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New Light on the Resettlement

Cecil Roth

<plain_text><page sequence="1">112 new light on the resettlement. New Light on the Resettlement. By Cecil Roth. Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England on July Uh, 1927. The popular imagination which has seized on Menasseh ben Israel as a representative figure of Anglo-Jewry, and on his mission to England as the pivotal point in the modern period of Anglo-Jewish history, has not been led away merely by the dramatic qualities of the events which are bound up with his name, remarkable though they were. There is something deeper and more significant underlying the instinct. We live in a period of the study of origins : and the origins of the community to which we belong, which determine to some extent its characteristics and our position even at the present time, are assuredly deserving of special attention from us. Because these events appeal to our sense of the dramatic, and because they are of especial local and personal interest, they are not necessarily (as some of our pedants insinuate) of no real historic importance. Every fresh detail which can throw light upon the tangled negotiations which surrounded Menasseh ben Israel's mission and the Whitehall Conference does something to explain the facts of our condition here in England to-day, and is therefore of more than academic interest. And the importance is more than local: for the favourable position of the Jews in England was not without a considerable effect upon the removal of Jewish disabilities throughout the world, and the accidents of its origin had repercussions far beyond the bounds of this country. For these reasons the results of a fortunate (though wholly accidental) recent trouvaille in the Italian archives, though by no means revolutionary, have their importance as well as their interest, and are presented here with a minimum of delay. Although not essentially connected, the documents in question possess a certain unity by reason of their bearing upon this one central event in Anglo-Jewish history. Yet the present study should not be considered as more than a supplement to the tale which</page><page sequence="2">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 113 has been unfolded by earlier workers in the same field. It is not desired to recapitulate the whole story, but merely to bring into relief one or two fresh and significant data. The sidelights which are here presented are no more than a mere addendum. For the full account, it is necessary to have recourse to the pioneer labours of Mr. Lucien Wolf, without which any supplementary work would have been im? possible, and to which any subsequent discoveries can figure only in the light of a mere appendix. I. ' The End of the Earth.' It is not indeed only from unknown documents that it is possible to obtain new information in historical inquiry. Sometimes a fresh reading of the old, familiar sources will bring out details hitherto unappreciated. A preliminary question in any account of the part played by Menasseh ben Israel in the resettlement of the Jews in England is to ascertain precisely what attracted his attention to this country. It is known that he was deeply influenced by the prophecy of Daniel (xii. 7) : " When he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." 1 Only, therefore, when the Dispersal was complete could the Redemption be expected to begin. The reported discovery of a portion of the Lost Ten Tribes in South America by Antonio de Montezinos roused his expectations in particular. The commonly accepted tale is that, having found members of the house of Israel established in the New World, he desired to complete the Dispersion by introducing them into the only spot from which they were now absent, and so hasten the Millennium. But it is difficult to see why England should have been singled out in this connection. If distance was the main issue, there were no Jews known to exist in, e.g., Japan to the east, or in Iceland to the north ; if ubiquity, there was more than one country even in Europe (for example, the whole of the then powerful kingdom of Sweden) which was as innocent of Jews as this country, without taking 1 See Vindiciae Judaeorum, ? vii. p. 37. The " Jewish" and Anglican versions render the verse differently. VOL. XL I</page><page sequence="3">114 new light on the resettlement. into account vast expanses of Asia and Africa. The introduction of the Jews into England would have furthered the Dispersal; but it would not have marked, from the geographical point of view at least, its culmination. What, then, was the reason for Menasseh's strictly localised interest ? The difficulty can hardly have been overlooked : and the answer, as a matter of fact, lies close enough at hand, in his own writings on the subject (Vindiciae Judaeorum, ? vii.) : "Our scattering, little by little, should be amongst all people, from one end of the earth even unto the other; as is written Deut. 28, 64. I conceived that by the end of the earth might be understood this Island." Even before the discovery of America, it would scarcely have been correct to describe England as " the end of the earth " : and in any case it is hardly likely that so rationalistic an interpretation would have appealed to Menasseh's mystical mind. But throughout Jewish mediaeval literature, the name Angleterre had been literally translated into Hebrew as jntfn H?p ?the angle, or limit, of the earth-?precisely the phrase used in the passage of Deuteronomy cited above ; and the use of the term as a proper name to denote this country was common from Abraham ibn Ezra down to Don Isaac Abrabanel. This, then, is the key to the mystical importance which Menasseh attached to England. Not until the Jews were dwelling in the region known as the end of the earth did he believe that the Deuteronomic prophecy of woe would be fulfilled, and the Redemption be able to begin.2 There is no need to elaborate the point. This explanation is so simple, and so obviously true, that it leaves room for no question excepting the insoluble one of why it has never been put forward before. II. An Unknown Appeal of Menasseh ben Israel. Before finally setting out on his momentous journey to England, there was one formality which Menasseh ben Israel thought it necessary 2 For the use of the term, cf. the Sabbath Epistle of Abraham ibn Ezra (Trans? actions, vol. ii. pp. 55, 61); and Isaac Abrabanel in Ieshuoth Meshiho, ed. K?nigs? berg, p. 46a. It was obviously derived from the Biblical verse cited above.</page><page sequence="4">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 115 to perform. He realised the importance and responsibility of the task which he had undertaken. He was acting, not as a private individual, but as emissary of all the house of Israel. His past abortive labours were known far beyond the bounds of his own country ; it was all the more desirable, therefore, that he should make the news of his final departure known as widely as possible. Moreover, though he seems to have been at the outset well enough supplied with money, there was another thing of which he could not have enough?the prayers of his brethren. And so, on the very day of his departure from Amsterdam, he despatched far and wide a printed letter in Portuguese, signed with his own hand, informing the " Holy Congregations " of Europe and Asia that he was about to set out, and requesting their orisons for his success?especially, without doubt, in the forthcoming High Festivals. This was directed above all to the Synagogues of Holstein (i.e. Hamburg, Altona, and Gl?ckstadt) and of Italy, where there were a few Sephardic congregations, and where numbers and piety compensated for the absence of the more material resources which were available nearer home. It is somewhat puzzling that, despite Menasseh's linguistic attainments, he should have written in Portuguese (a language accessible to only a comparatively small minority of the Jews even in the two countries mentioned) instead of the classical lingua franca?Hebrew. Perhaps a second letter in that language was simultaneously despatched to other places. The appeal is couched in a touching and dignified style worthy of its author, and deserves to be remembered as one of the fundamental documents of the Resettlement. However, the communities which, at so early a date, kept the letters they received were few ; and a couple of anti-Catholic phrases which had been allowed to slip into it made its preservation, perhaps, inadvisable. In consequence, this remarkable source of Anglo-Jewish history has been hitherto unknown, and is apparently preserved only in the copy which it has been the extremely good fortune of the present writer to discover (quite by chance, while looking for something totally different) in the State Archives at Venice. It is apparently the copy received by the community of that city, being endorsed on the back, in Italian, in an almost contemporary hand : " Letter in which R. Menasseh of Amsterdam informs the Holy Congregations of his journey to England to</page><page sequence="5">116 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. obtain permission to found a Beth Keneseth or ' scolla ' whereat to pray." 3 A translation runs as follows : The Haham Menasseh Ben Israel to all persons of the Hebrew nation living in Asia and in Europe, especially to the Holy Synagogues of Italy and Holstein, S.P.D.4 It is notorious to all those of our nation how I have laboured for a long time past in order that there should be conceded to us in the most flourishing Commonwealth of England the right of public exercise of our religion, moved not only by the merit of the case, but also by certain letters from virtuous and prudent individuals : as also how, after having set out on the road on two occasions, I was persuaded by my relatives, for certain political reasons, to postpone the journey for the time being. Now therefore do I again make known to all how, although not yet fully recovered from a long illness, moved only by zeal and love of my people, and (as I have signified) neglecting all of my private interests, I am setting out to-day on this enterprise : which I pray may be to the service of God and to our common good. It is true that certain persons who are in the employment, and above all under the protection, of most clement Princes and Magistrates, have little esteem of this perpetual care of mine. Nevertheless, considering the common applause, the general good, the affliction of those of our people who are to-day so oppressed, who could find refuge and remedy in that most mighty common? wealth, without prejudice to any other : having regard, too, for the many souls who, dissimulating their religion, dwell scattered in so many parts of Spain and France : it was impossible for me to neglect an affair of such merit, even though it be at the cost of my faculties. I have been informed by letters, and by faithful correspondents, that to-day this English nation is no longer our ancient enemy, but has changed the Papistical religion and become excellently affected to our nation, as an oppressed people whereof it has good hope. Nevertheless, since there is nothing sure or certain in this world, I supplicate all of the Holy Congregations that in their orisons they pray affectionately to God to give me grace in the eyes of the most benign and valorous Prince, his Highness, the Lord Protector, and in those of his most prudent council, that he may give us liberty in his land, where we may similarly pray to the most high God for his prosperity. Farewell! Amsterdam 2 September 5415. (signed) o H. Menasseh ben Israel. 3 " Anc- 5415 viene ? corispondne 1655. Lett? R. Menasse d'Amsterdam partecipa alle *"pp l'andne in Inghilterra p ottenere permissione di far IV 2 sive scolla da far oratione." 4 Salutem plurimam dicit (" bids abundant peace ").</page><page sequence="6">??Mm ohTmbnasse-C^ A todos os Senhores de fua na^a? Ha^e? ^ habitantes na Aflfy y Europa , principalmeme ^ VSinagogas Saotwdf Icali^ttolfada; S. P.D. * i. + ? lOula notonVEi , ? todos os Serihore* d* * riofla nacaofouanto demuytosd&amp;saelU'^ eytrabalhac?, pretendendo (enosconc florentiflinu XepuMica de Inglaterra, r co cxerciciofle nofla j?ligiao)movido naA.._ meritodacaula*ma$ por varias cartas Je pefloa* virtuofiffiraatcprudentes. Iunjaraente ~ J aycadOTfWjyoii^Bat yca^pj4tp?ca&lt; - ?? fuydosmeBSjporccrtasrczomTOUtjcas^ * idido dilatafTe por entonces a jornada. ^gora pofc faflo {aber a todos ^ como nao bem convalecido aynda de diuta^ doenc?, inoyido ft Zelojcam?r dosmcus, defpindomede todos oS^rcus pairic^W?i|j refles,comotenhofignificado,mepartoojcad^^prc^aj^fcf " ? fervicodel Dio,cnoflTavtiIidade. Efcbcmalg^icluAlofe&gt;^ dos* e jbbretudoprotegidos de clcracntiffimc dos, na?fazemmaytaeftimaca? deftem^ menos?conciderandoeuo,aplaufc^ ^n^^^e^alhadostarwo, f\r^eria^achar , iKas alm:^ VH _JeEfpanha, e Fr?nca^?WqUk me pareceo na^ uc;(ejaaculfa deminbas faculda4c|togoceodctantDi^p?r ^pojteHuc ?conheco por cartas S^M owrc^ ntidfesha*** tngreza, had a arttijLcaenu^ ^ffa, oii*^ ,may b^^cftaitlTaDa^ae coroof ^ ilperan^^o avepfcncftemundoco? Lwdasas K*fiilot Kedffit,*) cmfoasp?bUc ?e alj^.aied^uS^canG^olhosdn * *vMvuuiifiuv.wuiuho jj?ni que dos Jem im iuait_^ ^ Be, d?hde poflamos ityaibem orir ao Alrilfimo Senbiot vd&amp;i DeAmfterftm a i de Setcmbroifti * J. Encyclical Letter of Menasseh ben Israel, with autograph signature [Facing p. 116</page><page sequence="7">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 117 Let us put the fresh details embodied in this most interesting human and historical document in their proper setting. It was with millenary ideas such as those suggested above running in his mind that Menasseh ben Israel began his work for the readmission of the Jews into this " corner of the earth." He received encouragement from many quarters, and was kept informed of conditions in England, as we already know, by several correspondents in this country. His efforts were intended especially for the succour of the Marranos of France and Spain, and not so much as has been hitherto believed for the Polish masses whose period of tribulation had recently begun (the mention of France may explain the immigration very shortly after of a couple of families from Bayonne).5 With the publication in 1650 of the Hope of Israel, dedicated to the English Parliament, the campaign was commenced. In the following year Menasseh opened up con? versations with the St. John mission in Amsterdam ; and he followed these with a formal petition in October 1651. A committee, of which Oliver Cromwell wTas a member, was appointed to consider this : and two passports, couched in flattering terms, were sent to enable him to come over to treat of the matter personally. At this stage, however, war broke out between England and Holland. This would not have sufficed to daunt the courageous scholar ; and it was only after he had set out on the journey (as we learn here for the first time) that his friends and relatives succeeded in inducing him to give up the enterprise for the present. Yet he did not give up hope, and, before the war was over, he applied again to the Barebones Parliament and received another pass.6 Once again, after setting out, he was persuaded to turn back. After the conclusion of peace, his brother-in-law, Manuel Martinez Dormido, accompanied by Menasseh's son, Samuel Soeiro, appeared in England in his stead. The reason for this waning of direct interest on the Rabbi's part is not sufficiently explained by the state of feeling in Holland, which was equally operative both before and after. But a severe sickness from which he suffered in the meantime (as we are now informed) accounts very satisfactorily for this otherwise inexplicable 5 Cf. Samuel in Transactions, vol. x. pp. 27 seqq., 128. 6 Vindiciae Judaeorum, ? vii. p. 38 : " afterwards I directed myself to the second, and they also sent me another."</page><page sequence="8">118 new light on the resettlement. delegation of powers. It is a matter of history that Dormido's petitions, though favourably received by Cromwell, were rejected by the Council of State (December 5,1654). Samuel ben Israel returned to Amsterdam to lay the matter before his father (May 1655). Menasseh was not yet fully recovered from the effects of his lingering sickness, and again had to overcome the determined opposition of his family. Neverthe? less, on this third occasion he would not be turned back. On Sep? tember 2, 1655 (n.s.) he finally set out on his momentous journey, after despatching to the Jewish congregations throughout the Western world the remarkable letter from which these details are taken, to implore their prayers for his success. The date is highly significant. The Jewish New Year, 5416, was to begin on October 2 (n.s.) ; and he would have arrived in London in comfortable time for the accompanying solemnities.7 That he would have been willing to forgo anything of the observances of this occasion is unthinkable. The conclusion is obvious. On the High Festivals that autumn, for the first time probably for 365 years, Jewish services were held in London with all traditional formality ; and there can be little question that a millenary exhortation was delivered by the distinguished visitor from Amsterdam. If it be desired to choose one date rather than another to mark the decisive point in that gradual movement which goes by the name of the Resettlement of the Jews in England, surely the New Year's Day of 5416 can put forward a very good title to that distinction. III. Raphael Supino and the Readmission. Not the least interesting aspect of the newly found letter is its clear proof that Menasseh ben Israel considered the readmission of the Jews into England as a movement of international interest. Not only were the dissembling Marranos of Spain and France expected to work and pray for his success, but even the comparatively fortunate com 7 William Godwin, writing a century and a half later, states (History of the Commonwealth, p. 247) that Menasseh came in October ; but he gives no authority, and obviously places the arrival simply in the month preceding the beginning of his activity.</page><page sequence="9">Menasseh ben Israel's tombstone [Facing p. 118</page><page sequence="10">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 119 munities of Italy and the North. In fact, however, we know of no persons who took a direct share in the movement excepting refugees from Spain and Portugal. Indeed, in Mr. Lucien Wolf's careful reconstruction of the Jewry of the Restoration not a single householder figures who was not born in the Peninsula and who had not lived as a professing Catholic at one time of his life. Not even Menasseh ben Israel himself, alias Manuel Dias Soeiro, was an exception to this rule. It has indeed been asserted repeatedly that he came accompanied by a train of three Rabbis, including Jacob Sasportas, later Haham in London ; yet this assertion, when tracked down to its original sources, seems to be entirely lacking in authority.8 That the movement aroused no active interest outside Marrano circles is hardly to be believed; and we are told how certain foreign merchants came to London in anticipation of its success.9 Hitherto, however, not a single illustra? tion of this has been forthcoming. The figure to which attention is to 8 That Menasseh ben Israel was accompanied to London by Jacob Sasportas is stated by most recent writers (e.g. Hyamson, History of the Jews in England, p. 196) on the authority of Mr. Lucien Wolf (Menasseh ben Israel's Mission, p. xxxvii n.), who follows Graetz (Geschichte, vol. x. Appendix II.), who cites David Franco Mendes (Meassef, 1788, p. 169), who makes the statement in the name of Daniel Levi de Barrios, without however giving any exact reference. De Barrios' published writings (especially Historia Universal Iudayca, p. 15 seqq.) are our main authority for the earlier career of Sasportas : yet they say nothing of his having accompanied Menasseh to London in 1655, although they mention that he was afterwards Haham here (see especially Triumpho del Govierno Popular : Meirat Henaim, p. 84-: Arbol de las Vidas, p. 98). Moreover, in his brief account of Menasseh ben Israel's mission (Historia Universal Iudayca, p. 3) he makes no mention of any companion. It seems impossible to escape the con? clusion that Franco Mendes' memory failed him, and that, knowing on De Barrios' authority that Sasportas afterwards officiated in London, he imagined that he must have come here with Menasseh. As for Jacob ben Azahel and Jacob ben Eleazar of Prague, who formed the other members of Menasseh's reported " retinue " of three Rabbis, there is no authority whatsoever for their existence excepting the ridiculous farrago of nonsense, half a century posterior even at that, in Raguenet's Histoire d'Olivier Cromwel, p. 322. The former, who is tentatively identified by Mr. Lucien Wolf (op. cit., p. 37 n.) with Joshua ben Jacob Heschel of Lublin, is stated specifically to be the emissary of the Jews of Asia. Mr. Wilfred Samuel privately makes the more plausible suggestion that the person in question was Judah Asael del Bene, of Ferrara (1618-1678). But the whole story is not worth taking seriously, and probably was not intended to be. 9 Cf. Harleian Miscellany, vii. 621-2 ; Vindiciae Judaeorum, ? vii. pp. 38-9.</page><page sequence="11">120 new light on the resettlement. be directed here for the first time is thus the only person as yet dis? covered to support the conjecture. He was indeed of some importance in himself, and not unworthy of being reckoned a coadjutor of Menasseh ben Israel. Unlike some of the other Fathers of the Resettlement, he emerges as a distinct personality. While in England he attracted a certain amount of attention ; and he is known to have played a certain role in Hebrew literature. But above all he is the first person outside the charmed circle of the Spanish and Portuguese Marranos (save for the couple of very apocryphal exceptions mentioned above) hitherto known in connection with the Resettlement of the Jews in England. Raphael Hayim Supino, this newly discovered Italian counterpart of Menasseh ben Israel, was a Jew of Leghorn. Here, since the last decade of the previous century, a considerable community had gathered. It was largely recruited by Marrano fugitives from the Peninsula, who had been invited almost specifically in the famous Charter of 1593.10 Nevertheless, there was present also a very considerable element of native Italian Jews, attracted by the ample privileges conceded in the new free port. The person who now interests us was most decidedly a member of this, the native section of the community. The Degli Adolescentoli, or Dei Fanciulli, family (d*"iwn ]d), to which he belonged, was one of the very oldest in Italy, its progenitors having been, according to legend, scions of one of the noblest houses of Jerusalem carried into exile by Titus. A branch of it had settled in the township of Supino, in the Papal States, from which the Jews were expelled in 1569, and took from it the surname by which it continued to be known.11 Raphael Supino himself was a man of some mark in the Jewish world of his day. 10 Cf. Privilegi Concessi alia Natione Ebrea (MS. in possession of the writer), ? iii. : " Vogliamo ancora, che per detto tempo non si possa esercitare alcuna inquisitione, vista, denunzia, o accusa contro di voi, e vostre f amiglie, ancorche per il passato siano vissuti fuori del Dominio nostro in habito come Cristiani. ..." 11 Raphael Supino signs the preface to his edition of the Responsa of David ibn Zimra (Leghorn, 1652) w&amp;i? yyrn DHWH D"n ^XQn. A British Museum liturgical manuscript (Aad. 18691) has stamped, on the cover: nnSE^lD1V3 DHy^n 12*EftD Other members of the family are Solomon ben ADraiiam bupmo (B.M., Mri. Or. 1046) and Eleazar ben Jacob, Rabbi at Pisa in the following century (Neppi-Ghirondi, Toledoth Oedole Israel, pp. 21-3 ; ? 45 : B.M., MS. Or. 9154 (iii.)).</page><page sequence="12">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 121 He represented the characteristic combination of student and man of affairs which was one of the finest things in the Jewish life which is now passing. A considerable merchant who had attained some success in business and amassed a comfortable fortune, he was largely interested in the ' mitzvah ' of redeeming the captives taken by corsairs, Christian as well as Moslem, in the troubled waters of the Mediterranean, and was in constant communication upon this question with the head? quarters of the charity at Venice.12 Moreover, he was a Jewish scholar of some breadth, being numbered amongst the correspondents of Samuel Aboab and Jacob Sasportas, the most eminent Rabbis of the age, on technical questions of religious observance.13 When, in the first half of the year 5408 (1647-8), he had the misfortune to lose two of his brothers, he commemorated them by publishing, at his own expense, a collection of the Responsa of David ibn Zimra?a stately volume which he distributed free of charge to scholars near and far (1652). To this he himself contributed a preface in elegant if somewhat involved Hebrew; and it is a worthy memorial to his liberality and scholar? ship.14 His personal character must have been unusually fine, even when the fullest allowance is made for posthumous hyperbole, for him to have been described on his tombstone, by no flattering hand, as " an Angel of God in human guise." 15 Although belonging, as we have seen, to one of the oldest Italian Jewish families, his residence at Leghorn brought him to some extent into the Sephardic commercial nexus. It is hardly to be doubted that he was acquainted with Portuguese?a knowledge which must have stood him in good stead 12 MS. of Hebrath Pidion Shevuim in possession of the Community of Venice. 13 Cf. Debar Shemuel,? 265; OhelJacob, ? 12. A responsum directed to London on the question of the divorce of Benjamin de Jacob Vega and Rachel Diamante (1677) is to be found in the former work, ? 371; in the latter there are responsa of special English interest, ?? 46, 66 (to Joshua da Silva), and above all, on communal discipline, 74, to Joseph ibn Danon. 14 The details given above are from the preface to this work. It is the first Hebrew book of any importance to be published at Leghorn, having been preceded only by the trivial Azharot of the previous year. The two brothers of Supino commemorated by this work were Judah, who died at Cairo on New Year's Day, 5408, and Eleazar (father of another Eleazar, and probably great-grandfather of the Eleazar Supino, Rabbi at Pisa in the following century) who died at Leghorn on 18 Shevat following. 15 See his epitaph, infra.</page><page sequence="13">122 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. at the period of his career which we are about to examine. This is the man, hitherto unknown, who must be counted henceforth amongst the coadjutors of Menasseh ben Israel. How far back Raphael Supino's interest in England went, it is impossible to say. Nevertheless, it is very tempting to identify him with the courteous Jew who spoke a little English, " a very grave, proper man," who explained the service in the Synagogue at Leghorn to some English visitors in 1652, and " longed to hear that England would tolerate the Jews." 16 However that may be, in the autumn of 1655, shortly after Menasseh ben Israel's circular letter had been received, he came to London. His errand was ostensibly to settle a case which he had coming on about some merchandise of his that had been captured on a French boat. If this were so, he would have found abundant help in the little London colony, for Antonio Ferdinando Carvajal had had a case dragging on in the Admiralty Court for a long time past;17 and Manuel Martinez Dormido (Menasseh ben Israel's brother-in-law) had a suit about to come before it in the next session.18 But, in spite of this pretext, it was generally believed that Supino had come about the more important business of the readmission of the Jews to England, and that he was " not least " amongst those co-operating with Menasseh ben Israel in his labours.19 Considering the important position he occupied in the intellectual and commercial world of his day, it seems highly probable that he came on a definite mission on behalf of the community of Leghorn. In any event, his activities here were considerable. He was known to the London world as " minister of circumcision," which 16 Harleian Miscellany, vii. 622. 17 Public Record Office, London : Admiralty Court Acts, vol. xlvi. (1653-6), passim: case against " the shipp ye Mary of Amsterdam " and Marco de la Rombide (cf. Lucien Wolf, The First English Jew, in Transactions, vol. ii.). 18 Admiralty Court Acts, ubi supra, 25 February, 1655/6 : " Manuel Martinez Dormido against 200 chests of soap and 74 butts of oyle in the hands of the Corn55 for prize goods or elsewhere belonging to Julian Lawson and his son and ag* the sd Lawson." Dormido produced as sureties Michael Casteele, the elder and younger, of the parish of St. Olave's, Hart Street, He won his case, though there was a repercussion of it a few months later (21 April 1656). 19 Despatch of Francesco Salvetti of 14/24 December 1655 (infra, Appen? dix III., p. 138).</page><page sequence="14">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 123 probably indicates that, as a practised mohel, he initiated into the Covenant a few of the Marrano colony and their children, who had hitherto had no opportunity of formally entering the Jewish community. Moreover, he became known to " the most considerable persons of London and the Universities "?either when they came up for the Whitehall Conference, or else in the course of a special visit to Oxford and Cambridge ; and they apparently formed a high opinion of his attainments.20 In the eyes of the outside world he did nothing whatsoever to dissemble his religion. Even Menasseh ben Israel, who had come to London in a public capacity, did not feel bound to maintain a diplo? matic silence upon controversial matters. Supino seems to have had no qualms, and discussed religious subjects with the utmost freedom. His poor knowledge of the English language was no doubt an impediment. Persons of some importance who had made his acquaintance tried therefore to arrange a formal disputation between him and a certain Father Egidio (Gilles) Chaissy, a Frenchman, domestic chaplain to the Tuscan envoy. The matter was urged by Supino's university acquaintances, by London scholars and courtiers (addicted excessively at this time to religious argument), and by the proprietor of the house in which Chaissy was lodging. Neither of the two showed himself averse, Supino actually urging it on ; and the priest, highly flattered, thought the matter worth reporting at some length to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. To begin, they were waiting only to know the result of the Whitehall Conference. But the Conference ended in failure. Nothing else is heard of the disputation, and it is improbable that it ever took place. Nevertheless, the mere fact that such an idea was mooted at this period is highly significant; and this episode throws an interesting sidelight upon the circumstances which surrounded the Resettlement.21 However unsatisfactory the result of the Whitehall Conference, it 20 Letter of Egidio Chaissy of 13/23 December (infra, Appendix II.). It is conceivable that some such visit to the two Universities may have given rise to the absurd rumour that the Jews desired to purchase the Bodleian Library, and that they sent to Huntingdon (near Cambridge) to enquire into the Messianic possibilities of the Protector's ancestry. 21 For all this, see letter of Chaissy, infra, p. 137.</page><page sequence="15">124 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. made no vital difference to the little London colony headed by Carvajal. Refugees from the fires of the Inquisition, they were happy enough to be sure of their lives and to be able to practise whatever of Judaism they desired in private without disturbance. With Supino, however, the case was different. He had no Marrano blood in his veins, and no tradition of generations of dissembling before him ; and he came from the community which enjoyed, perhaps, at this time more freedom than any other in Europe. Whatever plans therefore he may have entertained when he came to London, he certainly would not stay upon mere sufferance, without any guarantees for his security, and with no legal right ior the free exercise of his religion. A contemporary news? letter tells us how on the breakdown of the Whitehall Conference many Jewish merchants " returned hence again to beyond the seas, with much grief of heart, that they were thus disappointed of their hopes." 22 Of these, there can be no doubt that Raphael Supino was one ; for within a short interval he was again to be found at Leghorn occupying himself in the pious duty of redeeming the captives.23 In the event, he did not avail himself of the generous tolerance which was conceded in England almost immediately afterwards, though members of his family were established there at the beginning of the following century.24 Before long, however, his idealistic spirit was attracted by another cause. When Sabbatai Zevi, that most romantic of Oriental impostors, proclaimed himself Messiah, Raphael Supino became one of his most devoted adherents. From Leghorn (the natural entrepot between East and West) he broadcast throughout Europe letters informing all Israel, far and near, of the good news of the approaching deliverance.25 Among the persons with whom he was in close touch upon this question, as it 22 Harleian Miscellany, vii. 621-2 (A Narrative of the late proceedings at White? hall concerning the Jews). Of. Vindiciae Judaeorum, ? vii. pp. 38-9. 23 MS. of Hebrath Pidion Shevuim in possession of Community of Venice. 24 Rachel Supino figures among the contributors to the London community in 1702 (Gaster, History of the Ancient Synagogue, p. 92). In 1764, David de Haim and Judah de Solomon Supino are found (ibid., pp. 147-8), the latter being one of the Jewish merchants engaged in the coral trade (Miscellanies, Part i., p. xl). In 1747, Isaac Nieto married the widow Leah Sarah Supino (Gaster, p. 131). 25 See Jacob Sasportas' anti-Sabbataian work, ^? TiVP (ed Odessa, 1867), p. 36.</page><page sequence="16">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 125 happened, was Benjamin Levy, the secretary and factotum of the London community.26 This propaganda may well have had something to do with the enthusiasm of that group of English Jews who were so confident as to wager heavy sums that within two years their hero would be recognised as overlord by all the princes of the East.27 Jacob Sasportas (who had withdrawn from London to Hamburg on account of the Plague, after little more than a year of office as Haham) was the only prominent Jewish scholar in the whole of Europe who seems to have kept a level head. It was upon Raphael Supino, his erstwhile corre? spondent, that he centred his counter-offensive. On March 10, 1666, he wrote him a non-committal letter asking for definite information upon certain points.28 The reply, dated " in the first year of the renewal of prophecy and kingship," reached him at Amsterdam, whither he had gone to meet his son Aaron, then on his way home from England. It was overflowing with enthusiasm, and gave full details of the events upon which the Messianic hopes were based, which afforded boundless delight to sympathisers in Holland.29 Sasportas retorted with an inordinately long and closely reasoned letter in which he poured scorn upon the whole movement and showed the baselessness of the pseudo Messiah's pretensions 30 : but' (as he afterwards learned) the latter's adherents intercepted it, so that it never arrived at its destination.31 It is doubtful, however, whether it would have had the slightest effect under any circumstances, for the enthusiasts were proof against argu? ment, and even against disillusionment. Even after the news of his hero's apostasy had reached Europe, Raphael Supino was among that band of adherents who would not give up hope, and apparently main? tained a sort of Sabbataian oratory in his house at Leghorn.32 Ultimately, however, his credulity must have waned. In the course of years the acrimony and antagonisms of the struggle were forgotten, 26 Jacob Sasportas, op. cit., p. 38. It is noteworthy that the London pamphlets of this period giving information of the progress of the pseudo-Messiah were largely based on letters received from Leghorn, which may well have emanated from Supino. 27 Cf. Pepys' Diary, 19 February 1665-6. Similar wagers were made at Hamburg : see Sasportas, ubi supra, p. 40. 28 Ibid., pp. 36-7. 29 Ibid., pp. 37-40. 30 Ibid., pp. 42-54, 3i Ibid., p. 42. 32 Ibid., p. 82.</page><page sequence="17">126 new light on the resettlement. and Raphael Supino's personal merits triumphed over the recollection of his momentary extravagances. When he died (subsequently, it would seem, to the year 1691), the general appreciation of his high character was crystallised in the verses inscribed upon his tombstone. By a strange coincidence, they were from the pen of David Nieto, who afterwards became, in days of greater toleration, Rabbi of the com? munity in the establishment of which Supino had been concerned.33 : .TO"*jn waiD ^sn njn Tonn d^h Dunn -np hv p? uvm nay ^mr hi wan tai jb&gt; na inWi pk pp 1Q1D1 nD"l *3 P|K lun^n i^3?n n? -raa? *6 pp nna nih i3B iDip ly-ipn nun n*y nne&gt;n i6 ?qp nnn? mi dtkS kS ^ raj i-iKios p^u nna pn IV. The Reports of Francesco Salvettt. While Raphael Supino was staying in London, he naturally frequented the house of Francesco Salvetti, the envoy of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, whose subject he was. The latter seems accordingly to have developed a considerable interest in the movement in which he was implicated. It is notorious that the Italian states set the standard for diplomatic services for the whole of Europe, and that the reports and relazioni of their various envoys form an inexhaustible mine of historical information for almost every country of the known world from the fourteenth or fifteenth century downwards. Their contribution to the history of the resettlement of the Jews in England has not been entirely overlooked ; but the results have been surprisingly 33 Preserved in a collection of verses by David Nieto in British Museum, MS. Or. 8140, f. 3b (from 4033, h. 31). Nieto was at Leghorn for some ten years previous to 1701, during which period Supino must have died. In 1651, when he published the Responsa of Ibn Zimra, he was already in a good position, and could hardly have been less than thirty years of age. We may therefore fix his dates tentatively as c. 1620-95.</page><page sequence="18">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 127 meagre. The Venetian envoy, Sagredo, was fresh in the country, and hardly au fait with what was going on. In consequence, he devotes to this matter only one single entry (21/31 December, 1655), in which he prefixes to a commonplace account of the Whitehall Conference a ridiculous story of how a Jew from Antwerp commenced to feel Cromwell's body all over, to make sure that he was indeed of flesh and blood?no doubt an exaggeration of a little Oriental hyperbole in which one of the petitioners indulged on being admitted to audience.34 The Genoese agent similarly speaks of the movement only once, when he repeats some of the usual ridiculous reports which were circulating at the time.35 The Tuscan representative, however, must have had his interest whetted by the participation of his compatriot, Raphael Supino, in the movement; and it must have been felt, with good reason, that its success would have the effect of drawing away from Leghorn a number of the Jews upon vhom its newly won commercial pros? perity largely depended. Accordingly he devoted a good deal of 34 See transcript of Sagredo's solitary despatch of 21/31 December in Ap? pendix IV. The first, and least valuable, portion of this was published by Rawdon Brown in Avisi da Londra for the Philobiblion Society, 1854. 35 See The Times for October 19, 1926 ; despatch of Francesco Bernardi of January 4, 1656 : " These last days his Highness has been busily occupied with his Council in a treaty with the Jews of Amsterdam, who have come to ask permission to live and do business here ; and for this purpose they propose great things in the matter of commerce and an increase of customs and excise, offering also ?200,000 on account of the church of St. Paul, which is the cathedral of London, but at present much ruined, the which they would repair at their own expense in order to inhabit it and turn part of it into a synagogue, for it is a building of about half a mile in circumference and of extraordinary height. This proposal is finding much opposition not only among some of the Council, but still more among the clergy, the chief of whom were called to the Council by his Highness to give their opinion ; wherein they were so much divided that they did neither good nor harm, one part alleging that the Jews would seduce these good Christians, but the other on the contrary that these would convert the Jews, and that it would be a work of mercy to let them come. The inclination of his Highness has not yet been manifested, and the negotiations have been suspended for some days. Meanwhile it is believed that the Jews will obtain their designs. . . ." The absurdity of this report was shewn by Mr. Lucien Wolf in a letter published in The Times on October 22, in which he proved that this was merely the revival of old scandal,</page><page sequence="19">128 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. attention to the negotiations. It was his custom to send home every week two parallel reports : one to the Grand Duke, in which he tended to accentuate more interesting items of general intelligence ; and the other, dryer and more official, to Senator Bali Gondi, the Minister. Hardly had Supino arrived in England than he reported the fact and the rumoured reason for his coming (7/17 December 1655) ; and it may well be that he was requested to give further details. However that may be, his despatches during a period of over two months deal largely with the Jewish question. They are of considerable importance as showing the interest wmich the movement aroused and the actual state of public opinion from week to week. Moreover, contrary to what the reports of his colleagues might have led us to expect, there is not a single detail in the whole series which seems in the slightest degree improbable or even exaggerated, and there is no prima facie reason for doubting anything that he says. Indeed, he may be imagined to have been exceptionally well informed, not only by reason of his privileged diplomatic position, but also because of his personal relations with Supino. When, therefore, he states at the outset that the Jews had already their private synagogues (in the plural!) in different houses, and speaks repeatedly of their " conventicles," he is to be believed literally, and the phrase " the Secret Oratories of Cromwellian London " receives a fuller significance.36 Similarly, his talk of what the peti? tioners expected and hoped may be assumed to be based upon private information. Moreover, the majority of his reports date from precisely the period after the close of the Whitehall Conference when our know? ledge is weakest and the actual course of events perhaps of most importance. Above all, the letters are significant as demonstrating the state of public interest and opinion from week to week. It was only on 7/17 December, three months after Menasseh ben Israel's arrival, that Salvetti thought it worth while to report that there was a movement on foot to procure the formal readmission of the Jews into England. Popular opinion, as far as he could gauge it, was definitely adverse. " Very few of this nation," he wrote (14/24 December), " are agreed 36 For this, see a note of Mr. Wilfred Samuel to be published in the Miscellanies, Part ii.</page><page sequence="20">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 129 to let them make their nest in these lands." " It is a matter which generally encounters great opposition," he added a week later (21/31 December), " especially from the preachers, merchants, and populace." Three days before the date of the first of these despatches, the conference convened at Whitehall to consider the question of the Eeadmission met for the first time (4/14 December). It was not, however, until over three weeks later that Salvetti reported the actual demands made on behalf of the Jews (28 December/7 January). The details are in close enough agreement with those of the authentic petition,37 but there are one or two differences which may very well embody certain oral additions. The first two clauses are run together, and the request for tolerance is made to apply, not only to England and " all other places of conquest " (by which the West Indian islands are no doubt intended, at that time of considerable importance in the Jewish world),but to the whole of the "three Kingdoms " of England, Scotland, and Ireland. We now know that there was a small colony in Dublin at this period 38 ; and it is highly probable that a substratum of fact exists for this addition. The last clause seems to have been entirely misinterpreted owing to elementary blunders in translation from the French (a careful comparison with the original would hearten the modern schoolboy !) ; but there may very well be some basis for the statement that no revocation of the charter of readmission should be possible without allowing an appeal to the Protector himself. If these additional requests were actually put forward, there was all the more ground for the general opinion that they were " excessive and impossible to grant." The Conference held four meetings, on 4, 7,12, and 18 December 1655 (o.s.). The third meeting was generally expected to conclude the question; 39 but it was followed by the stormiest and most out? spoken of all, which was concluded by Cromwell with one of the most vigorous speeches of his career. Contemporary opinion does not seem to have realised that the adjournment was intended to be final. " Thus 37 Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1655, p. 374; Menasseh ben Israel's Mission, pp. lxxxii-lxxxiv. 38 Wolf, Jews in the Canary Islands, xxxiii-xxxvii, 184, 194 n., 197. 39 See Chaissy's letter in Appendix II. : " maintenant sa cause se plaide, laquelle pourroye finir ce ioudhuy selon tous voex." VOL. XI. K</page><page sequence="21">130 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. far," intimated Salvetti three days later (21/31 December), " they have not reached any conclusion, but the matter has been postponed to be treated of anew on another day." On the same date the Venetian envoy reported to the same effect. " After a long disputation," he wrote, " the night being far advanced, the Assembly was dissolved without reaching any conclusion, but the matter has been postponed to be treated of anew on another day." Meanwhile, he believed that the Jews were doing their best to win over their opponents by the monetary gifts against which a seventeenth-century conscience had little to object, and to gain their purpose by " force of gold." 40 From this period, owing to the paucity of our information, the exact course of events is obscure ; and certain modern historians have been able to infer that everything ended in utter failure. Contem? porary opinion, however, was far from considering the question as settled. It is precisely from this point that it takes on its greatest prominence in the despatches of Salvetti. For the three weeks follow? ing the break-up of the Conference, from 21/31 December to 4/14 January, he considered the matter of sufficient moment to choose it out of all current affairs to begin his reports to the Grand Duke. This in itself shows the importance with which the movement was still generally regarded. With the break-up of the Conference, the consideration of the petition had reverted into the hands of the special committee of the Council; but it was obvious to all that the final decision lay with Cromwell himself. " The greatest business that the Lord Protector has on his hands to-day," wrote Salvetti on 28 December/7 January, " is that of the Jews, which depends entirely upon his will." As to his attitude, there was no secret. For the first weeks he seems to have been considered comparatively neutral. After the break-up of the Conference, however, it was generally recognised that the greatest hope of the Jews lay in his benevolence. " All are not in agreement to concede them the synagogue which they demand," wrote Salvetti on 21/31 December. "Nevertheless, it is generally believed that His Highness is about to terminate everything by his own authority. This the Jews hope will be in their favour, although with some limita 40 " A colpi d'oro " ; c/. despatch of Giovanni Sagredo in Appendix IV.</page><page sequence="22">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 131 tion. ..." " His Highness has resolved to take the matter in his own hand," he added in the following week (28 December/7 January), " and to put an end to this extremely important business by his own authority. His decision is awaited with impatience by the people, who fear that it will be more favourable for these fellows than is generally desired. This is founded on the opinion that, had His High? ness not been inclined to concede them at least part of what they wish, he would not have received their petition and proposals in the first instance. Nevertheless, the wiser sort believe that His Highness will proceed very cautiously, and will declare his decision with prudence rather than precipitancy." " As for the matter of the Jews," he added to the Minister on the same day, " since it is something which depends entirely on the Lord Protector, the resolution and declaration are expected from him. This the Jews hope will be favourable." They were, however, doomed to disappointment. It soon became apparent that the decision was not to be expected so soon. " The affair of the Jews," wrote the envoy on 11/21 January, "still con? tinues in petto with the Lord Protector, who has not yet declared his decision. This is generally awaited with the utmost impatience? especially by the Jews, who still hope that it will be in their favour. Yet it is not believed that he will declare it so soon as they desire, since it is a matter of great consequence, and such as to cause general disgust in this nation." It soon became apparent that he was likely to give way to public opinion ostensibly, while attempting to gain his ends by a subterfuge. " The Lord Protector has not yet declared his opinion, whether he wishes to concede the Synagogue they demand of him or no," reported Salvetti on 18/28 January, in one of the most important letters of the whole series. " This makes it be believed that he does not propose to do anything in a hurry, but will postpone action while conniving in the meantime at religious exercise in their private houses, as they do at present."41 On the same day he reported to a similar effect to the Minister. " The affair of the Jews still con? tinues in the state described in my last. Meanwhile, they continue to meet (for prayer) privately in their houses, but have no established 41 The Royalist secret emissary had presaged this as early as December 31 ; cf. State Papers, Domestic, 1655-6, p. 82.</page><page sequence="23">132 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. synagogue." This passage, with the other of a fortnight before cited above, is the only portion of the whole correspondence hitherto known ; but, unfortunately, very bad use has been made of it. Owing to a slight misinterpretation of the Italian (" they may continue to meet for prayer "), it has been taken as indicating a formal permission to hold private oratories ; and this, coupled with a natural oversight of the fact that the New Style of reckoning is used in these despatches, ten days in advance of the Old Style still employed in England, has given rise to the hypothesis that Cromwell privately gave a favourable reply to the petition between the 14th and 28th of January, 1655/6.42 This is now demonstrably inaccurate, as the later despatches also show. From this point the matter took on less prominence. " Con? nivance " now became the accepted solution; and anything in the nature of a formal reply from Cromwell seems improbable in the extreme. Talk on the subject died down in London. It was no longer worth while to include intelligence about the Jews in the weekly report to the Grand Duke, whose subjects at Leghorn were now secure from any counter-attraction. The Secretary of State was indeed kept informed for a few weeks more. " About the matter of the Jews," he was told on 25 January/4 February, " people do not speak as much as they used to at the beginning. Everyone now believes that the Lord Protector will not make any declaration in their favour, but will tacitly connive at the private conventicles which they hold at present in their houses, as long as they give no open scandal." By the next week interest had declined yet further. " About the Jews, no more is said ; and it is believed, that the Lord Protector does not propose to do what they ask, but will instead connive at their private assemblies " (1/11 February). From now the matter could be considered to all intents and purposes as closed. On the next week (8/18 February), for the first time for over two months, no mention was made of the movement in either of the despatches. This silence is more expressive than all of the previous garrulity, and gains in significance by the contrast. On 15/25 February Salvetti mentioned casually that talk about the Jews was virtually at an end. This was his last word. It marks the close of the first phase 42 Menasseh ben Israel's Mission, pp. lix-lx; cf. Stern," Menasseh ben Israel et Cromwell," in Revue des Etudes Juives, vi. 103.</page><page sequence="24">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 133 in the movement for the Readmission. Formally, at least, Cromwell would not declare himself. As late as 10 April, Menasseh ben Israel wrote despairingly that " as yet we have had no determination from, his most Serene Highness." 43 It was too late to continue to hold serious hopes. The Jews themselves seem to have realised that the question of formal readmission was closed, and in the famous petition of 24 March 1655/6 contented themselves with asking that they might " meete at owr said private devotions in owr Particular houses without feere of Molestation " and establish a cemetery " in such place out of the cittye as wee shall thincke convenient." 44 These trivial requests were the end of the high millenary hopes with which the movement for the Readmission of the Jews to England had started such a short time before, as a final fulfilment of prophecy and initiation thereby of the Messianic era. The declared Jews who had arrived in the country in response to Menasseh's enthusiastic appeal in the hope of formal permission to remain (amongst them Raphael Supino) left despairingly for their homes ; others, who had been preparing to follow them, gave up hope, and directed their footsteps to Italy.45 The confident tone of the Hope of Israel and the Humble Addresses gave place to the noble but purely apologetic Vindiciae Judaeorum. It is true that the failure of the Robles prosecution secured, though it did not regularise, the position of the Marranos ; yet this mere fact was sufficient to hasten the breach between them and the single-hearted scholar who had come over to champion the wider cause of Judaism. Not willing to avail himself of the hospitality even of their " House of Life," and petitioning the Protector's charity 43 Vindiciae Judaeorum, ? 7, p. 38. 44 See petition in Menasseh ben Israel's Mission, pp. lxxxv-lxxxvi (facsimile reproduction in Transactions, vol. x.). 45 Vindiciae Judaeorum, ? 7, pp. 38-9 : " Wherefore those few Iewes that were here, despairing of our expected successe, departed hence. And others who desired to come hither have quitted their hopes, and betaken themselves some to Italy, some to Geneva, where that Commonwealth hath at this time, most freely granted them many, and great priviledges." The only interest shewn in the Jews at Geneva at this period was the burning of Nicholas Antoine, the pastor who became converted to Judaism, in 1632 : and exclusion remained rigid almost until the French Revolution. The place here in question is therefore without doubt Genoa (Italian Genova), where a sort of Jewish charter was issued in 1648 and 1658.</page><page sequence="25">134 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. rather than accept their assistance, Menasseh ben Israel returned to Holland a broken man, bearing with him for burial the body of his last surviving son. He had risen from his sickbed, as we have seen, in order to come to England to seek the good of his brethren. Hardly had he returned to his own country than he took to it again, and the illness this time proved fatal. In the crowning enterprise of his life he had failed ; and it is no great exaggeration to say that he died of a broken heart. It was a tragic ending to his hopes. Yet, if we examine the facts more closely, we see that it was fortunate. Had Menasseh ben Israel been spared only a few years longer, he would probably have realised that, owing to the inscrutable workings of Providence and of the English temperament, it was all for the best that his mission had ended as it did. The fundamental part of his activities had met with a success greater than he knew. It was without doubt to a large extent his writings which prepared the mind of the English people to welcome the Jews again in their midst, and his labours which obtained the formal recognition of the crucial fact that there was no statute which forbade the exiles of four centuries before to return to the country. Yet, had the formal readmission of the Jews been amongst the actions of the Commonwealth, there can be little doubt that it would have been automatically reversed at the Restoration, and that the Jews would have known another expulsion from England more deadly, because more modern, than the first. Even if this had not taken place, the success of the movement of 1655 would have left the Jews, a few years later on, in a much worse position than that which they actually achieved. Menasseh's proposals were indeed considered " excessive " by contemporary opinion. Nevertheless, they were essentially differentiatory. There was to be a special Jewish charter. The high authorities of the realm were to swear to protect the Jews on all occasions. A special official was to be appointed for their surveillance. All this was essentially mediaeval. At the bottom, it was removed only in degree from the repressive system in force on the Continent; and, with the slightest modification of public opinion, the Ghetto might have been introduced in all of its German or Italian severity? as, indeed, was seriously suggested. But the characteristic feature of the modern period of Anglo-Jewish history has been the utter absence</page><page sequence="26">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 135 of this differentiatory spirit. What disabilities there were, compara? tively trivial at the worst, were shared with a very large body of nonconformists, Catholic as well as Protestant, among the general population. Even special taxation, elsewhere almost universal, never came into operation, and was only once seriously proposed. That this is so is due entirely to the unobtrusive and informal way in which the Resettlement was effected : and if Menasseh ben Israel's proposals, with the differentiation which formed an essential part of them, had been accepted, this development could hardly have taken place. Jewish equality in this country (for, pace the foreign historians, it was little less) came about in the same unobtrusive, almost accidental, fashion as the liberty of the press. The position enjoyed by the com? munity by the close of the seventeenth century would have immeasur? ably surprised and delighted the warm-hearted enthusiast who had immolated himself to achieve a lesser result, and, as he thought, had failed. But he had prepared the way ; and finally his work had more glorious results in failure than it could conceivably have produced by success. For us English Jews, indeed (in the words of the epitaph still to be read upon his tomb in the ancient cemetery at Oudekerk),46 " he is not dead; for he lives in heaven in supreme glory, and he has left his pen on earth in immortal remembrance." 46 Sa do benaventurado Haham Menasseh ben Israel Faleceo em 14 Kislev ano 5418. vnp nnw nmo va'b'k mam bra oya- djdk run mnb bnn itoa No murio por qen el cielo Vive con suprema gloria Y su pluma en su memoria in mortal dexa en el suelo.</page><page sequence="27">136 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. APPENDIX OF DOCUMENTS. I. The CntCTJLAB Letter of Menasseh ben Israel. From printed original in R. Archivio di Stato di Venezia (with autograph signature). 0 H. Menasseh ben Israel. A todos os Senhores de sua nag?o Hebrea hdbitantes na Assia y Europa, principalmente ?s Sinagogas Santas de Italia e Holsacia. S.P.D41 Cousa notoria he, a todos os Senhores de nossa nac?o, quanto de muytos dias a esta parte ey trabalhado, pretendendo se nos conceda na florentissima Republica de Inglaterra, publico exercicio de nossa relig?o, movido na? so do merito da causa, ma por varias cartas de pessoas virtuosissimas e prudentes. Iuntamente como avendo estado por duas vezes posto a caminho, fuy dos meus, por certas rezons politicas, persuadido dilatasse por entonces a jornada. Agora pois fasso saber a todos, como na? bem convalecido aynda de diuturna doenca, movido so de Zelo, e amor dos meus, despindome de todos os meus particulares interesses, como tenho signifieado, me parto oje a esta empreza, que seja para servico del Dio, e nossa utilidade. E se bem alguns achandose afazendados, e sobre tudo protegidos de clementissimos Principes, e Magistrados, na? fazem muyta estimacao deste meu perpetuo cuydado, na? de menos, conciderando eu o aplauso comum, o bem geral, a aflica? dos nossos oje espalhados tanto, q poderia? achar asylo e remedio na quella potentissima Republica, sem algun perjuizo da otra ; e juntamente tendo atencao, a tantas almas, que dissimulando a religia?, viuem em tantas partes de Espanha, e Franca esquecidos, me pareceo na? deixar aynda que seja a custa de minhas f aculdades, negoceo de tanto merecimento. E suposto que reconheco por cartas, e boas correspondencias, ser oje aquella naca? Ingreza, na? a antigua enemiga nossa, mas mudada a Papistica religao, muy bem affecta a nossa naca? como povo aflito, e de quem tern boa esperanca, na? avendo neste mundo cousa certa, nem segura, suplico a todas as Kehilot Kedosot, 4 em suas publicas oracoens pessao affectuosamente al Dio, me de sua graca nos olhos do benignissimo e valerosissimo Principe, sua Alteza Senhor Protector, e nos de seu Prudentissimo conselho, para que nos dem em suas terras liberdade, donde possamos tambem orar ao Altissimo Senhor por sua prosperidade. Vale. De Amsterdam a 2 de Setembro 5415. o H. Menasseh ben Israel. 47 = Salutem plurimam dicit.</page><page sequence="28">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 137 II. Letter of Gilles Chaissy. R. Archivio di Stato di Firenze. Archivio Mediceo, Principato, filz: 4204. Letter to Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand II, from Egidio (alias Gilles) Chaissy, London, 23 December 1655. . . . Nous avons icj a Londres un Juif de Ligourne assez habille (dit on) en ce qui est de sa langue et de sa religion, il est Ministre de la Circoncision ; les persones les plus considerables de Londres et des Universites luj ont fait quelque relation de ma persone et de mes estudes, et Font presse, selon que j'entends, a une conference de religion. Mon hoste mesme a este solieite par luj et par divers, a consentir au dezir de toute ces Seignrs, Courtizans et Escoliers, qui la desirent. Je ne puis, ne veux et ne doibs me retirer, et quoy que ie ne Faye encore veu, luv ay fait entendre, que ie suis tout prest, et croys que rien ne retarde nostre entrevue que leur reduction dans cet Estat, car maintenant sa cause se plaide laquelle pourroye finir ce ioudhuy selon tous voex. . . . III. Despatches of Francesco Salvetti.48 (Ibid.) To Senator Bali Oondi. 7/17 December, 1655. . . . Qui si trova da pochi giorni in qua quel Raffaello Supino Ebreo di Livorno, pretendendo la sua venuta essere per terminare la causa, che tiene in questa Ammiralit?, toccante alcune sue mercanzie, che Ii furno prese da Vascelli Inglesi sopra di una Nave f ranzese, ben che molti siano di parere che miri, insieme con diversi Portughesi, pure Ebrei, di stabilire in questo Regno la loro Sinagoga, et cosi godere di questo commerzio, sentendosi che lui, con li altri si siano presentati, con lor supplica, al Sigr Protettore perche Ii conceda quanto desiderano, et che loro sperono di ottenere. Nel mentre non lasciano di fare le loro sinagoghe privatamente in alcune case, et ad osservare i loro riti ebraici. Ma come questi Inglesi 48 A transcript of this series is also to be found in the British Museum, Add. MS. 27962. The originals are considerably water-stained and faded, so that the reading given here differs in places from that of the transcript.</page><page sequence="29">138 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. li sono contra, come si crede, che S. A. andr? molto ritenuta a permettere, che anche quella Setta s'introduca in questi paesi, &amp;c. . . . To the Same. 14/24th December, 1655. . . . Ben posso aggiungerli come li Ebrei venuti di Amsterdam et altre paesi, nel cui numero Raffaello Supino di Livorno non e delli inferiori, sperano di potere ottenere dal Sigr Protettore di potere continuare in questa Citta, et di havervi la loro Sinagoga. L'affare viene disputato dal cons0 di stato, et da alcuni Teologi in quali S. A. Fha rimesso ; et se bene si vantano d'havere alcuni d'essi f avorevoli, et in conseguenza ne sperono buona fine, non si vede con tutto ci?, che ben pochi di questa nazione concorrino a lasciarli annidare in queste paesi &amp;e. To the Grand Duke. Idem. . . . Diversi Ebrei venuti qua di Amsterdam hanno supplicato il Sigr Protettore di havere in Londra una loro Sinagoga, et di potere godervi del commerzio mercantile nella medIna maniera che godono altrove, ma fin ad hora S. A. non Ii ha dato nessa risposta, ma si bene rimesso la determinazione al suo Cons0 di Stato, et ad alcuni di questi loro Teologi, la quale si dover? ben presto sentire. To Senator Bali Gondi. 21/31 December, 1655. . . . L'affare degli Ebrei continua sempre nelle mani del cons0 di Stato et altri del loro clero perche non tutti concorrono al concederli la Sinagoga che domandono, si crede per? che S. A. sia per terminare tutto della sua propria autorit? et che come li detti Ebrei sperono sia per essere in loro favore, ben che con qual che limitatione, il che presto si dovesi sentire. . . . To the Grand Duke. Idem. (Incipit) Tutta questa settimana alia presenza del Sigr Protettore, del suo Cons0 di Stato et di diversi questi Predicanti si e disputata la richiesta delli Ebrei, venuti di Amsterdam et altre parti, fatta con una lor supplica, a S. A. domandandoli la permissione di havere in questa Citt? una loro publica Sinagoga, et trafficare, come havevono in altre parti della Christianit?, ma per ancora non sono venuti ad alcuna conclusione, ma si bene rimessola a trattarne di nuovo un' altro giorno, per essere materia che generalmte incontra in grande oppositione, massime di questi Predicanti, mercanti, e del popolo. Si aspetta hora con gran impazienza di vedere quello questi ssri risolveranno</page><page sequence="30">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 139 di fare, et perche alcuni d'essi pare ehe inelinino di ammetterli con qualehe limitazione, li Ebrei vivono in gran speranza d'havere in fine, per una via o altra, ad ottenere quanto domandano, il che ottenendo disguster? molto tutta questa nazione, et dara occasione d'introdurre fra le molte religioni che hoggi vi regnono, anche questa delli Ebrei, consistente la maggior parte di Portughesi. . . . To Senator Bali Gondi. 28 December/7 January (incorrectly filed) 1655/6. ... II pi? gran negozio che il Sigr Protettore ha oggi nelle mani e questo da Hebrei, dependente interamte dalla sua volunta gi? che quella del suo Cons? di Stato et de Predieanti non si eonveniva del tutto con la sua. II ehe mette questi Ebrei in grande speranza havere ad ottenere sa S. A. quanto desiderano. Con tutto cid viene creduto generalmente che TAltezza Sua andera molto piombatamente avanti di risolvere un' affare di tanta impor tanza e di cosi poso gusto de' sudditi. To the Grand Duke. Idem. (Incipit) Le continue consulte che questa settimana si sono tenute alia presenza del Sigr Protettore toccante l'ammissione delli Ebrei in questa Citt? et in qualsivoglia altra parte di questi tre Regni con l'esercizio della loro religione, non hanno per ancora produtto cosa veruna : ben si crede, ehe ben presto non siano per tardare a farlo risolverlo, ma ne sia per essere favorevole, stante l'opinione che quasi generalmte vengano fatte se ne dicono assai variamte. Le domande che Menasseh Ben-Israel capo di questi Ebrei ha fatto con sua supplica sono queste, I, Che la nazione Ebrea sia ammessa in questi tre Regni come proprij nativi, et come tali debbino tutti i command11 et offiziali di questi Regni pigliare un giuramto de non offenderli et di permetterli de havere una publica Sinagoga in tutti i tre Regni. 2. Che sia loro lecito di havere da per tutto un Cimiterio a parte per interrare loro Ebrei. 3. Che Ii sia permesso di trafficare da per tutto senza nessuna eccessne. 4. Che tutti quelli Ebrei che verrano ad habitare in queste parti che non apporteranno alcuno pregiudizio, ne daranno offesa, debbino presentarsi a qualehe d'uno, che sara appuntato dal Sigr Protettore et quivi fare regis trare il loro nome et cosi essere ricevuti et protetti da quello. 5. Che tutte le differenze che potessro nascere fra di loro debbono essere sentite et terminate dalla loro Sinagoga et due de' loro Rabini con permissne per? di potere applicarsi al governo Civile. 6. Che in caso di qualehe processo contro della nazione Ebrea, et avanti che sia reuocato, sia rimesso nel Sigr Protettore a fin che con quanta pi? quiete li Ebrei si possino assigurare</page><page sequence="31">140 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. delle lore- persone et Ebrei. Queste propositioni vengono trovato molto et da non essre coneesse nientedimeno questi Ebrei mirono altramte almeno di haver parte d'esse. . . . To the Same. 4/l4th January, 1655/6. (Incipit) Vedendo il Sigr Protettre che il suo cons0 di Stato et Teologi protestanti, che haveva appuntato per sentire l'affare delli Ebrei, et fare rapporto a S. A. della loro opinione, toccante rammetterli et concederli una Sinagoga in questi tre Regni, non venivono a nessa determinazione, la pi? parte d'essi discordando del modo, 1' A.S. si risolse di tirare in sua mano, et di sua propria autorita dare fine a cosi importante negozio, la quale viene aspettata da tutti con grand? impazienza, et con timore, che sia per essere pi? f avorevole per simile gente di quello in generale viene desiderato, f ondando questo timore che se S. A. non inclinasse a concederli almeno parte di quello domandono, non hauerebbe riceuto sul principio la loro petitione et proposi? tioni. Con tutto cid viene anche creduto da i pi? savij, che l'A. S. andr? molto cautamt0 et prudentemte avanti che precitamte dichiare la sua resolutione. . . . To Senator Bali Gondi. 4/14 January, 1655/6. . . . Quanto alii affari di queste parti, consistino principalmente in assicurare la eontinuatione di questo stabilito presente governo ... et per Paltro delli Ebrei, come cosa che interamente depende dal Sigr Protettore, da esso se ne aspetta la resolutione et dichiaratione, sperata dalli Ebrei favorevole. . . . To the Same. 11/21 January, 1655/6. . . . Del affare delli Ebrei non se ne vede per ancora nessuno lume, che il Sigr Protettore sia per concederli la Sinagoga, che Ii domandano, ben che loro l'aspettino, et la sperino. . . . To the Grand Duke. Idem. (Incipit) II negozio delli Ebrei continua sempre in petto del Sigr Protettre, il quale per ancora non ha dichiarato la sua resoluzione, aspettata di giorno in giorno da ogn' uno con gran' impazienza, et dalli istessi Ebrei in particolare, che la sperono sempre in loro favore, ne si crede che sia per dichiararle tanto presto, quanto quelli la pressono, essendo materia di molta conseguenza, et da causare in questa nazione un generale disgusto. . , .</page><page sequence="32">NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. 141 To Senator Bali Gondi 18/28 January, 1655/6. . . . L'affare delli Ebrei continua sempre nel stato accennato con l'antecedente, nel mentre godono continuanza privata nelle loro case, ma non Sinagoga f ormata. . . . To the Grand Duke. Idem. . . . Quanto al' altro affare delli Ebrei, non vedendosi il Sigr Protettre habbi ancora dichiarato il suo senso, se vuole o non vuole concederli la Sinagoga che Ii domandavano, fa credere che non sia per farlo in fretta, ma si bene portando il tempo avanti et connivarli nel mentre il loro esercizio privatamente nelle loro proprie case, come di presente f anno. . . . To Senator Bali Gondi. 25 January/4 February, 1655/6. . . . Del affare delli Ebrei non se ne discorre pi? tanto si faceva da prin cipio, ognuno credendo, che il sigr Protettore non verr? a nessa dichiarazione in loro f avore, ma tacitamente conniver? alle loro private conventicole che di presente fanno nelle loro case, purche non diano aperto scandalo. . . . To the Same. 1/11 February, 1655/6. . . . Del affare delli Ebrei non se ne parla pi?, et si crede, che il Sig: Protettore non sia per compiacerli, ma si bene connivare alle loro private assemblee. . . . To the Same. ? . . Del affare delli Ebrei non se ne parla quasi pi?. . , . IV. Despatch or Giovanni Sagredo. R. Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Dispacci daW Inghilterra. 21/31 December, 1655. Per il resto gF affari di questa settimana si sono tutti impiegati nella conoscenza della causa degli Hebrei, sopra l'istanza da loro efhcamte per essergli ammesso il soggiorno, et il domicilio in questi Regni. Venne un' Hebreo d'Anversa : s'introdusse con sagacita dal Protettore, havendolo conosciuto in quella Citt?, quando prima che montar il posto</page><page sequence="33">142 NEW LIGHT ON THE RESETTLEMENT. rillevato, dove presentemte si trova, se ne andava privatamte vedendo la Fiandra. Introdotto da Sua Altza, ha cominciato non solo ? baciare, ma a stringere le mani, et a toccargli tutto il corpo con esatissma cura : dimandato, perche si comportasse della mani era, rispose, ch'era venuto d'Anversa solamte per vedere, se sua Altza era composta di carne, mentre le attioni sopra humani, eh' havea fatte, lo manifestavano per piii ch'huomo, e per una compositione divina sortita dal Cielo. II Protettore ha ordinata una Congregatue di Teologi, e lui presente col suo Cons0 si e discusso questo punto, se possa un Paese Christiano dar ricetto a gl' Hebrei. Le opinioni sono state molto discrepanti, alcuni sentendo, che ricever si potessero dentro i limiti di varie restrittioni, e stretissme obbligationi. Altri, e tr? questi alcuni principali Ministri della Legge hanno sostenuto, ehe in nessun caso, e per nessuna maniera, senza gravissm0 peccato sia permesso ad' un Regno Christiano dar ricetto all' Hebraica setta. Dopo lunghe contestationi avanzandosi la notte f? sciolta l'Assemblea senza alcuna conclusione, rimessasi la conclusione ad' altra giornata. Intanto havendo gl' Hebrei commissione di spender molto denaro, f anno stato, e credo che non s'ingannino, di guadagnar i Ministri, e di abbater ogni ostacolo a colpi d'oro. . . . ADDITIONAL NOTE. The suggestion that Menasseh ben Israel " thought it best to maintain a diplomatic silence upon controversial matters" is as a matter of fact unjustified. Among the writings of Jean d'Espagne, Minister of the French Reformed Church at Westminster from 1642, there is preserved a full report, which has hitherto escaped notice, of a religious disputation with Menasseh ben Israel held in the presence of the French Ambassador on May 2, 1656 (CEuvres, ed. The Hague, 1674, i. 470-7). A description of this interesting episode will appear in Part II. of our Miscellanies.</page></plain_text>

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