< Back

Some eighteenth-century refugees from Brazil

Edgar Samuel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 43, 2011 Some eighteenth-century refugees from Brazil EDGAR SAMUEL The fact that there was no Inquisition in the south of Brazil led many New Christians to settle there during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By the late seventeenth century they made up two thirds of the white population of Rio de Janeiro.1 As in Portugal, secret Judaism has persisted in Brazil for many centuries. King Manoel Fs edict of 1497 expelling Jews from Portugal asserted that Jews and Moors committed great evils and blasphemies in Portugal.2 The belief that every epidemic, famine or earth tremor in Portugal was due to divine vengeance for tolerating Judaism persisted over the centuries. John V of Portugal (1689-1750) and his Inquisitor General, Cardinal Nuno Ataide da Cunha, were extremely hostile to secret Judaism. The Inquisitor certainly believed in the power of malevolent witchcraft. In the 1720s he turned his attention to the old-established secret Jewish communities in northern Portugal. From 1720 to 1723 the Coimbra Inquisition held seventeen autos da fe, averaging four a year.3 Dom Luis da Cunha, the doyen of the Portuguese diplomatic service, commented in his Political Testament on the immense damage done by the Inquisition to Portuguese manufactures. By arresting and frightening New Christians into emigrating, they had smashed the Braganza silk industry which Spanish Jews had introduced to Portugal, and greatly damaged the woollen-cloth-weaving industry of Fund?o and Covilh?.4 The Inquisition sent a powerful agency to Rio and made many arrests. Its confiscation of the New Christians' extensive sugar estates led to suspicion of deliberate profiteering, but there is little doubt that crypto Judaism survived more strongly there than in the north of Brazil. Professor Anita Novinsky has published 128 inventories of goods confiscated by the Inquisition from New Christian men in Brazil, who were found guilty of 1 Jose Goncalves Salvador, Os Crist?os-Novos e o Comercio no Atl?ntico Meridional (Com enfoco nas Capitanias do Sul 1530-1680) (S?o Paolo 1973) 380. 2 Ordenaf?es do Senhor Rey D. Manuel II (Coimbra 1997). Facsimile edition of Fundac?o Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon n.d.) 212. 3 Elkan Nathan Adler, Auto da Fe and Jew (Oxford 1908) 150. 4 Luis da Cunha, Testamento Politico (Lisbon 1820). 89</page><page sequence="2">Edgar Samuel Judaizing.5 I have found only eight families from Brazil who joined the London synagogue, though there may well be others whom I have missed. Novinsky's works and Joy Oakley's recently published Lists of the Portuguese Inquisition6 give interesting information about some of the people arrested in Brazil, who eventually took refuge in London. In 1708 Agostinho Lopes Flores, aged twenty-eight, a goldsmith banker in Rio, and his wife Brites Soares Pereira, aged twenty-seven, were arrested there by agents of the Inquisition. They were shipped to Lisbon where they were tried and con? victed of Judaizing. At an auto da fe on 30 June 1709 they were sentenced to imprisonment, a perpetual penitential garment and the confiscation of their property.7 They were released destitute in Lisbon, yet in 1710 they were remarried in London at the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Bevis Marks (on 4 Kislev) as Daniel Flores and Sarah Suarez Pereira 'arrivals from Portugal'.8 Agostinho's brother-in law, Alexandre Soares Pereira, aged thirty-three, a sugar planter, and his wife, Leonor Mendes de Paz, aged twenty-five, were arrested at the same time. Their property was seized, they were shipped to Lisbon and were tried and convicted of Judaizing. At the same auto da fe on 3 June 1709 they were sentenced to imprisonment and a perpetual peniten? tial garment as well as confiscation of their property.9 Eventually they too were released in Lisbon destitute. Alexandre's sugar plantation near Rio was farmed by sharecroppers. As well as paying a share of their crop as rent, they were obliged to have their canes crushed in his mill and to have their sugar boiled in his refinery. The inventory of his property showed total assets worth 26,903 milreis (?7090 sterling) and liabilities worth 9388 milreis (?2474). More significant, however, were the tithes he paid, which indicate the size of his income. He paid 100 milreis (?26) a year to tax collectors for the tithe on his sugar crop, which implies annual receipts worth 1000 milreis (?263.54).10 The Inquisition seized his assets. Interestingly, he himself owned no slaves. It would have been his sharecroppers and the operators of his crushing mill and boilers who owned the slaves. In 1724 Jacob Soares Pereira and his son Joseph were circumcised in London, and he and his wife Rahel were remarried at the synagogue in Bevis 5 A. W. Novinsky, Inquisic?o Invent?rios de bens confiscados a Crist?os Novosfontes para a historia de Portugal e do Brasil (S?o Paolo 1976). 6 J. L. Oakley (ed.) Lists of the Portuguese Inquisition, 2 vols (London 2008). 7 Ibid. I Lisbon (1540-1778) (London 2008) 492 and 495. 8 R. D. Barnett (ed.) Bevis Marks Records, being contributions to the history of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation ofLondon: Part II Abstracts ofthe Ketubot or Marriage Contracts of the Congregation from the earliest times until 1837 (London 1949) no. 175. 9 Oakley (see n. 7) 492 and 495. 10 Novinsky (see n. 5) 22-5. 90</page><page sequence="3">Some eighteenth-century refugees from Brazil Marks. Alexandre was said by the Inquisitors to have been born in 1675.11 Jacob's circumcision record says that he was born in 1685,12 so either they were two different men or, more likely, the age given in the de Paiba register is incorrect. In 1710, Diogo Lopes Flores, aged thirty, a nephew of Agostinho Lopes Flores, and his wife, Ana Gutteres, aged twenty-one, were arrested in Rio de Janeiro and sent to Lisbon where they were tried and sentenced for Judaism, at an auto da fe on 26 July 1711, to imprisonment, the penitential garment and confiscation of all property. He is described as Lavrador de Cana (Farmer of Cane) on a sugar and manioc plantation, which meant that he was a sharecropper. His inventory shows a much smaller estate than his uncle the plantation owner. Diogo's farm was only worth 100 milreis (?26), whereas his six slaves were worth 700 milreis (?184.48). In total he was worth 1460.91 milreis (?385).13 Of course the Inquisition confiscated it all. Once the Inquisition had convicted someone, that person had a strong incentive to escape from Portugal, because if convicted of Judaizing a second time, the prisoner could be burnt at the stake. In the 1720s and 30s the Lisbon Inquisition was extremely active. The number of executions increased and so did emigration. Portugal was then England's biggest trading partner. Under the terms of the Methuen Treaty of 1703, English ships were exempt from the Inquisition. Many New Christians were therefore able to escape to London from Lisbon and Oporto on English ships. In 1726 the Lisbon Inquisition had four men and eight women burnt at the stake for Judaism, plus two who had died in their cells. The next year no less than twenty-four couples of Vindos de Portugal (arrivals from Portugal) were remarried at the synagogue in Be vis Marks. Among them were Abraham and Sarah Lopes Flores.14 Teodoro Pereira da Costa, described in the Lisbon Lista as ca brown man, part of a New Christian, physician' {h?rnern pardo parte de x.n.y medico), was arrested in Rio in 1716 and sentenced four years later. He owned a share in a sugar plantation in Rio, with ten black slaves, a country villa, some houses in Rio and a share in some land. His assets amounted to 3826 milreis (?956), which of course were confiscated.15 In 1727 Abraham and Sarah Pereira da Costa, 'arrivals from Portugal', were remarried at the synagogue in Bevis Marks.16 11 Oakley (see n. 7) 492. 12 R. D. Barnett (ed.) Bevis Marks Records: IV The Circumcision Register of Isaac and Abraham de Paiba (1715-1775) (London 1991) 47, no. 315. 13 Novinsky (see n. 5) 88-9. 14 Barnett (ed.) (see n. 8) 378, 25 Nisan 5487. 15 Novinsky (see n. 5) 242. 16 Barnett (ed.) (see n. 8) 397, 13 Tamuz 5487. 9i</page><page sequence="4">Edgar Samuel Rio de Janeiro Prisoners In The Lisbon Listas No. Date Name Age Occupation 30 June 1709 492 30 June 1709 495 30 June 1709 492 30 June 1709 506 26 July 1711 502 26 July 1711 542 16June 1720 507 26 July 1711 502 26 July 1711 506 26 July 1711 490 30 June 1709 513 9 July 1713 516 9 July 1713 524 16 Feb. 1716 574 16 Oct. 1729 Brites Soares Pereira wife of 28 Agostinho Lopes Flores 29 Leonor Mendes da Paz, wife of 26 Alexandre Soares Pereira 34 b. 1675 s.o. Jo?o Soares Anna Guterres wife of 21 Diogo Lopes Flores b. 1681 30 Teodoro Pereira da Costa 37 'A Brown Man Part of a New Christian' Anna Rodrigues wife of 36 Dami?o Rodrigues Moeda 46 Catherina de Miranda wife of 31 Francisco de Sequeira Machado 42 Joseph de Sequeira Machado 19 Isabel de Sequeira 19 David de Miranda cloth merchant 29 David de Miranda 44 d. of Jo?o Soares Pereira H?rnern de Negocio Senhor de Engenho brother of Brites S. P. Son of the above Lavrador de Cana Physician {H?rnern pardo parte de x.n.) Advocate Physician Student of Grammar Unmarried H?rnern de Negocio H?rnern de Negocio 587 6 July 1732 Manuel Nunes Sanches 32 Mine owner unmarried The wardens of the Bevis Marks Synagogue let it be known on the Royal Exchange that they would pay the fare of any refugee brought in from Portugal. In 1727 the Mahamad resolved to pay no more than ?3 per person in fares for arrivals from Spain and Portugal.17 If they were to receive help from the community it was made a condition that the men must be circum? cised and the women must have a ritual immersion or Tevilah within fifteen days and undergo remarriage as Jews.18 In the period from 1700 to 1730, 17 Barnett (ed.) (see n. 12) 7. 18 Ibid. 2. 92</page><page sequence="5">Some eighteenth-century refugees from Brazil Vindos de Portugal In The Ketuboth Register No. Remarriage Date Circumcision No. 175 Sara Suarez Pereira Daniel Flores 320 Rahel Soares Pereira Jacob Soares Pereira aged 42 Joseph Soares Pereira aged 19 378 Sarah Lopes Flores Abraham Lopes Flores 1727 397 Abraham Pereira da Costa Sarah Pereira da Costa 4Kislev 5471 1710 26 Heshvan 5485 8 Oct. 1724 8 Nov. 1724 25 Nisan 5487 3 April 1727 13Tamuz 5487 1727 315 615 481 490 591 493 717 Sarah Rodrigues Moeda Abraham Rodrigues Moeda Sarah de Sequeira Machado Abraham de Sequeira Machado Abraham de Sequeira Machado Ribca de Abraham Sequeira Machado Aaron de Miranda Ribca de Miranda Isaac Nunes Sanches Sara Nunes Sanches 21 Heshvan 5491 1730 1731 26AdarL5491 11 Dec. 1726 5AdarL5497 1737 21Iyar 5491 1731 2 Ellul 5506 1746 167 about 1500 refugees from Portugal joined the London Sephardi community. Some were sent on to Barbados and Jamaica, and one shipload to Savannah, Georgia.19 Darniao Rodrigues Moeda, an advocate aged forty-six, and his wife Catherina de Miranda, aged thirty-one, were arrested in 1710 in Rio. His assets amounted to 1756 milreis (?462) including eight domestic slaves.20 19 R. D. Barnett, 'Dr Samuel Nunes Ribeiro and the Settlement of Georgia', in A. Newman (ed.) Migration and Settlement (London 1971) 91-2. 20 Novinsky (see n. 5) 72. 93</page><page sequence="6">Edgar Samuel These were confiscated. The Moedas were shipped to Lisbon and convicted of Judaism in 1711, together with forty-seven other residents of Brazil, mostly from Rio,21 and released destitute in Lisbon. However, as an experi? enced advocate, he was probably able to earn a living. In 1729 ten New Christians were burnt at the stake in Lisbon for Judaism, and the next year the Moedas fled to London, joined the synagogue in Bevis Marks and were remarried there as Abraham and Sarah Rodrigues Moeda, 'arrivals from Portugal'.22 Francisco de Sequeira Machado, a physician, and his wife Catherina de Miranda, their son Joseph and daughter Isabel were arrested in Rio in 1708 and shipped to Lisbon, where they were sentenced by the Inquisition and went out in autos da fein 1709, 1711 and 1713.23 Francisco owned a share in a sugar plantation with eighteen slaves24. Joseph arrived in England in 1726, but his parents not until 1731, when they were remarried at the synagogue in Bevis Marks as Abraham and Sarah de Sequeira Machado25. David de Miranda was a textile and clothing merchant selling to gold miners. He owned four slaves and substantial stock.26 David was arrested in Bahia in 1714 and went out in an auto da fe in Lisbon in 1716.27 Thirteen years later, in 1729, he was tried and sentenced a second time for Judaizing. In 1730 five men and five women were burnt at the stake in Lisbon for Judaism and one died in the cells of the Inquisition.28 Then in 1731 Aaron and Ribca Miranda, 'arrivals from Portugal', were remarried in the syna? gogue in Bevis Marks.29 Manuel Nunes Sanches owned a gold mining claim in northern Brazil. He was arrested in 1730, shipped to Lisbon and sentenced for Judaizing in July 1732.30 In 1746 Isaac and Sarah Nunes Sanches were remarried at the Bevis Marks Synagogue.31 Both King John V and his Inquisitor General Cardinal Nuno Ataide da Cunha died in 1750. The new king Joseph I appointed Sebasti?o Jose Carvalho e Melo as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.32 He had served as the Portuguese Ambassador in England for four years and was a man of great 21 Oakley (see n. 7) 500-07. 22 Barnett(ed.) (seen. 8)481. 23 Oakley (see n. 7) 490, 506, 513, 516. 24 Novinsky (see n. 5) 120. 25 Barnett (ed.) (see n. 8) 490. 26 Novinsky (see n. 3) 77. 27 Barnett (ed.) (see n. 7) 524. 28 Ibid. 581. 29 Barnett (ed.) (see n. 8) 493. 30 Novinsky (see n. 3) 587. 31 Barnett (ed.) (seen. 8)717. 32 A. H. Oliveira Marques, History of Portugal (N&lt; York I976) r.420-21. 94</page><page sequence="7">Some eighteenth-century refugees from Brazil ability. Carvalho e Melo was well aware of how much the Inquisition's activi? ties had damaged Portuguese trade and industry and how badly the public exe? cutions for Judaism damaged Portugal's reputation in Europe. Eventually he became the de facto ruler of Portugal and was created Marques de Pombal.33 Pombal's first priority was to build up Portuguese trade, which was dominated by English merchants, and to increase the royal revenues. In 1755 an earth? quake destroyed much of Lisbon and Pombal was preoccupied with the plan? ning and reconstruction of the city. His handling of the situation and of an assassination attempt against the king in 1759 brought Pombal to full power. When Pombal had been in England he had been friendly with his physi? cian Dr Jacob de Castro Sarmento, who was a member of the London syna? gogue and had proposed his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society. I think that this friendship with Sarmento influenced Pombal's policy towards the Inquisition. Pombal did not attempt to abolish the Inquisition, which would have been politically impossible when most aristocrats rejoiced in being Familiars of the Holy Office, but he bent it to his purposes. No Inquisitor General was appointed for eight years. As in the sixteenth century, property confiscated by the Inquisition once more went to the Crown instead of to the Inquisitors. On 24 September 1752 four New Christians were publicly burnt at the stake as negativos for denying that they were guilty of Judaism.34 Thereafter this was not repeated in Lisbon, where autos da fe were then held within the Dominican Convent. In 1758 the King appointed his legitimated half brother Dom Jose to the office of Inquisitor General.35 Two years later Pombal succeeded in having him exiled and replaced by his own younger brother, Paolo Carvalho e Mendonca.36 Important changes then took place in the Inquisition. In 1761, at the last outdoor public auto da fein Lisbon, the leading Jesuit, Father Gabriel Malagrida, was burnt at the stake as a 'here siarch' for his booklet which claimed that the Lisbon earthquake was God's punishment for the sins of Portugal and its government.37 Even an enlight? ened despot could not tolerate such a subversive theology. At the same time, the effigy of a Portuguese Calvinist then living in London, Francisco Xavier de Oliveira, was burnt for claiming in his booklet, Discours pathetique au sujet des Calamites presentes arrivees en Portugal, that the Lisbon earthquake had been God's punishment on Portugal for persecuting the Jews. 33 Ibid. 34 Oakley (see n. 7) 673. 35 J. Verissimo Serrao, Hist?ria de Portugal: VI0 Despotismo Iluminado (1750-1807) (Lisbon 1981) 130. 36 Ibid. 37 jfuizo da Verdadeira Causa do Terremoto. Que padeceo a corte de Lisboa, no primeiro de Novembro de 1755.. . (Lisbon 1756). 95</page><page sequence="8">Edgar Samuel Pombai stopped the killing of New Christians. After the Evora auto da fe of 1761 none were burnt at the stake. Sentencing for Judaizing and confisca? tion of property continued on a smaller scale. By the end of the eighteenth century the Inquisition was continuing to enforce social control, but it was used much less as an instrument of religious persecution. The emigration to England dwindled. There were several convictions of nuns for receiving visions or claiming to be a saint, usually classed as 'Molinism', and of gypsies for fortune telling. In 1778 the Inquisition sentenced officers of an Oporto regiment for practising Freemasonry.38 Pombal had bridled the Inquisition and placed it firmly under government control. In 1820 Inquisition was abolished. The Portuguese Inquisition had lasted for 250 years. Its management had varied, just as the men who controlled it did. In 1830 Jews were readmitted to Portugal and in the same year the Elders of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation in London decided that in future sermons should be preached in English rather than Portuguese, which fewer congregants could understand. 38 Oakley (see n. 7) 723-5. 96</page></plain_text>