Νέοι φορολογικοί φορείς για τον έλεγχο των περιφερειακών δαπανών στα τέλη του 18ου αιώνα στο Σιδηρόκαστρο

Νέοι φορολογικοί φορείς για τον έλεγχο των περιφερειακών δαπανών στα τέλη του 18ου αιώνα στο Σιδηρόκαστρο


SEVINÇ KÜÇÜKOĞLU
Rejecting Nâzır Appointments: The Districts of Kesriye and Siroz
A case from the district of Kesriye (Kastoria) offers a fine example of a local
rejection of a nâzır. Almost six years after Selim’s decree, the people of Kesriye
learned that a nâzır was about to be appointed to their district. They sent a petition to Istanbul saying that they did not need the supervision of a nâzır as their
notable had the fiscal and administrative issues of the district well in hand, and
they therefore asked the center to stop this appointment. They also said that they
would have difficulty paying a nâzır’s salary. Interestingly, the Rumelia Defâtir
Nâzırı indicated later in his report that no such appointment had been decided or
even discussed. In a way, the people of Kesriye revealed themselves by this letter
and showed that they might require closer monitoring on-site. The Kesriye notable
most likely provoked the people to preemptively reject a nâzır because he feared
that an official checking all the financial records of the district would threaten
his own interests. The Defâtir Nâzırı grew suspicious that the notable might have
forced people to write the petition. His immediate reaction was to send a mübâşir
to gather and inspect all of the districts registers since 1792, thus indicating that
the district had never sent the center any of its registers. The latest registers were
ordered to be dispatched to Istanbul. The final decision about whether to assign a
nâzır would have been made after the center’s examination and was not specified
in the document, but it seems likely that a nâzır would have been sent to the
district.64 The petition that a local notable likely had the people of Kesriye send to
the center to serve his own interests thus might ironically have ended up serving
theirs, saving them from future exploitation.

Documents indicate that even when the people of a district formally complained about abuse and excessive amounts in registers, it was still quite possible
for them not to want a nâzır. One method used to overcome such reluctance was
to assign a single nâzır to multiple districts, thereby lessening the burden imposed
on any one. For instance, the nâzır of Siroz (Serres), Osman Efendi, was ordered
to oversee the registers of three additional nearby districts in 1797. The Rumelia
Defâtir Nâzırı reported that four years after the 1792 decree, three districts (Zihne,
Temurhisar, and Petriç) in the sub-province (sancak) of Siroz had not yet sent any
registers to the center. The people of those districts had sent petitions about being
forced to pay for inflated public expenses. In response, he decided to appoint a
nâzır to each district, yet the people were not willing to accept one because of the
burden paying his salary would have imposed on them. They asked either to have
the appointment rescinded or else to be assigned an already-appointed nâzır, so
that the cost of paying his salary could be shared with other districts.65
While the Defâtir Nâzırı declined to rescind the appointment to the mentioned
three districts, based on their prior complaints and unsent registers, he believed
these districts definitely required local monitoring, so he accepted their second
proposal and recommended that the nâzır of Siroz, Osman, deal with the registers
of the three districts. The grand vizier approved the appointment, and Osman
was placed in charge of all three, in addition to continuing to work as the nâzır
of the district to which he had originally been assigned. However, because of the
rule requiring a nâzır to reside in the district to which he had been posted, Osman
had to remain at his original post in Siroz and therefore delegated three of his
men to visit the other districts and report back to him periodically. The multiple
posting of nâzırs in this case accorded well with the districts’ reluctance to pay
the salary of a nâzır, and it also worked well for Osman, whose salary increased to
1,300 guruş, apparently higher than usual. We do not know rest of this story. Who
were the three men he delegated? Did they succeed in decreasing the expenses of
the districts to which they were sent? Did such instances of delegating a nâzır’s
responsibilities to others create any new problems?

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