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Brighton Jewry reconsidered

David Spector

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Brighton Jewry reconsidered* DAVID SPECT0R It is some twenty years since a paper on Brighton's Jewry, delivered to this Society, aroused considerable national and local interest.1 The present article supplements the earlier one and draws attention to new material, some of which has come to hand since the lecture on which it is based was presented in 1987. The earliest reference to Jewry in post-resettlement Sussex appears in the records of fees, duties and Rents of Assizes of the Harbour of Rye dated 1670: 'The Bailiff received one shilling headmoney on every Jew leaving or entering the Harbour'.2 Until about 1840 there was an inlet east of Rye known as 'Jews Gap', but the name has since been corrupted to 'Jury Gap'.3 It is possible that it obtained its original name by being a place of landing or exit for those who chose not to pay this impost. In proposals to finance works for the new harbour at Newhaven in 1724, one Fuller suggested a tax to be levied on Jews on any ship entering the harbour. Henry Pelham, the local MP, while sympathetic, doubted whether merchants would tolerate another impost on shipping and noted that a tax on Jews had often been rejected.4 In the latter half of the nineteenth century, ironically enough, under-privileged Jewish children of the East End subscribed their half-pennies and pence to provide a series of lifeboats at Newhaven, which altogether saved 136 lives. The lifeboats were all named 'Michael Henry', after the editor of the Jewish Chronicle who founded the Jewish Scholars' Life-Boat Fund.5 'Jacobs Post'?north of Ditchling?where the body of Jacob Harris was gibbeted in 1734, has been restored by a local school and the original indictments at Horsham Assizes examined.6 The Lewes press reported in 1789 that Jewish pedlars were travelling the county with 'pens, sealing wax and slippers'.7 The question has been raised recently whether Antioch Street in Lewes was the medieval Jewish quarter.8 The Brighton Vestry Minutes of 18 December 1797 ordered 'that John Reeder's daughter now living with Mr Levi be allowed a Gown, petticoats, two shifts, two aprons, two pairs of stockings and a Bonnet'. Isaac Levi's address is given as 'Pounes Court, West Street' where the synagogue succeeding that in Jew Street is recorded in about 1800. Geoffrey Green has identified two former Naval Agents, Isaac Aaron and Saul Charles Aaron, among early-nineteenth-century residents.9 Jacob Montefiore in 1840 is noted as the twelfth-largest landowner in the area, with a 476-acre estate, used * This paper is based on a lecture delivered to the Society on 10 December 1987. 91</page><page sequence="2"></page><page sequence="3">Brighton Jewry reconsidered as a farm, in Rottingdean.10 The Police History Society published the present writer's account of the murder in 1844 of the Chief Constable, Henry Solomon; and the Brighton Museum has on permanent exhibition a silver-mounted tipstaff presented to him by the citizens of Lewes in April 1840, in gratitude for his efficiency as Chief Officer of Police in Brighton.11 A more detailed examination of the origins of Jew Street in Brighton, and the deeds of premises, lead one to the conclusion that the first synagogue opened in Jew Street in 1789, and not, as previously thought, in 1792. The first section of Jew Street leads immediately south from Church Street (formerly Springs Walk), and then turns east into a twitten with one building on the south side, and leads out into Bond Street (known at times as New Street). Both sections are designated Jew Street. Land in this area was purchased from Nathaniel Kemp on 23 March 1787, and there is a reference in the Land Tax Assessments for 1789 to 'three buildings in Jew Street'.12 Budgen's map of 1788 shows neither Bond Street nor Jew Street; nor is a synagogue listed or marked among the non-denominational places of worship.13 A deed dated 9 October 1789 refers to 'Little Bond Street otherwise Jew Street'. The section immediately south of Springs Walk is reported to have been known at one time as Little Bond Street, but with the erection of a building on the south side of the twitten and its use as a synagogue, both sections became known in 1789 as Jew Street. The building on the south side of the twitten extends into Bond Street and is known as 14 Bond Street. Edward Cobby's Map of Brighthelmstone of 1799 clearly shows the area, and gives it the name Jew Street.14 Frederick Harrison, the local historian, states 'Jew-street was so called as there was at one time a synagogue in it'.15 An additional storey has been added to the old building in Jew Street, but an archway and windows on the ground floor are clearly visible. There is an entry point on the exterior wall for either coal or water, and a covered-in recess in the basement perhaps for a mikveh. J. Godfrey-Gilbert, FRIBA, has examined the area and confirmed that it was constructed of eighteenth-century material. A basement room, 20x14 feet in size, was found to be sound-proofed by a contemporary method known as 'pugging', and may well have been the room Plate 1 Pike and Ivimy's New Map of Brighton, 1867. The numbers refer to the following locations: 1 Jew Street: the first synagogue, 1789 2 Poune's Court: the home of Isaac Levi and the second synagogue {c. 1800-23) 3 Devonshire Place: the third synagogue (1823-75) 4 Middle Street: synagogue consecrated 1875 5 Old Cemetery: opened 1826, on land given by Thomas Read Kemp 6 34 North Street: the offices of the Brighton Guardian, where Levi Emanuel Cohen, the editor, was burnt in effigy 7 Lewis's Buildings: the home of Hyam Lewis' family 8 Town Hall: part of the town hall was used as a police station. It was here that Henry Solomon was murdered in 1844. 93</page><page sequence="4">David Spector Plate 2 Jew Street, showing the door of the building that contained the first synagogue, 1789. used for services by the then small minyan. Jew Street was then on the outskirts of the town, and in about 1800 the congregation moved to Pounes Court in the centre of the town, where the Brighton Vestry recorded Isaac Levi's address. It is clearly indicated in Marchant's map of 1808 and given the reference number seven.16 It remained there until 1823, when the congregation made its third move, to Devonshire Place, where it remained until the opening of Middle Street in 1875. This is confirmed in a book published in 1937 which states that: 94</page><page sequence="5">Brighton Jewry reconsidered 'Boyces Street was formerly Boyces Lane and a little further down there was a passage that led to a small square, Pounes Court, in which was the Jews' Synagogue built before Devonshire Place'.17 The Sussex Archaeological Collections published an article on Religious Dissenters in Sussex and referred to returns ordered by the House of Lords in 1810 and 1829.18 The background of these returns was the disturbance caused to the Anglican establishment by the growth of dissent and the pressure for the removal of discrimination. There was strong opposition to the idea of collecting and publishing figures showing the extent of this movement. However, in 1810 the House of Lords called by order for a list of places of worship in parishes with a population of more than 1000. The returns of 1810 for the Diocese of Chichester at the British Library contain a special column for Jews, showing at Brighthelmstone one synagogue with room for fifty worshippers.19 The only other reference to Jews in the 1810 returns is for the Diocese of Norwich, which records a synagogue at Kings Lynn. In 1829 a similar order was made by the House of Lords, but this time only Jews 'belonging' to the community were to be so called. The returns were not printed, and most of the material was destroyed in the great fire at the Palace of Westminster in 1834. The originals of the parish returns for Sussex survived in the Quarter Session Records at Lewes, and in 1829 Jews who 'belonged' numbered forty.20 Dr Lipman has suggested that as the congregation premises moved at some point between the 1810 and 1829 returns, one might assume they preferred a place of worship of smaller capacity. Another figure of interest is the record of sixty-three Jewish signatures from Brighton in the petition organized in 1833 by Isaac Lyon Goldsmid for the removal of disabilities from the Jews; but some signatories may have been visitors to the town.21 Brighton is therefore unique in having official figures available for 1810 and 1829. Jewry also had a public place of worship in Brighton before the Roman Catholics (1806) or the Methodists (1808).22 More information has been forthcoming on Hyam Lewis (1767-1851). The name 'Hyam Lobb' is found among the children of the Emanuel Hyam Cohen family, and a family relationship can be assumed, since 'Hyam Lewis' would be its anglicization. A postcard showing 44 Kings Road, the former premises of the family, reveals the words 'founded in 1790' on the side blind of the shop. Hyam Lewis supplied swords to the local Commissioners and was the first pawnbroker in Brighton. He married a daughter of Emanuel Hyam Cohen, was a member of the Great Synagogue, and was active in the affairs of the congregation, serving as an Elder and President.23 His brother George Lewis is referred to in early minutes. Except that he is recorded in an 1823 Directory of Lewes as having a pawnbroker's shop at 'The Cliffe', little is known about him. In 1826 Richard Dighton depicted Hyam Lewis in the print 'Lewis and Brighton' (see Plate 3).24 Antony Dale, an eminent authority on Brighton, commented T always thought of Hyam Lewis as being an averagely prosperous local tradesman. I am 95</page><page sequence="6">Plate 3 Hyam Lewis, commissioner and jeweller. Richard Dighton's print shows the 'Chain Pier' (opened in 1823) in the background and a small steamboat. 96</page><page sequence="7">Brighton Jewry reconsidered surprised that he was well-known enough to have justified making such a print, and that it was plain to whom it referred, because the majority of these prints referred to very well-known people. For instance a "View of Norfolk" meant the Duke of Norfolk. It is amazing that Lewis could be treated on that level.'25 Brighton Corporation recently restored the name 'Lewis's Buildings' to a passageway opposite the Post Office in Ship Street, to mark adjacent premises occupied by the Lewis family for a number of years.26 In 1813 he was elected an 'Improvement Commissioner for Brighthelmstone', which was some three years before he was 'endenizened' on 16 November 1816.27 'Improvement Com? missioners' were established by Acts of Parliament to meet the needs arising from the growth of towns and the increasing industrial population. Eventually, 200 such bodies?together with nearly 100 similar bodies in the Metropolitan area of London?functioned in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a form of local government. The 1810 Act for Brighthelmstone laid down that the first obligation of a Commissioner was to sign the Oath, or in the case of Quakers the Affirmation. The next task was to testify that they were householders paying 'scot and lot': that they occupied a house to the annual value of ?50. Hyam Lewis attended the first meeting of the new Commissioners on 24 November 1813, but declined to take the Oath as he stated that he was not duly qualified. He was again elected on 15 February 1822, and now being properly qualified he took the Oath on 6 March 1822. The abjuration of the Oath was 'So help me God'. In 1823 he was appointed Director and Guardian of the Poor. His name is printed in the 1825 List of Commissioners, and in 1838 he became a member of the first Police Committee established under the Municipal Corpora? tion Act of 1835.28 The mainly Jewish area of the Parish of St James, Duke's Place, in the City of London, provided Jewish members for the 'Leet Jury', a form of local government, but it is not known whether they took an Oath on accepting office.29 Hyam Lewis is the first recorded professing Jew to have been elected and sworn to office in a form of local government. His son, Benjamin (1806-76), assisted him in his business, and Benjamin received the Royal Warrant in 1838.30 Benjamin's daughter, Leah, married a Coleman-Cohen in 1854.31 Lewis Coleman-Cohen (1897-1966), later Lord Cohen of Brighton, was a direct descendant.32 Hyam Lewis is reported to have paid for the tombstone of Phoebe Hessel in the grounds of St Nicholas Church, who died at the age of 108, having served as a private soldier for a number of years.33 The tombstone was recently restored by her regiment. I cannot trace any obituary of Hyam Lewis in local papers or the Jewish Chronicle. The transformation of a young man arriving from Prague in about 1790, into the well-dressed gentleman depicted by Richard Dighton is remarkable. A great-grandson, Harry B. Lewis, who died in 1955, was an Alderman and an extremely able Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Brighton Council at a period when he was completely blind.34 97</page><page sequence="8">Plate 4 'Hanging in Effigy': Levi Emanuel Cohen in a cartoon from 'Looking Glass No. 10' i October 1830, London. Plate 5 'The London &amp; Brighton Railway Advertizer', depicting Levi Emanuel Cohen walking on the promenade at Brighton during the controversy about the site of the proposed railway station.</page><page sequence="9">Brighton Jewry reconsidered The role of the three brothers-in-law in nineteenth-century Brighton must be considered in relation to the small number of Jewish residents. Hyam Lewis, Commissioner and man of influence, and Henry Solomon, Chief of Police, are overshadowed by the third brother-in-law, Levi Emanuel Cohen, an Elder and Reader of the Congregation. Levi founded the Brighton Guardian in 1827 and was sixth President of the Newspaper Society for the years 1841-3.35 Editorials attacked the Corn Laws, paid Police, emphasized that poverty was the cause of crime, demanded universal suffrage as in the USA and civil marriage, praised the 1830 revolution in France, expressed delight at the fall of Wellington's ministry and recommended a political union among the middle classes, who should combine with the working class, and not the aristocracy. On 18 August 1830, in the course of a leading article occupying nearly a column in the Brighton Guardian, Cohen stated that 'the King is not a strong-minded man'. This comment created an uproar, as many people felt that the goodwill and visits of royalty to Brighton were essential to the prosperity of the town, and that the king would be Vexed' and spend his money elsewhere. A hostile crowd stoned and broke the windows of the building at 34 North Street where his offices were situated, and he was hanged in effigy (see Plate 4). In May 1988 a previously unknown cartoon depicting this incident was found at the Brighton Reference Library. The Royal Pavilion can be seen in the background and a pickpocket of Jewish appearance.36 The Brighton Guardian of 8 September 1830 stated that the king had expressed his displeasure at 'the loyal holocaust of the Brightonians' and Cohen defended himself by stating that his enemies had exploited his 'unguarded expression'. The weekly edition of The Times, according to Cohen, had also attacked him, but the daily edition of 28 August 1830 defended him in the name of freedom of the press. Political life was fierce at this period, and Cohen, who represented the Liberals, was marked for harassment by the magistrates who were well-to-do. Newspapers and their editors were a special object of contempt to Grand Jurymen. An opportunity for revenge arose with the publication in the Brighton Guardian of 28 November 1832 of a 'correspondent's' report on incendiary fires in the areas of Arundel and Horsham.37 The paragraph was not quite thirty-three lines long, but was said by adversaries to contain not less than eight distinct and grave charges. A complaint was made by a Mr Wm C. Mabott, and although a Grand Jury met in December 1832 and again at the Quarter Sessions in January 1833, the authorities convened a special Grand Jury to consider the complaint against Cohen. This Grand Jury ultimately consisted of twenty-three members, of whom twenty were magistrates and declared enemies of Cohen. His fate was decided in advance, and the trial of 'The King v. Cohen' took place before a special jury of ten men at the Lewes Assizes on 31 July 1833. Cohen defended himself splendidly and with great dignity, but the jury took only a quarter of an hour unanimously to find him guilty. He was convicted of libel, 'tending to bring the 99</page><page sequence="10">David Spector Plate 6 Levi Emanuel Cohen, distinguished journalist and radical, in the memorial portrait commissioned by the committee organized by the Jewish Chronicle. IOO</page><page sequence="11">Brighton Jewry reconsidered magistrates of Sussex into contempt, to set the lower classes against the higher and to incite the people to acts of incendiarism'. The last part of the charge, Justice Parke the presiding Judge told the jury, was quite unsupported. Cohen was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, fined ?50 and had to find sureties for three years. Chelmsford Prison was selected for his internment, so as to impede the continuity of the newspaper. Cohen used this to his advantage by heading his weekly leaders in the following manner: 'Chelmsford Gaol, Twentieth week (last but six) of our incarceration on the prosecution of W. C. Mabbott, Esq., of Uckfield'. On 21 February 1834 the matter was brought to the attention of the House of Commons, but the Government abstained and the motion was rejected by fifty-eight votes to twenty-seven, drawing severe comments on the liberty of the press under a Whig administration. Uninhibited by his imprisonment, Cohen involved himself in the turbulent controversy over the site of the terminal of the proposed Brighton railway from London, then in the course of legislation.38 Stephenson had proposed a site just north of Brunswick Square for the terminus, in the fashionable section of Hove; his rival Rennie's choice was north of the centre of Brighton. The radicals combined with the wealthy residents of Brunswick Square and won a victory for the Rennie line, to the discomfiture of the Whigs. Cohen is depicted in a cartoon captioned 'The London &amp; Brighton Railway Advertizer' (Plate 5). Cohen became a prominent member of the Incorporation Committee, organizing a petition to the Privy Council for the granting of a Charter to Brighton as a Municipal Borough, which was eventually granted on 30 January 1854.39 Posters used in the campaign show that Cohen printed all the pro-incorporation material with the name 'Cohen Brighton' prominently displayed.40 The mayor of Brighton at the time of the fiftieth Incorporation Celebrations in 1904 was Emile Maurice Marx (1887-1932), the first Jewish mayor of Brighton and the youngest ever elected in the town?he was twenty-seven.41 Cohen led the life of a recluse and died in i860. His brother Nathan succeeded him and was reported to have abandoned the bitter tone which had characterized its articles.42 An extensive obituary of Levi was printed in the Brighton Guardian on 28 November i860 with a supplement containing 'the Speech of the Defendant, Levy Emanuel Cohen, at the TRIAL "The King v. Cohen"'. The Jewish Chronicle paid generous tribute to Levi and organized a committee to publish a memorial portrait (see Plate 6).43 He is a neglected figure in Anglo-Jewish history, and is not mentioned in the 125th- or i50th-anniversary publications of the Newspaper Society (founded 1836), which he served so loyally. Printers' ink ran in the blood of the Cohen family, as apart from Levi, Nathan and Rosetta, another sister, Zipporah Harris, at times assisted, and during the illness of Levi edited the paper.44 Two other brothers, Abraham (1812-74) and Ralph (1814-90), were also involved. Both subsequently emigrated to Aus? tralia, where Abraham purchased an interest in The Australian and Ralph, who 101</page><page sequence="12">David Spector came out in 1838, was initially employed by Abraham on the paper.45 Yet another brother, George, who will be discussed in more detail later, established The Intelligencer at Belleville, Ontario, then Lower Canada. This paper is still in production. Zipporah wrote to Ralph on 19 January 1848 to tell him of the improvement she was able to obtain after the installation of 'a machine'. This had been necessary because The Times was now arriving by rail from London at 10 o'clock in the morning, which required them to work rapidly. They could now establish the outer forme by 7 o'clock (instead of 3 o'clock) and the inner by 10 o'clock, and could print 800 an hour. They could do job printing, and produce thousands instead of hundreds.44 Other Cohen families produced journalists. Cohen posters can be seen in the foyer of the Theatre Royal, Brighton. The first issue of the Brighton Guardian appeared on 31 January 1827, and the final issue on 25 September 1901. In 1869 it described itself as 'Published every WEDNESDAY Morning, circulates through Sussex generally, but more especially among the Gentry, Clergy and Influential Classes in Brighton, Arundel, Worthing, Chichester and Hastings; and is besides sold at the principal Stations of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.' Research on crime in the early eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the provinces has been carried out by Bill Williams in Manchester, Louis Hyman in Ireland, and published by John Samuel Levi in his studies of Jews transported to Australia.46 A Lewes group recorded and indexed details of 6000 cases for the years 1810-40 from the rolls of the criminal cases at the Lewes Quarter Sessions. The present writer could identify only four Jewish names. In 1810 Mordecai Barnet was charged with fraud and bound over to appear at the Old Bailey, which he failed to do. Abraham Phillips was charged in 1819 with having uttered base shilling coins, was imprisoned for one year and ordered to find sureties for two years. David Isaacs, a twenty-three-year-old general dealer, was acquitted in 1824 of stealing twenty yards of calico. In 1828 Mary Aiternacker, alias Burchell, otherwise called Mary Turner, was convicted of 'keeping and maintaining a common bawdy house for her lucre and gain' and was sentenced to hard labour. In 1830 she was again charged, this time with 'keeping a disorderly house in Apollo Gardens, Brighton', and was once more imprisoned. Her family is known in early records and this account is printed with the permission of their descendants. Contrary to repeated allegations that Jews at this period were the main passers of counterfeit coins, the Sussex researchers record that the passing of counterfeit coins was a common charge among the local population.47 In March 1838a letter appeared in the Brighton Herald stating that with a population of 40,000 there were no Jewish beggars, drunkards, prostitutes or suicides. One agrees with Bill Williams' conclusion that viewed in the context of general crime, Jewish criminality was relatively insignificant in the provinces and certainly negligible in Sussex, in spite of its proximity to London, the mass centre of Jewish population in the United Kingdom. 102</page><page sequence="13">M^^^^^^^^^^,&gt;, ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Plates 7 and 8 Philip Salomons' private synagogue today. It also contained his private collection of Hebrew books and religious appurtenances. It is on the top floor of 26 Brunswick Terrace, Hove, and is visible from the promenade.</page><page sequence="14">David Spector Another example of local research of interest to Jewry was the publication in 1986 of Clockmakers of Sussex 1600-1900 by E. J. Tyler. Twenty-three names can be identified as Jewish, with premises at Brighton, Hove, Lewes, Chichester, Hastings, Petworth and Worthing. All are nineteenth-century entries, by which period very little clockmaking in the traditional sense was carried out, since imported parts were made up to form many of the clocks produced. The 'Ann of Cleves Museum' at Lewes has among its exhibits a mantel clock with the name Berncastel on its movement and a barometer with the name Berncastel (to be discussed below) on its face. The writer obtained access to the room used by Philip Salomons (1796 1867) as his private synagogue, at 26 Brunswick Terrace, Hove (see Plates 7 and 8).48 It is under the pepperpot feature still clearly visible from the promenade at Hove. Israel Davis in the Jewish Chronicle of 13 November 1891 records his impression of visits to the private synagogue: 'Philip Salomons... one of my early memories is his pretty little private synagogue in Brunswick Terrace. When it was dressed in white for Rosh Hashona it was charming. Some learned immigrant from the Ruthenian provinces was usually engaged as reader for the holy days. Mr Salomons himself acted as Baal Koreh and virtually the Shomas.' His collection of books and appurtenances could be described as the first Jewish museum in this country. After his death Reuben Sassoon, fellow resident of Hove, purchased the bulk of his appurtenances. They were exhibited at the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition in 1887, which led to the formation of this Society.49 Recently the Jewish Museum in London acquired a pair of Queen Anne Rimonim formerly belonging to Philip Salomons. They are dated 1712 and are one of three English silver Rimonim of that period known to be in existence. The maker's mark has been identified as that of Samuel Edlin, London. The Hebrew inscription on the shafts says T bought the Torah Scrolls and its bells. They are the glory of God, may He Bless me, for His service without?David Lopes Pereira?5743'.50 A corresponding Scroll of the Law, dated 1712, was also donated by the same David Lopes Pereira to Bevis Marks Synagogue and is still in their possession. As was the custom of the time, it is likely Jhat when the donor died the beneficiaries reclaimed the finials. Part of the original inscription was removed at a later date to make room for the name 'P. Salomons, Esq.'. The Rimonim had not been in use for the past sixty years and had suffered damage. They are now restored and on display in the Jewish Museum, a visible reminder of our history. On 15 May 1864 Philip Salomons signed, as President of the Brighton Hebrew Congregation, a certificate from its members to Sir Moses Montefiore, expressing the sentiments of Brighton Jewry: 'You left the quiet of home and your own fireside at an inclement season of the year accompanied by a small band of earnest men to do battle against ancient prejudices, NOT for the love of glory but to remove those oppressive burdens under which our brethren have so long suffered'.51 104</page><page sequence="15">Brighton Jewry reconsidered The records indicate that Emanuel Hyam Cohen (c. 1762-1823), founder of the community, had ten children; but in December 1986 a letter was received from Sheldon J. Godfrey, a Toronto barrister, requesting information on the 'Cohen' family and giving details of one George Benjamin, formerly Cohen, born in Brighton on 15 April 1799.52 The details of the family, which had been copied into a Hebrew prayer book, while not accurate, were sufficiently precise to establish that he was a hitherto unknown son. George ran away from Brighton in about 1820, dropped the surname Cohen and adopted 'Ben? jamin'?his mother's maiden name. He was well educated and could speak eight languages. He is referred to in family correspondence as 'Mo'. Moses was a name in use in the Benjamin family and 'George' is found in the Cohen family. One can surmise that his original name was 'George Moses Cohen', but he will be referred to here as 'George Benjamin'. He joined Orange Lodge No. 27 in Liverpool, and on 12 July 1822 the Lodge awarded him a silver medal.53 This medal, still in the possession of the family in Canada, is inscribed with the name 'George Benjamin'. Membership of the Orange Order is restricted to Protestants, but no clarification can be obtained as local Orange Order records were unfortunately destroyed in the bombing of Liverpool in the Second World War.54 George migrated to America, and on 5 February 1832, aged thirty-two, married in North Carolina a twelve and three quarter year old Jewish girl named Isabella Jacobs, daughter of Lipman Jacobs and Esther Abrahams. Their first child was born in November ofthat year. Isabella had fourteen children and lived to the age of eighty-four. Benjamin travelled north to Lower Canada, where he met James Hunter Samson, member of the Lower Assembly for Hastings, and a leading barrister in Belleville.55 Samson persuaded Benjamin to purchase a printing press and establish himself as printer in Belleville, and in 1834 he founded The Intelligencer, which is still in production. Benjamin continued his association with the Orange Order, although, according to Sheldon J. Godfrey, he apparently admitted to being Jewish in Canada during the 1830s. He was a Captain in the Belleville Militia, and served in the ranks of a volunter company in 1848, repelling Canadian rebels and USA infiltrators. He was active and successful in local politics and was helped to lucrative and impressive offices by his Orange Order connections. When Benjamin advertised for an apprentice, a youth named Mackenzie Bowell joined him. Bowell lived with the Benjamins, and Benjamin greatly influenced his education and subsequent career, for he became a successful journalist, was active in the Orange Order and later Prime Minister of Canada. The Orange Order had started in Ireland before the 1798 rebellion, and found its way to Canada in illegal army Lodges.56 Catholics formed just 20 per cent of the population of Canada, and Orange Lodges gained the patronage of influential sections of the upper and middle classes, and became an important factor in the politics of the Province of Ontario in which Belleville was situated. George Benjamin was Grand Master of 105</page><page sequence="16">David Spector the Orange Order of British North America from 1846 to 1854, but there were internal schisms in the movement which were eventually resolved. He was elected by a substantial majority to the Province of Canada Assembly in 1856, and served with distinction under Sir John MacDonald, who promised George Benjamin a Cabinet appointment but did not keep his word.57 Benjamin resigned in 1863 to devote himself to family matters but died in 1864 from injuries received in an accident the previous year. It is difficult to reconcile the unbaptized George Benjamin's adherence to the Orange Order and to Christianity. George and his wife were early founders of an Anglican church in Belleville. Eight children were baptized between 1846 and 1852, and in his last year, 1864, both George and his wife and mother-in-law were baptized. Photostats, in the possession of the writer, of pages of a Hebrew prayer book belonging to George Benjamin, show his own record of his marriage and the births of his children. In a letter sent in 1864 to one of his brothers in Australia we find him writing Hebrew.58 Family seals were popular with European Jewry and the family have in their possession the Cohen family seal. George returned to Brighton in 1857 and was reconciled with his family?this was before his baptism, naturally. His photograph (see Plate 9) shows him to be of Jewish appearance, and according to the 150th Anniversary-Year number of The Intelligencer others were aware of this. In 1888 there was correspondence between the first Prime Minister of the Confederation of Canada, Sir John MacDonald, and Colonel Arthur W. Hart, on the complaint 'that there were no Jews in public affairs in Canada due to scarcely veiled prejudiced feelings of influential Canadian circles'. MacDonald replied, 'the late George Benjamin was a Jew although I believe had become a Christian. His son is now in one of the public departments and a year ago I got an appointment for one of your race with the Post Office in Ontario.'59 Correspondence between the brothers revealed yet another unknown son of Emanuel Hyam Cohen, a Dr Benjamin N. Cohen, born in Brighton on 8 August 1807, living in New York in 1862 with a family of four boys and two girls, and two sons serving in the Northern Army, in fighting for which the eldest was severely wounded.60 Dr Cohen became a naturalized United States citizen on 5 June 1833.61 As a result of a communication from Ontario in 1986, the story of the Cohen who became a Grand Master of the Orange Order can now be told, together with details of the previously unknown Dr Cohen. In April 1983 the writer gave a series of broadcasts on the history of the local community, and was later contacted by Frank Berncastle, great-grandson of Solomon Nathan Berncastel, mentioned earlier as a resident of Lewes. Frank Berncastle had recently retired to the area and was seeking further information about his family, which he was aware was Jewish. His great-grandfather was president of the congregation in 1824 and active in its affairs.62 The '1798 1803 Sussex Register of Aliens' recorded his arrival at Deptford in 1803.63 In an 106</page><page sequence="17">Brighton Jewry reconsidered 1805 Lewes Directory he is recorded as a watchmaker and jeweller, and in 1823 he moved to a newly erected building, No. 1 Cliffe High Street, still in use as a jeweller's shop.64 A Jewish wedding was performed there on 9 June 1852.65 Solomon Nathan Berncastel moved to Brighton and later to London, where he ceased his association with the community. Frank Berncastle revealed that the family originated from Trier and that Solomon's father, Jacob Nathan, represen? ted the Trier community at the Assembly of Notables convened by Napoleon in 1806. A brother of Solomon, Lion Berncastel (1770-1840), qualified as a doctor at Jena University in September 1797, and in 1809 was a member of the Consistorium of the Trier synagogue. The Berncastel family had close connec? tions with the Ma