Plea by Menassah ben Israel that the Jews be admitted into England (148 words)

Historical Context Note


The Jews had been forbidden to settle in England ever since 1290, when Edward I had issued an edit expelling the community from his kingdom. Even before war had broken out against the United Provinces in 1652, Oliver Cromwell had realised that it might be advantageous to attract rich Jewish merchants to transfer their trading activity from Amsterdam to London. After the end of the war, Menasseh Ben Israel, an influential rabbi, and the founder of the first Hebrew printing press in Amsterdam, presented the 'Humble Addresses to the Lord Protector', a case for Jews to be readmitted into the country. This provoked fierce opposition from William Prynne, but nonetheless contributed to Cromwell calling the Whitehall Conference in December 1655 …

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