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FROM I773 TO I902. 

The authors who have dealt with the history of Judaism 
in Portugal are very sparing of information on the events 
which took place in that country from the last years of the 
eighteenth century onwards. Thus we should seek in vain 
in most standard works the exact date of the suppression 
of the well-known Inquisitions of Lisbon, Evora and 

As to the present situation, it is absolutely unknown. 

Such gaps should be filled up, and this is what I propose 
to do as briefly as possible. 

I shall explain in succession the history of the Inquisi- 
tion in Portugal from 1773, the present situation of the last 
of the Marranos in that country, and the chronicles of the 
Portuguese Synagogues from 1801 to 190a. 

Reform and Suppression of the Inquisition. 

Contrary to the statement of the principal historian of 
the Portuguese Jews 1 , the earthquake of 1755, while 
destroying the Inquisitorial prisons of Lisbon, by no means 
did away with the Holy Office. The institution was 
quickly re-established 2 , and many unfortunate persons 

1 M. Kayserling, Qeschichte der Juden in Portugal (Leipzig, 1867, 8°), 
Cap. IX, 5, 334 : "Bei dem Erdbeben, das am 1. November 1755 Lissabon 
zerstorte, schwand auch das Inquisitionsgebaude von der Erde." 

2 Carlos Jose de Menezes, A Inquisifdo em Portugal (Porto, 1898, a vol. 8°), 
vol. I, p. 220. 


were again forced to endure the tortures of the Inquisi- 

Nevertheless the catastrophe of 1755 had one surprising 
result ; there arose from the midst of the ruins a man who 
by his prodigious activity and his sometimes brutal energy 
was destined to effect the most important reforms in Por- 
tugal ; this man, Sebastiao Josd de Carvalho e Mello, has 
remained famous under the name of Marquis de Pombal. 
It has been asserted that he was of Jewish origin 1 ; the 
statement is only probable, but it is at least very certain 
that he engaged personally and with much zeal in amelio- 
rating the lot of the Christaos Novos (New Christians), 
descendants of the Jews converted by force 2 in the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries. 

In the private archives of the Marquis de Pombal 3 are 
found all the documents used in the drawing up of the laws 
which abolished in practice the power of the Inquisitors 
over the New Christians. 

It is not without emotion that we see a note in the hand 
of the minister of Dom Jose" I 4 , proving that from Sep- 

1 A story is in fact told that, the king having expressed a desire that 
the descendants of Jews should be obliged to wear yellow hats, Pombal 
presented himself with three of these hats. When questioned by the 
king, the marquis replied : " I have one hat for myself, one for the Grand 
Inquisitor, and one in case your Majesty should wish to cover your 
head." Archives Israelites, 1847, p. 858 ; Lindo, History of the Jews of Spain 
and Portugal (London, 1848, 8°), p. 375 ; Fred. Dav. Moeatta, The Jews of 
Spain and Portugal and the Inquisition (London, 1877-80), p. 97, and other 
authors. This story is not reliable. The witticism of Pombal had already 
been attributed to the famous Duke of Alba. Of. Pedro Joseph Suppico, 
Apophthegmas memoraveis, 1. 1, p. 191 (Lisboa, 1720, 8°). 

a They are the Marranos in Spain, the Chuetas in the Balearics, the 
anusim of the Babbis. The word marrano does not seem to have the 
Hebrew origin which is often attributed to it. It is merely a term of 
insult ; marrano (in Portuguese, marrSo) meant pig, long before it had been 
used to name the Jews. 

3 Bibliotheca National of Lisbon, Collecfao Pombalina, MS. 641, fo 9 . 076, 
336 et seq. ; MS. 649, fo'. 21, 33, 34, 4a, 45, 54, 133, &e. 

* Ibid., MS. 649, f°. 139, the figures above seem to come from a note of 
Salvador Soares Cotrim (f°. 54) ; they are found again without variation, 


tember 20, 1540 — the date of the first regular auto da f£ 

at Lisbon — to 1732, a total number of 24,522 victims 

is obtained, of whom 1,454 were burnt. They may be 

classified as follows: — 


Variously sentenced. 

In person. 

In effigy. 

Lisbon . 6,262 



Coimbra. 8,138 



Evora . 8,608 



Pombal thought that there had been enough victims, and 
assuming a purely political attitude, he gave the king to 
understand that the Inquisition was very detrimental to 
the reputation of Portugal in foreign countries and to the 
economic prosperity of the kingdom. Had not the New 
Christians, who had escaped from Portugal, largely con- 
tributed to the commercial development of the markets 
of Bordeaux, London, Amsterdam, Altona, and other 

At last, on May 2, 1768, the king ordered the suppression 
of the lists containing the names of the New Christians. 
These lists were very inaccurate, and served the purposes of 
private revenge 1 . 

Pombal took advantage of the first opportunity of im- 
proving still more the condition of the New Christians, 
who were debarred from public office and constantly dis- 
turbed in their commercial pursuits. 

A certain Jean Gaspar Lyder, son of a native of Prague 
and of Barbara Kulerin, a lady of Vienna, woman-in- waiting 
to Queen Dona Mariana, had been appointed judge at 
Fundao. He was required to prove the " purity " of his 
blood. He appealed ; all the official commissions, including 

in the speeches delivered against the Inquisition in 1821 (Diario das Cortes 
da Nafdo Portugueza), vol. I, February 8, 1821, p. 63, speeches of Ferr'So, 
and in numerous publications ; e.g. in the Historia de Portugal of Oliveira 
Martins, vol. II, 1. vi, 5, pp. 156-7 (Lisboa, second edition, x88o, 
8°, a vols.). 
1 Alvara de lei sdbre as fintas dos ChrisiSos Novos, a de maio de 1768. 


the Council of State (May 34, 1773), were consulted, 
although the decision of the general Council of the Holy 
Office had to he accepted (April 30, 1773). ^> was *^ e 
general opinion that such inquiries ought to be abolished 
and, at the same time, every distinction between Old and 
New Christians 1 . 

On May 35, 1773, Dom J° s ^ I signed the law of the 
general constitution and perpetual edict abolishing for ever 
all difference of treatment between his subjects, whatever 
their origin 2 . Pombal hastened to publish the document 
and even a Latin translation 3 ; he made the mistake, how- 
ever, of declaring that the Jesuits alone were guilty of 
having invented the opprobrious name of " New Christian," 
a name dating from long before the foundation of the 
Society of Jesus, often itself persecuted by the Portuguese 
Inquisition 4 . 

On September 1, 1774, appeared a new law concerning 
the Inquisition of Portugal, depriving it, in theory, of all 
its tyrannical and arbitrary character. 

The Holy Office persevered none the less in persecuting 
now and then a certain number of descendants of Jews. 
The Inquisitors still found it profitable to confiscate the 
goods of those who were condemned, when it was possible. 

A new law (December 15, 1774) dealt with this by for- 
bidding all confiscation in the case of accused persons who 

1 Every fact concerning the preparation of the laws of May 25, 1773, 
September i, and December 15, 1774, has been taken from the MSS. of 
Pombal (mentioned above), No. 649. 

2 Collecf&o das leys, decreios e alvaras que cornprehende feliz remade del Rey 
Fidelissimo Horn Jose 1 (Lisboa, in fo., vols. II and III). Each law or decree 
is found at its date. 

3 Litterae Josephi I Lusitanorum regis Fidelissimi, legem quidem generalis con- 
stitutionis et edicti perpetui complectentes, pro aoolenda et extinguenda odiosa 
Novorum Christianorum et Veterum Christianorum distinetione ab annis 1500, et 
amplius, pessimis et seditiosissimis consiliis in Lusitaniam inveeta, denominatorum 
Jesuitarum opera. (Olispone, 1773, in. 12 p. 38.) 

* On the antagonism of the Jesuits and the Inquisition, cf. Oliveira 
Martins, Historia de Portugal, vol. II, 1. vi, 5, p. 157, who proves the fact, 
expressing, however, an opinion which may be questioned. 


became reconciled to the Church by a confession, more 
or less sincere. 

From this time the Inquisition was disarmed, being 
unwilling to abandon itself to unproductive labours, and 
the descendants of the Jews lived almost undisturbed. 
The Holy Office occupied itself with Protestants and Free- 
masons, " reconciling " from time to time some indiscreet 
person of Jewish blood. But the Holy Office was decaying, 
and there were no more pyres in the public streets 1 . 

When the French entered Portugal under Napoleon, they 
found the Holy Office still in existence there 2 . On 
December 8, 1807, the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon 
published a pastoral letter urging the people to submit to 
the French army, for " this army," said the prelate, " is 
that of his Majesty, the Emperor and King of Italy, Napo- 
leon the Great, to whom God has entrusted the support and 
protection of the Religion, and who is destined to make the 
happiness of Nations." Twelve days after (December 32) 
another pastoral letter appeared, unreservedly approving 
of that of the patriarch ; it was issued by " Dom Jose* 
Maria de Mello, titular Bishop of Algarve, Inquisitor- 
General." Cowardice so great was to have its reward. 
On February 1, 1808, Junot, the marshal of France, pub- 
lished in a proclamation that the Catholic religion was to 
be protected, " but freed from the superstitions which dis- 
figure it." 

1 Carlos Jose de Menezes, loc. cit., vol. II, p. 188. The last autos da fi 
thus took place on October 11, 1778, at Lisbon ; on August 26, 1781, at 
Coimbra ; and on September 16, 1781, at Evora. These autos are mentioned 
neither by Dr. R. Gottheil in his fine article in the Jewish Encyclopedia, 
vol. II, p. 34a, nor by Mr. E. N. Adler in his copious articles on autos of 
Portugal, Jewish Quarterly Review, XIV, p. 718, probably because there were 
no Jews among the victims. For Dr. Oottheil, the last Portuguese auto 
is that of October 18, 1739, at Lisbon; and for Mr. Adler,that of December 18, 
1767, in the same town. 

2 The documents concerning the French occupation are obtained from 
the Collecfdo de decretos editaes, &c. (Lisboa, 1808), numbered 7-11, 1. 30, in 
the British Museum. 


A second decree of the same date annexed Portugal to 
the French Empire. 

Finally, by a third decree of the same date, " all the gold 
and silver of all the churches, chapels and brotherhoods of 
the town of Lisbon" were confiscated, with the exception 
of "the silver vessels necessary for the seemliness of 
worship." Moreover, the French governor installed himself 
with his staff in the very palace of the Inquisition of 
Lisbon 1 . This storm quickly passed over, thanks to the 
Anglo-Portuguese alliance. The French were driven out 
and all was as before. From time to time voices were 
raised against the Inquisition. On the death of the Grand 
Inquisitor, Jose' de Mello, Joao Bernardo da Rocha, a 
Portuguese who had established a newspaper in London 2 , 
declared that this was " a good opportunity of abolishing 
this odious office." The revolutionary government of 1 Sao 
was unwilling — though the contrary has been stated 3 — to 
abolish the Holy Office hastily. A decree 4 of September 41, 
1 Sao, ordered, as a first step, that a list should be made 
of the prisoners of the Inquisition, in order that "the 
scandal for Justice and Humanity resulting from the 
arbitrary detention of prisoners " should be abolished. 

In the meanwhile, the provisionary government held its 
sessions in the Palace of the Holy OfBce at Lisbon 6 . 

During the session of February 5, i8ai, deputy Mar- 
giochi proposed a law 6 to the effect that the tribunals of 
the Inquisition should be abolished, their spiritual power 
given to the bishops, their archives deposited in the manu- 
script room of the National Library of Lisbon 7 , their 

1 Carlos Jose 1 de Menezes, loc. cit., vol. I, p. 221. 

a Portuguez ou Mercurio politico, vol. VIII (1818), No. 47, p. 395. 

3 J. Augusto d'Oliveira Mascarenhaa, A Inquisifao em Portugal (Lisboa, 
1899, in. 32), p. 50. It is a little book of no historical value and purely 

4 ColkcfSo geral e curiosa de todos 0$ documentos officiaes e historicos publicados 
por occasiao da Eegeneracdo desde 24 de agosto, Lisboa, 1820, 4 . 

s Carlos Jos6 de Menezes, loc. cit., vol. I, p. 221. 

* Diario das Cortes geraes da Jffafao portugueza, 1821, vol. I, pp. 44-5. 

T This proposal was not carried out. 


property transferred to the State, and their officers re- 
duced to pensions equal to one-half of their salaries. 
On February 8, deputy Ferrao de Mendonca 1 added the 
following proposal : " That all the foolish and barbarous 
statutes about sorcery and Judaism, and others which have 
made 33,068 accused persons mount the scaffold in a dress 
of infamy, and have caused 1,454 of them to be burnt, thus 
dishonouring so many thousands of families of all classes, 
shall be burnt on a scaffold in the Kocio Street 2 , and that 
this last auto da fe shall reduce them to ashes." It is 
fortunate for history that this proposal did not become 

The last cry of the Inquisition was a request for money. 
Its officers had to receive payment. One of the deputies, 
the inquisitor Castello Branco, on March 34, asked his 
colleagues not to forget that the Inquisition was a State 
institution, a regular and legal body, and that it had a staff 
whose long services (?) could not be passed over. He 
added, however, " As a representative of the people, I vote 
for the abolition of the Holy Office, which I consider to be 
useless and incompatible with the enlightenment of the 
age s ." I think that it is unnecessary after this to 
report the discussion 4 — was it a discussion ?— of the 
Margiochi proposal, which was unanimously passed on 
March 31, 1821, and transformed into a decree the same 
day 5 . The Inquisition had at last ceased to exist in 
Portugal. I think, however, that a few words on the final 
settlement of this tribunal may be of interest. At 

1 Diario das Cortes, vol. I, p. 63. See p. 356, note 6. It must not be 
forgotten that of the 1,454 burnt, 42a were burnt in effigy, either because 
they had escaped, or because they had died before the autos. 

3 The Palace of the Inquisition was in this street. 

3 Diario das Cortes, vol. I, p. 356. 

* Ibid., vol. I, p. 356 et seq. Manuel Borges Carneiro took an important 
part in it ; he published at this time an Appendice [ao Portugal regenerado] 
sobre as operates da Sancta InquisifSo Portugueza (Lisboa, November 20, 1820, 
8°, p. 8), published under the pseudonym of D. C. N. Publicola. 

5 Diario das Cortes, vol. I, pp. 404 and 421. 


Coimbra 1 and at Evora, the people invaded the Palaces of 
the Inquisition without waiting for any authorization, but 
at Lisbon, a law proposed by the deputy FerrSo, ordered 
(September 27, 1831) that the prisons should be opened 
to the public 2 . 

The following is the description of the proceedings which 
was given at the time in England 3 and which seems 
accurate : — 

" On the 8th inst. the palace of the Holy Office was 
opened to the people. The number which crowded to see 
it during the first four days, rendered it extremely difficult 
and even dangerous to attempt an entrance. The edifice 
is extensive and has the form of an oblong square, with 
a garden in the centre. It is three stories high and has 
several vaulted galleries, along which are situated a number 
of dungeons, of six, seven, eight, and nine feet square. 
Those on the ground floor and in the first story have 
no windows, and are deprived of both air and light when 
the door is shut. The dungeons on the next storey have 
a kind of breathing-hole in the form of a chimney through 
which the sky may be seen. These apartments were 
allotted to prisoners, who, it was supposed, might be set 
at liberty. In the vaulted wall of each dungeon there 
is a hole of about an inch in diameter which communicates 
with a secret corridor running along by each tier of 
dungeons. By these means, the agents of the Inquisition 
could at any moment observe the conduct of the prisoners 
without being seen by them ; and when two persons were 
confined in the same dungeon, could hear their conversa- 
tion. In these corridors were seats so placed, that a spy 
could observe what was passing in two dungeons, by 
merely turning his eyes from right to left, in order to 

1 On April 10 the instruments of torture were burnt by the people at 
Coimbra. Carlos Jose' de Menezes, A Inguisifao em Portugal, vol. II, p. 304. 

" Diario das Cortes, vol. Ill, pp. 1867 and 2432. 

s Annual Register of the year 182 1 (London, 1822, 8°), Chronicle, pp. 157-8; 
it is a translation of the Courrier Franpais. 


look into either of the holes between which he might 
be stationed. Human skulls and other bones were found 
in the dungeons. On the walls of these frightful holes 
are carved the names of some of the unfortunate victims 
buried in them, accompanied with lines or notches, indi- 
cating the number of days of their captivity. One name 
had beside it the date of 1809. The doors of certain 
dungeons, which had not been used for some years, still 
remained shut, but the people soon forced them open. In 
nearly all of them, human bones were found, and among 
these melancholy remains were, in one dungeon, fragments 
of the garment of a monk, and his girdle. In some of 
these dungeons, the chimney-shaped air-hole was walled 
up, which is a certain sign of the murder of the prisoner. 
In such cases, the unfortunate victim was compelled to 
go into the air-hole, the lower extremity of which was 
immediately closed by masonry. Quicklime was after- 
wards thrown down on him, which extinguished life and 
destroyed the body. In several of these dens of misery, 
mattresses were found, some of them old, others almost 
new, — a circumstance which proves, whatever may be said 
to the contrary, that the Inquisition in these latter times 
was something more than a scarecrow." 

It appears that the visit of the people did not take 
place without some disturbance. According to a dis- 
cussion which was held in the Cortes (October 10, 1821), 
the people showed themselves dissatisfied with the attitude 
of the wardens ; they demanded that the instruments of 
torture should be produced. A deputy appeared and de- 
clared that it was " long " since these instruments of torture 
had been in existence 1 . In their rage, the people pulled 
down and dragged along the streets of Lisbon the statue 
of Faith, which stood on the principal side of the Palace 2 . 

1 Diario das Cortes, vol. Ill, p. 2588. In the Archaeological Museum of 
the Carmo at Lisbon, a whip from the inquisitorial prisons (?) of this 
town is shown, No. 2478 on the catalogue. 

a Carlos Jos6 de Menezes, A Inguisifdo, vol. II, p. 306. 


December 31, 1821, the prisons were finally closed 1 . 
A deputy, Fernandez Thomas, demanded their demolition 2 
and the erection on their site of a stone, bearing the follow- 
ing inscription : — " An eternal curse on every Portuguese 
who shall not hold in everlasting horror this invention 
of Hell." The stone was not set up, but a decree of 
April %%, 182a, ordered the partial destruction of the 
prisons of Evora and Coimbra and the total destruction 
of those of Lisbon 3 . On the site of these last the Dona 
Maria theatre stands at the present day. 

Thus ended the Inquisition of Portugal, after an exist- 
ence of nearly three centuries. 


The Last Marranos. 

Although the name of Marranos has not been generally 
applied in Portugal to the descendants of Jews baptised 
by force, I will use it because it has become a generic term 
in every country. I am anxious, however, that it should 
be observed that the name of Christaos Novos, or New 
Christians, alone was used by the Portuguese Inquisition. 
As to the people, after making use of the expression 
tornadico (weathercock), they early fell back on the name 
of Judeu or Jew. This is the name commonly given in 
Portugal to every individual who is notoriously of Jewish 

Since the law of May 45, 1773, the descendants of 
baptised Jews have been legally put on the same footing 
as the other Portuguese. But, practically, their fusion 
with the rest of the population has taken many years. 
Liberty, however, has done much more for this close union 
than all the measures taken by the Inquisition. On the 
one side, the Catholic population did not care to marry 

1 Diario das Cortes, vol. Ill, p. 3428. 

1 Ibid., vol. Ill, p. 2710, sessSo 18 de outubro. 

3 Ibid., vol. V, p. 701. 


into families of Jewish origin, which the Holy Office 
closely watched and often imprisoned without any other 
real end than the confiscation of their property. On the 
other side, the persecution urged on the victims, gave 
them knowledge of their origin, inspired them with 
a real hatred for a religion in the name of which the 
Inquisition acted, though without respect for the true 
Christian doctrine. Forced to have all the appearances 
of Catholicism, the Marranos made up for this constraint 
by practising the Mosaic Law secretly. Naturally, many 
of the rites prescribed were impossible, circumcision, for 
instance. But it was possible to pray, fast, observe the 
festivals fairly well. This is what the Marranos did. 

I have collected from the trials of the Portuguese Inqui- 
sition, a large number of prayers recited by the New 
Christians ; they are a mixture of the Jewish and the 
Catholic rituals. I intend to make a special study of 
them. Moreover, these trials are anterior to 1774. 

Some of the traditional prayers have been preserved 
among the descendants of the Marranos. I will only quote 
one here. It is still recited among the New Christians \ 
and its Jewish character is undeniable. 

" Sabbado I Sabbado ! Sabbado santo ! venhas com 08 
Anjos; osAwjosnosaccompanhem; accompanhemaminha 
alma, quando d'este mundo fdr. 

Sabbado ! Sabbado ! Moses ! Moses ! os Anjos vos dirao : 

Ao Sabbado nada fards, s6 te occupards em louvar ao 
SenJior. Amen ! " 

This prayer 2 assumes the observation of the Sabbath rest, 

1 It was dictated to me with many others, on June 1, 1902, at Lisbon, 
by M. Candido Caetano Vas, in the presence of MM. Leao Amzalak and 
A. Anahory, members of the Jewish Committee of that town. 

a The following is the translation : — " Sabbath 1 Sabbath ! Holy 
Sabbath ! Come with the Angels ; may the Angels accompany us, may 
they accompany my soul when it passes away from this world. Sabbath ! 
Sabbath ! Moses ! Moses ! the Angels will tell you : On the Sabbath you 
must do no work, you must occupy yourself only with praising the Lord. 


which is not, as a rule, very strictly observed among the 
Marranos; however, they do not eat meat on that day, 
and on Friday evening, they light a night-lamp which they 
leave burning all day. 

The text of other prayers which have been submitted 
to me is very corrupt in its present form, because the 
prayers have passed from one illiterate generation to 
another still more illiterate. There are even some of 
which it is difficult to find out the original meaning, 
because those who say them do not understand them now. 
Mutilated words are repeated with persistent obstinacy, 
because they have been handed down in this form. Any 
reform with regard to this would be very difficult. The 
Marranos of the present day would not consent to change 
one iota in their ritual, which is already very much re- 
duced. On Kippur Day, which is strictly observed — while 
Pesach is now unknown — the Marranos assemble together 
and pass the day in repeating incessantly, one after the 
other, all the prayers which they know. 

Among the customs preserved, I will mention the follow- 
ing :— 

When it thunders, a lamp is lighted. 

When any one dies, there is a fast for the first seven 
days ; the house of the deceased is considered as " entre- 
fada * " ; all the provisions which are found in it are thrown 
away. A fast of one day is held in the first, third, fifth, 
seventh, ninth, and eleventh months after the death ; every 
Friday a poor person of the sex of the dead person is 
invited to breakfast. At the time of the Inquisition, the 
Marranos took care to prevent the Catholic priest from 
coming to confess and administer the last rites to the 
dying man ; they took strong measures for this purpose : 
when the death struggle began, and the end was clearly 
near, they stifled (abafavam), the sick person. Authori- 

1 This word is not classical Portuguese ; it belongs to the Jewish- 
Portuguese dialect, and comes from rpn , ignoble. 


ties of high standing 1 assert that this custom has not yet 
entirely disappeared in the North of Portugal, where the 
abafadores, suffocators, were formerly very numerous and 
formed a kind of sect. 

The Marranos are now very few in number at Porto and 
Lisbon, where one of them has had himself circumcised ; 
many more are found at Covilha, Fundao, and Braganca. 
At Covilha, ten families still assemble for Kippur. They 
all have a tendency to intermarry only among themselves. 
On the other hand, many descendants of Jews have 
abandoned all Jewish worship and have become good 
Catholics. They do not forget their origin, however, and 
Mr. E. N. Adler has met two of them in a single visit to 
the Bibliotheca National of Lisbon 2 . One of the most 
famous descendants of the Jews, M. Jose* Marcellino de Sa' 
Vargas, was minister in the reign of Dom Luiz I ; his 
family came originally from Chacim, and was connected 
with that of the well-known Parisian bankers, Emile and 
Isaac Pereire. 

When one sees an attempt to re-establish the Mosaic 
Law among the Jews of Kai-feng-fu, one asks oneself if 
the same work could not be undertaken, with more success, 
among the small groups of New Christians in the North 
of Portugal. The greatest obstacle would be, as in China 3 , 
the circumcision of adults. On the other hand, the law 4 
punishes by an imprisonment of one or two years, any 
one who attempts to make proselytes for any other than 
the State religion, Catholicism. It deprives the Portuguese 

1 M. Lino d'Assumpcao, Inspector~General of the libraries and archives 
of Portugal, has kindly authorized me to say that he has recently been 
informed of the existence at the present day of the abafadores, or 
suffocators, by a public prosecutor at Braganca. Also M. P. C. Vieira 
mentions the existence of this custom a few years ago at Covilha 
{A Nafao, 17 de Set. de 1889). 

3 Jewish Quarterly Review, XIII, pp. 426 and 430. 

3 Jewish Chronicle, August 15, 1902, p. 10. 

* Godigo penal approvado par decreio de 16 de setembro de 1886 (_Lisboa, 1886, 8°), 
art. 130 and 135. 



who publicly renounces this religion, of all political rights 
for twenty years. It is certain, however, that this law is 
never put in force x , but it remains in the Portuguese code, 
just as the Act of Parliament of 1698, which punishes 
apostate Christians with imprisonment, still remains in the 
English code 2 . Besides, tolerance in matters of religion is 
very great in Portugal, as we shall be able to prove. 


Re-establishment of the Jewish Religion. 

The non-converted Jews were expelled in 1496, and 
they were forbidden to reside in Portugal on pain of 
death 3 . Nevertheless, there have always been some Jews 
passing into Portugal, generally from Morocco. The Cortes 
has repeatedly demanded their expulsion 4 . The proof 
that, in spite of these measures, there were some Jews 
in Portugal, is that Joao III, by an edict of February 7, 
1537, ordered them to wear a special badge. Joao IV, the 
first Braganca, elected in 1640, seems to have been under 
obligations to them and to have tolerated them tacitly 5 . 
The report of this went even as far as Mexico 6 . When 
England became the mistress of Gibraltar, it was agreed 
by Article 10 of the Treaty of Utrecht in 17 13, that 
she would not receive the Jews in that town, but they 
were allowed, notwithstanding, to establish themselves 

1 The Protestants have made and are still making proselytes in Portugal 
without great inconvenience. 

a H. S. Q. Henriques, The Jews and the English Law, in the Jewish Quarterly 
Review, XIII, pp. 275-7. 

3 J. Mendes dos Remedios, Os Judeus em Portugal (Coimbra, 1895, 8°), 
documento IX, p. 43a. 

* Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, Ms. portug., 62, f°. 117™, Capitolos 
geraes apresentados a El Rey nas Cortes de Torres Novas de 1525, e nas de Evora de 
1531, cap. 180. 

* Lindo, History of the Jews of Spain and Portugal, ch. xxxi, p. 375. 

* Relacion del tercero auto particular de fee que el Tribunal del Santo Officio de 
la . . . Nueva Espaiia celebro . . . 30 de marfo de 1648, f°. 42 ro > no. 12 
(Mexico, 1648 in 8°). 


there 1 . Under the name of English subjects, they could 
then go to Portugal, where various treaties permitted the 
English to practise then religion freely but in privacy. 
In 1 80 1, the Jews obtained a small piece of ground in 
the English cemetery da Estrella at Lisbon. 

The tombs bore either a Hebrew inscription or an in- 
scription in Hebrew and Portuguese. Five graves may still 
be seen, of which one is a child's. The oldest bears the 
following epitaph 2 in both languages : — 

a^stDN *|D» -ira rnwo 
"e> -rub 15 dv j» 
p"sb *\t>pn 


In 1 8 10 attention was called to the important firms of 
Moses Levy Aboale and Co., and Manuel Cardoso and Co. 
The Jews had rendered Portugal a great service by intro- 
ducing corn there during a recent famine 3 . Three years 
after (1813), Rabbi Abraham Dabella founded a synagogue 
at Lisbon, in the alley Da Linheira, under the name of 
D'ttBTi "W, Gate of Heaven 4 , which is also the name of 
the old Sephardic Community of London. It is said that 
in 1830 Joao VI officially allowed the Jews to settle in 
Lisbon 5 . What is more certain is that on February 16, 
1 8a 1, deputy Jose* Ferrao proposed a law to the Cortes, 
recalling all the Jews to Portugal. This law, however, 

1 Lindo, loo. cit., p. 350. 

2 Translation : "Tomb of the glorious Joseph Amzalak. He rested in 
Eden on the 15th of Adar in the year 564 according to the short mode of 
reckoning (5564). — Here lies Joseph Amzalaga, 'who died on the twenty- 
sixth of February, 1804." The Portuguese text is in a single line, the 
tomb measuring 8 ft. by 3 ft. 8| inches. 

3 Kayserling, Geschichte der Juden in Portugal, 336. 

* A Jitstifa e a synagoga Hes-Haim de Lisboa, pp. 4 and 5 (Lisboa, 1869, 
8°, p. 16). 

s Lindo, loc. cit., p. 377. 

T a 


contrary to what has been written on the subject \ was 
never put to the vote 2 . The discussion of the above- 
mentioned constitution of i8aa does not enlighten us as 
to whether a Portuguese has the right to belong to any- 
other than the Catholic religion. This discussion was 
incoherent 3 . Besides, as Oliveira Martins says 4 , "the 
hundred deputies who were the authors of the laws, were 
the only ones to understand them, granting that they did 
understand them." 

Article 6 of the constitution of 1836, according to which 
Portugal is ruled at the present day, is thus worded : " The 
Apostolic and Roman Catholic religion will continue to 
be the religion of the kingdom. All other religions will 
be allowed to foreigners, with their domestic or private 
observance in houses intended for the purpose, but without 
the outward form of places of worship." 

It seems then that foreigners only are at liberty not to 
belong to the Catholic religion in Portugal. However, 
§ 4 of article 145 of the said constitution declares con- 
cerning the rights of the Portuguese: "No one may be 
prosecuted on account of religion, provided that he respects 
that of the State, and does not offend against public 

It may be gathered from the above extracts, that a 
foreign Jew may, in every case, perform the rites of his 
religion in a house without the outward appearance of a 
place of worship. Moreover, it would be an insult to the 
National Religion to practise any other publicly 5 . 

However that may be, Salomao Mor Jose" in 1836 founded 
a second synagogue at Lisbon in the Travessa da Palha 6 . 

During the reign of Dom Miguel I (1838 to 1834) no 

1 Kayserling, loc. cit., 337. 

3 Diario das Cortes, vol. I, No. 17. 

3 Ibid., vol. Ill, 3, 6, and 8 agosto 1821, pp. 1771, 1798, and 1818. 

* Historians Portugal, vol. II, 1. vii. 3, p. 217. 

5 Codigo Penal, art. 130, § 4 . 

c A Justifa e a synagoga, p. 4. 

THE JEWS IN P0KTUOA.L FKOM 1 773 TO ig02 267 

notice seems to have been taken of the Jews. However, 
we see that Levy Bensabath — who began, towards 1833, 
the export trade in cork — struggled against the absolute 
government of Dom Miguel ; he was even arrested, and 
only owed his liberty to the intervention of the English 
consul at Lisbon, who protected him, as a native of 
Gibraltar. The son of Levy, Marcos Bensabath, took a 
still greater part in the struggle against Dom Miguel, and 
became an officer in a regiment of light infantry 1 . 

March 30, 1833, in the presence of the notary Feliciano 
Jose - da Silva Seixas, of Lisbon, Antonio de Castro, a 
nobleman of the king's household, made over to Abraham 
de Jose" Pariente, merchant, English subject, a plot of 
ground situated at Estrella, at an annual rent of 4,000 reis ; 
this plot of ground was to serve as a" cemetery for the 
said Abraham, his descendants and other persons 2 ." 

As a matter of fact, it was only a question of making 
regular a state of affairs which had long existed. The 
piece of land granted is No. 6 of the rua da Estrella, and is 
no other than the old Jewish cemetery, now closed ! It has 
a gloomy appearance, the ground being entirely without 
vegetation. All the tombs, 150 or thereabouts in number, 
are turned towards the East — with the exception of three 
graves at the end which are turned towards the North — 
and consist of horizontal stones, slightly raised above the 
ground; they are quite unornamented, without even the 
Levitic or sacerdotal signs Bona. The inscriptions are 
generally in Hebrew, rarely in Hebrew and Portuguese, 
very exceptionally in Portuguese only. The oldest grave 
seems to be that of Samuel Brudo, who died November 4, 

1 Innocencio da Silva, Diccionario bibliographico portuguez, vol. X, p. no 
v°, Jacob Bensabath (Lisboa, 1883, in 8°). Levy Bensabath saved the life of 
the archbishop of Elvas, Athouguia. 

2 Archives of the Jewish Committee of Lisbon. The rent is still paid 
by this committee. I am anxious to express my thanks here to 
MM. L. Amzalak and Anahory, who were kind enough to show me 
the documents of these archives. I am also indebted for much informa- 
tion to Professor Jos6 Benoliel. 


1 8 15. The tombs of earlier date than 1833 are num- 

In the south wall, a white marble slab is inserted, 
measuring 2 ft. 4^ inches by % ft. 3 inches, on which may 
be read : 



"bn btr\w 'a'3 prop 











NO ANNO DE $635, E.V. 1 875 



Translation: — This commemorative tablet was made 
through the care of the two sons of Solomon Solomon in 
the year 5635 = 1875, because the original inscriptions had 
become obliterated. 

As we have seen, the Jewish cemetery of the rua da 
Estrella 'existed in actual fact long before it was officially 


Let us return, however, to the chronicle of Judaism in 

In 1845, Queen Dona Maria II made Sir Isaac Lyon 
Goldsmid baron of Palmeira 1 . On the death of Rabbi 
Abraham Dabela (1853), his synagogue was managed 
by a committee composed of MM. Leao Amzalak, Levy 
Bensabath, Abraham Cohen, Fortunato Naure, Mair and 
Moise's Buzaglo ; the private synagogue of the Travessa 
da Palha was directed by M. Moise's Anahory, who 
transferred it to the rua do Crucifixo, on the death of 
Salomao Mor Jose - , and finally to the alley Dos Apostolos 2 . 
In the meanwhile, the two congregations united, owing 
to the efforts of MM. Isaac Cardozo and Abraham de 
Esther Levy ; the first synagogue alone remained in 
existence now. This state of things did not last long; 
in i860, the new synagogue in the alley Dos Apostolos was 
founded ; it was rented in the name of a Jewish congre- 
gation 3 , and, I think, under the title of D^n J*y, Tree of Life. 
The position of this synagogue has since been changed, 
but it is still the principal synagogue of Lisbon. There is 
another less important, called Hes-Haim a d . 

While the events which I have related were taking place, 
the community of Lisbon summoned Rabbi Jacob Toledano 
of Tangier, who died in 5659, and whose tomb bears the 
titles of J&om tbwn Dann. This tomb is found in the new 
D"n TVn of Lisbon 4 , the history of which is interesting. 

On the thirtieth of March, 1865, in the presence of the 
notary Joao Baptista Seola, of Lisbon, Joaquim de Oliveira 
sold a plot of ground situated in this town to " Joaquin 
Bittancourt 6 , Josuah Levy, Moses Amzalak, Marcos Auday, 

1 Lindo, History of tfie Jews in Spain and Portugal, p. 377 ; Kayserling, 
Gesehichte der Juden in Portugal, p. 338. 

2 A Justifa e a synagoga, pp. 5 and 6 ; the author of this pamphlet says 
(p. 6), that Salomao Mor Jos6 died in 1854 ; the tomb of this Rabbi in the 
old Jewish cemetery of Lisbon bears the date of wiii or 1861. 

* A Justifa e a synagoga, pp. 6, 10, and la. 

4 Cemetery of the Calcada das Lagas. 

5 It is one of the forms of the French name Bethencourt. 


Salom Bensaude, Mayer Levy Blumberg, and M. de S. Saruya, 
all inhabitants of this town, and all of the Jewish re- 
ligion V But for interments in this gi'ound to be legal, an 
authorization from the Government was necessary. This 
was obtained, October 30, 1868 — an important date, for 
it was, in a manner, that of the official recognition of 
the Jewish community of Lisbon. By a decree (alvard) 
countersigned by the Bishop of Vizeu, minister, King Dom 
Luiz I granted " to the Jews of Lisbon permission to con- 
struct a cemetery for the burial of their co-religionists 2 ." 

Another document has, since that time, confirmed the 
■legal existence of the Jewish religion in Portugal ; an 
alvard (decree) of the Civil Government of Lisbon ratified, 
June 30, 189a, the definite constitution of the hebra, 
DHDn tvbtn 3 . This association has the following aims : 
to give the assistance of religion to every Jew who is 
ill ; to take upon itself the care of the cemeteries and 
the burial of all the Jews in the kingdom, even if they 
are passing visitors * ; to take charge of the savings bank 
of the poor, which is yet self-managing ; to keep the 
registers of the deaths, marriages and births 5 . The society 
was definitely established March 27, 1892, in the course 
of a meeting presided over by M. Simeao Anahory, assisted 
by MM. Leao Amzalak and Jose - Cardozo, secretaries. 

On the seventeenth of Ab, 5660 (August 13, 1900), the 
community of Lisbon united under the presidency of 
M. R. Simeao Anahory, assisted by M. Judah Benoliel, vice- 
president, and MM. Moyse's de S. Bensabath and Moyse's 

1 Archives of the Jewish Committee of Lisbon. 
» Ibid. 

3 Estatutos da AssociafSo Gemilut Hassadim, irmandade Israelita de soccorros 
muluos na hora extrema efuneraes, Lisboa, 1892, 8°, p.^21. 

4 It is for this reason that in a corner of the new cemetery, the tomb 
of a stranger may be seen, whose body was found on the shore, and who 
was supposed to be a Jew. 

5 Extracts from these registers are acknowledged to be authentic by 
the Government of Portugal, where the State is in the hands of the 


Azancot, secretaries. A plan of complete organization was 
adopted, which, however, has not yet received the sanction 
of the Government. 

The Kehila of Lisbon will include all the orthodox Jews, 
both Sephardim and Ashkenazim, having at their head 
a committee (Mahamad), consisting, in 1903, of MM. Leao 
Amzalak, president ; Jose 7 Cardozo and Isaac Azulay, secre- 
taries ; Salomao de M. Sequerra, treasurer, and twelve other 

Article 31 of this scheme of organization may be quoted. 
The following is the translation : " If the Portuguese Jews 
disappear from this town and from the whole kingdom, the 
German Jews who are here at that time may take under 
their care and for their own use the synagogues, estates, 
portable objects, and other articles of value in the possession 
of the Portuguese at the time or accruing later, but shall 
restore the whole to the Portuguese congregation if it is 

But this hypothetical disappearance is improbable ; the 
Kehila of Lisbon is full of vitality. It numbers at the 
present day about 400 persons, natives of Gibraltar, Mo- 
rocco or the Azores, most of them ship-owners and mer- 
chants 1 . There are several professors, however, who should 
be mentioned : MM. Alfred Benarus, an old pupil of the 
£cole des Beaux- Arts, Paris ; Bensaude, professor at the 
Industrial Institute ; Joseph Benoliel, professor at the 
" Marques de Pombal " Industrial School, who conducted 
a course of Hebrew in 1888 at the Curso superior de Letras, 
and is the author of several works, among them a curious 
translation of Camoes and of Loqman 2 . 

Among the members of the community of Lisbon I must 

1 Kayserling, loc. cit., p. 337, was wrong in speaking of from five to six 
hundred families. 

2 Camoes, Ines de Castro, Episode des Lusiades; Translation into Hebrew verse 
by Joseph de M. Benoliel (Lisboa, 189a, 8°, p. 24). Fabulas de Logman, 
vertidas em portuguez e paraphraseadas em verfos hebraicos por Jose" Benoliel 
(Lisboa, 1898, 8°). A peculiarity of these translations is that all the words 
used are biblical. 


mention again MM. Jacob Bensaude, author of numerous 
grammatical works, appointed Professor of English at the 
College du Porto by a decree of November 5, 1880 ; Salamao 
Saragga, a distinguished Hebraist; Dr. Raoul Bensaude, 
a former student at the hospitals of Paris, and consulting 
physician to the King of Portugal, &c, officiates as rabbi 
at Lisbon ; there is a hazan, M. Levy Ben Simon of Jaffa. 

A boys' school has been established at Lisbon as well as 
a Cosinha Economica Israelita, a hasher restaurant ; it is 
proposed to found an asylum for Jewish travellers. The 
kosher restaurant distributed 2,390 meals in 1901 ; it is 
managed by the Benevolent Society Somej JWophlim, founded 
thirty-seven years ago 1 . 

But the principal work of the Kehila is the erection of 
a synagogue, for those which exist now are only modest 

The first stone of this synagogue, called mpn nj?B>, 
Shaare Tikvah (Gates of Hope), was only laid on the 
eighteenth of Tyar, 566a (May 35, 190a), in the presence of 
a large number of spectators 2 . The plan was made by 
M. Vicente Terra, an architect of Lisbon. A committee of 
ladies 3 and a committee of men 4 have been formed for 
the building of the new synagogue. The old Sephardic 
community of London, which is connected by so many 
bonds with Portugal, has also a committee 5 in communi- 
cation with those of Lisbon. 

A few years ago a municipal councillor of Lisbon, the 
Vicomte de Rio Sado, a great " protector of animals," asked 
in vain for the prohibition of the Shechita. His request 
was refused by the minister Thomas Bibeiro, and in the 

1 Seculo, 26 de mav<;o de 1902. 

a In accordance with the law, the synagogue will be situated in an 
enclosure without any outward sign of a place of worship. 

3 Mesdames E. Abecassis Seruya, E. Cohen Sequerra, E. Levy Azancot, 
R. Cardozo Anahory, Benoliel Levy, and D. Benoliel de Levy. 

1 MM. A. Anahory, M. Seruya, Levy Azancot, S. Cagi, and J. Pinto. 

6 The Rev. Haham Dr. Gaster, president ; Joshua M. Levy, treasurer ; 
Simon Seruya and E. N. Adler, members. 


slaughter-house of Lisbon the Jews have a special place, 
Matanca para Israditas. 

I may mention here a curious trace in the popular Portu- 
guese language of old and now unconscious antisemitism ; to 
signify that a man is " base, despicable, without moral worth," 
he is called safardano. M. Theophile Braza lately pointed 
out this word to me, which he derives from Sepharad, "H?!?. 

Outside Lisbon only one other Kehila exists in Portugal, 
that of Faro, which numbers fifteen families with a syna- 
gogue and a hazan. The Jews enjoy much consideration 
there; in 1893, for instance, there were public rejoicings 
and a great banquet to celebrate the circumcision of the 
son of M. Abraham Amram \ 

Fanaticism has not, however, entirely disappeared yet ; 
it has been said quite recently that the Jews of Faro seek 
to obtain Christian blood, and pass their time in the syna- 
gogue in " breaking up wooden crosses with blows of ham- 
mers 2 " — accusations which are purely and simply absurd. 

The number of Jews in Faro was much greater in former 
years ; the death of the aged, the emigration of the young 
to Lisbon, the absence of new-comers in consequence of the 
stagnation of trade, all cause the dwindling of the commu- 
nity of Faro 3 . This community was established towards 
1820, the year when the cemetery was bought. In 1830 it 
had a minyan (a congregation of ten adult males), and 
from that time a minister of religion (chazan) ; services 
were held in a house which was bought for that purpose 
by the congregation. In 1850 a new synagogue was 
established in the house of M. Joseph Siseu. Ten years 
after services were established by M. Samuel Amram in 

1 Diario Popular, September 25, 1893. 

2 A Nagao, 14 de set. de 1889. 

s I wish to thank here M. Joaquin Rosa Bernado, resident of Lisbon, 
and M. David Sabath, chemist at Faro ; it is to their kindness that I owe 
the information which I give on the kehila of Algarve. The inscription 
quoted here was copied by M. Sabath, and I have only changed the last 
word of the third line. 


another house. The two synagogues have always existed 
since then. Twenty-five years ago the cemetery was 
enclosed with walls. The following inscription found at 
Faro some years ago was placed there : — 

dv "ipy nw ivmn DV3 

wsbtt nwn jw &3k6 

13D3H "1BB3 t^y3B>l KWI 

nr I3p3 13P31 "n "3 "3 did p spv i 

Translation: "On Thursday, the 16th of Shebat, 5075 
(1315), died the glorious Rabbi Joseph Ben Tom. May he 
rest in peace. He was buried in this grave." 

This is a precious relic of the past of this Kehila, which 
was, in the fourteenth century, the head quarters of one of 
the seven great Jewish districts of Portugal. 

A few Jews are found at Evora, Lagos and Porto, but 
their numbers are too small for common worship. 

Lastly, at Sao Miguel (Azores), there is an old Kehila, 
which has supplied that of Lisbon with distinguished mem- 
bers, but it tends to disappear ; it was found necessary to 
send some young men there lately to make minyan. It is 
a mistake to trace to the fourteenth century the origin of 
this community 1 , which dates from the eighteenth century. 

On the whole, the condition of Judaism in Portugal is 
not bad : antisemitism is unknown there ; the population 
have no hostile feeling against the Jews ; they even delight 
in doing justice to the uprightness of their lives and their 
incomparable activity. 

Cabdozo de Bethencoukt. 

1 Jewish Chronicle, November 26, 1880.