BURGHERS' DUTIES IN ROYAL AND PRIVATE TOWNS: THE EXAMPLE OF TYKOCIN IN THE 16TH-18TH CENTURIES (Powinnosci mieszczan w miescie królewskim a w miescie prywatnym: przyklad Tykocina w XVI-XVIII wieku)
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Two communities: Christian and Jewish, lived in Tykocin in the 16th-18th centuries. Each of them enjoyed separate rights and privileges granted by subsequent owners of the town. It may be ascertained that the burghers' rights and duties were observed until the middle of the 17th century. Only one king - Sigismund August, attempted to increase some of their burdens, which was connected with rebuilding the Tykocin fortress. In 1661 Tykocin starostwo became Stefan Czarniecki's property by virtue of the Sejm's resolution. He assigned its ownership to his daughter Katarzyna and her husband Jan Klemens Branicki. The Branicki family owned Tykocin starostwo until 1808. They controlled all aspects of urban life restricting its inhabitants' autonomy. The Branicki family deprived the town's self-government and kahal - the Jewish self-government, of their importance. They imposed new obligations on Tykocin burghers or increased already existing ones. Some burdens made burghers similar to feudal surfs, e.g. a duty of serfdom on landlord's farms. The Branicki family strictly controlled the burgher and Jewish business activity. They deprived them of the right of propination and introduced obligatory propination. They also launched many monopolies which hampered town's economic growth. Some craftsmen, e.g. millers and fishermen, were obliged to work for the court and pay levies in kind. In the 18th century there appeared an apparent tendency to exchange some forms of labor or levies in kind into pecuniary rent. The burghers and Jews tried to avoid burdens imposed by the court. Since 1791 the townsmen tried to assert their rights in judicial courts. Due to political events trials were frequently interrupted and moved to courts of different instances. The burghers' burdens owed to town's owners did not differ from those in other private towns. In accordance with their economic interest, the Branicki family imposed new obligations upon the city dwellers, liquidated some of them, and increased fees and charges or the duties' level.
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