Thursday, June 14, 2012

What a handwriting! A Jewe petitions Charles II in 1663.

Here's a strange thing. It is a letter dated September 1663 to the king of England, evidently Charles II, from a person calling himself "Jacobo Ben Rabbi Samuel Augusto; a Jew borne of the tribe of Benjamin, professor of the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac tongues." (Click to enlarge)
He begins:
May it please your most sacred Majesty to accept [] and letter: 
Who hath byn in England for those 5 years together & hath had many Doctors in Divinity & Ministers to instruct them in the Hebrew, Chaldee & Syriack Tongues . . . 
and then states that they tried to convert him, but he just could not find the word (i.e., idea) "Ben Elohim" (Sonne of God) out of the word "Shiloh," (Gen. 49:10). But then he was shown Proverbs 30:4, and he quotes in Hebrew, "Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended . . . What is his name, and what is his son's name." Then he read the New Testament, and now he believes in its miracles. Before, he writes, he used to keep the principles of the Jewish Religion, such as that he would not eat the meat of any Christian. He kept to this strictness in Oxford and Cambridge as well, and also in the home of Dr. Busby, whom he lived with for two years. But now that he wants to convert, he is petitioning the king to be his witness to his baptism. Lots of blessings


  1. Where did you find this?

  2. It was wedged in the frame behind a print of the dogs playing poker I bought for $.50 at a swap meet. Do you think it might be worth something?

  3. Just emailed you.

  4. Shalom,

    "Do you think it might be worth something?"

    It will if you follow his example!

  5. What an amazing find - worth something or not, it's a piece of history that I'm glad was not forgotten!



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