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Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth-Century LithuaniaThe Jews on the Radziwiłł Estates$
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Adam Teller

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804798440

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804798440.001.0001

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Jews as Estate Leaseholders

Jews as Estate Leaseholders

The Rise and Fall of the Ickowicz Brothers

(p.72) (p.73) Four Jews as Estate Leaseholders
Money, Power, and Influence in Eighteenth-Century Lithuania

Adam Teller

Stanford University Press

The career of the brothers, Szmojło and Gdal Ickowicz, who leased the Radziwiłł holdings from 1740 to 1745, exemplifies the possibilities and risks of estate leasing for Jews. Their success was based on their entrepreneurial skills in using leases to improve their trading activity, and mercantile profits to expand their leaseholds. Their willingness to change the economic status quo by unilaterally increasing customary dues allowed them to improve estate profitability, boosting Hieronim Florian Radziwiłł’s revenues. They thus won his confidence, with Szmojło becoming his personal agent. Their highhandedness made the brothers extremely unpopular. A peasant uprising ensued, during which Radziwiłł supported them. For as long as they could provide him with increased revenues, they flourished. Once they could not, they were at his mercy. When he needed income that Szmojło could not find, Radziwiłł arrested him, confiscated his fortune, and left him to die in prison.

Keywords:   Ickowicz brothers, Szmojło Ickowicz, Hieronim Florian Radziwiłł, Anna Radziwiłł, Krzyczew, peasant uprisings, international trade

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