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In Mr. Lucien Wolfs essay on the Middle Age of Anglo-Jewish 
History* enumerating the Jews who are known to have been in 
England between the Expulsion in 1290 and the Resettlement under 
Cromwell, there is a passing mention of a Jewish pirate, said to have 
been a servant of the king of Morocco, who was arrested at Plymouth 
in 1614. Mr. Wolf derives his information from a letter sent by 
Mr. John Chamberlain (the Horace Walpole of his day, as he is 
described by his biographer in the Dictionary of National Biography) 
to Sir Dudley Carleton, the British Ambassador at Venice^. The 
Jewish "pirate" in question was Samuel Palache, a distinguished 
member of the Jewish community of Amsterdam, in which city he 
resided for many years as Envoy of the Sultan of Morocco to the 
States General'. His anest in England must have called forth con- 
siderable interest at the time: otherwise Mr. Chamberlain would 
not have written about it to his friend the ambassador. But the 
records relating to the case do not end with the arrest. There are 
printed below extracts from the manuscript volumes of Acts of the 
Privy Council showing that the Spanish Ambassador at the English 
Court tried hard to secure the punishment of Palache, and that the 
Lords of the Privy Council and the Judges defended him with spirit 
against the ambassador's demands. 

The records here printed also mention the unsuccessful attempt of 
the Spanish Ambassador to secure the assistance of the Privy Council 
in a suit relating to a cargo of sugar which had been brought to 
England by another Jew. 

The fact that two Jews received the protection of the Privy Council 
and the Law Courts in England in the reign of James I is of some 
importance in its bearing on the difBcult question of the legal status 
of the Jews in England before the period of the Commonwealth. 

* Papers read at the Anglo-Jeioish Historical Exhibition, p.- 76. 

* For Mr. Chamberlain's letter, see p. 358 below. 

' Menasseh ben Israel (Hope 0/ Jsrad, sect. 3a) mentions that in 1609 
Palache was " sent Ambassadour to the States by Mulai Zidan, the King of 
Haracco," For information aa to Palache's position at Amsterdam, see 
D. Henriques de Castro, Ausuiahl von Orabsteinen avf dem NiederL-Portug.- 
IsraeL'BegrSbnissplatze eu, Ouderkerk. 



20th November, 16 14. 
To Sir William Craven, Alderman. 

Whereas there is cause to make stay of Samuel Palachie 
■who sha]l be herewithal sent unto you, these shall be therefore to 
will and require you to receive him into your charge and custody, 
and to keep him safe until you shall receive further order from us, 
for which this shall be your warrant : and so, &c. 

23rd December, 1614. 
Whereas upon complaint heretofore made unto this Board 
by the Lord Ambassador of Spain now resident here that one 
Samuel Palache, a Jew, lately arrived at Plymouth had committed 
piracy and outrage upon the subjects of the King, his Master, for 
the which he required justice and satisfaction to be made, it 
was then thought fitting by their Lordships to give order for the 
restraint and safe keeping of the said Jew, and accordingly com- 
mitted unto the custody of Sir William Craven, Knight, Alderman of 
the City of London, there to be detained until further examination 
of the said complaint, together with the quality of his offence. And, 
forasmuch as the said Palache hath since pretended and alleged that 
he is a servant unto the King of Barbary, and by him employed as 
his agent unto the States United, and that from the said King his 
Master he had received commission for the arming and setting forth 
of ships of war, by virtue of which commission (together with licence 
of the States United) he pretends the fact to be justifiable and no 
way within the compass of piracy. Whereupon it being conceived 
that the accusation and his justification must necessarily depend on 
matter of proof and points in law. Their Lordships for the more due 
proceeding therein and that justice may be uprightly and precisely 
administered on both sides, have thought fitting to remit the whole 
proceeding thereof unto the Court of the Admiralty, there to be 
prosecuted and determined according to law, whereof the Judge of 
the said Court of Admiralty is to take notice and give such due 
expedition therein, as shall be requisite. And to that end it is also 
ordered that a copy hereof be delivered unto the said Judge. 

• •••••• • 

27th December. 
A Letter to Sir Wm. Craven, Kt, Alderman of the City of London. 
Whereas upon a complaint heretofore made unto us by the 
Spanish Ambassador against one Samuel Palache a Jew, it was 
thought fitting by this Board to commit him unto your charge 
and safe custody until further order should be given on that behalf. 


and forasmuch as it is now ordered that the said Ambassador do pro- 
secute his complaint by the due and ordinary course of law, these 
are to let you understand that from henceforth you are no further 
charged with the custody or safekeeping of the said Jew : and so, &c. 

29 December, 1614. 
To Sir Wm. Craven, Kt, Alderman of the City of London. 

Whereas by letters from this Board bearing date the 37th of this 
month you received a discharge of the service lately imposed on you 
for the custody and safe keeping of one Samuel Palache, a Jew, and 
have nevertheless detained him in your house, by reason of an arrest 
immediately laid on him by process out of the Admiralty until you 
should receive further directions therein, these are to let you know 
that we do well approve of the stay you have so made of him, and do 
hereby require you to keep him in your custody until further order 
shall be given you in that behalf: and so, &c. 

20th January, 1615. 
Whereas by an order of this honourable Board bearing date the 
23 of December last it was appointed that the cause concerning 
Samuel Palache the Jew accused of piracy by the Lord Ambassador 
of Spain should be referred wholly unto the Court of Admiralty, 
there to be prosecuted and determined according to law, for reasons 
in the said order expressed, which nevertheless had not yet his effect 
in respect of some doubts and difficulties intervening, which since 
are accommodated. It is therefore now again ordered that the said 
order of the 23 of December shall stand and be of force, whereof the 
Judge of the Admiralty is to take notice and give all expedition that 
conveniently may be unto the cause and that at the hearing thereof 
the Lord Chief Justice of England and Master of the Rolls are to be 
present. In the meantime until the matter be legally decided, the 
said Palache to remain with Sir Wm. Craven, Kt, out libera custodid, 
as now he doth. 

20 March, 161 5. 
Upon complaint heretofore made unto this Board by the Spanish 
Ambassador now resident here that one Samuel Palache a Jew, 
being apprehended and brought unto the City of London had lately 
committed piracy, spoil and outrage at sea upon the subjects of the 
King his Master, wherein he desired justice and satisfaction, their 
Lordships were pleased to refer the consideration and hearing thereof 
unto Sir Edward Cooke Knight, Lord Chief Justice of England, 
Sir Julius Caesar, Knight, Master of the Rolls, and Sir Daniel Dunn, 
Knight, Judge of the Admiralty, who having heard the said accusa- 
tion on the behalf of the said Spanish Ambassador, by his counsel 
learned in the law, together with the answer of the said Palache and 


his counsel, have made report unto their Lordships that, forasmuch 
as it hath appeared unto them that Samuel Palache is bom the 
subject of the King of Morruccos (between whom and the King of 
Spain, as is conceived, there is actual war) and hath from him an 
especial commission to take the subjects of the said King of Spain, 
they are of opinion that by the laws of the kingdom he is not subject 
unto any criminal demand or action for the said spoil or outrage, but 
that the said Spanish Ambassador is to be left to seek his remedy or 
restitution by way of a civil process or action. Whereupon the Lords 
were pleased to order by general consent of the Board that according 
to the opinion and report of the said Judges Palache should be freed 
from any criminal action commenced against him in name of the 
said Spanish Ambassador, but to be left to a civil prosecution or 
action upon point of restitution (if the said Lord Ambassador of Spain 
or his counsel shall resolve on that course), and that the said Palache, 
putting in good security before the Judge of the Admiralty to answer 
unto such civil action or actions as are or shall be commenced and 
prosecuted against him by the said Spanish Ambassador, for the said 
seizure or spoil committed by him on the persons and goods of the 
subjects of the King of Spain, forthwith to be released from his 
restraint and also his servants that be imprisoned upon this occasion. 

October, 161 5. 
Answers made by the LV of His Ma**' Priuie Councell to the 
Memoriall exhibited vnto their LlP" the 17. daye of Octob. 
by the Lo. Embassador of Spaigne. 

1. First whereas y® sayd Lo. Embassador desireth that y® Ll"*^ 
Commiss" fonnerlie appointed by his Ma**» order for examin- 
ing the matters concerning the lewe Palache, and the depen- 
dances therevpon, would be pleased according to his Ma**' order, 
w*^ as muche expedicion as their other affayrea will giue them 
leaue, to meete together and resolue vpon such points as were 
represented vnto them by the sayd Lo. Embassador, whereof some 
toucheth reputacion, &c. 

Forasmuch as it seemed good vnto his Ma'** to referr the examina- 
cion of that Cause vnto spetiall Commissioners persons of honor and 
greate integritie ; It may please the sayd Lo. Embassador to receiue 
his answer from themselues, who haue not yet made anie report 
thereof to this Boorde, but wilbe readie at anie time to giue him all 
iust and hon**'* satisfaccion and to Cause their orders and Comandm" 
to be putt in speedie execucion if hetherto they haue bene neglected, 
wherein they shall neuer want y* assistance of this Table. 

2. Secondly whereas his Lp mooved that the newe Cause of the 
other lewe now latelie arriued w**" Sugars may be remitted eyther to 

VOL. XIV. B b 


the Censure of the foresayd Ll^' Commission", or suche other of the 
Councell as the Boord shall appoint; It may please him to vnder- 
stand that it is a Cause of Civile Justice and appertaining to the 
Court of Admiraltie and that of suche Causes this Boorde takes no 
Cognizance of their owne authoritie, otherwise then to Comaund 
that Justice be donne w* expedicion, w<"> they haue alreadie recom- 
mended vnto y» Judge of the Admiraltie, w*** so strict a Charge and 
Commaund, as they doubt not but his LP shall finde y' effects of it to 
his contentment. 

3. Thirdly whereas the sayd Lo. Embassador hath also mooved, 
that y* Sugars now in question be sequestred, into some Convenient 
warehouse vnder two keys, the one to be in y« Custody of some 
person to be appointed by the Councell, and the other to be in y^ 
keeping of his L", vntill j" Cause be determined to y» ende that y* 
goods may be safe, &c. 

Their L1p» being very desirous to giue as muche satisfaccion to his 
Lp in this point, as Conveniently they may, have accorded that for 
the matter itself, that is the sequestracion of the goods it shalbe 
presently performed, although in the manner propounded they are 
forced a litle to dissent; It being Contrarie to order and Custome 
(as they are Certainelie informed) that pendente lite a key should be 
deliuered to eyther partie ; But y* Sugars shalbe presently landed 
and an Jnventorie made thereof in y^ presence of suche persons as 
shalbe appointed by the sayd Lo. Embassador on the one side, and 
of the lewe himself on the other side ; of w* Inventoryes two Coppies 
indented shalbe made, the same to be subscribed by the persons so 
assigned for the sayd Lo. Embass', and by the Jewe himself and to 
be deliuered to eyther of them a Coppie reciprocally, w*** being donne, 
the sayd goods to be in their presence deposited in some safe ware- 
howse vnder two locks w*"* seuerall keyes, the one key to be kept by 
the Judge of the Admiraltie, and the other by the officers and termo" 
of His Ma'«» Customes, vntill the matter be adiudged. 

Lionel Abbahams. 

Extract from Mr. Chamberlain's letter mentioned on page 354. 

" Here is a Jew Pirat arrested that brought three prises of Spaniards 

into Plimmouth, he was set out by the King of Maroco, and useth 

Hollanders ships and for the most part theyre mariners, but yt 

is like he shall passe yt ouer well inough, for he pretendeth to haue 

leaue and licence vnder the k's hand for his free egresse and regresse 

which was not beleued vpon the first sight, till he made proofe of yt." 

John Chamberlain to Sir Dudley Carleton, dated London. 4 Nov, 1614. 

Domestic State Papers. James I, Vol. 78. No. 61.