AUCTION 58 | Thursday, May 02nd, 2013 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts and Autograph Letters

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Lot 39


[Parliamentary Act]. An Act to Oblige the Jews to Maintain and Provide for their Protestant Children. <<* BOUND WITHIN>> a volume of other miscellaneous Acts from the reigns of King William III and Queen Anne. Other Acts concern the high treason of the Pretended Prince of Wales; succession of the Crown in the Protestant line (to the exclusion of Catholics); union between the Kingdoms of England and Scotland; meting out punishment to the would-be assassins of King William; duties upon commodities; measures to prevent counterfeiting the current coin of the Kingdom; the repairing of bridges, highways, piers and ports; etc. pp. 398, (2), 403-480, (4). Some leaves browned. Contemporary blind-tooled calf, spine gilt extra, front cover detached; rubbed. Folio. Roth, Magna Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica, p. 246, no. 1.

(London: 1702)

Est: $3,000 - $4,000
<<First Specifically Jewish Act of Parliament Post Re-Admission.>> This Act (pp. 453-454) issued in the year of Queen Anne’s accession to the throne, prevents any attempt by Jewish parents to force their apostate children to return to the Jewish fold. In such cases that children born to Jewish parents convert to the majority religion of Protestantism, the parents are enjoined by English law to continue to support their children and may not disown them. The event that led to the passage of the Bill was as follows: In May 1701, eighteen-year old Mary Mendez de Breta, raised a Jewess, was baptized into the Church of England. Her father, Jacob Mendez de Breta thereupon disowned her and so she was provided for by the parish of St. Andrew’s Undershaft. Subsequently a petition was presented to the House of Commons to oblige de Breta in particular and the Jews in general, to provide for their Protestant children. A Committee heard witness testimony including that of the father himself, who claimed that Mary had never been his daughter, but had in fact been laid at his door in Portugal, and that he had maintained her all the years purely as an act of charity. The Bill was passed in the Lords without amendment and with virtually no debate. See H.S.Q. Henriques, The Jews and the English Law (1908) pp. 167-69.