top of page
< Back

Jews and the English Stage, 1667-1850

Alfred Rubens

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jews and the English Stage, 1667-1850* ALFRED RUBENS, F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S. Preliminary The prominence of Jews in the field of enter? tainment is a phenomenon around which a considerable literature has grown up. One of Lucien Wolf's first efforts in journalism was an article entitled 'Jewish Actors/ in the St. James1 Gazette of 27 August 1885, republished in the Jewish Chronicle for 26 May 1893 with the title 'Astley's Jews', and I cannot resist quoting the beginning ofthat article both for its content and style: 'The Hebrew has been the classic mime of the world's history and the Jewish actor is the final product of the procrustean bed of the Hebrew Diaspora.' The emergence of the Jew as a popular entertainer seems to stem from certain features of Jewish social life mainly connected with weddings and festivals. On the Continent the seven-day feast in celebration of a wedding was accompanied by continuous musical performances as well as the presentation of Hebrew plays specially written for the occasion and a marshalik, or jester, was invariably present. In England also, music used to be a feature of Jewish weddings. Barnett Isaacson, who had conducted for Paganini, interviewed in 1900 when he was 90, recalled how he had started his career as a musician: 'First we went to the bride's house and played there, then to the bridegroom's and performed for his benefit, and then we went to the wedding room, Jewish weddings being generally held at Howard's Coffee House in Dukes Place or at the "Green Man" in Stepney . . . There was a regular Chupah march which we played when the bride took her place under the canopy.' He also recalled the gift of a cigar from the Chief Rabbi, Solomon Hirschel, as a special mark of appreciation after one of his per? formances.1 A recent example of the rise of a star from the same kind of background is furnished by the career of Danny Kaye, who gained his early experience working for hotels in the U.S.A. catering for Jewish weddings known as the 'Borsht Belt'. Plays in Hebrew or Yiddish were specially written and performed for Purim and Simchat Torah. The Ahasuerus-Spiel in Yiddish for Purim, which reached its peak in the eighteenth century, had gradually developed over many years. The six-day Jews' Fair, as it was called, to celebrate Purim, held annually in Duke's Place by permission of the City of London authorities, provided a wide range of enter? tainment, including plays. (J. T. Smith, Ancient Topography of London, 1810, pp. 20 and 21) Many Jewish musicians undoubtedly found their inspiration in the synagogue and the cyclopaedist Abraham Rees (1743-1825) did not exaggerate when he stated: Tn the principal capitals of Europe wherever there is a synagogue we have generally found a vocal performer or two who sang in the Italian manner and in exquisite taste.'2 Audiences Jews were inveterate theatre-goers and their presence in London audiences was already noticeable in the eighteenth century, being referred to in the epilogue to Frederick Reynolds's 'The Dramatist', performed at * Paper delivered to the Jewish Historical Society of England on 13 June 1973. I have to thank Miss Sybil Rosenfeld for giving me the benefit of her vast knowledge of the history of the theatre, Mr. John Shaftesley for much valuable advice, and Mr David Garrington for tracing a number of references in the Jewish Chronicle. 1 Jewish Chronicle, 14 December 1900, p. 21. 2 Isaac Nathan, Musurgia Vocalis, London, 1836, p. 116. In his list of Jewish musicians Nathan mistakenly includes Manual Garcia (1805-1906), Henry Phillips, (1801-1876), who was half Jewish, and Paganini. 151</page><page sequence="2">152 Alfred Rubens Covent Garden on 15 May 1789, from which the following is an extract: 'What an overflowing House, methinks I see! Here, Box-keeper, are these my Places? No, Madam Van Bulk has taken all that Row; Then I'll go back?you can't?you can, she fibs, Keep down your Elbows, or you'll break my Ribs; Zounds, how you squeeze! Of what do you think one made is ? Is this your Wig ? No, it's that there Lady's. Then the Side-Boxes, what delightful Rows! Peers, Poets, Nabobs, Jews, and 'Prentice Beaux.'3 Audience participation was a feature of the London theatre until the middle of the nineteenth century. Managers did their utmost to avoid the violent and riotous scenes which an unpopular play could produce and the gradual change from the evil Jewish stereotype set by the sixteenth-century dramatists was partly due to the influence of Jews among the audiences, even if sometimes they were unduly sensitive. A case in point arose out of the performance of Dibdin's opera, 'Family Quarrels', at Covent Garden on 18 December 1802. A song sung by Mr. Fawcett called 'The Ladies' referred to Jewish prostitutes, while the actor himself had taken on a Jewish dis? guise. On the other hand, John Braham had a leading part. After the rehearsal, Dibdin, having been warned by a friend, a Jewish lady from Rochester, that the Jews objected strongly to the song and would do their best to stop the show, published the following announcement: 'The author of the new opera, with implicit deference, assures the public, he never entertained the remotest idea of giving offence to any class of society by the intro? duction of a character, which was not that of a Jew, but an assumed disguise, and which, had there been no interruption arising from misconception, would have appeared as no more intended to convey disrespect than were either the parts of Ephraim in "the School for Prejudice", or Abednego in "The Jew and Doctor", which have hitherto been honoured with the most flattering and general approbation.'4 Despite this announcement the Jews demon? strated so violently for the first two nights that Dibdin was obliged to withdraw the offending song. The Jews' behaviour was strongly criticised by the Monthly Mirror, which re? minded them of 'our impartiality by the most lavish encouragement and enthusiastic admira? tion of Mr. Braham's very astonishing vocal powers'.5 Rowlandson, in his caricature 'Family Quarrels or The Jews and the Gentile', published a month later, 25 January 1803 (see Plate VII), rather misses the point by treating the incident as arising out of the rivalry between Braham and the singer Charles Incledon. Shakespeare's 'Merchant of Venice' seems to have been accepted without any protest and in fact when it was produced at Covent Garden in July 1817, Sherenbeck, a Jew of Rochester, took the part of Shylock in the lisping dialect of the stage Jew. This innovation was not a success and The Theatrical Inquisitor commented: 'Mr Sherenbeck's exposition of Shylock . was neither sound nor orthodox and the equipment of this Jew in the dialect of his tribe seemed equally absurd and ineffective. His enunciation was painfully correct and divested of every claim to professional merit.'6 On the other hand, the Jews are said to have boycotted the London theatres for a whole season in protest against the revival of Mar? lowe's 'The Jew of Malta' in April 1818. They had no chance to demonstrate at the first performance, which was on a Friday night, 3 Allardyce Nicoll, A History of English Drama 1660-1900, Vol. Ill, Late Eighteenth-Century Drama 1750-1800. Cambridge, 1952, p. 10, and see Trans. XXIII, p. 12. 4 The Reminiscences of Thomas Dibdin, London, 1827, Vol. 1, pp. 336-348. 5 Vol. 14, 1802, pp. 404-405. Vol. 15, 1803, p. 54. H. S. Wyndham, 7~fo? Annals of Covent Garden Theatre, London, 1906, pp. 290-291. 6 Vol. II, 1817, p. 70.</page><page sequence="3">Jews and the English Stage 1667-1850 153 and Edmund Kean playing the part of Barabas 'was rewarded by the plaudits of an overflowing house',7 but their opposition may explain why this antisemitic play was not revived for another century, the next production being at Daly's on 5 and 6 November 1922. The Jewish Stereotype From the time of Marlowe and Shakespeare there was an increasing tendency to introduce Jewish characters into plays, and 80 plays published in England between 1584 and 1820 contained at least one Jewish character, who was almost invariably portrayed in an evil light (see Plate V). Probably the most important influence to improve the stage Jewish stereotype was Richard Cumberland's play 'The Jew', pro? duced in 1794, which, for the first time, introduced a benevolent Jew in the person of Sheva. Its influence on public opinion went far beyond the stage and Anglo-Jewry's debt to Cumberland was recognised by a lecture in his memory given to this society by Louis Zangwill in 1911 on the centenary of his death.? Although the play was a success and was frequently revived and reprinted, the character of Sheva was still regarded as unrealistic as late as 1814. When the play was revived at Covent Garden on Saturday 7 May of that year, with Sherenbeck playing the part of Sheva, the Theatrical Inquisitor reported that 'the only plaudits proceeded from his own brethren', although they found the actor 'with many qualifications for the stage, his person manly, his intonation vigorous and distinct and his manner impressive'.9 The scurrilous monthly magazine, The Scourge, commented on Sherenbeck's perform? ance: 'report says that he is by birth and religious persuasion one of that class of people whose benevolence Cumberland sought to propitiate when he delineated a philanthropic Jew', and continued, 'the house indeed con? tained no small proportion of circumcised auditors who were inordinately clamorous in supporting their representative'.10 Jewish Playwrights Another important influence leading to the introduction of a less offensive Jewish stage type was the emergence of Jewish playwrights, although the first of these, Moses Mendez (d. 1758), took no part in Jewish life. Charles Zachary Barnett (known also as C. J. Barnett), a brother of John Barnett, the composer, wrote a number of plays, including 'The Rise of the Rothschilds' or 'The Honest Jew of Frankfort' (c. 1831), 'The Dream of Fate or Sarah the Jewess', performed 20 August 1838 at Sadler's Wells, and 'The Mariner's Dream' or 'The Jew of Plymouth', which was played at the Pavilion, Plymouth, on 23 October 1838." Morris Barnet wrote about a dozen plays between 1830 and 1850. Elizabeth Polack (b. 1794), a cousin of Francis Cohen (later Palgrave), wrote 'Esther, The Royal Jewess', a drama in three acts, performed at the Pavilion Theatre on 7 March 1835.12 Jewish theatre directors began to have an influence during the nineteenth century. The most important was Benjamin Lumley (1811-1875) (see Plate XIX, fig. 19), son of Louis Levy, who in 1841 took over control of the Haymarket Theatre and became one of the great opera directors. He introduced over thirty Italian operas to England, including Donizetti's 'Don Pasquale' and Verdi's 'La Traviata'.13 E. Barnett managed theatres at Bath, Croydon, and Newbury in 1833. John Braham built and managed the St. James's Theatre. Charles and Henry Sloman managed the Rochester Theatre from about 1834, and Barnett 7 Theatrical Inquisitor, April 1818, pp. 291-292. s Trans. VII, pp. 147ff. 9 Vol. 4, May 1814, p. 311. 10 Vol. 7, June 1814, p. 516. 11 M. J. Landa, The Jew in Drama, London, 1926, pp. 183-184. 12 Notes and Queries, 5th s., Vol. 1, pp. 288 and 415. 13 P. H. Emden, Jews of Britain, London, 1943, D.N.B., etc.</page><page sequence="4">154 Alfred Rubens Nathan managed Rosherville Gardens in the same town. One Maddox, who had changed his name from Medec, had been stage manager, acting manager, and general agent before taking over the management of the Princes Theatre in Oxford Street in the 1840s, with the financial help of the Duke of Brunswick.14 The Theatres The Licensing Act of 1737, which remained in force until 1843, created a monopoly for the performance of legitimate drama in favour of the three patent theatres, the Theatres Royal, Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and Haymarket, while the King's Opera House in the Hay market had a monopoly for opera. Other places of entertainment in London licensed by the Lord Chamberlain were allowed to put on variety and musical per? formances. They included Sadler's Wells, Islington (1765); The Lyceum in the Strand (1765); The Royalty, Ensign Street, White chapel, (1787); Sans Souci, Leicester Square (1796); Astley's Royal Amphitheatre, near Westminster Bridge, (1777); and Royal Circus, Blackfriars Road (1782). The two theatres most popular with Jewish audiences and players were the Royalty and Astley's. The Royalty Theatre, adjoining Wellclose Square, Goodman's Fields, was in an area where there had been several theatres, it was close to the Jewish quarter of Duke's Place, and according to William Clark Russell (1844-1911), son of the Jewish singer, Henry Russell, most of the patrons were Jews and there were always at least two Jewish members of the company. Braham sang at the opening performance on 20 June 1787; his teacher, Leoni, actually resided in Wellclose Square and the Jewish connections were probably strengthened when the theatre was taken over by Philip Astley's son in October 1800. Its name was changed to the East London Theatre in 1816 after renovation and again to the Royal Brunswick when reopened on 25 February 1828 after a fire. A week later it collapsed. Among the new theatres in the East End of London opened between 1800 and 1850 were Ducrow's New National Arena, Church Street, Whitechapel, opened 27 January 1834; Garrick's Subscription Theatre, Leman Street, Whitechapel, on the site of the old Goodman's Fields Theatre, opened 3 January 1831, damaged by fire in 1846, and rebuilt, later used as a music-hall; the Effingham Saloon, Whitechapel Road, opened 1843, rebuilt in 1867, and renamed the New East London Theatre. Managed at one time by Morris Abrahams, it was burned down in 1870. The Royal Pavilion, Whitechapel Road, E., opened on 10 November 1828, was burned down in 1856. It was rebuilt and was taken over in September 1871 by Morris Abrahams, to become the home of Yiddish drama. The Players Biographies of most of the important Jewish characters connected with the English stage will be found in the Dictionary of National Biography, Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, or the Jewish Encyclopaedia. They include the Abrams sisters, Harriet, Theodosia, and Eliza; John Barnett; Morris Barnett; Mrs Bland (nee Romanzini); John Braham; Jacob de Castro; Jacob Cervetto; C. A. Delpini; Rachel; Isaac and Rebecca Isaacs; Esther Jacobs; Henry Lazarus; Michael Leoni; Lyon Villiers Levy; Felix Mendels? sohn; Daniel Mendoza; Barnett and Isaac Nathan; Hannah Norsa; Giudetta Pasta; Henry Russell; and Charles and Henry Sloman. The notes which follow are mainly confined to material which has not hitherto been published or is not readily accessible. MRS MANUEL The date 1667 as my point of departure is somewhat fortuitous, since it stems from a few entries in Samuel Pepys's diary. 12 August 1667: Mrs Manuel, the Jew's wife formerly a player, who we heard sing with one of the Italians that was there and 14 E. Sherston, London's Lost Theatres of the 19th century, 1925, pp. 126, 133.</page><page sequence="5">Jews and the English Stage 1667-1850 155 indeed she sings mightily well and just after the Italian manner. 23 March 1668: Mrs Manuel sings very finely and is a mighty discreet sober carriaged woman that both my wife and I are mightily taken with her and sings well and without importunity or the contrary.15 (During 1667 and 1668 Pepys was several times in the company of Mr. and Mrs. Manuel.) HANNAH NORSA Nothing more is known about Mrs. Manuel, but the first authentic Jewish player was again a woman in the person of Hannah Norsa. She probably came to the notice of John Rich, the producer (1682 ?-1761), in the bar parlour of the 'Punch Bowl' tavern in Drury Lane, kept by her father. Rich had produced Gay's 'Beggar's Opera' for the first time in January 1728 at his theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. It was an enormous success and he revived it at his new Covent Garden theatre in December 1732. On the opening night, Saturday, 16 December, the part of Polly was played by 'Miss Norsa who never appeared on any stage before'. It was largely due to her performance that the opera had a continuous run until Janu? ary 10 and she remained the star attraction for many other performances, including one on Saturday, 1 December 1733, when it was played by Royal Command. On Monday, 19 May 1735, it was produced at the theatre in York Buildings, Villiers Street, for the benefit of Hannah and her brother, 'Master Norsa', who took the part of Macheath. This was not his first stage appearance. On 24 May 1734 he was in two plays with 'The Lilliputians' at the Tennis Court theatre in James Street, Haymarket. When Hannah was not playing in the 'Beg? gars' Opera' she was to be seen at Covent Garden in light opera and comedy. For her benefit at Covent Garden on Tuesday, 29 April 1735, her sister, 'Miss Norsa Junior', a dancer, made her first stage appearance and danced there again on 6 May 1735, but this is the last we hear of her nor do we hear any more of Master Norsa. Hannah herself made her last appearance on the stage as Phillida in 'Damon and Phillida' on 4 May 1736.16 She left the stage to become the mistress of Robert Walpole (1701-1751), who had been created Baron Walpole in 1723 and was the eldest son of Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, of Houghton in Norfolk, whom he succeeded in 1745. It is said that Robert satisfied Hannah's parents by promising to marry her on the death of his wife, who, however, survived him.17 Their association is referred to in several letters written by his brother, Horace Walpole, who also mentions a meeting with Hannah's father at Westminster Hall in 1746, when they were both occupying seats reserved for Robert during the trial of rebel lords. He writes, T was diverted too with old Norsa, the father of my brother's concubine, an old Jew that kept a tavern'. During her residence at Houghton Hannah met the wife of a local vicar, who in a letter to her sister dated 18 October 1749 writes: 'To tell you ye truth I made Mrs Norsa a vissit first my Lord ask'd me several times very kindly, I believe it was taken well for she soon return'd it . . . She is a very agreeable woman and nobody ever behaved better in her station, she have everybody's good word and bear great sway at Houghton, she is everything but lady, she came here in a landau and six horses and one Mr Paxton a young clergyman with her'. After Robert's death in 1751 at the early age of 50, Hannah lived with John Rich until his death in 1761. She herself is said to have died at an advanced age in 1785. The only contemporary portrait of Hannah Norsa is an etching by Bernard Lens of which the only example known is that in the British Museum (see Plate VI). A copy engraved by S. Harding appears in F. G. Waldron's Shakespearean Miscellany, 1802. A mezzotint engraving called 'Polly Peachum', exhibited at Heidelberg and reproduced in The Times, 9 July 1966, as a 15 H. B. Wheatley (ed.), The Diary of Samuel Pepys, London, 1896, Vol. VII, 66, 256, 372-373, 378, 397, 407. 16 A. H. Scouten, The London Stage 1600-1800, Part 3, 1729-1747. Carbondale, 111., 1961. 17 A similar story is told about Lavinia Fenton (1708-1760), who took the part of Polly in the original production of 'The Beggar's Opera'. She, however, was more fortunate and became Duchess of Bolton.</page><page sequence="6">156 Alfred Rubens newly discovered portrait of Hannah Norsa, is, in fact, an altered portrait of Princess Carolina, daughter of George II (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1888, p. 1075). References: Wm. Cooke, Memoirs of Samuel Foote, London, 1805, Vol. 3, pp. 82-83; F. G. Waldron, Shakespearean Miscellany, London, 1802, 'The English Stage', pp. 44-45 (with portrait); Horace Walpole\ Correspondence, Yale ed., Vol. 9, p. 109, Vol. 19, pp. 284-285, 419; A. Henriques Valentine, 'The Romance of Hannah Norsa', in the Jewish Guardian, 15 August 1930, p. 7; A. Hartshorne (ed.), Memoirs of a Royal Chaplain, London, 1905, p. 244. MICHAEL LEONI There is a considerable gap in time between Hannah Norsa and the next Jewish figure. He was a singer of some importance known in the synagogue as Meir Ben Judah Meir Lyon and on the stage as Myer or Michael Leoni. He made his debut at Drury Lane on 13 December 1760 as Kaliel in 'The Enchanter', a new musical entertainment written by Garrick. As recorded in Cross's diary, 'Master Leoni a Jew made his first appearance in this piece and was received with, great applause'. In 1767 he joined the choir of the Great Synagogue at a salary of ?40 per annum and, according to Hogarth, many people of distinction came to the synagogue to hear him sing. They included Charles Wesley. In the 1769-70 season he sang at Covent Garden in 'Harlequin's Jubilee', a new panto? mime which had a successful run of 30 per? formances. In the bill for the first night, Saturday, 27 January 1770, he is called Master Leoni; for subsequent performances he becomes Master Lion or Lyon, in which name he was paid 10 guineas on 29 May 1770, the close of the season. In the 1770-71 season he appeared once at the Haymarket on Monday, 1 October 1770. In 1771 he was engaged at the Grotto Gardens, St. George's Field, where he had his Benefit on Tuesday, 31 August 1771. Horace Walpole was enthusiastic about Leoni when he heard him sing at Aaron Franks's house at Isleworth in November 1774. Leoni is said to have been dismissed by the synagogue because of his connection with the stage and particularly because he sang in Handel's 'Messiah'. i? His first big part was that of Arbaces in Dr. T. A. Arne's opera, 'Artaxerxes', at Covent Garden on Tuesday, 25 April 1775. As Mr. Leoni, he appeared frequently in the same part during the 1775-76 season, the final performance on Saturday, 20 April 1776, being for his Benefit. The success of the 1775-76 season was R. B. Sheridan's opera, 'The Duenna', first staged at Covent Garden on Tuesday, 21 November 1775, which had a continuous run of 75 performances. Leoni by this time was regarded as the leading English tenor and in the part of Don Carlos (see Plate X, fig. 6) was as great an attraction as was Hannah Norsa in the part of Polly if we may judge by the street ballad, 'The Duenna or the Double Elopement, a new song to an old Tune': In the days of Gay, they sing and say, The town was full of folly: For all day long, its sole sing-song Was pretty, pretty Polly. So now-a-days, as it was in Gay's, The world's run mad again-a From morn to night its whole delight To cry up the Duenna. One half the town still talks of Brown The other of Leoni, While those sly curs, the managers, Keep pocketing the money . . . Don Carlos was originally intended to be a Jew but the part was altered by Sheridan out of consideration for Leoni and for the same reason the opera was not performed on Friday nights.19 On Tuesday, 23 January 1776, Leoni sang in a sacred oratorio at the Society of Artists' Exhibition Rooms in the Strand to raise money for the repair of a chapel in Crispin Street, Spitalfields. According to the bill, 'the performers are so obligingly generous as to 18 G. Hogarth, Memoirs of the Musical Drama, London, 1838, Vol. 2, p. 435. 19 T. Moore, Memoirs of the Life of. . . Richard Brinsley Sheridan, London, 1825, Vol. 1, pp. 167-171.</page><page sequence="7">Jews and the English Stage 1667-1850 157 give their services to promote the charity and Mr Leoni having obtained leave to sing, the Public may be assured of his performing his part in this oratorio'. Leoni sang on a number of occasions in Dublin, his first appearance there being at the Rotunda Gardens on 13 June 1777. In Septem? ber 1783 he and Tommaso Giordani announced that they had taken the New Theatre in Capel Street for the production of English opera during the ensuing winter season. The opening was postponed for various reasons, one being 'on account of Mr Leoni's not arriving from England till Saturday last' (6 December). When the theatre eventually opened on 18 December 1783 Leoni took one of the principal parts. In February 1784 a second season of English opera was announced under the same manage? ment but Leoni, realising perhaps that the venture was doomed, took his Benefit on March 2 and the following month was back at Covent Garden.20 When 'The Duenna' was revived at Covent Garden in 1787 Leoni was paid the top rate for a singer of ?10 per night (most actors received ten shillings to a pound per night; Macklin, the highest paid, received ?31). On Saturday, 21 April 1787, when 'The Duenna' was played for Leoni's Benefit, his pupil, John Braham, in his first appearance on the stage, sang two songs. The house receipts were ?278. Leoni, who sold the tickets, gave his address as 1 Wellclose Square, which must have been within a few yards of the Royalty Theatre, where he also made several appear? ances. Leoni left the stage to take up an appoint? ment as Hazan at the Ashkenazi Synagogue in Kingston, Jamaica. His tombstone in the Kingston Cemetery reads: 'Michael Leoni, principal reader of our congregation and one of the first singers of the age, died suddenly 6 November 1797.' References'. C. Roth, The Great Synagogue 1690-1940, London, 1950; The London Stage, Carbondale, 111., Part 4, pp. 1947, 1949, etc., and Part 5; M. Sands, 'John Braham, singer', in Trans. Vol. XX, pp. 204-205; Thespian Dictionary, London, 1805; D. Macmillan, Drury Lane Calendar 1747-1776, Oxford, 1938. THE ABRAMS SISTERS Harriet Abrams (b. 1760), the eldest of the three sisters (see Plate VIII), was also the most distinguished both as singer and composer. She was a pupil of Dr. T. A. Arne and made her debut at Drury Lane on Saturday, 28 October 1775, in 'May Day or The Little Gipsy', a musical farce by David Garrick, with music by Dr. Arne. Hopkins noted in his diary: 'This musical farce of one act was wrote by Mr Garrick on purpose to introduce Miss Abrams (a Jew) about 17 years old. She is very small, a swarthy complexion, has a very sweet voice and a fine shake but not quite power enough yet?both the piece and young lady were received with great applause.'21 ESTHER JACOBS, MR. JACOBS AND MISS JACOBS These stage personalities call for mention purely on account of their names, and Esther Jacobs is known only by her portrait painted by Reynolds about 1760. Mr Jacobs, an actor, made frequent appearances at the Haymarket and Drury Lane between 1769 and 1784 and he was also at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. Miss Jacobs, dancer, actress, and singer, a pupil of Mrs Crouch, appeared at Drury Lane in 1791 and 1792." JOHN BRAHAM As I have mentioned, Braham made his debut at Covent Garden when he sang two songs for Leoni's Benefit on 21 April 1787. A few months later, on 20 June 1787, he appeared at the opening of the Royalty Theatre, Wellclose Square. There is some doubt about his birth date but he seems to have been about ten at that time. His background was very strongly Jewish, his teacher was Leoni, and his great patron Abraham Goldsmid. As we have seen in con? nection with the production of 'Family Quarrels', in his professional career he was very much identified with the Jewish community, 20 T. J. Walsh, Opera in Dublin 1705-1797, Dublin, 1973, pp. 230-237. 21 Wm. Hopkins, MS Diary 1769-1776, in Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.G. 22 The Thespian Dictionary, 1805.</page><page sequence="8">158 Alfred Rubens a member of which sprang to his defence when he was criticised in the Monthly Mirror in 1807 ;23 and the theatre critics and the caricaturists never missed an opportunity to remind the public of his origins. Nevertheless, in 1826, he claimed that he had long been a Christian (Trans. XX, p. 210). It is not known whether he was ever baptised, but his illegitimate son by Anne Storace, Wm. Spencer Harris Braham, became a canon of the Anglican Church and his marriage with Frances Elizabeth Bolton in 1816 took place in church. MARIA TERESA ROMANZINI (MRS. BLAND) Mrs. Bland (see Plate XIII, fig. 11) was the daughter of Italian Jewish parents and came to this country as an infant. She was still a child when she made her first appearance at Hughes' Riding School, later the Royal Circus, in the spring of 1773. At about the same time she toured the provinces under Philip Breslaw. The numerous engraved portraits published of her are some indication of her popularity with the public as an actress and singer despite her somewhat unattractive appearance. One critic commented: 'Though Mrs Bland was only a singer of second class, few, if any, English singers who have appeared at the opera, sang with such pure Italian taste, or equalled her in recitative and pronounciation of the language.'24 She was always identified as a Jewess even when her husband died, on which occasion the Monthly Mirror published the following announcement: iMrs Bland: Mr Bland, the husband of Mrs Bland the singer is dead. His disconsolate widow, formerly Miss Romanzini, is of the Jewish persuasion and follows their form in her mourning which is confined to letting the beard grow.'25 ASTLEY'S JEWS The theatre manager most closely concerned with Jews was Philip Astley (1742-1814), noted for his equestrian performances at his arena close to Westminster Bridge, known after 1798 as Astley's Royal Amphitheatre, and he also operated in Paris, Dublin, and Liver? pool, while his son took over the Royalty in 1800. According to Clark Russell there were many Jews among his equestrians.26 His playbill (see Plate IX) features a 'Signor Jacob' and we know of a certain Cohen, but there were enough Jews in his employ for them to be called 'Astley's Jews'. The most prominent of them was Jacob de Castro (1758-1824) (see Plate X, fig. 7), a clever mimic, whose memoirs are the chief source for Astley's biography in The Dictionary of National Bio? graphy. He started working for him about 1783 and remained with him until Astley's death in 1814. De Castro tells us how he and six of his friends from the Sephardi Jewish school pooled their pocket money in order to see Garrick and how he acquired his first taste for the theatre by performing in Purim plays. An opportunity arose through an introduction by Joseph D'Almeida (1716-1788) to the manager of Covent Garden, in which theatre he appeared in 1778 or 1779. In 1782 and 1783 he was at the Royal Circus with Miss Romanzini (later Mrs. Bland). The pugilists Dutch Sam (Samuel Elias, 1775-1816) and Daniel Mendoza (1763-1836) both worked for Astley. In 1813 Dutch Sam gave an exhibition at the Olympic Pavilion, which was one of Astley's theatres.27 Mendoza, like Jacob de Castro, had partici? pated in Purim plays as a boy and always maintained close contacts with the stage. His reputation as a boxer enabled him to attract audiences for exhibitions of the art of self defence, which usually formed part of a variety programme. In January 1789, at Covent Garden, he took the part of a pugilist in 'The Recruiting Officer', and received a fee of ?21. In 1791 he put on a display at the Lyceum Theatre, when he announced that 'the manly art of boxing would be displayed divested of all ferocity'28 (see Plate XI). 23 Monthly Mirror, 1808, N.S., Vol. 3, p. 47. 24 Grove; T. J. Walsh, Opera in Dublin 1705-1797, Dublin, 1793, pp. 252-256. 25 Monthly Mirror, N.S., Vol. 2, 1807, p. 365. 26 W. Clark Russell, Representative Actors, London, c. 1860, p. 256. 27 The Memoirs of J. de Castro, Comedian, London, 1824, p. 105. 28 Boxiana, London, 1812, p. 9.</page><page sequence="9">Jews and the English S;age 1667-1850 159 In 1792 he and his brother were engaged by Astley to appear at the amphitheatre in Peter Street, Dublin. Returning home one evening by way of the castle with Mr. and Mrs. de Castro, they were stopped by a sentry. Mrs. de Castro took exception to the man's manner and ordered her husband to knock him down. De Castro, as Mendoza explains, being a little fellow less than five feet high, demurred, whereupon, to quote Mendoza, 'this high spirited lady (who is a native of Ireland) exclaimed with great indignation "Now, by Jasus, if you don't knock him down, I'll knock you down", and she proceeded to do so'. On leaving Dublin, Mendoza was engaged by Astley to appear the following season at Liverpool. Mendoza made many tours covering the whole country, giving displays of the art of self defence. In one of his bills he states: 'The ladies are respectfully informed there is neither violence or indecency in this spectacle, that can offend the most delicate of their sex: as an affirmation of which, Mr Mendoza has, by repeated desire, performed before their Majes? ties and the Royal Family'2* (see Plate XII). The O.P. Riots Daniel Mendoza's connections with the stage led to his employment in another capacity at Covent Garden Theatre when it was re? opened in September 1809 after being burned down. Serious disorders occurred owing to the number of private boxes and the prices in the pit being increased from 3s. 6d. to 4s. Night after night demonstrations, known as the O.P. (old price) Riots, took place in the theatre, and the management engaged Mendoza and Dutch Sam to maintain order. They were supplied with tickets which they issued to Jewish friends known to be handy with their fists and thereafter any interruption of the show was met with violence. The caricatures of the time include two which refer to the part played by Jews: 'Kings Place and Chandos Street in an uproar' and 'Killing no murder. As perform ing at the Grand National Theatre' (see Trans. XXIII, PL 23). The considerable street literature also contains many references to Jewish bruisers, of which the following are examples: 'They think' said he 'John Bull to awe By means of constables and law By Bow Street officers and those Brave Hebrews who delight in blows. The pit display's a curious sight For 'bout three hundred Jews that night Had kept possession of the rows? All warriors who by their blows Give a black eye to bloody nose But though these men take great delight in Knocking down, cuffing, sparring, fighting The Christians on the Public's side Mendoza's scholars now defy'd The Israelites were sorely griev'd They such a beating had receiv'd (next night). The Jews assembled in the pit Together in a ring they sit The best of seats they occupied With orders they had been supplied Mendoza had a pocket full Then down our poor throttles new prices to cram Hey populorum jig He hired Mendoza, he hired Dutch Sam Hey populorum jig O wonderful story! O wonderful news John Kemble, the Papist, in league with the Jews With his battle 'em etc'30 When the author of a handbill was prose? cuted at Bow Street, the box-office manager swore that the contents were untrue. The text was as follows: 'Mendoza and Kemble. 'It is a notorious fact, that the managers of Covent-garden theatre, have both yesterday 29 Memoirs of the Life of Daniel Mendoza, London, 1816. 30 Thos. Tegg, The Rise, Progress and Termination of the O.P. War . . . London, 1810, pp. 22, 152-153.</page><page sequence="10">160 Alfred Rubens and to-day, furnished Daniel Mendoza, the fighting Jew, with a prodigious number of pit orders, for Covent-garden theatre, which he has distributed to Dutch Sam, and such other of the pugilistic tribe as would attend, and engage to assault every person who had the courage to express their disapprobation of the managers' attempt to ram down the new prices. 'This shameful abuse in the managers shall be proved to the satisfaction of October 10, 1809. the lord chamberlain.'31 The opposition to the new prices was also marked by the issue of a medal which demon? strators wore round their necks in the theatre. Showing John Kemble, the actor-manager, as Shylock, it served the double purpose of attacking him and the Jews.32 Ultimately the management of Covent Garden Theatre had to acknowledge defeat and reduced the pit prices to the former figure. Attempted Assassination of George III On the evening of 15 May 1800, George III attended a performance at Drury Lane theatre. He had just entered his box and the audience had risen to their feet when a certain James Hadfield, subsequently pronounced insane, produced a pistol'and fired a shot at the King. According to Picciotto (Sketches of Anglo Jewish History, pp. 277-278), he missed 'because some man near him struck his arm while in the act of pulling the trigger. This individual was a Jew named Dyte . . . [He] asked as his sole reward the patent of selling opera tickets then a monopoly at the royal disposal and we pre? sume he obtained from King George's generos? ity this very modest recompense'. This story is repeated in the Jewish Encyclopaedia and was the subject of a play written by H. F. Rubin? stein, a kinsman of Dyte.33 The facts as given in the report of the trial are somewhat different. Dyte was one of several members of the audience who seized Hadfield after he had fired at the King and missed. The report of his evidence is as follows: 'Mr David Moses Dyte, examined by the Attorney-General?"I was at Drury-lane Theatre on the 15th of May, in the Pit; I was either in the third or fourth row, I cannot say which, but I was directly behind where the pistol was discharged. I did not see it dis? charged; but I saw it in the Prisoner's hand immediately after.?I did not see the Prisoner but just before I seized him. I do not know whether any body else seized him when I did, but I laid hold of him. I cannot say that I observed the Prisoner before that time.'"34 ISAAC AND REBECCA ISAACS Isaac or John Isaacs (1791-1830), another of Astley's Jews (see Plate XIII, fig. 10), was the son of Henry Isaacs, of Foster Lane, Cheapside, and was apprenticed to a Jewish clockmaker, Mr Asher, of Haydon Square. He had an excellent bass voice and through the persuasion of Benjamin Woolfe, of Drury Lane Theatre, made his first appearance at a concert in Shoreditch, which led to a successful career on the stage, terminated by his early death. Reporting the performance for his benefit at the East London Theatre on Friday, 20 December 1816, The Theatrical Inquisitor refers to his 'vocal talents [which] had been highly appreciated last season at the Lyceum Theatre'. In 1817 he sang in 'Artaxerxes' at the Haymarket Theatre and in the same year he was retained for five years at Covent Garden in English opera.35 John Isaacs's daughter, Rebecca Isaacs (1828-1877) (see Plate XVIII), is credited with a voice of great compass and sweetness and had a very successful stage career, taking principal parts in English opera in London and Dublin. The Jewish Chronicle gives this report on one of her performances: 'We are gratified to perceive by the Brighton Herald that the performance for the benefit of our 31 W. G. Oulton, A History of the Theatres of London, London, 1818, Vol. 2, p. 220. 32 D. M. Friedenberg, Jewish Medals, New York, 1970, pp. 22-25. 33 G. Roth, Magna Bibliotheca, 1937, p. 62. 34 The Trial of James Hadfield. . . in attempting the Life of the King at Drury Lane Theatre on the fifteenth of May last . . ., Newcastle upon Tyne (1800). 35 The Theatrical Inquisitor, Vol. 9, 1816, p. 444; Vol. 11, 1817, pp. 77, 237, 240, 311; Vol. 12, 1818, p. 397. An obituary notice appears in The Columbine, 17 July 1830, p. 100.</page><page sequence="11">Jews and the English Stage 1667-1850 161 talented co-religionist at the Brighton Theatre on 19 February answered the most sanguine expectations . . . The performance was under the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire . . . Prince Metternich was in his box.'36 LYON VILLIERS LEVY Lyon Villiers Levy, under his stage name of Mr. Villiers, made his debut in 1812 at the Sans Pared Theatre. From there he went to the Haymarket Theatre and in 1813 joined John Astley's company. He played at Liver? pool under John Gooke and toured the provinces. He also appeared at the East London Theatre, the Coburg, and the Adelphi, where he made a hit as the Demon in 'Val mondi'. He excelled in German and Jewish parts and we are told was 'a very social kind hearted man and being punctiliously attentive to his business is of value to any theatre that possesses him'. He played the part of Isaac Samuel in 'The German Jew' at Sadler's Wells Theatre on 16 August 183037 (See Plate XIV, fig. 13). THE SLOMAN BROTHERS Henry Sloman (1793-1873) and his brother Charles Sloman (c. 1808-1870) appeared frequently on the stage in comedy in the early part of the nineteenth century (see Plate XV, %? 14.) The Theatrical Inquisitor, referring to Henry Sloman's performance in the 'Blood-red Knight' at the Royal Amphitheatre in Septem? ber 1817, commented: 'Sloman is eccentrically amusing'.38 Charles composed a number of songs, but the only one to survive is 'Pop Goes the Weasel', written in the 1830s and sung by him at the Coal Hole in the Strand and the Cyder Cellars in Maiden Lane. The two brothers for many years ran the theatre in their native town of Rochester. When Henry died, the Jewish Chronicle (22 August 1873, p. 352) published this obituary notice: 'The death is announced at the age of 80 years of Mr Henry Sloman, an old comedian of "Coburg" celebrity. Mr Sloman was a favourite during Mr Glossop's management of the Coburg and distinguished himself in the character of Watty Wagstaff in "Edward the Black Prince". He retired from the stage about 1834 and became, in conjunction with his brother Charles, the proprietor of the Rochester Theatre in the city of his birth. During the deceased's latter years he became remarkable for his early rising and long morning walks. The deceased was interred at the West Ham Cemetery on Wednesday week.' THE BARNETT FAMILY Various persons named Barnett were con? nected with the stage. The most important were John Barnett (1802-1890), grandson of Aaron Barnett, Hazan of the Hambro Syna? gogue, his brother, Charles Zachary Barnett, the playwright, already mentioned, and their nephew John Francis Barnett (1837-1912), composer. There were also Morris Barnett (1800 1856), musician and actor, E. Barnett, theatre manager in 1833 at Bath, Croydon, and New bury, and lastly, M. Benjamin Barnett, who wrote two ballets in 1847-8. John Barnett was taught music by Mr. Moss, choirmaster of the New Synagogue. His first stage appearance was in September 1813, when, as 'Master Barnett,' at the age of 11, he sang in 'The Shipwreck' at the Lyceum Theatre. On 27 December 1813 he sang in pantomime at Drury Lane 'with great clearness and sweetness of voice'. He left the stage in 1817 and devoted himself to composi? tion. His chief work was an opera, 'The Mountain Sylph', but he also had about 2,000 songs published between 1816 and 1880. Morris Barnett was originally brought up to the musical profession. The earliest part of his life was passed in Paris. He appeared in 1833 at Drury Lane in 'The Schoolfellows'. His first composition was 'Monsieur Jacques', a musical play produced in 1837 at the St James' Theatre. His portrait shows him in the title role (see Plate XVII). 36J.C, 2 March 1849, p. 171. 37 British Stage, June, 1831. 33 Vol. II, 1817, p. 237. References: D.N.B. Supplement; Jewish EncycL; Theatrical Inquisitor, Vol. 3, 1813, p. 119; Jewish Chronicle, 25 April 1890, p. 5; Nicoll,</page><page sequence="12">162 Alfred Rubens op. cit.', The Scourge, Vol. 7, January 1814, p. 88 ?Drury Lane?27 December 1813: 'A Master Barnet (apparently not above 14) sung the "Death of Abercrombie" with great clearness and sweetness of voice' (in the pantomime 'Harlequin Harper or a Jump from Japan'). Vol. 9, May 1815, p. 398?Drury Lane: 'Master Barnett's ballad of The Woodman9s Cot is a neat and simple composition to which that young vocal performer does complete justice. His voice is powerful, sonorous and capable of much inflexion.' ISAAC AND BARNETT NATHAN Isaac Nathan (1792-1864) took the part of Henry Bertram in 'Guy Mannering' at Covent Garden in 1816 but then retired from the stage and devoted himself to music composition and teaching. His brother, Barnett Nathan (1793? 1856), for many years until his death was master of ceremonies and managing director of Rosherville Gardens, Rochester, where on his benefit night he performed a dance blindfold among eggs known as the egg hornpipe39 (see Plate XIV, fig. 12). His obituary notice in the Jewish Chronicle (23 January 1857, p. 875) was as follows: 'The late Baron Nathan. The papers some weeks ago reported the death of the well known master of the ceremonies at Rosherville Gardens. We did not know at the time that the deceased was of Jewish descent. We have however since learned from excellent authority that the departed had during his life time repeatedly expressed his wish to rest after death among those to whom he belonged by extraction but with whom he had little associated during life. His wish was complied with. His remains repose in the burial ground of the Maiden Lane Synagogue . . .' HENRY RUSSELL (1812-1900) One person who deserves more attention than he has hitherto received is the singer and composer Henry Russell (1812-1900) (see Plate XIX, fig. 20). I must confess that I had regarded him merely as a minor song? writer until I heard a 45-minute B.B.C. pro gramme devoted entirely to his life and works broadcast on 13 August 1972. Henry Russell was born at Sheerness on 12 December 1812. His father was Moses Russell and his mother was a niece of Solomon Hirschel, the Chief Rabbi. Members of his family were prominent members of the Western Synagogue. At the age of eight he sang at the Brighton Pavilion before George IV and while still a child was engaged in children's opera at the Royal Circus. About 1830 he went to Milan and studied music under Rossini. On his return to London, he was engaged as chorus master at His Majesty's Theatre for a short time before sailing for America, where he remained for several years, and he also visited Canada. Russell was deeply impressed by the higher standards of living in the New World and when he returned to England he joined the campaign to persuade people to emigrate there. He writes: 'For many years Mackay and I worked in unison on the subject of emigration. "A Good Time Coming Boys", "To The West" and others of our joint emigration songs had a beneficial effect on the public. They impressed on many a poor family the absurdity of clinging to a country if that country refused them and their children bread. Hundreds nay thousands followed the good advice and set out to seek their fortunes in the New World'. Russell sang his own songs at many concerts in various parts of the country to raise funds and to encourage emigration. In Ireland he was presented with a testimonial by grateful emigrants. While in America he campaigned for the abolition of slavery by writing several songs, including 'The Slave Ship', while 'The Maniac' was designed to expose the scandal of private lunatic asylums. Russell composed and published over 800 songs. His 'Cheer Boys, Cheer' was enormously popular during the Crimean War, but he is best remembered today by his 'Life on the Ocean Wave', the regimental march of the Royal Marines. Russell was married twice, the first time to a Christian. Their children included William Clark Russell and Henry Lloyd Russell, an 39 F. Boase, Modern English Biography, Truro, 1897.</page><page sequence="13">PLATE V LOVE-A-LA-MODE, A NEW WHIMSICAL CANTATA By YOUNG D'URFEY. * I C 1 T A T I V E. ^ E T M NHV *f Boor,. mJ iU Cu?k i&gt; ? A CW J ?f /fMTt vita. ? boa*; i. *. * A )m*rj B?k. ? T?^&lt; fi-?? &lt;VJ tot. a M IMw' *r'J iW Ptii r? ??, ? AriltahAbJfcM4?brB?. -v ?? All. t r?ma iir. ]??, L"t. ? r?- ?JAnMk, " IICITATIVt 4 a I il K*sr U*sWr. 4? JbM.' m t*^ ':? *~? 1 Um ?*? mr, 1}*? Cm ij . At Hcl?. Tiw* .? f:*m... lit , Tiif *r? &gt;Jm ?-?. RECITATIVE. rmn bnM VnwJtf't (Mr k?V" ??? *. A So . ?r ,1 tmmt* fa km Do^a. IW fx*tV. kit Wfclp. .4 ik? hMd/MMbnii. a i *. Kmc? D*?*ja. M WWWiiW. mid ?V ?? ?mm, j-'BJ+j t ?tjM mm 5m?. u, rs,. fin if rf* &lt;fi ?Vi fcyi Ut'?tmi*tt* Km-^ttg ami ? 'tu Ilm It /?r ?*&lt; FlM *?* ???, ?FCITATIVE. Al hii An?wa im WtJM pikV. ksf WM haart T?aSw,ik? m'i? ??&gt; &lt;mi w f*!;-. Ii? taw tttadu tot m /.if ?Am tuia. A 1 R. L? ?Vi Uta ??( of i&amp;Mt USU. if: Ptar, t nm &lt;? luk I?t? ft Orr', ?fr /Ti? ?/?/?://*/ / It*, &lt;?a f..?../? f.? fc. t?luim Htvt, , .r.y ??ir,*,L,??. ,? c?'. -t J*J ttl U m w r*' Ar. Smtrn ?, fm aw, 1/ ^h. , l.'.w ? V-airr ?tmi ?Am lammtnmJ. ? d ftw^jlm*', iL.*, fttfmiik, tftm Ur, lICITATIVr. . Smtk witk U&gt; Fant ?f natt JV?f ma., a UJa, wiik ph&lt;;?; r*.ii. &lt;^&gt;;t;. ?.n&gt;r u?. . Aa* t?w t?a.iM*4i iV ;??. iy, &gt;bi a*i Alk. . fraa lh* Um Aal 1 Im*, r. ; 4*1 a* /ur ?, / ? Mmi. J~"t w.,- ,?.,(&gt;,*&lt;?,. llnfe, aW Si?i. Ut CaUafW* ?U Kam *mSA.-i .* r? 1W. LONDON: Fiiatal far W. Tune ?am, Prinifcfler ud Eognw, unJcr St Dim!"-?*! Churcb, I ku-Strai. Prke U. Fig. 1. THE STAGE JEW IN 1764. Engraving. British Museum. Scene from Charles Macklin's farce, Love a la Mode. The lady has four suitors, including Beau Mordecai, an Italian Jew, the third figure from the left</page><page sequence="14">PLATE VI Fig. 2. HANNAH NORSA. Etching by Bernard Lens. British Museum</page><page sequence="15">PLATE VII</page><page sequence="16">PLATE VIII</page><page sequence="17">PLATE IX Tiic littie A General , Xikewife a curious Alfo. GONj?RING HORSE Difj^of all %tt of Manly Aaiyitjr ort Hod^ag||S| urioua (mechanical) fymjwtfiet^ the ;MagicaI Tab!e?&amp;^:^ !"-;Qf*i&gt;wer8:.F-E A T*$ of A CT"l:^i^Y):r^^^ wojng,durfog?the Weck;.Will be ^fwteoV.;'v *A vBjl Q N that ^ewr-w i^fei^ii^ %25u TA R T- la.rf? T^ l, Si* COLPI aad CHILDREN fjol'amtofoa ?????1 VENETIAN, wkoT?f' W " - wjUdr ?i to be equalled. ?]? . ;.v. . rAft^'iy^ 1?* L,TTLE MILITARY HORSE tamUConjo?? 1 * Or, The MAGICAL TABLE Trick*. Willi irnnTranW* nceh^f^tludcil Clack, V )^ "^J^9***^ V AKT V. ' Another FI G C R E that *Uw on an Inftrumem, that refem % a HARPSICORDfwuhaVariety of other FIGURES, ?.itfWoricof tfcr rreatcft Mafier?. vr??&gt;;*' ... ? ; ^ii&amp;Cmtfo at Fin, and defend; at Six ?XZt?ck, ar whicn-Tis^a general Difplay of che ^W-'F.-E'A T S ?f A C T 1 V I T Y, Will te prefented in a. Manner never attempted before. . ?;,. PART I, * U Will otmfift of fcrertl curiooi .Tricks on the A e s &gt;*-p:p E, . 'to^?tir^t? admired-S%. FORTlKEU.Y/tMCk^ 'J^m^X..v4 I|rOJt^f?lN'SHIP,. felo^^HlLUP^ Mr. GRIFFIN, Mrs. GRIFFIN, H T,f_r7U the CLOttN. and Mr, ASTLEY. . | ., _? i-r Wiih a Varictf of other Entertainineats uio nacrous co inftrrc here. -J. * V, ? - - *\ broke Jor the;Read and Field only. Lofty sod oA? TUMBLING, by ftieral of tie. ?oft ca pttal Performers in all Europe. PART VI. A whuuGcal E&gt;.h:bmon of the EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS? Or. La F ORCE D'HERC U LE, in a Manner quite new and; entertaining. ? ? ,^ ' ???. *; ?V*- * The CHAR ACTBRS Signer BALADINE I Signer JACONDUS I Signor J? Sign. CAR RAM NO 1 S?nor MANS A 1 ~- ' Si^oor SUMNEYjSijnor HURI ' The different Building! wilt W a moft Tormid*We Appear* aace, and the Variety cannoc toil giving general ?oife?ion. EA*?f ad?ffC?tyyJj^t*roa eight to deren m the Montag?, atai. M. per U&amp;n. Fig. 5. PHILIP ASTLEY'S PLAYBILL. The performers include 'Signer Jacob'. From the collection of Mr. H. E. Pratt</page><page sequence="18">PLATE X</page><page sequence="19">PLATE XI</page><page sequence="20">i ?: i By PERMISSION of toeWdnhipfiil the MAYOR. '/\-[-:f*if!tkn^'-- for THIS jKght cmly. : 4?'T THE ?OLDEN LtON ROOM. .'? " ME&amp;IE?RS . :*-^| Meiid?za ?nd Sfretton ?TH? Ui-ii*. Mr* MriM?kfaiiWr lt*K* ttfcr j^fc^iT^Mi?r Yfc. ,; jPB^i^ EVENIN?* ,. v fri?ay,.ApiiiLa6i 179?? 7'.'...- ,?. .. Wlt'HMaMiahs?tAmrtriWM . i . S?NGS AND RECITATIONS* Christmas Ganib?k ;, Castles in tn.e Ahy ? G?iER?L ELEGTIOH, AltRAWCJWIENT of RECITATIONS SdJfCS. . . ?ART TIB* f IB8T. ? ' . \ RtciTATibit? fairodn?ioD..?8ono, ? ^?^-JUctTATMili fciemATi??. *J* Stsmmmmt OU Cktk MW#??rrr.-?Soito( ? M?W rSf?-wn lirwn ? Tm M ??^R?citati?ii, BETWEEN THE PARTS; Mr. MEN?OZA? THE CELEBRATED PUGIUSTV W01 diiphj hb Scka?Sc KWfcip of ' 8ELF-?B?ENCS againft.a PRACTISED PUPIL, j? ?tieft.*? *?tA?fi ??9 m O/^iwr. ENlf ?&gt; MfT itt. d!?6*trc inen ?k Sei? ?f :tnfe e?ebiwal FLgltt* ?fr. ?ENP?ZA will qMBt tnd feft*irc ?ywi ?k Sticitft?Sfcmiad ?tedwj of Ftfrint MG BEN; &lt; BROUGHT/ON; ' JOHNSON? f and PERRINS. . - * iito 6t ?a?y im?; . Will be ?irpUreA Iiniatioi* ?f ?fach tri d* &amp;!c^ HUMPHREYS, } WOOD, and WARD, S GEORGE the BREWERr ?MShM* Fig. 9. MENDOZA PLAYBILL, 1799</page><page sequence="21">PLATE XIII ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ "??mV''** 0 bb E</page><page sequence="22">PLATE XIV bo ? "g b c w 1 CO E ./.. . 1 ^</page><page sequence="23">PLATE XV Fig. 14. MR. SLOMAN as Jemmy (on left). Etching ^ ^ .- " " "^'^ Fig. 15. MADAME PASTA. Engraving</page><page sequence="24">PLATE XVI Fig. 16. RACHEL as Roxane in Racine's Bajazet. Lithograph</page><page sequence="25">PLATE XVII Fig. 17. MORRIS BARNETT as Monsieur Jacques. Lithograph</page><page sequence="26">PLATE XVIII SU N C BY tttSS REBECCA ISAACS THE WOHDS BV THE MUSIC BY ^_:__ LONOQN, PiUMAINE l C? Z0. SOJtpJSfiU ARE_-_ Fig. 18. REBECCA ISAACS. Lithograph J'n'etk</page><page sequence="27">PLATE XIX ^^^^^^^ : w^?ii?S^DHHI^I^HI^HI^IBHIB w ?''</page><page sequence="28">PLATE XX Fig. 21. JACOB PHILADELPHIA. Engraving</page><page sequence="29">PLATE XXI ? T* 8. Sg | | 3? r?? ?1,1 . I -3 So* ? ? 1 ? - 8 |?H fc3 . ? a - I ,3 ^ - - c i ? o! s r. 3 ^ ?5 ms ? i2jrr-j : .? I M ?3 ji. - i ? &gt; g - j tri yV O $ ? * ' * 's C bp $ ?? . * , bo 5* E 8</page><page sequence="30">PLATE XXII SPECTACLES. B R E S L A Ws New Gran? Exhibition j experiments? glasses, CoM :iml Kilver APARATUS, J!?:| p*"!eul.-:r with A NEW MAGICAL Mcof NltwL.l. KOMAIN. Mr. BRfcSLAW brgs leave to aajiuir,: th ? No\&gt;i!;ry an i Gentry, &amp;c. I iut he, tod his Itahin Componv, will rxert their belt Arii&lt;t:es to men: the Approb^iioa or tiioJc Ladies and Gentlemen who will plealc u&gt; Honour than with their Prcl'rncc r At his EXHIBITION-ROOM, in COCKSPUR-STREET, IIAY-MAfcJCET, 'I his and every Evening. The Doors to be opened at $&lt;yen o'clock, and tu bepin precifely at Half ah Hour after Stvea. Adr,:i;:anc;- i;i ihr Pi; or Haxe-., 1 laif a Crown each Perron. j. ^F.VEUAL Overture*, Symphonie* and Triot, will be performed by the Italian Company. ^Two New fivs.itc IVtta*:. bv S:n:r NICOLA and Muljm ROM ALDO. A New Comic .Sor:*, wiili if mi I Gn.iuce-. in l.vge Spcrucl? and PhrfUtaiis Wig, by Sieur ROMAIN, ac corn;&lt;inicd on the \\&gt;lm, MarcMin.i, la Mamioij, and Tuoibardchilo. Leading thi Rand, and WlwiHin? the Notes in amort furpnfing Manner by Sicur NICOLA. II Mr. BRESLAV will exhibit quite in a Manner ENTIRELY NKV,', with EXPERIMENTS m GLA*SfcS, i ercrs, Card-;, N-mibcrs Dice, GoH MFOALS, SILVER Co.trs, CASKETS, Machin? ery, 5ilver Cup, APAKAIUS, Acc. &amp;c ard iv.rti.-^ariy with a NEW MAGICAL CLOCK, the P^r:i'.iiiair&lt; ? t art' r.tiTemm to inlcrr, but will be fufikicnt proal of his Abilities, andabfoltecly i;ot t.3 i'c i qua I t-rf by :.:~y 1 'er fun in Euro;*. III Several N-w St'ert IVr? ot Mufic wil br reformed by Sicur AR MA LEHNA and the Italian Company. A New Come t)uuto by Sieur ROMAIN and Madam ROM ALDO, which will be gnat Amufetncot "l^tiwnlrf va:? m V\nU Vv Sicur Gactana a la KOSSIGNOEL. Flavins the V*:.;i:i h r.v-v" ??"??*v di?enrnt Atii:?.id?s by S;r.:r ROMAIN. TheCc-ilu?or. v.ith \ N '???&gt; Omc Piece cVed Mafien Archati&amp;\ by the Italian Company. T.h? Tooai is fi -cJ u*?t*v 1 '. -?J iil.iminatid with tt'af.I.i?fc" Tick?t? to Se h=dat iht Piice oTPerformatw* 1 " \ ;?(, io br Ulm from Tcnin the M*f.-ii:i;, tilt Thtce in lUe A her neon. ?1 N. B. Private ExSikitiutu a* Uoial. Fig. 23. BRESLAW PLAYBILL. From the collection of Mr. H. E. Pratt</page><page sequence="31">PLATE XXIII The X X E T E R, Mr. -. B R^Sa^s^ . ?; 4B?x X?w tt ?gantf /Ar toi Qmt^H^t^0!^^^tiS^M''' . .; That HEmd his Italian^CSi?^I?jP? _. .... W^^^ '^?' ' -!F-?: r' ; a" :p:e.w.- n t:g h 'T'^k&amp;y * '' "* "* - &gt;'r &gt; ? :;&gt;ilfe'%?, ?f which was nrW ' atfesapfei bdbn. V^?^t"-^ ^ Ifi-thc^LoNG Room, at the 'Smt* Iw*9 Efi . - ^ ^lEUR Vfil^n^RELLl, : one or* the moft capital Perrwiners in tB^j(?u^ia$ 1 y ^ LnT ?' . l3 wtl play fareral Foreign Tunes on the Viotur, accompanied on the abggo-.,V V f? ?*?;!-uno,- La-Mamdola^ - *nd the Tavaoun-Dt-bAsso. ',:V * 4 v n ? iL BRESLAW??l exhibit many new ?ftoni0ungl)eceptioii? oa CA?nsyCmK*V ? .Y* , K ^ Jte^mU ttU the I^^y &amp;zap *^BMrOBTt without afldjott aayfQueftioat? ' V -': ~'f?-&lt;'; ^"/*&gt;? 5 ^ ? i:in. Siear ROM ALDO will exhibit vith'fcreri Small BtRDS. AmTtikewifc, Sieu&gt; %1VENTURElXIt S^rNlCOLO, Sfeur ROMALDO, and Sicur CORANSO, ^iU ;i . ?.. r fr ALI AN SELECT PlfSCES, on the Violim, NUirnoLtvo? La theT?v?oto.DtrBA?^ LOnsmfe Madam ROMAUX) witt % fc- j^f. ^fimic??^ in a! ein^iiewtrtdfurprifingT^^ M?5ALS, &amp;c ^ the A^niffiinent of the BIRDST the Bhck-BW, Ca vnarr.BIrd, Ljanet? ThruHi, BolUFinclH Sky-Lark* and tfighaegate, ^fa^wUfr no^r ? to be eqoalled by any .Perlon in Eorape.- , . .V'y^ :\" - VI. BRESLAW trill exhibit many iiew tnftciiBfrDeccpd^: r ajnaniBa.pec i. &amp;c? A?d J 'Company chafe, - to Ay into a fealed Letter at two Tarda diftance above the *f&amp;jk?L i The ?hole to conclude with a new Comic Pieck, called The POTIOUS of iTACY/" -M?NS, SILVER MACHINERIES, ?tc ?cc. And he wilPcwnpwd any^Cwl xhe , or Mtmcjc* Akabatia; in Urne Staeaacka, and French Bc^Wigiibr the ITALIAN COMPAN Y^The Room will be elegantly illuminated, and commodiouay prej*red ifor the Reception of the Ladies and Gentlemen, that every Pcrfoo may hate a View of itbe Performance. '&amp;&gt; TICKETS to be had of Mr. BRESLAW, at the Place of Performance . t -EXBTERj Pr^ty R?7R5WMANtbehbdtUG?UdWI, ^ Fig. 24. BRESLAW PLAYBILL, 1775</page><page sequence="32">PLATE XXIV ? 'liTIBiPTTPTMiW ff - ??"ijf ff ?? &amp; ?S. j ? 3 &amp; m? 8*8* ?</page><page sequence="33">PLATE XXV Singular Novelty* Mr. JONAS, Whohasliaathedistinjruislua Honour of Performing before their MAJESTIES and the ROYAL FAMII,? at Fkoijmorb I,oo?B, to whom he gave the ??irrt *a^facl.o?; am! has lately received the mntt flattering Testimonies of Encouragement and Applaus, influenced uy the warmest Feelinc of Gratitude, cannot |mim, unnoticed, the flattering Support lie has received fromtbeleadinjjCiiaMclersnt Umoiitox, Ciikltrniiaii, Oxford, t AMitiuncir, A\ kvmouth, &amp;c.; and more particulaily those of thU City, wham he has bad the Honour nl prliirmiiii belore several Seasons since, with the greatest Applause, for which he beg* their Acceptance ot his huuible Acknowledgement* ; at the same Time most resprcU'iilly acquaints the Nobility, Gentry, awl uu Friends in particular, that ho intends again to oli'er his Unrivalled Performance TO PUBLIC NOTICE This present WEDNESDAY Evening, Dec. 28, 1814, At the LOWER-ROOMS. Doors to be opened at half-past Six, ami to begin precisely at .Vir?, ENTRANCE OPPOSITE YORK-STREET. THE EXHIBITION CONSISTS OF MUCH-ADM PHILOSOPHICAL EXPERIMENTS; Together with a Rational, Fashionable, and Entertaining Selection of the Most intricate Deceptions, wonderful Experiments, and pleasing Operations, ever exhibitnl in Public. Admission, Three Shillings. Children, lluil-I'ritv. A'.B. Prnatr Parti* &lt; attemkd at the short* *t A'ufiVr, It/ app! trat ion to Mr. JO.\ AS. cl So, i*, Pierrrpout* /V? r r, near Vi 11 npo?t*Sht?/. &gt;&lt; &gt; 11t ft - / V?&lt;/r. The PERFORMANCE will Ik- n peand on FRIDAY tlir :;oilj Infant, f Door* to be oprned at ()i;e o'Clnrk. ami to hrfin prrcisrl y at lt:itf-|?:t^t &lt; h. \ ffT Tickets tu be had at Ihr Lover* Room*, and at the pritiripol A/7,,r,; WOOD imJ tV. I'iinters vf Uv Wain ???! UtvlUiJuui C;cvit- I: \ MJ Fig. 26. JONAS PLAYBILL, 1814. From the collection of Mr. H. E. Pratt</page><page sequence="34">In the Great Roota, at the Ro?andCrwn&gt; Km-Gru^ . ThisprefciitTHORSDAY,&gt;^c&gt;,i79S, jboor to be open at Seveto&gt; the Operations begin at Half pa? Seven. ; PIT TWO SHILLINGS,?GALLERY ONE BILLING Osvu l Will add to his amazing Qpe^l&amp;m WM 1* bad tbt Bkvmr U B*bihit% on tk* tni tftinmhtr+xftx, tti tbm todaU tht Ryal Famih. fa Print* 9/Mtxkinkmgb, tU (iwlfctfriV, ?f? h Oe JK PART I. He Will Exhibit many new and fcftomfhing ? V &amp;ip*TtU*i*rfy *n RXPRRlMRltl m MA?CCAL tad SYMPATHETIC WATCHES, v^VV PART n. Ali Operation in Papiromance; tTTntiit -irr Tfr %r * rtr ff-nr J-'^-r ?-????- *Hirr ft TTlrtnwt ill I *A?T IU. The Tcritoepieft Painter* ypwfa^ wiiboutMr. Bon teil? tsU ?tat Mating m w Im dduwcd, ?f%waWtefa?^^? PART IV. A VAtKTTor ^ Uncommon Experiments. Never Exhibited btribefore. THB WHOLE TO CONCLUDE WITH Grand Meloftelotbermick, And whfch U as follows, viz. SI* or Eight Ladies may each fix their Thought* en different Cards, and the Cards To thoughtoawiD be found in and cutout of ' A Roafted LEG of MUTTON, Which will be brought upon the Table Hoc from the Fire, To the aflonithment of every Beholder I Fig. 27. BOAZ PLAYBILL, 1795. From the collection of the late J. B. Findlay</page><page sequence="35">PLATE XXVII E.S</page><page sequence="36">PLATE XXVIII 3 fii NEW STRAND THEATRE. TIIK LAST n illlk III T 0\K, f. r* at .iuriiti,* ! t V?ir&lt;/&gt; &lt;/ tli&gt;?*i?T/t muht* ?f. tpftfauxr On Monday, Feb. 7, m42, jmi i:?i:mm. im ihm. tmi; ?i;i h. HR. J4COBK, The Royal Ventriloquist, Great Modern MAGICIAN, Hiri) HttnnvT) or all triiMitio, (.KMT Hl STEMM HIST Hl IHK MVKTKKMII I mi 10. JL a i.Ai (;HAitLi;&lt; iiaha( i i;insi i&lt; oaxi ? i tiiiii ?.Kvri.fcwr.v 1:1,1,11.,t " V.M.. r. .,/..,, Nul.?.. ,.r lt., TurN-W ,,f ?)? tn,l.,t V,l,.. MVS BIHKR,' 4 HKS SOPHIA ELLIOT. p?n ????.?&gt;. m r.t?.*i FIRST APPKARtH K OP SrlMOK RKIMiRAYK, THE "C'OKXET A PIOTOX," MISS TANNER, a child Six years of age, The Patagonian PPomfrr* LOVE in HUMBLE LIFE, or Dancing Mad. Fig. 29. JACOBS PLAYBILL. From the collection of Professor E. A. Dawes</page><page sequence="37">Jews and the English Stage 1667-1850 163 Anglican clergyman. By his second wife, Miss de Lara, a Jewess, he had several children, and their youngest son, the distinguished musician, Sir Landon Ronald (1873-1938), was married at the West London Synagogue.40 References: H. Russell, Cheer Boys, Cheer, London, 1895 (with photograph of author); Jewish Chronicle, 14 December 1900; D.N.B., etc. Minor Characters There must have been many Jews who played minor parts or appeared at the smaller theatres either in London or the provinces and whose activities are not therefore recorded. It is through some chance notice that the follow? ing are known as stage personalities: Charles (Abraham) Furtado (1766-1821), the pianoforte player and composer appeared on the Margate stage41 (Trans. XXIII, Plate 13). Miss Furtado, probably a kinsman of the last named, appeared at the Adelphi in 1866 and is described as a very pretty actress who made a great hit as heroine in melodrama.42 Jew Davis, singer and actor, died in 1824.43 Mr. Levy, appeared 22 October 1803 as Carlos in 'The Duenna' at Drury Lane. The Monthly Mirror reported: 'A young gentle? man named Levy reduced by a sort of syncopy to Lee as Braham from Abraham appeared as Carlos. He has a good natural voice improved by a considerable portion of scientific execution under the masterly tuition of Hook.'44 Mr. Jonas is known only from the following reference in the Theatrical Inquisitor: 'Messrs Jonas and Penley are very spirited managers . . . Mr Jonas made his exit as the witch by throw? ing a Back Summerset* (in Macbeth).45 Miss Jonas is known also by a reference in the Theatrical Inquisitor: 'Surrey Theatre . . . Miss Jonas has been added to the establishment, a young lady of rare acquirements in the vocal department and possessing a voice of sweet melody . . ,'46 Elizabeth Jonas appears in a lithograph portrait which shows her as a teen-aged girl standing by a piano, and according to the caption she had played before their Majesties (by command) at Windsor Castle on 27 and 29 September 1832, at Paganini's concert at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, as well as at Drury Lane and Covent Garden. Foreigners MR COHEN: The performance of 'La Serva Padrona' at Marylebone Gardens on Tuesday, 11 September 1770, included: 'Con? certo on French horn by the celebrated Mr Cohen, musician to the Stadtholder, being the first time of his performing since his arrival in England.'47 GIUDETTA PASTA (1798-1865) (see Plate XV, fig. 15), a popular operatic singer born at Milan, the daughter of Negri, an Italian Jew, appeared at the King's Theatre in January 1817 as Telemaco in Cimarosa's 'Penelope' and as Lisetta in the opera 'Gris elda'. Of this performance the Theatrical Inquisitor reported: 'This lady is already become a general favourite . . . her style of acting is formed from the finest example . . . she never for a moment ceases to interest and whether she stands or moves she is still graceful and invested with the character committed to her care.'48 Madame Pasta appeared on the London operatic stage almost every season between 1824 and 1833. She is described as having a noble head with beautiful features and possessing a mezzo-soprano voice of a rich and sweet quality with extensive compass.49 40 The hundredth anniversary of his birth was celebrated in a B.B.G. programme on Sunday 24 June 1973 by a recording of Max Bruch's 'Kol Nidrei' played by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Landon Ronald. 41 Town and Country Magazine, November 1788. 42 E. Sherston, London's Lost Theatres of the Nineteenth Century, London, 1925, p. 274. 43 W. Clark Russell, op. cit., p. 438. 44 Vol. 16, 1803, p. 376. 45 Theatrical Inquisitor, Vol. 4, 1814, p. 256. 46 Theatrical Inquisitor, January 1818, p. 61. 47 The London Stage, Part 4, p. 1492. ?Vol. 10, 1817, p. 58. 49 G. Hogarth, Memoirs of the Musical Drama, London, 1838, Vol. 2, pp. 395-396.</page><page sequence="38">164 Alfred Rubens RACHEL ? ELIZA RACHEL FELIX (1821-1858), the French actress (see Plate XVI), one of the world's greatest tragediennes, made several appearances in London, the first being in 1841. JULIUS BENEDICT (1804-1885), the composer and conductor, a native of Stuttgart settled in England in 1835 and was associated with the Lyceum, Drury Lane, and Covent Garden theatres. FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): After first visiting England in 1829, Mendels? sohn returned many times and received greater recognition here than he did in his native Germany. Although baptised at the age of seven, the grandson of Moses Mendelssohn could not fail to retain a strong Jewish con? sciousness. He went with his father to the House of Commons to hear the debate on Sir Robert Grant's Jewish Emancipation Bill and in a letter home dated 23 July 1833 wrote: 'This morning the Jews were emancipated. This makes me proud, especially since a few days ago your vicious Edicts of Posen were criticized here, as was only right and proper. The Times felt noble and said that it is much better for us in England. After many Jew haters . . . had spoken, Robert Grant who had originally introduced the bill, concluded by asking whether they were there to fulfill the prophecies of Scripture as they claimed to do; he himself wanted to follow the injunction: "Glory to God and good will to men," and then followed 187 ayes and 52 noes. This is noble and beautiful and fills me with gratitude to the Heavens.'50 Conclusion Of the characters I have mentioned there are, I suppose, only three who have achieved lasting fame. They are Braham, Mendelssohn, and Rachel. The last received a tribute in Hebrew at her funeral delivered by the Chief Rabbi of Paris, a most unusual distinction for an actress, which was duly reported in the Jewish Chronicle (15 January 1858, p. 35). The newspaper, which had also reported Rachel's denial of the story that she had at some time been converted to Christianity, was not so kind to her only two weeks after printing the rabbinical tribute. A correspond? ent had obviously sent in a memorial poem, to which the editor, in the then regular item, 'Notices to Correspondents,' on 29 January 1858 (p. 52), loftily responded: Madlle. Rachel's Funeral. Whatever the merit of the lines, the immoral life of the deceased renders her memory unworthy of being celebrated in a periodical which places virtue high above all talent. For the final judgment on Braham I quote the Encyclopaedia Britannica: 'There is perhaps no other case upon record in which a singer of the first rank enjoyed the use of his voice so long; between Braham's first and last public appearance considerably more than 60 years intervened, during 40 of which he held the undisputed supremacy in opera, oratorio and the concert room.'51 The Conjurers* The first part of this paper has been confined to the legitimate stage but there is another field of entertainment, involving the practice of magic, in which Jews have taken an active if not outstanding part. Although expressly forbidden by Jewish law {Deuteronomy xviii, 9 ff, Leviticus xix, 26, xx, 6, etc.), sorcery and magic flourished in the ghettoes and by the Middle Ages there was a common belief among Christians that every Jew was an evil magician possessed 50 H. Kupferberg, The Mendelssohns, London, 1972, p. 168. 5i 13th ed., 1926, Vol. 4, p. 377. * I am indebted to Mr. J. Salisse, the Hon. Secretary of the Magic Circle, and to Professor E. A. Dawes, Ph.D., D.Sc, F.R.I.C., the late Mr. J. B. Findlay, Mr. Trevor H. Hall, M.A., Ph.D., and Mr. H. E. Pratt for their help. They have all been most generous in supplying references, copies of playbills, etc. Professor Dawes in particular went to enormous trouble and was kind enough to read through these notes and offer a number of suggestions. Most of the references were supplied by him; a list appears at the end of this section.</page><page sequence="39">Jews and the English Stage 1667-1850 165 of supernatural powers. Medieval Jewish communities employed a professional magician known as the mekhashef, while the Ba'al Shem practised magic and popular medicine, used amulets, drove away demons, and proph? esied.52 The outstanding English figure in this field was Samuel Jacob Hayyim Falk (c. 1710-1782), known as the Ba'al Shem of London, who established a cabbalistic laboratory on London Bridge." Whatever may be the explanation, there have been so many outstanding Jewish con? jurers and practitioners in magic that a book has been entirely devoted to them.54 To the author they seem to have much in common with the Jewish quack doctors and dentists and thimble-riggers at fairs (see Plate XXVII). The first ones active in England were Jacob Philadelphia, Philip Jonas, Philip Breslaw, and Herman Boaz. They were shadowy if not shady characters and what little is known about their activities is derived mainly from advertisements and playbills but they were among the leaders in their profession, and, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica,55 Breslaw was the first magician to transfer thought to an assistant, a trick he first per? formed in 1781. JACOB MEYER PHILADELPHIA According to the caption attached to his portrait engraved by C. W. Bock at Nuremberg (see Plate XX), Jacob Meyer was born at Philadelphia on 14 August 1735. He was presumably Jacob son of Meyer and like many Jews adopted his birthplace as a surname. The suggestion made by some writers that he did so after baptism seems unlikely. He deserves a place in these notes as a British subject by birth and because he spent the first few years of his career as a conjurer in England, apparent? ly under the patronage of the Duke of Cum berland, although no information is available about his performances. For the rest of his life he was employed on the Continent, where he became the leading practitioner in magic.56 PHILIP JONAS Philip Jonas must have been active by the middle of the eighteenth century, although little is known of him before 1768, in which year he was performing three times a week at the Angel and Crown in Whitechapel. Later that year he was billed to perform at the Bank coffee-house but the exhibition was prohibited by the Lord Mayor. In 1769 a second 'Mr Jonas' appeared on the scene who was challenged by 'the original Jonas' to a public contest in three successive advertise? ments in the Gazeteer. Shortly afterwards 'the famous Jonas (who is the real and only Mr Jonas)' was performing 'at a large and com? modious room at a stationer's next the Boot and Crown, facing the new buildings by Exeter Change in the Strand'. In 1770 and 1771 his performances were given in a room in Chandos Street. In the autumn of 1771 he took the house No. 60 Houndsditch, in the Jewish quarter of London, where he gave performances on Saturday nights presumably for the benefit of his Jewish patrons, while during the week he appeared in the West End, as we see from this advertisement in The Gazeteer &amp; New Daily Advertiser, 17 72:5 7 On MONDAY next, By De fire, Twice a Day, at half after twelve at noon, and half part feven in the evening, Friday and Saturday excepted. THE celebrated Mr. JONAS begs leave to acquaint the Nobility and Gentry, that he will exhibit his aftonifhing Dexterity and Deceptions, with hif New Grand Apparatus, which he has lately got from abroad, fuch as never was attempted before in this kingdom, at a commodious Room in St. James's-ftreet, the corner of Jermyn-ftreet. 52 See Jewish Encycl. New York, 1902, s.v. 'Magic', and Encyl. Judaica, Jerusalem, 1972, s.v. 'Amulets' and 'Magic'. 53 See C. Roth, Essays and Portraits in Anglo Jewish History, Philadelphia, 1962, pp. 139-164. 54 G. Dammann, Die Juden in der Zauberkunst, Berlin, 1933. " 1946 ed. Vol. 6, p. 261. 56 The best and most complete account of Philadelphia is contained in two articles by Professor E. A. Dawes in The Magic Circular for April 1973, pp. 139-142, and June 1973, pp. 199-203. 57 From the collection of Mr. J. B. Findlay.</page><page sequence="40">166 Alfred Rubens The doors to be opened at twelve o'clock at noon, and begin at half an hour after; and at night the doors to be opened at half after fix, and begin at half pa ft feven. The Room will be illuminated with wax. Admittance 2s. each perfon. Mr. Jonas will exhibit This Evening, at his houfe, No. 60, Houndfditch. Thofe who pleafe to have a private Perform? ance at their own houfes, will be waited on at two minutes notice. It will be noticed that Jonas did not perform on Friday evenings, presumably because he was an Orthodox Jew, and we find his name in the List of Subscribers to Meyers and Alexander's English Hebrew Prayer Book, London, 1760. He was probably the 'Pheis Taschenspieler' (i.e., Philip the conjurer) referred to in the Great Synagogue records for 1772-3.58 In 1774 Jonas was in Paris performing card tricks at the St. Germain Fair, where he attracted large audiences despite an admittance charge of three louis.59 His performance in France earned him this jingle: Quand Jonas se precipita Pour calmer le mer irratee; La baleine l'escamota; Celui-ci l'eut escamotee. In 1776 the following news items appeared: OXFORD, December 7. On Thurfday morning, between five and fix o'clock, the Bath coach, in which were three pafTengers, was robbed in going up the hill on the other fide of Bottley, about a mile and a half from this city, by a fmgle highwayman, well mounted who took from Mr. Jonas, the cele? brated conjurer his watch, and about four guineas. It is more than probable that either the fuddennefs of the demand, or the bitter impreca? tions of the highwayman, might fo much alarm Mr. Jonas as totally to deprive him of his wonderful art of conveyance: or we can fcarcely fuppofe he would have fuffered the robber to pocket the watch or money, and carry it off. 60 We learn more about the way Jonas operated from A Lecture on Heads, London, 1785, by George Alexander Stevens. Stevens, who died in 1784, had sold the rights to the actor, Charles Lee Lewes. The 1799 edition contains a portrait of Jonas (see Plate XXIV) with the accompanying text: Among the many heads that have played upon the passions of the public, this is one [takes the head] that did cut a capital figure in that way. This is the head of Jonas, or the card-playing conjuring Jew. He could make matadores with a snap of his fingers, command the four aces with a whistle, and get odd tricks. But there is a great many people in London, besides this man, famous for playing odd tricks, and yet no conjurors neither. This man would have made a great figure in the law, as he is so dexterous a con? veyancer. But the law is a profession that does not want any jugglers. Nor do we need any longer to load our heads with the weight of learning, or pore for years over arts and sciences, when a few months practice with these pasteboard pages [takes the cards'] can make any man's fortune, without his under? standing a single letter of the alphabet, pro? vided he can but slip the cards, snap his fingers, and utter the unintelligible jargon of 'presto, passa, largo, mento, cocolorum, yaw,' like this Jonas. The moment he comes into company, and takes up a pack of cards, he begins, "I am no common slight-of-hand man; the common slight-of-hand men they turn up the things up their sleeves, and make you believe their fingers deceive your eyes. Now, sir, you shall draw one card, two cards, three cards, four cards, five cards, half a dozen cards; you look at the card at this side, you look at the card at that side, and I say blow the blast; the blast is blown, the card is flown, yaw, yaw: and now, sir, I will do 58 G. Roth, The Great Synagogue . . . London, 1950, p. 15. 59 E. Gampardon, Les Spectacles de la Foire, Paris, 1877, Vol. 2, p. 8. 60 Gutting from an unidentified newspaper in the collection of Mr. J. B. Findlay.</page><page sequence="41">Jews and the English Stage 1667-1850 167 it once more over again, to see whether my fingers can once more deceive your eyes. I'll give any man ten thousand pouds if he do the like. You look at the card of this side, you look at the card on that side; when I say blow the blast, the blast is blown, the card is shown, yaw, yaw." But this conjuror, at length discovering that most practitioners on cards, now-a-days, know as many tricks as himself, and finding his slights of hand turned to little or no account, now practises on notes of hand by discount, and is to be found every morning at twelve in Duke's-place, up to his knuckles in dirt, and at two at the Bank coffee-house, up to his elbows in money, where these locusts of society, over a dish of coffee and the book of interest, supply the temporary wants of necessitous men, and are sure to out-wit 'em, had they even the cunning of a . . . Fox! The next item referring to Jonas comes from an unidentified news cutting also in the col? lection of Mr. J. B. Findlay: Mr. Jonas, professor of slight-of-hand at all the fairs in and about London, was con? veyed to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, on Wednesday evening, in consequence of the bite of a mad dog. The animal had evinced symptoms of madness, and Mr. Jonas tied him up; but, as these symptoms increased, it was resolved to destroy him; and while Mr. Jonas was on the point of doing so, the dog flew at him, seized him by the lips, and terribly mangled his face. The surgeons who attended deemed it necessary to cut away the wounded parts, leaving the un? fortunate man a truly pitiable object. The animal is the same that passed at the fair as the learned dog. Finally we have the following announce? ment referring to performances in March 1815. This is different in style from Jonas's earlier advertisements and claims for the first time royal patronage. It would appear to be a different Jonas from the one who 55 years earlier appeared in the subscription list to a prayer book: (See also Plate XXV.) Singular JBtotoeltp By Permission of the Worshipful the AI ay or. POSITIVELY FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY. MR JONAS, who had the distinguished honor of performing before their Majesties and the Royal Family at Frogmore, to whom he gave the greatest satisfaction, and has lately received the most flattering testimonies of en? couragement and applause at Bath, Brighton, Cheltenham, Oxford, Cambridge, Weymouth, &amp;c, begs most respectfully to inform the nobility, gentry, and his friends in particular, in Reading, and its vicinity, that he will perform in the Old School Room, under the Town Hall, Reading, On Tuesday evening, March 21, 1815. The Exhibition consists of much admired PHILOSOPHICAL EXPERIMENTS Together with a rational, fashionable, and enter? taining selection of the most intricate Deceptions, wonderful Experiments, and pleasing operations ever exhibited in public. Doors to be opened at half past seven, and to begin precisely at eight o'clock. Admission 2s. Children is. PHILIP BRESLAW The presumption that Breslaw was a Jew has been accepted by Lucien Wolf, Dammann, and other writers, probably on the strength of his name and occupation, but he had no known Jewish connections. His family may have left Breslau when the Jews were expelled from that city in 1738. None of his advertise? ments precedes the 1770s but by then he was already well established in this country. Flis claim to fame as a conjurer rests on his being the pioneer of thought transference. His earliest known performances were held at No. 1 Cockspur Street, which was a well-known entertainment centre, and he appeared there for nine successive seasons, usually three nights a week, in the early 1770s. On other nights he performed elsewhere: in 1774 in the large ballroom of the King's Arms, near the Royal Exchange, in 1776 at Marylebone Gardens, and in 1779 at the King's Head, near the Mansion House. The following is a typical advertisement of 1772 published prior to setting out for France:</page><page sequence="42">168 Alfred Rubens Only a few Weeks longer, as he will fet out for France. AT Mr. BRESLAW's Exhibition Room, near Mr. PINCHBECK'S, in Cockfpur ftreet, This and every Evening, to begin precifely at Seven o'Clock, and continue until Nine; likewife Mondays, Wednefdays and Fridays in the Forenoons, to begin at Half part Twelve o'Clock, Mr. Breflaw allures the Nobility and Gentry, that he will exhibit his new amazing Dexterity and Deceptions each Day in a different a ftoni fil? ing Manner, too numerous to infert, fuch as never were attempted before in this Kingdom. The Room will be elegantly prepared, and in the Evenings illuminated with Wax. Pit 5s. Upper Boxes 2S. 6d. Tickets or Places to be taken from Ten in the Morning 'till Three in the Afternoon. N.B. Whoever de fires a private Exhibition at their own Houfes, by giving three Days Notice to Mr. Breflaw, at the Place of Performance, will be waited on, except when he performs in Public. In 1780 Breslaw performed on alternate evenings at the Great Room in Panton Street and in a room in Cornhill. A varied programme included his 'new Steregraphical Operation and his Enchanted Pixis Militica'. A year later he announced that his 'communication of thought' would be carried out 'without the assistance of speech or writing'. At this time he was residing first at 57 and afterwards at 10 Haymarket. One of his bills includes 'a satirical lecture on Heads delivered by the celebrated Miss Rosomond'. This was presumably Stevens' Lecture on Heads and Breslaw no doubt included the part referring to Philip Jonas (see above) in his programme in order to dis? credit his rival. Breslaw made frequent tours of the provinces. At Exeter in November 1775 he topped the bill in a variety programme which included the famous Signor Rossignole (see Plate XXIII). His skill as a conjurer was legendary. Advice to Officers, 1782, recommends that 'a good adjutant should be able to play as many tricks with a regiment as Breslaw can with a pack of cards'61 and a political caricature of 1798 contains a reference to him.62 He was also a subject for anecdotes.63 Breslaw's death at Brussels is reported in The Gentleman's Magazine for November 1783: 'Mr Breslaw at Brussels, the noted conjuror'. The following year there was published 'Bres? law's Last Legacy or The Magical Companion . . . including the various exhibitions of those wonderful artists, Breslaw, Sieur Comas, Jonas etc.'. The book was dedicated by 'the Editor' to Sir Ashton Lever. It was an immedi? ate success and there were numerous pirated editions. At least sixteen came out between 1784 and 1812, including one from Phila? delphia and two from Dublin. A so-called sixth edition is dated 1792 and a tenth from different printers is dated both 1791 and 1792. Many other editions appeared with various titles and Breslaw's Last Legacy is one of the classics in the literature of conjuring64 (see Plate XXI). It is unlikely that Breslaw himself had anything to do with this book, which contains only very simple tricks, and he would certainly not have given Jonas, his great rival, the credit which appears on the title-page (see also Plate XXII). Like Jonas, Breslaw had an impersonator, whose advertisements appeared in the Edinburgh Evening Courant of 20 February 1788, but I have been unable to trace any others. There is a print of him performing an act of decapitation (a trick which was not included in the original Breslaw's repertoire) in Fairburn's New London Conjuror (1826). The second Breslaw's death was duly reported in The Gentleman''s Magazine: 'Breslaw, the celebrated conjuror, at the Bull and Punch-bowl in Liverpool aged 77. He was a native of Berlin' (16 May 1803, p. 486). He was apparently given a Church of England funeral and was buried in the parish of St. John, Liverpool. HERMAN BOAZ, who is included in these notes on the strength of his name, was not in the same class as Jonas or Breslaw, but 61 Notes and Queries, 9th S., Vol. 7, p. 110. 62 Brit. Mus. Cat. of Political and Personal Satires, Vol. 7, 1942, p. 503. 63 Notes and Queries, 2nd S., Vol. 8, p. 162. 64 S. W. Clarke and A. Blind, The Bibliography of Conjuring, London, 1920. Trevor H. Hall, A Bibliography of Books on Conjuring . . ., Lepton, 1957.</page><page sequence="43">Jews and the English Stage 1667-1850 169 a playbill in Mr. Findlay's collection displays an impressive programme presented in the Great Room of the Rose and Crown, Kew Green, on 30 July 1795 (see Plate XXVI). He claimed that 'he had the honour to exhibit, on the 2nd of November 1772 to their Majesties and all the Royal Family, the Prince of Meck lenburgh, the Russian Ambassador etc in the Palace of Richmond and for which he was presented with a Fifty Pounds Bank Note'. Another playbill in Mr. Findlay's collection refers to a performance on 28 May 1811 at the Mason's Lodge, Dunfermline, and mentions performances in Edinburgh and Glasgow. In his book The Juggler's Oracle, published in London, he describes himself as 'Sieur H Boaz, thirty years professor of the art'. WIZARD JACOBS Joseph Jacobs, one of the outstanding con? jurers and ventriloquists of the nineteenth century, was born at Canterbury in 1813. He was giving public performances in Dover, Brighton, Bath, and other provincial towns during the summer and autumn of 1834. His first appearance in London is believed to have been in the spring of 1835 at the Horns Tavern, Kennington. A correspondent to The Jewish Chronicle (11 March 1892, p. 14), signing himself T.D.'[Israel Davis?], writes: '. . . He was a celebrated conjuror of my early days whom I met when I was a boy at the table of one of my schoolmasters, the Rev. R. Cohen of Sussex House, Dover . . . The Wizard Jacobs performed his amazing feats of legerdermain with the aid of a clumsy attendant in buttons, a sort of Fat Boy out of Pickwick very much enlarged whose unwieldy form seemed always about to burst his ridiculously short jacket and tight breeches ... he was called "Sprightly" and the title itself provoked a roar . . . Great was my boyish astonishment to learn when I met the Wizard at dinner that Sprightly was his brother . . In 1839 Jacobs appeared at Brighton in an entertainment organised by the Princess Augusta and the following year he was in London at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand. After a provincial tour he returned to London in 1841 for the first of several successful seasons at the Strand Theatre, where he was billed as Mr. M. Jacobs. He called himself the 'royal ventriloquist* and had a varied programme which he claimed was witnessed by upwards of 150,000 persons. In July 1845 he played at the Theatre Royal, Hull. His playbill for this engagement re? corded: 'He has had the distinguished honor of appearing before Her Majesty and Prince Albert, their Majesties the King and Queen of Belgium, H.R.H. the late Princess Augusta, His Grace the Duke of Wellington'. There followed a list of 14 members of the aristocracy for whom he had also played and 25 Regiments by whose officers he had been patronised. In 1854 Jacobs was in the United States and the following year made the first of two tours of Australia and New Zealand, describing himself as 'The Great Modern Wizard, Ven? triloquist, Improvisator, Anti-Spiritualist, Am? bidextrous Prestidigitator, Electro Biologist, Mesmerist, Prince of Wizards, and Master of Hidden Secrets of the Ancient Magic'. In 1856 Jacobs was again in the United States and made a successful appearance at Maguire's Opera House, San Francisco, where, in the words of a local newspaper, 'Beauty, Fashion and the Literati nightly crowded the auditorium'. He returned to New Zealand in 1858 and 1860. In 1860 he was back in London at the Polygraphie Hall for what was described in the playbill as 'Farewell entertainments, previous to his retirement' (see also Plate XXVIII). Jacobs died in October 1870 and the follow? ing notices in The Jewish Record seem to refer to him: 'JACOBS?On October 11 at the residence of his beloved friend, Mr A. M. Cohen, Mount Villas, Sydenham Hill, Professor Jacobs, aged 58, deeply lamented by his sorrowing friends and family. May his soul rest in peace. Australian and New Zealand papers please copy' (The Jewish Record, 31 October 1870.) 'MRS JOSEPH JACOBS and Family with Messrs J. S. and H. JACOBS RETURN THANKS for visits and cards of condolence</page><page sequence="44">170 Alfred Rubens during their week of mourning for their late lamented husband, father and brother. 12 Old Bond Street W (The Jewish Record 28 October 1870).65 The foregoing summary covers, I believe, the most distinguished Jewish conjurers active in the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century. Many more were to follow but I will mention here only Wiljaha Frikell (1818-1903), described in the Encyclo? paedia Britannica (1946 ed., Vol. 6, p. 261) as the real leader among modern magicians and the first to appear in conventional evening clothes. My authority for including his name is a reference to him in the Jewish Chronicle (1 January 1858, p. 24). Finally, from the same source, I quote references to two other magicians who made their mark in the community if not in the larger world: J. MAURICE 'All daily as well as literary papers have lately noticed an extraordinary optical illusion invented by J. Maurice the effect of which is to render the real actor on the stage and in sight of the audience invisible without his moving from the spot and to give him all the appear? ance of transparency; also to cause the appear? ance of one person being transformed instantly into another. The illusion acts a principal part in the pantomime of the season "The Lion and the Unicorn fighting for the Crown"? called the Eidos Aeides' (J.C., 10 February 1865, p. 6). JOSEPH BLAND 'Mr Joseph Bland (of Oxford St) well known as prestidigateur having recovered from a recent illness . . . presented as a thanksgiving offering to the children of the Spanish &amp; Portuguese School (Mr Bland being a member of the Portuguese Congregation) an entertain? ment combining magical experiments, ventrilo? quism and a performance of marionettes . . ,'66 (J.C., 29 January 1875, p. 701). References for conjurers: American Jewish Historical Society Pubs. No. 16, 1907, pp. 73 94, for Philadelphia; F. Boase, Modern English Biography, Truro, 1897 (for Jacobs); M. Christopher, Panorama of Magic, New York, 1962 (pp. 41-42 for Philadelphia; p. 91 for Jacobs); S. W. Clarke, 'Annals of Conjuring' in The Magic Wand, Vol. 14, 1925 (pp. 36-38 for Jonas; pp. 38-40 for Breslaw), Vol. 15, 1926 (pp. 41-42 for Jacobs); H. Ridgeley Evans, History of Conjuring and Magic (1928) (pp. 33-34 for Jonas; pp. 34-35 for Breslaw; pp. 39-42 for Philadelphia); T. Frost, The Old Showmen and the old London Fairs, London, 1874 (pp. 187-194 for Breslaw); T. Frost, The Lives of the Conjurors, London, 1881 (pp. 122-124 for Jonas; p. 125 for Boaz; pp. 128-133 for Bres? law; pp. 215-220 for Jacobs); Houdini, Breslaw ... in M.U.M. Society of American Magicians, New York, July 1920, pp. 7-8. 66 Professor Dawes informs me that his real name was Belasco and that he had a well-known business at 478 New Oxford Street for the sale of conjuring apparatus. He had been licensee of "The Buffalo' public-house in Long Alley, E.G., and also a danc? ing master at Gremorne Gardens, S.W. 65 I am indebted to Mr. G. R. Fincken, of the Mocatta Library, for tracing these references.</page></plain_text>

bottom of page