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Designd &Engrava for the PoliticalRegister
Admiral Rodney before Cartagena
I with thirteen fail attended:
VOLUME THB TEN T H.
Printed for HENRY BEEVOR, in Little-Britain.
T H E
For JANUARY, 1772.
To the Printer of the POLITICAL REGISTER.
Jews having been detected from time to time, as
the chief receivers of stolen goods, and therefore juftly presumed to be encouragers of our lower people to such acts of felony : having also been lately charged with and suspected of many burglariés ; and some of them convicted of the same ; and as by these 'mifdeeds they are become a fort of topic, of common conversation; I judged it not amiss to inform here your Readers of their History in England; by which no disparagement to them is meant, many honest, worthy men being found among them, but only to give an idea of the genius and dispositions of that people, as it appears from Historical Evidence.
WE do not read any thing worth mentioning concerning the Jews in England, till the time of King John ; except that they were invited into this kingdom by Wiliam the Conqueror, and came hither from Rouen in Normandy. So early as the reign of King Stephen, in 1145, they were accused of erucitying a young Christian, in contempt of Chrift and bis religion, and were accordingly punished for it. They were again prosecuted for the fame atrocious fact at Gloucester, in the reign of Henry II. 1160; and for a third committed at St. Edmondsbury, in 1.181. More of such persecutions may have happened in çther places, which Pol. Reg. Vol. X.
[ 2 Matthew Paris has not mentioned ; and these he has accompanied with some circumstances, which we shall pass by unnoticed, because more frequent instances of them occur in the following centuries, than the generality will be inclined to believe ; though we Mall be obliged to mention the most remarkable of them, as they were always, if not the truc cause, yet at least the pretence and forerunners of the mofte severe punishments inflicted on that unhappy nation.
We pass on therefore to King John, whofe reign was so troubled with intestine feuds, that he was forced to maintain himself by the hardest exactions; the heaviest of which fell of course on the Jews in his dominions, whom he caused to be imprisoned, and put to most violent tortures, when they refused to pay such taxes as he laid on them; and at length, we are told, he confiscated all their effects, and banilhed them by a public edict. Matthew Paris mentions a taxation on a Jew at Bristol, of whom the king demanded ten thoufand marks; and who suffered his felh to be torn off his bones, and seven of his teeth to be drawn out, one each day, till he complied; but paid the fum, rather than lose the eighth.
The Jews did not fare much better under the long reign of Henry III. during which many of them chose to turn Christians, to avoid the severity of his government; but, being afterwards detected, were justly punished for their dissimulation. This did not discourage that Prince from endeavouring their conversion ; to promote which the more effectually, he caused a seminary to be founded for the maintenance of Jewish converts, and where they might live without labour or usury; which foon induced great numbers of them to come into it: and that hou ses we are told, subsisted a confiderable time,
The Jews of Norwich were some time after accused of having stolen a Christian child, and of having kept him one ; year, in order to circumcise and crucify him on the ensuing paflover ; but the fact being timely detected, they underwent a due punishment. They are charged by Matthew Paris, with having repeated the same crime three times in that city, with
litile variation of circumstances. On the firit, they were brought to the King's Court at Westminster, and there confessed the fact; for which they were only confined, and their lives left at the king's disposal. The same accusation was laid against them the following year;
and four of the wealthiest of them were hanged, and their effects confiscated. Lastly, they were accused of the same fact be