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Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family: public prominence and private losses

Stephen W. Massil

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies , volume 44, 2012 Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family: public prominence and private losses STEPHEN W. MASSIL I first introduced Joseph Hart Myers to this audience in my Presidential lecture of 2005 1 noting him as the dedicatee of Haim Bolaffey's "Hebrew Grammar" of 1820.2 He features in the bibliography of Anglo-Jewish medi- cine3 and his career, prominent in the annals of the Medical Society of London, has been noticed in a recent history of that Society,4 as I shall hope to enlarge upon below. Fifty years ago Myers was presented by A. Levy as a precursor of Scottish Jewry5 and Kenneth Collins more recently recorded him in some detail,6 with reference to his graduation in 1779 and notice of his attestation of some students at Aberdeen down to 1817.7 There is an entry for Myers and his father in the Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History 8 and indeed I began to broaden this account of Myers through a study of his daughter Maria Clarke, "The Lady of Longueville Clarke", in a paper pub- lished in 2009, 9 and of his father Naphtali Hart Myers in 20 1 1 . 10 1 have made 1 S. W. Massil, "T wo Hebrew Grammar Books and the Enlightenment", Jewish Historical Studies: Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 41 (2004-06, 2007): 99-143. 2 H. V. Bolaffey, An easy grammar of the primœval language , commonly called Hebrew , entitled [ Or ah miyshor] or , the "straight path "to real knowledge, fully exemplified by instructive and elegant extracts. . . . Also , to render it complete , an appendix , showing how to read Hebrew works With notes , philo- logical and illustrative. . . . (London: printed for Hatchard; and G. &amp; W. B. Whittaker, 1820). With a list of subscribers. 3 R. P. Goldschmidt-Lehmann, A Bibliography of Anglo- Jewish Medical Biography (Jerusalem, 1988). 4 Penelope Hunting, The Medical Society of London , 1773-2003 (London, 2003), 56, 66, 76 and 83. 5 A. Levy, "The Origins of Scottish Jewry", Jewish Historical Studies: Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 1955-59 19(1960): 138-39. 6 Kenneth E. Collins, 'Jewish Medical Students and Graduates in Scotland, 1739-1862', ibid. 1982-86 29 (1988): 87; Kenneth E. Collins, Go and Learn: The International Story of Jews and Medicine in Scotland (Aberdeen, 1988), 43-47 and 173-74. 7 Collins, "Jewish Medical Students", 79 and 86. 8 The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History , ed. William D. Rubinstein with Michael A. Jolies and Hilary L. Rubinstein (Basingstoke, 201 1), 707. 9 S. W. Massil, "'The Lady of Longueville Clarke': Maria Hart Myers (1794-1868) and her Family", Jewish Historical Studies: Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 42 (2007-09, 2009): 53-73- 10 Stephen Massil, "Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner", ibid. 43 (201 1 ): 97-124. 179</page><page sequence="2">Stephen W. Massil a specific point of reviewing Myers's studies in Edinburgh and the fate of his doctoral dissertation "De Diabete "of 1779 in papers for the University of Edinburgh Journal.11 My whole endeavour has been to trace the Hart Myers family at once at the heart of the Anglo-Jewish scene of the late Hanoverian and Regency era and also at the ebb of Anglo-Jewish assimilation and conti- nuity in the aftermath. Myers's career braids prominence in both professional and Jewish circles. Certainly he enjoyed a distinguished public career as a physician and was rec- ognized in the Jewish community for his efforts in both medicine for the poor (as also among his wealthier patients whose names cannot be retraced) and in the congregations' educational establishments. However, it is not until his last years that he came under public scrutiny, when memorialized - as the dedicatee of Bolaffey's "Grammar" of 1820 - thus demonstrating my under- lying theme, the acculturation of Jews in the social and intellectual life of the late Hanoverian Regency. Bolaffey put it: In giving the ornament of your name to this Book, I only place my work under its proper protector; a philosopher, who, zealous for his improvement in the medical science, acquired the Greek, Latin, and modern languages, in the University, and has refined his taste by a regular tour through the principal parts of Europe: and, ever a warm admirer of the Hebrew, which he learned from his infancy, he has assiduously contributed to its cultivation as President of Talmud Torah many years; and who is not less distinguished by liberality of conduct and amiableness than by those qualities which have gained him, in so eminent a degree, the confidence of the public in his profession . . ,12 Joseph Hart Myers studied medicine at Edinburgh during the sessions I775~79 and graduated in June 1779. The University in its notice of his graduation recorded both that he was an American and that he was an obser- vant Jew: "Yesterday at a meeting of the Professors, Joseph Hart Myers, a native of America, and one of the Jewish religion, was honoured with the degree of Doctor of Physic, after study here almost four years, and is the first instance upon record of one of that religion obtaining the honours of this University."13 These points are focused specifically through the influence of his father's career for, although by the 1770s Naphtali Hart Myers, of America Square in the Minories in London, was a Warden of the Great Synagogue at Duke's Place and a considerable figure in London Jewish circles, married into the 11 S. W. Massil 4, "Joseph Hart Myers, MD (1758-1823): First Jewish Graduate", University of Edinburgh Journal 45: Nos 1 and 2 (201 1): 34-38, 1 10-1 5; 45: No. 3 (June 2012): 164-67. 12 Bolaffey, Easy grammar, iii-iv. 13 Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (Friday 2 July 1779), reporting "an extract from a letter from Edinburgh dated June 25th". 180</page><page sequence="3">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family family of the late Chief Rabbi Aaron Hart, the standing he enjoyed was also based on his quarter-century of settlement in New York from 1741 to 1764, where he secured naturalization in 1764 and where Joseph Hart Myers was born in April 1758. It is from other contemporary accounts alongside Bolaffey's dedication that the point about the physician's specific Jewish char- acter is shown to be as a result of Naphtali's insistence. His attendance at Edinburgh rather than at Oxford came about through his father's stipulations. Of Dr. J.H. Myers, Physician to the Portuguese Hospital and to the General Dispensary, Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, &amp;c. This distinguished physician was born at New York, when the North American Colonies formed the brightest gem in the British crown. At an early period of his life he commenced the study of medicine under the late Dr. W. Hunter, Dr. G. Fordyce, and the other celebrated teachers of the day, both as an hospital and private pupil. It was his original intention to have made Oxford the seat of his studies; but the scruples of his father, a respectable and conscientious member of the Jewish persuasion, strictly attached to the tenets of his own sect, prevented it in consequence of the oaths required to be taken by his son, whom he wished to continue a member of the same religious sentiments as his family.14 Published in 1823, such a detail would not have been missed by readers aware of proposals to establish University College in London at just that time, but it is a belated reference to decisions taken in the 1770s of which no contem- porary record can be found. What I also discussed in my paper on Naphtali Hart Myers, and perhaps stemming also from Myers's American experience at Newport, Rhode Island, was Myers's role in directing his son's study towards medicine - his possible acquaintance with Dr William Hunter of Newport who gave (Edinburgh) lectures on surgery at the Redwood Library, of which Myers was a benefac- tor, his probable direct contact with Dr William Hunter (1731-1783) of London, the Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy, over the cadavers following the "Chelsea Murder" trial of 1 771; 15 I suggest that Myers 14 Richard Reece, Public characters of all nations : consisting of biographical accounts of nearly 3000 eminent contemporaries. With numerous portraits (London: printed by J. and C. Adlard, Bartholomew-Close; for Sir Richard Phillips and Co. And sold by W. Sams, Pall-Mall; and John Cumming, Dublin, 1823), Vol. 2: 863-64. 15 Having indicated the fate of the écorché figure taken as a caste of the criminal 'Dr.' Levi Weil, kept on a shelf in the Anatomy Room at the Royal Academy, when I lectured on Naphtali Hart Myers in December 2009, it is only right to record that when this lecture was delivered to the Society in May 2012, the figure was holding centre stage in a room at the Royal Academy in an exhibition of paintings by Johan Zoffany: see the exh. cat .Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed , ed. Martin Postle (exhibition held in New Haven and London, 2012), cat. no. 47: Ecorché figure, 224-25. The figure did not travel to New Haven. 181</page><page sequence="4">Stephen W. Massil embarked on his medical career in the aftermath. How else to take the terse account recorded in Munk's Roll? "Joseph Hart Myers, M.D. was born at New York, where he received his preliminary education. At a comparatively early age he was sent [sic] to this country, when he commenced the study of his future profession by attendance on the lectures of Dr. William Hunter and Dr. George Fordyce. From London he removed to Edinburgh".16 Myers was thirteen in 177 1 and would have begun such a career at that age or soon after; I take it that Naphtali would have had the standing to approach Dr Hunter directly about this and of course the funds to proceed accordingly to secure him the necessary attendance at the Windmill Street and Essex Street demonstrations, and hospital attendance for training and then the expenses of travel, lodging and study over four years in Edinburgh, includ- ing a sojourn in Leiden to secure a Master's degree there - and indeed in a post-graduation "grand tour" for nearly four years afterwards. I do not know what education Joseph might have received as a boy but, as has been noted, he had pretensions to go to Oxford where he would have had to take a Christian oath, so went to Edinburgh, where such an oath was not required. Furthermore, I can only generalise about the nature of his educa- tion in London since I have found no outstanding records or other references to his participation with Drs Hunter and Fordyce or the hospitals of the day. In Edinburgh also there is little factual record to go on outside the barest of University records. The fact that he was a student in Edinburgh in the late 1770S puts him in company with the likes of Prince Pavel Mikhailovich Dashkov (1763-1807; Edinburgh M.A. 1779, precocious F.R.S. in 1781) and his contemporaries under review in a book about James Currie (1756-1805), whose experience, having arrived to study in Edinburgh from America, coin- cides almost exactly with that of Myers. Thornton's reference to Myers as being from Philadelphia is in error.17 The University's observation in respect of Myers as an observant Jew can be confirmed in various ways - except perhaps in the formal sense of how a young man intent on practising Judaism in Edinburgh in the 1770s might have done so, given that there is no record of any Jewish settlement in the city until around 1785 (some four or five families domiciled on the Canongate), no congregation until 1816, no kosher butcher of course. The question cannot be answered except by reference to the fact that arrangements for exemptions from formal student work on the Saturdays might have been negotiated with the University authorities; certainly, Myers's landlady must have been atten- tive to his dietary exclusions though his worship must have been solitary, without a minyan. Who might she have been? One can make an informed guess since it is understood that in the absence, in those days, of residences 16 Munk's Roll, 323-24. 17 R. D. Thornton, Jaw« Currie , the Entire Stranger and Robert Burns (Edinburgh, 1963), 78. 182</page><page sequence="5">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family for students the more wealthy among them would have lodged variously with their professors. I shall return to this matter. Edinburgh in 1775 The generalizations work along these lines: it was just at the end of the "old era" at a time when the building of the New Town and the Bridges had begun, and the planning of the new university buildings was being put in hand when life thus was confined to the Royal Mile and adjacent tenements; that students were sometimes resident with their professors and frequented societies and debating clubs and attended the old hospital buildings and lecture rooms, all of which were soon to be swept away and whose records mostly have not survived. Study of the numerous societies already estab- lished by the 1770s may yet find traces of Myers, who perhaps did not make much of a mark in those circles. Jenkinson's list shows the extent of possibil- ities.18 Students might have had recourse also to the Freemasons and to golf and although Myers later joined one of the London lodges when he settled into practice there, there appears to be no record of his having become a Mason while in Edinburgh, not for instance at the Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2 which was a centre for the Edinburgh intelligentsia and literati at that time. Thornton, drawing on some of these sources in his account of James Currie and his contemporaries, is therefore tantalizing; another contemporary account of medical education in Edinburgh provides a background for this investigation, Arnoťs History of Edinburgh of 1779 in which he discusses the Faculty of Medicine in some detail.19 The "medical classes are opened on the last Wednesday of November, and from that time till the beginning of May, five lectures are given by each professor weekly (Christmas week excepted)". He records the names of the professors and their fields, he mentions clinical lectures for attendance on the cases of patients at the Royal Infirmary and access under certain regulations to the lying-in ward. He refers to a "com- modious teaching room in the neighbourhood of Surgeons' Hall". These matters are ghosted in a work such as The Making of Classical Edinburgh , 1750-1840 , which summarises the fact that the University was central to the city, next the Royal Infirmary, and in nearby streets, where students were customarily accommodated with lodgings.20 Relevant in other directions is Arnoťs remark that "Till within these five years there was no such thing in 18 J. Tenkinson, Scottish Medical Societies, ijji-içjç, (Edinburgh, 1993). 19 H. Arnot, The History of Edinburgh (Edinburgh: Printed for W. Creech; and London: J. Murray, 1779), 400-04. 20 A.J. Youngson, The Making of Classical Edinburgh, 1750-1840 (Edinburgh, 1966), 15 and 123. 183</page><page sequence="6">Stephen W. Massil Edinburgh as a coffee house, where a person could dine by himself'21. A larger view of the Edinburgh of the period can be taken from the accounts of Boswell in his Edinburgh Journals and of Dr Johnson who came north in 1773 for their tour to the Hebrides. Johnson's reflection on the students of Scotland can bear quotation here, since he had been first to Glasgow and then to Edinburgh: "The students, for the most part, go thither as boys, and depart before they are men." Myers's dissertation: "De Diabete", 1779 Myers appears in the University records for his attendance annually from 1775 to 1779, his A.M., at his graduation with signature in the graduates book and the publication of his thesis, "Dissertatio medica inauguralis, de diabete . . .".22 It is by tracing the inscriptions in copies of his thesis now variously deposited in some dozen libraries in Britain, America and one in France that perhaps the best sense of his connections in Edinburgh as a student can be appreciated. The regulations of the day required students to supply six copies of their dissertations to be delivered to the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine23 and four of Myers's copies survive at the University Library, one specifically inscribed on presentation to Dr Andrew Duncan. Another addressed to its dedicatee Dr William Cullen survives in the collection from Cullen's library now at Chetham's Library in Manchester, so I judge that it was in Cullen's household that Myers resided during his time at the University. While some copies do not carry inscriptions (if only because binding of texts in collections with discard of preliminaries inevitably loses such traces), many do and, along with courtesies to his teachers, Myers extends humility and friendship to his fellow students from England, America and the Caribbean. I have traced these copies (see note 12 above) in detail so shall only refer here more specifi- cally to the one at the Library Company of Philadelphia presented to his col- league George Logan "Pennsylvaniensis", who like Myers after graduation 21 Arnot, History of Edinburgh , 353. 22 J. H. Myers, Dissertatio medica inauguralis, de diabete: Quam annuente summo numine, ex auctori- tate Reverendi admodum Viri , D. Gulielmi Robertson , S.S. T.P. Academice Edinburgenœ Prœfecti: nec non amplissimi senatus academici consensu , et nobilissimae facultatis medicœ decreto , Pro Gradu Doctoratus , summisque in medicina honoribus et Privilegiis rite et legitime consequendis; eruditorum examini subjicit Josephus Hart Myers , A.M. Americanus. Ad diem 24. Junii, hora locoque solitis (Edinburgi: Apud Balfour et Smellie, academiae typographos, M,DCC,LXXIX [1779]), [4], 41, [i]. 23 Alexander Morgan and Robert Kerr Hannay, eds., University of Edinburgh , Charters , Statutes , and Acts of the Town Council and the Senatus , 1 583-1858 (Edinburgh and London, 1937). 184</page><page sequence="7">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family may next be found in Paris in 1780. George Logan (1753-1821) was a Quaker, the grandson of James S tentón, William Penn's Secretary, whose home sur- vives as a landmark Georgian house in Philadelphia. Logan studied firstly in London in 1775, then in Edinburgh, and was active in the Medical Society (and its President in 1779) graduating in June 1779 (his dissertation was enti- tled "Tentamen medicum inaugurale de venenis . . . Pennsylvaniensis"), sub- sequently, like Myers, going to Paris. However, he was not, apparently, on medical business, rather on "American" business, since he appears there in the correspondence of Benjamin Franklin in connection with conveying letters to England and back to America, under the umbrella of the prelimi- naries to the diplomacy of the eventual treaty of peace between England and the newly established United States of America.24 Thereafter Logan's career in public, agricultural and political life as a Jeffersonian anti-federalist removed him from medicine and from Europe, except for a singular episode which forever links Logan's name to the historic record in the form of the "Logan Act" of 1798 concerning the proscription of private diplomacy by Americans acting without government accreditation. This was at a time in 1798 when Myers in London was in the most tangential way innocently host to another American engaged in Hamiltonian business in the "Quasi-War" with France of 1798-1800, namely Benjamin S. Judah (1760-1831), the son of his father's friend Samuel Judah (1728-1781); I have occasion to come back to Judah in due course. I have no record to show any continuing connections between Logan and Myers, and Logan's "Journal of 1775-79", being letters sent home to his brother giving a survey of topics and details of his time in England and Scotland, omits personal details (except of the medical professors of the day, clearly following references in Arnot's survey) so that neither Myers nor any others among his fellow students get a mention. Logan's copy of Myers's dis- sertation remains at the Library Society in Philadelphia, a trajectory not however quite without incident in that it appears to have been lost to Logan's personal library after his death, at some stage going through the library of Beriah André Watson (1836-1892), Surgeon, of 124 York Street, Jersey City,25 thence to the Medical Society of King's County, Brooklyn in 1900 and thence sold on so that it came to be acquired (perhaps at a subsequent sale) by the Library Society in April 1981, only then to be re-associated along- side the Society's prior installation of Logan's substantive collections, where it remains uncut. 24 Benjamin Franklin, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin (New Haven, CT, 1959- ), ed. Barbara B. Oberg, Vols 32 (1 March through 30 June, 1780), 257 and 437, and 33 (1 July through 15 November 1780), 314-15. 25 Library Society, Philadelphia: blind-stamped on the title-page; you only discover such a fact by handling the document itself. 185</page><page sequence="8">Stephen W. Massil It is regrettable that the copy found in Paris (at the historic Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de Médecine) is apparently without inscription. However, a medical opportunity in Paris was the next step in Myers's career so its place there has its peg. Myers's thesis was under scrutiny in a recent study of historical approaches to diabetes, where it is one of eight works on the subject found at the Library of Congress published between 1762 and 1798.26 This resonates with a recondite listing of American writing in Latin in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in which the theses of Scottish universities loom large.27 Thanks to Kenneth Collins, one can posit an even more specialized genre: Jewish writers in Latin of this period from the same source. I permit this levity if only because some American writers appear to suggest that Myers's subject, "Diabetes", is a "Jewish topic" ("Diabetes is a disease that has always interested Jewish physicians" is the contention of Jacob Rader Marcus, who deals with Myers.28) I would not say that. As the sequel shows, the immedi- ate subject of Myers's first ventures into practice proved to be in obstetrics and his public career culminated in his fame as both a sufferer of and a prac- titioner in gout and its effects on asthma. Myers in Paris and on the Grand Tour, 1779-1784 The parallel careers of Myers and Logan remain of immediate contrast in that Myers when he left Edinburgh soon embarked on his extended medical grand tour, going firstly to Paris for study in the winter of 1779-80 following not investigations of diabetes, as might have been supposed by the subject of his dissertation, but rather obstetrical studies including the extreme form of the study of the new (French) technique of symphysiotomy as an alternative to caesarean delivery as the best procedure for obstructed delivery. The success of this method was being widely discussed; Sigault and Le Roy who had pub- lished their account in 1777 had an English translation in 1778: " Historical and practical enquiries on the section of the symphysis of the pubes as a substitute for the Casarían operation , . . ."29 The translator, Louis Poignand (1746-1809), retains a place in English literary history in that he attended on 26 L. D. Chalem, Essential Diabetes Leadership (BookSurge Publishing, 2009), 38. 27 Leo M. Kaiser, "Contributions to a Census of American Latin Prose, 1634-1800", Humanistica Lovaniensia: Journal of Neo-Latin Studies , ed Gilbert Tournoy (1982): 164-89. 28 Jacob Rader Marcus, United States Jewry, 1 776-1 Q85 (Detroit, 1991), Vol. 1:202-03. 29 Historical and practical enquiries on the section of the symphysis of the pubes as a substitute for the Ccesarian operation , performed at Paris , by M. Sigault , October 2d, 1777. By M. Alphonse Le Roy, Doctor Regent of the Faculty of Physic in Paris, and Professor of Midwifery. Translated from the French by L. Poignand, of the Corporation of Surgeons, London, and Surgeon to the Westminster Lying in-Hospital (London, 1778). 186</page><page sequence="9">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family Mary Wölls tonecraft following the birth of her daughter Mary Shelley in August 1797. Sigault and Le Roy's account was widely reviewed, for example by the Critical Review ,30 and with a political edge in Kimber's London Magazine , conveying a judgment on Dr William Hunter's fame as author of a tome on the gravid uterus31: Yet the author candidly confesses that the practice still meets with opposition, though it has been successful in two or three instances, since that of Mrs. Souchet. We would therefore imagine that our beneficent Sovereign will lay his commands on Dr. Hunter, to take the earliest opportunity of giving his opinion on so interesting a subject in his ensuing lectures at the Royal Academy. The practice ought likewise to receive the sanction or approbation of the faculty in their corporate capacity, or to what purpose have we a Royal College of Physicians, or a company of Surgeons enjoying exclusive privileges?32 Dr Hunter did not rise to this challenge nor did anyone else among the estab- lished physicians. Without knowing whether the medical fraternity had a hand in promoting him to the business, this did engage Myers during his winter in Paris and he subsequently sent an account to his mentor Dr Duncan at Edinburgh, who published 'Remarks on the Sigualtian Operation' in his Medical Commentaries in 1780.33 It proved in fact to be Myers's only sub- stantive published text, going through several editions, and remained of medical interest down to the 1830s. Having acquired the Leiden A.M. in 1778, Myers moved on from Paris to Berlin and then to Vienna, pursuing medical contacts and development, only afterwards going to Rome to engage himself in more classical pursuits of the traditional Grand Tour. These details are barely substantiated in accounts of Myers's career published late in his life but it can be presumed that through- out his four years of travel, Myers was in receipt of sufficient parental resources to furnish his way. One other matter of intellectual import comes to light in that, unexpectedly, Myers appears in the correspondence of Moses 30 The Critical Review for the month of July, ijj8 46 (London: printed for A. Hamilton, 1778): 293-96. 31 William Hunter, The Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus exhibited in Figures (Birmingham: printed by John Baskerville, 1774). 32 London Magazine, or, Gentleman s Monthly Intelligencer 47 (1778): 470. 33 J. H. Myers, "Remarks on the Sigualtian operation, extracted from a letter to Dr Duncan, written from Paris", Medical Commentaries. Exhibiting a concise view of the latest and most important dis- coveries in medicine and medical philosophy. Collected and published by Andrew Duncan . . . For the year 1780, and in a Second edition: . . . Volume seventh (London: printed for Charles Dilly in the Poultry, M,DCC, XXXIII [1783]), 461-68. Myers's account is referred to still favourably much later in John Mason Good, The study of medicine. - Third edition. With much additional modern information on physiology, practice, pathology, and the nature of diseases in general by Samuel Cooper. In five volumes (London: T. and G. Underwood, 1829), Vol. 5:218: "Dr J. H. Myers who wit- nessed it at Paris, speaks of it in the highest terms of commendation". 187</page><page sequence="10">Stephen W. Massil Mendelssohn (1729-1786) with the Bishop of London, Robert Lowth (1710-1787), writing in Hebrew and indicating that "the learned Dr. Mires" is the conveyor of the letter in question34 (referred to by Roth and others else- where35) before settling to his career in London. The subject of the Haskalah, the European Jewish enlightenment of the late eighteenth century of which Mendelssohn was one of the great progenitors, is quite beyond the scope here but suffice to say that recent investigations of what might be called its Anglo- Jewish substratum have recently been discussed in a major work by David Ruderman.36 While Ruderman has contributed entries to the ODNB of several of his protagonists, Myers is not among them, nor is he mentioned in Ruderman's index or footnotes or in a more recent paper on the smallpox vac- cination of which Myers was a prime practitioner in London (see below). Something must surely have been said about Myers in his associations with other worldly, medical and learned gentlemen but, while his presence is widely noticed, his words are not recorded. It can be said that his involve- ment as a go-between for Mendelssohn and Lowth arose because if the Bishop of London had any specific dealings with the Great Synagogue (which he might as the state's intelligence for the "stranger churches" of which the Synagogues must have been considered along with others for these pur- poses), the Bishop would most naturally have approached Myers the Warden in furtherance of his study of Hebrew and young Myers would have been ideally placed on his travels to make the approach to Mendelssohn. A career in London The terms of Haim Bolaffey's dedication to Myers anticipate and echo similar encomia and chronologies in the public biographies of the day, placing Myers towards the end of his life among the pre-eminent men of medi- cine. There was an entry by William Nisbet (1759-1822) in his Authentic 34 M. Mendelssohn, Exchange of Letters ( 1761-1785), transcribed in German and translated from Hebrew, compiled by Reuven Michael (Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, 1994), Item 239, pp. 408-10: Letter to Robert Lowth, Berlin 26 April 1781 = ist Ijjar 5541 : 'Nonetheless to return your favour to me and to honour the antiquity of my people, take this gift, which will be brought to you through the hands of my comrade the learned Dr. Mires" (trans. David Newman). 35 C. Roth, "The Haskalah in England", in Essays presented to Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday , ed. H.J. Zimmels, J. Rabbinowitz and I. Finestein (London, 1967), vol. 1: 365-76; referred to by T. M. Endelman, "The Englishness of Jewish Modernity in England", in Toward Modernity: The European Jewish Model, ed. J. Katz (Oxford, 1987), 228. Even in the Littman Library posthumous reissue (1998), A. Altmann's Moses Mendelssohn: A Biographical Study (London, 1973), steadfastly contends that the "identity of ['Dr. Mires'] the transmitter of the letter has not been established", 826. 36 D. B. Ruderman, Jewish Enlightenment in an English Key: Anglo-Jewry's Construction of Modern Jewish Thought (Princeton, NJ, 2000). 188</page><page sequence="11">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family memoirs 37 and the details were caught up in a substantive article of 1820 by Reece and in a briefer account quoted above (and copied in another in 182538) - Richard Reece (1775-1831), a popular physician and herbalist, had prem- ises in Piccadilly, Reece's Medicinal Hall, next door to the Egyptian Hall. I quoted Munk's Rolls at the outset and can resume the relay from here: in 1787 Myers was admitted to the Royal College (LRCP)39 and became a Fellow of the Medical Society of London. He appears as a figure in a well dis- cussed group portrait of the dignitaries of the Society, widely reproduced,40 taking, it appears, a back seat as "Librarian to the Society".41 He served also as the Society's "Foreign Secretary" and in other roles from time to time. In this public persona he is most often cited as "Physician to the Portuguese Hospital &amp;c. &amp;c." as a consequence of his standing within the London Jewish community (perhaps also through his father's reputation having been a notable at Shearith Israel ); he was called upon by the Mahamad of Bevis Marks to act as physician to the poor of the congregation in 178542 in suc- cession to Ephraim Luzzatto (1 729-1 792, in London from 1763), who is more famous as a Hebrew poet.43 On his appointment in succession to Myers in 1824, Judah Israel Montefiore (1777-1827), as a recent graduate of King's College, Aberdeen, was paid £30 p.a., increased to £40 on his election as a full member.44 Myers in seniority must eventually have been paid rather more than that over the years although, as Hyamson also records, "at the turn of the 1 8th century" the Physician . . . was being paid £42-45 Myers became the physician to the Aldersgate Street Dispensary (at Shaftesbury House, 36 Aldersgate). One letter survives at the Scottish National Archives in which Myers wrote to Lord MacDonald, the Vice- President of the Dispensary (Baron MacDonald of Sleat; he became the 37 William Nisbet, Authentic memoirs , biographical , critical , and literary , of the most eminent physi- cians and surgeons of Great Britain: with a choice collection of their prescriptions , an account of the medical charities of the metropolis , &amp;c. (London: Printed for Sherwood, Neely &amp; Jones [et al.], 1818), 199-203- 38 See n. 16. A new biographical dictionary of 3000 cotemporary [sic] public characters , British and foreign , of all ranks and professions, 2nd ed. (London: Printed for Geo. B. Whittaker, 1825), Vol. 2: 863. 39 Munk's Rolls, Vol. 2: 376. 40 In Transactions of the JfHSE, / 955-59 J9 (i960): opp. 104; and in Massil, "Two Hebrew Grammar Books", 124. 41 Finóla Hickey, "The Library of the Medical Society of London, 1773-1969", (Aberystwyth, College of Librarianship, 1969), 51. 42 Levy, "Origins of Scottish Jewry", 139. 43 R. N. Salaman, "Ephraim Luzzatto, 1729-92", Transactions of the jf HS E 9, 1918-20 (1922): 85-99- 44 Albert M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England: A History of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish C ommunity 14Q2-1951 (London, 1991), 368. 45 bid., 220. 189</page><page sequence="12">Stephen W. Massil President before he died in 1795) in 1793 asking him to sign an enclosed proxy in favour of Dr Walker's candidacy for a vacancy.46 As a Freemason, and having enjoyed Edinburgh medical club society, Myers joined the Caledonian in 1785 (but one should also reflect on the pres- ence of a Scottish lodge in the Minories at this time of Wilkesite anti-British posturing, one of the underlying messages of Wilkes's campaign for "Liberty").47 In 1787, "at the quarterly meeting of the College of Physicians, Dr Joseph Hart Myers of Crutched Friars, admitted Licentiate" 48 His letters to the World in May 178849 underpin the reference to Dr Myers "of the Finsbury Dispensary" and help chart his progress. By 1791 he was one of the physicians to the (Royal) Cumberland Free-Masons' School,50 founded by the Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini in 1788 (later the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls) and patronized by the Duchess of Cumberland, where the Duke favoured the Royal Naval Asylum at Greenwich after 1805. What remains untraced are Myers's private patients although I hazard a guess that Levi Barent Cohen must have been one of them (see below). Myers figures, however, early on at least, in the records of the Old Bailey in 1789, in the case of a man held for theft but apparently suffering from delirium and insanity, and for which after some treatment Myers had secured for him a ticket to St Luke's. The case is interesting in itself as an example of the hearing of medical evidence and the contemporary legal appreciation of "insanity" but in the record the testimony of Benjamin De Castro working alongside Myers gives an idea of the presence of Jewish medical men of the time and the scope of Myers's practice with his younger fellows.51 His involvement in the public sphere may be judged by his participation as a "steward" at Masonic and other events, anniversary sermons and dinners of public bodies of which he was a representative figure: the Royal Cumberland Free-Mason School52, the Lying-in Charity for Delivering 46 Letter of 1 July 1793, NRAS 3273/52/1 - Clan Donald Lands Trust, Skye (#523/1). 47 J. H. Shaftesley, "Jews in English Regular Freemasonry 1717-1860", Transactions of theJHSE 25(1971): 184. 48 Whitehall Evening Post (23 June 1787), among other reports. 49 World , London, Tuesday, 1 April 1788, "Election" notice as physician, and Saturday, 5 April 1788, "thanks to his supporters for his success and appointment". 50 Reece, Public characters , Vol. 4 (1820): 345. 51 Proceedings of the Old Bailey , Ref: 117890603-90, No. 494, 3 June 1789: John Glover, Theft. The case features in extenso in J. P. Eigen, "'I answer as a physician': Opinion as Fact in pre- McNaughtan Insanity Trials", in Legal Medicine in History, ed. M. Crawford and C. Clarke (Cambridge, 1994), 172-74 and J. P. Eigen, Witnessing Insanity: Madness and Mad-doctors in the English Court (New Haven, CT, 1995), 198. 52 Royal Cumberland Free-Mason School Instituted for the Maintenance and Education of the Female Children and Orphans of Indigent Masons, 18 March 1 791, St Bride's. 190</page><page sequence="13">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family Poor Married Women at their Habitations,53 anniversary dinners of the General Dispensary at the London Tavern54 and others. John Coakley Lettsom (1744-1815) In association with John Coakley Lettsom, a Quaker, also of transatlantic origin, and others, Myers was part of the breakaway group from the Medical Society that formed in 1805 the Medical and Chirurgical Society (which became in due course the Royal Medical Society). He was one of Lettsom's colleagues in the venture to establish the Sea-Bathing Infirmary at Margate from 1791 in conjunction with colleagues of the Humane Society.55 Alongside them Myers also solicited funds for the Naval Asylum and had a presence at the Crown &amp; Anchor (in the Strand) where the Committee of the Asylum used to meet in 1800-01 .56 Active with the Asylum in its early days at Paddington, and as its Auditor at Greenwich, was the Reverend Dr Thomas Brooke Clarke (1757?- 1833), who figures from 1822 as Maria Hart Myers's father-in-law. The Asylum features in Anglo-Jewish history on account of its early support by the Goldsmids and others and by the fact that the business of the arrival of Admiral Sir Sidney Smith and several other gen- tlemen at Levi Barnet Cohen's hearth in August 1805 found Judith Cohen holding forth on the ceremonies of Tisha' be-Av, as discussed by Louis Loewe,57 without cognizance of the financial business intended - support for the Naval Asylum under arrangements transferring it from Paddington to Greenwich at this time. It is possible that the Myers family met the Clarkes, Soanes and others at Margate on their summer holidays there where Myers, like Lettsom, would have put in professional appearances at the Infirmary and Dr Clarke would have had charge as "Governor" of George FitzErnest, the Duke of Cumberland's son. In specific recreational terms, the clubability of the medical men of Lettsom's day, and under Lettsom's inspiration, may be seen in the forma- tion of the Athletae colleagues who met in summer at Lettsom's country home (Grove Hill, Camberwell) for leap-frog, bowls and outdoor exercises, and in winter at their respective homes for chess; they were kept at it by Dr Babington (of Tottenham) following Lettsom's death in 181 5. 58 Myers's 53 "Anniversary Sermon", 27 April 1794, All Hallows, Lombard Street, as also Meyer Cohen and Samuel Whitbread on this occasion; in 1788, Michael Jacobs served as a steward. 54 E.g. the Tenth Anniversary, 12 March 1789. 55 Hunting, Medical Society of London , 66. 56 Geoffrey L. Green, The Royal Navy and Anglo-Jewry, 1/40-1820: Traders and Those who Served (London, 1989), 80. 57 Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Monte fiore, ed. Dr Louis Loewe (London: Griffith Farran Okeden &amp; Welsh, 1890), Vol. 1: 3-4. 58 J.J. Abraham, Lettsom: His Life, Times , Friends and Descendants, (London, 1933), 415. 191</page><page sequence="14">Stephen W. Massil name always appears in records mentioning the group but as yet no instance of their gathering at his house has come to light - where perhaps the Misses Myers played on the grand pianoforte to delight the assembled company. That Miss Lettsom also possessed a Broadwood and records of its servicing appear immediately alongside those referring to Myers's instrument in the Broadwood archive59 can only re-inforce the associations of these men. Lettsom was apparently the physician to Abraham Goldsmid.60 Smallpox David Ruderman has shown that rabbinical awareness of the varying tech- niques for curing and preventing smallpox came to a head in Europe follow- ing the publication of a tract, Aleh terufah , by Abraham ben Solomon, of Hamburg (that is, R. Abraham ben Solomon Nanzig) of the Beth HaMedrash in London in 178561 and he gives an account of Jewish doctors among the ear- liest practitioners of inoculation at Prague and elsewhere.62 As I have suggested and confirmed by both Nisbet and Reece, Myers did not publish on medical subjects after the first flush of his studies in Paris in 1780. Nevertheless, he was a pioneer in his time and among his highly impor- tant roles was that of running from his surgery (if that is not too modern a term) at John Street one of the early Jennerian stations for inoculation against small- pox from about 1803, a detail not noticed by Ruderman. Myers necessarily had a voice in the debate promoted by Nanzig just at the time of his taking up his career in London. Nanzig discusses "variolation", which presumably was also behind Mrs Hardcastle's comment in She Stoops to Conquer of 1773 ("I vow, since inoculation began, there is no such to be seen as a plain woman"63), urging rabbinical permission for its introduction. Nanzig's publisher was the firm of Alexander whose activities were later supported by the Committee (see below) but there is no extant record of professional exchange among Myers, the Beth HaMedrash and Rabbi Tevele Schiff on the subject; in that actions speak loudest, Myers's adherence to the Jennerian method at the earliest date 59 Broadwood archives, Surrey History Centre, Woking. 60 Green, Royal Navy, 85. 61 Aleh terufah: mutar le-hishtamesh bi-terufah hadashah mi-rofe zemanenu . . . [le-hatir... ha- harkavah neged ha-aba 'abu 'ot ... ]: perek ehad me-resh masekhet Berakhot , mi-mah she-hanani H. al mishnayot ... ve-' od bah shelishť . . . mi-divre agadah she-darashti be-makhelot , Avraham ben Shelomoh Hamburg yekhuneh Avraham Nansikh (London: Alexander ben Judah and his son Judah Leib ben Alexander, 1785), 23 fols., Part I: "Treatise of the legal permissibility of vacci- nation (for smallpox)". 62 D. B. Ruderman, "Some Jewish Responses to Smallpox Prevention in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries: A New Perspective on the Modernization of European Jewry", Aleph 2 (2002): 1 1 1-44. 63 Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer , or the mistakes of a night (London, 1773): Act II, 40. 192</page><page sequence="15">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family - 1803, when the Jennerian stations were first opened in London - shows him involved at the forefront of public medicine of the day. Also of note in Myers's professional career is that a succession of medical men seem to have resided at the house in John Street, America Square into the 1850s. This makes Dr Myers and the medical presence in the Minories of specific interest; Andrew Holman was at No. 10 John-Street by 1845, 64 which suggests that the house enjoyed a degree of suitability for the purpose in those days. Gout Contemporary references to gout and its effects under treatment, of asthma, came to include a substantial account of Myers's travails in this condition, which were widely reported and repeated in the literature of the time. The Hon. Basil Cochrane (1753-1826), recently returned from India and made wealthy as a Madras civil servant and Royal Navy contractor, established a charitable steam bath in his mansion at 12 Portman Square in 1809 and pub- lished a pamphlet on the subject.65 Myers experienced Cochrane's Bath as an early candidate and wrote enthusiastically about it. The pamphlet was reviewed in the New Medical and Physical Journal in 181566 where his letter of June 1809 to Cochrane was quoted in extenso 67 and became embedded in writings on the subject for many years: Dear Sir: - Your very polite attention to me, and the very beneficial, as well as agreeable accommodation your kindness has afforded me, by the use of your invaluable and improved vapour bath, when suffering under severe lameness and indisposition from late and repeated attacks of the gout, demand from me my most particular acknowledgment. The utility of the bath to invalids, of various diseases, is too obvious to urge me to enter into a minute detail of your very useful invention. By your machinery, vapour of any degree of heat, whether medicated or not, may be conveyed with facility and comfort to any part affected, and when required, to the whole body. Every one conversant with the innumerable ills which await the human frame, must have deplored, with me, the difficulty, the inconvenience, the loss of time, and in some cases, the impossibility of obtaining a warm water bath in 64 List of the "National Association of General Practitioners", The Lancet 1, no. 5 (1845), 130. 65 B. Cochrane, An improvement in the mode of administering the vapour bath , and in the apparatus con- nected with it: with plans of fixed and portable baths for hospitals and private houses , and some prac- tical suggestions on the efficacy of vapour , in application to various diseases of the human frame , and as may be beneficial to the veterinary branch of medicine: the whole illustrated by eleven plates (London: printed for John Booth, 1809). 66 New Medical and Physical Journal, or, Annals of medicine , natural history , and chemistry , conducted by W. Shearman, J. Johnson and S. Palmer (London: printed by William Thorne etc., 1815), X, No. 57: 62-66. 67 Ibid., 64-65. 193</page><page sequence="16">Stephen W. Massil a sick bed room; and, when obtained, how insufficient and difficult the man- agement!. All this is effectually obviated by your ingenious contrivance. . . . After eighteen weeks of painful confinement to my chamber, by a most unre- lenting fit of the gout, I was induced, by your invitation, and the persuasion of several of my medical friends, to be put into my carriage to inspect your vapour bath. I saw it, approved it, and immediately used it, and repeated it for eight times, about the heat of 120 degrees of Fahrenheit. On my first trial, I was directly solaced and eased from pain, and am now enabled to pursue my wonted and professional occupations with ease and comfort. I can now, without assistance, get into and out of my carriage, though, on my first visit to you, I was unable to do either without much help, and it was with difficulty, and, by the use of crutch-sticks, that I got through your hall. I am, therefore, fully satisfied of the excellence of your bath and its general utility in a variety of complaints, to which the animal economy is subject, when judi- ciously administered. But I will now conclude this long letter, without adding any thing more on the subject, as I trust the world will soon be in possession of your plan, such will indeed be a blessing to the suffering part of the community, which, by due management, may, and will become a lasting benefit to mankind . . . John Street, America Square, June 6, 1809 One of the more widely used of the medicines of the General Dispensary was the eau médicinale, a fashionable nostrum for gout which Myers under persua- sion took up on a systematic basis, finding it indeed beneficial "with a certain alleviation". Nisbet refers in particular to Dr Edwin Godden Jones (1778- 1842) and Dr John Cunningham Saunders (1773-1810) among Myers's col- leagues in respect of these treatments and is poignant in respect of the curtail- ment of Myers's circle and activities: "In consequence of his use of this medicine, Dr. Myers, has been enabled to pursue as usual his career of business among his friends, though not to extend his circle much beyond it."68 That its basis was colchium (from the autumn crocus), and a source from which modern colchicine is still used to treat gout, vindicates Myers and his colleagues.69 Jewish affairs Myers's membership (still alongside his father) of the Great Synagogue is first recorded in 1785;70 apart from his involvement with the Beth Holim of Bevis Marks, he was also invited to reorganize the Talmud Torah, Sha' are 68 Nisbet, Authentic memoirs , 202. 69 Hunting, Medical Society of London , 76. 70 C. Roth, "The Membership of the Great Synagogue, London, to 1791", Miscellanies of the jf HS E 6(1962): 180 and 183. 194</page><page sequence="17">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family Tikvah in 1788. He also came to serve as the Warden of the Great Synagogue in his own right in the new building of 1788-90 to which his late father had contributed. Myers was one of the gentlemen who established, under the leadership of the Goldsmids, the Jews' Hospital, Mile End (Neve h Tsedek) in 180671 and was its first Physician, alongside Joshua van Oven as the first Surgeon. This is Endelman's sole reference to him.72 Yet he was active with the Talmud Torah of the Great Synagogue so he figures also in the histories of the Jews' Free School, retiring through ill-health as its President in 181 5;73 Gerry Black records his name as the first of the Vice-Presidents inscribed on the School's foundation stone, "laid on 10 May 1821".74 Picciotto refers to some effort by Benjamin Goldsmid and Myers to secure financial support for David Levi's publishing programme in the 1780s,75 as attested by Levi's sub- scription list in the Lingua Sacra of 1787: Myers is down as both a patron associated with the Benevolent Society for the Encouragement of Literature established by Joshua van Oven and Levi Barent Cohen to support Levi's programme, and as one of its subscribers.76 Myers is one of several Jewish subscribers, alongside Joshua van Oven and others to Isaac Delgado's New English translation of the Pentateuch , of 1789.77 The publication of Nanzig's Aleh Terufah predates this. This venture appears to have culminated in the new, fourth edition of Alexander's Haggadah , "corrected and revised from the former editions, including that of the late David Levi", replete with illus- trations, geographical notes and maps and published with a list of subscribers in 1806. (S. M. Samuel, of Christopher Street, Finsbury Square, and P. M. Samuel, ditto, as also Moses Samuel, of the Crescent, Minories, the in-laws of Leah Myers, are among the subscribers to this plush issue.)78 71 Illustrated in The Gentleman s Magazine (December 1819): pt. 1, 489. 72 Todd M. Endelman, The Jews of Georgian England , 1714-1830, (Ann Arbor, 1999), 236. 73 Salmond S. Levin, "The Origins of the Jews' Free School", Transactions of theJHSE, 7955-59, 19 (i960): 97. See also David S. Katz, The Jews in the History of England, 1485-1850, (Oxford, 1997), 366-68, 373-75- 74 G. Black, JFS: A History of the School (London, 1998), 38. 75 James Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History . Revised and edited , with a prologue , notes , and an epilogue by Israel Finestein (London, 1956), 243. Ruderman does not substantiate this (private communication); see also Ruderman, Jewish Enlightenment , for the Anglo-Jewish intellectual milieu of the late 18th century and the Regency. 76 David Levi, Lingua Sacra: in three parts (London: Printed by W. Justins, Albion-Buildings, Bartholomew-Close, for the author; and sold by J. Parsons; and all booksellers in town and country, 1787); list of subscribers in Part III. 77 Isaac Delgado, A New English translation of the Pentateuch: being a thorough correction of the present translation wherever it deviates from the genuine sense of the Hebrew expressions . . . proving the valid- ity of such emendations by critical remarks and illustrations . . . together with a comment on such pas- sages as cannot be sufficiently understood by a mere translation (London: printed for the author; and sold by W. Richardson, 1789). Discussed by Ruderman Jewish Enlightenment , 226-28. 78 Hagadah she I Pesah: or , Service for the two first nights of Passover: . . .faithfully translated from the original Hebrew by A. Alexander (London: printed for and by L. Alexander, 1806). 195</page><page sequence="18">Stephen W. Massil Private life and family Myers not long settled in London after his travels, married firstly a widow, "Mrs Salmons of Crutched Friars", on 6 April 178579 but had no children by her. Their union carries some additional interest in that Joseph, at that date the son of a Warden of the Great Synagogue and recently appointed by the Spanish &amp; Portuguese Jews' Congregation to serve as their physician and to oversee their school, in marrying Jane (née Diamantschliefer) the widow, as it appears, of "Jacob Salomons, Merchant of George Street, Minories",80 was associating himself with the family of the leaders of the Hambro Synagogue in Magpie Alley, Fenchurch Street. They lived in Jane Salomons's home at George-Street, Minories (not far from the Myers family home in John Street, America Square), as confirmed by the subscription notice in the Lingua Sacra . In her will, Jane Myers (1752-1786) refers to the "effects of her late husband Jacob Salomons" and names Joseph, her husband, and Levi Barent Cohen (the husband successively of her older sisters Fanny and Lydia) along with Eleazer Philip Salomons, her brother-in-law, of Bury Street, St Mary Axe, as her executors.81 For once, The Gentleman's Magazine allowed itself an extended death notice for Jane Myers: "In Crutched Friars, in her thirty-fourth year, Mrs Jane Myers, wife of Dr. M. Physician to the Finsbury Dispensary. She sus- tained with exemplary fortitude, with calm, gentle resignation, a lingering and painful illness. Her memory will be appreciated while humanity and benevolence are commended. The distressed repine, the orphan suffers, as she was effectually the cherished friend of both."82 The importance of Myers's associations with Levi Barent Cohen (1747-1808) cannot be overestimated; I suggest that Myers would have acted as the physician to Cohen himself and perhaps the families associated with him. The connections come through these social matters, the fact that his daughter Rebecca married Cohen's son Isaac (1791-1845; see below) and that Isaac acted as an executor to both Myers and to his widow in due course and also extend to involvements with communal charitable affairs and with the Naval Asylum, at least in its Paddington days if not also at Greenwich from 1805, as discussed by G. L. Green.83 79 The Times , 9 April 1785: "On Wednesday was married Dr Myers of John Street"; "By the rev. Dr Schiff of the Great Synagogue, Dr J. Hart Myers, to Mrs Solomons, a widow lady", Gentleman's Magazine 55 (6 April 1785): 323. The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser , 7 April 1785: "marriage to Mrs Solomons, a widow lady, of the most amiable accomplishments and possessed of a fortune of 7000L". 80 See his Will of 21 August 1783, PROB 1 1/1 107 (PCC). 81 Proved 5 October 1786, PROB 1 1 / 1 146 (PCC). 82 Gentleman's Magazine 56 (29 September 1786): 908. 83 Green, Royal Navy , 78-86. 196</page><page sequence="19">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family Secondly, Myers married Leah Jacobs (1770?-! 832), the daughter of Michael Jacobs of Mansel-Street, Goodman' s-Fields, who features in an oft- cited court case, "Jacobs v. Goodman" of 179 1, whose details (and longevity84) I cannot begin to comprehend but its aftermath figures at a critical point in 1842 (see below). They were married at the Great Synagogue in May 1792.85 Leah's younger sister Katharine (1778?-! 829) married Phineas Samuel there in 1804 and their daughter Sarah Cohen (1810-1879) features in the wills of both Joseph and Leah and in the family circle. One of Dr Myers's collabora- tions with Abraham Goldsmid arose in connection with the executorship of Leah's mother Sarah Jacobs's will in 1803.86 Joseph and Leah had two daugh- ters, Rebecca (1793) and Maria (1794).87 A son, Naphtali Hart, was born in 1796 but the infant died in July 1797 as recorded in the press and at Peckham,88 which is suggestive of a recommendation by Dr Lettsom of the salubrity of the neighbourhood; I have no evidence of any family members res- ident there. The detail itself appearing in the press is indicative of Myers's fame in the capital. On the birth of his son, Myers also took the trouble to record his three children's births in the Parish register on 12 June 1796: - Rebecca Hart Myers was born in this Parish on the 13th of Feby 1793 - Maria Hart Myers was born in this Parish on the 10th of March 1794 - Naphtaly Hart Myers was born in this Parish on the 21st of May 1796 These Births are here registered at the express Desire of the Parents Dr Joseph Hart Myers &amp; Leah Hart Myers who, professing the Jewish Religion, judge such insertion may prove useful to Children hereafter . . ,89 Naphtali Hart Myers died in October 1788. Carrying out his father's will, Joseph resolved the problem of the "estates in the North American colony of Connecticut" in correspondence between 1789 and 1795, relying on his friend Benjamin S. Judah acting on his behalf and, as I have said, Judah coming to Europe in 1796-98 gave Alexander Hamilton Myers's address as his London post restante . Naphtali's widow Hester, née Moses (1730-1812), subsequently remarried in April 1789: John Tharkrah was an alemaster of Tooley Street in the Borough and of Isleworth. She had removed herself, it appears, to Barnes and without much ado in funeral and bereavement.90 This is the "Mrs Thackary" 84 Cited in English Law Reports : 282 Jacobs v. Goodman, in Exchequer, Nov. 16, 179 1. 3-Bro 386, Note 2, C.C. 486, note, 2 Cox, 282, Cas. In Equity PI. 221. 85 Great Synagogue Marriage Registers 5/3 1792. 86 Sarah Jacobs, widow, of Goodman's Fields, February 1803, PROB 1 1/1 136. 87 Great Synagogue Birth Registers 1793, 1 5-9 and 1794, 21-1. 88 Oracle and Public Advertiser, London, Friday 21 July 1797. 89 Registers of the Parish of St Olave, Hart Street, 1796. 90 Hester Myers of Barnes m. John Thackrah, 4 April 1789: Gentleman's Magazine , April 1789. This is a correction to a surmise in one of my earlier papers. 197</page><page sequence="20">Stephen W. Massil mentioned in Judith Montefiore's "Honeymoon diary" of 1812 when she records on 17 June a week after her marriage that "Dr Myers paid us a visit of congratulation. We were deprived of the pleasure of his company on account of the recent death of his mother Mrs Thackary who died at the age of 82."91 More could be said of Joseph's sister Rebecca Hart Myers (1756-1803) because her will gives an address at Tooley Street in the Borough and her burial was in a Christian grave at Bunhill Fields; his brother Simeon (1765-1803) gained admission to Clement's Inn in 179492 but was married in 1796 to a widow in Cheltenham who bore him a son, John Matthew Powell Myers (1801-1869). In Cheltenham, Simeon enjoyed a reputation with horses and as the tenant of Grove Cottage whose salubrious setting is evoked by Thomas Dibdin in his History of Cheltenham .93 He died in August 1803 and was buried at Twickenham; his executor named as George Tharkrah would have been his mother's husband's brother or nephew. Myers's daughter Rebecca made a proper marriage to Isaac, a family favourite, the son of Levi Barent Cohen in 181894 but died young in 1819. His daughter Maria, left alone with the Broadwood, made what looks like a hasty marriage, for Myers made his will on 30 April 1822 promising great substance to Maria who on 21 June married Loftus Longueville Tottenham Clarke, M.A., F.R.S., Barrister of Lincoln's Inn95 and went with him to Calcutta in July where he served at the Supreme Court of Bengal until his death in 1863. Myers in a codicil of 22 April 1823 (and I suggest by these dates that one or other, or a day in that week, was probably Myers's birth- day), referring to "reflection on the late events of my daughter's marriage", reduced his offerings to her. In Calcutta, Maria bore seven children, of whom four survived to adulthood, but left India with her youngest daughter Tempe around 1842, at a point coinciding (or not) with one of the Chancery announcements in respect of the residues of "Jacobs v. Goodman" of 179 1 seeking contact with the heirs.96 In 1843 Longueville Clarke made what appears to have been his only return to England from Calcutta during in his forty-year career at the Supreme Court in Bengal but it was at that time that one of their sons was at Harrow and both his brother-in-law Daniel Robertson (d. 1849), the architect, and his nephew Daniel Brooke Robertson 91 L. Wolf, "Lady Montefiore's Honeymoon", Essays in Jewish History by Lucien Wolf; with a memoir , ed. Cecil Roth (London, 1934), 244-45. 92 Cecil Carr, "The Pension Book of Clifford's Inn", Seiden Society 78 (1060): loo. 93 T. F. Dibdin, The History of Cheltenham: and account of its environs: containing an inquiry into the discovery and properties of the mineral waters . . . (Cheltenham, printed and published by H. Ruff, 1803), 66-67. 94 Great Synagogue Marriage Registers 1 80/33: Rebecca is described as 'daughter of the Warden'. 95 Records of St Andrew's, Holborn, 2 1 June 1 822, by Licence; one of the witnesses was her cousin John Matthew Powell Myers. 96 The record does not appear to yield a tangible outcome. 198</page><page sequence="21">Dr Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) and his family (1810-1881), a recent graduate of Lincoln's Inn, were both separately going through the bankruptcy courts. From this time Maria led a peripatetic life at smart hotels in France and England, dying after a sojourn in Pau (as an hivernante britannique for her health) in Paris in November 1868. A detail I have found since the publica- tion of my paper on her as "The Lady of Longueville Clarke"97 is that she was buried on 19 November 1868 at the West Norwood Cemetery, close by, as it happens, the grave of her sister-in-law Amelia Helen Robertson (1791/2-1869), buried there in March 1869 by her daughters, probably unaware of the family relation. Death and will Myers died - still a victim of the gout, one has to say - in June 1823. 98 His widow, Leah, remained at John-Street, America Square until 1829, at which point her sister Katharine and husband Phineas Moses Samuel (of Christopher Street, Finsbury Square) having both died and her niece Sarah having married her former son-in-law Isaac Cohen as his second wife, she moved to York Terrace, Marylebone, having lived in the Square for 37 years. The granddaughter of Isaac and Sarah was Hannah Rothschild (1851-1890), who married Archibald Primrose (later the Earl of Rosebery) in 1879. Sarah was named as one of the executors to Maria's will in 1868, in which she refers to her "beloved father". The will of Doctor Joseph Hart Myers, Doctor of Medicine of John Street America Square, City of London is dated 3 July 1823," drawn up on 30 April 1822; there are family bequests to his wife and nephew John, also to his daughter Maria his "Grand piano fforte" and £2000, as well as rents and div- idends and long-term communal and neighbourhood benevolence - all of this is in his daughter's respect revoked and revised by a codicil of April 1823 on it seems her marriage to an unnamed husband in respect of whom Myers endeavoured to limit the sums and terms under which his daughter was to benefit. The physician Thomas South wood Smith (1788-1861) of Trinity Square was one of the witnesses to the will and the executors include Jacob Jacobs of Cullum Street, Myers's brother-in-law. The will of Leah, his widow, then of St Marylebone, is dated 17 October 1832 and mentions Maria's husband and includes bequests to Maria's children and the disposal of "my long red India shawl", which may have been a peace-offering from Maria when she brought the grandchildren from Calcutta in 1827. 100 97 Massil, '"The Lady of Longueville Clarke'". 98 Gentleman's Magazine, (1823), ist June, p. 187 99 PROB 11/1673 (PCC). 100 PROB 1 1 / 1806 (PCC). 199</page></plain_text>

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