The Steward

In the old tradesmen comrnunity steward was sort of an agent between first the Braveıy and Craftsmanship Cornn1unity, later on the Trade Guilds and the Government. Steward of Tradesmen was the official representative of the government in the communty -guild. They were assigned and dismissed by the government. They would get their salary daily from the community fund and later on from the the guild fund. Their salary used to change depending on the wealth of the communityguild. The responsibility and the work of this intendancy were pretty heavy. The tradesmen would select from themselves a steward and present it to the Court of İstanbul. The Court would investigate and if it found the candidate eligible, the person would be assigned to the job by the government. But sametimes the government would find a person, who was not from the community, eligible for the position and assign him to the job. As an example, in 17th century, musician Mustafa Itri Çelebi was assigned as Esirciler Steward by the same way. The tradesmen would be informed of the admonitions, the helps needed from them and the officially fixed prices via stewards. The requests and complaints of the tradesmen were also presented to the government via stewards.The primary duty of a steward of tradesmen was to provide order and make sure that the tradesmen group that he is responsible from is obeying the officially fixed price regulations along with announcing the appropriate complaints to the government and ensuring recognition of these matters. In this regard, a steward was supposed to be a reputable and honorable person in the eyes of tradesmen and the government.

A steward who could not comprehend the dignity of his job could have easily taken big advantages by overlooking the tricks and thieveıy of some improper tradesmen although it was extremely dangerous for himself. There have been seen some stewards who oppressed his tradesmen and took some advantages by using the exeuse of inspection or control and sowing discord among the tradesmen. The record below which belongs to the Court of İstan­ bul is an example of the assignation of a foreman: “Tinsmiths’ steward master Muşlu Bin Şaban, tinsmiths’ Yiğitbaşı Ali Bin Mustafa, the seniors of the tinsmith community came to the Court. They presented that Steward Muşlu Bin Şaban had withdrawn from his position with his own will and announced that Kenan Bin Abdullah, who is one of them, deserved to become the new steward. He was found eligible and assigned after he accepted the position.” (H. 1074, M. 1664)

The edict in order to change a steward : “It is the verdict of the Court of İstanbul that: Button maker, silk-cotton braided robe maker and silk thread maker artisans made a petition regarding the issue of the assignation of their steward. Even toııgh it is not customaıy for one artisan group to pick a steward for another; a person from Kolancılar group assigned a steward for them. They are right. The steward shall be replaced t9′ by another who is one of Button makers, silk-cotton braided robe makers and silk thread makers group.” (H. 1109, M. 1698). The tradesmen stewardship was abrogated by law on April 24th, 1328 (May 7th, 1912); however, Committee of Union and Progress had assigned stewards called “Katib-i Mes’ul” for eachartisan organizations in order to take advantage of the wealth and number of the artisans for their political battle during the parliament elections. The tradesman stewardship was abrogated for certain in tl1e Republic period. However, currently the ones who manage the guard duties in boat whaıfs, car and cap stations and some active workplaces for poıters carıy tl1e titles of “Steward of tl1e Boatmen”, “Steward of Caps” and “Steward of Poners”.

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