Jewish Lessees of Monopoly Rights
It was leases (arendas) on various incomes from monopoly rights that kept estate revenues rising. Alcohol sales were a particularly important way of selling grain on the home market. Prices rose, boosting profits, and leading Radziwiłł to expand the number of leases by investing in tavern building. He also instituted “general arendas” that included all the incomes on a single estate, allowing the wealthy Jewish leaseholders that took them to work alongside his administration as unofficial managers of monopoly incomes. Radziwiłł also used these leaseholders as personal bankers, disbursing money through payment orders drawn on them. The leaseholders gave the separate parts of their leases to less wealthy Jews, who ran individual taverns. To keep revenues up, the administration supported its leaseholders against non-Jewish clients who avoided paying their dues. The Jewish leaseholders thus formed a powerful group in estate society, clearly identified with the Radziwiłł administration.
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