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A Homage to Menasseh ben Israel

Rev. Dr. Adler

<plain_text><page sequence="1">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. addeess delivered on " ee-settlement " day, sunday, feb. 4th, lB9if By THE REV. DR. ADLER, CHIEF RABBI. Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,?When I had the privilege, some years ago, of entertaining the late Professor Graetz in my house, I held many a conversation with him touching the characters of some of the personages,?men of action and scholars??whose portraits he has limned with such consummate mastery in his great " History of the Jews/' And he was wont to observe with respect to them, Ich kenne diese Herren im Schlafrock, "I know these gentle? men in their morning gown"; meaning thereby that, by dint of care? fully studying their writings and probing the hidden springs of their action, he had grown familiar with them, as though they were living acquaintances, whom he had known personally, and with whom he had held sweet converse. I have endeavoured, as far as the stress of public duties permitted me, to study the various writings and to enter into the iuner life of Menasseh ben Israel, so that I might be enabled to know that reverend gentleman in his morning gown, though it may be reasonably questioned whether this dignified Chacham ever allowed himself to be seen in undress. I deem it right and fitting that on this evening, on which we celebrate the Resettlement of the Jews in England, we should pay our homage to Menasseh ben Israel, who laboured so earnestly and so unselfishly to this end. Can it be denied that we have shown a most blameworthy ingratitude to the memory of the Portuguese divine ? In 1870, lecturing on the Jews in England before our working men, I asked, Why is there not a single institution in our midst bearing his name ? Why have we no edition of his works, no biography of this great and good man, who, though but a humble preacher, neither richly</page><page sequence="2">26 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. endowed with worldly goods, nor possessed of much influence, laboured so energetically and disinterestedly for the good of his brethren ? One at least of these reproaches has been rolled from us. We now possess a scholarly biography, albeit not an original work, but a translation of the life written by Dr. Kayserling, which was Englished by the Rev. Dr. de Sola Mendes, of New York, and incorporated into the second series of the " Miscellany of Hebrew Literature," edited by our esteemed friend, the Rev. Dr. L?wy. Dr. Friedl?nder has furnished a learned article for the " National Dictionary of Biography," but this monumental work can only be consulted in great public libraries. Lastly, Lady Magnus has included this " patriot and printer " in her Jewish Portraits, which are depicted with that charm and vividness characterising everything that falls from the pen of that gifted lady. But it is a sketch, not a biography. And those who have even but hastily skimmed the subject are well aware of the immense accession of material that has been opened up since the time that Dr. Kayserling published, thirty-three years ago, Menasse ben Israel, sein Leben und Wirken. And as regards the productions of Menasseh's pen. Would it be credited that there has been no reprint of the famous addresses and treatises which he published when labouring for the readmission of his brethren into this country ? Hence it was that the late Rev. A. L. Green, who took such delight in collecting all tracts and books relating to Anglo-Jewish history, was compelled to make an autograph transcript either of the reprint in Tovey's Anglia-Judaica, or of the original in the British Museum. Since then the Rev. A. F. Ornstien has published the Address and Declaration at Melbourne. They like? wise appear in the u Miscellany of Hebrew Literature." Yet, of the Vindicice Judceorum there exist only the editio princeps, and a reprint which, I presume, is hardly known, in the first volume of the transla? tion of Mendelssohn's "Jerusalem," by M. Samuels, published in 1838. And there is another reason why I have selected him as the theme of my address. The establishment of this Society demonstrates our anxiety to scan the records of our past in this country. Much has been done to banish our ignorance touching the pre-expulsion era. Our President has been indefatigable in searching out the history of our re? settlement. In marshalling forth the various new facts which he has</page><page sequence="3">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN" ISRAEL. 27 gleaned by dint of painstaking research, it seems to me that he has been led to pass somewhat harsh criticisms on the acts of Menasseh. In his paper on the Resettlement of the Jews in England, read before the Jews' College Literary Society, November 27th, 1887, he charac? terises the Chacham as impracticable and misguided, as actuated by obstinacy and pique, and as involved in a serious quarrel with the handful of Jews then resident here. Now, sir, I am aware that I owe implicit obedience to your ruling as Chairman of this Meeting, but I must reserve to myself the freedom of criticising, and differing from Mr. Lucien Wolf, the lecturer and historian. Does the career of Menasseh down to his appearance in England justify us in anticipating that he w ould assume such a tactless attitude ? Let us cast a brief glance at his career prior to his work in England. His father was one of the Marranos, or secret Jews, residing in Portugal, who had been tortured by the Inquisition, that cruel mother who devoured her children, and deprived of his property by King Philip III. He, therefore, seized the first available opportunity to escape a country in which he had been subjected to such cruel treat? ment. He came to Amsterdam, broken down by suffering and poverty, accompanied by his wife and his infant son Menasseh, who had been born at Lisbon a few years previously, in 1604. The Spanish and Portuguese refugees had founded two synagogues in the capital of the Netherlands. He was educated by Rabbi Isaac Usiel, the Ecclesias? tical Chief of the Synagogue Neve Shalom, that had been recently established. Under his guidance young Menasseh made such rapid progress, that he was enabled to preach his first sermon at the age of fifteen. When his master died, in 1622, he was appointed his suc? cessor, though he was then barely eighteen years old. He was a born orator. His eloquence is characterised as fascinating. Daniel Barrios describes him as el gran rio de eloque?icia, " a grand stream of elo? quence."1 He preached over 450 sermons, principally in Portuguese, of which only two have appeared in print, viz., his Panegyric addressed to the Queen of Sweden, Oration Panegyrica a Sa Magdd. la Reyna de 1 " Literatur der Spanisch-Portugiesischen Kanzelredner," von Dr. Kayserling'. " Homiletische und literarische Beilage zur Bibliothek j?discher Kanzelredner," Jahrgang II., p. 20.</page><page sequence="4">28 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. Suedia, and his Congratulation addressed to the Prince of Orange on the occasion of his visit to the Amsterdam Synagogue, in company with Queen Henrietta Maria of England.1 The most intellectual and cultured men of Amsterdam?Jews and Gentiles?streamed to the Neve Shalom Synagogue to listen to the words of wisdom coming from the golden-mouthed youthful orator. He shone with equal brilliancy as an author, and, by means of his various writings, achieved high fame for himself among European scholars. The learned Chacham understood and spoke ten languages, and com? posed works written in several tongues, in Hebrew, Spanish, Portu? guese, Latin, and English. In addition to Theology and Classics, he diligently studied Medicine. He not only wrote works, but alse printed them himself. He established the first Hebrew printing press in Am? sterdam, so famous for its typography. The first book that issued from his press was an edition of the Sephardic Prayer Book. I have here his editions of the Hebrew Pentateuch and his Castilian translation, and I would ask you to judge whether the typography may not be regarded as almost equal to that of an Aldiue or Plantin edition. As an author he is especially to be noted for the rich variety of subjects of which he treated, and the elegant style in which his writiogs are couched. Among his earliest works were Pne Rabba, an index to the Midrash, and an Explanation of difficult words in the Mishna. Amsterdam was at that time the centre of European scholar? ship. It was a period of renascence not merely of classical, but also of Hebrew learning. With the study of the ancient tongue there were combined investigations into theological and metaphysical problems of the most recondite character. In order to arrive at a solution of these questions, it was in all cases deemed a sine qua non to go back to the fountain head of all knowledge?the Bible. It was a fortunate cir? cumstance for the Jewdom of those days that a representative Hebrew lived in Amsterdam who, in addition to the thorough knowledge he possessed of Biblical and theological lore, was also versed in classical learning, and who wrote fluently the language then current among scholars, so that he was able to answer satisfactorily the various ques? tions addressed to him. Thus we find him composing in 1635 a treatise 1 " Die Entstehungs geschiente der Portugiesischen G-emeinde in Amsterdam und Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel," von Dr. Samuel Back, p. 11.</page><page sequence="5">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 29 in Latin on the Creation. A few years later, he wrote De Termino Vitce, translated into English by Thomas Pocock, under the title, " The Term of Life : Whether it be fixed or alterable, with the sense of the Jewish doctors, both ancient and modern, touching predestination and the freedom of the will." In 1642 he wrote a treatise in Spanish on human frailty and the inclination to sin. Later on he composed a work in three books on the Resurrection, which is interesting on account of the ingenious way in which he places his motto, " Truth shall spring out of the earth" (Psalm lxxxv. 2), so that it may be read either vertically or horizontally. no The most important book which he published at this period of his life is his " Conciliador," composed both in Spanish and Latin, in which he treats of apparent discrepancies and contradictions in the Bible, and seeks to reconcile them by reference to the opinions of the prin? cipal commentators. This work has been translated into English by the late Mr. E. H. Lindo. The book was highly praised both by Jewish and non-Jewish scholars. It gained for him friends and admirers among some of the most eminent men of his time?Yossius; Hugo Grotius, the eminent jurist; Barlaeus, the "Virgil of the age"; the eminent physician Zacuto Lusitano, and many others. But the most interesting of his acquaintances was undoubtedly the great Dutch painter, Rembrandt?a relation which has been strangely slurred over in Menasseh's biographies. Rembrandt, des? cribed as the greatest of all painters, in an article which appears in this month's Fortnightly Review, and certainly one of the six greatest artists whom the world has produced, was almost of the same age as the Rabbi. It is a well ascertained fact that Rembrandt took up his domicile in the Breestraat, close to the district inhabited by Jews, so</page><page sequence="6">30 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. that he might have full opportunity of studying the picturesque fea? tures and costume of an Oriental type that there abounded. Every student of the works of the great Dutch painter knows well the match? less skill with which these Hebrew types were made to live again by the master's magic touch. Rembrandt, as his biographer1 testifies, must have taken great delight in visiting one of the most respected members of the Jewish Colony at Amsterdam?"a man eminent for his intelligence and rectitude." In 1636 Rembrandt, whom all etchers2 acknowledge as the king of their craft, etched the portrait of his friend. I am the fortunate possessor of a copy of this etching, in which we can readily discern the man's kindliness, intelligence and uprightness. This likeness fully corresponds to a description of Menasseh ben Israel which a contemporary, Thomas Pocock, gives of him in a brief biography that has hitherto not been sufficiently noticed.3 " He was of middle stature and inclining to fatness. He always wore his own hair (which many years before his death was very grey), so that his complexion being pretty fresh, his demeanour graceful and comely, his habit plain and decent, he commanded an aweful reverence, which was justly due to so venerable a deportment." We may well credit the statement of Rembrandt's biographer that he often visited his learned friend and consulted him with reference to the meaning of Scripture. For in 1655 he engraved four little etchings intended to illustrate Menasseh's " la piedra gloriosa o de la estatua de Nebuchadnezzar" In this little treatise the author seeks to prove that the dream of the Babylonian King is the prediction of the advent of the Messiah, and that the stone which broke the statue of the Assyrian monarchy is identical with the stone on which Jacob slept, and with which David killed Goliath. The four etchings comprise : (1) The image which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream ; (2) The vision of Ezekiel; (3) Jacob's Dream; and (4) the Combat of David and Goliath. The etchings are among the treasures of the Print Room of the British Museum. They are marked by that originality of composi? tion and power of expression which have combined to place the Dutch master in the very forefront of the ranks of Art. Mr. Charles Henry 1 Emile Michel, pp. 237, 238. 2 Rembrandt's Etchings, by P. Gr. Hamerton, p. 13. 3 " The Life of Menasseh ben Israel," in De Termino Vitse, p. 8.</page><page sequence="7">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 31 Middleton, in his Catalogue of the Etched Work of Rembrandt van Rhyn, gives a full description of the four pieces which were originally etched on one plate, and of their several states, these states being due to Rembrandt's desire to make his engravings correspond as closely as possible to the letterpress. We may readily understand how it was that the Amsterdam Rabbi succeeded in gaining so many admiring friends. He met all those who approached him with the most excellent courtesy and amiability. The impression made on his Christian friends was " that he was a man of singular virtue and integrity of mind, and seemed to want no accom plishme?it but the faith of a Christian." Pocock mentions an interesting illustration. A friend of the author's being about to make a tour in the United Provinces, acquainted his tutor, a Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge, of his intention. The tutor asked him to purchase for him two rare Hebrew books, and named Menasseh as the likeliest person to procure them. On the arrival in Amsterdam, he called on the eminent Rabbi, asking his aid to obtain the two Hebrew books. Menasseh at once complied with the request, and, as no other copies were obtainable, he cut his own out of a large volume in which they had been bound up. There is only one occasion on which it would seem that Menasseh ben Israel did not display his usual courtesy. A letter is preserved1 addressed by Dr. Thorndike, a learned divine who assisted in the preparation of the Walton Polyglot, to Sir Joseph Williamson, wherein he says : " The reasons for omitting the Massora are undeniable. My late Lord Primate made me consult Menasseh ben Israel about the original of it, which, as he had read, contained the bulk of the Bible carefully prepared in some of their synagogues. And he offered to pay for it if it could be procured, so as to ascertain the reading of their Bible. But either skill or will to pleasure the Christians was wanting, for I could not persuade him to complyI must confess that I am at a loss to account for this seeming churlish? ness, for Menasseh need only have given a copy of the Bible he had himself printed. We read of numerous instances in which he aided his Christian 1 " Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series," June 10th, 1656.</page><page sequence="8">32 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. friends and correspondents in their literary work. Yet, at the same time, he was not oblivious of the duties which he owed his brethren in faith. Many members of his congregation were Marranos, who, through fear of the Inquisition, had neglected to teach the Bible to their chil? dren, and to conform to the ordinances of Judaism. With the view of preventing the evils that might spring from this ignorance, he wrote a Spanish translation of the Pentateuch and Haphtaroth, and a work concerning the ritual law, entitled Tesoro dos Dinim, the last part of which, treating of matrimony, is appropriately dedicated to the very noble and virtuous ladies of the Portuguese nation. He also composed a Hebrew work written in a very pleasant and lucid style, entitled D^n WDBO, on Immortality and the transmigration of souls. There is a copy in the library of the Beth Hamedrash which is of especial interest, containing as it does marginal notes, and here and there sharp criticisms, written in the neat and clear hand of a former Chief Rabbi of England, Rabbi Hirsch Berlin. Now I do not pretend to say that any of these works are of abid? ing value, or betray much originality. But they do show signs of wide and catholic reading. He quotes Euripides and Virgil next to the Midrash and Zohar. He cites Duns Scotus and Albertus Magnus with Gabirol and Nachmanides, Paul de Burgos and Nicolaus de Lyra next to the Cabbalists, Isaac Luria and Moses Corduero.1 His writings are pervaded with a vivid desire to imbue his coreligionists with an ardent devotion to their faith. But they also betray a strong leaning to mysticism. He had by no means emancipated himself from the superstitions of his age. It might have been supposed that one so zealous in all good works, one, who by his personal worth, had contributed to earn so rich a measure of respect for his community, would have been freed from all anxiety about earning his daily bread. This, however, was not the case. His stipend as Chacham was excessively small. His printing press yielded him a precarious income. He had not sufficient to maintain his modest household. For shortly after his appointment as minister, he had married Rachel Soeira, the great granddaughter of Isaac Abravanel, who bore him two sons, Joseph and Samuel, and a 1 Cf. Karpeles " G-eschichte der j?dischen Literatur," p. 941.</page><page sequence="9">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 33 daughter, named Grace. Under the irksome pressure of res angusta domi, he was fully determined to set out for the Brazils, had not two wealthy brothers, Abraham and Isaac Pereira, who had recently arrived from Spain, established a Yeshiba (college) and appointed him principal, so that he was for a time freed from pecuniary embarrass? ment. Menasseh felt that it was not sufficient to benefit his brethren by his pen ; he resolved to promote their welfare by zealous and energetic efforts on their behalf. He anxiously bethought himself to find resting places for the " Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast," his countrymen who had escaped from the horrors of the Inquisition that disgraced the Iberian Peninsula, and the panic-stricken fugitives from the excesses committed by Cossack hordes in Russia and Poland. He had some time before approached Christina, Queen of Sweden, with the hope of inducing her to permit Jews the right of settlement in Scan? dinavia. He then turned his heart longingly to England, where Oliver Cromwell had obtained supreme command. The Portuguese Chacham learned from his correspondents that Cromwell's great soul was not warped by any petty racial antipathies, that he was inspired with a fervent religious enthusiasm, and that, penetrated, as he was, with the deepest reverence for the Hebrew Scriptures, he could not but enter? tain some regard for the chosen people of the Covenant. It had also come to Menasseh's knowledge that men of influence were pleading for his brethren and eager to espouse their cause, more especially Edward Nicholas, who, in 1648, had published "An apology for the honourable nation of Jews and ail the sons of Israel." 1 With admirable tact and diplomacy he began his negotiations by communicating with influential personages, Thomas Fuller, Nathaniel Holmes, and others. In 1650 he wrote his "Hope of Israel/' in which he published the strange and fanciful narrative of Antonio de Monte sinos, who gave out that he had discovered a remnant of the lost ten tribes in America. This small treatise he published with an epistle dedicatory to the Parliament, the supreme Court of England, and to the Right Honourable the Council of State, with the object, as he distinctly 1 Hugh Peters had written in 1647 "A Word for the Army and two Words to the Kingdom " (Harleian Miscellany, 5573), in which he demands that strangers, even Jews, be admitted to live and trade with us. VOL. I. D</page><page sequence="10">34 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. states, a that I may gain your favour and goodwill to our nation, now scattered almost all over the earth." The argument he pursues in the pamphlet is, that the coming of the Messiah and the ingathering of Israel must be preceded by their general dispersion. As this scatter? ing was to be from one end of the earth to the other, they should no longer be excluded from England, the "isles in the northern sea." His dedication was graciously received. The Earl of Middlesex sent him an open letter addressed " To my dear Brother, Menasseh ben Israel, the Hebrew philosopher." A pass was granted him, "being well reported of for his learning and good affection to the State."1 He could not, however, forthwith avail himself of this gra? cious permission, as war had broken out with Holland, and the zealous negotiator had to possess his soul in patience. Several weary months passed. Various motions were made in the Barebones Parliament that the Jews might be permitted to trade in this country. The Council of State sent Menasseh another safe-conduct to London, but the resumption of hostilities with the Dutch made it perilous for him to undertake the journey. At last peace was concluded. Menasseh now sent his son Samuel to London. It has been alleged that the University of Oxford, on this occasion, distinguished itself by a remark? able act of tolerance, viz., that it conferred the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Medicine upon the young scholar, in acknowledgment of his scientific attainments, and with all the ceremonies used on those occasions. The square cap was placed on his head, a golden ring upon his finger, and the kiss of peace imprinted on his cheek. Koenen, in his Geschiedenis der Joden in Nederland (p. 440), reproduces the text of the diploma signed by the Chancellor, John Owen, and Professor Clayton. The authenticity of the diploma has been denied by Dr. Neubauer in an article published in Roest's Letterbode, on the strength of a communication made to him by Dr. Griffith, Keeper of the Archives of the University, and published in the Jewish Chronicle of September 3rd, 1886. The arguments advanced by Dr. Griffith against the validity of the Diploma seem unanswerable, so that this subject forms a curious chapter in the history of literary forgeries. Who produced this spurious document? What could have been the motives of the forgery ? 1 " Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series." Whitehall, Dec. 17th, 1652.</page><page sequence="11">a homage to menasseh ben israel. 35 But the time had now come for Menasseh himself to set out on his mission to England. He arrived in October, 1655, accompanied by Jacob Sasportas, formerly Rabbi in Tlemcen, a town in North Africa. Some eminent Jews of Amsterdam had either preceded or accompanied him, among whom should be singled out David Abrabanel Dormido, who had some time previously presented a per? sonal petition to the Protector for the readmission of the Jews, which, however, had not been successful. It seems also, from painstaking researches made by Mr. Lucien Wolf, that he found several secret Jews from Spain and Portugal already domiciled in this island. Menasseh took up his abode in the Strand, over against the New Exchange (the site now occupied by the bank of Messrs. Coutts), and at once proceeded to present a humble address, on behalf of the Jewish nation, to His Highness the Lord Protector of the Common? wealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. In this petition "the divine and doctor of physic," as he styles himself, entreats His Highness " to grant us place in your country, that we may have our synagogues and full exercise of our religion.'1 This address he accompanied by a Declaration to the Commonwealth of England, showing forth the motives of his coming to England, and setting forth explicitly the profit that would arise to the nation by reason of the ability of the Jews as merchants. He descants upon their loyalty. He shows how groundless are many of the charges that have been brought against the Jews. He especially refers to the accusation that they practise usury. He repels the insinuation that Judaism permits exorbitant usances. " In our Law it is a greater sin to rob or defraud a stranger than if I did it to one of my own profession ; because the Jew is bound to show his charity to all men ; for he hath a precept not to abhor an Idumean nor an Egyptian, and that he shall love and protect a stranger that comes to live in his land. If, notwithstanding there be some that do contrary to this, they do it not as Jews simply, but as wicked Jews, as among all nations, there are found some usurers." Menasseh did not confine his attention to the preparation of these able addresses. He had personal interviews with leading members of Parliament, and conferred with several eminent divines. He was received by the Lord Protector, and treated with much courtesy and consideration. It is possible that on this occasion d 2</page><page sequence="12">36 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. Menasseh presented to the Lord Protector the silver salver which passed over to the first Duke of Argyll, and is now in the possession of Sir Samuel Montagu, M.P. The main body of the dish is Dutch work of about the middle of the seventeenth century, and has an engraving of the Tent and Standard of Judah. The border and handles were a later addition. I should mention, however, that some of the South Kensington experts do not believe in the tradition which connects this salver with the honoured name of Menasseh. Cromwell directed that a Commission should meet at Whitehall in December, 1655, to consider the proposition submitted by Menasseh. The Commission was to consist of judges, leading lawyers, clergymen, and representative citizens. The reference was, whether it would be lawful to admit the Jews, and in case it was not opposed to the law, under what conditions the admission should take place. A great difference of opinion prevailed. On the fourth day of the sitting, Wednesday, the 12th of December, the "Jew Wednesday," as it was termed,1 the Protector, who was very eager for the scheme, himself presided. A witness says, "I never heard a man speak so well as Cromwell did on this occasion."2 The resolution passed by the Conference shows that a considerable step had been taken in advance. It was to the effect " that the Jews deserving it may be admitted into this nation to trade and traffic and dwell amongst us as Providence shall give occasion." This permission, however, was hedged in by grave restrictions preventing the Jews from meeting for public worship, so that Menasseh could not consider that his purpose had been achieved. He therefore determined to prolong his stay in London. It is characteristic alike of Menasseh's zeal and of his personal piety, that, while patiently acquiescing in the decision that they should not erect any synagogues, he and five other Jews again petition the Protector, in March, 1656, " that they might with security meet privately in their houses for their devotions without fear of molestation." They also crave license that, in case any of them should die, their bodies might be buried in a convenient place out of the city. The petition is signed by Menasseh ben Israel, 1 Oliver Cromwell's "Letters and Speeches," edited by Carlyle, vol. iii., p. 96. 2 Sir Paul Rycaut in " Spence's Anecdotes," p. 77, cited by Godwin in his " History of the Commonwealth," vol. iv., p. 299.</page><page sequence="13">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 37 David Abrabanel (the above-mentioned Dormido), Antonio Carvajal, and three others.1 Meanwhile great excitement began to rage among the general population. The absurdest rumours were spread. It was bruited abroad, and widely believed, that the Jews had offered half a million pounds sterling on condition of obtaining St. Paul's Cathedral for their synagogue, and the famous Bodleian Library at Oxford. James Harrington, author of the romantic treatise on political philosophy, " Oceana," gravely proposed to disburthen the kingdom of the weight of Irish affairs by selling the island to the Jews. This plan was not entertained. But more serious dangers threatened to wreck Menasseh's pious enterprise. Even as it has been in our days, literary resurrec? tionists, whilst deceitfully waving the flag of truce, the white banner of culture and civilisation, unearthed the putrid carcass of intolerance from its ancient grave, galvanised its hideous form with spurious vitality, and filled the atmosphere of brotherly love and charity with the miasma of hatred and ill-will. Foremost among them was William Prynne, an ardent controversialist, who published " A Short Demurrer to the Jews' long discontinued remitter into England," a work valuable to the historian on account of the collection of statutes which it con? tains, and the interesting legal and historical facts connected with our pre-expulsion period which it records. But it is at the same time full of bitter and venomous slanders. Then Menasseh ben Israel did not hold his peace. And " in his study in London," though we may well believe he had but few books to assist him, he composed his most masterly work, his " Vindiciae Judaeorum, or a letter in answer to certain questions propounded by a noble and learned gentleman, touching the nation of the Jewes ; wherein all objections are candidly and yet fully cleared." The title is not pretentious. The author has fully accomplished the task he had set himself. In words burning with indignation, he repels the charge that the Jews utter blasphemies against the Christian religion and its founder, or that they use the blood of Christians at their Passover rites. The oath of compurgation which he uses in connection with this 1 In the transcript of this petition given by M. Alfred Stern in his article " Menasseh ben Israel et Cromwell," Revue des Etudes Juives, vol. vi., pp. 10 109, the signature of Carvajal has been omitted.</page><page sequence="14">38 A HOMAGE TO MENAS8EH BEN ISRAEL. portion of the argument is well worthy of being cited, " I swear with? out any deceit or fraud, by the most high God, the Creator of heaven and earth, who promulged His Law to the people of Israel upon Mount Sinai, that I never yet to this day saw any such custom among the people of Israel, and that they do not hold any such thing by Divine precept of the Law, or any ordinance, or institution of their wise men, and that they never committed or endeavoured such wickedness (that I know or have credibly read in any Jewish Authours), and if I lie in this matter, then let all the curses mentioned in Leviticus and Deute? ronomy come upon me, let me never see the blessings and consolations of Zion, nor attain to the Resurrection of the Dead." 1 He says that the fact of persons having confessed to the commission of such a crime on the rack proves nothing. People will make any and every admission while suffering torment. " For this cause in the Israelitish senate no torture was inflicted, but only every person was convicted at the testi? mony of two witnesses." The prayer which concludes this spirited reply is aglow with spiritual fervour. And finally, he makes his humble request " to the highly honoured nation of England to read over his arguments impartially, without prejudice, and devoid of all passion," The treatise is dated April 10th, 1656. It is a very able com? position, No better proof of its excellence could be given than the fact that when, about a century later, similar charges were levelled against the Jews of Germany, Moses Mendelssohn did not prepare an original rejoinder, but directed that this dissertation should be trans? lated into German. This was accordingly done by Marcus Herz, and Mendelssohn prefaced it with an introduction, in which he speaks of it with unqualified praise. The publication could not fail to exercise a beneficial influence. Public excitement was stilled. Those that had hitherto been seGret Jews now began to avow themselves openly as such. Two of their leaders, Antonio Fernandez Carvajal and Simon de Casseres (touching whom our President will give us full information), obtained the lease of a piece of land in Stepney in 1657, to be used as a Jewish cemetery. 1 The late Chief Rabbi Solomon Herschell solemnly repeated this oath on the occasion of the Damascus persecutions in 1840.</page><page sequence="15">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 39 Menasseh, however, felt bitterly disappointed. He had hoped that his brethren would be freely admitted and allowed to enjoy the rights of public worship. This boon, however, was denied them. Those, therefore, who had accompanied him to England had departed, and, as he tells us in his Vindicise, " others who desired to come hither have quitted their hopes and betaken themselves, some to Italy, some to Geneva, where that Commonwealth has at this time most freely granted them many and great privileges." Menasseh had in his zeal for his people relinquished his post in Amsterdam. The small colony of secret Jews either would or could not support him. He had, therefore, no means of subsistence. " Hope deferred that maketh the heart sick " had enfeebled his frame. He was prostrated by illness, and, therefore, had no alternative but to ask Cromwell for a subsidy. The Lord Protector granted him a yearly pension of ?100. A few months later, he had the misfortune of losing his son. He was precluded from burying him in the newly-acquired Stepney Cemetery ; for (as we are told in Menasseh's petition, dated September 17th, 1657) his son had entreated him before his dissolution to carry his body to Holland. Having obtained some pecuniary help from the Protector for this purpose, he piously fulfils his son's dying wish, sets out on his journey to Holland, but falls ill himself on the way, and dies at Middleburgh, a town in Zeeland, on November 20th, 1657, at the age of 53. His remains were interred at Amsterdam, in Oudekerk, the cemetery of the Sephardic Jews, and an epitaph was inscribed on his tombstone in Spanish, to the following effect:?" He is not dead, for in heaven he enjoys eternal life in supreme glory, and his writings have insured him immortality on earth. The honoured Hebrew, Menasseh ben Israel, died on the 14th Kislev in the year 5418." I hope, ladies and gentlemen, that I have not wearied you by my biography. It was absolutely necessary to bring out in detail some few facts in his career which biographers have hitherto neglected, in order to enable us to to gain a just conception of his life's work. I do not desire to overrate the place he occupies in our history, or in our literature. Dr. Kayserling in his " Sephardim "1 draws an interesting parallel between him and Mendelssohn. " Both," in the words of this 1 Pp. 197-201.</page><page sequence="16">40 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. painstaking and eloquent author, "possess the eminent merit of having conquered the prejudices of their contemporaries. Both had their most intimate friends among Christian scholars ; both enriched general literature, and paid special care to the education of the young. Both of them drew no material profit from their vast stores of learning, but gained their living by engaging in business affairs. Both were called away, almost at the very same age, from the scene of their activity without having attained the span ordinarily allotted to man. In one thing only did they differ. Mendelssohn was essentially a self-made man, who acquired all the knowledge he possessed by dint of his own exertions, whilst Menasseh enjoyed the advantage of a careful training. But in one respect Menasseh gains the palm, for unlike the shy and retiring sage of Berlin, he threw himself with eagerness into the stress and press of public life, and pleaded the cause of his people before Parliaments and rulers." In drawing this parallel, it seems to me that Kayserling has somewhat overestimated Menasseh's capacity as an author. Menasseh has given a much more modest estimate of himself, saying, in one of his books : " My capacities are of a mediocre cha? racter, though I certainly possess the happy knack of marshalling in orderly sequence the various themes on which I descant." And a Protestant traveller who formed the acquaintance of Menasseh and his colleague, Aboab, characterises the two in a felicitous epigram: "Aboab seit quee dicit, Menasse dicit quee seit" (Aboab knows what he says ; Menasseh says what he knows). I have already told you that in several of his writings he allows himself to be dragged into unprofitable speculations, and gives currency to superstitious beliefs in the existence of evil spirits, ghosts, etc. Yet I venture to think that the close of the nineteenth century, which has witnessed the publication of " Border? land," and a widespread belief in Spiritism and Esoteric Buddhism, is hardly justified, on this score, in flinging stones at Menasseh. From these faults and blemishes, however, his Addresses and Declaration to Parliament and his Apology for the Jews are entirely free. They are models of what such compositions should be?tact, dignity, and learn? ing being harmoniously blended together. They triumphantly repel the charges of incivism, usury, and inhumanity that had been brought against the Jews, and that have, alas ! been too often revived in our days. Until his public appearance in England, the common belief had</page><page sequence="17">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 41 been that every Jew was a Shylock. This prejudice he, by his own unaided exertions, succeeded in destroying. And it seems to me that his personal bearing was as tactful and as dignified as were his written negotiations. Mr. Lucien Wolf seems to apply to Menasseh the strange story told by Segredo, the Venetian Ambassador, about a Jew at Antwerp, who was introduced to the Protector, and who, as soon as he came into his presence, kissed and pressed his hands, and commenced carefully to feel his body. Asked why he comported himself in such foolish fashion, he answered that he had come from Antwerp for the sole purpose to see whether His Highness was made of flesh and blood, as his achievements would seem to emanate from an altogether superhuman being.1 I am of opinion that there is not a word in this strange narrative to warrant that it was Menasseh who acted thus fatuously. It has been further asserted that Menasseh was of a quarrel? some disposition, and that he left Amsterdam in consequence of a dispute with Saul Morteira, the Chacham of the older synagogue. Contemporary writers hint only obscurely at any such dissensions. Dr. Back2 conjectures that their differences were by no means of a personal nature, but were due to a divergence of religious standpoints ; that while Saul Morteira was of a rigid and uncompromising character, as shown by the fact of his being one of the signatories of the excom? munication hurled against Spinoza, Menasseh, who had himself been one of the Marranos, was inclined to deal more indulgently with the laches of those who had for so many years been obliged to conceal their Judaic origin. Nor can I see any proof of his having quarrelled with the small colony of crypto-Jews in London. I have already shown that, conjured as he had been by his son to take his remains to Hol? land, he could not permit their interment in Stepney. The circum? stance that he himself was obliged to petition the Lord Protector for pecuniary help, and that his widow was compelled to have recourse to the same humiliating step with respect to Richard Cromwell, only proves that the members of his community were guilty of base ingrati 1 " Revue des Etudes Juives," vol vi., pp. 103, 104. 2 " Entstehungs-Geschichte der portugiesichen Gemeinde in Amsterdam," pp. 14-16.</page><page sequence="18">42 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. tude?a feature not quite unfamiliar to those who have studied ancient and modern Jewish history. It is true that he did not, in his lifetime, achieve all that was attempted. He obtained for his brethren the privilege of readmission into England, but not the right to establish synagogues. Shall his life on that account be termed a failure ? Was the life of Moses a failure, who died on the very borderland of the Promised Land, but was not permitted to enter it ? Within seven years after Menasseh's death a congregation was established in London who appointed as their Chacham Jacob Sasportas, as is proved by a Response to a religious question dated at the end of August, 1664. Hence I claim Menasseh as the virtual founder of our London community. And, therefore, in celebrating this evening the date of our resettlement, let us pay the homage of our gratitude to the earnest and pious Rabbi who toiled so zealously and so unselfishly, and yet in his lifetime met with such scant gratitude. Shall the same lack of appreciation pursue him beyond the grave ? I hope the day is not distant when some hall will be built, or some scholarship dedicated to the memory of this, the first of our communal workers. In the year 1904, 250 years will have elapsed since our readmission, and 300 years since Menasseh's birth. Will it not be meet and fitting that this Tercentenary should be worthily commemorated ? I have given you adequate and timely notice. May we all be spared, by the Grace of Heaven, to join in celebrating that anniversary, and may we then possess a Memorial worthy of the name and fame of Menasseh ben Israel !</page><page sequence="19">APPENDIX. -? MEMORANDA CONCERNING THE RESETTLEMENT OF THE JEWS IN ENGLAND. A. " Publick Intelligencer," No. 10. I. From Monday, December 3 to Monday, December 10, 1655. Whitehall, December 4. Also divers eminent Ministers of the nation, having been called hither by letter from His Highness, were present with His Highness and the Council in the Council Chamber. Some propositions were read to them that had been made by certain Jews, of whom Menasseh ben Israel, of Amsterdam, is chief ; and they petition that they may thereupon be admitted to a freedom of living and trading in this Commonwealth. Which the Ministers had time to consider of till Friday, the 7th inst., and then were appointed to meet here again. II. December 7. In the afternoon was a Conference held with Ministers about the proposals of the Jews. There were present His Highness, the Lord President, the Lord Lambert, the Lord Fine, and divers more of the Lords of the Council, with the Lord Chief Justice Glynn and the Lord Chief Baron Steel. Of the Ministers there were Dr. Thomas Goodwin, Dr. Wilkinson, Dr. Tuckney, Mr. Man ton, Mr. Nye, Mr. Bridge, and many others. Nothing was concluded, but there is another Conference appointed to be on Wednesday next. III. December 12. In the morning here was (according to appointment) a Conference concerning the proposal of the Jews, managed by some of the Lords of the Council, and divers eminent Ministers of the nation, in the presence of His Highness ; but not coming to any conclusion, the Conference is put off till Friday. IV. December 18. The Conference concerning the proposals of Menasseh ben Israel on behalf of the Jews was resumed as formerly; but His Highness having therein fully heard the opinions of the Ministers concerning them, the Conference ended without any further adjournment. B. CALENDAR OF STATE PAPERS. DOMESTIC SERIES. I. Oct. 10, 1651. Council of State. Day's Proceedings. 5. The Lord General, Lord Commissioner Whitelock, Mr. Strickland and Sir Gilbert Pickering, to be a Committee to peruse and answer the letter of Menasseh ben Israel.</page><page sequence="20">44 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. II. Nov. 22, 1652. By order of Council of State. Pass for Menasseh ben Israel to come from Holland to England. III. Dec. 17, 1652. Whitehall. Council of State. Day's Proceedings. Pass for Menasseh ben Israel, a Rabbi of the Jewish nation, well reported of for his learning and good affection to the State, to come from Amsterdam to these parts. All officers to give him the favourable entertainment due to well affected strangers, they behaving themselves without offence. [I. 68, p. 117.] IV. Sept. 16, 1653. From Council of State. Pass for Menasseh ben Israel and necessaries to England. V. 1653. Undated. 112. Petition of Rob. Rich, surnamed Mordecai, on behalf of the Jews in England, Scotland and Ireland, to Parliament. Ever since 1648 it was hoped that persecution for conscience' sake would cease, and truth and mercy take its place; but contrary thereto, these three last years hundreds in England have been cast into dungeons and prisons, some have perished and others endured whippings, stonings. and spoiling of goods for matters concerning their law and conscience, though not transgressing one law of this nation. I beg that the innocent in all prisons throughout these nations may be set at liberty, and that if the sufferings of Jas. Naylor be not filled up, the rest may be acted in my body. VI. Nov. 8, 1654. Council. Day's Proceedings. 8. Two papers signed by Emanuel Martines Dormido, alias David Abraba nell, a Hebrew, recommended by His Highness to Council, referred to Fiennes, Lisle, Lambert, Mackworth, and Jones to report. VII. December 5, 1654. Council. Day's Proceedings. 19. On Mackworth's report from the Committee on the papers of Emanuel Martyns Dormido, alias David Abrabanell, a Hebrew, Council saw no cause to make any order. VIII. Sept. 14-24, 1655. Extracts from Sec. Nicholas to Mr. Jane. There is great joy at Middleburg for the arrival of their East Indian ships. Cromwell has agreed with the Jews, and some of their Rabbis are learning English, and will go from several parts to settle in England; they have already Meetings in London. IX. Oct. 31, 1655. Council. Day's Proceedings. 2. Order?on hearing that Menasseh ben Israel, a Jew, is attending at the door with some books which he wishes to present to Council?that Mr. Jessop go out to receive them, and bring them in. X. Warrants of the Protector and Council. May 16, 1655. Pass for Sam. Ben Israel. XI. April 27, 1655. Pass for Abr. de Mercado, M.D., Hebrew, with David Raphael de Mercado, his son, to the Barbadoes, where he has an order from His Highness to exercise his profession. XII. June 10, 1656 (extract). 48. H. Thorndike to Williamson. I cannot wrrite much to you or M. Cappel,</page><page sequence="21">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 45 being ill. It is not the intent of this edition (of the Bible) to warrant the credit of the Roman edition of the 70, much less to accept of Nobilius' transla? tion thereof, but these copies were printed rather than those followed by the Antwerp and Paris editions ; the same of the two Samaritans. The learned must judge of their credit. This edition is to give a true copy of both, and the Sama? ritan will be collated with the Jewish Hebrew if advantageous. tThe reasons for omitting the Masorah are undeniable. My late Lord Primate made me consult Menasseh ben Israel about the original of it, which (as he had read) contained the bulk of a Bible carefully prepared in some of their synagogues, and he offered to pay for it, if it could be procured, so as to ascertain the reading of their Bible ; but either skill or will to pleasure Christians was wanting, for I could not persuade him to comply. If it had been obtained, it could not have come into this edition, but somewhat might have been found about the value of the original. XIII. Nov. 13, 1655. Council. Day's Proceedings. 118. Report on a request for admission of Jews into England to traffic, that it is lawful in point of conscience, if certain considerations be provided for :? (1) The grounds urged by Menasseh ben Israel, in his book lately printed in English, we conceive to be sinful in any Christian nation. (2) The danger is great of seducing the people of this nation in matters of religion. (3) Their having synagogues and places of worship is evil in itself, and scandalous to Christian Churches. (4) Their practices about marriage and divorce are unlawful and will be of ill example. (5) They are proved not to make conscience of oaths made or injuries done to Christians. (6) The inhabitants of London suggest that it will be very injurious to trade. We therefore consider:? i. That they should not be admitted to public judicatories, civil or ecclesiastic, which would grant them terms beyond the condition of strangers. ii. They should not speak or act to the dishonour of Christ or His religion. iii. They should not profane the Christian Sabbath. iv. They should not have Christian servants. v. They should bear no public office on trust. vi. They should print nothing in our language opposing Christianity. vii. They should not discourage any who try to convert them, but there should be a severe penalty on any apostatising to Judaism. XIV. Nov. 14, 1655. Council. Day's Proceedings. 4, 5. Lisle, Wolsley and Pickering to meet this afternoon with the Lord President to consider the names of persons to speak with the Committee of Council to whom the proposals of Menasseh ben Israel, on behalf of the Jewish nation, are referred.</page><page sequence="22">46 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. XV. Dec. 10, 1655. Portsmouth. Capt. Fras. Willoughby to Robt. Black borne. Extract. I observe the great business of the Jews is under consideration ; I hope the Lord will direct in a matter of such concernment. If the first question should pass in the affirmative whether a Jewish nation shall be permitted to live in this Commonwealth, I hope the next will be whether a nation shall be suffered by a law to live amongst us to blaspheme Christ. XVI. Nov. 15, 1655. Council. Day's Proceedings. 133. The Lord President reports from the Committee of Council the names of persons to meet with the Committee to which the proposals of Menasseh ben Israel for the Jews are referred, viz.: ? Dr. Goodwin Dr. Tuckney Lord Chief Justice Glynn ? Owen ? Cudworth ? ? ? St. John ? Wilkinson ? Whitchcoate ? ? ? Baron Mr. Strickland Mr. Nye Lord Mayor of London ? Newcomen ? Carill Sir Chris. Pack ? Faircloth ? Carter Sheriff Thompson ? Bridge Manton Alderman Riccards ? Benn ? Rowe ? Ed. Cressett ? Kiffin ? Cradock Mr. Jessy ? Dan. Dyke 2. The above-named approved, and to meet on Wednesday week, and letters to be written to them, in form subjoined, summoning their attendance. XVII. Dec. 15, 1655. Portsmouth. Capt. Fras. Willoughby to Robt. Black borne. Extract. I have your full relation of what passed last Wednesday about the Jews* I know not but Mr. Peters came as near as some others in his advice. It is a business of no small concern ; they are a people to whom many glorious promises are made, but they are full of blasphemy as any under the sun?a self-seeking generation, and those who are the greatest sticklers mind little but their own accommodation ; and whether they can prove themselves Jews is a question to me. XVIII. Dec. 17, 1655. Ditto. Extract. Thanks for your large letter about the Jews, by which I see there are work? ings of the heart to know God's mind in a business of such consequence. I hope it is in truth, and that the Lord will appear so as that their table may not prove our snare. I see cause to fall in with Mr. Peters again, especially with the latter part of his discourse, for there may be just grounds to question whether they be Jews ; and it may be observed that some of them have made but little conscience of their own principles. XIX. Dec. 31,1655. 77a. Hum. Robinson to (Williamson). Extract. The Jews, we hear, will be admitted by way of connivancy, though the generality oppose. XX. March 24, 1655. Council. Day's Proceedings.</page><page sequence="23">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 47 58. Petition of Menasseh ben Israel and six other Jews in London to the Protector. We thank you for leave to meet in our private houses for devotion, and beg to have a protection in writing, that we may meet without fear of molestation, as we desire to live peaceably under your G-overnment. Also we beg license that those of use who may die may be buried in a place out of the city with leave of the proprietors. Seven signatures. With reference, signed by the Protector to Council. XXI. (Feb. 19), 1657. Council. Day's Proceedings. 122. Petition of Menasseh ben Israel to the Protector. What modesty for? bids, necessity, ingens telwn compels ; that having been very long sickly, I beg you, my only succourer in this land of strangers, to help me. I do not prescribe the way, but having experienced your compassion as well as majesty, I lay myself at your feet. XXII. Feb. 19. Order in Council advising His Highness to grant him a pension of ?100 a year for his subsistence. XXIII. Sept. 17, 1657. Council. Day's Proceedings. 89. Petition of Menasseh ben Israel to the Protector. My only son, now dead in my house, engaged me to accompany his corpse to Holland, but being in debt, I know not which way to turn for help but to you, imploring you for ?300, and I will surrender my pension, and never trouble you more. This petition is highly bold, considering your past kindness, yet help, most noble prince, for God's sake. Order thereon in Council for payment to him of ?200 in discharge of his pension of ?100 a year, granted 19th February, 1656-7. c. CALENDAR OF THE CLARENDON STATE PAPERS. I. July 15 &amp; 22, 1653. News-letters from London. Extract. Consultations in Parliament for bringing the Jews again into England, especially in hopes of converting them. D. STATE PAPERS OF JOHN THURLOE. I. Extract from letter to John Franklin. July 29, 1653. There hath been severall motions in the House, that all mariges since 1647 should be null; and the Jews might be admitted to trade as well as in Holland ; .but there is nothing yet done therein, nor in many other things had in consultation, that may be very commodious for the Commonwelth.</page><page sequence="24">48 a homage to menassrh ben israel. II. Dec. 12, 1655. Nottingham. Major-G-eneral Whalley to Secretary Thurloe. Extract. I am glad so godly and prudent a course is taken concerning the Jewes ; yet cannot conceive the reason why so great varietye of opinion should bee amongst such men, as I heare are called to consult about them. It seemes to me there are both politique and divine reasons : which strongly make for theyre admis? sion into a cohabitation and civill commerce with us. Doubtlesse to say no more, they will bring in much wealth into this Commonwealth; and where wee both pray for theyre conversion, and beleeve it shal be, I knowe not why wee should deny the meanes. Besides, when wee were aliens from the covenant of promise, they prayed for us. But I shall not trouble you any further with this. I shall only pray the Lord would direct you. III. Dec. 17, 1656. Whitehall. Secretary Thurloe to H. Cromwell, Major Greneral of the army in Ireland. Extract. Wee have had very many disputations concerninge the admittance of the Jewes to dwell in this Commonwealth ; they haveing made an arnest desire to His Highnesse to be admitted ; whereupon he hath beene pleased to advise with some of the judges, merchants, and divines. The point of conscience hath been only controverted yet, viz., wheither it be lawefull to admitt the Jewes now out of England to returne againe into it. The divines doe very much differ in their judgments about it, some beinge for their admittance upon sittinge cautions, others are in expresse termes against it upon any termes whatsoever. The like difference I finde in the counsell, and soe amongst all Christians abroad. The matter is debated with much candor and ingenuitye, and without any heat. What the issue thereof will be, I am not able to tell you ; but am apte to thinke, that nothinge will be done therein. IV. Westminster. Dec. 31, 1655. A letter of Nieupoort, the Dutch Am? bassador. Extract. The Commissioners for trade have met several times together ; and as I am informed, they have not yet debated any remarkable point. Likewise, they were forced to absent themselves to be at the Conference about the Jews. Menasseh ben Israel hath been to see me ; and he did assure me, that he doth not desire anything for the Jews in Holland, but only for such as sit in the inquisition in Spain and Portugal. E. "Jewish Chronicle," Septembee 3rd, 1886. SAMUEL BEN MANAS SEH BEN ISRAEL, By Dr. NEUBAUER. I understand that some inquiries have been made on behalf of the Anglo Jewish Historical Exhibition concerning the diploma of M.D. and Ph. D. alleged to have been given by the University of Oxford in 1655 to Samuel, son of</page><page sequence="25">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEII BEN ISKAEL. 49 Manasseh ben Israel. This document, produced by Koenen in his Geschiedenis der Joden in JVeclerland, Utrecht, 1843, p. 440, has been proved by the late Keeper of the Archives of the University of Oxford to be spurious; his letter has been published by me in the Israelitische Letterbode, edited so ably by Heer M. Roest Mz, at Amsterdam, I. No. 8. As far as I know, the only complete copy of this periodical is to be found in the Bodleian Library. And in order to make the documents concerning this degree accessible to the Anglo-Jewish public, I shall reproduce here the Latin diploma, line by line, as given by Koenen as well as Dr. Griffith's letter, published in the Letterbode. Dr. Kayserling in his biography of Manasseh ben Israel (translated by the Rev. Dr. I. de Sola Mendes, and published in the " Miscellany of Hebrew Literature," 2nd series, vol. 2) already mentions that "the date of the diploma," 6 Majas (sic), 1655, could not have been correct, since Manasseh at that period had not yet come to England. I. Latin Document (Diploma). Universis et singulis praesens hoc publicum Doctoratus Privilegium visuris, lecturis, seu legi audituris, Nos, Dr. Joh. Owen. Antiqua et praeclara Universitatis Oxoniae, bonarum literarum mater gloriosa, et artium ac scientiarum Pa rens optima (quae clarissimorum studiorum auctoritate, et sidereis doctrinae ac virtutum omnium monumentis, non modo per Angliam, sed per totam etiam Europam et ubigue gentium inter Academias principatum obti net) eos dumtaxat ad magisterii dignitatem et summum Doctoratus gradum, quo ceteris hominum generibus praesciunt, evehere et extollere consuevit, quos virtutum excellentia, meritorum copia, diuturna studia, pervigiles labores, tandem etiam examinis rigorosi certamen laurea Academica et Doctoratus corona dignos exhibuerint. Aequum enim et rationi consentaneum semper visum fuit majoribus nostris, unumquemque pro meritis prae mia digna ferre, neminique ad honorum vestigia (fasti gia?) nisi per laborum certamina, et virtutum adyta aditum patefacere. Propterea jure optimo sancitum est, ut qui liberalibus artibus, Philosophiae et Medicinae, omnem suam operam et assidua studia impenderent, iia maximis laudibus et summis honoribus, aequissimis scilicet virtutis praemiis, afficerentur; quatenus eorum exemplo socii et posteri ad capescendam virtutis et in dustriae semitam, laudum et honorum stimulis ac de sideriis accenderent. Significamus itaque vobis, decla E p. 441. VOL. I.</page><page sequence="26">50 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. ramus, et harum literarum fidem facimus, qualiter die infer scripta datarum praesentium, Nos Praeses ante dictus juxta antiquam et approbatam consuetudinem ao Privilegia almae Universit?t is Oxoniensis, quibus fun ginrur in hac parte sub regimine celeberrimo, d. oliveeii Protectoris, Cancellarii digni dictae Universitatis; et Dominorum philosophorum et medicorum hujusce Aca demiae ; qualiter, inquam, per venerabilem consensum excellentissimorum Doctorum et Professorum Philoso pfiiae et Medicinae in Academia Oxoniana peritissimus et eruditissimus Juvenis Dominus samuel ben iseael alias sueeus, Lusitanus, doctissimi et scriptis editis celeberrimi Viri, Domini manassis ben Israel filius, adductus est ad nos cum uberrimis testimoniis ingenui tatis et probitatis suae, nec non diuturni studiorum p 442. curriculi in Artibus liberalibus et disciplinis philoso phicus et medicinalibus, et cum certissimis documentis laborum, vigiliarum et exercitiorum per idioneum anno rum nnmerum continuatorum; quern a Praeceptoribus suis de meliore nota nobis commendatum, itaque hodie diligenter et acriter examinari coram nobis et executi curavimus: ipse autem locis persequendis (sic) argu? ments tractandis, quaestionibus datis solvendis, casibus explicandis et curationibus proponendis ; in omni deni que periclitatione tarn laudabiliter, egregie et doctoreo more se gessit, et talem rigorem ingenii, ac tantam ostendit vim memoriae, doctrinae, facundiae, et caete rarum r er um, quae in consummatissimo Philosophiae et Medicinae Doctore requiri solent, ut magnam sui expectationem, quam apud omnes jam pridem merit concitaverat, non modo sustinuerit, sed etiam longe superaverit. Quamobrem ab excellentissimis incliti or dinis praefati Doctoribus et Professoribus omnibus ibi? dem exsistentibus, unanimiter et concorditer, cunctisque suffragiis, ac eorum nomine (nemine ?) penitus atque pe nitus discrepante aut dissentiente, ac ne haesitante quidem, idoneus, aptissimus, ac sufficientissimus Philosophus ac Medicus fuerit judicatus, et merito approbatus, si cut ex eorum omnium suffragiis et singulorum senten tiis, inscriptis, et in scrutinio secreto nobis porrectis evidenter et perspicue constitit. Nos itaque, antiquam sequentes consuetudinem et priviliorum (?) sententiam Oxoniensi Academiae, (sic), habita ratione scientiae, eloquentiae, paritae, facultatia interpretandi, methodi,</page><page sequence="27">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL* 51 curandi, et aliarum virtutum ac morum ejusdem, quo? rum omnium certissimum specimen (exploratus et per tentatus) dedit, de consilio et sententi? omnium excel lentissimorum praedicti venerandi consensus Doctorum et hoc ipsum postulantium, pro tribunali sedentis, eun p. i?3. dem nobilem et egregium juvenem Dominum SAMUEL Ben israel, virum quidem doctissimum et ita universis naturae artisque dotibus ornatum, ut nil amplius ei deesse videatur, Doctorem Philosophiae et Medicinae in Dei nomine approbavimus, et approbatum esse volumus, pronunciantes et declarantes, eum esse optime habilem idoneum et dignum officio, munere, dignitate et honore Doctoratas in Philosophia et Medicina universa, ip sumque continuo Philosophiae et Medicinae Doctorem fecimus et creavimus publice et solemniter, ac per prae sentes literas facimus et creamus, tribuentes ei et con cedentes tamquam vere idoneo et optime, merito et hac promotione honorisque apice dignissimo liberam et ple nam potestatem, cathedram doctoralem adscendendi, ut in posterum libere et plenarie, publice et privatim, in quibuscunque philosophicis et medicinalibus disciplinis, legere, repetere, consulere, disputare, quaestiones ter minare, controversias decidere, et practicari possit, et earum singulas partes aut universas profiteri, docere, glossari, -interpretari et commentari, hie et ubique ter rarum, omnem medicinam facere, Scholas regere, omni busque et singulis uti, frui, et gaudere privilegiis, praerogativis, exemptionibus, immunitatibus, libertati bus, concessionibus, honoribus, favoribus, praeemi nentiis, benefieiis, gratiis et indultus, ac aliis quibus? cunque, quocunque nomine conseantur, quibus alii Doc tores almae Salmuricensis, Parisiensis, aliusve Aeademiae ex quibuscunque ecclesiasticis vel temporalibus conces? sionibus aut indultis gaudent et utuntur, vel uti et gaudere quomodolibet poterunt in futurum, juxta me morata Privilegia Universitati nostrae Oxoniensi anti quitas, et absolute concessa. Quibus ita gestis ac declaratis, eundem nobilem et praeclarum Dom. Samuel ben iseael per luculentissimam suam orationem petentem et acceptantem decretos ho nores, consuetis insignibus et ornamentis Doctoralibus ibidem decoravit et publice insignivit: tribuit namque ei Phil, et Medicinae libros clausos, mox et apertos, annulumque aureum digito ipsius indidit, ac biretum E 2</page><page sequence="28">52 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. Doctorale pro laure? corona capiti ejus imposuit, pacisQue osculum eidem exhibuit cum doctorali beni dictione. Sic itaque summa cum laude et honore plu rimo praefatus nobilis et excellentissimus Dom. samuel ben Israel ad summum Doctoratus in Phil, et Med. pervenit. In quorum omnium et singulorum supra, scrip torum fldem et testimonium has nostras literas, manu nostra subscriptas, damus in aul? augustiori Academiae Oxoniensi (sic) currente Ao. Christiano MDCLV. Die 6to Majas (sic), praesentibus ibidem Illmo Dom. macro et aliis quam plurimis diversarum Nationum nobilibus Studiosis et comissia (comitia?) hac confluentibus, eaque cohonestantibus. Dr. Joh. Owen, Acad. Oxon. Procancellarius, P.T. Dr. Clayton, Promotor P.T. et Professor Ord. II.?The Letter of the Keeper op the Archives. " Wadham College, February 25, 1876. Dear Sir,?The Registers of the University make no mention of Samuel the son of Menasseh ben Israel; and I am convinced that the " Doctorale Bulle " printed at page 440 of Koenen's " G-eschiedenis der Joden in Nederland " was never issued by authority in Oxford. It is made to run in the name of Dr. Joh. Owen, and to be signed by him and by Dr. Clayton, whereas our diplomas for conferring Degrees, and our licences to practise Medicine, have always run in the name of the University, " Cancellarius Magistri, et Scholares Universitatis Oxoniensis," and have been made valid by the affixing of the Common Seal of the University without the signature of any individual person. The form therefore condemns it; and, if you examine the phraseology, you will find much to condemn it likewise. 1. (p. 441, 1. 13.) " liberalibus artibus, Philosophiae et Medicinae." We have never reckoned Medicine as an Ars, but always as a Facultas, to be studied after the course of Artes is complete. 2. (1. 21.) " Praeses." This title has never been used by any officer of the University. 3. (1. 26 ) " Dominorum philosophorum et medicorum." We have never had persons in Oxford styled " philosophi."</page><page sequence="29">A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 53 4. (1. 27.) " consensum." I believe this is an error for 44 consessum." Be this as it may we have never had Doctors and Professors of Philosophy and Medicine uniting to recommend or introduce any person for any degree. 5. (p. 442,1. 6.) " examinari." This word had no place here at that time in respect to degrees in Medicine. 6. (1. 25.) "in scrutiniosecreto." We have never had this method of voting for any degrees. Moreover our degrees have always been conferred by vote of the House of Congregation, or the House of Convocation, never by vote of any company of Doctors or Professors. 7. (1. ult.) " pro tribunali sedentes." This phrase has never had place here. 8. (p. 443,1. 9.) " Philosophiae et Medicinae Doctorem." For centuries we have studied Philosophy, Natural as well as Moral ; but we have never expressed it in the style or title of any degree. We have never had any degree in Philo? sophy, whether by itself or in conjunction with any other study. 9. (1. 26.) "alii Doctores." In conferring degrees we have never compared our privileges with those of other Universities. 10. (1. ult.) " Luculentissimam suam orationem." No candidate for any degree here makes any speech on the occasion. 11. (p. 444,1. 2.) "consuetis insignibus et ornamentis doctoralibus ibidem decoravit." The solemnity described in our ancient statutes by the words "tra dendo librum imponendo pileum, inserendo digitum annulo, et postremo imper tiendo osculum," was never used when a person was first admitted to a Doctor's degree, but always at the following Comitia or Act, when, certain further Exer? cises having been performed by the C-raduate, his degree was finally confirmed. 12. (1. 13.) " in aul? augustiori Academiae." We have never used this phrase. Our words are " Datum in domo nostra Congregationis " or &lt;s Convocationis " as the case may be. 13. (1.14.) " Die 6to Majas " [Z. Maij], The Comitia at that time were always in July. 14. (1. 15.) " Illmo Dom Macro." No such person is known in relation to Oxford or to this country. 15. (The signature) " Procancellarius." This word was at that time obsolete. The title in use was " Vice-Cancellarius." If the letters " P.T." stands for " pro tempore," that phrase has not been in use here as annexed to any style or title of office. " Promotor " is a title or description which has never had place in this Uni? versity. " Professor ord [inarius] " is a title which has never been used amongst us.</page><page sequence="30">54 A HOMAGE TO MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. This examination of the document printed by Koenen shows plainly that it is not genuine. In fact it is an adaptation of a form then used by the University of Padua, with alterations wilfully and insufficiently made. At the time of its pretended date many Graduates in Medicine came here from other Universities, especially from Padua, and obtained incorporation at Oxford. They brought with them " Oertificatoria " or " Literae Testimoniales " from the place where they had graduated, and one such certificate from Padua, bearing date on the 17th of February, 1650, in favour of Gabriel de Beauvoir, was produced here on the 27th of January, 1652, and is entered in extenso on page 147 of our Register of Congregation for the period of 1648-1659. From that page it would be eaBy to correct the errors with which the spurious document in Koenen abounds. I remain, dear Sir, faithfully yours, John Grifpith.</page></plain_text>