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Administrative hierarchy

As already stated, the owner of chamber-goods was the ruler of Kingdom of Bohemia, i. e. in the early modern period representative of the Austrian branch of the Habsburg family. Ferdinand I, brother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, ruler of the Habsburgs’ Austrian hereditary lands and (from 1526) king of Bohemia and Hungary, established new bureaucratic apparatus to centralise and rationalise the administration of these territories and its finances. Also, as previously mentioned, regarding Bohemian chamber-goods, on the top of the hierarchical pyramid stood Court Chamber

(Hofkammer, Dvorskd komora) supreme financial authority of the monarchy (Volf 1980, pp. 62-109) and then Bohemian (Royal) Chamber (Bohmiscbe Kammer, Ceskd komora), the superior authority and administrator of the estate (Pesak 1929, pp. 58-68), (Pesak 1930), (Pesak 1933, pp. 66-178,195-216,279-96). Last but not least, both chambers had departments that took care of accounting books (Buchhalterie, hlavnt uctarna} and those which collected money from particular estates - Rentamt, in Bohemia called urad mistra komory, later rentmistrovsky urad (Kubatova 1975). Both offices also regularly sent visitation commissions (vizitacnikomiseyXhe designated commissioners were given instruction (or instructions) indicating not only which estates they should visit but also which fields and topics they should investigate. Instruction and relations of visitation commissioners from the second half of the 16th century, 17th and 18th century can be found in (NA, SM, karton 1707) or (NA, SM, karton 2260-2265).

Beside these central authorities, each chamber estate also had its officers who should administrate and take care of the area. That meant constantly try to improve economic conditions of the estate, propose ideas that could help to increase income, record all income and expenses, and also guaranteed judicial and executive acts (edited instructions for officers Kalousek 1905, pp. 366-481; original texts for Pardubice in SOA Pardubice, Vs Pardubice, kniha 169-173 or NA, CDKM IV-17/4-18/1, 18/1-2, 1-3, karton 37 and 39, for Kohn, Podebrady NA, CDKM IV-K, CDKM IV-P, karton 107 and 180). Members of apparatus were also entrusted to collect taxes as well as help with recruitment and other claims of state, etc. Hejtman stood at the head of the majority of all estates and represented the main authority on the estate. Sometimes he had ‘a deputy’ (mistohejtman) who helped him with some tasks, especially those that required travelling and therefore longer absence from residence of the estate. This person took on some responsibilities relating to financial agenda as well. It applies partly in regard to burgrave (purkrabi), a person who was entrusted to care about the main residence of the estate as well as manor farms belonging to the ruler. Estates in question also had their tradition in forestry and therefore each of them had its forest management for which the representative was called forstmistr (lesmistr). Likewise, fish pond farming was a very important part of the estate's economy so it was provided with its own administrative ‘unit’ with an appointed fishmistr (fismistr) at the head (‘personal’ information and lists of officers for Kolin NA, NM, karton 367, for Pardubice NA, NM, karton 592-603, 624 and for Podebrady NA, NM, karton 646-649).

Very important and also quite numerous parts of the administrative machinery were represented by local offices of scribes. They were responsible for bookkeeping as well as for dealing with correspondence of the office (or - if they were asked and usually against payment - of inhabitants of the estates), for recording all income and expenses in the ‘section’ they were entrusted to supervise. They also had to regularly (instruction demanded once a week) make total sums of income and expenses, submit it for control, and defend the treasuries against trespassers during the entire period of time. The main accountant and bookkeeper of the estate (duchodni pisaf) had to send biannual accounts to Bohemian Chamber and handed revenues from the estate (references about different instructions for scribes in NA, SM, karton 1647, b.f). It means he was also responsible for controlling other scribes, their accounts and cash in their treasuries. Second ‘persona’ responsible for very important ‘resort’ was the scribe that took care of the property of the estates’ orphans (sirotci pisaf). There were also scribes who took care of the finances and accounts of landlord breweries (utratni pisaf), those who recorded cereal crops (obrocni/obilnipisaf), transfers and sales of real estates or composed wedding contracts, testaments, and inventories of the property that belonged to the lately departed inhabitants (pisaf pojezdny), etc. (Ruzkova 2013, pp. 86-113) In the context of this chapter, it is important to emphasize that most of them (and especially the ‘main’ scribes and those who dealt with orphaned properties) were instantly in contact with money (or other resources of ‘wealth’ from the estate), thus they were also first ‘suspects’ if some discrepancies in the accounts were found.

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