How the Jews in Recent Times were allowed back into England
Brit-Am Forward Note:
Heinrich Graetz (1817 - 1891) was amongst the first historians to write a comprehensive history of the Jewish people from a Jewish perspective.
Graetz lived and worked in what was then known as Prussia but today is mostly in Poland. He did however, as a young man, spend time in the west of Germany in Oldenburg. In that place he stayed for three years (ca. 1837-1840) in the home of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch as a pupil, companion, and amanuensis (copyist). Graetz later became a teacher and academic lecturer. He published his monumental "History of the Jews" in several volumes completing it in ca. 1876. Graetz had moved away from the Ultra-Orthodox (though modern and scholarly) views of S. R. Hirsch. This shows in his work. Hirsch accused him of sloppy scholarship. Modern evaluations agree with Hirsch in this. Graetz was very critical of the Hasidim and of other streams of Judaism. He also sometimes seems to be overduly understanding of Gentile claims against Jews. Today his work is known about but not preferred. Nevertheless, what he wrote has historical importance in its own right. He also had insights that are still valid. Graetz was a gifted writer and researcher and is quite readable. He often recalls details other historians either overlook or simply choose to ignore. His description of the Re-Admission of the Jews to England in the 1600s is valuable. It highlights aspects of the English character and the English relationship to the Jews that are of interest to Brit-Am researches.
For more historical background, in summarised form, to the article below see: Early English Jews. An Historical Outline
Heinrich Graetz, "History of the Jews,"
Volume 5, CHAPTER 2.
SETTLEMENT OF THE JEWS IN ENGLAND AND MANASSEH
BEN ISRAEL (1655 -1657 CE), very lightly edited..
AT the very time when the Jews of Poland were trodden down, slaughtered, or driven through Europe like terrified wild beasts, a land of freedom was opened, from which the Jews had been banished for more than three centuries and a half. England, which the wise Queen Elizabeth and the brave Cromwell had raised to be the first power in Europe, a position very different from that of crumbling Poland, again admitted Jews, not indeed through the great portal, yet through the back door. But this admission was so bruited abroad, that it was like a triumph for Judaism. The Jews of Amsterdam and Hamburg looked with longing to this island, to which they were so near, with whose merchants, shipowners, and scholars they were in connection, and which promised wide scope for the exercise of their varied abilities. But settlement there seemed beset with insuperable obstacles. The English episcopal church, which exercised sway over the English conscience, was even more intolerant than the popery which it persecuted. Not granting freedom to Catholics and Dissenters, would it tolerate the descendants of those aspersed in the New Testament?
The English people, who for centuries had seen no Jew, shared to the full the antipathy of the clergy. To them every Jew was a Shylock, who, with hearty goodwill, would cut a Christian to pieces a monster in human form, bearing the mark of Cain. Who would undertake to banish this strong prejudice in order to render people and rulers favorable to the descendants of Israel?
The man who undertook and executed this difficult task did not belong to the first rank of intellectual men, but possessed the right measure of insight and narrowness, strength of will and flexibility, knowledge and imagination, self-denial and vanity, required for so arduous an undertaking.
Manasseh ben Israel, second or third rabbi at Amsterdam, who at home played only a subordinate part, the poor preacher who, to support his family, was obliged to resort to printing, but obtained so little profit from it, that he wished to exchange pulpit oratory for mercantile speculation, and was near settling in Brazil ; he it was who won England for Judaism, and, if he did not banish, diminished the prejudice against his race. To him belongs the credit for a service not to be lightly estimated, for there were but few to help him. The release of the Jews from their thousand years' contempt and depreciation in European society, or rather the struggle for civil equality, begins with Manasseh ben Israel. ... As has been stated, he was not in the true sense great, and can only be reckoned a man of mediocrity. He belonged to the happily constituted class of persons, who do not perceive the harsh contrasts and shrill discords in the world around, hence are confiding and enterprising. His heart was deeper than his mind. His power rested in his easy eloquence, his facility in explaining and working out ideas which lay within his narrow field of vision, and which he had acquired rather than produced. Manasseh ben Israel had complete grasp of Jewish literature, and knew the Christian theology of his time, and what was to be said on each point, i. e., what had been said by his predecessors. On the other hand, he had only a superficial knowledge of those branches of learning which require keenness of intellect, such as philosophy and the Talmud. His strength was in one respect his weakness. His facility in speaking and writing encouraged a verbose style and excessive productiveness. He left more than 400 sermons in Portuguese, and a mass of writings that fill a catalogue, but discuss their subjects only superficially. Manasseh's contemporaries looked upon his writings with different eyes. The learning amassed therein from all literatures and languages, and the smoothness of form riveted their attention, and excited their admiration. Among Jews he was extraordinarily celebrated ; whoever could produce Latin, Portuguese, or Spanish verse, made known his praise. But even Christian scholars of his time over-estimated him.
CHRISTIAN STUDENTS OF HEBREW
In Holland, which, by the concurrence of many circumstances, and especially through the powerful impulse of Joseph Scaliger, the prince of philologists, had become in a sense the school of Europe, the foundation was laid in the seventeenth century for the wonderful learning contained in voluminous folios. At no time had there been so many philologists with early-matured learning, iron memory, and wonderful devotion to the science of language, as in the first half of the seventeenth century, which seems to have been specially appointed to revive what had so long been neglected. All the literary treasures of antiquity were collected and utilized; statesmen vied with professional scholars. In this gigantic collection there was little critical search for truth; the chief consideration was the number of scientific facts gathered. The ambition of many was spurred on to understand the three favored languages of antiquity - Greek, Latin, and Hebrew - and their literatures. Hebrew, the language of religion, enjoyed special preference, and whoever understood it as well as the other two tongues was sure of distinction. Joseph Scaliger, the oracle of Dutch and Protestant theology, had given to Rabbinical literature, so-called, a place in the republic of letters beside the Hebrew language, and even the Talmud he treated with a certain amount of respect. His Dutch, French, and English disciples followed his example, and devoted themselves with zeal to this branch of knowledge, formerly regarded with contempt or even aversion.
John Buxtorf, senior (born 1564, died 1639), of Basle, may be said to have been master of Hebrew and Rabbinical literature, and he rendered them accessible to Christian circles. He carried on a lively correspondence in Hebrew with Jewish scholars in Amsterdam, Germany, and Constantinople. Even ladies devoted themselves to Hebrew language and literature. That prodigy, Anna Maria Schurmann, of Utrecht, who knew almost all European languages and their literature, corresponded in Hebrew with scholars, and also with an English lady, Dorothea Moore, and quoted Rashi and Ibn Ezra with a scholar's accuracy. The eccentric Queen Christina of Sweden, the learned daughter of Gustavus Adolphus, understood Hebrew. Statesmen, such as Hugo Grotius, and the Englishman John Selden, seriously and deeply engaged in its pursuit for their theological or historical studies.
But Christian scholars, with all their zeal, had not yet acquired independence in Rabbinical literature; without a Jewish guide, they could not move, or felt unsafe. To Christian inquirers, therefore, Manasseh ben Israel's treatises, which presented many Rabbinical passages and new points of view, were highly welcome. Much of the Talmudic literature became accessible through his clear exposition. Hence, Dutch scholars sought out Manasseh, courted his friendship, fairly hung upon his lips, and gradually discarded prejudice against Jews, which even the most liberal-minded men in the most tolerant country of Europe had not laid aside. Manasseh was joined particularly by those eager inquirers who were persecuted or declared heretics by the ruling church. The learned Vossius family, even John Gerard Vossius, senior, although filled with strong hatred against Jews, was affable to Manasseh. His son, Dionysius Vossius, a prodigy of learning, snatched away by death in his eighteenth year, on his deathbed translated into Latin Manasseh's "Reconciler" (Conciliador) shortly after its appearance. Isaac Vossius, the youngest son, who filled an honorable office under the Queen of Sweden, recommended Manasseh ben Israel to her. By this family he was made acquainted with the learned statesman Hugo Grotius, who also received instruction from him. The chief of the Arminians, Simon Episcopius, sought intercourse with Manasseh, as did Caspar Barlaeus, who as a Socinian, i. e., a denier of the Trinity, was avoided by orthodox Christians. He attached himself to Manasseh, and sang his praise in Latin verses, on which account he was attacked yet more violently, because he had put the Jewish faith on an equality with the Christian. The learned Jesuit Peter Daniel Huet also cultivated his friendship. Gradually the "Chacham" ["wise-man" in Hebrew, i.e. Manasseh] and preacher of Amsterdam acquired such a reputation among Christians, that every scholar traveling through that city sought him out as an extraordi- nary personage. Foreigners exchanged letters with him, and obtained from him explanations on difficult points. Manasseh had an interview with Queen Christina of Sweden, which stimulated her kindness for the Jews, and her liking for Jewish literature. So highly did many Christians rate Manasseh ben Israel, that they could not suppress the wish to see so learned and excellent a rabbi won over to Christianity.
FIFTH MONARCHY EXPECTATIONS.
Most of all Christian visionaries, who dreamt of the coming of the Fifth Monarchy, the Reign of the Saints (in the language of Daniel), crowded round Manasseh ben Israel. The Thirty Years' War which had delivered property and life over to wild soldiers, the tyrannical oppression of believers struggling for inward freedom and morality in England by the bishops and the secular government, in France by the despotic Richelieu awakened in visionaries the idea that the Messianic Millennium, announced in the Book of Daniel and the Apocalypse, was near, and that their sufferings were only the forerunners of the Time of Grace. These fantastic visionaries showed themselves favorable to the Jews; they wished this great change to be effected with the participation of those to whom the announcement had first been made. They conceded that the Jews must first take possession of the Holy Land, which could not easily be accomplished, even by a miracle. For, the lost Ten Tribes must first be found, and gathered to gether, if the prophetic words were" not to fall to the ground. The tribes assembled to take possession of the Holy Land must have their Messiah, a shoot out of the stem of Jesse. But what would become of Jesus, the Christ, i. e., Messiah, in whom Jews could not be made to believe? Some of the Fifth Monarchy visionaries conceded to Jews a Messiah of their own, in the expectation that the struggle for precedence between the Jewish and the Christian saviour would decide itself.
Such apocalyptic dreams struck a responsive chord in Manasseh ben Israel's heart. He also expected, not the Reign of the Saints, but, according to Kabbalistic reckoning, the speedy advent of the Messianic Time. The Zohar, the book revered by him as divine, announced in unambiguous terms, that Israel's time of grace would begin with the year 5408 of the world (1648). Manasseh in his innermost being was a mystic, his classical and literary education being only external varnish, not diminishing his belief in miracles. Hence he was pleased with the letter of a Christian visionary of Danzig, expressing belief in the Restoration of the glory of the Jews. John Mochinger, of the old Tyrolese Nobility, who had fallen into the whirlpool of mysticism, wrote to Manasseh ben Israel in the midst of an eulogium on his learning : "Know and be convinced that I duly honor your doctrines, and together with some of my brethren in the Faith, earnestly desire that Israel may be enlightened with the true light, and enjoy its ancient renown and happiness." At a later period another German mystic of Danzig established relations with the Kabbalistic Chacham of Amsterdam viz., Abraham von Frankenberg, a nobleman, and a disciple of Jacob Bohme. He openly said : "The true light will come from the Jews; their time is not far off. From day to day news will be heard from different places of wonderful things come to pass in their favor, and all the Islands shall rejoice with them." In daily intercourse with Manasseh were two Christian friends, Henry Jesse and Peter Serrarius, who were enthusiasts in the cause of Israel's Restoration. In France, in the service of the great Conde, there was a peculiar visionary, Isaac La Peyrere of Bordeaux, a Huguenot, perhaps of Jewish-Marrano blood. He had the strange notion that there were men before Adam (pre-Aclamites), from whom all men except the Jews were descended. In a book on the subject, which brought him to the dungeon of the Inquisition, he attached great importance to the Jews. In another work on "The Return of the Jews," he maintained that the Jews ought to be recalled from their Dispersion in all parts of the world, to effect a speedy return to the Holy Land. The King of France, the eldest son of the Church, has the duty to bring about this return of the eldest son of God. He, too, entered into communication with Manasseh.
The greatest number of ardent admirers " God's people" found in England, precisely among those who had powerful influence in the council and the camp. At the time when the Germans were fighting each other on account of difference of creed, invoking the interference of foreigners, and impairing their own freedom and power, England was gaining what could never be taken away, religious and, at the same time, political freedom, and this made it a most powerful and prosperous country. In Germany the religious parties, Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists, in selfish blindness demanded religious freedom each for itself alone, reserving oppression and persecution for the others. These internecine quarrels of the Germans were utilized by the princes to confirm their own despotic power. In England, the same selfishness prevailed among the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Catholics, but a fourth party arose whose motto was Religious Freedom for all. The senseless despotism of Charles I and the narrowmindedness of the Long Parliament had played into the hands of this intelligent and powerful party. England, like Germany, resembled a great bloodstained battlefield, but it had produced men who knew what they wanted, who staked their lives for it, and effected the rejuvenescence of the nation. Oliver Cromwell was at once the head which devised, and the arm which executed sound ideas. By the sword he and his army obtained religious freedom, not only for themselves, but also for others. He and his officers were not revengeful freebooters or blood-thirsty soldiers, but high-minded, inspired warriors of God, who waged war against wickedness and falseness, and hoped for, and undertook to establish a moral system of government, the Kingdom of God. Like the Maccabees of old, the Puritan warriors fought "sword in hand, and praise of God in their mouth." Cromwell and his soldiers read the Bible as often as they fought. But not out of the New Testament could the Roundheads derive inspiration and warlike courage. The Christian Bible, with its monkish figures, its exorcists, its praying brethren, and pietistic saints, supplied no models for warriors contending with a faithless king, a false aristocracy, and unholy priests. Only the great heroes of the Old Testament, with fear of God in their hearts and the sword in their hands, at once religious and national champions, could serve as models for the Puritans: the Judges, freeing the oppressed people from the yoke of foreign domination; Saul, David, and Joab, routing the foes of their country; and Jehu, making an end of an idolatrous and blasphemous royal house - these were favorite characters with Puritan warriors. In every verse of the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, they saw their own condition reflected; every Psalm seemed composed for them, to teach them that, though surrounded on every side by ungodly foes, they need not fear while they trusted in God. Oliver Cromwell compared himself to the judge Gideon, who first obeyed the voice of God hesitatingly, but afterwards courageously scattered the attacking heathens; or to Judas Maccabaeus, who out of a handful of martyrs formed a host of victorious warriors.
THE PURITANS AND THE JEWS.
To bury oneself in the history, prophecy, and poetry of the Old Testament, to revere them as Divine Lnspiration, to live in them with every
emotion, yet not to consider the people who had originated all this glory and greatness as preferred and chosen, was impossible. Among the Puritans, therefore, were many earnest admirers of "God's People," and Cromwell was one of them. It seemed a marvel that the people, or a remnant of the people, whom God had distinguished by great favor and stern discipline, should still exist. A desire was excited in the hearts of the Puritans to see this living wonder, the Jewish people, with their own eyes, to bring Jews to England, and, by making them part of the theocratic community about to be established, stamp it with the seal of completion. The sentiments of the Puritans towards the Jews were expressed in Oliver Cromwell's observation, "Great is my sympathy with this poor people, whom God chose, and to whom He gave His law; it rejects Jesus, because it does not recognize him as the Messiah." Cromwell dreamt of a reconciliation of the Old and the New Testament, of an intimate connection between the Jewish people of God and the English Puritan theocracy. But other Puritans were so absorbed in the Old Testament that the New Testament was of no importance. Especially the visionaries in Cromwell's army and among the members of Parliament, who were hoping for the Fifth Monarchy, or the Reign of the Saints, assigned to the Jewish People a glorious position in the expected Millennium. A Puritan preacher, Nathaniel Holmes (Holmesius), wished, according to the letter of many prophetic verses, to become the Servant of Israel, and serve him on bended knees. The more the tension in England increased through the imprisonment of the king, the dissensions between the Presbyterian Long Parliament and the Puritan army, the Civil War, the execution of King Charles, and the establishment of a republic in England, the more public life and religious thought assumed Jewish coloring. The only thing wanting to make one think himself in Judaea was for the orators in Parliament to speak Hebrew. One author proposed the Seventh Day as the Day of Rest, and in a work showed the holiness of this day, and the duty of the English people to honor it. This was in the beginning of 1649. Parliament, it is true, condemned this work to be burnt as heretical, scandalous, and profane, and sentenced the printer and author to punishment. But the Israelite spirit among the Puritans, especially among the Levelers, or Ultra-Republicans, was not suppressed by these means. Many wished the government to declare the Torah to be the Code for England.
These proceedings in the British islands, which promised the exaltation of Israel at no distant period, were followed by Manasseh with beating heart. Did these voices not announce the coming of the Messianic kingdom? He hoped so, and put forth feverish activity to help to bring about the desired time. He entertained a visionary train of thought. The Messiah could not appear till the punishment of Israel, to be scattered from one end of the earth to the other, had been fulfilled. There were no Jews then living in England. Exertions must be made to obtain permission for Jews to dwell in England, that this hindrance to the advent of the Messiah might be removed. Manasseh therefore put himself into communication with some important persons, who assured him that "the minds of men were favorable to the Jews, and that they would be acceptable and welcome to Englishmen." What especially justified his hopes was the "Apology" by Edward Nicholas, former Secretary to Parliament, "For the Honorable Nation of the Jews." In this work, which the author dedicated to the Long Parliament, the Jews were treated, as the Chosen People of God, with a tenderness to which they were not accustomed. Hence the author felt it necessary to affirm at the end, that he wrote it, not at the instigation of Jews, but out of love to God and his country. The opinion of the apologist was, that the great sufferings brought upon England by the Religious and Civil War were a just punishment for English persecution of the Saints and favorites of God, i. e., the Jews, and an urgent admonition to atone for this great sin by admitting them and showing them brotherly treatment. The author proved the preference and selection of Israel by many Biblical quotations. He referred to a preacher who had said in Parliament in connection with the verse: "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm," that the weal or woe of the world depended upon the good or bad treatment of God's People. God in His secret counsel had sustained this people to the present day, and a glorious future was reserved for them. Hence it was the duty of Englishmen to endeavor to comfort them, if possible give them satisfaction for their innocent blood shed in this kingdom, and enter into friendly intercourse with them. This work also defends the Jews against the accusation of having crucified Jesus. The death of Jesus took place at the instigation of the Sanhedren, not of the people. In most impressive terms it urges the English to comfort the afflicted and unhappy Jews. The Pope and his adherents, he said, would be enraged at the kind treatment of the Jews, for they still inflicted cruelty and humiliation upon the people of God, the Popes compelling the Jews to wear opprobrious badges, and Catholics avoiding all contact with them, because they abhorred idols and heathen worship. This work, which, more than friendly, absolutely glorified the Jews, excited the greatest attention in England and Holland. Manasseh ben Israel was delighted with it, thinking that he was near his object, especially as his friend Holmes at once communicated with him on the subject, saying that he himself was about to prepare a work on the Millennium, in which he would emphasize the importance of the Jews in the molding of the future. Manasseh ben Israel immediately set to work to do his share towards the realization of his object. He, however, as well as the Christian mystics in England, had one anxiety; what had become of the Lost Ten Tribes banished by the Assyrian King Shalmanassar? A Restoration of the Jewish Kingdom without these Ten Tribes seemed impossible, nay, their discovery was the guarantee of the truth of the prophetic promises. The Union of Judah and Israel which some of the prophets had impressively announced would remain unfulfilled if the Ten Tribes had ceased to exist. Manasseh, therefore, laid great stress upon being able to prove their existence somewhere. Fortunately he was in a position to specify the situation of the Ten Tribes. Some years before, a Jewish traveler, named Montezinos, had affirmed on oath that he had seen native Jews of the Tribe of Reuben, in South America, and had held communication with them. The circumstantiality of his tale excited curiosity, and inclined his contemporaries to belief. Antonio de Montezinos was a Marrano, whom business or love of travel had led to America. There he had stumbled upon a Mestizo (Indian), who had excited in him a suspicion that members of his race were living in America, persecuted and oppressed by the Indians, as the Indians had been by the Spaniards, and later experiences confirmed the suspicion. Antonio de Montezinos, or Aaron Levi, had brought the surprising news to Amsterdam, and had related it under oath to a number of persons, among them Manasseh ben Israel (about 1644). Afterwards he went to Brazil, and there died. On his deathbed he repeatedly asserted the truth of the existence of some Israelite tribes in America. Manasseh ben Israel was firmly convinced by the statement of this man, and made it the foundation
of a work, entitled "Israel's Hope," composed to pave the way for the Messianic Time. The Ten Tribes, according to his assumption, had been dispersed to Tartary and China, and some might have gone thence to the American continent. Some indications and certain manners and customs of the Indians, resembling those of the Jews, seemed to him to favor this idea. The prophetic announcement of the perpetuity of the Israelite people had accordingly been confirmed; moreover there were signs that the Tribes were ready to come forth from their hidingplaces and unite with the others. The Time of Redemption, which, it was true, could not be foretold, and in the calculation of which many had erred, appeared at last to be approaching. The Prophets' threats of punishment to the Jews had been fulfilled in a terrible manner; why should not their hope-awakening promises be verified? What unspeakable cruelty the monster of the Inquisition had inflicted, and still continued to inflict, on the poor innocents of the Jewish Race, on adults and children of every age and either sex! For what reason? Because they would not depart from the Law of Moses, revealed to them amidst so many miracles. For it numberless victims had perished wherever the tyrannical rule of the Inquisition was exercised. And martyrs continued to show incredible firmness, permitting themselves to be burnt alive to honor the name of God.
Manasseh enumerated all the autos-da-fe [Inquisition Judgments] of Marranos and other Jewish martyrs which had taken place in his time.
Great excitement was caused among Dutch-Portuguese Jews by the burning of a young Marrano, twenty-five years old, well read in Latin and Greek literature. Isaac de Castro-Tartas, born at Tartas, a small town in Gascony [southwest France], had come with his parents to Amsterdam. Glowing with zeal and a desire to bring back to Judaism those Marranos who continued Christians, he prepared to travel to Brazil. In vain his parents and friends warned him against this mad step. In Bahia he was arrested by the Portuguese, recognized as a Jew, sent to Lisbon, and handed over to the Inquisition. This body had no formal right over Isaac de Castro, for when arrested he was a Dutch citizen. The tribunal in vain tried to induce him to abjure Judaism. Young De Castro-Tartas was determined manfully to endure a martyr's death in honor of his Faith. His death was attended with the eclat he had longed for. In Lisbon the funeral pile was kindled for him and several others, on December 226., 1647. He cried out of the flames, " Hear [SHeMA], O Israel, God is One," in so impressive a tone that the witnesses of the dreadful spectacle were greatly moved. For several days nothing else was talked of in the capital but the dreadful voice of the martyr, Isaac de Castro-Tartas, and the "Shema," uttered with his last breath. People spoke of it shudderingly. The Inquisition was obliged to forbid the uttering of the word " Shema " with a threat of heavy punishment. It is said, too, that at that time it was determined to burn no more Jewish heretics alive in Lisbon. The Amsterdam community was stunned by the news of successive executions of youthful sufferers. De Castro-Tartas had parents, relatives, and friends in Amsterdam, and was beloved on account of his knowledge and character. The Rabbi, Saul Morteira, delivered a memorial address on his death. Poets deplored and honored him in Hebrew and Spanish verses, and, horrified by the new atrocities of the Inquisition against Jews, Manasseh ben Israel wrote "Israel's Hope." Even the reader of to-day can feel grief trembling in every word. Indeed, if martyrs could prove the truth and tenability of the cause for which they bleed, Judaism needs no further proof; for no people and no religion on earth have produced such numerous and firm martyrs. Manasseh used this proof to draw the conclusion that, as promised sufferings had been inflicted, so the promised Redemption and Regeneration of God's people would be fulfilled. He sent this Latin treatise on the existence of the Ten Tribes and their hopes to a prominent and learned personage in England, to be read before Parliament, which was under Cromwell's influence, and before the Council of State. In an accompanying letter Manasseh explained to Parliament his favorite idea, that the Return of the Jews to their native land, the time for which was so near, must be preceded by their complete Dispersion. The Dispersion, according to the words of Scripture, was to be from one end of the earth to the other, naturally including the island of England, in the extreme north of the inhabited world. But for more than 300 years no Jews had lived in England ; therefore, he added the request that the Council and Parliament grant Jews permission to settle in England, to have the free exercise of their religion, and to build synagogues there (1650). Manasseh made no secret of his Messianic hopes, because he could and did reckon upon the fact that the Saints or Puritans themselves wished for the "Assembling of God's People " in their ancestral home, and were inclined to help and promote it. He also intimated in his letter, that he was resolved to go to England, to arrange for the settlement of the Jews.
Manasseh ben Israel had not reckoned amiss. His request and dedication were favorably received by Parliament. Lord Middlesex, probably the mediator, sent him a letter of thanks with the superscription, " To my dear brother, the Hebrew philosopher, Manasseh ben Israel." A passport to England was also sent to him. The English ambassador in Holland, Lord Oliver St. John, a relative of Cromwell, told him that he wished to go to the Amsterdam synagogue, and gave him to understand, probably according to Cromwell's instructions, that England was inclined to gratify the long-cherished wish of the Jews. Manasseh took care that he be received in the House of Prayer [Synagogue] with music and hymns (about August, 1651). However, the goal to which he seemed so near was removed by political complications. England and Holland entered into a fierce war, which broke off the connection between Amsterdam and London. Manasseh's relations to his elder colleague, Saul Morteira (1652), and the president, Joseph da Costa, it is not known on what account became strained, and in an angry mood he formed the resolution to leave Amsterdam. The directors of the community succeeded in establishing a tolerable understanding between the two chachams, but Manasseh had neither the cheerfulness required nor a favorable opportunity to resume his adventurous scheme.
THE FIFTH MONARCHY.
But when Oliver Cromwell, by the illegal but necessary dissolution of the Long Parliament, assumed the chief power in April, 1653, and showed an inclination to conclude peace with the States General [Holland], Manasseh again took up his project. Cromwell had called together a new Parliament, the so-called "Short," or "Barebones," Parliament, which was composed wholly of Saints, i. e., Puritan preachers, officers with a Biblical bias, and Millennium visionaries. The partiality of Cromwell's officers for the old Jewish system is shown by the serious proposition that the Council of State should consist of seventy members, after the number of the Jewish Sanhedrin. In Parliament sat General Harrison, a Baptist, who, with his party, wished to see the Mosaic Law introduced into England. When Parliament met (July 5, 1653), Manasseh hastened to repeat his request, that Jews be granted permission to reside in England. The question of the Jews was immediately put on the programme of business. Parliament sent Manasseh a safe conduct to London, that he might conduct the business in person. As the war between England and Holland still continued, his relatives and friends urged him not to expose himself to the danger of a daily change of affairs, and he again put off his voyage to a more favorable time. The Short Parliament was soon dissolved (December 12, 1653), and Cromwell obtained kingly power under the title of Protector of the Realm. When he concluded peace with Holland (April, 1654), Manasseh thought the time well suited for effecting his wishes for the Redemption of Israel. He was encouraged by the fact that three admirals of the English fleet had drawn up a petition in October, 1654, to admit Jews into England. Manasseh presented his petition for their admission to Cromwell's second, still shorter Parliament, and, probably at his instigation, David Abrabanel Dormido, one of the leading men at Amsterdam, at the same time presented one to the same effect, which Cromwell urgently recommended to the Council for speedy decision (November 3, 1654).
Manasseh reveled in intoxicating dreams of the approaching glorious time for Israel. He regarded himself as the instrument of Providence to bring about its fulfillment. In these dreams he was upheld and confirmed by Christian mystics, who were eagerly awaiting the Millennium. The Dutchman, Henry Jesse, had shortly before published a work, "On the Speedy Glory of Judah and Israel," in the Dutch Language. The Bohemian physician, mystic, and alchemist, Paul Felgenhauer, went beyond the bounds of reason. Disgusted with the formal creed of the Evangelical Church, and the idolatrous tendency of Catholicism, he wrote during the Thirty Years' War against the corruption of the Church and the Protestant clergy, and wished for a spiritual, mystical religion. By a peculiar calculation, Felgenhauer was led to believe that the year six thousand and the advent of the Messiah connected with it
were not far off. Persecuted in Germany by Catholics and Protestants, he sought an asylum in Amsterdam, and there formed the acquaintance of Manasseh ben Israel. Between these men and a third visionary, Peter Serrarius, the speedy coming of the Messianic Time was often the subject of conversation. Felgenhauer then composed an original work (December, 1654) entitled "Good News of the Messiah for Israel! The redemption of Israel from all his sufferings, his deliverance from captivity, and the glorious advent of the Messiah are nigh for the comfort of Israel. Taken from the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, by a Christian who is expecting him with the Jews." Felgenhauer places the Jewish People very high, as the seed of Abraham, and considers true believers of all nations the spiritual seed of Abraham. Hence Jews and Christians should love, not despise, one another. They should unite in God. This union is near at hand. The bloody wars of nation against nation by sea and land in the whole world, which had not happened before to anything like the same extent, are signs thereof. As further signs he accounted the comets which appeared in 1618, 1648, and 1652, and the furious Polish War kindled by the Cossacks. Verses from the Bible, especially from Daniel and the Apocalypse, with daring interpretations, served him as proofs. Felgenhauer denied an earthly Messiah, nor did he allow the claim of Jesus to the title.
As this half-insane work was dedicated to Manasseh, he was obliged to answer it, which he did with great prudence (February i, 1655), gladly welcoming the pages favorable to Jews, and passing over the rest in silence. The good news concerning the near future was the more welcome to his heart, he said, as he himself, in spite of the afflictions of many centuries, did not cease ardently to hope for better times.
" How gladly would I believe you, that the time is near when God, who has so long been angry with us, will again comfort His People, and deliver it from more than Babylonian captivity, and more than Egyptian bondage! Your sign of the commencement of the Messianic Age, the announcement of the exaltation of Israel throughout the whole world, appears to me not only probable, but plain and clear. A not inconsiderable number of these announcements (on the Christian side) for the consolation of Zion have been sent to me from Frankenberg and Mochinger, from France and Hungary. And from England alone how many voices! They are like that small cloud in the time of the Prophet Elijah, which suddenly extended so that it covered the whole of the heavens."
Manasseh ben Israel had the courage to express without ambiguity Jewish expectations in opposition to the opinions held by Christian enthusiasts. They, for the most part, imagined the Fifth Monarchy, which they alleged was about to commence, as the Millennium, when Jesus would again appear and hand over the sovereign power to the Saints. The Jews would have a share in it; they would assemble from the Ends of the Earth, return to their ancestral home, and again build Jerusalem and the Temple. But this would be only an intermediate state, the means to enable the whole Twelve Tribes to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah, so that there be but one flock under one shepherd. Against this Manasseh ben Israel composed a treatise, ended April 25, 1655, on the Fifth Kingdom of the Prophecy of Daniel, interpreting it to mean the independence of Israel. In this work, called "The Glorious Stone, or the Image of Nebuchadnezzar," and dedicated to Isaac Vossius, then in the service of the Queen of Sweden, he put forth all his learning to show that the visions of the "four beasts," or great kingdoms, had been verified in the successive sway of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, and therefore the coming of the Fifth Kingdom also was certain. This was shown in Daniel plainly enough to be the Kingdom of Israel, the people of God. In this Messianic Kingdom all nations of the earth will have part, and they will be treated with kindness, but the authority will ever rest with Israel. Manasseh disfigured this simple thought by Kabbalistic triviality and sophistry. It is singular that not only did a learned Christian accept the dedication of this essentially Jewish work, but the celebrated painter Rembrandt supplied four artistic engravings representing Nebuchadnezzar's, or Manasseh's vision.
Manasseh had received a friendly invitation from the second Parliament assembled by Cromwell; but as it had meanwhile been dissolved, he could not begin his journey until invited by the Protector himself. He seems to have sent on in advance his son, Samuel ben Israel, who was presented by the University of Oxford, in consideration of his knowledge and natural gifts, with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Medicine, and according to custom, received the gold ring, the biretta, and the kiss of peace. It was no insignificant circumstance that this honor should be conferred upon a Jew by a University strictly Christian in its conduct. Cromwell's will appears to have been decisive in the matter. He sent an invitation to Manasseh, but the journey was delayed till autumn.
MANASSEH BEN ISRAEL IN LONDON.
Not till the end of the Tishri [Jewish New Year] Festivals (October 25-31, 1655) did Manasseh undertake the important voyage to London, in his view, of the utmost consequence to the world. He was received in a friendly manner by Cromwell, and had a residence granted him. Among his companions was Jacob Sasportas, a learned man, accustomed to intercourse with persons of high rank, who had been Rabbi in African cities. Other Jews accompanied him in the hope that the admission of Jews would meet with no difficulty. Some secret Jews from Spain and Portugal were already domiciled in London, among them being the rich and respected Fernandez Carvajal. But the matter did not admit of such speedy settlement. At an audience, Manasseh delivered to the Protector a carefully composed petition, or address. He had obtained the authorization of the Jews of the different countries of Europe to act as their representative, so that the admission of Jews into England might be urged not in his own name alone, but in that of the whole Jewish nation. In his petition he skillfully developed the argument, by means of passages from the Bible and the Talmud, that power and authority are conferred by God according to His Will; that God rewards and punishes even the rulers of the earth, and that this had been verified in Jewish history; that great monarchs who had troubled Israel had met with an unhappy end, as Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus Epiphanes, Pompey, and others. On the other hand, benefactors of the Jewish nation had enjoyed happiness:
'even here below, so that the word of God to Abraham had been literally fulfilled:
" ' I will bless them that bless thee.and curse them that curse thee.' Hence I, one of the least among the Hebrews, since by experience I have found, that through God's great bounty towards us, many considerable and eminent persons both of piety and power are moved with sincere and inward pity and compassion towards us, and do comfort us concerning the approaching Deliverance of Israel, could not but for myself, and in the behalf of my countrymen, make this my humble Address to your Highness, and beseech you for God's sake that ye would, according to that piety and power wherein you are eminent beyond others, vouchsafe to grant that the great and glorious name of the LORD our God may be extolled, and solemnly worshiped and praised by us through all the bounds of this Commonwealth; and to grant us place in your country, that we may have our Synagogues, and free exercise of our religion. Pagans have of old .... granted free liberty even to apostate Jews : . . . . how much more then may we, that are not Apostate or renegade Jews, hope it from your Highness and your Christian Council, since you have so great knowledge of, and adore the same One Only God of Israel, together with us. ... For our people did .... presage that .... the ancient hatred towards them would also be changed into goodwill: that those rigorous laws .... against so innocent a people would happily be repealed."
At the same time Manasseh ben Israel circulated through the press a " Declaration " which served to explain the reasons for admitting Jews, and to meet objections and allay prejudices against their admission. All his reasons can be reduced to two - one mystical and one of trade policy. The mystical
reason has been repeatedly explained. His opinion coincided with that of many Christians, that the return of the Israelites to their home was near at hand. According to his view the general Dispersion of the Jews must precede this event:
" Now we know how our nation is spread all about, and has its seat and dwelling in the most flourishing countries of the world, as well in America as in the other three parts thereof, except only in this considerable and mighty island. And therefore, before the Messiah come .... first we must have our seat here likewise."
The other reason was put in this form: that through the Jews the trade of England would greatly increase in exports and imports from all parts of the world. He developed this point of the advantage which the Jews might bestow at great length, showing that on account of their fidelity and attachment to the countries hospitable and friendly to them they deserved to be treated with consideration. Besides, they ought to be esteemed, on account of their ancient nobility and purity of blood, among a people which attached importance to such distinctions.
Manasseh ben Israel considered the commerce to which Jews were for the most part devoted from a higher point of view. He had in mind the wholesale trade of the Portuguese Jews of Holland in the coin of various nations (exchange business), in diamonds, cochineal, indigo, wine, and oil. Their money transactions were not based on usury, on which the Jews of Germany and Poland relied. The Amsterdam Jews deposited their capital in banks, and satisfied themselves with five per cent interest. The capital of the Portuguese Jews in Holland and Italy was very considerable, because Marranos in Spain and Portugal invested their money with them, to evade the avarice of the Inquisition. Hence Manasseh laid great weight on the advantages which England might expect from his enterprising countrymen. He thought that trading, the chief occupation, and, to a certain extent, the natural inclination, of the Jews of all countries since their dispersion, was the work of Providence, a mark of Divine Favor towards them, that by accumulated treasures they might find grace in the eyes of rulers and nations. They were forced to occupy themselves with commerce, because, owing to the insecurity of their existence, they could not possess landed estates. Accordingly, they were obliged to pursue trade till their return to their land, for then "there shall be no more any trader in the House of the LORD," as a Prophet declares.
Manasseh ben Israel then took a survey over all the countries where Jews, in his time, or shortly before, by means of trade, had attained to importance, and enumerated the persons who had risen to high positions by their services to states or rulers. However, much that he adduced, when closely con- sidered, is not very brilliant, with the exception of the esteemed and secure position which the Jews occupied in Holland. Then he quoted examples of the fidelity and devotedness of Jews in ancient and modern times towards their protectors. He forcibly refuted the calumny that the Jews had been banished from Spain and Portugal for treachery and faithlessness. It was easy for him to show from Christian authors that the Expulsion of the Jews, and their cruel treatment by Portugal, were at once criminal and foolish, and most emphatically condemned by wise rulers. He, took occasion to defend his brethren against three other charges: usury, child murder, and proselytism. To wipe off the stain of usury, he made use of the justification employed by Simone Luzzatto, a contemporary Jewish Italian author, that usury was objectionable not in itself, but in its excess. Of great weight was the fact which he adduced, that the Portuguese Jews, for whom he was pleading, abhorred usury as much as many Christians, and that their large capital had not been
obtained from it. Manasseh could repudiate with more vehemence the charge of murdering Christian children. Christians made the accusation,he thought, pretty much from the motives that influenced the negroes of Guinea and Brazil, who tormented those just escaped from shipwreck, or visited by misfortune in general, by assuming that such persons were accursed of God.
"We live not amongst the Blackamoors and wild-men, but amongst the white and civilized people of the world, yet we find this an ordinary course, that men are very prone to hate and despise him that hath ill fortune; and on the other side, to make much of those whom fortune doth favor."
Manasseh reminded the Christians that there had been a time when they, too, had been charged by heathens with being murderers of children, sorcerers, and conjurers, and had been punished by heathen emperors and officials. He was able to refer to a case of his own time, that of Isaac Jeshurun, of Ragusa, a Jew repeatedly tortured for child murder, whose innocence had come to light, and filled the judges with remorse. Manasseh denied the accusation of the conversion of Christians to Judaism, and referred to the injunction of the Jewish law to dissuade rather than attract proselytes.
"Now, because I believe, that with a good conscience I have discharged our nation of the Jews of those three slanders. . . I may from these two qualities, of Profitableness and Fidelity, conclude, that such a nation ought to be well entertained, and also beloved and protected generally of all. The more, considering they are called in the Sacred Scriptures the Sons of God I could add a third (point), viz., of the Nobility of the Jews, but because that point is enough known amongst all Christians, as lately it has been shown... by that worthy Christian minister, Mr. Henry Jessey . . . and by Mr. Eclw. Nicholas, Gentleman. Therefore I will here forbear and rest on the saying of Solomon .... 'Let another man's mouth praise thee, and not thine own.' "
CROMWELL AND THE JEWS
Cromwell was decidedly inclined to the admission of the Jews. He may have had in view the probability that the extensive trade and capital of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, those professing Judaism openly as well as secretly, might be brought to England, which at that time could not yet compete with Holland. He was also animated by the great idea of the unconditional toleration of all religions, and even thought of granting Religious Freedom to the intensely hated, feared, hence persecuted Catholics. Therefore, he acceded to the wish of the Jews to open an asylum to them in England. But he was most influenced by the religious desire to win over the Jews to Christianity by friendly treatment. He thought that Christianity, as preached in England by the Independents, without idolatry and superstition, would captivate the Jews, hitherto deterred from Christianity.
Cromwell and Manasseh ben Israel agreed in an unexpressed, visionary, Messianic reason for the admission of Jews into England. The Kabbalistic Rabbi [i.e. Manasseh] thought that in consequence of the settlement of Jews in the British Island, the Messianic Redemption would commence, and the Puritan Protector believed that Jews in great numbers would accept Christianity, and then would come the time of one shepherd and one flock. To dispose the people favorably towards the Jews, Cromwell employed two most zealous Independents, his secretary, the clergyman Hugh Peters, and Harry Marten, the fiery member of the Council, to labor at the task.
At last the time came to consider the question of the admission of Jews seriously. They had been banished in the year 1290 in pursuance of a decree enacting that they should never return, and it was questionable whether the decree was not still in force. Therefore, Cromwell assembled a commission at Whitehall (December 4, 1655), to discuss every aspect of the matter. The commission was composed of Lord Chief Justice Glynn, Lord Chief Baron Steel, and seven citizens, including the Lord Mayor, the two sheriffs of London, an alderman, and the recorder of the city, and fourteen eminent clergymen of different towns. Cromwell mentioned two subjects for discussion: whether it was lawful to admit Jews into England, and, in case it was not opposed to the law, under what conditions the admission should take place. Manasseh had formulated his proposal under seven heads: that they should be admitted and protected against violence; that they should be granted synagogues, the free exercise of religion, and places of burial ; that they should enjoy freedom of trade; and that their disputes should be settled by their own Rabbis and directors; and that all former laws hostile to Jews should be repealed for their greater security. On admission, every Jew should take the Oath of Fidelity to the Realm.
THE JEWISH QUESTION IN LONDON
There was great excitement in London during the discussion on the admission of the Jews, and popular feeling was much divided. Blind hatred against the crucifiers of the Son of God, and blind love for the people of God; fear of the competition of Jews in trade, and hope of gaining the precedence from the Dutch and Spaniards by their means, prejudiced ideas that they crucified Christian children, clipped coin, or wished to make all the English people Jews - these conflicting feelings disturbed the judgment for and against them. Cromwell's followers, and the Republicans in general, were for their admission; Royalists and Papists, secretly or openly his enemies, were opposed to the proposal. The people crowded to the hall where the Jewish Question was publicly discussed. At the very beginning the legal representatives declared that no ancient law excluded the Jews from England, for their banishment had been enacted by the King, without the consent of Parliament. The city representatives remained silent; the most violent were the clergy, who could not rid themselves of their hatred against Jews, derived from the Gospels and their theological literature. Cromwell, who most earnestly wished to see them admitted, therefore added three clergymen, among them Hugh Peters, from whom he expected a vote favorable to the Jews. The question was not brought to a decision in three sittings. Cromwell therefore ordered a final discussion (December 18, 1655), at which he presided. The majority of the clergy on this day, too, were against the admission of Jews, even the minority favoring it only with due precautions. Cromwell, dissatisfied with the course of the discussion, first had the theological objections refuted by Manasseh ben Israel, then expressed himself with much warmth, and reprimanded the clergy. He said that he had hoped to receive enlightenment for his conscience; instead, they had made the question more obscure. The main strength of his arguments was: The pure (Puritan) gospel must be preached to the Jews, to win them to the church. "But can we preach to them, if we will not tolerate them among us? " Cromwell thereupon closed the discussion, and resolved to decide the matter according to his own judgment.
He had not only the opposition of the fanatical clergy to contend against, but also that of the multitude, who shared their prejudiced feeling. The enemies of the Jews made every effort to win over the people against their admission. They spread the report that the Jews intended to buy the library of the University of Oxford, and, if possible, turn St. Paul's into a synagogue. They sought to bring Cromwell's friendship for the Jews under suspicion, and circulated the report that an embassy had come to England from Asia and Prague to find out whether Cromwell was not the expected Messiah of the Jews. A clerical pamphleteer, named William Prynne, stirred up a most fanatical excitement against the Jews. He composed a venomous work, "A Short Demurrer," in which he raked up all false accusations against them of counterfeit coining, and the crucifixion of Christian children, and briefly
summarized the anti-Jewish decrees of the thirteenth century, so as to make the name of Jew hated. From other quarters, also, various publications appeared against them. John Hoornbeek, a Dutchman, composed a book on the conversion of the Jews, in which he pretended to be their friend, but actually sought to asperse them. John Dury, an Englishman residing at the time at Cassel, was also resolved to make his voice heard about the Jews; he weighed arguments for and against their admission, and at last inclined to the view that it was a serious matter to permit Jews to enter England. His work was printed and distributed. Probably at Cromwell's suggestion, Thomas Collier wrote a refutation of Prynne's charges, dedicating it to the Protector. He even justified the crucifixion of Jesus by the Jews, and concluded his work with a passage in the taste of that time:
" Oh, let us respect them; let us wait for that glorious day which will make them the head of the nations. Oh, the time is at hand when every one shall think himself happy that can but lay hold on the skirt of a Jew. Our salvation came from them! Our Jesus was of them! We are gotten into their promises and privileges! The natural branches were cut off, that we might be grafted on! Oh, let us not be high-minded, but fear. Let us not, for God's sake, be unmerciful to them! No ! Let it be enough if we have all their [spiritual] riches."
While the admission of Jews met with so many difficulties in England, the Dutch Government was by no means pleased with Manasseh ben Israel's efforts to bring it to pass, fearing, doubtless, that the Amsterdam Jews would remove to England, with all their capital. Manasseh was obliged to pacify the Dutch ambassador in an interview, and to assure him that his exertions concerned not Dutch Jews, but the Marranos, watched with Argus eyes in Spain and Portugal, for whom he wished to provide an asylum.
HESITATION OF THE ENGLISH
Manasseh waited six months in London to obtain from Cromwell a favorable decision, but without success. The Protector found no leisure to attend to the Jewish Question, his energies were devoted to obtaining the funds necessary for the Government and foreign wars, refused by one Parliament after another, and to frustrating the Royalist Conspiracy against his life. Manasseh's companions, who had given up all hopes of success, left London; others who, having fled from the Pyrenean peninsula [Spain], were on their way thither, turned back, and settled in Italy or Geneva. But the friends of the Jews were unwearied, and hoped to produce a change of mind in the people. One of "the Saints" published a small work (April, 1656), in which he briefly summarized the proceedings at the discussion on the admission of Jews, and then added:
" What shall be the issue of this, the most High God knoweth; Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel still remains in London, desiring a favorable answer to his proposals; and not receiving it, he hath desired, that if they may not be granted, he may have a favorable dismission, and return home. But other great affairs being now in hand, and this being business of very great concernment, no absolute answer is yet returned to him."
To elicit a thorough refutation of all the charges advanced by the enemies of the Jews and the opponents of toleration, a person of high rank, in close relation with the government, induced Manasseh ben Israel to publish a brief but comprehensive work, in defense of the Jews. In the form of a letter he stated all the grounds of accusation. These included the current slanders: the use of the blood of Christians at the Passover, curses upon Christians and blasphemy against the God of the Christians in Jewish prayers, and the idolatrous reverence alleged to be shown the Torah-scrolls. The defense of the Jews, which Manasseh ben Israel composed in reply (April 10), and which was soon afterwards circulated through the press, is perhaps the best work from his pen. It is written with deep feeling, and is, therefore, convincing; learned matter is not wanting, but the learning is subordinate to
the main object. In the composition of this defense Manasseh must have had peculiar feelings. He had come to England the interpreter or representative of the people of God, expecting speedily to conquer the sympathy of Christians, and pave the way for the lordship of Israel over the world, and now his people was placed at the bar, and he had to defend it. Hence the tone of this work is not aggressive and triumphant, but plaintive. He affirmed that nothing had ever produced a deeper impression on his mind than the letter addressed to him with the list of anti-Jewish charges.
" It reflects upon the credit of a nation, which amongst so many calumnies, so manifest (and therefore shameful), I dare to pronounce innocent. And in the first place, I cannot but weep bitterly, and with much anguish of soul lament, that strange and horrid accusation of some Christians against the dispersed and afflicted Jews that dwell among them, when they say (what I tremble to write) that the Jews are wont to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, fermenting it with the blood of some Christians whom they have for that purpose killed."
To this false charge so often made, among others by Prynne, the greatest part of his defense is devoted, and it is indeed striking. He traced the accusation to false witnesses or the confession of accused persons under torture. The innocence of the accused was often brought to light, but too late, when they had been executed. Manasseh confirmed this by an entertaining story. The physician of a Portuguese count had been charged by the Inquisition as a Judaizing Christian. In vain the count pledged himself for his orthodoxy, he was nevertheless tortured, and himself confessed that he was a Judaizing sinner. Subsequently the count, pretending serious illness, sent for the Inquisitor, and in his house, with doors closed, he commanded him in a threatening tone to confess in writing that he was a Jew. The Inquisitor refused; then a servant brought in a red-hot helmet to put upon his head. Thereupon the Inquisitor confessed everything demanded by the count, who took this opportunity to reproach him with his cruelty and inhumanity.
Manasseh ben Israel besides affirmed with a solemn oath the absolute falsehood of the oft-repeated charges as to the use of Christian blood.
After meeting the other accusations against the Jews, he concludes his defense with a fine prayer and an address to England :
"And to the highly honored nation of England I make my most humble request, that they would read over my arguments impartially, without prejudice and devoid of all passion, effectually recommending me to their grace and favor, and earnestly beseeching God that He would be pleased to hasten the time promised by Zephaniah, wherein we shall all serve him with one consent, after the same manner, and shall be all of the same judgment ; that as his name is one, so his fear may be also one, and that we may all see the goodness of the LORD (blessed for ever!) and the consolations of Zion."
This last work of Manasseh ben Israel produced in England the favorable effect desired. Though Cromwell, amidst the increasing difficulties of his government, could not fully carry out the admission of the Jews, he made a beginning towards it. He dismissed Manasseh with honorable distinctions, and granted him a yearly allowance of one hundred pounds (February 20, 1657) [then worth from 12,000 to 28,000 US dollars, 2022] out of the public treasury. The Jews were not admitted in triumph through the great portal, but they were let in by Cromwell through a back door, yet they established themselves firmly. This was in consequence of an indictment brought against an immigrant Marrano merchant, Antonio Robles, that he, a Portuguese Papist, had illegally engaged in business pursuits in England, but he was acquitted by the Protector on the ground that he was not a Catholic, but a Jew. Thus the residence of such Jews was suffered; they could therefore drop the mask of Catholicism. Two respected Marranos, Simon de Caceres and Fernandez (Isaac) Carvajal, in fact received Cromwell's permission to open a special burialground for the Sephardic Jews settled in London (1657). In consequence of this permission it was no longer necessary to make a show of attending church or of having their newlyborn children baptized. But they occupied an anomalous position. Being strangers, and on account of their insignificant numbers, they lived not exactly on sufferance, but were ignored. Thus Manasseh ben Israel's endeavors were not entirely vain. He did not draw the pension awarded him, nor did he live to witness the coming up of the seed scattered by him, for on the way home he died, at Middelburg, probably broken down by his exertions and the disappointment of his hopes, even before he reached his family (November, 1657). His body was afterwards brought to Amsterdam, and an honorable epitaph was put over his grave. But his zealous activity, outcome though it was of Messianic delusions, bore fruit, because it was sincere. Before he had been dead ten years, Jews were gradually admitted into England by the monarchy which succeeded the republic. A community was assembled which soon became organized, a room was fitted up in King Street as a synagogue, and Jacob Sasportas, the wanderer from Africa, Manasseh ben Israel's companion, was chosen Rabbi. The branch community of London took as its model that of Amsterdam. From this second stronghold, occupied by Portuguese Jews, afterwards proceeded the agitation for popular freedom and the liberation of the Jews.