Лекция: THEY WORKED FOR THE CUSTOMS
Customs businesshas always been considered important and prestigious.
A number of well-known people in Russia worked for the customs and contributed to its development.
Russian tsar Alexei Mikhailovitch was the head of Russian state for more than 30 years (1645-1676). It was the time when the main state institutions were formed. He did a lot to developcustoms laws. He initiated customs reformsby issuing the Decree on“On levying customs duties on goodsin Moscow and other cities”.
On April 22 1667 he signed the New Trade Statute. It was based on the previous legislationand suggestions made by Russian merchants. It was the first attempt to arrange customs regimes.
The well-known Russian poet G.Derzhavin in 1794-1803 combined his literary activities with his work as President of Commerce Board which was engaged in foreign tradeand customs business.
It was the time when Russia changed its free tradepolicy into protectionist one.
G.Derzhavin was the one to work out the customs tariff of 1795 which was to come into force in 1797 but Paul I abolished it and it came into effect in 1800.
Russian writer Radischev also worked for Commerce Board and was later appointed Head of St. Petersburg customs house.
Dmitry Mendeleev (1834-1907) was a great Russian chemist, a talented scientist and a public figure. In 1891-1903 he was Head of the Commission in charge of customs tariffs. He was sure that protectionist tariffwould serve the development of the country as it not only regulated exportand importbut also stimulated industrial production. He was one to discover the laws ruling customs business.
British customs service can also boast of some people who worked for the customs.
Poet Pobert Burns (1759-1796) was an excise officer at Dumfries from 1789 until 1796. Excise officers visited local traders, calculated the amount of money due and issued vouchers stating the amount payable. It was hard work with daily rounds on foot or horseback. They worked full day or in shifts. Because of the high level of duty on spirits, control of whisky and gin production was very important.
The excise Collector made his rounds eight times a year collecting duty over a wide area. He usually set up office at an inn where tradesmen paid the duty. It was a dangerous job: collectors were often attacked and robbed.
Another literary figure Matthew Green was also both a poet and a customs officer. He never neglected his work and had a reputation as a hard-working customs officer.