Danzig -- Political Structure

The city was governed by the council of mayors, the Schöppen, and the so-called "Third Order". In practice no Catholics were elected to these positions.

The Council of Mayors (the "First Order") comprised 12 Councillors (Ratsherrn) and 4 Mayors (Bürgermeister), elected from the Schöppen. The senior mayor was replaced yearly by election of a new mayor from the council. In the 17th century the mayors earned 2000 Gulden yearly, the councillors 1200. [Rathaus]

The Schöppen (the "Second Order") were elected by the council of mayors from the citizenry. The twelve Schöppen were charged with the administration of civil and criminal judicial matters. Only civil matters could be appealed to the Council, but it was traditional that orders of execution be presented to the local representative of the Polish crown, the Burggraf (selected by the King from nominations by the Council). The Burggraf could moderate the sentence (means of death), but not overturn it. The Schöppen met in a building next to the Artushof, just a few steps from the Rathaus.

The "Third Order" [Hundertmänner] comprised 100 members from the general citizenry, including craftsmen. The four Quarters of the city were represented by 25 men each. Prior to 1678 (and an action in which Johann Georg Kulmus's first father-in-law, Valentin Ernst Tessin, figured) these were nominated by the Council and elected by the citizens, thereafter the Hundertmänner obtained the right to nominate 2 candidates for every vacant position. The Council selected from these. In that year they also acquired the right to vote in elections of Lutheran pastors and the percentage of craftsmen was increased.

Municipal law in the 17th century provided two levels of civil rights: the Great (Grosses) for the merchants, and the Small (Kleines) for the tradespeople (Gewerbe). Only members of the Catholic, Lutheran or Calvinist churches were permitted to become citizens. Also influential in town governance was the Geistliches Ministerium (Spiritual Ministry, established 1566), college of pastors of all the Lutheran churches of the city.

[Maria Bogucka. Das alte Danzig. Alltagsleben vom 15. bis 17. Jahrhundert. Leipzig: Koehler & Amelang, 1980.]