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The Amazing Clan of Buzaglo

Cecil Roth

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Amazing Clan of Buzaglo CECIL ROTH, M.A., D.Phil.* Morocco normally figures in the eyes of students of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Jewish history as a source of Rabbis and scholars, who emerged thence occasionally to instruct the communities of the Marrano Diaspora in northern Europe, such as Isaac Uziel, the first Rabbi of Amsterdam, and Jacob Sasportas, the first Haham of London. It is now becoming apparent that, contrary to expectation, this country was at the same time a reservoir of magnates, merchants, and adventurers. The clan that will engage our attention here will illustrate all of these facets?it may be said, from the nearly sublime down to the wholly ridiculous. FROM SPAIN TO MOROCCO The family of Buzaglo is said to have been established in Morocco from the time of the expulsion from Spain onwards, as is indeed highly probable. But, though one or two savants who bore the name are recorded,1 none of its members came into prominence, reputable or disreputable, until the eighteenth century. At this time, the rapid development of trade between the Western European Powers and the Barbary States led to the employment there as interpreters and factors of many indigenous Sephardi Jews?usually familiar at least with Spanish (if not with other European languages), in addition to Arabic. (Recent research on trade in North Africa has shown how closely involved the English merchants were with the local Jewish residents as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.)2 Partly as a result of this, a few of them transferred themselves in due course to the great centres of trade in England, France, and Holland. Among these were the adventurous brood of children of a certain Moses Buzaglo, said to have been a Rabbi and Rosh Teshiva in Mogador. One of them, Isaac, piously settled in Jerusalem, and passes from our story; it is with his brothers, who pushed their fortunes in Europe, that we shall be concerned here. The oldest, probably, was Jacob, who was established already by 1730 in London, where he married that year Elizabeth Salom Moreno; soon he prospered enough to have his name included in the list of London merchants in The Universal Pocket Book of 1745 as resident and carrying on his business in Gun Yard, Houndsditch. Before long, his brothers followed?if they had not accompanied, or preceded?him. The most remarkable of the remarkable trio was Joseph, who in the spring of 1730 married en secondes noces in London his sister-in-law's sister, Leah Salom Moreno. If in the annals of the eighteenth century there was any career more fantastic than his, it has escaped the notice of the present writer. 'TO CONQUER FRANCE' Leaving his brother Jacob in London, Joseph sallied forth after his marriage to conquer France. From now on, he called himself Joseph Buzaglo de Paz. Perhaps this addition was based on his mother's maiden name, or was due to some family alliance;31 have the impres * Dr. Roth gave his original lecture on this subject to the Jewish Historical Society on 5 February 1964. Further reference to this is made in the Preface to this volume. 1 The first of the family to emerge from obscurity is a scholar named Abraham ben David, called Abuzaglo, apparently connected with the Azulai family, of Marrakesh. In 1604 he was sent to Italy by a kinsman to buy some precious jewels and ornaments for the Sultan. Owing to the civil wars in Morocco he remained in Venice awaiting the arrival of the ship which was to bring his remittance. To occupy his time, and to defray some of his expenses, he now made himself responsible for publishing a new edition of the Mishna with the standard commentaries (Venice, 1606). Cf. Tole dano, Ner haMaarab, p. 111. 2 Cf. T. S. Willan, Studies in Elizabethan Foreign Trade. 3 Apparently his son received legacies from members of the De Paz family, and the circum cisional registers too suggest the possibility of some connection. It may be that his first wife was a De Paz?but this would not justify his assumption of the name. 11</page><page sequence="2">12 Cecil Roth O -a S? ?as ^1 SP Jj ?? ^ crm V3 -t-&gt; so v?' PQ ? &lt; N Q *? u 8 ? * o ,W PQ - e? a; C/2 * ,3 8 w 3 ^ 3^ n PQ -x Pm m O CM 'cT a o A o :- ~ &lt;5 ? 3 ? c? o g ^ ? ^PQ ^d?&gt; o ? "'S s^ll CJD - 13 O t/2 o ? ^ &lt;u co u CO o a ? ?- o -8 * ' O ^ ? s 1 &lt; aj 3 a u ^ &lt; ? CO u o ^ KH . . cd o . ^ C 'A to W c3 O O "T&gt; CO CO 3 CO i 3 ? i T3 O</page><page sequence="3">The Amazing Clan of Buzaglo 13 sion that he chose it, alone of his family, because it sounded more impressive and gave colour to his reiterated claim that he was a Portuguese (which sounded so much more impressive than a Moroccan) Jew. In France, under this appellation, he made some highly distinguished contacts, got into serious trouble the nature of which I have not been able to ascertain, and in consequence was sent to the galleys, where he spent dis? agreeably some ten years of his life, from about 1737 onwards. Ultimately he was released on condition that he left the country. Nevertheless, before long he was back again, under the protection of his former acquaintance the cantankerous Prince de Conti, who he claimed had actually suggested and ordered his return. His pretext was as specious as it was extra? ordinary. The members of this strange family had, as was to transpire, an inventive and mechanical bent, hardly to be anticipated in persons originating as they did in Morocco; and Joseph had devised something that might be of inestimable benefit to France in the perpetual maritime warfare with England that occupied these years: nothing less than an incendiary bullet to set the enemy ships in flames ('Un projet dont il etait l'auteur pour faire des boulets qui devoient mettre le feu aux navires ennemis5). This was obviously a matter of primary importance: he was presented by Conti to the Due de Penthievre and by the Due de Penthievre to the Minister of Marine to discuss the matter.4 But nothing resulted: the French did not recognise the value of the device, so that the maritime war continued to progress none too well. Joseph Buzaglo de Paz, however, was thus enabled to remain in the country (which was doubtless what he desired in the first place) notwithstanding the fact that the order of expulsion made against him at the time of his release from his galley sentence was still in force. In connection with his business operations, he travelled about from place to place, and in particular from port to port, so assiduously that his move? ments began to give rise to suspicion. His correspondence with his brother Jacob in London was opened at the post-office and seemed to contain materials that had nothing to do with normal commercial or personal relations, although nothing positively in? criminating was discovered. On 4 December 1747 he was arrested, on a charge of spying for England, and was thrown into the Bastille.5 But even here he managed to be brushed by the fringes of notoriety. One of the more remarkable, though far from the most important, of those imprisoned here during the twilight of the Ancien Regime was a certain Jean Henri Masers de Latude, whose fame depends entirely on these experi? ences of his. A penniless young officer, he tried to introduce himself into the good graces of Mme. de Pompadour and thereby of the Court by sending anonymously to her a box of, in fact, quite harmless powder, at the same time writing in his own name to warn her that an attempt was to be made on her life by this means. His childish deception was discovered, and the results were tragic so far as he was concerned. The favourite proved furious, and somewhat vindictively obtained lettres de cachet committing him to the Bastille. Here he spent, owing to her implacable enmity, most of the rest of his life, notwithstanding, or rather because of, various attempts at escape, some temporarily successful. His reminiscences, written after his final release, were to become a minor classic?so much so that a spurious version was published, and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish fact from fiction in the rival accounts. After his arrival at the Bastille in May 1749, Latude was given the privilege of sharing his cell with another prisoner, both being thus saved from the horror of perpetual solitude. This was none other than the Jew Joseph Buzaglo (Latude calls him, not in? accurately, Abuzaglo), who had by now been under solitary confinement, as it seems, for 4 MS. de L'Arsenal, B. 11610, f. 405: cf. L. Kahn, Les Juifs de Paris au 72teme siecle d'apres les archives de la Bastille. I am obliged to M. B. Blumenkranz, of Paris, for obtaining for me photocopies of this and some other documents; to Dr. V. D. Lipman for consulting wills at Somerset House; and to Dr. R. D. Barnett for abstracting the data on the Buzaglo family, which cleared up several points of perplexity, from the Paiba circumcisional register in the muni? ments of the Bevis Marks Synagogue. 5 MS. de L'Arsenal, B.l 1610, f. 403.</page><page sequence="4">14 Cecil Roth nearly a year and a half. Notwithstanding the circumstances, he made a good impression on his fellow-prisoner. 4 He had some wit, and in any other situation I might have found his society agreeable, and pleasure from intimacy with him', the latter wrote, 'but instead of relieving each other we only served to extend our mutual miseries and despair'. In some ways, the lot of Buzaglo was the worse of the two, for all communications with his wife and children, to whom he was desperately attached, were intercepted?that was part of the appalling Bastille system. This deprived him of much of his fortitude, but he had good hopes of being released through the good offices of his friend and patron, the Prince de Conti. Latude too could not imagine that his imprisonment would last for long; and the two promised one another that the first to be liberated would do all in his power to assist the other to regain his freedom. But, it seems, their conversation was over? heard by one of the omnipresent spies and reported to the authorities. In September, after they had passed some four months together in these circumstances, the door of the cell was opened and Latude was summoned out?as both imagined, to freedom. Buzaglo fell on his neck, embraced him, and begged him to remember his promise. In fact, however, he was merely transferred to the fortress of Vin cennes, so as to separate him from his now undesirable companion.6 The latter was in fact released a little later, on 14 August 1749, probably through Conti's good offices; but, imagining that Latude had got out first (and broken his word), he did nothing on his behalf, so that his imprisonment on account of this absurd offence was to continue for another thirty-odd years. INTERMEDIARY FOR DANES Meanwhile, Joseph Buzaglo de Paz inevit? ably had to leave France at last. He now wandered about the world looking for a new expedient to forward his now-languishing fortunes. In due course he arrived in Copen? hagen. Here he thought he saw his opportunity. The heir-apparent to the throne of Morocco was Muhammed ibn Abdullah, Governor of Marrakesh in name but in reality already virtual ruler of the country, whom Joseph had known personally at an earlier stage in his career. A most enlightened scholar as well as administrator, he was anxious to stimulate commercial contacts with Europe, a power without expansionist ambitions being of course particularly welcome. Denmark, on the other hand, was trying to develop her overseas trade. What more desirable than to act as an inter? mediary for the establishment of reciprocal relations? Apart from other considerations, the Danes might send to Morocco ropes and sailcloth to help in the development of a merchant marine and fleet, in which Muham? med was particularly interested. Joseph Buzaglo sedulously set himself to the task of developing these ideas, held conferences with the leading Copenhagen merchants, offered his services as intermediary to the Danish Government, presumably after advising Muhammed ibn Abdullah of his intentions? and had, as it seemed, a resplendent success. The King of Denmark, Frederick V, sent a heavily laden merchant ship escorted by two frigates to Saft, on the Barbary Coast, to show the flag and open up commercial relations. With the cargo were expensive presents for the ruler and his family, which had been purchased through Buzaglo, who himself accompanied the expedition. He set out filled with high spirits and confidence, but after they approached the Barbary Coast appeared less ebullient. The reason became apparent, it was spitefully recounted afterwards, when the gifts in ques? tion were unpacked?they were worth only a fraction of what had been paid for them, in? ordinate profit having gone into his own pocket. This, however, may be mere slander? the Danish authorities seem to have continued their confidence in him unabated. In this quandary he approached a merchant from Marseilles named Etienne Rey, who had been established in Morocco for the past eleven years, proposing that he should ostensibly take charge of the negotiations and they should share the proceeds between them. As a pre? liminary, it was stated, the latter had to make 6 Le Despotisme DevoiUe, ou Memoirs de Latude; Histoire d'une detention de 9 ans, 1787.</page><page sequence="5">The Amazing Clan of Buzaglo 15 up out of his own pocket the value of the paltry propitiatory gifts that had been brought. But his reputation also was none too good. The chief Danish representative, Jean Baptiste des Carrieres de Longueville (not a Frenchman, curiously enough, notwithstanding the name), found himself henceforth, according to a contemporary, between these two fripons like a lamb between two ravening wolves. However that may be, negotiations between the two sides now proceeded apace, Buzaglo, some familiarity with Danish now added to his Arabic, doubtless acting as interpreter. It was arranged that the Danes should establish trading posts and farm the Customs dues of Safi and Agadir, for which they were to pay 50,000 ducats a year: a very bad bargain, it was said later, as the estimated income would fall far short of this amount. But De Longueville, who bungled the entire matter, obviously imagined that he would be able to achieve far more than this, landed arms and munitions, and transformed the trading post at Safi into a fort. This obviously impinged on Moroccan sovereignty. Muhammed ibn Abdullah was furious. He repudiated the agreement (which had been made in his father's name), destroyed the newly constructed fort, and threw the principal Danish representatives into a fetid prison. The Jewish go-between, Joseph Buzaglo de Paz, whose advice was alleged to have been responsible for this deplorable outcome, was a Moroccan subject, and there was no need to show the slightest compassion or restraint in his case: he was accordingly condemned to death by burning, together with his brother and assistant, Abraham.7 SULTAN'S ENVOY Such action against a diplomatic mission, which according to accepted international usage should have been free from molestation, had to be justified, and Abdullah, bent on maintaining good relations with the outside world, determined accordingly to send an embassy to Denmark to explain the reasons for his action and prepare the ground for a more durable agreement. As happened very often indeed at this time in such circumstances, no better person could be found to whom to entrust this task than a Jew: and the Sultanic choice fell on Samuel Sumbal, a polyglot Israelite who apparently knew French in addition to Spanish and Arabic, and was later to be very prominent in the Sultanic court and to pile up an enormous fortune in the course of his chequered career, far outdone, however, in bizarreness by that of his children. He left in September 1751, bearing richly illuminated credentials and a letter from his master to the King of Denmark beginning with the memor? able phrase: 'God be praised for the creation of pens, which permit the communication of thought, even when owing to distance com? munication by word is impossible'. As an earnest of goodwill, the Danish prisoners were meanwhile set free?though not Longueville, the arch-culprit, nor the brothers Buzaglo, over whose head the sentence of death still hung. On his way to the Danish capital, Sumbal passed through Hamburg, the suburbs of which town (in particular Altona) were at this time still under Danish rule, and harboured partly because of this a large Jewish community, in which both Sephardi and Ashkenazi ele? ments were to be found. Here there was at this time, perhaps on a visit (he had been in the previous summer in London, where he dates the preface of one of his books), another member of the Buzaglo family, the learned, quarrelsome Shalom Buzaglo; he was a fairly prolific but not very inspired writer, who already in 1750 had published in Amsterdam his four-volume commentary on the ?ohar, Mikdash Melekh, a highly unoriginal but very successful work, often reprinted subsequently. He too seems to have been involved in the recent troubles and to have been condemned, perhaps in absentia, to share his brothers' sentence; at all events, in the preface to one of his books (Kisse Melekh, published in 1769), he boasted that he had 'twice' escaped from a sentence of burning by the Sultan of Morocco and his military commander. It is certain from this in any case that he had also had a not unadventurous career. The Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi com 7 See for all this episode H. de Castries, 'Le Danemark et le Maroc, 1750-1767', in Hespiris, vi., pp. 327-351.</page><page sequence="6">16 Cecil Roth bined Hamburg-Altona community was Jona? than Eybesch?tz?a most controversial figure, for he was accused by the tremendously learned but cantankerous Jacob Emden of being a secret adherent of the apostate False Messiah of the previous century, Sabbetai Zevi; in consequence he was the object of an unremit? ting campaign of criticism, or rather vilifica? tion, which inevitably affected all of his associates as well. For what now followed we have only Emden's account, which is obviously highly biased as well as highly spiced. He was convinced that Eybesch?tz and Shalom Buzaglo, fellow-Sabbetaeans, wished to obtain Sumbal's sympathy and support for their own disreputable purposes and in particular to persuade him to use his influence at the Danish Court when he arrived there to secure Eybe sch?tz's reception by the Sovereign; though in fact it is perfectly obvious that, whatever the other's ulterior motive, Shalom hoped to secure his intervention there on behalf of his errant brothers, then in such acute danger. Emden's story is that when Eybesch?tz and Buzaglo heard of Sumbal's arrival, they went to meet him and feasted him royally at an orgy that lasted for two nights and right through the intervening day, the former bring? ing the hospitality to a climax by placing his beautiful daughter at the visitor's disposal.8 At this stage, as a matter of fact, he was himself in need of help, for he had run out of funds and had to rely on the good offices of the Danish Chartered Company to bring him on the last stage of the journey to Copenhagen. Here he accomplished his mission satisfactorily?and, so far as he was concerned, most profitably. Whether or not he unsuccessfully asked the King to receive Eybesch?tz, as Emden states, is questionable, but there is no reason to doubt that he spoke up on behalf of the Buzaglo brothers and to some effect. In the summer of 1752, he sailed back to Morocco on a fully rigged Danish man-of-war, having received rich gifts and still richer promises, arriving at Sah in triumph on 27 July of that year. Im? mediately afterwards a fresh Danish mission arrived on the scene, headed by one Lutzau, who was instructed to secure the release of Longueville and the pardon of Joseph and Abraham Buzaglo, which Sumbal had ob? viously solicited. There was some further initial bungling, but in due course amicable relations between the Danes and the Moroccans were re-established, and the prisoners set free? the Buzaglo brothers, however, only a good while later, in 1757. However, it does not seem to have been a particularly arduous imprison? ment, as every evening (as he recounted later) Joseph was brought from his dungeon to the presence of Muhammed ibn Abdullah (Sultan, after his father's death in that year), to whom he discoursed on the affairs and politics of the various countries of Europe, which the other was avid to learn. On his release, indeed, he became for a short time the Sultan's Secretary for correspondence and negotiations with France, his knowledge of which country was in every sense so intimate. IMPRESSING THE FRENCH In due course, however, he managed to get away from Morocco (perhaps surreptitiously), and made his way back first to Denmark. His utility here was, however, by now at an end? perhaps he was under suspicion, not improperly, after his recent exploits?and he had to find fresh worlds to conquer. He accordingly ap? proached the French representative in Copen? hagen, with tempting, far-reaching proposals, which impressed the Frenchman sufficiently for him to send home to Paris on 5 July 1759 a long, detailed, and even enthusiastic report on their conversations and Joseph's proposals. The latter, it seems, now tried to cover up his traces to some extent by calling himself simply De Paz, with no reference to the name Buzaglo. He was, reported the Ambassador, a man of ideas, with wide perspectives and experiences ('Ce juif homme d'esprit et ayant des vues et des connaissances'); and he commended him? self to patriotic Frenchmen because of his profound hatred of the English, against whom 8 Emden tells the story with his usual exuberance in his Edut beTaakob, p. 58 bis. I have given an account of Samuel Sumbal in an article in Studies and Reports of the Ben-Zevi Institute, ii, pp. 13-17 (amplified English version, now in the press), and that of his curious son in the Jewish Monthly, iv., pp. 339-353.</page><page sequence="7">The Amazing Clan of Buzaglo 17 he had many grievances. The Ambassador enclosed his visitor's memorandum embodying his proposals, which seem to combine plausi? bility and naivety in almost equal measure. The crux of the proposals seems to have been a scheme for starving out the fortress of Gibraltar by a very novel method. If the French pro? visioned their West Indian islands by sending thither every year ten cargoes of salt beef purchased in Morocco?which was of as high a quality as the Irish product?then it would not be available to the English for the provision? ing of the Rock, the defence of which would thus be made well-nigh impossible, and starve out the Fleet as well. On the other hand, Buzaglo recommended (not a strikingly original idea) that the French should occupy Tangier, on the other side of the straits facing Gibraltar, and equally valuable strategically: this would encourage the Emperor of Morocco, impelled by a spirit of vengeance as well as a lively sense of material advantage, to ally himself with France. Finally, it was suggested that the French should occupy also the old Portuguese fortress at Cape Nun, opposite the Canary Islands, which would further strengthen the French position in North Africa. The Ambassa? dor further reported a proposal made by the other that the French should purchase in Morocco 15,000 to 20,000 quintals of wool, at a far cheaper rate than the Spanish product, which he undertook to obtain. In order to discuss all these matters personally, Buzaglo suggested?and the Ambassador supported the suggestion?that he should be allowed to come to Paris and be granted a secret audience. HAZARDOUS PROPOSALS The proposals were duly received, legibly retranscribed, and seriously considered; and Buzaglo seems to have felt sufficiently en? couraged to remove himself to The Hague to await results. Thence he submitted, on 16 November 1759, a further memorandum, with further proposals, even more hazardous. The French man-of-war, the Leander, had, it seems, put into Cadiz for refitting. Buzaglo suggested that by the end of the winter it could command the sea-lanes in the region: thus, Gibraltar would be isolated. With England thus weakened, Spain would ally herself with France, and the French influence in Morocco would be enormously strengthened . . . with the result that the base of the slave-trade with Guadeloupe and Grenada could be removed northwards, to the Sultan's dominions, to His Majesty's manifest advantage. Perhaps even in consequence of this, plantations of sugar and ' coffee might be introduced into the French colonies. ... As for himself, Buzaglo asked for little in return for his valuable advice and his good offices in the impending negotiations with Morocco: merely a pension of 2,000 ducats for life, as the Ambassador in Copen? hagen had indeed promised him. . . . The new proposals, too, were taken seriously into consideration, and the archives of the French Foreign Office contain a long, almost illegible memorandum of December 1759 criticising them in detail. The upshot was, however, that nothing was done?nothing, at all events, through the medium of M. Joseph Buzaglo de Paz, who was not even given a safe conduct to come to Paris, as he had desired. Nothing was left for him other than to swallow his anti-British prejudices, on which he had formerly insisted so volubly, and make his way back to London. 'BIBLICAL' SHIPS Very probably he had managed to smuggle or to salt away a not inconsiderable capital, and before long we find him once again an established merchant in the City of London, even owning his own ships. It is noteworthy that these bore in some cases Biblical names: The Bearer of Good Tidings and The Queen Esther. This latter was doubtless in honour of his third wife, Esther di Abraham haLevi Bentubo, whom he had married, presumably in Morocco (for no record of the ceremony figures in the London muniments), his second wife, Leah, being by now dead. On his return to England Joseph Buzaglo found himself confronted by a distressing family problem. While his fortunes had been at their nadir, and he had been languishing in the Sultan's prisons under sentence of death, his son Solomon had done something most excep</page><page sequence="8">18 Cecil Roth tional in a Jewish family in the first half of the eighteenth century: about 1752-3, he had run away from home, where conditions cannot have been very pleasant, and enlisted as a private soldier in a Dutch regiment. In due course he had been sent to Dutch Guiana, in the West Indies. Two years later he wrote a piteous letter to his relatives in London saying that he could not bear the climate and feared that he would soon die if he remained, and begging them to purchase his discharge. How? ever, they did nothing to help, and for a very long while no more had been heard of him. He was Joseph's only son; and in the end the dis? traught father determined to go to look for him?perhaps in one of his own ships, com? bining the search with business. He first went to the garrison from which Solomon had written his appeal ten years earlier, but could find no trace of him; then journeyed from place to place on his tracks, but to no avail; and finally arrived at St. Eustatius, where he died on 15 May 1761, before he could return home. It was all the more tragic, since the son was in fact still living and not so far away when he arrived on the scene, dying at the same time as or shortly after his father. This was the pathetic end of the man who had survived the galleys in France, imprisonment by lettres de cachet in the Bastille, and sentence to death by burning in Morocco. CHANCERY LAWSUIT There was a long legalistic sequel, reflected in both Jewish and secular juristic sources. Joseph had left a fairly substantial estate, both in Hol? land and in England, and various relatives of his son Solomon had bequeathed him sub? stantial legacies, which he was to have re? ceived on attaining his legal majority (probably about 1754), and were administered now by the Court of Chancery. The legal heirs? Joseph's brothers and their children?were anxious to assert their claims. But neither death was for the moment sufficiently well attested: and the Chancery Court held on to its trust. In due course, in 1767 a lawsuit was opened which dragged on indeterminately for years. Meanwhile, a parallel case was discussed by the Rabbinical court of Tetuan, in Morocco, dealing not only with the disposal of some parts of the estate in accordance with Jewish law but also with the marital status of Esther Bentubo, Joseph's third wife: was her husband's death certain enough for her to be considered a widow? And if so, had Solomon predeceased his father?so that she was subject according to Rabbinic Biblical law to the Levirate mar? riage?or survived him, in which case she was free to choose any husband? Her learned brother-in-law, Shalom Buzaglo, persuaded her that the former was the case and, being a widower at this time, married her himself, simultaneously arranging a match between his brother Abraham and his own daughter Esther Rosa; thus apparently he hoped to secure for his family one way or the other the lion's share of the estate. But he and his new wife quarrelled violently from the beginning. She left him and went via Amsterdam back to Morocco?but here was arrested and imprisoned by the Sul? tan, in all probability on account of her late husband's conduct; ?200 was in due course sent back out of the estate to secure her re? lease, and she re-entered the legal if not the matrimonial lists. There now followed a tangle of proceedings and counter-proceedings, in? volving problems of dubious marriages, un proven deaths, distant claimants, and accumu? lated estates. Even the posterity of Isaac Buzaglo, of Jerusalem, were brought into the discussions, letters of administration on their hypothetical estates being granted in London as late as 1791. The South Sea Company and the Bank of England, in which part of the dis? puted estates was invested, became involved. The litigation in the Court of Chancery con? tinued into the following century, by which time, however, the discussions before the Rabbinical court had long been forgotten?all the more so since by some oversight its con? clusions were not placed on record.9 9 I have attempted to summarise in these lines the extraordinarily complicated details recorded by H. M. J. Loewe in Transactions of the Jewish Histor? ical Society of England, XVI, pp. 35-45. Perhaps I should state at this point that the perplexing entry of a Letters of Administration over the estate of Joseph de Paz Buzaglo, October 1791, recorded in Anglo-Jewish Notabilities, p. 144, is apparently the result of an erroneous duplication.</page><page sequence="9">The Amazing Clan of Buzaglo 19 We must now revert to the other Buzaglo brothers and their posterity, for Joseph's death had not put an end to the adventurous streak in the family, and more than one of them con? tinued to play a picturesque part in London life. Jacob Buzaglo fell on evil days and in 1774 was declared bankrupt, dying nine years later. His elder son, Eliau or Elijah (1733-1805), entered the commissariat service in connection with the large-scale enterprises of Abraham Prado, of Twickenham, the great Army con? tractor, and served in this capacity in the cam? paigns in Germany. This brought him to the Continent, and for a time thereafter he was settled in Holland, where he married and turned his linguistic talents to advantage by becoming a translator and interpreter. In due course, however, he returned to England, and in 1801 (four years before his death) was ad? mitted a notary public. One of his Dutch-born sons, Jacob (d. 1801), was among the collabora? tors in the earliest translation of the Jewish prayer-book into Dutch (1817), and was pre? sumably the J. d'E. (= Jacob de Eliau) Buzaglo who published De Edele Hartstogten (Amsterdam, 1793). His posterity was still living in Holland until very recently.10 RAN AWAY TO SEA Jacob Buzaglo's second son, Aaron, born in 1739, apparently ran away to sea as a boy, if family legend is truthful, serving in the Seven Years War. Perhaps at the beginning he as? sisted other members of the family in the com? missary department. About 1764-6, he mar? ried Sarah Senior in The Hague. But he re? tained his naval tastes and interests, and in 1775 he became, it is said, a sea captain. In 1778, he was in command of the ship The Charming Sally, which was returning from Malaga to England or Holland with a rich cargo, and was lost at sea with all hands. His career was cited by the benevolent Abbd Gregoire as a proof that the martial spirit had not departed from the Jews.11 It is time to revert to the older generation, for they retain their interest. THE LEARNED HAHAM The learned Haham Shalom Buzaglo re? mained in London after his second unfortunate marriage, continuing his somewhat undis? tinguished literary activity; it was here that he published in 1772 part II of his Hadrat Melekh and in 1773 the concluding portion of his Pene Melekh (the previous portions of both works had been printed in Amsterdam). When variola tion (the precursor of vaccination) was being discussed by the London scholars, he testified to the fact that something of the nature was usual in his native Morocco, where children were deliberately exposed to smallpox in a mild form, without any objection from the local Rabbis.12 It seems that at one time he even acted as a member of the Rabbinical court of the Hambro Synagogue, Ashkenazi though it was, and in 1774 (riled perhaps at not being appointed to permanent office in that con? gregation) published in pamphlet form a series of virulent onslaughts on its Rabbi, Israel Meshullam Zalman (known in England as Israel Solomon), for what he considered a faulty judgment in (of all things) a matter of divorce. His enthusiasm was not perhaps dic? tated only by compassion or by zeal in the cause of learning, for the scholar whom he attacked was the son of his old enemy, Jacob Emden, who had described in such unflattering terms his activities years before in Hamburg.13 LONDON ATTRACTIONS The last but by no means the least of the extraordinary band of brothers to survive was Abraham, who, as we have seen, had shared some of Joseph's adventures and dangers and io British Museum, MS. Eg. 2227; Encyclopedia Sephardica Neerlandica, i, pp. 107-108: the vital dates make it clear that the same persons are in question. Another son, Isaac (b. 1774), survived the father and is mentioned in his will: Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society, XVII, p. 147. 11 Encyclopedia Sephardica Neerlandica, i, pp. 107? 108. H. Gregoire, Observations nouvelles, p. 10. 12 His statement is recorded in the little work Aleh Terufah, by R. Abraham ben Solomon Nanzig (i.e., of Nancy), London, 1785, which is also one of the earliest Hebrew works to mention aeronautics. 13 For Shalom Buzaglo and England see Trans? actions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, VII, pp. 272-290, XVI, pp. 35-45, and XVII, pp. 290-292. His polemical pamphlets are re published in Ha-Zofeh, IV, i (1914).</page><page sequence="10">20 Cecil Roth had spent some years in prison in Morocco with him under sentence of death by burning. In 1762 he arrived in England (having visited Amsterdam meanwhile; whether he had been in this country before is not ascertainable) and in the spring of the following year married, as has been noted, his niece, Esther Rosa (as was permissible in Jewish law), daughter of his learned brother, Haham Shalom Buzaglo. He was not yet, it seems, determined to establish himself here definitely?when he made his will on 14 May 1763, leaving all his property to his bride, he gave instructions that his body should be interred in the burying ground belonging to the Jews in the place where he should happen to die.14 But the attractions of this country proved to be dominant and he remained, no doubt entering business like his brothers and being fairly successful. From 1764 his name figures among the Yehidim of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, paying a not incon? siderable ?nta, and in 1771 he was to become a British subject by endenization. But he was not an ordinary merchant. There seems to have been a strong inventive streak in the family, as evinced in Joseph Buzaglo's project for the manufacture of incendiary bullets, and his brother had ample leisure for meditating on new devices during his long period of im? prisonment in his native land under sentence of death: as Dr. Johnson said, when a man knows he is to be executed in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully. For one who came from the warm climate of Morocco, there was one problem of London life which certainly summoned forth all possible latent power of inventiveness: the climate being so cold, and the methods of heating in the winter so inadequate, that a man roasted one part of his anatomy in front of a coal fire while his posterior was freezing. The solution of this problem has always challenged the ingenious mind, and in due course Abraham Buzaglo had his remedy to propose. On 25 April 1765 he was granted a patent for his newly-devised stove or i4 Somerset House, London, P.C.C. Calvert 282. The will was not superseded and was proved by his widow on his death a quarter of a century later. It was witnessed by three brothers of the remarkable Mendes Furtado family, with whom Abraham Buzaglo must have had close connections. 'Machine for warming rooms equally in every part and without offensive smell, by means of a coal fire'?a sort of primitive central heating intended especially for large public buildings.15 Several advertising handbills are preserved describing the appliance, which appears to have had considerable temporary success, and was supplied even to members of the Royal Family. For a time, Abraham Buzaglo's busi? ness as a manufacturer flourished; in due course, however, his stove was to be superseded by one devised on similar lines by a certain Sharp. 'A WARMING MACHINE' The next problem to be tackled was to pre? vent persons from suffering unduly from cold while on the road. In 1769 accordingly Abra? ham Buzaglo received a further patent for 'a warming machine made either of copper, brass, tin, pewter, lead, steel, iron-plate, bell or other metal and acting without fire, for the purpose of warming the feet of persons riding in carriages' ?the ancestor of the footwarmers which the older among us can still remember and were supplied even on the railways before the days of steam heating.16 This does not seem to have had much im? mediate impact. But Abraham Buzaglo's in? genious mind continued active in other and quite different connections. It seems that he became convinced?and not without reason? that the medical methods in vogue at the time paid far too little attention to physical exercise, which might cure or alleviate many maladies. This applied, in his opinion, in particular to gout. He set up accordingly as a sort of side? line as a gout doctor, professing to cure that enormously widespread disease (prevalent especially among the moneyed classes, who could afford to pay), without the use of drugs, by muscular exercise only. The cure was to be effected in conjunction apparently with the Buzaglo stove, the exercises being practised only after the body had been thrown into a pro? fuse sweat. On 11 February 1779 he received 15 B. Woodcraft, Alphabetical Index of Patentees, p. 87. is Ibid.</page><page sequence="11">The Amazing Clan of Buzaglo 21 accordingly a further patent for 'Machines, instruments and necessaries for exercise (muscu? lar strength and health restoring exercise)'.17 AMUSING SQUIB The impression that was generally made on the man in the street is illustrated in a passage in Christopher Anstey's amusing squib of 1776, The Election Ball, for, although the name is not mentioned, the passage can hardly refer to anything or anyone else. It is a country squire who gives his impressions: No?I'd have thee to know that I walks pretty stout Zince I've vound an invaluable cure for the Gout Vor the Doctor I've try'd has with Wedges and Pegs Zo stretched out my zinews and hammer'd my Legs Zo zuppl'd the Joint by Tormenting the Tendon My heel I can raise, and my Toe I can bend down.18 It was certainly not such a fantastic idea? sketches extant suggest something like the gym? nastic appliances of a later generation. But con? temporaries found it too strenuous and if only for that reason somewhat fraudulent. Horace Walpole wrote to the Countess of Upper Ossory, on 17 December 1777, concerning a slightly disreputable mutual acquaintance: Crawfurd is again confined with the gout and ought to be closer confined. He has heard that Taafe has been cured by Buzaglo and sent for the former, who told him fairly that Buzaglo had removed his gout in four hours, but said that the operation would kill any man less strong. The remedy struck him and he totally forgot the reasoning. . . . When he has simmered for four hours he will despair and try the next quack he hears of. . . . The unfavourable opinion that this reflects was partly due to the claims made in the in flated advertisements that began to be inserted in the press (one appeared in the very first issue of The Times in 1784) and in his pretentious 'Treatise on the gout wherein . . . the facility of a . . . cure ... by muscular exercise is estab? lished', which rapidly passed through three editions?presumably as a result of free dis? tribution. Invalids were assured that they would be rid of pain within a few hours, and completely cured in ten days, and that by similar means corpulency, indigestion, want of appetite, and so on could likewise be cured. The result is that Abraham Buzaglo, whose basic idea was certainly not lacking in common sense, received a reputation as a mere quack, figuring as such, for example, in an amusing caricature by Francis Grose, Patent Exercise, or Les caprices de la goute: Ballet Arthritique (which illustrates his methods and appliances, and shows a 'Buzaglo' stove in the background), which appeared in 1788 together with a parody of one of his handbills. Nevertheless, he seems to have prospered, and his death, at his house in Dean Street, Soho, in 1788, at the age of 72, was not disrespectfully noticed in the press.19 HEROIC DAYS ENDED Although members of the Buzaglo family continue to figure for some years to come in Jewish communal life in England, Holland, and even the West Indies,20 the heroic days are now ended. The family record is not unamusing, but at the same time it is by no means devoid of importance. The entry of Moroccan Jews at this early date into so many facets of European life, of which this is the most remarkable but not the most illustrious instance,21 is a phenomenon of some sociological and historical significance. 19 Cf. A. Rubens in Transactions of Jewish Histor? ical Society of England, XIX, p. 113; Lysons, Environs of London, iii, p. 479: Gentleman's Magazine, 1782, p. 562. 17 Ibid. 18 M. D. George, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Musuem, V. G 20 Abraham Buzaglo (b. 1733) died in Barbados in 1806; since his son, who predeceased him in 1804, was named Shalom, perhaps he was the son of the Haham mentioned in the latter's will: Somerset House, P.C.G. Collier 343, Hezeltine 458. E. M. Shilstone, Jewish Monumental Inscriptions in Barbados, No. 284. 21 The families of Guedalla, Sebag, Bensusan, Farjeon readily come to mind.</page></plain_text>

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