Dochody z młynów w gospodarce komunalnej Gdańska i Elbląga od drugiej połowy XV do XVIII w.
REVENUES FROM MILLS IN THE COMMUNAL ECONOMY OF GDAŃSK AND ELBLĄG FROM THE SECOND HALF OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY TO THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
Materiały z konferencji naukowej „Budżety i księgowość miejska w Polsce na tle Europy Środkowej od późnego średniowiecza do schyłku okresu nowożytnego (XIV – początek XIX w.)”
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Reflections concerning the structure of revenues in the great towns of Royal Prussia from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century should take into account also the economic significance of the municipal mills. In this case, the breakthrough moment was the end of the rule of the Teutonic Order. At the time, Elbląg and Gdańsk received from King Kazimierz the Jagiellon numerous privileges, including land estates and control over all the mills located in the towns and on the land belonging to them, in return for financial and military support during the Thirteen Years’ War. The foundation of the profits obtained from the mills was the milling obligation and the right enjoyed by the owner to gain a compulsory tribute (Metze) amounting to 1/16 of a korzec (Scheffel). Moreover, additional payments were received in the case of milling with the assistance of apprentices working in a given mill. In such instances grinding two korzec of grain and rough-grinding six korzec of malt costs 1 fenig. During the later period the payment changed. Initially, bookkeeping was modelled on the experiences of the Teutonic Knights who administered the mills in Gdańsk and Elbląg to 1454. Departure from simple entry bookkeeping for the sake of double entry (Italian) bookkeeping probably took place already in the sixteenth centaury. In Elbląg, the mills were managed by a special mill office (Mühlamt) established for this purpose, while in Gdańsk this office was entrusted to a mill master (Mühlenmeister). Alongside independent administration the municipal authorities often decided to lease the mills, especially industrial mills and sawmills. In the case of Gdańsk a special role was played by the Great Mill, which held an important position in the ordinary profits (an average of about 20%). Just as in Elbląg, revenues from the town mills comprised a prominent element of the budget and during the best years totalled more than 10%. Signifi cantly, these enterprises were always profitable and generated revenues regularly transferred to the inner Kämmerei in Elbląg and the Kämmerei in Gdańsk. In this manner, the towns were not only ensured control over an important element of urban social and economic policy, namely, grain milling, but also achieved significant incomes. A particularly relevant feature was the fact that this procedure was accompanied by a high profit index of the whole undertaking, since expenses connected with the maintenance of the mills guaranteed considerable gains.
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