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Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-88): New Yorker and Londoner

Stephen Massil

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 43, 2011 Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner* STEPHEN MASSIL Haim Bolaffey dedicated his 'Easy grammar' of 1820 to Dr Joseph Hart Myers, whose daughter's and father's fortunes I have now traced to serve as the background to reviewing Dr Myers's career in the broad context of the assimilation of Jews in Britain during the late Enlightenment.11 have taken the family of Maria Hart Myers (1794-1868), 'the lady of Longueville Clarke', down to 1929.2 Here I shall concentrate on the earlier generation of Naphtali Hart Myers and his success as an American in London in the late eighteenth century. I acknowledge again the assistance of a New Zealand genealogist, Daryl Coup, himself a descendant of Naphtali's son Simeon Hart Myers (1765-1803), who has both encouraged and followed some of my findings about Naphtali 'cheek by jowl'. For the Anglo-Jewish history of the 1760s I also acknowledge references in Raphael Langham's account of the early history of the Board of Deputies of British Jews on the occasion of the Board's 250th anniversary.3 Against the fact that Naphtali does not appear in this history of the Board, and because the entry for him in the forthcoming Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History subordinates him to his son Joseph,41 offer these traces of his career, presenting him rather as a one-man Board of Deputies in his own right, or, along with the American-born Naphtali Franks, a two-man team. The key factor, I suggest, is that he had become an American as far as his place in London is concerned, so I intro? duce him with a brief survey of his American career. I have been able to update the Myers family tree5 in further correction of Malcolm Stern's genealogical tables at the American Jewish Archive. * This article is an expanded version of a paper presented to the Society on 17 December 2009. 1 S. W. Massil, 'Two Hebrew grammars and the Enlightenment', Trans JHSE XLI (2007) 99 143 2 S. W. Massil, "'The Lady of Longueville Clarke": Maria Hart Myers (1794-1868) and her Family', TransJHSE XLII (2009) 53-73. 3 R. Langham, 250 Years of Convention and Contention: a history of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1J60-2010 (London 2010). 4 W. D. Rubinstein, M. Jolles and H. L. Rubinstein (eds) The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History (Basingstoke 2010). 5 S. W. Massil (see n. 2) 72-3. 97</page><page sequence="2">Stephen Massil Naphtali's dates are usually introduced with a question mark, '1711?'. If, however, the Gentleman's Magazine's brief obituary notice of October 1788 is taken as correct in giving his age as 77,6 then, with the statement of Naphtali's Will7 that he wished the Synagogue to memorialize him annually at Rosh Chodesh Adar, it can be presumed that he was born on Friday 20 February 1711. What remains uncorroborated is the 'American Adolphus connection' posited by both Stern and Cecil Roth concerning Myers's ancestral connec? tions in New York.8 Intensive investigation fails to trace any substantial Adolphus presence in New York at this period, except for Isaac Adolphus (1725-74) and his wife Charity Hays (1722-73), the sister of Judah Hays (1703-64), who will appear in my account later. The Adolphus family of London could be investigated and might better give a link back to the German origin of both lines, but I have not pursued these. These legal and literary Adolphuses of the Regency certainly offer facets for my general enquiry, which is the social and intellectual connections between Jews and their contemporaries in England at this time. Naphtali's parents, and where he was born, remain untraced. It may have been in Bonn (whence, apparently, Isaac Adolphus of New York) or, if related to the Adolphus family of London, in Kassel; or in Breslau (making some point to Myers's associations with Baruch Judah and his family in New York, and Myers's intermarriage with Hester Moses, the granddaughter of Chief Rabbi Aaron Hart, ne Uri Phaibusch [or Phoebus; 1670-1756], whose father came earlier from Hamburg). That these matters do not figure in current writing is a disappointment, for this family carries descent from the Chief Rabbi through his daughter Rebecca, the mother of Bilhah and Hester Moses (by the naming of Hart's elder granddaughter one might presume that his wife's name was Bilhah). Hart is a substantial figure in a recent account of the Chief Rabbis but no detail of his family is given.9 I refer later to Naphtali's Will, but draw on it here since he stated his wish to be buried next to his mother's grave in what Daniel Lysons in his Environs of London called the 'Dutch Jews cemetery' at Stepney.10 Lysons cited Myers among the notables buried there, including 'Jacob Hart, Gent, of New York, 1785 . . . and Michael Adolphus, Esq, 1785'. This is the only tangible refer 6 Gentleman 's Magazine LVIII pt 2 (1788) 938. 7 PROB 11/1172 (PCC). 8 M. Stern, First American Jewish Families: 600 genealogies, 1654-19// (Waltham, MA, 1978); C. Roth, The Great Synagogue, London, 1690-1940 (London 1950) 160. 9 D. Taylor, The Chief Rabbis (London 2008) 100-14. 10 D. Lysons, The Environs of London: being an historical account of the towns, villages, and hamlets, within twelve miles of that capital; interspersed with biographical anecdotes (London 1792-6) III 482. See also B. S?sser (ed.) Alderney Road Jewish Cemetery, London Ei, 1697-1853: Anglo Jewry's oldest Ashkenazi cemetery (London 1997). 98</page><page sequence="3">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner ence to his parents, suggesting that his father (who, given the naming of Naphtali's first son, must have died before 1758) is buried elsewhere. Naphtali himself surfaces in colonial American records only from 1741 in New York, and in Easton, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and in New York substantively, with connections over the years in Connecticut and at Newport, Rhode Island. The first New York references are in the letters that Abigail Franks addressed to her son Naphtali Franks (1715-96) after he had settled among his uncles in London in 1733, where she noted that he, well acquainted with Myers in London, had sent letters of recommendation about him.11 This means that there is no scope for any immediate interaction with the' Adolphus of New York' and that the family had rather come from Germany to London. Myers's visit to London in 1753-4 was perhaps occasioned by news of his father's recent death, but any burial of his father would have been arranged without Naphtali's involvement, whereas, since his Will referred to his own burial alongside his mother, I assume he did organize that, including the reservation of the adjacent plot for his own eventual interment. Since Abigail Franks does not mention his parents it is clear that they did not go to New York with him. His mother may of course have travelled with Naphtali and his bride when he brought her to New York in 1754. In America References to Myers's career in America cover mercantile dealings, business associations, court executorship and administrations, synagogue member? ship and wardenships, benefactions - in New York and to the Touro Synagogue along with gifts of books to the Redwood Society - and corre? spondence between London and New York. I shall cite and speculate on some of them. Myers enjoyed a lucrative and successful business career in America, as noted by J. R. Marcus: Myers was 'a distinguished, successful, and philan? thropic merchant who must have come to New York in the early 1740s for by 1746 he was an officer at Shearith Israel... and in 1747 the sixth highest tax? payer of the synagogue (alongside Judah Hays . . . and Isaac Seixas); its President in 1756; his merchandise comprised European and East India 11 A. Franks, The letters of Abigaill Levy Franks, 1/33-1/48, ed. and intro. E. B. Gelles (New Haven, CT, 2004); L. Hershkowitz and I. S. Meyer (eds) Lee Max Friedman collection of American Jewish colonial correspondence: letters of the Franks family, 1/33-1/48 (Waltham, MA, 1968) remains unsuperseded. The letters mentioning N. H. Myers are those of 21 June, 6 Sept., 18 Oct. and 20 Dec. 1741 and 7 June and 22 Nov. 1743 (from Jacob Franks). 12 J. R. Marcus, 'Light on early Connecticut Jewry', American Jewish Archives I 2 (1949); repub lished in Jacob R. Marcus (ed.) Critical Studies in American Jewish History: selected articles . . . (Cincinnati 1971). 99</page><page sequence="4">Stephen Massil goods, textiles and jewellery.'12 He had paid for the honour of laying one of the foundation stones of the Touro Synagogue and gave a chandelier to it in 1760 (still in situ)13 and five to Shearith Israel, four of which were eventually transported to the first synagogue in Cincinnati (in 1835).14 His final address in New York was 'opposite the Golden-Key, Hanover Square' from at least 1755,15 so the family's later transposition to America Square in London can bear some weight of city topography if not of architectural appreciation. Marcus refers to the presentation of candelabra; I am impressed by Marcus's reference to a gift of books to the newly founded Redwood Library in Newport in 1750: the books were Rabbi David Nieto's Matteh Dan of 171316 (Israel Solomons appears not to have been aware of this copy of Nieto's work, discussed in a paper before the Society in 1915)17 and Silvain Regis's Cours Entier, ou Systeme General Selon Les Principes de M. Descartes of 1691;18 other early Jewish members and donors were Abraham Hart, Moses Lopez, Joseph Jacob (the first Treasurer) and Jacob Rivera. Regarding Myers's Will and his estates in the 'colony of Connecticut', Marcus refers to the case brought in 1780 by a certain Boghragh concerning his property at Salisbury, Connecticut (Litchfield County). From another source indicated by the New York Historical Society service, Myers received ownership of a bankrupt's holdings in Fairfield County in 1763, like Salisbury, on the New York borders; he apparently also had estates in Litchfield County.19 It is possible to trace some details of the documenta? tion that Joseph Hart Myers presented to the courts in Connecticut as late as 1794-5, claiming rights and debts. So it appears that in the earlier hearings when Boghrah complained against N. H. Myers as being a 'loyalist', this had not held water in the dispute (and despite Myers's long-since departure from the colonial and pre-Independence context of the case).20 From what appears to be the outset of Naphtali Hart Myers's career in America, he bore a good character from Naphtali Franks, which made a good 13 E. Stiles [1727-95], Ezra Stiles and the Jews: selected passages from his literary diary concerning Jews and Judaism (New York 1902) 61. 14 J. R. Marcus (see n. 12) 16-17. 15 New York Gazette &amp; Weekly Post Boy, 5 May 1755, advertisement quoted in The Arts and Crafts in New York, 1726-1776, compiled by R. S. Gottesman (New York Historical Society Publications, LXIX, 1936) 266-7. 16 I am grateful to Holly Snyder for the Nieto and Silvain details. Rabbi D. Nieto, Matteh Dan (London: Thomas Hive, 1713). 17 I. Solomons, 'David Nieto and some of his contemporaries' Trans JHSE XXII (1931) 26-7. 18 R. Silvain, Cours Entier, ou Systeme General Selon Les Principes des [de?] M. Descartes, Contenant La Logique, La Metaphysique, La Physique et La Morale 3 vols (Amsterdam: aux depens des Huguetan, 1691). 19 J. R. Marcus (see n. 12) 16-17. 20 Ibid. p. 16, citing Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, X (1877) 268-9, as a source of the dispute between Boghragh and Myers. 100</page><page sequence="5">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner impression on Abigail Franks, writing on 21 June 1741: 'Mr. Naphtali Myers I bleive will doe very well here &amp; if he answer the charecter you give him he may be assured of any friendly office in the family he lodges with at Judah Hays who lives in Mrs Sims's house ... Mr Myers speaks of all the family [in London] with great regard but in particular gives miss a charming charecter [Miss Franks].' Mrs 'Sims' was the widow of James Simmes of Pearl Street; Judah Hays was the brother of Mrs Charity Adolphus (1722-73) who in 1743 married Isaac Adolphus (1721-74), originally from Bonn. In the postscript to the letter of 18 October 1741, Abigail states: 'Mr Naphtali Myers expresses much love and regard to you he is a very good body &amp; deserves the good will you have for him'. Then in the letter of 20 December she finds: '[He] makes himself very agreeable and usefull in the family I don't att all doubt of his doeing well here, for he is very frugall &amp; carefull'. Some eighteen months later, in the letter of 7 June 1743 she notes how Naphtali put himself out for her nephew Moses Salomons, who was unwell and under business duress in the Carolinas. Myers clearly soon entered into business with the Franks family, as also with Abigail's brother Nathan Levy and later with her nephew Benjamin Levy. He was engaged in powers of attorney among the Franks and the Levys with documents signed and witnessed early in 1744.21 Naphtali also appears in the Lancaster County records.22 He appears in the Flatbush town records in 1747, but not necessarily as a resident himself.23 Myers seems to have made several trips back to London, one being announced in 1748: 'intending shortly for England. Desires all persons indebted to him to balance their accounts, and prevent further trouble.'24 Similarly on 30 March 1752: 'All persons indebted to Nap. Hart Myers, are desired to balance their accounts, and prevent farther trouble; he is intend? ing shortly for London'. A sample of Myers's New York trade and connections is shown by an advertisement presumably on his return from the 1748-9 trip to London: 'To be Sold by Naphtali H. Myers, at the House of Mr. Pontus Stille [sic], late Stephen Bayard's, Esq: A Large Assortment of European and East-India Goods, very Cheap for ready Money or short Credit'.25 Stephen Bayard had 21 Details referred to me by Mark Abbott Stern; see M. A. Stern, David Franks: colonial merchant (University Park, PA, 2010). 22 Irwin S. Rhodes, 'Early legal records of Jews of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania' American Jewish Archives XII 1 (i960) 97, citing 'Deed Records, Office of the Recorder of Deeds . . . Record Book B., 29 April 1745, pp. 181-2, and 10 March 1747, pp. 339-40. See also D. A. Brener, The Jews of Lancaster, Pennsylvania: a story with two beginnings (Lancaster, PA, 1979) 4. 23 A. F. Landesman, Brownsville: the birth, development and passing of a Jewish community in New York (1971) 20-1. 24 New York Gazette, 11 July 1748 (repeated over several weeks). 25 New York Gazette, 8 Jan. 1750. 101</page><page sequence="6">Stephen Massil been the Mayor of New York in 1744-7, residing in Dock Street next to Jacob and Abigail Franks on the East River; 'their immediate neighbours were Adolphe Philipse, Frederick and Jacobus van Courtlandt, Robert Livingstone, Abraham de Peyster and Stephen Bayard'.26 Bayard's father lived at Stone Street, near Hanover Square. Pontius Stelle (1707-70), like Bayard of a Huguenot family, had extensive connections in New Jersey. On his return from the more important visit to London in 1753-4, Myers availed himself'in the snow the Charming-Helena (Capt. Livingstone ...)', having 'brought with him great variety of European, India, and China goods, which he proposes to sell for ready money, or short credit, at almost the London prices, at his store, on the premises of the late Capt. Burges, in Princes's-Street',27 an address close by Hanover Square. Pennsylvania There are references to Myers being active in the Lehigh Valley at Easton and as far as Lancaster in trans-Appalachia, as also Philadelphia in the 1740s and 1750s, arising it appears from contacts established by David Franks (if not Jacob Franks himself), but not, I think, on any engaged local basis. Myers's business life in Philadelphia was circumscribed between 1753, when he was 'preparing to enter business with Benjamin Levy', and the dissolution of their partnership when Naphtali set off again for London in 1758.28 The newspapers refer to their warehouse in Water-Street, Philadelphia, 'between Mr. Joseph Saunders's and the Queen's Head'. Water-Street was a prime address between 1740 and 1798: 'all the best and richest merchants dwelt under the same roofs with their stores, situated then in Water or Front Street;... a place of residence and genteel business'.29 An example of the workings of Myers's partnership with Levy, and the opportunity offered for local mercantile exchange (showing an Easton mer? chant purchasing his stock from a New York-Philadelphia combination), comes from Easton. This indicates how business relations between New York and Philadelphia were also close enough to warrant 'a joint action by citizens of these two cities in the Easton courts. On March 20,1755, William Parsons, the Clerk of the Court,.. . ordered the sheriff of the county to take 26 J. S. Gurock, American Jewish history: the colonial and early national periods, 1654-1840 (London 1998) 376; New York Gazette &amp; Weekly Post Boy, 20 Sept. 1751. 27 New York Mercury, 7 Aug. 1754. 28 Pennsylvania Gazette,_2i Dec. 1758. 29 J. F. Watson, Annals of Philadelphia . . . to which is added an appendix, containing olden time researches and reminiscences of New York City (Philadelphia: E. L. Carey &amp; A. Hart, 1830) 203, 205. 102</page><page sequence="7">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner into custody one Andrew McFarlan, a shopkeeper of Easton, on the behest of Naphtaly Hart Myers and Benjamin Levi, through their attorney, Lewis Gordon. This was, in fact, civil arrest for debt.'30 Another action arising in Pennsylvania and after, concerns a case brought by Myers against Gideon Casey, of Warwick, silversmith, in 1762.31 Casey, originally of Exeter, Rhode Island, is well known as a leading silversmith of the day, but was also on record as a counterfeiter as early as 1752 in Philadelphia, and in 1763 in Rhode Island. Myers's detection of the man anticipates later events described by Scott32. Myers was quick to act in respect of defaulting debtors (the terms of his 'departure advertisements': 'to balance their accounts, and prevent farther trouble', as noted earlier, take on particular force), so that Mann, in a recent work on 'bankruptcy' in the colonies, can cite disinterestedly Myers's involvement in the courts in a particular case: To give just one example: James McEvers, a merchant in New York, was content not to press a Connecticut debtor, one DeForest, too hard for payment. He instructed his lawyer, William Samuel Johnson, not to arrest DeForest but rather to try to negotiate security for the debt. However, when Johnson learned that another creditor, Naphtali Hart Myers, had given an officer writs of attach? ment to serve on DeForest, he felt he had no choice but to ignore McEvers's instructions and give his own writs against DeForest to the same officer to serve with the others so that McEvers would 'be on the same footing with' Myers rather than suffering while 'a less favourable creditor is secured'.33 The fact that the case can be cited in a general work of this nature gives a sense of ubiquity and frequency to Myers's appearance in the records as I have traced him. Details of Naphtali's visit to London of 1758-9 and its duration are lacking. It is clear that Myers never 'settled' with his family in Pennsylvania, and I stress this to confute a false lead from a book by R. D. Thornton rele? vant to Joseph Hart Myers's medical schooling in Edinburgh, where the author refers to 'Joseph Hart Myers from Pennsylvania' as one of his subject's colleagues.34 Thornton raises also the question of the students' 'American' sympathies during the War of Independence, and the matter has a bearing when considering Naphtali's status as a (proto-) 'Loyalist' - or not. 30 J. Trachtenberg, Consider the Years: The Story of the Jewish Community ofEaston, i/^2-ig^2 (Easton, PA, 1944) 34-5, using sources at the Historical Society of Philadelphia. 31 Rhode Island Jewish Historical Notes I (1954) 9. 32 K. Scott, Counterfeiting in colonial America (New York 1957) 226-7. 33 B. Mann, Republic ofdebtors: bankruptcy in the age of American independence (Cambridge, Mass., 2002)48. 34 R. D. Thornton, T^m^s Currie, the entire stranger and Robert Burns (Edinburgh 1963) 78. 103</page><page sequence="8">Stephen Massil Shearith Israel Shearith Israel was a Sephardi synagogue but the Ashkenazi membership was large, and positions of authority were shared by the joint membership. Naphtali was elected Hatan Bereshit in 1746, a member of the adjunto, Warden, in 1755, and one of the managers of the Mikveh in 1759. Following his departure for England in 1764, the Parnassim agreed (26 September 1764) that 'the Hazan shall make an acknowledgement every Kipur night to Mr Naphtaly Hart Myers for the five menoroth presented by him to the Synagogue, and on the day of Kipur he shall make Ascabot as directed by the said Mr. Myers, the same to be done every Second day of Rosh Chodesh Adar' (his birthday, as confirmed by his Will and final bequests in London to the Great Synagogue). Newport I find Myers's interests in Newport to have been extensive, and yet Stiles refers to him only once, as noted above,35 which may confirm that he was not a resident for any lengthy period, or the owner of any vessel based there, since Stiles, the pastor of the Congregational Church in Newport at the period, the librarian at the Redwood Library and later the President of Yale, otherwise lists the Jews active in these ways. Aside from Myers's mercantile associations with Rhode Island and the social and intellectual life focused on the Redwood Society, it is perhaps his congregational association as from New York to the Touro Synagogue that is most important. The new synagogue was dedicated on 2 December 1763 and Naphtali would surely have been present among the contingent of New Yorkers given timely notice of the dedication day: 'that those gentlemen who please to favour us with their company may not be disappointed', addressed by Moses Lopez, Parnas, to Samuel Judah, Parnas at Shearith Israel. Naturalization In the transatlantic Jewish context, a significant date at this period is 1740, the year of the colonial Naturalization Act,36 of which Naphtali took advan? tage to secure naturalization in April 1764,37 just prior to the family's depar 35 Stiles (see n. 13). 36 Formally, the Plantation Act of 1740: An Act for naturalizing such foreign Protestants, and others therein mentioned, as are settled, or shall settle in any of his Majesty 's colonies in America ...13 Geo. II.c.7. 37 M. S. Giuseppi (ed.) Naturalizations of foreign protestants in the American and West Indian colonies 104</page><page sequence="9">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner ture for England. That departure seems to have been precipitated by the death in February 1764 of his father-in-law, Simon Jacobus Moses. The Jewish Museum retains Naphtali's certificate of Naturalization, another example of his prominence in the surviving records.38 The War of the Austrian Succession was concluded in 1748 and the Seven Years War ran from 1756 to 1763, but was not significant, I think, in respect of travel arrangements that a colonial merchant might have wanted to pursue; but details of Naphtali's ventures do mostly fit into the periods of peace before and after these wars. Some of Myers's administrations surface in the New York Wills,39 and these date from late in his time in the colony. The law-court references in Connecticut continue, as I have indicated, long after his departure for England and indeed figure also in respect of his son Joseph's attempt after 1789 to claim monies due under Naphtali's will from long-held and disputed estates. This was finally settled in 1795 with the sale of the estates through Benjamin S. Judah, acting as Joseph's attorney. The last trace of Naphtali's American connections surfaces as late as 1805 in a Vermont newspaper, when Jessy Judah, the widow of Samuel Judah, and her son Benjamin seem to be calling in accounts in respect of Judah's estate, on which Naphtali Hart Myers, 'deceased', and others, apparently held former power of attorney.40 In the chronology of Naphtali's life the most important date so far must be his visit to London in 1753-4, from which he returned to New York with his bride, Hester Moses (1730-1812). He was thus in London at the time of the furore over the 'Jew Bill' of 1753, but in his surviving correspondence he does not refer to this. In a letter written to Aaron Lopez of Newport, Rhode Island, on the day after the Act was repealed, 16 November 1753, he makes no mention of this fact, only '[per Mr. Solomon Hart]... [that] your [prayer] books I shall have the pleasure of conveying to you on returning to America with her I'm to be united with next February. My respects to your lady, the old gentleman Mr. [Jacob] Rivera and his consort, and all friends.'41 The Gentleman s Magazine records Naphtali's marriage on 27 February 1754, as also the weekly press: 'Last Wednesday Mr. Naphtali Hart Myers, of New York, Merchant, was married to Miss Hetty Moses, daughter of (pursuant to Statute ij Geo. ll.c.j) (London 1921) 38: 'Naphtali Hart Meyers, Merchant, 27 April 1764'. 38 Jewish Museum, ref: 660A. 39 Abstracts of Wills, Vol. V: 1754-1760, New York Historical Society XXIX (1896) 96 and 434. 40 Middlebury Mercury, 24 July 1805. 41 American Jewry: documents: eighteenth century: primarily hitherto unpublished manuscripts, ed. J. Rader Marcus (Cincinnati 1959) 6. 42 London Evening Post, 7 March 1754. io5</page><page sequence="10">Stephen Massil Mr Simon Jacobus Moses, of Bury Street, Merchant; a young lady of genteel fortune'.42 His social connections at the time therefore brought him to St Mary Ax at the heart of London's Jewry and where he would return in 1764. Between times returning to New York, he settled there in Hanover Square in 1755. Hanover Square Hanover Square, the centre of New York's business district, was just a block inland from the waterfront. Three or four storey buildings of red and yellow brick crowded into the busy intersection where Queen Street and the upper end of Dock Street. . . met South Street. . . Expensive shops and the offices of wealthy merchants collided with tradesmen, street vendors, and pickpock? ets. Here at the commercial crossroads of the city ... colourful signboards 'The Golden Key', 'The Dial', 'The Bible and Crown' competed with displays of fine fabrics, watches, and books for the attention of shoppers with a keen eye for quality and fashion.43 Myers lived opposite the Golden Key, itself the sign of Peter Goelet (i727-1811), an ironmonger and a Provincial Grand Master of the Freemasons of New York; the Square by this date was also the location of New York publishing houses.44 Aaron Lopez appears to have congratulated him on his return when notifying him of payment through 'Mr. Levy' for the books delivered by Mr De Payba and in thanking him for them, as referred to in the second letter in Naphtali's hand of 18 August 1754, writing from New York, and in turn congratulating Lopez on the birth of a son: 'May every event of your life prove as propitious as the gift indulgent heaven lately bestowd in adding a son to your family and Mrs Lopez happily so soon on the recovery Mrs Myers &amp; I truly share in the joy this circumstance affords you in which Mr Franks &amp; family also join their felicitations. If at any time my endeavours to serve you here can be acceptable you may at all times command'.45 In 1757, a reward of 5 pistoles was offered for 'Lost... [in the streets] between Mr. Jacob Francks's and Mr Naphtaly Hart Myers, a hoop ring, set 43 T. M. Truxes, Defying empire: trading with the enemy in colonial New York (New Haven 2008) 23-4. The footnotes consolidate various sources. 44 E.g. A catalogue of book: sold by [James] Rivington and Brown, booksellers and stationers from London, at their stores, over against the Golden Key, in Hanover-Square, New- York: and over against the London Coffee-House, in Philadelphia, 1760, 'At both which places will be found, a constant supply of books'. 45 Transcription furnished by Daryl Coup from the original at Newport Historical Society. 46 New York Mercury, 31 Jan. 1757. io6</page><page sequence="11">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner round with diamonds'.46 Then, in 1760, Myers was appointed one of the trustees for the 'creditors of Uriah Hill, late of Duchess County', signed by Myers and two others on 26 July 1760.47 In 1761, he acquired land near Mill Pond in New London, Connecticut, from John Hawkins, and later sold this on to Ichabod Powers, with Samuel Judah acting as his agent in this respect in 1769, not for the only time (see below).48 Naphtali's own house was used by the merchants William Mavor in October and William Alexander in December 1761, 'importing their goods in the last vessels from Europe'.49 What does not emerge from these casual details of Myers's mercantile career is any sense of particular engagement in the networks and layered associations of different sorts of business. The fol? lowing paragraph from Business enterprise in early New York (1979) can serve as a paradigm showing long-standing interactions of families, firms and part? nerships: The members of the new London syndicate were Sir James Colebrooke, George Colebrooke, Arnold Nesbitt, Sir Samuel Fludyer, Adam Drummond, and - most important for the New York story - Naphtali Franks . . . who had earlier helped victual Ogelthorpe's Florida campaign. One of his brothers was David Franks, a Philadelphia merchant, while his brother-in-law was Oliver DeLancey. Thus when the new London syndicate sought local agents in the colonies, it naturally picked Naphtali Franks's two relatives David Franks and Oliver DeLancey, and they brought into the group John Watts of New York and Charles Apthorpe of Boston, the latter in partnership with William Bayard of New York. Thus the shift of the contract in England from Baker, Kilby and Baker to Colebrooke and Nesbitt had no impact upon the local contractors, who had connections with both camps.50 This brings together the names of those with whom Naphtali was certainly familiar, but not further engaged. A document in the correspondence of Sir Jeffrey Amherst refers to the hire of a vessel in August 1762 by Myers and the writer, David Pryce, of the Headquarters of the Agent for Transports. One specific question Pryce deals with is the tonnage51 of vessels and the certification of this by 'Governor Murray', the British governor over captured French Canada. I cannot place 47 Ibid. 28 July 1760. 48 E. Sulman, A goodly heritage: the story of the Jewish community in New London, 1860-1955, by Esther Sulman with the collaboration of Leonard J. Goldstein (New London, Conn., 1957) 3. 49 New York Gazette, Oct. and 21 Dec. 1761. 50 L. H. Leder, 'Military victualing in colonial New York' inj. R. Frese and J. Judd (eds) Business enterprise in early New York (Tarrytown, NY 1979) 42. 51 J. J. McCusker, 'The tonnage of ship engaged in British colonial trade during the eighteenth century', Essays in the economic history of the Atlantic world (London 1997) 43-75. 52 National Archives, Amherst Papers, W.O. 34, vol. LXIII, Correspondence between the 107</page><page sequence="12">Stephen Massil Myers in the context of the presumably military engagement in Canada, and it is not clear from the one-off letter whether his wish to hire a vessel is for his own trading purposes or for some participation in the transports to do with Canada. It reads: [Headquarters, New York, 19 August 1762] The warrant granted for the hire of the Hound, schooner, Bryan Stapleton master, is agreeable to her tonnage as certified by Governor Murray which is more than she is really entitled to, as her dimensions were taken as if she had been a double-decker; which no schooners or sloops are even allowed to be when taken into the King's service, as the reason for paying 13/6 ton for double decked vessels, is because they are double, found in ground tackle and sails, but schooners and sloops cannot be so without being half loaded with materials. If Mr Myers chuses to take the warrant as made out, he may: if not the certifi? cate shall be returned to him. Signed by Dav. Pryce To Mr Naphtali Hart Myers.52 I have referred to the 'Jew Bill' of 1753, when in London the Lord Mayor and the city merchants were active in their opposition to the Bill. Their next concerted action concerned the Stamp Act of 1765, under which the American colonial reaction was proving so injurious to Britain's trade that its repeal in 1766 benefited both the North American merchants and the colonies, except that the Repeal carried the Declaratory Act and was followed by other taxation, which brought on the greater disaffection of the Colonies and the onset of the Revolution. Yet Naphtali's return to London does not appear to have been in anticipation of the financial and representational struggle ahead. Following the death of Simon Moses and his own application for natural? ization, Myers made ready to bring his family to England, and the newspa? pers carry announcements of household sales: 'To be sold by Auction all the plate, china, looking-glasses, particularly a pair of the largest size sconces, in carved and gilt frames; variety of carved and plain mahogany furniture, car? peting and kitchen utensils; black and white prints, engraved by some of the best hands; a small collection of books of the politest authors both English and French. The whole belonging to Naphtali Hart Myers, 25 April 1764 and two following days.'53 It is not possible to particularize these items, but it is worth noting that Commander-in-Chief and (1) the Agents for Transports, April 1757-November 1763, Letter, p. 228. 53 New York Gazette, 24 April 1764, '25 April 1764 and two following days'. 54 Watson (see n. 11) Appendix 52. io8</page><page sequence="13">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner 'mahogany was not in general use' in New York at this date,54 though Myers's departure coincided with the establishment of several firms promi? nent in the business following the designs of Chippendale.55 At Easton's Point, in Newport, Rhode Island, the firms of John Townsend (i 733-1809) and John Goddard (1723/4-85) were leaders in the use of mahogany for fine furniture, which from their time began to supersede (American) black walnut in popularity. In other words, either Myers was a pioneer in commissioning such furniture from American workshops or he had brought it with him with his bride from England. He also disposed of land holdings: 'TO BE SOLD BY Nap. Ht. Myers, or by his Attorney, Samuel Judah merchant at New York: A tract of Land in Stonington well known by the name of the Auguilla [sic] Farm, containing sixty nine Acres and a Half, being well Watered and fit for any Improvement.'56 A late trade reference offering jewellery for sale also apparently dates from his last weeks in New York: 'a sett of jewels, consisting of a pair of three drop diamond earrings, Egrat, Salatair, Hoop and other Rings'.57 Myers had arrived in New York in 1741 bearing the commendations of Naphtali Franks. On the sailing of the York on 5 July 1764, when he brought his family to London under Captain Berton, he was commended as: 'This gentleman having resided here upwards of twenty-three years, as a Merchant, with an unblemished character'.58 As the only named passenger in the record, Myers must have had some notability and also some contacts as a go-between, bearing a letter from John Watts to General Monckton (the former Governor of New York, retired to England and later sympathetic to the colonial cause).59 He would have known Watts by his Franks connec? tions: John Watts (1716-50) was married to Ann de Lancey, whose brother Oliver had married Phila Franks, the sister of Naphtali Franks. (Captain Peter Berton appears later as a 'Loyalist', and after the conflict over Independence was active in Canada on behalf of the Loyalists.) Here is the point to discuss whether Myers should be regarded as a 'Loyalist and a Tory', as Boghragh accused him in the Connecticut court in 1780. Myers was certainly happy to end his days in England and to ensure a career for his heir in London with a strong association with the Great 55 See Chippendale's Gentlemans and Cabinet-Maker's Directory (London 1762). 56 New London Gazette, 11 May 1764, quoted in R. B. Marrin, Abstracts from the New London Gazette covering southeastern Connecticut, 1763-1769 (Westminster, MD 2008) 37. 57 E. Singleton, Social New York under the Georges, 1714-1776: houses, streets, and country homes, with chapters on fashions, furniture, china, plate, and manners (New York 1902) 254. 58 New York Gazette, 9 July 1764. 59 'Letterbook of John Watts' (see n. 52) 269. The sailing is confirmed in the New York Mercury of 9 July and the York arrived at Dover at the beginning of August. 60 'Letterbook of John Watts'. iog</page><page sequence="14">Stephen Massil Synagogue. Yet in the dispute with Boghragh the court appears not to have been impressed by such matters, even in absentia. The Judahs were recog? nized as upstanding 'Patriots' in the critical phase - when New York was under English occupation during the War of Independence - but at a later date Samuel's son Benjamin was happy to act for Myers in Connecticut and to rely on him (in America Square) during his own time in London in 1798 - long after the events of the 1770s. For want of substantive evidence, cor? respondence and discussion of the political concerns of the time, I find in the few traces of Myers's career and business nothing indicative of his politics. The association with Captain Berton arose in 1764,1 presume on personal and family grounds, before events in America and disputes between the gov? ernment and the colonies had reached any pitch. The groundswell towards independence can of course be detected in various quarters as early as the 1740s, but 1764 was too early for 'Loyalism'. The letters being conveyed to General Monckton appear not to have had any political content, only financial business: New York 30th June 1764 The Honourable General Monckton Dear Sir I wrote you every thing I could recollect nth Instant by the Hallifax Packet. With this you will receive the third Bills for ?500 Sterling drawn by Parker on Nesbitt, the Chance is great they will not be wanted, but 'tis a Merchantman carrys them &amp; the Expence small, to Mr: Myers who goes with his family Home by the same Opportunity I shall recommend your Papers, the Packet I told you could carry none.60 That Myers figures also as a postal intermediary the following year in the correspondence of Dr Thomas Moffat, a Scotsman of Newport, is perhaps more to the point. Dr Moffat was writing to the Quaker Joseph Harrison (1709-87), a former Collector of HM Customs in Boston, having made a judicious escape to London from Rhode Island during the outbursts over the Stamp Duty and following the Newport Riot of 29 August 1765. On his arrival in London Moffat requested Harrison to 'write me under cover of. . . Myers'.61 That Moffat named Myers as a contact at this juncture suggests he would have been sympathetic to the plight of those who viewed American colonial unrest with apprehension, but I can go no further on the matter. Myers would have known these men in social and community terms, as also Dr William Hunter of Newport, like Moffatt a graduate of the medical school of Edinburgh, as a cousin of Dr William Hunter of London and the Royal 61 Chalmers Papers, New York Public Library. 62 Lectures derived from Alexander Munro of Edinburgh, discussed by J. W. Bell, 'History of no</page><page sequence="15">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner Academy, and a Jacobite (having served in the Pretender's forces at Culloden), who apparently gave in Newport in 1754-6 the first lectures on anatomy to be delivered in New England.62 The lecture was delivered in the Council Room of the 'Old Colony House', one of the buildings designed by Harrison's brother Peter Harrison (1716-75), the designer of the Redwood Library and the Touro Synagogue. In London I find one last American connection that so far lacks explanation. It concerns a payment of ?124 made by Myers to Mary Bradstreet nee Aldridge (d. 1782) in London on 1 December 1769, and its repayment at the hands of her (estranged) husband Major-General John Bradstreet (1714-74) in Albany, New York, in June 1772 through Myers's attorney Samuel Judah. The docu? ment, signed by both Mrs Bradstreet and Myers, featured in an auction in 2005 (purchaser as yet unknown).63 Bradstreet's career is recorded, but it is not clear at what point Myers may have become acquainted with him, or with his wife who left Boston for London with her two daughters in 1765, reliant on pay? ments from her husband transmitted by his friend Charles Gould at annual intervals in December;64 she also appears in the records of the Loyalists.65 In London, Myers lived first at 11 Bury Street, his wife's family home, and later in Mark Lane where his second son Simeon, on gaining admission to Clement's Inn, was also resident as a bachelor in 1794.66 Myers settled in John Street, America Square, in 1770, as indicated by the letting of'the remainder of a lease of which there are nine years unexpired. A commodi? ous house fit for a merchant, in the centre of business, being No. 11, in St. Mary-Axe. For further particulars, enquiry of. . . Mr. Nap. Hart Myers, in John Street, Crutched-Friars.'67 I have recently published an account of the naming of America Square, and its first American residents, for the London Topographical Society.68 I Anatomical Instruction in New England in a Letter of Benjamin Waterhouse . . .^Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences XXXIII 2 (1978) 215-17. 63 'Early American' (California) Auction House, Sale of February 2005, lot 12: Mary Bradstreet Payment to Jewish Merchant Napthale Hart Meyers [sic] 1769. 64 W. G. Godfrey, Pursuit of profit and preferment in colonial North America: John Bradstreefs quest (Waterloo, Ont., 1982) 252. 65 E. A. Jones, The loyalists of Massachusetts: their memorials, petitions and claims (London, Saint Catherine Press 1930) 51: Mrs Bradstreet's petition (accepted): Audit Office ref. 13/43. 66 C. Carr, 'The Pension Book of Clifford's Inn', Seiden Society LXXVIII (i960) 300. 67 Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (London) Wednesday 24 Jan. 1770. 68 S. W. Massil, 'America Square: a question without an answer and a review', London Topographical Record XXX (2010) 88-94. 69 Massil (seen. 1) 123. III</page><page sequence="16">Stephen Massil mentioned the America Square development in my first paper69 and included a picture of the 'fluted' obelisk, as Pevsner described it in his first work on the district in 1957,70 which would have been the Myerses morning vista for the next sixty years. America Square, with Crescent, Circus and a series of side streets and interconnections, was notable in its time for the introduction of developments already underway in Bath, and was the City's answer to the Portman Estate developments and the slightly earlier Great George Street development in Westminster (where Naphtali Franks moved in 1761), and can be said to be London's own recognition of its place as 'capital of America'. Myers, by taking up occupancy of premises in the new 'John-Street, America Square' was the first 'American' of America Square, closely fol? lowed by at least four others who were more specifically engaged in the American mercantile scene, whether as Americans in London or as agents for and associates of the British North American Merchants, consolidated as a body under the pressures of the struggle over the Stamp Duty, its Repeal and the various consequences of'taxation without representation', of the period from 1765 until the Declaration of Independence and after. I have traced the associations of the chief personages involved: Alderman Barlow Trecothick, Chairman of the 'Committee of Merchants Trading to North America', Lord Mayor in 1770; Sir Stephen Theodore Janssen, Chamberlain for London and thus the chief officer in charge of the Surveyor's department, a known Wilkesite; Benjamin Hammet, who funded the development of the Crescent, memorialized in Hammet Street, MP for his home town of Taunton; and Sir Charles Pratt, later Lord Camden, George Dance's friend from Bath, Lord Chancellor and spokesman for both John Wilkes and 'America', memorialized in several towns in the colonies prior to Independence, in Camden Crescent, Bath, and in Camden Town. Another figure with a critical role, as Lord Mayor in 1767-8, was Thomas Harley, one of Wilkes's condign opponents. What these gentlemen also had in common, along with notables of diverse interests, and also some Jews such as Joseph Salvador, FRS, Naphtali Franks, FRS, and Myers among the ear? liest, was membership of William Shipley's Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Commerce and Manufacture, inaugurated in 1754, which had an early preference for American projects. I have no specific evidence to show for Myers's connections with his fellow American merchants in London or with the City's engagement with the pol? itics of the Stamp Act (or the Currency Act of 1764). But the new address at John-Street in 1770 put Myers firmly into the limelight that the new devel? opment offered, and the Myers family proved to be the longest residing 70 N. Pevsner, London. Vol. i: The cities of London and Westminster (Harmondsworth 1957) 255. 71 C. Epstein, 'Compromising traditions in eighteenth-century London: the architecture of the 112</page><page sequence="17">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner family in the neighbourhood, down to the time of Leah Hart Myers's depar? ture from the Square in 1829, when she moved to York Terrace, Marylebone, having lived in the Square for thirty-seven years. I can make no connections between Myers and George Dance at this junc? ture, and there is certainly no suggestion that Myers could or would, like Benjamin Hammet, have financed any part of the development. The Great Synagogue There was, however, one point of contact between Naphtali Hart Myers and George Dance - the refurbishment of the Synagogue in 1764-6, and its rededication in August 1766. The Synagogue Vestry commissioned George Dance senior (1695-1768) with the refurbishment in 1763, and Simon Jacobus Moses, Naphtali's father-in-law, was one of the major subscribers to the work.71 By the time Naphtali settled in London, Simon had died. By the time the work had been completed, Naphtali had become one of the wardens of the Synagogue alongside his old (American) friend Naphtali Franks, who had served as a warden since 1749 and was succeeded later in 1766 by his brother Moses Franks. George Dance junior had returned from the Grand Tour and under the inspiration of Lord Camden, having under? taken a tour in Bath as discussed by Dorothy Stroud,72 had entered his father's office at the point of completion of the Synagogue works, and shortly afterwards succeeded him as Surveyor to the Corporation. The young John Soane became his pupil at this time. Public reception of events at the Synagogue indicates an easy acceptance by the City and merchants of its presence,73 and the consecration of the newly refurbished building in 176674 made good news: Yesterday afternoon at 4:00 o'clock, the Dutch Jews Synagogue in Duke's Place, which has at considerable expense been greatly enlarged and beautified, Great Synagogue, Duke's Place', in S. Kadish (ed.) Building Jerusalem: Jewish architecture in Britain (London 1996) 54-83. The article refers both to the Dances' work of 1764-6 and the young James Spiller's new building of 1788-90 on the same site. 72 D. Stroud, George Dance (London 1971) 77-8. 73 G. Reitlinger, 'The Changed Face of English Jewry at the end of the Eighteenth Century' Trans JHSE XXIII (1969-70) 35, section on the popularity of synagogue music. 74 This prayer used at the opening of the Great Synagogue, in Duke 's Place, 29th August ij66. Composed in Hebrew by Rabbi Nahum Joseph Polak; and made English byJ.N. Inscribed to the worthy presi? dents Naphtali Franks, Esq.; Naphtali Hart Myars, Esq. and Mr Joel Levi, gent, steward. Performed by Mr. Isaak Elias Polak, principal reader and his assistants. 'J.N.' may be Joseph Noah, one of the subscribers to Meyers's and Alexander's Tephilloth: containing the forms of prayers . . . (London 1770), but still untraced from there. 75 Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, Saturday 30 Aug. 1766. "3</page><page sequence="18">Stephen Massil under the direction of Mr. George Dance the City Surveyor, was opened and consecrated according to the form of the Jewish church. Upon this occasion a hymn (in which handsome encomiums were passed on his Majesty, and also on the Lord Mayor and the city of London) composed by Rabbi Nahum Joseph Polack, was vocally and instrumentally performed . . . There were a consider? able number of persons present at this curious ceremony, tickets for admission having been delivered to the Right Hon. The Lord Mayor, Aldermen and many other of the principal merchants and traders in this city.75 Myers and Franks would have been at the centre of social engagement with the City dignitaries on such an occasion. In my paper on Maria Hart Myers,76 I quoted a report of a wedding in 1781 showing the new capacity of the Synagogue and its adjacent great hall; the report included the reference that Myers was 'the treasurer to the sub? scriptions for the poor Jews'.77 The detail of the Wardenship so soon accorded to Myers by 1766, and a continuing involvement in Synagogue affairs down to his death in 1788, attest to the esteem in which he was held and his capacity both as a merchant of St Mary Ax, upholding commitments made by Simon Moses, and in the public affairs of the Synagogue. As mentioned, he appears in the lists of members of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (now the RS A) from 1766, under the sponsorship of Naphtali Franks.78 Published lists go back to 1757 when Jews such as Aaron and Naphtali Franks, Abraham Hart and Mr David Salomons were already subscribers. By 1766 there were a dozen Jewish names in the list, including Moses Isaac Levy, Esq., also of Bury Street, St Mary Ax, Emanuel Mendes Da Costa, of Crane Street (that is, the Royal Society) just prior to his fall from grace, Michael Adolphus of Sackville Street, and Naphtali Franks of Great George Street, Westminster. In view of the public associations of Myers with Sir John Fielding (see below), it is worth recording a private instance in 1767 where some of the domestic relics of the ladies of the family come to light in a newspaper report, headed 'from the Public Office, Bow-Street, Nov. 16, 1767', of a robbery when cut from behind a carnage between Dartford and London, the nth inst., in the evening a hamper [was taken] containing .. . various items of linen, family 76 Massil (see n. 2) 61. 77 The Scots Magazine XLIII (Edinburgh April 1781) 222-3. 78 List of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, London, 18 Aug. 1766, Printed by order of the Society, 48. The details for a later listing are fuller: List of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, London, 23 Jan. 1772 (London, Printed by order of the Society. By W. Adlard and J. Browne, in Fleet-Street). 79 Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, Monday, 30 Nov. 1767, the lengthiest of several accounts of ii4</page><page sequence="19">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner trinkets and jewellery . . . handkerchiefs &amp;c. some marked H[ester]. M[oses]., and others B[ilhah]. .. with a paper caravan box ... a mourning ring of Simon Jacobus Moses, who died February 1764; a ditto of Rebecca Moses, aged 47, who died in the month of February, some years ago.... A quantity of women's shoes some marked Moses, some Meyers ... A reward is offered for any com? munication to Sir John Fielding.79 I have yet to trace any family journey by Naphtali and Hester at this time, returning them from Kent via Dartford to London. With the reference to Simon Moses's first wife Rebecca, the daughter of the Chief Rabbi, and the link it makes with the naming of Naphtali's firstborn daughter Rebecca in 1756, it is possible to draw some final genealogical threads. By the date of Rebecca's birth in 1756 and the announcement of the mar? riage of her grandfather Simon Jacobus Moses to 'Miss Marks, a lady endowed with every qualification necessary to render the marriage happy' in November 1756,80 I can confirm that her grandmother, Rebecca Hart (i707?~55?), the daughter of Chief Rabbi Aaron Hart (Uri Phaibusch) who also died in 1756, must have died at latest in 1755. The second Mrs Moses must herself have died by 1759, because in his Will dated in 1760 Simon refers to his wife Susannah, who outlived him, dying in 1765, after he had died 'a very eminent Jew merchant of Bury Street' at Bath in February 1764.81 Another detail of early genealogical study that remains unreconciled, however, is the reference in D'Arcy Hart's study of the Hamburger family in Miscellanies (1937) concerning the widow of Naphtali's father-in-law Simon Jacobus Moses, his third wife Susannah Moses (also nee Hart) and the fact that in her will of 1765 she refers to 'Myer Heyman (who was guardian to Susannah's three step-grandchildren, Joseph . . .) and his wife'.82 I wonder what the term 'guardian' means here, since Naphtali and Hester in 1764 had only recently arrived from New York, and the youngest, Simeon, was but a few months old. He may be the same 'Mr. Myer Hyman, Merchant of Savage Gardens, Tower Hill' who is entered as a subscriber to the RSA in 1768; he was earlier listed in 1759 as a subscriber (at 3 guineas) to the Guildhall subscription for 'Inlisting landsmen as soldiers in the continuance of the current War'.83 The names of Aaron Franks, Henry Isaac Franks, Benjamin Mendes Da Costa and Hananel Mendes Da Costa, Joseph Salvador, Levy and Ruben Salomons, Aaron Norden and Salomon Norden, the incident. 80 London Evening Post, Saturday 6 Nov. 1756, 'on Wednesday last'. 81 Lloyd's Evening Post, 15 Feb. 1764. 82 R. J. D'Arcy Hart, 'The family of Mordecai Hamburger' Miscellanies III (1937) 73-4. 83 Whitehall Evening Post or London Intelligencer, Tuesday 25 Sept. 1759. 84 Public Ledger or The Daily Register of Commerce and Intelligence, Monday 10 Nov. 1760. "5</page><page sequence="20">Stephen Massil junior, also appear in this list. Hyman is included in an extensive list of names of those greeting the new King on his accession in 1760.84 He is named as a diamond merchant with connections in Bombay in Yogev's Diamonds and Coral.85 Alongside Naphtali's move from Mark Lane to John Street in 1770, there is a reference to him as a governor and former steward of the Hospitals for the Small-pox and Inoculation.86 Congregational business An early and difficult matter of synagogue business that engaged Myers in his wardenship was the dispute with the Portsmouth congregation of late 1766. This was discussed by I. S. Maisels in these Transactions in 1910. His article referred to the Minute Books of the time containing a letter in Hebrew dated '17th of Tebeth 5526' and signed by the wardens Franks and Myers, and the Gabbayim Joel Levy and Aaron Goldsmid (like Myers, a newly estab? lished newcomer to London).87 Jewish criminals and the Chelsea murders Myers as Warden was active in the courts when it came to thefts of the Synagogue silver: an example comes from the Old Bailey in May 1767 when Joseph Phineas was indicted for stealing a silver cup, 'value 20s, and a silver castor, value 10s; the property of Naphtali Hart Meyers [sic] and Moses Franks, May 20'. Myers indicated that he and Mr Franks 'have custody and care of the Synagogue': 'I told the sexton to keep it private and we would go about the districts of Dukes-Place, and inform all the pawnbrokers and people, and describe the things, and perhaps we may sooner come at a discovery; accordingly we let the pawnbrokers and all the old-cloaths people know. On the Friday in the afternoon, I was sent for Mr Coleman in the Minories, I was there informed he had stopped a broken silver cup; he is a dealer in old cloaths; I described it to him before he took it out of his drawer.'88 85 G. Yogev, Diamonds and Coral: Anglo-Dutch Jews and 18th Century trade (Leicester 1978) 145, 295 86 An account of the rise, progress, and state of the hospitals, for reliving poor people afflicted with the small-pox, and for inoculation (n.d. 1770) (n.p.). 8/ I. S. Maisels 'The Jewish Congregation of Portsmouth (1766-1842)' Trans JHSE, 1908-1910 VI (1912) 126. 88 Great Britain, Sessions (City of London and County of Middlesex): The Whole proceedings on the King's commission of the Peace, oyer and terminer, and gaol delivery . . . (London 1767), Old Bailey, Case 292, p. 187. 89 J. M. Shaftesley, 'Jews in English regular freemasonry, 1717-1860' Trans JHSE XXV (1971) n6</page><page sequence="21">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner Naphtali Franks in the West End was active with both the RS A and the Royal Society and was a Freemason of the Shakespeare Lodge.89 He was well known in wider circles and with Myers was immediately prominent in Jewish circles. They were in public correspondence in the summer of 1766 with Sir John Fielding over the problem and implications of a class of Jewish crimi? nals, thus promoting the role of the Great Synagogue in assisting with his policing of the criminal underworld. Their exchange - a letter from Sir John Fielding from Bow Street, 25 May 1766, and the reply from the Vestry Chamber of the Great Synagogue, 26 May, signed by its Presidents - was published widely in the press of the day and is extant in Cecil Roth's Anglo Jewish Letters.9? In 1771 occurred in the case of a Jewish gang under Dr Levi Weil91 that may have carried out numerous burglaries, culminating in the 'Chelsea murders' at the house of Mrs Hutchins on the King's Road in Little Chelsea (a farmhouse where Earl's Court Station now stands). Myers was instru? mental in bringing the culprits to court and in acting as the interpreter at the trial in November and December 1771. Accounts of the burglary and mur? derous attack appeared in June 1771, and the accounts of the hearings appear in the press from mid-November and culminate following the conviction and execution of the criminals on 9 December 1771.92 The subject has been dealt with in these pages and elsewhere, most fully in the recent reprint of Todd Endelman's The Jews of Georgian England.91* I would just repeat that Weil's medical degree from Leiden is not confirmed in the records, nor is his prac? tice as a physician in London confirmed by any extant independent refer? ences, so that, for instance, Elizabeth Hutchins was not 'one of Weil's wealthy patients' whose property he could have inspected from the inside prior to an attack by his gang. As Warden, Myers led a delegation of the Synagogue to Lord Suffolk to 150-209. Details from M. Rosenbaum, 'A provisional list of Jewish Freemasons in England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries', appended to Shaftesley's article, 179. 90 E.g. Lloyd's Evening Post, Friday 30 May 1766; C. Roth (ed.) Anglo-Jewish letters, 1158-1917 (London 1938) 155-7. 91 Despite the newspaper reports of the day and commentators thereafter, Weil's supposed 'grad? uation from the University of Leyden' cannot be confirmed from local sources, e.g. Album stu diosorum Academiae Lugduno Batavae MDLXXV-MDCCCLXXV: accedunt nomina curatorum et professorum per eadem secula (Leiden 1875). 92 E.g. General Evening Post, Thursday 14 Nov. 1771; Middlesex Journal or Chronicle of Liberty, Saturday 7 Dec. 1771; Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, Saturday 7 Dec. 1771. 93 T. M. Endelman, The Jews of Georgian England, 1/14-1830 (Ann Arbor 1999) 198-202; D. S. Katz, The Jews in the History of England, 1485-1850 (Oxford 1996) 262-4; A. Ebner, 'The first Jewish magistrates' Trans JHSEXXXVIII (2002-03) 48-50; earlier sources include C. Pelham, The chronicles ofcrime. . . (London 1841) 227-9, and Parry, Some famous medical trials (London 1927) 77-9 94 Calendar of Home Office papers of the reign of George III, 1770-1772, preserved in Her Majesty's ii7</page><page sequence="22">Stephen Massil discuss the case, and the situation regarding crimes among Jewish immi? grants and some measures of control of immigration. Subsequently, Myers sent Lord Suffolk, on behalf of the Vestry of the Great Synagogue, a letter addressed and signed by Myers from 'John Street, America Square'.94 It appears to be the first surviving item of correspondence in the official record carrying the new address of America Square. The matter was rounded off, at least in the public domain, by the follow? ing announcement a few weeks later: 'Last week, Mr. Myers the Warden, paid in behalf of the Great Synagogue the promised reward, for bringing to justice the concerned in the murder at Mrs Hutchins's in Chelsea'.95 Given that Myers was probably acquainted with Dr William Hunter of Newport, it is likely that in London he was also in contact with Hunter's cousin, the surgeon Dr William Hunter (1731-83), the first Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy, who was able to demonstrate for the first time in that capacity on a cadaver at the Academy (old Somerset House) on Wednesday 11 December 1771, taking the body of Levi Weil for his subject. It was customary for such bodies to be disposed of at Surgeons' Hall for medical instruction. In this case, the press refers to 'One of the bodies of the executed Jews given to Dr. William Hunter, anatomical professor to the Royal Academy, which will be dissected for the improvement of the students, and his first lecture begins on Wednesday evening'.96 This circumstance is recorded in the correspondence of the painter James Northcote (1746-1831), writing to his brother on 19 December (misattributed in these pages many years ago as a letter from Northcote to Sir Joshua Reynolds, though our lec? turer's sardonic after-thought remains pungent: 'They took their art seri? ously then'97). The letter, recently published anew, reads in part: 'I suppose you have seen accounts upon the newspapers of the Jews which were hung for robbing a house and murdering a servant in it; we had the body of one of them at the Academy for Dr. Hunter to read his lecture on and now I begin to know something of anatomy. We had but two lectures on it because they might have the body fresh to cast a plaster anatomical figure from to be placed in the academy to be drawn from.'98 Weil and his gang have also been referred to before in images at the Jewish Public Record Office, ed. Richard Arthur Roberts (London 1881) 355-7. The letter is signed 'Nap. H. Myers, Warden'. 95 Daily Advertiser, Tuesday 28 Jan. 1772. 96 Westminster Journal and London Political Miscellany, Saturday 7 Dec. 1771. 97 Reitlinger (see n. 73) section on crime, 36. 98 W. Hunter, The Correspondence ofDr William Hunter ed. H. Brock (London 2007) II 16, inter? polated between Hunter's Letters 243 and 244. Letter from James Northcote to his brother Samuel, 19 Dec. 1771. 99 A. Rubens, 'Portrait of Anglo-Jewry 1656-1836.1: The Anglo-Jewish community' Trans JHSE n8</page><page sequence="23">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner Museum (AR 2451 and AR 2452), and in Alfred Rubens's work," but even Rubens, tacitly or otherwise, does not venture into the room of the Life Class at the Academy, where the cast (I stress) of the ecorche figure of Weil still resides.100 Both Endelman and Felsenstein in his Anti-Semitic Stereotypes (1995)101 cite William Cobbett's gross charge (some sixty years later, writing in 1830) that the gang abused the body of the murder victim, evoking but not quite restating charges of'ritual murder'. It appears that, like other condign anti-Semites, Cobbett transposed the fate of the perpetrator with that of the victim by suggesting that the victim, who was shot, was treated as badly as the perpetrator - the 'Doctor' - whose body after death was dissected and preserved in some form as a subject for students to work over repeatedly down to the present day. Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) The early career and start in life of Joseph Hart Myers's naturally form a part of Naphtali's life and endeavours so that, while I intend to leave for a later date a final consolidation of the son's life (including his daughter's memory of him as expressed in her Will of 1866), those parts of his life that overlap with Naphtali's make his father's role significant. Whether or not Myers and Hunter became acquainted through the Weil affair, I suggest that Myers drew on its circumstances to introduce his young son Joseph to Hunter at some date soon afterwards, when launching the boy on his medical career. I have yet to establish when this might have been, for Munk's Roll rather blandly records Joseph Myers's medical education as having commenced in America and been continued under Dr Hunter (at Windmill Street) and George Fordyce (at Essex Street), prior to his embark? ing on the four-year course at Edinburgh in 1775.102 While I have found ref? erence to the fact that at this date surgeons might take on pupils as young as fourteen, I do not know what prior schooling the young Myers had and when he began studies under Hunter, whether and where he might have been apprenticed and how he was taken up for medical studies at Edinburgh. Certainly, Joseph enjoyed a distinguished career as a physician and was recognized in the Jewish community for his efforts in both medicine for the 1955-1959 XIX (i960) i8. 100 It was exhibited in 2007 in 'The Body Politic: Anatomical Drawings by Benjamin Robert Haydon', Royal Academy, London, 2007: Polychrome ecorche figure, plaster cast, 1771. 101 Endelman (see n. 93) 201; F. Felsenstein, Anti-semitic Stereotypes: a paradigm of otherness in English popular culture, 1660-1830 (Baltimore 1995) 216 and 236-8. 102 W. M?nk, The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London (London 1861) II 376. 103 Massil(seen. 1). ii9</page><page sequence="24">Stephen Massil poor and in the congregations' educational establishments. It was not until his last years that he came under public scrutiny, as the dedicatee of Bolaffey's Grammar in 1820103 and when memorialized in the public biogra? phies.104 In one instance, Richard Reece (1775-1831) elaborated on his father's involvement in Joseph's direction in life: Of Dr. J. H. Myers, Physician to the Portuguese Hospital and to the General Dispensary, Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, &amp;c. This distinguished physician was born at New York, when the North American Colonies formed the brightest gem in the British crown. At an early period of his life he commenced the study of medicine under the late Dr. W. Hunter, Dr. G. Fordyce, and the other celebrated teachers of the day, both at an hospital and private pupil. It was his original intention to have made Oxford the seat of his studies; but the scruples of his father, a respectable and consci? entious member of the Jewish persuasion, strictly attached to the tenets of his own sect, prevented it in consequence of the oaths required to be taken by his son, whom he wished to continue a member of the same religious sentiments as his family.105 This makes explicit the contemporary predicament of the Jewish candidate for academic and professional advancement - just before the establishment of University College, in fact. It also sharpens the story of Myers's graduation at Edinburgh in 1779, when the University drew attention to his being a Jew: 'Yesterday at a meeting of the Professors, Joseph Hart Myers, a native of America, and one of the Jewish religion, was honoured with the degree of Doctor of Physic, after study here almost four years, and is the first instance upon record of one of that religion obtaining the honours of this University'.106 Reece made another equally relevant point: 'Of Dr. Myers, it may be said, no one ever commenced the career of practice with fairer prospects, both from his own talents and his accomplishments, in which no expence had been spared by his much respected father'.107 In particular this will have extended to the financing of his post-graduation 'grand tour' which apparently started in France ('a winter in Paris', presumably 1779-80). The choice and direc 104 Public characters of all nations: consisting of biographical accounts of nearly jooo eminent contem? poraries. With numerous portraits (London 1823) II 863?4. A new biographical dictionary of 3000 cotemporary [sic] public characters, British andforeign, ofall ranks and professions, 2nd ed. (London r 1825)11863. l(b R. Reece, The Monthly Gazette of Health; or, popular medical, dietetic, and general phlosophical journal. . . Vol. IV. For the year 1819 (London 1820, 4th ed.) 345-8. 106 Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, Friday 2 July 1779, reporting 'an extract from a letter from Edinburgh dated June 25th'. There had been Jewish graduates before this, but none pre? sumably had made a point of observances and adherence. 107 Reece (seen. 105)345-8. 108 J. H. Myers, 'Remarks on the Sigualtian operation, extracted from a letter to Dr Duncan, 120</page><page sequence="25">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner tion of his medical pursuits in these travels fitted him as a protege of William Hunter and his Edinburgh mentors (with one or other of whom he had probably lodged during his student days), including his contributing from Paris 'Remarks on the Sigualtian operation' (Sigualtian operation = Symphyseotomy, an obstetrical procedure, an alternative to a caesarean), reported to Andrew Duncan's Medical Commentaries in 1780,108 what appears to be his sole post-graduation contribution to medical literature. Reece explained the delay Myers interposed between his graduation and his commencement in practice as a physician in London in 1784 to these extended travels, for in addition to Paris he went to Berlin, Leiden, Vienna and even to Rome, 'where he indulged his classical curiosity in visiting the rich remains of ancient science and taste',109 in a convergence of the medical and the classical grand tour of his contemporaries. Incidentally, in Berlin, Myers also appears as an intermediary in the cor? respondence of Moses Mendelssohn with Robert Lowth, the Bishop of London, in 1781. Mendelssohn wrote to Lowth: 'Berlin 26th April, 1781 = ist Ijjar 5541: Nonetheless to return your favour to me and to honour the antiquity of my people, take this gift, which will be brought to you through the hands of my comrade the learned Dr. Mires'110 Roth and others have referred to this.111 Roth, Endelman and David Ruderman112 do not give Myers any reputation as a maskil and I suggest113 that it would have been through Naphtali Hart Myers as a Warden to the Great Synagogue that Joseph became an emissary between the Bishop of London and his German Hebraist correspondent - the Vestry of the Synagogue conducted such civic, political and private references with the authorities of the State through the office of the Bishop of London. These early flourishes of Myers's medical career came to fruition once he settled down to practise in London with his appointment to the Beth Holim, written from Paris' Medical Commentaries for the year iy8o; . . . collected and published by Andrew Duncan, Volume seventh (London 1783, 2nd ed.) 461?8. 109 Reece (seen. 105)346. 110 M. Mendelssohn, Exchange of letters (1/61-1/85) transcribed in German and translated from Hebrew, compiled by Reuven Michael (Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1994) Item 239 408?10. Trans, here by David Newman. 111 C. Roth, 'The Haskalah in England' in H. J. Zimmels, J. Rabbinowitz and I. Finestein (eds) Essays presented to Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie on the occasion of his seventieth birthday (London 1967) 1365-76; T. M. Endelman, 'The Englishness of Jewish modernity in England' inj. Katz (ed.) Toward modernity: the European Jewish model (Oxford 1987) 228. On the other hand, even in the posthumous reissue (Oxford 1998), A. Altmann, Moses Mendelssohn: a biographical study (London 1973) 826, steadfastly contends that the 'identity of ['Dr. Mires'] the transmitter of the letter has not been established'. 112 D. Ruderman, Jewish enlightenment in an English key (Princeton 2000). 113 See Massil (see n. 1) 122-6. 114 D. and T. De Sola Pool, An old faith m the new world: Portrait of Shearith Israel, 1654-1954 121</page><page sequence="26">Stephen Massil the Portuguese Jews Hospital, in 1785 in succession to Dr Ephraim Luzzatto (1729-92), and his appointment as manager of the congregational schools for the poor. The medical reputation came from Dr Hunter's circle and the University, the acceptance by Bevis Marks of an Ashkenazi post-holder through his father's reputation as an officer who had served at Shearith Israel in New York. Naphtali's efforts on behalf of his heir seem to outstrip any expectations of his other children. His firstborn child was Rebecca (1756-1803, named as I have suggested after his wife Hester's mother Rebecca Hart, herself a grand? daughter of Samuel ben Uri Shraga Phoebus of Shydlow and Furth), but she does not appear in the record until Naphtali's will and in her own will and burial of 1803, giving evidence of conversion to Christianity. The infant Faibes (named after Aaron Hart ne Uri Phaibusch) had died in 1760 and Joseph's younger brother Simeon (1765-1803) also only features briefly in his latter years - in Naphtali's will, at Clement's Inn (1794-6), at his Christian marriage (on his attaining his thirtieth year and the full legacy of his father's will), with the birth of a son, a smart villa and horses in Cheltenham, his death in 1803 in Twickenham and his will, to have been executed by George Tharkrah of Isleworth. References to Naphtali's wife Hester are few, and again, the details of her longevity, her second and Christian marriage to John Tharkrah of Isleworth and Southwark, like all the rest here, I have adumbrated in my earlier papers. That Naphtali appears to have prevailed with his son Joseph in directing him to keep his faith and practices and to walk in the ways of tradition must have given both comfort - but the death of Joseph's infant son Naphtali Hart in 1797, leaving his father unmemorial ized, must have been a trauma for Joseph. Apart from the association with Naphtali Franks, which predated Myers's (temporary) settlement in New York from 1741 but was not earlier than Franks's own arrival from New York in London in 1733, nothing comes through from Myers's earlier life in London or about his parents and origins. From his American spell I have drawn a portrait of a successful merchant trader, a communal man of affairs at ease in and perhaps a facilitator of a mixed Sephardi and Ashkenazi congregational environment; a man socially at ease in wider society and affairs. In synagogue affairs, as a merchant and as a citizen, Myers appears to have been strong-minded and capable on behalf of the proper conduct of affairs, the law and right management. As Parnas in New York he did not shrink from efforts at communal reconciliations (and again later in London), even if not successful - as in the case of the seating of Judah Hays's womenfolk at Rosh Hashanah in 1760.114 In business and public affairs, he appears to have (New York 1955) 271. 115 Daily Advertiser, Tuesday 25 Nov. 1777. 122</page><page sequence="27">Naphtali Hart Myers (1711-1788): New Yorker and Londoner been inclined to be litigious. He is recorded on several occasions taking action and going to the courts in Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut. In London he dealt with Bow Street, Sir John Fielding and the Home Secretary with aplomb and did not shrink from upholding the law against his coreligionists. He was a man of culture, affluent taste (furniture, jewellery) and solici? tude for friends and associates. Domestically, no doubt, he would have ben? efited from his wife's 'genteel' inheritance, but in business Myers was self-made in that his father-in-law had secured Hester's marriage portion at her own disposition. It appears that Naphtali relied on this by the way in which he focused the bulk of his estate and bequests on his firstborn son Joseph, anticipating that his daughter and second son would be the benefici? aries of his wife's will - though she outlived both of them. The marriage, however, originating in Bury Street, and the family pieties upheld, suggest associations with the Hart brothers, Moses and Aaron, going back to the early years of the Great Synagogue in London and their origins in Breslau, and with their associations with the clan of Uri Faibusch. Naphtali's latter years and his will While the career of Joseph Hart Myers burgeoned, that of Naphtali seems to have gone into abeyance following his seventieth year. So far I have found only one further, substantial, late reference to Myers's business activities, recording the purchase of the 'Great House in Leman Street, Goodman's Fields' in 1777,115 but there is no evidence of Myers's occupancy or other use of the property. It features later as the address of Judah Cohen from 1808, but also of Jacob Israel Montefiore (1778-1827), a graduate of Aberdeen University, who succeeded Joseph Hart Myers as the physician to the Portuguese Jews in 1824, the 'great house' large enough as a home to his family of eleven children.116 (Naphtali's wife's sister, Bilhah, made a late and Christian marriage in 1771 to Henry Dyson at St Pancras Old Church.) The last public reference before the notices of his death in 1788 relates to his role, with Gentile colleagues, as an administrator to an estate: 'Creditors of Alexander Grant, late of Billiter Lane, to address themselves to Naphtali Hart Myers, Thomas Vordens and Peter Robinson, administrators'.117 I discussed the will to some extent in my presidential paper118 and here quote some details: 'The Will of Naphtaly Hart Myers, Gentleman, of John 116 A. Hyamson, The Sephardim of'England (London 1951) 218. 117 Morning Post and Daily Advertiser, Tuesday 22 July 1783. 118 Massil (seen. 1) 138. 119 PROBii/ii72(PCC). 123</page><page sequence="28">Stephen Massil Street America Square, Crutched Friars, City of London'. Drafted first in 1785 and finished in 1788, it offers Jewish pieties in anticipation of his death and is dated: 'in the twenty-fifth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King George the third'. One learns that his mother is buried at Mile End, alongside whom he wishes himself to be buried. He makes provision for his 'second son Simon' with the sum of ?2000 a year and an annuity of ?50 for his daughter Rebecca. He records a long-term settlement in favour of his wife Hester and his children, disposed in regular dividends. He makes a bequest to Lewis Salomons, and also, 'out of sincere friendship which has subsisted between him and me for a series of years, seven pounds for a ring in memory of this'. He bequeaths to Rebecca Salomons 'the use of the house she now resides in situate in Hanover Court Houndsditch London ... in condition that she pay the ground rent of 50 shillings and other taxes'. He also gives to the two daughters of Rebecca Salomons two hundred pounds to be paid on the day of their marriages as dowries (if the marriages were with the consent of their mother). He makes bequests to his servants for mourning. He leaves money to be invested for the repairs of the Great Synagogue on condition that his name is 'read out on the New Moon of the Month of Adar'. He makes bequests through his son Joseph Hart Myers as Treasurer of the Orphan School of the Synagogue, and a sum to the Churchwardens of St Olave's Parish, as also charitable donations to the Jewish poor at his funeral. The substantive disposition of his house, furniture and plate, and leases is to his son Joseph, and includes 'all my lands and houses of what nature and kindsoever and wheresoever situate lying and being in the colony of Connecticut in North America his heirs and assigns for ever . . . appointing him sole executor'. The will is dated 'September 1785. Proved November 1788'.119 Like his father-in-law Simon Moses, who left money in 1764 for the refur? bishment of the Synagogue, Naphtali leaves a similar sum of a hundred pounds towards the repairs and rebuilding of the Synagogue under con? struction in 1788-90 under the young architect James Spiller. The empha? sis at the end on the estates in Connecticut suggests that his American pretensions counted a good deal. I hope on a future occasion to consolidate my findings on Joseph Hart Myers, drawing the threads from this paper and my earlier one on his daughter Maria to give a complete figure of a man from this era of assimilation and acculturation. 124</page></plain_text>

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