Tuesday, June 04, 2013

A group of New York Jewish merchants apply for Denizenship in 1712

This is the Application for Denizenship (I made that title up) to Queen Anne of Great Britain for Nathan Simpson and Samuel Levy, on behalf of themselves and Moses Levy, Moses Michalls [sic], Moses Hart and Mordica [sic] Nathan. The fellows were Jewish merchants in New York who "found themselves lye[ing] under many difficultys in their Trades as Merchants for want of being free Denizens," so they filed this petition.

Simson and Levy ask "that they may pertake of your Majestys Royall favour to be made Denizens of Great Britain and esteem'd as such..."

Included are several recommendations. For example, one Joseph Levy writes that they "are very well known to severall of the best Jews in London" and are "deserving of her Majestys favor."

Another is from Lord Cornbury, the Earl of Clarendon, the - I do not make this up - transvestite former governor of New York. He writes that the men "are Persons well-known to me, they are of the Jewish Nation and were (and I suppose still are) considerable traders in New York" - at the time he was governor - and they "behaved themselves as good Subjects ought to doe all which I most humbly certify."


  1. It says, as best I can transcribe:

    "At the Court at Kensington 9th May 1712

    Her Majesty is graciously pleased to refer this Petition to Mr. Attorney the (?) Solicitour General to consider thereof & Report is opinion what her [Majesty] may thusly (?) do therein; whereupon her Majesty will declare her"

    Can't read the last word, but I guess the intent is plain. So... I don't know. My guess is that such requests were not unusual and can't imagine why it would have been turned down.

  2. This is a great post, thanks for sharing it.



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