1757 - 1813: Portuguese Sephardim Jews paid to leave Amsterdam
Excerpts of possible interest:
...This information can be found in a document entitled, 'List of Portuguese Sephardim who were paid to leave Amsterdam 1757-1813', compiled by Vibeke Sealtiel Olsenn. Those who agreed to leave Amsterdam were granted by the Jewish community an amount in Dutch Guilders against the promise to leave Amsterdam and not to return for 20 years....
...David Pretto Henriquez and his sons were Freemasons and active members of the Jewish Congregation of St. Thomas...
...(Will excerpt) Article 1st We do give & Bequeath to the Danish Lutheran Church of this Island the sum of Twelve pieces of Eight and four Bits, & to the Br S & GH (initials of the B'racha v'Shalom u'GemilutHasadim) the sum of One Hundred & Twelve pieces of Eight to be paid at the Death of either of us...
... There is much more information on Dr. Daniel Pretto Henriquez than perhaps any other Pretto on St. Thomas. He studied medicine at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and he is listed in the Scandinavian Biographical Archive as a Surgeon. In the Christiansted Museum on St. Thomas there is a mural about Daniel Pretto, it reads:
"In 1838, the first Apothecary was founded on St. Thomas after Dr. Daniel Pretto had traveled to Denmark to petition for the right to sell medicine on a monopoly basis. Until that time doctors in the Danish West Indies were permitted to compound their own prescriptions and sell medicine. By Danish Law, an apothecary was obliged to employ a certified Danish Chemist. The first on St. Thomas was Mr. A. H. Riise, who later became proprietor of the store. The business flourished and eventually involved the manufacture of Bay Rum and Guava Rum. The present Apothecary Hall on Main Street is the site of the original Apothecary, and the Bay Rum business was located across the Street."As his father and uncle before him, Daniel was a Freemason. He belonged to the St. Thomas Harmonic lodge 356 E, which was founded October 19, 1818 and approved by the United Grand Lodge of England.. A history of this lodge can be found at http://www.harmoniclodge.com. In his capacity as Mason, Daniel rose through the ranks to become one of its greatest Masters, beginning in 1837-1838 and 1844-1859, and then again 1860-1862, at which time he was succeeded by his son-in-law and nephew, A.E.Pretto...
... Seixas was also among the first Jewish families to emigrate to the United States, as evidenced by the historical account about Moises Seixas, as follows:
This congratulatory address, written by Moises Seixas (1744-1809) was presented by the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, on behalf of the children of the stock of Abraham to President George Washington on August 17, 1790, on the occasion of his visit to the city. In his address, Seixas referred to past persecutions of the Jews and then lauded the new nation's commitment to religious liberty:
Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free citizens, we now (with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events) behold a government erected by the Majesty of the People--a Government which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance, but generously affording to All liberty of conscience and immunities of Citizenship, deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language, equal parts of the great governmental machine.
In his reply, President Washington echoed Seixas' words: It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily, the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
These two letters were published in several newspapers that year and became the first presidential declaration of the free and equal status of Jews in America. Seixas's original formulation, "To bigotry . . . no sanction, to persecution no assistance, became--through its use by President Washington--a cherished expression of America's abiding commitment to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all its inhabitants."
The Sephardim Touro Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island was founded in 1658 by a group of Portuguese, and the synagogue, the first in the United States, was dedicated five years later. Moisés Seixas, was an influential member of this congregation and community.