THE WHITEHALL CONFERENCE OF 1655
AND THE READMISSION OF THE JEWS
SEVENTEENTH CENTURY STUDIES M.A.
BY JONATHAN MARK TILLOTSON
Dr Chris Brooks - Supervisor
Dr Richard Maber - Director of Studies
Dr Brian Gibbons
Durham University Library
Cambridge University Library
The Institute of Historical Research, London
I. The Challenge To Anti-Semitism
IV. 1649 and the failure to secure Readmission
V. The alliance of English Philo-Semitism and Menassseh Ben Israel
VI. Oliver Cromwell and Jewish Readmission
VII. The Whitehall Conference
THE WHITEHALL CONFERENCE OF 1655 AND THE READMISSION OF THE JEWS TO ENGLAND
It cannot be doubted that one of the most significant events in the history of early modern Jewry is the ending in the year 1656 of the three hundred and fifty year official absence of a Jewish community from England, an absence that began with Edward I's Edict of expulsion of 1290. For from 1656 the Jews possessed the right, earned from the English Government, to reside in this country. At the restoration this right was confirmed by Charles II and the Jewish community allowed to grow steadily until by 1690 it numbered eighty five families.1 My intention in this paper is to attempt briefly to shed light on the causes of this readmission.
Disagreements amongst historians over the causes of readmission tend to focus on England's and particularly Cromwell's motivations in allowing one. The question debated has been that of the degree of influence exerted, on the one hand by English Philo-Semitism and on the other by more practical and expedient considerations. By this "Philo-Semitism" is meant the informal development of specifically spiritual, though sometimes unrelated ideas that for various reasons placed a high value on the Jewish people and expressed a spiritual and intellectual interest in drawing modern Jewry closer to English culture, if not in actively forwarding their readmission. D.S. Katz is a powerful example of an eminent, contemporary historian who, while recognising the role of practical and circumstantial factors, strongly emphasises the importance of this Philo-Semitism, dedicating the bulk of his book Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England: 1603-1655 to its examination. 2
Modern scholars, John Edwards and Jonathan Israel, however, prefer to emphasise other more practical and expedient factors. In this they echo the interpretations of Endelman, Ashley, Paul and the Anglo-Jewish historians Cecil Roth and Lucien Wolf who so dominated debate on readmission in the first half of this century. Although the contribution of spiritual factors is recognised, stress is focussed instead on the need for Jewish Capital, Jewish political and business expertise and Jewish world-wide commercial connections.3 Such an explanation is non-ideological and practical, lacking in any higher spiritual meanings, not rooted in anything but a normal opportunistic instinct for political or commercial advancement and profit.
I feel it needs to be stressed more than it has been by historians that although these two classes of motivation are clearly different they were not regarded at the time as mutually exclusive. In early modern England the quests for spiritual and practical advantage tended to be far more closely interrelated than they are in today's secular world. Religious and spiritual concerns could fuse easily with a desire to accumulate wealth or extend the commercial and political power of England. Favourable attitudes to the Jews resting on spiritual considerations could be magnified through reflections on the more practical, economic and political benefits they might bring, and so vice versa. If progress in one concern brought accruement to the other so much the better, particularly if one had a personal interest and stake in both.
Readmission did not occur in isolation from complementary pressures and inputs from the Jews. Their role and motivations will need to be discussed. Just as no nation would open its doors to a people it had previously expelled without first believing its restored presence would bring benefits to outweigh the original arguments for its ejection or at least no longer pose a significant threat or nuisance to the nation, so no People, it can be assumed, would seek the right of admission to a nation without first being driven by self-interest, and without a confidence in advancing it.
Before addressing these matters, however, we should reflect on our use of the word "Readmission" and qualify it. For throughout the years 1290-1656, the "Middle Period" of Anglo-Jewish history, and in spite of the official ban, some Jews in fact were always to be found in England; Jews that in 1656, moreover, would play a not inconsiderable role.
Although conversion to Christianity exempted Jews from expulsion, most (between 2,500 and 3,000) defiantly adhered to their faith and were expelled. Some, however, remained and converted, a small number making use of the House of converts, the Domus Conversorum, instituted in 1232 for the use of Jewish converts. Other continental Jewish apostates to escape persecution immigrated to England, if not joining the House of converts then like Alexander le Convers and Edward Brandao independently integrating themselves into the community. Openly professing Jews were also to be found. In 1376 Parliament complained that Lombard merchants harboured and protected many Jews in their midst. On the whole, however, these professing Jews were isolated individuals, usually possessed of some useful talent, such as in the fifteenth century: the physicians Magister Elias, Master Samson de Mirabeau and Elias Sabot, and in the sixteenth Rodriguez Lopez, physician to Elizabeth I.
With respect to the purposes of this dissertation, however, the most significant Jews were the Iberian Marranos, or "Crypto-Jews" who ostensibly professed the Christian religion but preserved a Jewish faith in secret. In search of refuge, they first arrived in England in the early sixteenth century, shortly after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and the forced conversions of Portuguese Jews in 1497. Although the acts of the 1490s did not affect them directly, many felt a continued existence in the peninsula too precarious in view of the fact that the Inquisition, intensified in the wake of the expulsions, proved determined to expose backsliding tendencies amongst Jewish converts. Until 1656 Marrano communities of secret Jews in England underwent successive periods of expansion and contraction, almost entirely dying out in 1609. In 1655, however, a new community, primarily comprised of rich and successful merchants and headed by one Antonio Ferdinando Carvajal, would number twenty households. Though a clearly small community of perhaps not more than eighty people, on account of their prosperity and wealth and as the events of readmission would show, it was not without significance.4
In considering this question of readmission one must first confront the problem of the tradition of Anti-Semitism that originated in the pre-expulsion era. To many Englishmen, awareness of what and who Jews were was uniquely artificial, as Katz points out, and was invariably based on diabolized images of the wicked, sinister Jew disseminated by the prejudiced theological instruction of the clergy.5 Memories of the iniquitous practices of the medieval Jewish community lived on into early modern England. Before expulsion accusations of host desecration, poisoning of Christians and the use of Christian children for ritual sacrifice were numerous and aroused an acute anti-Semitic hostility. They could be, indeed were, revitalised whenever images of the diabolical nature of the Jews were needed to prop up anti-Semitic prejudice. Stories of the alleged murder by Jews of William of Norwich in 1144 and Hugh of Lincoln in 1255 entered English consciousness in song and story. The mark of such a Jewish demonology is strongly witnessed to in the negative stereotyping found in works of literature such as Chaucer's Prioress's Tale, Marlowe's The Jew of Malta or Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.
As the controversy surrounding the debate on readmission would show in 1655 the old hostile prejudices had by no means been eradicated. They could still and did still exert a considerable counter-vailing force against the tide of support for readmission, as is borne ample testimony to in the scurrilous publications of converted Jew Paul Isaiah, alias Eleazear Bargishai and William Prynne's A Short Demurrer To the Jews Long discontinued barred Remitter into England. In 1655 Isaiah writes that the Jews then living secretly in London:
"as often as they are bound to use their office of Prayer (which is twice a day) so often are they bound to blaspheme Christ, and to curse him, and all true Christians which beleeve in him." 6
Prynne, in his "Demurrer", wished to remind those Englishmen receptive to readmission of the causes, as he saw them, of their original expulsion; that they "had been formerly great Clippers and Forgers of Money, and had crucified three or four Children in England at least".7 Both Prynne and Isaiah and Prynne upheld that the Jews would prove very resistant to conversion to the Gospel, indeed that it was more likely, given the unstable theological climate of the day, that Christians would turn Jews than vica versa. Prynne was unreserved in expressing the hope that his book would provide a "perpetual Barr to the Antichristian Iews re-admission into England, both in this new-fangled age, & all future Generations".8 During the Whitehall Conference itself this anti-semitism would impose itself forcibly on the proceedings; according to Katz, Prynne's work, written hastily in reaction to the calling of the conference and available for public consumption before its final meeting on 18 December 1655, exerted a considerable influence on the minds of delegates.9
Given this enduring Anti-Semitic tradition of suspicion, it is then to be wondered quite why the question of Jewish Readmission was aired at an official Government conference, the Whitehall conference, and why England opened its doors to the Jews and allowed the Crypto-Jews to emerge and live openly in the light. Rubinstein holds the interesting belief that far from hindering favourable attitudes the absence of visible Jews may have worked in their favour, breeding an indifference and ignorance that weakened these prejudices and provided a promising context for the development of different, more positive attitudes.10 What is universally accepted by historians, however, is that such a body of constructive, positive ideas and attitudes did exist and did develop in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and challenged the dominance of the Anti-Semitic tradition.
The contribution of the Reformation towards this development is fundamental. Despite the retention of episcopacy the psychological break with Rome was universally profound and led to the substitution of Rome for the Jews as the primary, most despised representation of Anti-Christ. Necessarilly, vilification of Jews as agents of the Devil was diluted as Christian hatred of the faith's arch-enemy was redirected onto the Papacy. Although Arminianism threatened this development its High Church theology was counterbalanced by the ever rising power and influence of the vociferously anti-catholic Puritan movement. With the collapse of Laudianism in 1641 the danger that a vacancy for the primary embodiment of Anti-Christ might again be filled by the Jews was permanently removed.11
As for an analysis of these attitudes themselves, I believe it can be assisted by a division of them into the Philo-Hebraic and the Philo-Semitic. This division is my own and is not intended to be an exact or definitive one, merely an aid to understanding. The categories may overlap and people could certainly and often did harbour simultaneously both of the attitudes designated by these terms. By "Philo-Hebraic" I mean attitudes which express an esteem for and appreciation of Jewish culture but do not in themselves entail a desire for Jewish readmission. By "Philo-Semitic" I mean attitudes that more positively tend towards an active call for Jewish readmission. I perceive there to have been two such "Philo-Hebraic " sympathies- an esteem for Ancient Israel on the one hand and for the Hebrew language on the other.
The Protestant doctrine of Sola scriptura and its substitution of the Papacy by Scripture as the basis of religious authority liberated Scripture from Papal control. As a result, many more people looked directly to the Bible for spiritual direction. Consequently, a greater, more personal and immediate importance was attributed to its contents. This in turn generated an unprecedented interest, particularly within the Puritan wing of the Church, in both the Old Testament and the Israelites, God's original chosen people- the ancestors of contemporary Jews.
The notion of an ancient "elect" held an empathetic appeal for Protestants but especially for the Puritans, who literally saw themselves as the new elect people of the Christian dispensation. Like themselves, the Jews had been set apart by God from the nations of the world to be his special possession. The history of Israel itself could be shown to justify, against Anglican critics, those disputed aspects of Puritan theology that stressed God's sovereign power, providential control of history andf steadfast faithfulness to the believer, in spite of the obduracy of his sinful nature.12 The Literature of the age is replete with analogies and references to the sacred text. According to J.Israel, such was the reverence paid to the Old Testament that themes from ancient Jewish history could rival and sometimes take precedence over not merely classical but Gospel mythology.13 The recorded, sacred history of one chosen people was utilized to give reassurance, instruction and warning to another. It could also shed light on matters of social and political controversy. As Hill points out, in the quest to defend their rights against absolutist Monarchy many Puritans looked back "to the customs and traditions of a tribal society, still relatively egalitarian and democratic." They recognized that sacred historical content "could be used for destructive criticism of the institutions that had been built up in medieval society" and took advantage of the fact.14
Perhaps the most notable demonstration of this affinity is found in the Scottish Covenanters and New Model Army's employment of Psalms 68 and 110 as war songs in their battles against the Anti-Christian royalists. The significance that "The Lord of Hosts", an unmistakable Hebraic term for God, was often their war cry is not to be missed. In 1649 Gerard Winstanley declared that all the prophecies and promises relating to ancient Israel were related to his own Digger community.15 In 1646 John Dury preached before Parliament the Fast Sermon "Israel's call to march out of Babylon" yet referred by Israel not to the Jews but to his fellow English Christians.16 Cromwell himself is particularly noticeable for drawing such parellells. On November 1st 1647 in conversation at a meeting of the General Council of the Army and to the purpose of emphasising the secondary importance of forms of Government he appealed to his fellow officers:
"(Consider the case of the Jews.) They were first (divided into families) where they lived, and had heads of families (to govern them), and they were (next) under judges, and (then) they were under kings. When they came to desire a king, they had a king; first elective, and secondly by succession. In all these kinds of government they were contented."17
On 28th June writing to Fairfax, referring to the progress of the Second Civil War he wrote " these things that have lately come to pass have been the wonderful works of God breaking the rod of the oppressor, as in the days of Midian".18 In his opening speech to the second Protectorate Parliament on 17 September 1656 and to the purpose of stressing the need for a continued Godly Reformation he opined that we do not want "a captain to lead us back into Egypt."19 The following year on 13 April he elucidated his reasons for refusing the Crown. God he said "hath blasted the title....I would not seek to set up that that providence hath destroyed and laid in the dust, and I would not build Jericho again."20
From this renewed interest in the Old Testament grew a natural concern for the composition of the best possible translations. In the early Seventeenth century an unprecedented degree of attention was focussed on Hebrew, a tongue that until the Reformation had been widely neglected.21 This scarce history of English acquaintance with the language inevitably led Englishmen to the Jews, the only truly accomplished contemporary guardians of the Hebrew tongue. In 1529 Henry VIII employed apostate Jewish scholar Marco Raphael to garner scriptural support for his divorce. This Royal act sparked an immediate expansion in Hebraic studies; in 1530 at St. John's college, Cambridge, Hebrew joined Latin and Greek as the only permissible languages for conversation in Hall. In 1540 Regius chairs in Hebrew were established at Oxford and Cambridge. Apostate Jewish scholars would appear periodically in these universities, such as P.Ferdinand, J.Wolfgang and Regius Professor J.I.Tremellius. English scholars seeking to emulate these Jews made use of the various Latin Hebrew grammars becoming available through a healthy academic trade with the continent. The first of many English language Hebrew Grammars was produced by John Udall in 1593. These, in addition to imported Rabbinic commentaries, proved of vital service in the production of the greatest fruit of these developments, the Authorized Bible, published to much acclaim in 1611.22
At the time of readmission distinguished Hebraists abounded, Such as Cambridge Hebraist John Lightfoot, Ralph Josselin, Edward Pococke and William Gouge. Edmund Gibbon said that "by constant reading of the Rabbi's" John Lightfoot became almost a Rabbi himself".23 This interest in Hebrew remained a concern for the highest levels of Government. In 1647 John Selden and Lightfoot arranged on Parliament's behalf the purchase of £500 of rare Hebrew texts for Cambridge Libreary through the academic trader Thomas Thomason.24 Henry Jessey, John Dury, Nathaniel Holmes, men who would all play a leading role in the readmission, were themselves all renowned for their deep knowledge of Hebrew.
This interest in Hebrew was further encouraged in the Seventeenth century by the attempt of language planners to formulate a philosophical, universal language. The most important Language planner was John Wilkins but others, such as Dury, Hartlib, Boyle, J. Eliot, W.Bedell and Seth Ward were also deeply interested in the issue.25 These men, with others, were aligned to an informal, international circle of scientist scholars, the leading light of which was the Czech reformer Jan Amos Comenius- for which reason it is also referred to as the Comenius circle. The philosophical language they sought, so it was hoped, would facilitate a perfect, entire, mystical correspondence between words and things, leaving us free, Comenius writes, to: "adjust our concepts of things to the forms of things themselves... to fit language to a more exact expression of more exact concepts".
Such a language would perfectly reflect thought and reality, dramatically increase man's knowledge of the world, perfect his worship of God and mirror, indeed be equilavent to, the language spoken by Adam before the fall. It would indeed prove the ideal of the Comenius circle, a "universal antidote to confusion of thought."26
What was needed, however, was a means of understanding how such a language could be devised. It was held that a knowledge of man's first tongue could yield the crucial insights and, moreover, that the descendant of this language had survived in sufficient purity through the millenia to be in a position to provide them. These philosophical language planners were convinced Hebrew was this descendant of the original divine lingua humana. In consequence they too were driven to desire closer contacts with the Jews and to embrace Jewish Hebraic scholarship, in particular the Kabbalah, that branch of Jewish wisdom which, amongst other things, explored the mystical qualities of Hebrew and asked those kind of questions that were of direct concern to these men.With a knowledge of the intricacies of the Adamic tongue, the supernatural Language through which God created the universe, it was hoped linguistic purity and therefore perfect knowledge of the world might be recovered for all men.27
Beyond this circle its antiquity was also widely upheld. Its identity as the first language dated back to Augustine in the fifth century, including amongst its more recent, distinguished adherents, Dante and Isidore; however, by the mid Seventeenth century, and despite the circulation of rival theories, its antiquity was acknowledged to an unprecedentsd degree. During the commonwealth, the antiquity of Hebrew was upheld by University of Edinburgh Grammarian William Robertson. In Hebrew, so he affirmed in his 1654 Hebrew Grammar, one could read the "Oracles of God...the very first, Primitive, and Originall Words of his own Spirit"28 Many Ministers including Thomas Sympson, Joshua Sylvester, John Davis, Edward Leigh and Joseph Caryl shared this sentiment and expressed it publicly in the following two years.29
With respect to readmission it can be seen that such novel, unprecedented "Philo-Hebraic" sympathies for and interests in Jewish culture, ancient and modern, prepared the ground and not only encouraged and stimulated but lent open and receptive ears to the voices of those who were more positively attracted to contemporary Jewry; "Philo-Semitic" voices that wished to raise its profile in English life, at times to the point even of working for a Jewish resettlement.
The first of such voices was that of the Christian "Judaisers." Such Judaizers believed, in opposition to Orthodox belief, that the legal demands of the Old Covenant had not been superseded by the death and resurrection of Christ. A true Christian faith, therefore, demanded literal fidelity to many of the injunctions of Old Testament law. Although this "Judaizing" Christianity could touch on a wide range of Old Testament Law, its primary focus was the Sabbath and the manner of its observance. It was maintained, in contrast to Orthodox doctrine, that the Sabbath was instituted at the Creation and so antedated the fall. As such it was an eternal feature of the divine order. The fourth commandment of the decalogue relating to the Sabbath should in turn be literally observed as a perpetual moral obligation, since, as an aspect of the eternal moral Law it was no less binding than the remaining nine laws of the Decalogue.
The most significant, renowned Judaizer of the early seventeenth century, the powerful and eccentric preacher John Traske, established himself in London in 1617. He progressed from a mild Sabbatarianism insisting on the observance of laws relating to Sabbath behaviour to a more extreme Saturday-Sabbatarianism. He spoke in an radical, unacceptable way that came close to blurring the creedal distinction between Christianity and Judaism. His beliefs and activities created an outcry that led to his imprisonment in 1618 and a sustained persecution of his followers, the "Traskites", people such as Returne Hebden, Hamlet Jackson, Christopher Sands and Mary Chester. Dorothy. In the 1620's Sands and Jackson went so far in the Judaical enthusiasm as to visit the Jewish community in Amsterdam, from which Manasseh Ben Israel would come to England on his mission of Jewish readmission in 1655. Sands would return but Jackson converted outright and remained, having accepted the condition of circumcision.30
It is possible, as Katz argues, that Sands and Jackson may have established the first, however tentative links, between English radicals and the influential Jewish community of Amsterdam. It is to be wondered, however, whether such Judaizing hampered as much as it may have assisted a resettlement on account of the strong opposition its ideas provoked from the establishment. Moses Wall felt it necessary in 1652 in his translation of Menasseh Ben Israel's Hope of Israel to reassure his readers that in translating the work into English that he did not "aime by this translation, to propagate or commend Judaisme".31
In the early 1620s, however, the Judaizing mantle had passed to Thomas Brabourne. In 1628 he declared "Let no be rente from our Church in practise". Unlike Traske he sought reform from within the Church. To him it was to be regretted that "a few keepe Saturday for Sabbath, and a multitude to keepe Sunday Sabbath, what a confusion, and what an hart-burning may it breede."32 He even conceded that if necessary, for the sake of harmony and unity, the Sabbath should be observed on the Sunday. As a result he was less threatening and so ensured that the Judaizing spirit remained a noticeable force and influence in English Religious through the Civil War and up to and beyond 1655. Although still capable of being imprisoned under Charles, during the Interregnum his ideas hardly created a stir, for it was the different memory of Traske that remained the symbol of danger.33
According to Henry Jessey's biographer, who remains anonymous, Jessey himself, regular correspondent with Menasseh Ben Israel and eye witness narrator of the Whitehall Conference, was a Saturday Sabbatarian, though he held his views in secret and practiced the Saturday sabbath in private.34 In any case, through him and fellow Judaizers Tillam and Chamberlen a string of Sabbatarian Churches, Mill Yard London, Natton, Gloucestershire, Buton-on-Trent, Leominster, Hexham, Dorchester and Colchester at Mill Yard, were all co-ordinated and encouraged and heightened the profile of a positive interpretation of Jewish spirituality.35
A second Philo-Semitic voice treated the various Scriptural prophecies relating to the conversion of the Jews more urgently than was usual in the Chrristian tradition. These conversionist ideas were pre-eminently couched in the language of Millenarianism. By Millenarianism I refer to the belief, various in its forms, in God's promise of a thousand year period, the Millenium, during which the Elect of God, the Saints, were, with Christ, at the time of his Second coming but before the Last Judgement, to govern the earth and satisfy man's yearnings for peace and righteousness. Heretical for centuries in the eyes of the Church it was sanctioned and justified by the Biblical imagery of Revelation 20.6, " they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years."36
The importance of the Jews to this belief lay in the vital role they were considered destined to play in the series of eschatological events leading up to Christ's second coming. This role was to convert to Christianity, for which they would be blessed with a restoration to Palestine. From the beginning of the seventeenth century belief in the importance of the role became increasingly widespread, articulated by men such as Thomas Brightman, Sir Henry Finch, continental scholar J.H.Alsted and his committed disciple Joseph Mede. Timetables and detailed accounts of the crucial Pre-Millenial events, inspired by the mathematical methods of Napier, were an integral part of Millenarian literature, helping to focus men's minds and instill a sense of expectancy. Significantly, the understanding arose that the mid Seventeenth century, the 1650's in particular, would herald the collapse of Anti-Christ Rome and the Jews' prophesied conversion.37
Pollin argues that fears and alarm provoked in the 1620s by Protestant defeats in the Thirty years war can explain the sharp rise in the popularity of these ideas at this time.38 The circulation of Millenarian ideas expanded further as a result of the eclipse of the Anglican anti-Millenarian hegemony and breakdown in censorship that began in 1640 and accelerated with the outbreak of the Civil War and then especially after Pride's purge of 1649. The struggle between Puritanism and the Antichristic Church stimulated apocalyptic enthusiasm as events appeared to bear witness that the victory of the Saints was near. As the elect, Puritan Millenarians understood themselves as God's agents on earth, whose duty it was to express thanks to God and glorify his name by actively performing his works and furthering his ends. Besides others the conversion of the Jews was one such work. Although prophesied as inevitable, it yet required their dedicated commitment.
A plethora of tracts and publications appeared. Jeremiah Burroughs believed the heroic actions of the Long Parliament had initiated the collapse of Babylon and the rise of the New Jerusalem.39 Dates for the beginning of the Millenium varied but all writers agreed with Brightman and Mede in looking to the mid Seventeenth century. An anonymous Pamphlet of 1642 reported "some do assign one year, some another, yet all agree.... it is near and even at our door."40 A wide consensus of opinion looked to the years 1655 or 1656. The Fifth Monarchists Mary Cary and John Canne calculated 1655.41 So did Nathaniel Homes writing in 1654:
"We can expect no more then, in the said 1655 yeer, but the call of the Jewes, who from that time shall strive with the Turke, and all enemies of the Jewes conversion five and forty yeers, Dan 12 afore their settlement".42
1656, however, the year just days away from the sessions of the Whitehall Conference, proved the most popular date. Fifth Monarchist John Tillinghast declared in 1653 "the beginning of the Jews delivery, is likely to be, either in the year it selfe, or thereabouts of our Lord...1656".43 Many writers, including John Tillinghast, justified their choice of this date through a popular Biblical calculation based on the date of Noah's flood. This was believed to have taken place in 1656 anno mundi. Following the statement in Matthew that "as the days of Noah were so shall also the coming of the son of man be"44 chronologers argued that since the flood occured 1,650 years after the creation of the world so the Second coming would occur in 1656, the same number of years after the incarnation.
Although Millenarianism was most prevalent in radical circles it was also embraced by respectable society, by Presbyterians, Baptists and Independents alike. Parliament, eager to find the highest possible grounds to support its case against a divine right Monarchy, encouraged the dissemination of Millenarian ideas by financing in 1644 the publication of the works of both Brightman and Mede. According to J.F.Wilson millenarianism "was the most striking and fundamental characteristic of the formal preaching before the Long Parliament".45 Powerful and influential figures include Thomas Goodwin, W. Gouge, Archbishop Ussher, the Director of the Westminster Assembly, the Presbyterian Samuel Rutherford and Moses Wall. In 1651 Peter Sterry, later Cromwell's Chaplain, preached a sermon before Parliament in which he subscribed to the Noachine chronological prediction. Robert Gell shared this view in a sermon preached before the Lord Mayor of London, published in 1655.46
B.S. Capp, in an extensive study of Fortescue's catalogue of George Thomason's collection of Interregnum pamphlets, though he reserves a healthy scepticism about the precision of his findings, has concluded that of new works published by 112 ministers between 1640-1653 78, just under 78%, express clear millenarian convictions. More revealingly only four of these ministers categorically denounced millenarian ideas, the rest remaining either undecided or indifferent, stances which in their silence, of course, for not such standing up to chiliast doctrines, could do nothing to stem the propagation of such ideas.47 As for Cromwell, himself, at the opening of Barebones Parliament declared:
"Indeed I do think something is at the door: we are at the threshold....you are at the edge of the promises and prophecies...it may be as some think, God will bring the Jews home to their stations from the isles of the sea, and answer their expectations as from the depths of the sea...trully you are called by God to rule with him, and for him".48
Dury, Hartlib and the rest of the Comenius circle expected the conversion of the Jews in 1655. We have already acknowledged their interest in Hebrew and Jewish wisdom. This concern itself, however, was part of a larger millenarianism, inspired by Alsted and the utopianism of Andraea.49 In seeking to spread universal light and wisdom they strove as much as possible to prepare for the Millenium. There is no doubt that the closer contacts they desired with Jews, as well as being motivated by intellectual concerns, were also sought in the hope that their conversion would result and so usher in the anticipated Millenial Utopia. As Dury would write in 1649 "The palpable and present acts of providence, doe more than hint the approach of Jesus Christ: And the Generall consent of many judicious, and godly divines, doth induce considering minds to beleeve, that the conversion of the Jews is at hand."50 In 1641 Comenius himself would write, "I presume we all agree that the last age of the world is drawing near, in which Christ and his Church shall triumph...in which the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea."51
Millenarian ideas were often allied to a prounced understanding of the significance of England to the purpose of conversion, a thought that could generate a forceful logic for readmission. It was often upheld that since England was home to a uniquely refined, perfected form of Non-Roman Catholic Christianity it presented to the Jewish mind a presentation of the Gospel that hitherto over the course of Christian history had never been available. The introduction of Jews into England therefore, so it was thought, would greatly advance the cause of their conversion. Suffolk minister John Eachard in 1645 was "perswaded that the Jewes shall receive their Christs Nativitie day from England, and from our blossoming Thorne rather than from any other Church in Christendome."52 William Tomlinson would echo this sentiment in 1656 in a somewhat more emphatic advocacy of Readmission:
"if it be possible we may become instruments of their conversion; holding forth before them a Heavenly conversation to convince them". For England, of course, was free of "that great stumbling block of the wickednesse of the lives of seeming Christians, who have got the name; and that other great stumbling block of the superstition and idolatry of their worships, may be taken out of the way: for God hath among us such as bear testimony against both these."53
In addition, as N.I. Matar has demonstrated in depth, the knowledge that England was a leading Protestant power in Europe and the attendant belief that this status was a sign of God's blessing fuelled a conviction that England was God's implement to impose his will on the world; principally its role and destiny was undestood to be that of the opposition to and the overcoming of the tyrranical powers of Rome and the Turk, and through their subjugation, the advancement of the cause of Protestant truth. In the Jews, England found an equally stalwart enemy of Roman Catholicism and the political ambitions of the Turk. This shared strategic orientation tended naturally not only to cast the Jews in a sympathetic light but to reveal them as a useful foreign policy asset whose support and co-operation it would not be wise to leave uncultivated. So it was believed their readmission to England, and as a result of it their conversion, would for certain, by allowing for facilitating the development of closer Anglo-Jewish relations, assist England and the Protestant cause in Europe.54
It was also widely upheld that the conversion of the Jews should be striven for and their readmission granted because gentile Christians, since they had obtained their salvation and knowledge of God from the Jews, owed them a debt of gratitude. Put bluntly in 1654 by one Philo-Judeaus, " by their fall salvation came to the gentiles. It was for our sakes that they hated Christ, refused the Gospel, and became enemies to the truth, that we might be brought to the knowledge of him that is able to save the utmost."55 In addition, it was recognised, as Major General Whalley commented on Dec 12th 1655, as the Whitehall conference was in session, "when wee were aliens from the covenant of promise they prayed for us."56 Christian charity was now owing in return, the granting to them of the same chance of salvation that they, to such enormous cost, had extended to the gentile world. With particular reference to England this debt of gratitude could combine with a perceived need to atone for the guilt of expulsion and the harsh treatments meted out to the Jews during the Middle Ages, a guilt moreover still current on account of what Edward Nicholas in 1649 labelled "the strict and cruel Laws now in force against the most honourable Nation of the world, the Nation of the Jews, a people chosen by God."57 Such treatment, argued Collier in 1656, "should engage us the more to shew compassion to them..as a token of our repentence and turning from the evils of our Fathers".58
It was even believed by some that the present chaos and discord in the nation resulting from the Civil War was a punitive outworking of divine anger at the nation's long perpetuation of the bar to Jewish settlement in England. Yet repentence through readmission could lead England back to stability. By such an act of mercy, so the Cartenwrights were convinced when addressing the Government in 1649 "the wrath of God, will be much appeased towards you, for their innocent blood shed".59 As an additional spur to readmission it was held that Jewish conversions consequent to readmission would occassion blessing, just as England's cruelty had provoked wrath. Moses Wall, writing in 1652 states "we shall receive great advantages thereby...and enlargement of good to us Gentiles, as a concomitant and synchronism with the Jewes' conversion".60 Two years later Philo-Judaeus felt confident that England itself "would reap benefit by their future spiritual and extraordinary gifts and graces, which I am sure they shall enjoy, when the Lord shall ingraft them in again". At that time, so he goes on to say "we shall see and know far more clearly than we do...then shall every vessel of the Lords house be filled with holiness...when God makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth."61
A third Philo-Semitic voice that needs to be considered is that of the campaign for Religious toleration. During the first half of the Seventeenth century the consensus view of the establishment was firm that disunity in matters of religion entailed nothing but disaster in State and Society. The Anglican conviction that saw Church and State as different aspects of one polity remained pre-eminent, arguing against all pluralistic innovations on the grounds that fragmentation in the spiritual realm could only lead to fragmentation, disunity, disobedience and chaos in the temporal.62
A general movement of challenge to this policy of rigid uniformity developed and gathered strength during the first half of the Seventeenth century.63 Not surprisingly its adherents were drawn mainly from the marginalized, excluded groups and sects of the Elizabethan settlement, the Brownists, Independents and Baptists. Again not surprisingly, their primary goal was to secure toleration for their own sect or group. Nevertheless, as Katz argues, in order to make a strong case for their acceptability these groups found it profitable to campaign for a general relaxation of Religious uniformity in the hope they in turn would benefit.64 Most would draw the line of toleration at a rejection of the universal principles of Christianity but the Baptists generously urged that toleration should be extended with no restrictions whatsoever, even to the accomodation of the Jews, the group traditionally most starkly beyond the pale of credal acceptability.65
From the early years of the century no group supported and argued for religious freedom for the Jews and their readmission to England as strongly and consistently as did the Baptists. In 1614 Leonard Busher, in a text republished in 1646, was the first Englishman to articulate the argument that by the exclusion of the Jews their conversion was impeded.66 In the following year another Baptist, J. Murton, produced an anonymous work, again republished in 1620 and 1630, that argued the validity of private judgement in religious matters and urged that Jews should no longer be persecuted but that their conversion be striven for through argument only.67 In 1636 John Weesme echoed these sentiments, though less strongly, yet to a wider audience.68
The overthrow of the Presbyterian ascendancy, marked by "Pride's Purge" in December 1648, concluded the shattering of the cohesive unity of the National Church, a shattering that had begun in 1641. As a result, the sectaries could now exert a greater influence. Never had the English Government been so intimatey connected with voices that had both an interest in and will to effect a Jewish readmission. Simultaneously, the Rump's exhaustion of patience with the King led to a renewed need to rethink the constitution of the state. At the same time, as Roth points out, pressing and preoccupying fears about the more extreme sectaries and the political threats of Roman Catholicism diverted prejudiced minds from the Jews.69
Two weeks after Pride's purge, the Council of Officers discussed a new constitution based upon "The Agreement of the People". This document had stipulated that a wide measure of religious liberty should be allowed for men to preach and advance their opinions so long as this was done in a peaceable manner. Shortly afterwards, the Council of Mechanics, endorsed by the Council of War, defined the range of toleration intended in a resolution granting liberty to all religions "Not excepting Turkes, Nor Papists, Nor Jewes."70
Meanwhile, in early January 1649 the Council of War received from Joanna Cartwright and her son Ebenezer, two English Baptists resident in Amsterdam, a petition requesting the readmission of the Jews under the protection of a thoroughgoing toleration that would allow them to trade and dwell in the land with full rights of equal citizenship. This move, the first formal and practical appeal to the Government for readmission, met with a favourable response and the promise to take the matter under consideration following the pressing matter of the King's trial.71 However, no further consideration of the petition materialized. In explanation of this one need only consider that on Jan 20th a modified "Agreement of the People" was published, granting toleration only to such as "profess faith in Jesus Christ."72 As it happened, the intervention of the cautious and conservative Rump Parliament in the deliberations of the Council of Officers had swiftly diffused the chance that, if only briefly, had emerged.
Despite this failure, however, the Jewish question was no longer confined to a purely academic debate. In an unprecedented way it had established itself in the realm of public, political debate. It would now remain there, to return periodically to the centre of discussion. Interestingly, however, at the very time of this setback to English efforts to secure Jewish readmission on idealistic grounds of Religious liberty the question entered a new phase of intensity.
Between late 1649 and the failure witnessed in that year to recall the Jews and the succesful realisation of readmission in 1656 a significant alteration in the Political landcsape occured as the result of a remarkable fusion of Jewish messianism and English Millenarianism and the consequent impulse it gave to the mission of Menasseh Ben Israel.
We have seen how the infiltration of the secret Marrano community into England developed in response to intensified persecution in the Iberian peninsula. The Iberian expulsions, however, exerted repercussions far beyond the borders of Spain and Portugal. A need was felt by all Jewry, both Sephardic and Ashkenazi, to come to terms with these Iberian upheavals. This need was compounded by their own various afflictions suffered at the hands of their gentile overlords. This need came to express itself in a rising tide of apocalyptic messianism.73 As Edwards shows, many interpreted the expulsions as a precursor to the arrival of the Messianic age. As would in the 1660s be strikingly demonstrated in the next to universal allegiance given to the Messianic claims of Sabbatei Sevi, Jewish Messianism overcame all kinds of social and economic barriers and touched all sectors of European Jewry, the rich Jews of Amsterdam as much as their poorest Co-Religionists in Poland and elsewhere.74
What was wanted, as Edwards says, was a "deliverance from alien rule and a restoration to a succesful independence, if possible in the Land of Israel itself."75 Although oriented about a quite different understanding of the role and identity both of God's people and the Messiah, Messianism in many ways mirrored Christian Millenarianism. Beyond its temporal inspiration by social and economic affliction, Messianism received a theoretical justification and impetus from the formulation in Safed, Palestine of Lurianic Kabbalah. Isaac Luria Ashkenazi(1534-72) introduced into the body of Kabbalistic spirituality a new activism transforming what had formerly been a more contemplative mystical teaching. He taught that the redemption of the universe relied on the individual's own participation, through prayer and religious observance, in an active, sustained process of "restoration", or tikkun, the goal of which was to recover into unity the scattered particles of the divine light shattered by the fall.76
Ashkenazi considered this process the true duty and purpose of the Jewish people. He considered that the whole of Jewish history was its development and progress. In his own lifetime only the final stages of redemption remained to be passed through. "Tiqqun" was thus endowed with a vigorous activism and Messianism became its active expression. As Gershom Scholem notes, with the development of "tiqqun", a corresponding rise in the eschatalogical mood was inevitable.77 These Kabbalistic ideas appealed to the popular mind, despite their obscure and recondite detail, and gained ascendancy as the Seventeenth century approached. It was not until the 1630s, however, that they became a dominant force. At the time of the Interregnum, writes Scholem, "Lurianic Kabbalism was the one well-articulated and generally accepted form of Jewisn theology."78
None responded more personally to this general mood of Messianic expectation or felt more sympathy for the plight of the Jews of Iberia and Europe than the Amsterdam Rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel. Born in Madeira, Portugal, in 1604 to Crypto-Jewish parents he was brought to Amsterdam whilst still a child. As a Sephardic Rabbi in his twenties he acquired fame in the Christian world through his numerous works of Jewish scholarship published in Latin and Spanish. He was widely consulted by both Dutch and Foreign, including English, academics wishing to broaden their knowledge of Jewish culture. In Gentile eyes generally he was deferred to as the representative of Jewish intellectual culture.79 If the legend is to believed he established contacts and a friendship with Oliver Cromwell in the 1630s.80
One theological subject provided a point of shared significance between English theologians and Menasseh Ben Israel- the whereabouts of the Lost Ten tribes of Israel and the eschatological significance of their reappearance. In 1644, a Marrano traveller, Antonio de Montezinos, returned to Amsterdam and claimed on oath before Menasseh that whilst travelling through the Andes in Ecuador, he discovered certain Indian natives belonging to the lost tribes of Reuben and Levi. Not only did they practise certain Levitical ceremonies but recited the Jewish Shema.81 The apocyraphal book 2 Esdras and Isaiah 11.12 both prophecy that the reappeareance of the Lost tribes would precede the appearance of the Messiah. In Isaiah we read that the Lord, before the time of redemption will not only gather together "the dispersed of Judah" but "assemble the outcasts of Israel".82 If the story of Montezinos were true it would prove a portentous indication of the Messiah's imminence.
However, this discovery would hold further implications. The prophet Daniel implied that the final redemption and return of the Jewish nation to Palestine could only begin once the scattering of the Jewish people was complete throughout the earth.83 The book of Deuteronomy clearly defined that this dispersal would be universal, "from one end of the earth even unto the other".84 If the wandering tribes of the Northern Kingdom had finally settled in one of the various suggested places in Asia it could be concluded that Jews had yet to be settled in the New world.85 Such a belief would remove into the future, perhaps a distant one, the deuteronomic time of final redemption. If, however, as it came to be argued with mounting energy, some of these Israelites had continued to America and were now settled there it followed that England constituted the last significant land mass yet to be inhabited.86 The Messiah's return was within a far closer grasp. If Montezino's report were true and a readmission to England could be secured, this central and very important prophecy would be fulfilled and the long hoped for redemption could be imminently expected.
English Theologians were interested in the fate of the Lost Ten tribes for their own conversionist and millenarian reasons. When they, or at least the more sophisticated of them, such as Dury, Hartlib, Jessey and Holmes, contemplated the necessity of the conversion of the Jews, they could not think only in terms of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin but had also to consider the necessary conversion of the whole House of Israel. Moreover, John Dury, Samuel Hartlib and others of their circle believed the conversion of the Lost Israelites would prove a harbinger of, and act as a catalyst to, the conversion of the Jews of Europe.87 Before these Israelites could be converted, however, they would need to be found. The question of their whereabouts, therefore, proved of direct relevance to their missionary objectives and the task of preparing for the Millenium. In addition, however, their interest in the Lost tribes was also fuelled by Philo-Hebraic scholarly concerns. They hoped the tribes might provide resources for scholarship, that in distant Lands held in the possession of Lost Israelites there might exist unknown, ancient texts of Scripture that could confirm the truth of the Masoretic and Septuagint texts or even contribute to a deeper understanding of the word of God.88
In November 1649 Dury contacted his friend Menasseh Ben Israel and asked for a copy of Montezinos' report.89 By return mail he received a French original which he translated and showed to Thorowgood. Both men agreed it should be added as an appendix to Jews in America.90 Dury's letter inspired Nathaniel Homes and Henry Jessey to write the following month a combined letter to Menasseh that sought his opinions on the implications the report might hold regarding the fulfillment of the Danieletic prophecy.91 This second letter, on top of Dury's, prompted Menassseh himself to write his own book on the subject. He completed The Hope of Israel and published it in Latin in 1650. Copies of this edition were sent to Dury who at once distributed them amongst his friends and other leading Puritans. In the book, though examining the full breath of the worldwide dispersal, Menasseh concentrated on the American Israelites.
At Dury's suggestion Menasseh dedicated it to the English Parliament. Menasseh praised the Parliament for its achievements and respectfully solicited it to show favour and goodwill towards the scattered Jewish nation.92 An English Edition, translated by Moses Wall, was published in the same year and a second edition in 1652. That a book written by a foreigner in Latin should be translated into the vernacular is a clear indication of the degree of curiosity aroused by the book and the extent of interest that it attracted. Although, contrary to what scholars once supposed, Menasseh made no explicit requests for readmission, he was careful to stress the necessity of a truly universal, worldwide Jewish dispersal and emphasised that these discoveries in America showed it was almost but not entirely complete.93
It was only later in the year, in a letter to Cromwell that would prove the first of many approaches to the future Lord Protector, that he made explicit the Messianic importance of a resettlement. In the following year Menasseh submitted his first formal appeal through a no longer extant petition to the English Government, received by the Council of State on October 10th.94 Interestingly, however, this petition, like the composition and dedication to Parliament of The Hope of Israel was not inspired solely by his own efforts. In January 1651 an English mission headed by Oliver St.John and Walter Strickland arrived at the Hague to explore the possibilities of establishing an Anglo-Dutch alliance. During this trip, John Thurloe, secretary to the mission, visited Menasseh in Amsterdam. Not only did he persuade him to make a formal application for resettlement to the English Government but advised him of the best way of doing so.95
Menasseh's interest in the resettlement of England had now crystallized into concrete action. In 1656, two years before his death, Menasseh bore witness not only to the fundamental and decisive role Englishmen such as Dury, Jessey, Homes and Thurloe had played in encouraging his purposes but also the general rise of Hebraic enthusiasm and the Philo-Semitic consciousness:
"the communication and correspondence I have held, for some years since, with some eminent persons of England, was the first originall of my undertaking this design. For I alwayes found by them, a great probability of obtaining what I now request; whilst they affirmed, that at this time the minds of men stood very well affected towards us; and that our entrance into this Island, would be very acceptable, and well-pleasing unto them. And from this beginning sprang up in me a semblable affection, and desire of obtaining this purpose."96
The response of a committee set up to consider the petition, which included Oliver Cromwell, though non-committal, was positive and constructive. It decided the best course of action would be to discuss terms of readmission with Menasseh himself. In the following month, November 1651, a passport was issued.97 Unfortunately, however, Anglo-Dutch relations had now deteriorated in the wake of the passing of The Navigation Act on October 11th 1651. War broke out the following January and for the next three years negotiations were suspended. That the English Government continued to reissue a passport to him in each of the years of war, however, suggests this delay was not due to a change of mood on their part.98 Instead it was Menasseh's own decision not to come to England. Apart from Menasseh's submission of one further petition to Barebones Parliament in 1653, which failed, his energies were for the time distracted from England.
According to Katz, this was not only due to the illness that all historians recognise as having been a major factor but to an interest he now felt in courting the attention and patronage of Queen Christina of Sweden in the hope that he might prove a substitute to the intellectual role earlier played in that country by Descartes.99 However, according to Wolf, his hesitation in coming to England was also due to quarrels with his colleagues in the Amsterdam Rabbinate. These colleagues, unlike Menasseh, shared in the general Dutch feelings against England consequent to the outbreak of hostilities. Menasseh's position, therefore, had he come to England, would have been perhaps "hopelessly and disastrously compromised".100 According to Roth, in 1653 Menasseh was very keen to travel to England but was advised by the Amsterdam community not to do so and "that if he went to England it must be on his own responibility".101 This he finally did in October 1655. He was financed neither by Amsterdam nor the London Marrano's but most probably by the Lord Protector himself.
What of Cromwell's favourable stance towards readmission. Henry Jessey in his eye witness account of the Whitehall conference states: ‘The Protector shewed a favourable inclination towards our harbouring the afflicted Jews...in several speeches that he made.’102 He does not, however, tell us anything more. Was this positive inclination Philo-Semitic in the Spiritual sense I defined the word in Section II or was it based on more practical and expedient considerations? We have already noted his Philo-Hebraism but surely this alone cannot explain his stance. An admiration of Hebrew history and the Old Testament and their utilization for the purposes of political polemic bears no necessary connection to an advocacy of readmission, nor indeed to any kind of sympathetic regard for contemporary Jews. Unfortunately, we have only one documented insight into why Cromwell supported readmission and this itself is second hand. It is found in Nathaniel Crouch's narrative of proceedings of the Whitehall Conference. In it we read Cromwell declaring that he had:
"no ingagement to the Jews but what the scriptures held forth; and that since there was a Promise of their Conversion, means must be used to that end, which was the preaching of the Gospel, and that could not be had unless they were permitted to reside where the Gospel was preached."103
Can we, however, conclude that this straightforward conversionist, and, if one is to set store by his opening statement to Barebones Parliament, millenarian motivation alone suffices to explain his attitude. On November 6th 1648, in a letter to Colonel Hammond, Cromwell wrote from Pontefract concerning his desire for a union of the Godly people and redress of the internecine strife within the body of believers :
" I profess to thee I desire it from my heart, I have prayed for it, I have waited for the day to see union and right understanding between the godly people (Scots, English, Jews, Gentiles, Presbyterians, Independents, Anabaptists, and all)."104
In 1655 in a commissioned pamphlet he is seen to look forward to a "glorious union of the people of God, made to be of one spirit".105 That he should consider the Jews to belong to the party of the Godly is itself remarkable. Does it suggest that the general spirit of liberality regarding matters of conscience that he persistently extended to his subjects over the course of his rule and that is particularly witnessed to in the articles of the Instrument of Government extended also to the Jews? It appears it does not. For despite the fact that he could proclaim in September 1655, in regard to the Biddle case, "Where shall we find men of a Universal spirit? Everyone desires to have liberty but none will give it", he also in the very same month, in an effort to clarify the liberty of conscience provided for in the Instrument, states categorically that the Instrument should never, while he had any interest in the Government, "be stretched so far as to countenance those who denied the divinity of our saviour."106 Although in this regard he was referring to Christian anti-Trinitarians there is no doubt that Jews fall under the rubric of this exclusion. A year later, at the opening of the Second Protectorate Parliament, moreover, he affirms that in his eyes the Godly are those who "believe in Jesus Christ...men that believe the remission of sins through the blood of Christ and live upon the grace of God."107
His ideal was always, as Coward writes, "the maintenance of Protestant unity within a national Church."108 Nevertheless, in the Instrument we may begin to read some ambiguity into his stance in his omission of the Jews from his list of those for whom religious freedom is categorically not to be extended. In the Instrument he states that liberty of conscience should not be extended to "Popery or Prelacy, or to the countenancing such who publish horrid blasphemies, or practice to hold forth licentiousness or profaneness under the profession of Christ".109 Worden is no doubt correct in stating that Cromwell's imagination "could not enter the world of the Ranters and Quakers and Socinians". It is surely, however, also to his credit that he doesn't say it couldn't enter the world of the Jews.110
It is to be noted that all the professions of belief identified or alluded to in the Instrument were held by men who in principle were opposed to and so posed a threat to Cromwell's Government and the peace of Church and nation. On the other hand, the Presbyterians, Independents and Baptists, those believers whom he did wish to see compassed by the church, being in principle both Puritan and Orthodox, were not looked upon as subversive elements. Cromwell's renowned pragmatism, so central a characteristic of his political instincts, extended also to his strategy towards the spiritual affairs of the nation. In both the temporal and spiritual realms, in Cromwell's mind policy was dictated, to a greater degree than might sometimes be inferred from his recorded statements, by the imperative to uphold order and guard the security of the Body Politic. This yields us a crucial insight into Cromwell's attitudes towards the Jews. For at no point since his arrival in England in 1655 had Menasseh expressed any sentiment hostile to the Commonwealth or to its Religious affairs; nor would he do so at any time throughout his stay until his departure in 1657. As the Reverend Singer has shown, it was, as it is to this day, the custom of the Jewish people to offer up prayers and blessings to the Sovereign in whose lands they lived.111
Cromwell was not by nature a persecutor. He was primarilly concerned to assert and maintain the Protectorate. Although he never advocated unlimited toleration, the broadness of vision of a Peter, Williams, Robinson or Locke, at the same time, he was capable of displaying a remarkable looseness of attachment to his own professed utterances on the limits of toleration, for example, in his personal interventions to ease the plight of individual Roman Catholics, Anglicans, John Naylor, the Quaker, and John Biddle112. Yet in each of these cases he was suspending the rigour of the law towards elements of the people and individuals renowned for their disloyalty. How much more then could a flexible interpretation of the law extend to the Jews. According to Abbott, it was natural that he should encourage the Jews, "who were not only not opposed to him but supported his authority."113
This point that Menasseh and the London Crypto-Jews were supportive of the Protectorate already introduces a consideration of the question of practical motivations behind his being in favour of readmission. Was this support, however, merely passive and negative? Did he allow them to resettle merely because they would be loyal, or did he have more active reasons for supporting a resettlement? According to Endelman, Cromwell owed the London Marranos a personal debt in return for various favours that they had extended to him over the course of his rule. Readmission, so he says, "allowed Cromwell to repay the Marrano Community in London for the assistance given him." As for this assistance, he refers to the intelligence services provided for him by such leading London Marranos as Antonio Carvajal and Simon De Caceres.114 Lucien Wolf has conducted the most exhaustive and authoritative study of this connection between Cromwell and the secret Jewish Community.115 He argues, first quoting the reminiscences of Gilbert Burnet and The Diary of Thomas Burton and going on to produce his own evidence from Thurloe's state papers, that Cromwell received through his Secretary of State reports sent to Carvajal by a Jewish agent of his in Flanders, one Jacub Goltburgh or John Butler; for example, a report of a Royalist plot on the Protector's life and of the number of Charles II's military levies, the nature of their equipments and the vessels engaged to transport them. Cromwell was also kept informed of all foreign visitors received by the King and each Royalist spy despatched to England. As Wolf says, "all this must have been very useful to the Government."116 He goes on to detail similar activities of the Marranos Dormido and Simon de Caceres. De Caceres indeed had particularly extensive contacts in the New World and South America and is said by Thurloe to have submitted a memorandum of a scheme for the conquest of Chile and, in connection to Cromwell's prized ambitions in the Carribean, provided advice regarding the fortifications of Jamaica.117
There is, of course, the possibility that by demonstrating a favourable approach to readmission, apart from honouring a debt for such services rendered, he was, by warmly receiving their appeals, actively seeking these services and hoping to procure them. Can we really suppose that the mere sense of gratitude for these services would have provided Cromwell sufficient reason to pursue his policy? Perhaps he also had an eye to guaranteeing that the source of this intelligence would continue and not dry up, either in the immediate or the more distant future. It does seem entirely reasonable that such intelligencing services - and I see little reason to doubt their existence - would have been of a particular usefulness to Cromwell in the years 1654-56, when Cromwell was endeavouring to combat Spanish trading hegemony in the West and was feeling particulaly susceptible to royalist incursions, especially after the Penruddock rising of April 1655. So too would the rich Marranos have been of help in his more general policies of colonial and commercial expansion, principally because of the wide matrix of the worldwide commercial connections that they possessed. Through their links with the Iberian peninsula they had a great stake in Spanish and Portugese trade and Jewish associates overseas virtually controlled trade in the Levant.118
Yet, in this regard, surely it is their vast control of bullion that is, of all considerations, the most important. The State Papers show that Carvajal alone annually imported £200,000 of Spanish bullion. According to Wolf, the first new settlers to arrive in England after resettlement brought with them £1,500,000 in ready money.119 The continued recess of Parliament and Cromwell's perpetual need to raise revenue- a need only magnified in the wake of his reduction of the monthly assessment tax from £90,000 to £60,000 in the autumn of 1654- in addition to the prospect of war with Spain cannot but have weighed heavily on his mind.
Although there is fairly conclusive proof that Cromwell availed himself of Jewish intelligence, there is nevertheless no certain evidence regarding a direct connection in Cromwell's mind between his support for readmission and such practical considerations of Jewish usefulness. Indeed, if we are to be satisfied only with concrete proofs, we indeed have only Crouch's testimony to go on, which of course points to the exclusive presence within him of only a simple and unambiguous conversionist motivation.
In October 1655 Menasseh Ben Israel arrived in London, four years after the initial granting of a passport. On the last day of the month he presented a copy of his Humble Addresse to the Council of State.120 In it he eloquently pleaded that the Goverment with a gracious eye would "have regard unto us, and our Petition, and grant unto us...free exercise of our Religion, that we may have our Synagogues, and keep our own Publick Worship, as our bretheren doe in Italy, Germany, Poland and many other places."121 In addition, Cromwell, in sympathy with Menasseh's intention, forwarded to the Council of State a personal petition of Menasseh's that he had received from him directly. In it Menasseh, echoing the radical and far reaching spirit of the Cartwright petition, requested the general readmission of the Jews into all parts of the English dominions on terms of equality with other Englishmen and made five further requests that in their breadth and boldness reveal the confidence he felt. He asked that the readmitted Jews be allowed a Public Synagogue and permitted to consecrate a cemetery; that they should be allowed to trade freely in all types of merchandise and permitted to try their cases according to Mosaic Law- with a right of appeal to English Civil Law. Finally, for their greater security, any anti-Jewish legislation in existence on the Statute book should be annulled. In an attempt to ease its reception, Menasseh stated that a special official could supervise Immigration, receive passports and swear Jews to fidelity to England, once again revealing his respectful attitude towards the Government and the nation into which he sought a Jewish resettlement. The Council of State did not respond directly but appointed a subcommittee chosen from its members to investigate the possibility of acceding to his requests.
This subcommittee presented its findings to the Council on November 13th 1655. Significantly, its report did not rule out a readmission in that it stated "That the Jews deserving it, may be admitted into this nation to trade, and traffic, and dwell amongst us as providence give occassion", and that "as to point of conscience we judge lawful for the Magistrate to admit."122 It did, nevertheless, outline various and significant fears and reservations. Public Jewish worship, something it called scandalous, indeed "Evil in itself", might influence Christians from their devotions. Jewish Marriage and divorce customs were contrary to English Law. Jews could not be trusted, moreover, to honour their oaths and Englishmen should not rush to forget Jewish injuries committed against them "in life, chastity, goods or name" before the expulsion. It also feared that a free exercise of trade would excite the prejudices and envy of English Merchants, particularly those of the city of London, the elite trading and commercial centre of the nation.
Seven conditions were laid down that they hoped might sufficiently protect Englishmen from the projected economic and religious dangers of an unrestricted Jewish immigration. They must be denied public courts, both civil and ecclesiastical, be prohibited from defaming the Sabbath, from working on Sundays and from employing Christian servants. They must be excluded from public office and restrained from taking revenge on Jewish converts to Christianity. Finally, they should be prohibited from printing anything in English that in the least opposed Christianity.123 The Council decided the issue should receive further consideration. It was at this time that the idea of calling a specially selected Conference to discuss the issue was first voiced. The following day, on November 14th, Lisle, Wolsely and Pickering confirmed the calling of such a gathering and sent out letters of invitation.124 Its purpose was to advise the subcommittee and Council as to whether these safeguards and conditions were sufficient to protect England from the likely disadvantages of Jewish immigration and, if necessary, suggest further recommendations.
The Whitehall Conference was opened on Dec 4 1655. Paradoxically, a tension arose between issues one might think would support and confirm one another: the legal acceptability of a Jewish return and the desirability of one. On the day of the penultimate session, Dec 14, The two Lawyers Glynne and Steele, present at the Conference, ruled that "No Law existed against their coming in."125 Despite this legal decision, however, it became increasingly apparent over the course of deliberations - in the wake both of a resurgent anti-Semitism and a strong articulation of mercantile fears, that if Jewish merchants were allowed to compete freely with them, their own trade, wealth and prosperity would be damaged - that the Conference as a whole did not feel eager or willing to consent to readmission, even in principle.126
No historian doubts the central, decisive role Oliver Cromwell played in Jewish readmission. Nor does any doubt that he was unequivocally in favour of it. The power Cromwell possessed in 1656, despite the constitutional restraints placed upon him by the Instrument of Government, was such that had he not been in favour of readmission Menasseh's mission would have foundered entirely and the Crypto-Jews remained in obscurity. It might, however, be argued that his failure to overrule the negative spirit of the Whitehall Conference, and through Protectoral decree, just declare a formal edict of readmission indicates that he perhaps came to doubt his own stance and conviction. However, as Coward demonstrates, Cromwell, though more authoritarian at this time than at any other, was still eager to retain the broad support of the nation, in particular the gentry, and still maintained his hopes for advancing what Coward understands to have been the two enduring, dominant ideals and aims of the Cromwellian Protectorate: the settlement of the nation and the unity of the Godly people.127 High taxes and Major-General rule were unpopular enough. A formal readmission of the Jews was not a step to be entered into lightly, confronting as it would anti-Semitic suspicions and prejudices that were still widespread and might surface at any moment. In addition, we should not forget that to a great extent Cromwell's freedom to act was conditional upon the support of his Council of State. In following its lead and agreeing to a Conference, he was merely adhering to political custom.
In any case, we see signs of Cromwell's enduring sympathy for readmission in his exasperation of Dec 18 and in his precipitate, impatient dissolution of the Conference as the tide turned against resettlement.128 Yet without doubt the strongest evidence is found not in any actual or purported utterance but through a study of the Marrano petition submitted to him on 24 March 1656 revealing clearly the existence of "Hebrews at present residing in this city of London" This petition was headed with Menasseh's name but also contained six signatures of the Merchant community of Creechurch Lane, including that of Dormido. The heart of the petition reads as follows:
"We thank you for leave to meet in our private houses for devotion, and beg to have a protection in writing, that we may meet without fear of molestation, as we desire to live peaceably under your Government. Also we beg license that those of us who may die may be buried in a place out of the city with leave of the proprieters."129
In the first line we see the clear allusion to some kind of a verbal assurance that Cromwell must have given to the Marranos that despite the failure of the Whitehall Conference they would be permitted the modest privilege of continuing to attend their longstanding private congregations. Although, again, there is no concrete proof, we may surmise that this concession was indeed granted, no doubt in compensation for the failure of the Whitehall Conference. More significantly, however, this bold petition was passed over in silence and did not provoke the kind of negative reaction one would expect of a Government opposed to resettlement. All this silence does reveal is the persistence of that same cautious deference that Cromwell felt to the mood of popular opinion, the same deference that had led him not to overrule the mood of the Conference and to forcibly impose a resettlement on the nation in December 1655. Indeed, despite the Marranos’ failure to secure their desired written guarantee, as events transpired, in that very formal neglect, in that failure to respond, in that silence, lay the very assurance that they needed. For thereafter an open Anglo-Jewish community became a de facto reality. Before long, indeed, their formerly secret synagogue on Creechurch Lane became an openly acknowledged fact, they had established a cemetery on the Mile end road and were permitted to become brokers in the city of London.130
Explanations of readmission remain contentious; for as Pollins says, summing up the general uncertainty, "No one knows exactly what happened".131 This is not difficult to understand. Together, the dearth of clear insights from documentary evidence and the fact that despite the clearly unenthusiastic and reluctant response of the official Conference specifically called to offer its opinion readmission nevertheless occurred, surround the events of 1655-56 in a mystery and obscurity that perhaps may never be removed- removed that is by historical analyses constituting more that informed speculations.
The actual process of readmission itself bears the marks of enigma and elusiveness to such a degree one might be forgiven for failing to acknowledge that in 1656 any Jewish readmission in fact occurred. Indeed, though not current amongst historians today, such an opinion has been upheld by historians in the past, such as Tovey, who attributes readmission to the Government of Charles II. In my introduction, I clarified how, because a Jewish presence of one kind or another was always found in England between 1290 and the 1650's, we should qualify our use of the word "readmission". If then, we do speak in terms of a readmission, we are not speaking of the repopulation of a land hitherto bereft of Jews but must instead be referring to the notion of a decisive, Governmental reversal of the 1290 policy of exclusion. Yet, as we have seen, when we look to find an explicit document guaranteeing, or an official decision made about, a formal readmission in 1655 or 1656, none is found. Indeed, in such a search we must look not to the period of the interregnum but to a statement made by Charles II in Council on August 22nd 1664 guaranteeing Jewish rights of domicile.132 Nevertheless, unless we will only acknowledge as evidence decisive Governmental acts extant in accessible written documents, it is surely invalid to uphold that 1655-56 is falsely identified as the time of readmission. Quite apart from the informal, gradual removal of the veil of secrecy hitherto drawn over the London Marrano community and the steady growth in size of this community up to 1690, it is surely the case that the ruling of Chief Justices Glynne and Steele- a ruling that led John Evelyn to note in his Diary "Now were the Jews admitted"- marked a watershed in Anglo-Jewish history, even if it lacked a binding legislative force. At the very least it exposed the myth that statute laws existed illegalising a Jewish presence.133
Unique to the period of the mid Seventeenth century was a phenomena that must be central to any understanding of readmission: the collapse of the Anglican Religious and Political status quo. The breakdown of the Elizabethan/Jacobean establishment, initiated by the Civil War and concluded with the execution of the King, encouraged Philo-Semitic energies to embrace a more active dedication to the Jewish cause, as the shaking and fragmentation of the Body Politic created new opportunities for steps forward to be taken as readmission ceased to be a merely distant and theoretical hope and became instead an immediate possibility.
In an attempt to evaluate the claims of practical and theological causes of readmission, a number of points can be made, in addition to the observation that the attempt to separate the one class of motivation from the other is itself somewhat crude. Firstly, although the revolutionary spirit of the Interregnum extenuated and magnified theological sympathies and witnessed the first forceful articulation of arguments for readmission, we can trace the history of the spiritual Philo-Hebraic and Philo-Semitic reorientations of attitude back to the Reformation. With respect to Philo-Hebraism, we see the diabolization of the Papacy diminishing the hold of the medieval, negative characterisation of the Jew and permitting the growth, through a simultaneous intensification of Scriptural studies, of new positive attitudes given shape by the history of the Old Testament and its heroes. In the light of a new status accorded to the Hebrew Language, we witness the first concrete manifestations of interest in contemporary Jewish culture and wisdom. With respect to Philo-Semitism, we see the growth of elements of Judaizing Christianity, of Millenarianism and other concerns to convert the Jews in addition to the general quest for Religious toleration. Just such a history and course of development, however, cannot be delineated with respect to practical, political and economic arguments. These were noticeably circumstantial, such as the need to extend colonial expansion in the west, advance the cause of trade, attract bullion to raise revenue and utilize Jewish intelligence in the West Indies and in the war against Spain. Unlike Spiritual Philo-Hebraism and Philo-Semitism, both of which had older histories, these arguments arose in a generated response to political events and exigencies. Secondly, although the Spiritual case for readmission found enthusiasts from all sectors of the community, from all classes and from inside and outside the Government, the practical case for readmission did not exert such a broad based appeal. Amongst scholars, Edwards stands alone in suggesting that some aspects of the mercantile community, eager to conciliate Dutch Jews who during the Anglo-Dutch war had damaged their trade with the Iberian peninsula, resisted and stood apart from the general commercial hostility to a resettlement. Yet even he recognises that these were a minority element. Certainly, this perspective held no currency amongst the representatives of business at the Whitehall Conference, where a univocal opposition to a perceived threat to their interests is noted. Significant sympathy for the practical case for readmission, indeed, was drawn only from the elite echelons of Government and from the person of Oliver Cromwell in particular.
In my opinion, this practical case was never so compelling to the Government that in and of itself it could have elevated readmission to the high position it assumed as a policy objective in the affairs of state from 1648, and from 1650 in particular. For certain, once readmission was on the political agenda the practical case furthered its cause but what raised the issue in the public eye and projected it into the political arena were the pressures from the Judaizers, the Millenarians and the Tolerationists; and what then moved this debate into the centre ground of the political agenda was the campaign of Menasseh Ben Israel.
There is indeed no doubt that in the 1640s and 1650s English interest in the Jews and their culture, inside and outside Government, was greater than it had been at any time since expulsion. Nevertheless, as is suggested by the failure of the Cartwright petition of 1648, it seems unlikely that a readmission would have been achieved without the rise of a corresponding Jewish interest in their own readmission of the type seen in the mission of Menasseh Ben Israel.
In assessing the contribution of Menasseh Ben Israel, despite his undeniable failure to realize his ambitions for a formal and explicit readmission, we should not be blind to the central, if not decisive, role he played in a readmission which, although informal and fragile, was a fact by late 1656. The close intimacy and interaction between the leading Philo-Semites and Menasseh Ben Israel, a peaceable, respectful, distinguished and popular representative of the very people in whose name they campaigned, lent their cause an invaluable focus and justification in the eyes of the nation. His personal efforts were also the first explicit, sustained attempt of a Jew, as opposed to an English Philo-Semite, to pressure the Government for resettlement. Although, as we have seen, the London Marranos were ultimately responsible for testing and so proving concrete the policy of Connivancy (though even in this Menasseh played a part), it yet nevertheless remains the case that over the previous century and a half they had never attempted to secure their status as Jews through overtures to the Government.
The significance to readmission of the work of gentile English Philo-Semites is central and has to be acknowledged, particularly the work of Dury, Homes and Jessey. Nevertheless, it needs to be said, naturally enough, that both for not being Jews and on account of enduring creedal barriers, in the eyes of these English Philo-Semites, even those of Judaisers such as Jessey and Tillam, the material plight of the Jews, though a concern born of Christian charity, was never and could never be as central and compelling a consideration and spur to resolution as it was for a Jew worried not only for his people as a whole but, in particular, for the fellow countrymen of his native Portugal. In addition, though English Millenarians shared his spiritual concern to expedite the coming of the Messiah and felt readmission, though for quite different reasons, would bring nearer his appearance, again they could not but lack Menasseh's particular fervour for the cause born of a Jewish identity. Besides, to such Englishmen other matters were ultimately of a greater importance. Readmission, though important as a means to an end, was nonetheless only a means, not an end in itself. Their Philo-Semitism, though sincere, was itself an epiphenomenon and consequence of other concerns: to spread the Gospel, hasten the Second Coming, appease God and avert his wrath, advance learning, add force and weight to appeals for universal toleration and bring unity to the people of God. That readmission was not of a primary and overriding importance is even more apparent with respect to advocates of readmission persuaded by practical and expedient arguments. Their ultimate goal was not readmission itself but to strengthen foreign policy against Pope and Turk, win the Spanish war, extend the commercial empire in the west and the Levant, stimulate the national economy and raise Government Revenue. With respect to each of these spiritual and practical goals, the readmission of the Jews provided just one of many routes to their realisation. In the case of none did readmission constitute the sole and only means to their attainment.
On the other hand, however, were it not for English Philo-Semitism it is hard to imagine that the response of Englishmen to Menasseh's initiatives in 1650 would have been anything other than stony silence and indifference, if not hostility. Without the various expressions of interest in and sympathy for the Jews that reached their zenith in the 1640s and 1650s it is inconceivable that an official Government Conference would have been called to discuss the matter of a resettlement. In addition, we must recognise the role that this Philo-Semitism played in focussing Menasseh's energies on England. For his campaign, though it originated in the general need to find a refuge for the afflicted Jews of Iberia and Eastern Europe, was given impetus by way of his reflection on how well affected to his people Englishmen now seemed to have become. In addition, Menasseh’s campaign was then translated into a concrete effort only through the involvement and encouragement of English Philo-Semites, specifically Dury, Homes and Jessey- in the context of the theological debates regarding the location and eschatological significance of the Lost Ten Tribes. From that point on, his campaign would then receive further invaluable support and encouragement through the sympathy extended to him by the Government from 1650 to 1653 and thereafter by the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell.
Ultimately, it can be seen that the event of readmission was a consequence of numerous and disparate factors and forces- the possibilities for change opened up by the unstable, revolutionary furnace that was Interregnum England, Philo-Semitism and energetic developments within the body of Christian belief, the active mission of Menasseh Ben Israel and the decisive, sustained support of the person of Oliver Cromwell. Together, these combined, not in the way that might have been hoped, not that is in such a way as to establish a formal and written declaration, but rather in a way that yet wrested the secure, effective and lasting resettlement of the Jews that we see to this day from conservative forces that continued to resist change in the policy of exclusion.
1. T.M.Endelman, "The Jews of Georgian England, 1714-1830: Tradition and Change in a Liberal Society"
(Philadelphia, 1979), P. 19
2. D.S. Katz , "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England 1603-1655" (Oxford, 1982). PP. 9-169.
B. Coward, "Cromwell" (London and New York, 1991). PP.137-138
3. Edwards, "The Jews in Christian Europe 1400-1700" (London and New York, 1988), PP. 172-177, Jonathan n
Israel "European Jewry in the age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750" (Oxford, 1985). PP. 145-160, 240-245 , T.M.
Endelman "Jews in Georgian England: 1714-1830: Tradition and Change in a Liberal Society", M.Ashley, "Oliver
Cromwell: The Conservative Dictator" (London, 1937), R.S.Paul, "The Lord Protector: Religion and Politics in the
life of Oliver Cromwell", (London, 1955). PP. 16-20 , L.Wolf, " Menasseh Ben Israel's mission to Oliver
Cromwell", London, 1901). PP. xxviii- lxix , C.Roth, "A History of the Jews in England" (Oxford, 1941). PP. 156-
4. C. Roth, "A History of the Jews in England" (Oxford, 1941). PP. 132- 147. See also L.Wolf, "Jews in Elizabethan
England"(London, 1928) , W.D.Rubinstein, "A History of the Jews in the English-Speaking World: Great Britain"
5. D.S. Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England" 1603-1655 . PP. 4-5
6. P.Isaiah (E. Bargishai), "The Messias of the Christians" (1655) . PP. A7. See also "A Vindication of the
Christians Messiah" (1654), "A Vindication of the Christians Messiah" (1654)
7. W.Prynne, "A Short demurrer To the Jewes Long discontinued barred Remitter into England"
P. A3 (1655)
8. W.Prynne, "A Short demurrer To the Jewes Long discontinued barred Remitter into England" ii. A2
9. D.S.Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England 1603-1655" . P.221. .
10. W.D. Rubinstein, "A History of the Jews in the English speaking World: Great Britain" . PP. 43
11. W.D. Rubinstein, "A History of the Jews in the English speaking World: Great Britain" . PP. 43-44. See also
C.Roth, "A History of the Jews in England".PP. 149-151, N. Perry, "Anglo-Jewry, the Law, Religious Conviction
and Self-Interest (1655-1753)" ( Cambridge, 1984). PP. 1-3
12. W.D. Rubinstein, "A History of the Jews in the English Speaking world:Great Britain" . PP. 40-42, H. Pollins, . "Economic History of the Jews in England" (London, 1982). PP.29-30
13. Jonathan Israel, "European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism,1550-1750" . PP. 229
14. Christopher Hill, "Society and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England" (London,1986) P. 204
15. Christopher Hill, "Till the Conversion of the Jews" (Leiden, New York, 1988) P. 21
16. John Dury, "Israel's call to march out of Babylon" (London, 1646)
17. W.C.Abbott, "The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell: Vol I" (Oxford), P.540
18. Cited from J.C.Davis, "Cromwell's religion" (London and New York, 1990). P.194
19. W.C.Abbott, "The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell: Vol IV". P.273.
20. W.C.Abbott, "The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell: Vol IV". P.473
21. C.Roth, "A History of the Jews in England". P. 145
22. C.Roth, "A History of the Jews in England". P. 145-148. See also D.S.Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission
of the Jews to England : 1603-1655 . PP. 9-14, "The Phenonemon of Philo-Semitism" (Oxford, 1992). PP. 328-333
23. Dictionary of Nationary Biography., "Lightfoot"
24. I. Abrahams and C.E. Sayle, "The Purchase of Hebrew Books By The English Parliament in 1647" (London, 1918)
25. R.H.Popkin, "The Lost Tribes, the Caraites and the English Millenarians." (Oxford, 1985-86). P. 213. For further
details on membership of this cicle see H.Trevor-Roper, "Three Foreigners" (London, 1972) . PP. 249-293
26. J.A.Comenius, "The Way of Light" (1641). PP. 137, 188. For further details of the quests for universal languages
see Katz's "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews : 1603-1655" PP. 43-49
27. D.S.Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England:1603-1655" .PP. 49-88. For further details
on Englishmen's scholarly enthusiasm for the Kabbala see also Katz's "The Phenonemon of Philo-Semitism" .PP.
330-333 and J.L. Blau, "The Christian Interpretations of the Cabala in the Renaissance" (New York, 1944)
28. W.Robertson, "The First Gate..The Second Gate...to the Holy Tongue" (1647)
29. D.S.Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England: 1603-1655". P. 63
30. P. Collinson, "The Beginnings of English Sabbatarianism" (Oxford, 1964). P.209-212. See also C.Hill "Society
and Puritanism in Pre-Revolutionary England" .PP.141-211 (The Uses of Sabbatarianism.)
31. M.Wall, "Preface" to Menasseh Ben Israel's "Hope of Israel" (1652)
32. T.Brabourne, "A Discourse upon the Sabbath Day" (1628)..P.4
33. D.S.Katz, "Philo-semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England: 1603-1655" .P. 34-37
34. (Anonymous), "The Life and Death of Mr. Henry Jessey (1671) . P. 87
35. J.L.Gamble and C.H.Greene, The Sabbath in the British Isles" (Plainfield, N.J., 1910). PP.21-115
36. Revelation 20.6
37. K.R.Firth, "The Apocalyptic Tradition in Reformation Britain: 1530-1645" (Oxford, 1979). PP . 145-161. See also
P.K.Christianson, "Reformares and Babylon: Apocalyptic Visions from the Reformation to the Eve of the Civil
War" (Toronto, 1978) . PP. 100-112, 205-215, D.S. Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to
England" . PP. 89-126, B.S.Capp, "The Fifth Monarchy Men" (London, 1972). PP. 27-35
38. H.Pollin, "Economic History of the Jews in England" .PP.31-32
39. P.K.Christianson, "Reformers and Babylon" . P.213
40. (Anonymous) , "The Worlds Proceeding Woes and Succeeding Joyes" (1642) .P.B3
41. C.Hill, "Till the Conversion of the Jews" . PP. 19-20
42. N.Homes, " The Resurrection revealed...the raising of the Jewes" (1654). P. 30
43. J.Tillinghast, "Generation Work" (1653). P. 54
44. Matthew 24.37
45. J.F.Wilson, "Pulpit in Parliament" (London and Princeton, 1969) . P. 195
46. C.Hill, "Till The Conversion of the Jews" .P.18-21
47. B.S.Capp, "The Fifth Monarchy Men" (London, 1972) . PP. 38-39
48. W.C.Abbott, "The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, Volume III" .P.65
49. K.R.Firth, "The Apocalyptic Tradition in Reformation Britain: 1530-1645" . P. 206
50. J.Dury, cited from D.S.Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the readmission of the Jews" .P. 151
51. Cited from H.Trevor-Roper, "Three Foreigners". P. 271
52. J.Eachard, "Good news For All Christian Soldiers" (1645). P. B2
53. W.Tomlinson, "A Bosome opened to The Jewes" (1655-56). P. 1
54. N.I. Matar, "The idea of the restoration of the Jews in English Political thought" ( Durham University Journal,
55. Philo-Judeaus, "Resurrections of dead Bones, or The Conversion of the Jews." (1655). P.104
57. Cited from D.S.Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England", . P.210
56. E.Nicholas, "An Apology For The Honourable Nation of The Jews" (1648) . P. 1
58. T.Collier, "A Brief Answer to some of the Objections and Demurs Made against the coming in and inhabiting of
the Jews in this Common-wealth" (1656) . P. 8
59. J & E Cartwright, "The Petition of The Jews" (1649) . P. 4
60. M.Wall, "Considerations Upon the Point of the Conversion Of the Jews" in Menasseh Ben Israel's "Hope of
61. Philo-Judeaus, "Resurrections od dead Bones, or The Conversion of the Jews." . PP 91, 105
62. M.Goldie, "The Theory of Religious Intolerance in Restoration England," (Oxford, 1991). PP.331-339 . See also
C.Russell, "Arguments for Religious Unity in England, 1530-1650" (London, 1967)
63. For a detailed analysis of these early Seventeenth century developments see W.K. Jordan, "The Development of
Religious Toleration in England, Volume II" (London, 1932-1940) and H. Butterfield, "Toleration in early Modern
Times" (London, 1977). PP. 573-584
64. D.S. Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews" .P.174
65. C. Roth, "A History of the Jews in England". PP. 150-152. L. Wolf, "Menasseh Ben Israel's mission to Oliver
Cromwell" . PP. xiv-xvii
66. L.Busher, "Religious Peace, or, a Plea for Liberty of Conscience" (1614 and 1646). PP. 21-2
67. J.Murton, "Objections answered by way of dialogue, wherein is proved....that no man ought to be persecuted for
68. J.Weemse, "A Treatise of The Foure Degenerate Sonnes"(1636)
69. C.Roth, "A History of the Jews in England" . P.150-153
70 "Mercurius Pragmaticus", 25 December 1648
71. Cartenwright, Johann and Ebenezer Cartwright, "The Petition of the Jewes For the repealing of the Act of
Parliament for their banishment out of England." (1649) .P.3
72. The Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution" (Oxford, 1906) . P. 370
73. J.I.Israel, " European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750" .PP. 87-122, 145-152
74 Edwards, "The Jews in Christian Europe 1400-1700" .PP. 163-164
75. Edwards, "The Jews in Christian Europe 1400-1700" .P.163
76. D.S.Katz, "Philo-semitism and the Readmission of the Jews" .PP. 73-76. See also J. I.Israel, "European Jewry in
the age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750 .PP. 78-81. 228-231, Edwards, "The Jews in Christian Europe" .PP. 162-
163, G. Scholem, "Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism" ( Jerusalem, 1955) .PP. 270-290
77. G.Scholem, "Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism" .P. 281
78. G.Scholem, "Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism" . P.25
79. For details of Menasseh's life and acquaintances with gentile scholars see "The Dictionary of National Biography"-
"Manasseh Ben Israel"; The Rev. Dr Adler, "A Homage to Menasseh Ben Israel", (T.J.H.S, 18934), D.S.Katz,
"The Phenonemon of Philo-Semitism" (Oxford, 1992) . PP. 336-337, L. Wolf, " Menasseh Ben Israel's mission to
Oliver Cromwell" (T.J.H.S, 1901)
80. B.Coward, "Cromwell" (London and New York, 1991). P.8
81. R. Popkin, "The Lost tribes, the Caraites, and the search for the Lost tribes", PP. 217-219
82. 2 Esdras 13: 41-7, Isiah 11.12
83. Daniel 12.7
84. Deuteronomy 28.64
85. For details of scholarly belief in the settlement of the lost tribes in Asia see A.M. Hyamsom, "The Lost Tribes and
the influence of the search for them on the return of the Jews to England" (New York, 1903) PP. 643-656,
D.S.Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England" . PP. 128-141
86. For details of the development of belief in the Israealite origin of the American Indians and its growth in the early
Seventeenth century see A.M. Hyamson, "The Lost Tribes and the influence of the search for them on the return of
the Jews to England . PP. 656-676. D. S. Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England" . PP.
87. D.S.Katz, "The Phenonemon of Philo-Semitism", PP. 340-341.
88. D.S.Katz, "The Phenonomon of Philo-Semitism", PP. 341-345
89. R.Popkin, "The Lost Tribes, the Caraites, and the search for the Lost tribes". P. 214
90. T.Thorowgood, "Jewes in America, Or, Probabilities That the Americans are of that Race" (1650)
91. For a detailed study of the deveolpment of contacts between Menasseh and English Philo-Semites in connection with
the issue of the Lost Tribes see R. Popkin, "The Lost Tribes, the Caraites, and the search for the Lost tribes" . PP.
92. Menasseh Ben Israel, "The Hope of Israel" . P. A2 (1652)
93. H.Pollins, " Economic History of the Jews in England" . PP. 31-32. For the traditional account of status accorded
to "The Hope of Israel" in readmission see V.D.Lipman, "Three centuries of Anglo-Jewish History" . PP. 1-25;
Menasseh Ben Israel, "The Hope of Israel"
94. R.Popkin, "The Lost Tribes, the Caraites, and the search for the Lost Tribes" . PP. 215
95. C.Roth, "A History of the Jews in England" . PP. 156-157, D. S. Katz, "Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the
Jews to England" . PP. 183-184
96. Menasseh Ben Israel, "Vindiciae Judaeorum" (1652). P.37
97. Calender of State Papers, 1651-2 . P. 577
98. Calender of Stat Papers, 1652-3 . P. 38; 1653-54 . P. 436
99. D.S.Katz, "The Phenonemon of Philo-Semitism" . P. 336
100. L.Wolf, " Menasseh Ben Israel's mission to Oliver Cromwell" . P. xxxiii
101. C.Roth, "The Mystery of the Resettlement" . P. 92
102. H.Jessey, "A Narrative Of the late Proceeds at White-Hall, Concerning The Jewes" (1656) . P. 13
103. N.Crouch, "The Proceedings of the Jews in England in the Year 1655". (1719) PP. 175-176
104. W.C.Abbott, "The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell- Volume I" . PP. 676-678
105. Cited from A.B.Worden's "Toleration and the Cromwellian Protectorate" (Oxford, 1984) . P.211
106. Clark Papers, vol. II, pp. xxxiv-xxxvii. Cited from B. Coward, "Cromwell" . P. 122, W.C.Abbott, "The Writings
and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, Volume III" . P.834
107. W.C.Abbott, "The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, Volume IV" . PP. 271-272
108. B.Coward, "Cromwell" . P. 110
109. Cited from B.Coward, "Cromwell" . P. 150
110. A.B. Worden, " Toleration and the cromwellian Protectorate" . P. 212
111. Rev S.Singer, "The Earliest Jewish Prayers for the Sovereign" (London, 1903)
112. B. Coward, "Cromwell" . PP. 120-130. See also A.B.Worden, "Toleration and the Cromwellian Protectorate" .
113. W.C. Abbott, "The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell- Volume III" . P. 834
114. T. Endelman, "The Jews of Georgian England, 1704-1830" . P.17
115. L. Wolf, "Cromwell's Jewish Intelligencers" ( London, 1934)
116. L. Wolf, "Cromwell's Jewish Intelligencers" . P. 108
117. J. Birch, "Thurloe's State Papers- Volume IV" (1742).PP. 61-62
118. L. Wolf, " Menasseh Ben Israel's mission to Oliver Cromwell" . PP. xxix-xxxi
119. L. Wolf, "Cromwell's Jewish Intelligencers" . P. 112
120. Calender of State Papers., 1655. P. 402
121. Menasseh Ben Israel, "The Humble Addresse of Menasseh Ben Israel To His Hignesse The Lord Protector"
(1655). P. A1
122. State Papers. 18/101, f.277
123. Calender of State Papers, 1655-56. P. 15
124. Calender of State Papers, 1655-56. P. 20
125. Henry Jessey, "A Narrative Of the Late Proceeds at Whitehall, Concerning the Jews" . P. 12
126 For detailed first hand acounts of Clerical Anti-Semitism and mercantile fears at the Whitehall Conference see
Henry Jessey "A Narrative Of the Late Proceedings at Whitehall, Concerning the Jews" and N.Crouch
"The Proceedings of the Jews in England in the Year 1655".
127. B.Coward, "Cromwell" . PP. 117-139
128. N. Crouch, "The Proceedings of the Jews in England in the year 1655". P. 175-176
129. Appendix to "A Homage to Menasseh Ben Israel" (London, 1893/1894)
130. C.Roth argued in 1934 in his "Mystery of the Resetlement", PP. 99-103, that a favourable written response was
made by the Council of State to the Marrano petition on June 25th, but that the entry in the Council of State's order
book that day was torn out, possibly, says Roth, by anti-Semite Thomas Violet. N.Perry, in his "Anglo-Jewry,
The Law, Religious Conviction and self-interest",P.10, is open to the possibile truth of this claim but is
unconvinced Most academics do not make mention of this hypothesis. T.Endelmann, in his "The Jews of
Geaorgian England 1714-1830" dismisses Roth's conclusions, P. 16, on the grounds that no contemporary
refences are made to the alledged response of June 25th
131. H.Pollin, "An Economic History of the Jews in England". P. 29
132. Cited from L.Wolf, "Status of the Jews in England after the Resettlement", (London, 1903). P.183
133. E.S.de Beer "Diary of John Evelyn", (Oxford, 1955) Volume iii. P. 163
W.C.Abbott The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell Vol I( ), II(1649-53), Vol III(1653-55) and Vol IV(1655-1658), Clarendon Press, Oxford
A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume IV , Ed. T.Birch, 1742
(Anonymous). "The Worlds Proceeding Woes and Joyes (1642)
(Anonymous). The Life and Death of Mr. Henry Jessey (1671)
Busher, Leonard, Religious Peace: Or, A Plea for Liberty of Conscience (1614 and 1646)
Calender of State Papers, Domestic Series , 1651, 1655-1656, 1656
Cartenwright, Johann and Ebenezer Cartwright. The Petition of the Jewes for the Repealing of the Act of Parliament for their banishment out of England (1649)
Comenius, Jan Amos. The Way of Light (1641), trans. E.T. Campagnac (Liverpool and London)
Collier, Thomas, A Brief Answer to some of the Objections and Demurs Made against the coming in and inhabiting of the Jews in this Common-wealth (1656)
Crouch, Nathaniel. "The Proceedings of the Jews in England" in Two Journeys to Jerusalem , Ed. R.Burton, 1719
Dury, John. "An Epistolicall Discourse" in T.Thorowgood. Jewes in America (1650)
---------- Israels Call To March Out of Babylon Unto Jerusalem (1646)
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------- To His Highness The Lord Protector.......The Humble Addresses of Menasseh Ben Israel
------- Vindiciae Judaeorum (1656)
Mercurius Pragmaticus (December 1648)
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In 1997 at the University Durham I completed my MA in Seventeenth Century Studies, for which I got a distinction. The dissertation I include on this my first academic blog was the largest of three works I had to write.
My apologies if you take issue with my capitalisation. This area seems to not be that important, and I have worried my head enough - for now- about whether certain words should or should not be capitals. That said when I have more time, i may remove some of them.
Anyway, here it is. The reasons why I chose this topic are not wholly clear to me. I am not Jewish but have always been interested and somewhat enchanted by Jewishness, despite the attachment to Christ that I felt at the time of writing. I thought there was something noble too in English philo-semitism, given the general rarity of this attitude at the time. I was also motivated to enquire into how prevalent and public British Israelite ideas were in the Seventeenth Century. On the basis of what I read, the answer to that question seemed: not much, since the main focus on the 'lost ten tribes' regarded the question of whether American Indians were descended from these tribes.
I thought I should post it here because otherwise it would just rot on my computer; this way it might be of use to somebody other than me.
I make no claims for its objective excellence, but I got a Dintinction for it and my Director, Professor Richard Maber, suggested it contributed something new to the field, which perhaps it did by way of my analyses and syntheses and conclusions of the secondary work of other academics, and my use of certain primary sources.
I did find the writing of the piece to be at times frustrating and exacting, and I was very pleased when I finished it; but I am very glad, nevertheless, that I did it.
Thanks to Dr Richard Maber and Dr Chris Brookes for all their help.
I assert the moral right to be associated as the copyright owner of the text. I have no idea if the University of Durham will claim that they share the copyright, but given the nature of universities and institutions, they may do.
....It's weird that we live in a world in which thought and language, in its various permutations, is considered to belong to some people and not to others. I presume this is because we have chosen to live in a world of money, property and egos, instead of just choosing to share each other and share life in the same way as we share sunlight, oxygen and the earth. So, we live our lives in the ways that we have chosen to. Don't we just love it!
Writers no doubt need to make money. While I would not object to people - in this our twilight world of shadows - giving me money for what I write, since someone has to give me money if i am not to be a criminal, I do not wish to write for the purpose of making money, nor to write with a consciousness that intends to compete with other writers for the allegedly scarce depository of readers' attention. For these reasons, I am glad to be an amateur writer. That said, since I need to give money (this weird 'non-existent' symbol) to other people in order to get food, clothes, accommodation and etc, if you would like to give me money, for whatever reason and to whatever extent (in order to say thank you, or as a sign of appreciation or whatever - up to you!), do feel free - as long as you realise that I am not asking for this money. Though don't expect me to set up one of those 'Donate' icons, as that would seem to be much too much like my asking for it. And that I do not wish to do. Promise. For now anyway...if I need money more (as opposed to more money...ha!) later on, I may change my mind. But for now, I have one of those things called jobs (Actually I'd rather now write full-time but then how could I then get any money, given my principles. You tell me).
Anyway, feel free to leave comments and give feedback, or not to, as you wish. xx