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List of Jews Naturalized in British Colonies Called For During 1753 Citizenship Debate
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The 1740 Naturalization Act allowed an easy path to citizenship for Protestant immigrants to the colonies. While Catholics were excluded altogether, the Act exempted Quakers and Jews from part of the required oath and profession of faith. It offered Jewish colonists the first real opportunity for British citizenship. Then, in 1753, a law that opened citizenship to Jews living in England was passed but immediately repealed due to a public anti-Semitic backlash. Opponents then asked for a list of Jews who had attained citizenship since the 1740 Act. This list provides such a summary of Jewish naturalizations in Jamaica and the British American colonies from 1740 to 1752. Despite a push to overturn the 1740 Act, the move to repeal it was decisively defeated in Parliament.

This gives the number of Jewish naturalizations in four colonies: 151 in Jamaica from 1740 to 1750, one in South Carolina in 1741 (though names are not listed here, this was Joseph Tobias, who in 1750 became the president of the first synagogue established at Charleston), 26 in New York from 1741 to 1748, and 6 in Pennsylvania from 1747 to 1752.

[JUDAICA]. List of Number of Jews Naturalized, ca. November 1753. 1 p., 7¾ x 12¾ in.

Inventory #24772       Price: $9,500

Historical Background

In 1610, James I banned foreign Roman Catholics and Jews from becoming naturalized citizens of England.  130 years later, Parliament passed “An Act for Naturalizing such foreign Protestants and others therein mentioned, as are settled or shall settle in any of His Majesty’s Colonies in America.” Approved by the King, it became commonly known as the Plantation Act or Naturalization Act of 1740. It allowed Protestants living in any of the British American colonies for seven years to be regarded as “natural-born subjects” of Great Britain. The act also required payment of two shillings and profession of the Christian faith, with exceptions for Quakers and Jews. The former could affirm rather than swear to the oath, and Jews did not have to repeat the words, “Upon the true faith of a Christian,” which had been required since 1701. This provided the first real opportunity for Jewish colonists to become British citizens.

In May 1753, Parliament passed a bill that would allow the approximately 8,000 Jews in Great Britain to become naturalized citizens, “without receiving the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.” “The Act to permit Persons professing the Jewish Religion to be Naturalized by Parliament; and for other Purposes therein mentioned” received royal assent on July 7, 1753. However, the public reacted to the new law with an outburst of antisemitism, and Parliament repealed the act in November. 

Opponents also asked for a list of all Jews who had become citizens under the 1740 Act. On November 22, Lord Dupplin, one of the Lords of Trade and Plantations, presented to the House a copy of the names as ordered. Two weeks later, a motion to repeal the 1740 Act was debated and defeated, by a vote of 88 to 208. This decisive verdict ended the discussion. The 1740 Act continued to operate until the Revolutionary War caused the British naturalization of American colonists to no longer be relevant.

Complete Transcript

List of the Numbers of Jews naturalized in His Majestys Plantations from 1740 to 1752.

In Jamaica

In __

1740

35

 

 

 

1741

16

 

 

 

1742

14

 

 

 

1743

29

 

 

 

1744

 7

 

 

 

1745

11

 

 

 

1746

16

 

 

 

1747

 3

 

 

 

1748

 5

 

 

 

1749

 9

 

 

 

1750

 6

 

 

 

 

151

In Jamaica

151

In South Carolina

 

1741

1

In South Carolina

   1

In New York

 

1740 & 1741

21

 

 

 

1743

 1

 

 

 

1745

 1

 

 

 

1746

 1

 

 

 

1748

 2

 

 

 

 

26

In New York

 26

In Pennsylvania

 

1747

 1

 

 

 

1749

 1

 

 

 

1751

 2

 

 

 

1752

 2

 

 

 

 

 6

In Pennsylvania

  6

 

 

 

Total

184

 

Further Historic Background

In 1750, New York had a population of approximately 77,000, including 11,000 African Americans, both free and slave.  In the same year, Pennsylvania had 120,000 colonists with only 2,900 slaves and free blacks.  South Carolina had 64,000 residents, of whom 39,000 were free and enslaved African Americans. In 1734, Jamaica had 7,600 white and 86,500 enslaved African settlers.

Jews naturalized in Jamaica included Jacob Mendes Gutteres, Benjamin Bravo, Abraham Ribiero, Moses Lopes Heneriques, Jacob Pinto Brandon, David Bravo, Isaac Fuertado, Moses Martius, Del Mz Da Costa, Isaac Ramalho, Moses Cohen Delarha, Aaron Lamera, Elias Fernandes Corche, Moses Alvares Corche, Aron Dias Fernandes, Jacob De la Penha, Jacob Gutteres Penha, Solomon Mendes, Jacob Lyon, David Torres, Henriq. Israel, Isaac Henriques Campos, David Salom, Jacob Da Silva, Abraham Laguna, Jacob Fernandes Mesquitta, Benjamin Rodrigues Gabriel, Joseph Abrathar, Daniel Dovalle, Isaac Henriques Sequira, Isl de la Penha, Moses Rodrigues, Isaac Fernandes, and Raphael Mendes (1740); Abraham Henriques Sequira, Solomon Curiel, Abraham Lopez Henriques, Jacob Lopez De Crasto, Isaac Nunez Da Costa, Daniel Alves Fernandes, Isaac Lopes Prette, Phinelias Mattos, Isaac Devalle, Jacob Nunez Da Costa, Jacob Brandon, Joseph Soares, Monashe Ribas, Leah Soares, Rebecca Pennea, and Moses Alvares (1741); David Mendez, Joshua Gomez Silva, Rodriques Moeda, Daniel Da Silva, Daniel Cardoza, Jacob Pereira Mendes, Esther Pereira Mendes, Esther Da Costa Alvaringa, Leah Ramalho, Rachael Alvaringa, Rachael Da Costa Alvaringa, Sarah Sanches, Moses Ladesma, Isaac Gomes Silva (1742); Abraham Nunez Da Costa, Leah Martins, Sarah Cardoza, Leah Cardoza, Rachael Oroibo Furtado, Sarah Nunez, Rachael Henriques, Moses Alvares Correa, Jacob Laguna Jr., Moses Levy, Isaac Henriques Cuna, Moses Nunez da Costa, Isaac Campos Almeyda, Jacob Lopes Henriques, Hannah Lopes Riz, Isaac Mendes Cunha, David Fernandes, Joseph Alvares Corche, Jacob Cordoso, Rachael Cordoso, Joshua Nunuez, Abigail Mendes, Sime Mendes, Rebecca Laguna, Sara Lopes Henriques, Rachael Lopes Henriques, Henry Levy, Rema Torres, and Abraham Dovall Saldana (1743); David Valentia, Abigall Valentia, David Da Silva Fles, Jacob Nunes Henriques, Abm Roiz Cardozo, Abigail Fernandez, and Abram De Campos Sr. (1744); Moses Nunes Henriques, Esther Lopes Pereira, Judith Orobio Furtudo, Rice Vega, Rachel Henriques, Esther Salom, Isaac Rodriques Miranda, Elias Lazares, Esther Pinto Brandon, Rica Campos Almeyda, and Solomon Abrahams (1745); Moses Aguilar, Solomon Saldana, Abraham Sanches, Moses Roderiques, Benjamin Sanches, Gabriel Mendes, Moses Pera Da Costa, Rachel Fernandes Pereira, Esther Mendes, Judica Da Silva, Rica Da Silva, Rachel Mendes, Judith Mendes, Esther Mendes, Rachel Lopez Depais, Abraham Surzedas, and Rachael Surzedas (1746); Rebecca Nunez Vizea, and Ester Henriques Furtado (1747); Abraham Pereira Mendes, Ben. Dias Fernandes, Samll Pra Mendes, Daniel Lopes Barrios, David Nunes Trois, and Abraham Carille (1748); Ester Nunes Trois, Judith Henriques Campos, Ester Dias Fernandes, Rachel Henriques Cunha, Abraham of Benjamin Pereira Mendes, Jacob Nunez De Lara, Daniel Albuquerques, Moses Mesquita Sr., and Joshua Aboab (1749); Alexander Nathane, Abigail Lopez, Moses Dias Fernandes, Isaac Henriques Furtado, Isaac Rodriques Nunes, and Jacob Mendes Seixas (1750).

The person naturalized in South Carolina was Joseph Tobias (1741), who in 1750 became the president of the first synagogue established at Charleston.

Those naturalized in New York includes: David Gomez, Mordecai Gomez, Daniel Gomez, Jacob Ferro Jr., Samuel Meyers Cohen, Abraham Myers Cohen, Abraham Isaacs, Isaac Levy, Solomon Myers, Joseph Simpson, Solomon Bares, David Huy, Abraham Rodrigues de Rivieres, Daniel Rodrigues Vinera, Moses Lopez, Judah Hayes, Levy Samuel, Solomon Hart Jr., Isaac Nunes Henriques, and Abraham De Leas (1740-1741); Moses Levy (1743); Jacob Rodrigues Revera (1746); Isaac Hays and Moses Benjamin Franks (1748).

Those naturalized in Pennsylvania included Moses Heyman (undated, 1747?); Joseph Simon, Joseph Solomon, and Mathias Bush (1749); Solomon Heim Bonn, and Midrach Israel (1752).[1]


[1] Names from J. H. Hollander, “The Naturalization of Jews in the American Colonies under the Act of 1740,” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 5 (1897), 111-17. Hollander examined two volumes of “Names of Persons Naturalized in His Majesty’s Plantations in America” that cover the years 1740 to 1762.  In those, he found 189 Jewish names, of which 5 were doubtful, but 12 names are from 1755-1762 and postdate this document. Hollander conducted his review independent of an earlier review by Lucien Wolf, but compared his results to Wolf’s. Hollander also found three Jewish naturalizations in Maryland between 1742 and 1749: Phineas Alferino, Jacob Stern, and Jacob Frank.


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