that the parents were forced to send the children to these schools and only the richer people could buy off from this enforcement. Such was the condition of the schools when the Zemstvos took charge of them.
In the beginning, the peasants offered to open the schools and all aid was given. The teachers' schools were organised and the peasants were given funds to acquire books and school supplies. Five to six years later the Zemstvos took the next step and supplied the teachers. In the seventies the peasants of the 34 provinces gave for the schools about 3 million rubles while the Zemstvos helped them with 2 million. In 1890 the expenditures of both were 3,500,000 rubles. Ten years later the peasants gave 2,000,000 and Zemstvos 7,000,000. And in 1909 the Zemstvos gave 29,000,000 rubles (7,000,000 government subsidy included) while the peasants contributed with less than 500,000 rubles. The Zemstvos built and kept up the schools and took care of education. After 50 years of wide experience and love of this work, there was created in Russia the generally recognised "Zemstvo school".
In this way, 28.000 elementary schools, with about two million children of farmers attending in the thirty-four districts were established, which had 45.000 teachers. But twice as many would have been required to meet the most urgent requirements. Only in the last years before the World War, all Provinces prepared themselves to introduce the universal or general compulsion to attend schools and extend, with the assistance of the Duma, the whole school system over the whole of Russia. In order to give the children an opportunity of continuing to read after finishing their schooling popular libraries were started in the schools. In the year 1896 about 5.000 of these libraries were in existence but. just before the World War, there were already about 30.000. Some of the Provincial offices started Sunday schools for grown-ups, which were provided with cinemas.
b) Sanitary matters: Equally beneficial was the work done by the Provincial offices with regard to medicine and hospitals. Before the introduction of the self-government, there hardly existed any medical assistance for the common population. Every government and district had one infirmary run by the State, which was mostly for the use of the soldiers and prisoners; others were only treated there against excessive payment. Farmers were only accepted as patients if they suffered from a serious illness contracted during their stay in the town. As soon as they showed the slightest signs of recovery they were transported back to their district together with the prisoners, and a large amount of money was collected for his treatment from the Parish in which he lived. Generally speaking, the hospital was considered as a place where one died. Specially horrible were the conditions in the lunatic asylums, where the sick were not treated at all but were looked upon as criminals; some of them were even chained. The sight of a doctor struck terror into the hearts of the farmer or peasant; they only saw him on examinations for the Army and at inquests.
The farmers of the State and the Domain districts had one doctor for every three to five districts. In the single circles Army surgeons were engaged. having a small hospital with about two to five beds. The Army surgeons received about twelve Rubles per year for medicines and had to gather their own herbs. The doctors who had to control them usually paid only one visit per year.
In all the thirty-four governments were about 900 Army surgeons and about 300 beds. The farmers of the of the land-owner were usually treated by the quacks, the "good lady" or by the Clergy.
This was the state of the sanitary services as the provincials took them over. In the first place, the State infirmaries were handed over to them. 32 in the government cities with 6,200 beds and 303 in the districts with 5,100 beds. All the buildings were in a very bad state of repair and were subject to a capital levy.
Many improvements were introduced, separate buildings were erected for infectious diseases, the personnel of the hospitals were increased and the patients were looked after better. Ample medicaments were provided.
Soon., however, the provincial offices noticed that these infirmaries benefited mostly the large cities, and tried therefore to hand them over to the State administration. But the Government was opposed to this plan and compelled the Provinces to provide further large sums, about three million Rubles annually, for the upkeep of the infirmaries. After this, the Provinces decided not to extend the infirmaries, but leave them in their present state without any alterations. The provincial offices paid special attention to the asylums and in the space of fifty years, the number of beds was increased by twenty-five times. From 1.167 beds in the sixties to 26.000 beds in 1912. They engaged not only specialists for diseases of the mind but also specially trained Army surgeons and nurses. Although the Provinces spent as much as 7 1/2 million Rubles, only about one third of the patients could be accepted.
The principal merit of the Provinces consisted in the fact that they could assist the sick in the small villages. First they founded schools for Army surgeons in order to train suitable assistance, which were controlled by expert doctors whose number was in the first ten years. In the parishes, small nursing homes were built where the doctors were continuously in residence and in this way the whole population got gradually used to the doctors who were formerly feared so much. In the latter years there were 3,000 doctors in the service of the provincial offices of which 1.710 presided over the infirmaries in the country; they looked after more than 2.000 infirmaries with about 42.500 beds (without asylums). Each doctor had to look after about 15 to 20 thousand patients requiring attention, who paid hardly anything at all for the treatment they received, annually.
Gradually the plan was ripe to cover the whole of Russia with a net of medical establishments, calculated in such a way that no sick person would have to go farther than 10 km in order to obtain medical attention. According to this plan, the expenses for the sanitary health service rose by about one third. In the year 1868. the health service took the fifth place with an expenditure of 1.204.161,-- Rbl., and in the year 1912 it already took the second place with 57.704.800,-- Rbl.
c) Veterinary service: A further, very important, field of action of the Provincial offices was the care of the livestock of the peasants. They travelled here along the same way as in the sanitary health service, only so much later. The land was covered by a net of veterinary stations in which the veterinary surgeons examined the animals, gave the farmers their best advice or took the sick animals into their care. The year 1870 showed that only twenty-two veterinary surgeons were available compared with the year 1910, which had about 1.000. The same increase also took place in the number of Army veterinary surgeons, which was already 1.617 in 1907.
In the beginning, their activity was confined to the killing of sick animals and paying the farmers a compensation. This was specially the case during the years 1879 to 1895, when the animal pestilence demanded many victims. From the year 1870 to 1890 about four million beasts were lost, of which 206.000 had to be killed and for which the farmers received about eight million Rubles. After this the Provincial offices concentrated on the extermination of the foot and mouth disease, during which about 21.000 beasts and 11.000 sheep were lost. Although great care was taken and no expense was too much to help the farmers with their livestock, most of the Provincial offices did not make any charges for the treatment of the animals or the supply of medicaments. The Provincial offices also tried to interest the farmers in the insurance scheme against sickness but the results were unimportant. On the other hand, the loss of the Provinces was very large.
d) Furtherance of Agriculture commerce and home industry: After the liberation of the peasants. the well-being of the farmer or peasant did not increase but went back,, and the farming deteriorated from year to year. In the knowledge that the economic ruin of the farmers would also be the ruin of all the other classes and the whole country, the Provincial officials worked during the last years on a large plan of farming and economic measures for the support of the farmers. Very slow progress was made as, in dealing with such questions, the necessary experience was not available nor any instructions which could be aimed at. They had to make their own experiments, collect their own proofs and buy experience. Qualified students of economy were engaged who helped and assisted the farmers with advice, and the success of this support was very great. The beginning was made in the Provincial Domains of Perm and Wjatka. where the climate was rough and raw, and the arable land very heavy. The others followed their example, so that, later on. Similar farming help was organised in 310 districts. In the year 1910, already over l,500 farming institutes were busy in the Provincial districts.
First they paid their attention to the cultivation of the soil and to the primitive implements and tools which the peasants did not like to part with. They were shown ploughs and other farming machines, which were demonstrated to them and handed over to the farmers without any costs to them.
The machinery and tools were left to the farmers on the most favourable terms of hire-purchase, and, finally, sales offices were erected in the Provincial offices where the peasants could buy at any time at cheap prices and on credit terms, all the machinery and modern tools they required. In the year 1891, there were only thirty-seven of those offices, but in the year 1911 there were already 311, with a turn-over of about 15 million Rubles per annum. The offices also saw that the farmers obtained the very best seeds, and supplied these on credit.
Under the influence of the farming treaties, the three-fallow system was given up by the farmers and the more-field method introduced. In order to increase the cattle breeding and gain more food for the cattle, the farmers acquainted themselves with the grass-field rotation, totally unknown to them before, which increase not only the harvest but also the breeding of cattle and horses very considerably.
Apart from the agricultural work, the farmers occupied themselves also with the so-called home industry in many districts. Here also the help of the Provincial offices was of considerable value; not only did they erect model shops but also helped the farmers in the sale of their goods under most suitable and favourable terms, and in addition, the farmers were supplied with cheap raw materials. In the year 1910, the Provinces spent for this purpose 1.710.429 Rubles. At the beginning, the Provinces tried to create cheap credits for the farmers in order to protect themselves from exploitation. In the years of the 'seventies, 422 Discount Companies were established, which however were badly organised; the Provinces lost all their invested money and the whole problem of small credits paused for many years, until 1907 when they were authorised to open offices for small credits which however were no longer granted to individual persons but money was advanced to Credit Institutes and Co-operative Societies. Although this matter was only in its first stages the Provincial cash offices already had in the year 1912 a capital of' 38 million Rubles at their disposal. It is quite impossible to express in figures how much the Provinces had done in all the fields for the farmers.
e) Assistance during a bad harvest: Owing to the climatically conditions, somewhere in the very large areas of Russia bad harvests or failures occurred. During the time of the serfdom, the landowners were compelled to reserve for such eventualities, the necessary stocks of corn, and to look after the farmers. After the liberation of the farmers each district had to keep grain warehouses, from which the farmers could be supplied when necessary. The first large disaster however, showed that the Provinces could not meet the demands; the stock in the graineries was only small and, indeed, some of them were actually empty.
At the start, the Provinces had not the legal right to look after the starving people. In the disaster year of 1891. 150 million Rubles were sanctioned in order to buy stocks of grain but no ways nor means were available to take over the purchase and the proper distribution to the population. Therefore they had to turn to the Provinces,, and this was repeated on each large bad harvest. In the years 1891 to 1900, the State put at the disposal of the Provinces, for this purpose, the amount of 230 million Rubles. This large expenditure was used as an excuse by the opponents of the self-government to charge the Provincial offices with wasting public money, in order to press or introduce a new law so that the providing of corn for the starving people would again be transferred to the Government officials. The latter, however, were not in a position to deal with this matter, with the result that the Government officials, demanded energetically their share and assisted in the work of relief. This work was generally acknowledged, and the State Duma introduced a Bill which transferred the assistances to be given in the case of bad harvests finally to the Provinces.
f) Insurance organisation: One of the biggest fears in Russia was the frequent outbreak of big fires, which increased annually and rose during the last half-century seven-fold. Russia suffered damage of about 120 million Rubles per annum. Before the introduction of serfdom, the real estates of only the State farmers were insured and the State suffered through this insurance a loss of about a half million Rubles. The Provinces, therefore introduced the mutual obligatory fire insurance. From the payments, a capital sum was created in every government. which had to cover the damages done by fire. Gradually, all real estates were properly assessed by officials of the Provinces which had not been the case so far with the result that many farmers suffered injustice.
Up to the year 1903 already a capital sum of 85 million Rubles was accumulated which, however. was decreased very quickly during the next ten years owing to the many damaging fires. The Provinces also engaged land surveyors, who rebuilt the villages damaged by fire, so that the houses would not be erected too close to each other. Those farmers who desired to build detached houses received advances in money. Further, the Provinces tried to replace the usual thatched roofs with iron which the farmers could obtain on credit, and for which an amount of about three million Rubles was put aside during the latter time. Many experiments were made to give the farmers the possibility of building their houses with bricks and the roofs with gutters, but with little success. In addition., the villages organised their own voluntary fire brigades, which were supported by means for the purchase of fire engines.
Finally, wells were sunk and ponds provided and for all those purposes, the Provinces allowed a sum of 3 ½ to 4 million Rubles. Gradually the Provinces also introduced the voluntary fire insurance; they already had in 1890 insurances for about one million Rubles. The whole fire insurance scheme was exclusively in the hands of the Government Provincial offices, which administered the insurance capital entirely separate from the other moneys in their care.
g) The building of the roads: The building of the roads - and the upkeep of the old roads - was a further large field of occupation for the Provincial offices. The ways were up to now in the care of the police, who looked after them so carelessly that to cross over the bridges was mostly always prohibited owing to their dangerous state. The Government handed over the transport roads to the Provinces in the most shocking state. In the last thirty years, the Provinces spent annually about two to three million Rubles for the care of the roads, and then only the most necessary repairs could be undertaken. They tried above all things to free the farmers from the obligation to deliver raw material for the building of the roads and to replace this by money-taxes to be divided equally among all classes.
This principle was carried through in practically all districts. From this time onwards the Provincial offices executed all building work on roads through their technicians, or handed them over under the care of sub-contractors by contracts. In the seventies the Government handed over as a trial the State highroads to four Provinces for their upkeep. The Provinces kept them in much better condition than was the case previously, and in addition, made savings up to the year 1894 amounting to 2.200.000 Rubles, Thereupon., the Provinces were exempted from some of the obligatory money expenses by the State by means of a Law, on condition that these moneys must be used exclusively for the building of the roads. In that way the sum of about six millions became free, which gave the Provincials the possibility of extending or enlarging the system of building roads. The necessary technical experts were engaged and plans were worked out for a complete net of roads for the whole of the district. Whereas the expenses for the building of roads in the year 1895 were four million Rubles in the year 1912 already nine millions apart from the six millions which were free by the Law in 1895. could not be used for the building of the roads.
h) General care or precaution: During the year 1775, "colleges for the care" were created. one each for each Government. They received 15.000 Rubles each a sum which could be invested to bear interest, and the interest, together with other small taxes for charitable purposes could be used. These sources of income produced only small amounts whereas the demands made to the colleges were very large because schools, infirmaries, asylums. The orphans and old age pensions had to be looked after also. In addition, the officials entrusted with this care had already official duties which took their whole time, and they therefore considered this activity as of secondary-importance. When the Provinces took over this department, everything was in a chaotic condition.
The economic part was in a state beyond description, the buildings were derelict and the reputation of the institutes was a very bad one. First a large part of same was added to the Medicinal Department and increased and prospered as described above. The charity institutions were taken over as a whole and further extended; for instance separate establishments were founded for the feeble-minded for orphans, for foundlings, etc. In addition, the Provinces started boarding schools in the elementary schools, provided meals for the school children, the blind institutes and other institutions. During the years of the bad harvests, the poor populations were provided with meals and the sick were specially cared for.
4. Postal Affairs or Postal Service: Before we start on a description of the postal establishments, it is advisable to obtain first a picture of the development, how the mail coach in Russia started from the earliest beginnings and what the Provinces found available at the beginning of their activity.
A. The mail coach in its first stages until being taken over by the Provincial Offices: The first beginnings of the mail coach go back to the times of the Grand Dukes in Russian history. The very oldest document in which the mail coach was mentioned dates back to the year 1294, and contains a degree regarding the facilitation of the dispatch possibilities of the Crown messengers. At that time, only a few of the Russian Princes kept up connections between one another through the express couriers, or sent the necessary orders in the matter of administration to the Provinces.
The few existing connecting roads were enlarged during the time of the Tartaren regime. The Mongols tried always to create connecting organisations in the subjected districts in order to be able to send their tribute collectors and this was the limit of their cultural work. The word "Jam" originates, therefore. from the Tatapists, which is synonymous with the words "halting or stopping place", where the change of the horses, when necessary took place and where also the necessary people and night quarters could be found for the continuation of the journey. This word was taken up into the Russian vocabulary and formed the nucleus of the words Jamschtschik or coachman. Jamskaja Gonjba - mail coach. Jamskaja Doroga postal road and so on.
The expenses for the upkeep of this "Jamy" or post station had to be borne by-the surrounding population; against it, only those who could produce the required passenger permits of the rulers received the necessary horses for transport and also their keep. These burdened obligations on the population were found exceedingly oppressive; consequently they always tried to obtain such privileges which would free them of such burdens. Owing to the prevalence of complaints regarding the burdened obligations, they tried to introduce a relief by a tax which was equally distributed among the whole population. This tax was called "jamskija denjgi", or mail coach money, and produced annually at the beginning of the 17th century about 50.000 Rubles.
The necessary personnel for the mail coach such as the coachmen and horse grooms or ostlers were recruited from the freed people. These free recruited people, who were engaged for the duration of the mail coach., were settled all along the mail roads in distances of 30 to 100 Werst* mostly on the outsides of the towns in order to make use of the pastures for the feeding of their horses. These settlements or colonies against the towns or cities or, in larger distances also between them, obtained such alluring privileges that the influx of volunteers was not small. Such a settlement was called "Sloboda" and usually divided up in groups "Wyti", each one consisting of four to six families or farms. The following conditions for the admission to such a colony were laid down: First all inhabitants of such a settlement were responsible for one another, and, secondly, the applicant must have been in a position to supply on his own account three horses with equipment and the necessary wagons and sledges, or the necessary boats required for water ways*, Further duties were to upkeep of the roads and bridges, in return they received from the local population the money to buy bread, saddles, wagons and sledges, horses and boats from the Government - "White Russia" - which means free of any taxes, and a salary in corn or money to the value of Rb 7 to Rb. 301 - per year, also complete exemption from income tax. In addition. they were entitled to collect from any passers - through 3 Kopecks for each Werst.
In each of such coach settlements "Jamska ja Slobad" a senior or elder superintendent was chosen who was called Jamschtschitschij Starosta", who had the central authority over the management and all others were subjected to him. In this way, a closed inherited rank was created which was bound up with all its interests exclusively in the postal road. The direction of the whole mail coach lay in the hands of a central office in Moscow, called "Jamskoi Prikas", and which was mentioned for the first time in the year 1619. The first governor or leader was Prince Fimitry Michailowitsch Posharsky; his immediate subordinate officials were called "Jamski je Djaki" In the remaining larger places or cities, the mail coach was in the hands of officials called "Jamski je Prikastschiki", and for the most part they were nominated from the midst of the Bojaren. These authorities dealt with all matters relating to the mail coach., complaints were accepted. disputes were settled and the necessary passenger tickets were handed out to the officials and other travellers. The very earliest passenger receipt still in existence, dates back to the year 1470 and was made out for an express messenger of the Grand Duke. Not only (were) the Russian Grand Dukes, but also the later Czars, were interested in the further extension and maintenance of the existing mail coach establishments. The Iwan III (1462 - 1505) recommended in his testament the carp for the proper maintenance of the coach post to his successors (1504). In the 16th century, the usurper Boris Godunow (1598 - 1605) earned great merits for the establishment of a mail coach service with the necessary postal stations to Siberia.
At the end of the 16th century, the mail coach represented a complete Government establishment for the transport of messengers officials and other persons. The mail coach was exclusively used by the Government, who sent their officials with orders and commissions around, whereas the demand for correspondence on the part of the population in those times did not actually exist as up to that time Russia was very backward, not only in economical but also in spiritual relations. There was no regularity in the mail coach service, and it was only used for the transport of messengers, etc., if and when any demand for it occurred.
Up to the middle of the 17th century, letters from private persons were not accepted by the coach post at all.
Only as the number of foreigners living in Russia increased and the necessity of connections with their native country arose, they stimulated the setting up of a postal connection on behalf of the Government. Up till then, the only connections available were between Moscow, the Capital, and the Northern commercial centre at Archangelsk, with the cities of Smolensk in the West, Nishny Nowgorod in the East and a few other cities in Seewersk and the Ukraine. There was also a connection with the West via Gross-Nowgorod and Pleskau, a road which the foreign ambassadors or legations had to use.
The first intercourse by letter with foreign countries, specially with Poland and Kurland, was started in the year 1665, and the foreigner Johann von Sweden was commissioned with its establishment. Owing to the political relations between Russia and Poland, a postal convention was concluded with this State, where, amongst other words, it is stated "In both countries, such letters and parcels which are not sent by the State but by merchants or trades people, are subject to a tax such as is usual in all other states, whereby it has to be taken into consideration that commercial letters must be sent throughout by post and must be registered by the postmasters".
Under the Government of the Czar Ueksei Michailowitsch, regular postal services already existed between Moscow via Nowgorod Pleskau and Riga, and other cities, which were handed over to the foreigner Marselis, who was looked upon as a proposal to the very first Postmaster in Russia. The latter made the proposal to the Russian Government to try and find in other foreign cities, such as Riga, Wilna, Danzig and Hamburg among others, suitable people who could be paid to furnish the year 1693 Russian Government with news and reports of any kind. Such information had to be sent regularly once a week by post to Moscow. This foreign postal service was very soon afterwards used also inland. Apart from this letter postal communication with the West, there was already in the year 1693 a regular letter post communication between Moscow and Archangelsk.
In the year 1672, for the very first time reports were dispatched by post to the Czar, as up to then only express messengers were used for this purpose. The Andreas Winius thereupon received as the very first man, the official title of "Postmaster to H. M. the Czar". He had the unlimited and absolute use of all the postal receipts from the postal organisations which he started, and also the sole right to conclude postal conventions, according to his own judgement., with the neighbouring States, such as the private treaty with the General Postmaster Bising dated the 24th August 1685.
It can be seen from the above that foreigners in Russia were exclusively looking after the postal administration in Russia, and had the benefit or use of all incomes and all advantages of this new organisation. The State behaved simply like a private person; he was interested in the existence and the prosperity of this undertaking, such as later on the relation between the Government and the organisation of the Provincial posts.
The leading people, who were the heads of the postal organisations, were mostly Germans, and their influence could be traced everywhere in the development of the postal service. All documents., invoices, etc.., were made out in the German' language. This new situation was strange to the relations of the officials and created, naturally, a certain mistrust, forming thereby in authoritative circles a strong opposition which believed that their entrusted interests in the hands of foreigners might be betrayed, and they suspected spying everywhere. It was fortunate for the Russian State that, under such conditions at that time men like Ordyn-Naschtschokin stood at the head and were in favour of a connection with foreign countries and recommended joining up with them, although they had to fight continuously against such opposition.
Therefore, the question of the importance of secrecy regarding the contents of letters was raised at the very beginning of the existence of the letter mail, and was decided according to the spirit prevailing in the centres of the Government. The general development of the postal service made the same progress in Russia as in the other States of Europe. However, only Peter the Great understood clearly how important it would be for the State to have the postal service under its own administration, and commenced from then on with the establishment of Government Postal Institutes or Offices. The first Post Offices were started principally in the large cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow; others followed successively in the towns of Riga, Wiborg, Reval, Narva, Archangelsk and Wologda. Every Post Office had its own postmaster with the necessary mail coachmen and all were under the control of the General Post Director in the Capital. In the same way also, the existing mail posts were under his command. This alteration was the transition from the old mail post to the post offices in the modern sense; they were first used on the new post connections between Moscow and Woronesh on the one hand, and Asow on the other hand. Both postal roads were planned in the military interests whereas another new road, also built for the postal connection to Siberia., was principally used as a trade route. Soon after the foundation of the new capital, St. Petersburg, it was connected with the old Nowgorod, which place was already reached by the mail coach from Moscow. For military and administration purposes, Peter the Great started a Parallelpost at the side of the old mail coach. The first had to do at least 10 to 15 Werst per hour (whereby each delay was punished by death); the horses had to be changed at each postal station., whereas the old mail coach used to change the horses on every third or fourth station. This meant that the payment for the former was quite as much.
To be continued.
Last updated on 10.05.07
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