1740 - 1785
United States Revolutionary War Financier
Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200.
Born in Lissa, Prussia-Poland about 1745 and died in Philadelphia, PA in 1785. He fled Poland upon the collapse of the independence movements there and established himself in New York in l772. He became a strong supporter of the cause of American independence. Twice arrested as a spy during the British occupation of New York, he bribed a jailor and escaped to Philadelphia, where he established a new brokerage house which soon prospered. Haym succeeded in accumulating a large fortune, which he subsequently devoted to the use of the American Government during the War for Independence. He negotiated all the war subsidies obtained during that struggle from France and Holland, which he endorsed and sold in bills to American merchants at a credit of two and three months on his personal security, receiving for his commission one quarter of a percent. It was reported that a black man named Joe ran away in 1780 from Salomon, indicating that he was a slave owner.
He also acted as paymaster general of the French forces in the United States, and for some time lent money to the agents or ministers of several foreign states when their own sources of supply were cut off. It is asserted that over $100,000 advanced has never been repaid. To the US Government Mr. Salomon lent about $600,000 in specie, and at his death about $400,000 of this amount had not been repaid. This was irrespective of what he had lent to statesmen and others while in the discharge of public trusts. His descendants have frequently petitioned for remuneration, and committees of congress have several times favorably reported upon their claims.
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He was a member of Congregation Mikveh Israel, now known as the "Synagogue of the American Revolution," which is the fourth oldest continuous synagogue in the United States founded in 1740. Salomon, a major contributor towards the 1782 construction of the Congregation's main building, also served as the treasurer to the Society for the Relief of Destitute Strangers, the first Jewish charitable organization in Philadelphia.
|Haym Salomon Advertisement in the THE PENNSYLVANIA JOURNAL & WEEKLY ADVERTISER, Philadelphia, published on April 9, 1783.|
In 1783, the population of Philadelphia was estimated at 40,000 with 350 Jews. Salomon, following the lead of his friend Robert Morris, lobbied successfully to have the Pennsylvania Council of Censors remove the religious test oath required for office-holding under the State Constitution.
Petition of the Philadelphia Synagogue to Council of Censors of Pennsylvania
To the honourable the COUNCIL of CENSORS, assembled agreeable to the Constitution of the State of Pennsylvania. The Memorial of Rabbi Ger. Seixas of the Synagogue of the Jews at Philadelphia, Simon Nathan their Parnass or President, Asher Myers, Bernard Gratz and Haym Salomon the Mahamad, or Associates of their council in behalf of themselves and their brethren Jews, residing in Pennsylvania,
Most respectfully showeth,
That by the tenth section of the Frame of Government of this Commonwealth, it is ordered that each member of the general assembly of representatives of the freemen of Pennsylvania, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe a declaration, which ends in these words, "I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the old and new Testament to be given by divine inspiration," to which is added an assurance, that "no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this state."
Your memorialists beg leave to observe, that this clause seems to limit the civil rights of your citizens to one very special article of the creed; whereas by the second paragraph of the declaration of the rights of the inhabitants, it is asserted without any other limitation than the professing the existence of God, in plain words, "that no man who acknowledges the being of a God can be justly deprived or abridged of any civil rights as a citizen on account of his religious sentiments." But certainly this religious test deprives the Jews of the most eminent rights of freemen, solemnly ascertained to all men who are not professed Atheists.
May it please your Honors,
Although the Jews in Pennsylvania are but few in number, yet liberty of the people in one country, and the declaration of the government thereof, that these liberties are the rights of the people, may prove a powerful attractive to men, who live under restraints in another country. Holland and England have made valuable acquisitions of men, who for their religious sentiments, were distressed in their own countries.--And if Jews in Europe or elsewhere, should incline to transport themselves to America, and would, for reason of some certain advantage of the soil, climate, or the trade of Pennsylvania, rather become inhabitants thereof, than of any other State; yet the disability of Jews to take seat among the representatives of the people, as worded by the said religious test, might determine their free choice to go to New York, or to any other of the United States of America, where there is no such like restraint laid upon the nation and religion of the Jews, as in Pennsylvania.--Your memorialists cannot say that the Jews are particularly fond of being representatives of the people in assembly or civil officers and magistrates in the State; but with great submission they apprehend that a clause in the constitution, which disables them to be elected by their fellow citizens to represent them in assembly, is a stigma upon their nation and religion, and it is inconsonant with the second paragraph of the said bill of rights; otherwise Jews are as fond of liberty as their religious societies can be, and it must create in them a displeasure, when they perceive that for their professed dissent to doctrine, which is inconsistent with their religious sentiments, they should be excluded from the most important and honourable part of the rights of a free citizen.
Your memorialists beg further leave to represent, that in the religious books of the Jews, which are or may be in every man's hands, there are no such doctrines or principles established as are inconsistent with the safety and happiness of the people of Pennsylvania, and that the conduct and behaviour of the Jews in this and the neighbouring States, has always tallied with the great design of the Revolution; that the Jews of Charlestown, New York, New-Port and other posts, occupied by the British troops, have distinguishedly suffered for their attachment to the Revolution principles; and their brethren at St. Eustatius, for the same cause, experienced the most severe resentments of the British commanders. The Jews of Pennsylvania in proportion to the number of their members, can count with any religious society whatsoever, the Whigs among either of them; they have served some of them in the Continental army; some went out in the militia to fight the common enemy; all of them have cheerfully contributed to the support of the militia, and of the government of this State; they have no inconsiderable property in lands and tenements, but particularly in the way of trade, some more, some less, for which they pay taxes; they have, upon every plan formed for public utility, been forward to contribute as much as their circumstances would admit of; and as a nation or a religious society, they stand unimpeached of any matter whatsoever, against the safety and happiness of the people.
And your memorialists humbly pray, that if your honours, from any consideration than the subject of this address, should think proper to call a convention for revising the constitution, you would be pleased to recommend this to the notice of that convention.
23 Dec. 1783
In 1784, Solomon answered anti-Semitic slander in the press by stating:
I am a Jew; it is my own nation; I do not despair that we shall obtain every other privilege that we aspire to enjoy along with our fellow-citizens.
|Haym Salomon Advertising in The Freeman's Journal or the North-American Intelligencer, Philadelphia, PA dated July 31, 1782|
On January 6, 1785, Haym Salomon died in Philadelphia, with the Independent Gazetteer reporting:
Thursday, last, expired, after a lingering illness, Mr. Haym Salomon, an eminent broker of this city, was a native of Poland, and of the Hebrew nation. He was remarkable for his skill and integrity in his profession, and for his generous and humane deportment. His remains were yesterday deposited in the burial ground of the synagogue of this city.
Haym Salomon: The Financier of the Revolution
By: Madison Clinton Peters
By: Madison Clinton Peters
Edited by Stan Klos
|America's Four Republics: The More or Less United States|
By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
Salomon's family were highly respectable and learned people. He enjoyed the friendships of Kosciuszko and Pulaski, the noble patriots who unsheathed their swords for human liberty.
With his own unhappy country's history and with his hatred of despotic Russia, Salomon imbibed a love of liberty which extensive travel in Europe intensified, and, as might have been expected, the outbreak of the Revolution found him an ardent supporter of the Colonial cause.
He settled in New York and there married Rachel, daughter of Moses B. Franks, of London, who, as well as his brother, the distinguished Jacob Franks of the Revolutionary War, died in New York while it was yet a colony. Rachel Franks was the sister of Colonel Isaac Franks, a Revolutionary officer of distinction, and of Mayer Isaac Franks, a judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
|Haym Salomon's [1740-1785] Hand-colored Ketubah [Jewish marriage certificate] dated July 6, 1777 in New York - image Courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society,New York and Newton Centre, Massachusetts|
Moses and Jacob Franks were the sons of Adam Franks, of Germany, the friend of King George of Hanover and who loaned that monarch the most valuable jewels in his crown at the coronation.
Jacob Franks was the British King's sole agent for the Northern Colonies at New York, and his son David was the British King's agent for Pennsylvania.
When the Revolutionary War began, Salomon identified himself with the American cause and was arrested and imprisoned as a spy soon after the occupation of New York by the British in 1776. Salomon was closely confined for a long time in the prison known as "the Provost," which stood on the spot now occupied by the old Hall of Records in the City Hall Park. So closely were the prisoners packed there that when they "laid down at night to rest, when their bones ached, on the hard oak planks, and they wished to turn, it was altogether by command, 'right—left,' being so wedged as to form almost a solid mass of solid bodies."
When Salomon's linguistic proficiency became known (he knew Polish, French, German, Russian, Spanish and Italian), he was turned over to the Hessian general, Heister, who gave him an appointment in the commissariat department, where his greater liberty enabled him to render much service to the French and American prisoners, many of whom he helped to escape. He created dissension among the Hessian officers, prompting many to resign from the service.
In 1778, he was taken by the British general, Sir Henry Clinton, on charges that he had received orders from Washington to burn fleets and destroy their warehouses, "which he had attempted to execute to their great damage and injury."
He was imprisoned, tortured, and condemned to a military death, but on August 11, 1778, he managed to escape, by bribing his jailer leaving behind him in New York six thousand pounds sterling, a distressed wife, and child one month old. It seems likely that his intimate friend, the brave General McDougall, who then commanded the American army in the neighborhood of New York, was in co-operation with him. Fourteen days later Salomon addressed a petition to the Continental Congress, setting forth his services and asking for some employment; but, characteristic of the man, he asked not for himself alone, at the same time he entered a plea for the exchange of Samuel Demezes, a fellow prisoner.
Congress turned a deaf ear to his plea and the denial worked for the ultimate good both of Salomon and the young country.
The tide in his affairs, and as the story shows, the tide in the affairs of the young Republic, turned upon his escape to Philadelphia, and it was not long until he succeeded in establishing himself in business, and there becoming one of the greatest financiers of his adopted city.
Salomon's matchless enterprise, eminent respectability, remarkable intelligence, irreproachable integrity, his delicate sense of mercantile honor, his unbounded benevolence for all mankind, and, above all, his undying hatred of English tyranny, soon led to his recognition by the leading men of his time, and the uncompromising, implacable foe to British dominion was brought into intimate relationships with the Revolutionary patriots.
Early in 1781, he made known through the newspapers that he was a dealer in bills of exchange on France and Holland. For the most part the money advanced by Louis XVI and the proceeds of the loans negotiated in Holland passed through his hands. He was entrusted with the negotiation of all the war subsidies of France and Holland on his own personal integrity, which were sold to the resident merchants in America without any loss, at a credit of two and three months, for which he received the small commission of one fourth of one per cent. Several European financial houses did business through him. A few days after the foregoing announcement, Robert Morris became Superintendent of Finance. Morris' diary records not less than seventy-five financial transactions with Salomon, between August 1781, and April 1784.
Alexander Hamilton, writing during the dark days of the war to Robert Morris, says: It is by restoring public credit, not by gaining battles, that we are finally to gain our object. Haym Salomon brought not only all his wealth to the aid of his adopted country, but a financial insight which, for clearness and depth, was not surpassed by Alexander Hamilton nor equaled by Robert Morris. America found in Haym Salomon a champion equaled by few, his fertility in resource and soundness of financial views made him, through Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance, the real financier of the Revolution and judged by Alexander Hamilton's standard of patriotism, surpassed by none, for Haym Salomon was practically the sole agent employed by Morris for negotiating bills of exchange, by which means the credit of the Government was so largely maintained during this period. We do not wish to detract from the glory of Robert Morris, but we do insist that the success Morris obtained in his financial schemes was due to the skill, ability and sacrifice of Haym Solomon.
On July 12, 1782, he requested Morris' permission to publish the fact that he was broker to the Office of Finance. In reference to this Morris entered into his diary:
This broker has been useful to the public interests. ... I have consented, as I do not see that any disadvantage can possibly arise to the public service, but the reverse.
He was appointed broker to the French consul and the treasurer of the French army and fiscal agent of the French Minister to the United States, Chevalier de la Luzerne, enormous sums passing through his hands. He was the principal depositor of the Bank of North America, an institution founded through the instrumentality of Robert Morris, to serve as a means of obtaining funds to carry on the Government, the first and only bank chartered by the Revolutionary Congress.
The accounts of fifteen other merchants who commenced with the opening of the bank occupied, in all, fifteen pages, up to the period of Salomon's death, while Salomon's account occupied in all fifteen pages, double columns, of the same ledger. Salomon's one account was as large as their entire account in the aggregate. The balances at the various times of settlement in his bank book show special balances of from $15,000 to $50,000 at each period. The amount charged by the bank to his account as paid to Robert Morris was over $200,000, while Robert Morris' own account during the same period had a deposit of less than $10,000. A further interesting fact is that on a day when Robert Morris deposited $10,000 in the bank, he received exactly the same amount from Haym Salomon.
|1781 Haym Salomon payment of 3000 L in French with endorsement signed by Salomon|
Morris' diary, August 26, 1782, records: I sent for Salomon and desired him to try every way he could to raise money. Two days later he wrote: Salomon, the broker, came and I urged him to leave no stone unturned to find out money and the means by which I can obtain it.
Not only did Salomon advance large sums to the Government for which he received no return, but the services of James Madison, Edmund Randolph, Generals Mifflin, St. Clair and others were retained in the cause through his bounty. In Madison's letter to Virginia, in 1781, he writes: My wants are so urgent that it is impossible to suppress them. The case of my brethren is equally alarming. Later he declares: The kindness of our friend in Front Street (Mr. Salomon) is a fund that will preserve me from extreme necessities, but I never resort to it without great mortification, as he obstinately rejects all recompense. To necessitous delegates he gratuitously spares from his private stock.
Henry Wheaton says: Judge Wilson, so distinguished for his labors in the Convention that framed the Federal Constitution, would have retired from public service had he not been sustained by the timely aid of Haym Salomon, as delicately as it was generously administered.
When Salomon was called on to advance the entire pay for the ensuing year to Jones, Randolph, and Madison, as members of the Revolutionary Congress, they had in writing allotted that Madison should get fifty pounds less than the other two, but Salomon, seeing in young Madison, then only twenty-nine years old, those great talents for which he became distinguished in after years, presented him, from his own private purse, the fifty pounds, thus equalizing the pay of the whole delegation.
Jared Sparks in his life of Gouverneur Morris, a member of Congress in 1780, publishes a letter written by Mr. Morris, in which he declares that the person who did loan cash to a member to relieve his distress in that day, was in no expectation of ever getting repaid.
James Madison, twice President of the United States, the most learned and patriotic member of the Revolutionary Congress, thus paid his tribute to Salomon's devotion and bounty: When any member was in need, all that was necessary was to call upon Salomon.
Again and again he refers to his little friend in Front Street, acknowledged not only his indebtedness to the little Jew on whose bounty he had pensioned, but again and again refers to his integrity and disinterestedness.
It is true that there were merchants who subscribed to make up army supplies in 1780, ostensibly without security, but Madison's journal shows that they had a contingent security of the best Sterling Exchange to the amount of 150,000 pounds in excess of their subscription.
Not only did Salomon aid his home government, but he was the confidential friend and adviser of agents, consuls, and representatives of foreign powers in sympathy with the Revolutionary movement. He had confidential relations with all the foreign representatives at one time or another. He was the confidential friend of that ardent adherent to the American cause, Count de la Luzerne, Ambassador for France. With this appointment, Salomon was made banker for that Government. He was appointed by Monsieur Roquebrune, treasurer of the forces of France in America and made paymaster-general, which office he filled free of charge. A letter from Count Vergennes, Minister of Spain, to De la Luzerne, states that in two years 150,000 livres (equal to present-day francs) were distributed through Salomon.
Salomon for two years, up to the time of his death, out of his own private purse maintained Don Francisco Rendon, Ambassador from Spain. Writing to the Spanish Governor of Cuba, Rendon says: Mr. Salomon has obtained money for his Most Catholic Majesty and I am indebted to his friendship in this particular for the support of my character, as his Most Catholic Majesty's agent here, with any degree of credit and reputation, and without it I would not have been able to give that protection and assistance to His Majesty's subjects which His Majesty enjoins and my duty requires. More than $10,000 was thus advanced which was never repaid.
The secret support of Charles III of Spain is said to have been due to Salomon's efforts.
Although Salomon endorsed a great portion of the bills of exchange for the amount of loans and subsidies our Government obtained in Europe, of which he negotiated the entire sums and the execution of which duty required a great deal of his valuable time, from 1781 to 1783, still there was only charged a fractional percentage to the United States. He never caused the loss to the Government one cent of the many millions of his negotiations, either by his own management or from the credit he gave to others on the sale he made of those immense sums of foreign drafts on account of the United States.
|Haym Salomon advertisement in THE PENNSYLVANIA EVENING POST & PUBLIC ADVERTISER, Philadelphia, dated April 9, 1782|
After the peace of 1783, when foreign commerce could again float unmolested, Salomon engaged as a trading merchant to European ports. He had several ships upon the sea, but through the failure of merchants in whom he had confidence, he suffered great losses.
Always eager to help his fellowmen, he gave every assistance possible to those who commenced trading after the war. To the president of the National Bank, whose partner was the Superintendent of Finance, he gave two loans of $40,000 and $24,000, and without interest. The firm was known as Willing, Morris & Swanick. It is doubtful if he ever got any of his money back.
So successful had Salomon become that he opened up an establishment in New York. In the Pennsylvania and Weekly Advertiser, January 1, 1785, appeared the following announcement:
Haym Salomon, broker to the Office of Finance, having provided a license of exercising the employment of an auctioneer in the City of New York, has now opened for the reception of every species of merchandise, his house, No. 22 Wall Street, and every branch of business, which in the smallest degree appertains to the profession—factor, auctioneer and broker, will be transacted in it, with that fidelity, dispatch and punctuality which has hitherto characterized his dealings. The house, in point of convenience and situation, is exceedingly well calculated for the different kinds of business above mentioned, and he thinks it is almost unnecessary to assure those who favor him with their orders that the strictest attention shall be paid to them and the utmost care and solicitation employed to promote their interests. The nature of his business enables him to make remittances to any part of the world with peculiar facility, and this he hopes will operate considerably in his favor with those who live at a distance. A desire of being more extensively useful and of giving universal satisfaction to the public are among his principal motives for opening the house and shall be the great leading principles of his transactions. By being broker to the Office of Finance and honored with its confidence, all those sums have passed through his hands, which the generosity of the French Monarch, and the affection of the merchants of the United Provinces, prompted them to furnish us with, to enable us to support the expenses of the war and which have so much contributed to its success and happy termination. This is a circumstance which has established his credit and reputation, and procured him the confidence of the public, a confidence which it shall be his study and ambition to merit and increase, by sacredly performing all his engagements. The business will be conducted upon the most liberal and extensive plan, under the firm name of Haym Salomon and Jacob Morde.
Salomon died suddenly in Philadelphia, January 6, 1785, at 45 years of age. He left a widow and four small children, to use the language of the Congressional report: "to hazard and neglect." Here is his obituary notice taken from the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser, of January 8, 1785: On Thursday, died Haym Salomon, a broker. That is all, not a word about his princely fortune to the new Republic, nothing about his self-denying gifts whereby the great geniuses of Revolutionary days could give the service that constructed the greatest Nation on the globe, nothing about his leadership in the first charitable organization among the Jews of Philadelphia, a society for the relief of destitute strangers, nothing about his loyalty to the ancient faith, his eminent character as a business man and high standing as a citizen. But—he was a Jew! That tells the story.
The following is a copy of an authentic certificate from the Register's office in Philadelphia, showing the amount of public securities and Revolutionary papers left by Haym Salomon and from which personal estate not a cent has been received by any of his heirs:
58 Loan office certificates $110,233.65
19 Treasury certificates 18,259.50
2 Virginia State certificates. . . 8,166.48
70 Commissioners' certificates. . 17,870.37
Continental liquidate 199,214.45
Besides he left evidences of advances to Robert Morris in the sum of $211,000, a claim of $92,000 on the United States for additional loans, an unpaid balance of $10,000 to the Spanish Ambassador, and innumerable loans to Madison, St. Clair, Steuben, Wilson, and many others.
The condition of the Government's finances as well as those of individuals during and immediately after the Revolutionary War was almost as chaotic, and his affairs were necessarily much involved and his family were almost without resources. The widow's unfamiliarity with business, together with the monetary situation prevailing at the time, prevented her ever securing a dollar of the $658,007.13 advanced, as shown from documentary evidence afterwards submitted to Congress—an enormous sum at that period for a private individual, when all commerce and business were prostrated. Madison, in 1827, urged that the memorialists might be indemnified and reports in their favor have been frequently made, but not a dollar has been repaid —not a medal granted in lieu of the claim— a fact which affords support to the oft-repeated observation of the ingratitude of republics.
The descendants of Salomon have been deprived of their valued inheritance by the reason of their vouchers being lost while in the custody of the Government, and in consequence of the destruction by the British of many of the public archives of that period, during the invasion of Washington in 1814.
During the first session of the Twenty-ninth Congress the Senate Committee of Claims unanimously agreed upon a report similar to that adopted by the House Committee of the Thirtieth Congress, but too late for presentation.
At the second session of the Fifty-second Congress (February 24, 1893), a bill presented to the House ordered that a gold medal be struck off in recognition of services rendered by Haym Ezekiel, the elder son of Haym Salomon, was for some time purser in the United States Navy, and died in 1822 while cashier of New Orleans branch of the United States Bank.
Haym M., the younger son, established himself in the mercantile business in New York City, where he married Ella, the daughter of Jacob Hart, a German Jew who came to America in 1775, became a prominent merchant of Baltimore and is mentioned in the secret journals of Continental Congress as having headed a subscription of the Baltimore merchants for the relief of a detachment of the American Army, under command of Lafayette, then passing through that city.
In 1844, Haym M. Salomon abandoned business, gathered the evidence proving his father's claim against the Government and devoted all his energies to recovering the fortune of which his family had so long been deprived.
Salomon, in consideration of which the Salomon heirs waived their claims upon the United States for indemnity. The measure was reported favorably by the House Committee on the Library, but too late for consideration.
He enjoyed the confidence of Webster, Clay, Calhoun and other great Americans of his time, and though his claims were frequently reported favorably by committees of both Houses of Congress, a united action taking the form of legislation was never secured by him.
Colonel David Salomon, grandson of Haym, was a man of mark, and after having made a great name as a merchant in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Railroad created for him the office of financial agent in New York. His son, William, great-grandson of Haym Salomon, one of the famous bankers of New York, as the direct descendant, makes no monetary claim upon the Government.
For the justice of the Haym Salomon claim we have the highest possible authority. In the report filed in the Senate during the twenty-ninth Congress it was said:
From the evidence in the possession of the committee, the patriotic devotion of Haym Salomon to the cause of the American Independence cannot in their judgment be questioned. The proof of his eminent character and standing as a citizen and merchant is very clear and abundant." Further in the report, the committee found Mr. Salomon to have been "the negotiator of all the war subsidies obtained from France and Holland, which he indorsed and sold in bills to the merchants in America, at the credit of two or three months on his own personal security.
In the same report it was also stated:
The committee from the evidence before them are induced to consider Haym Salomon as one of the truest and most efficient friends of the country in a very critical period of its history and when its pecuniary resources were few and its difficulties many and pressing. He seems to have trusted implicitly to the National honor; and the committee are of the opinion that, as in the case of Lafayette and others, the Nation ought to be liberal in their indemnity to a son of any early benefactor in the day of its prosperity. France, in the most pressing times during the Revolutionary struggle, redeemed her paper obligations by means of the public domain; and generation after generation of Revolutionary claimants in this country have been rewarded by a grateful people; nor ought the memorialist to bear exception. His claim, in the opinion of the committee, to the amount which the United States owed to his father when he suddenly died, and which has been clearly established by documents referred to in this report, is a just one, and the recompense he seeks ought not to be longer delayed. "Abundant proof is presented that Haym Salomon rendered very essential aid to the cause of the Revolution, and that he did so, judging by so many of his acts, disinterestedly and from a sincere and ardent love for human freedom.
In the report submitted by the Committee on Revolutionary Claims in the Senate, under date July 2, 1865, the justice of the claim was again affirmed, and a further attestation of the remarkable public spirit of Haym Salomon was made, in these words, viz.:
It is also proven by the vouchers before your committee that Haym Salomon provided the means to support the ambassador of the King of Spain, Don Francisco Rendon, who was in secret alliance with the Revolutionary Government, and whose supplies were cut off by the British cruisers. This fact was acknowledged in an official letter from that minister to the Governor-General of Cuba, and the original orders, uncancelled, to the amount of ten thousand Spanish dollars, are before your committee, showing that the amount was never paid. But the memorialist does not nor never has asked this Government to pay that sum. All the former reports from the committees of both houses show that Haym Salomon supported from his private means many of the principal men of the Revolution, who otherwise, as stated by themselves, could not have attended to their public duties, among whom are mentioned Jefferson, Madison, Lee, Steuben, Mifflin, St. Clair, Blond, Jones, Monroe^ Wilson and others.
The unsecured loans of Haym Salomon in the Nation's supreme crisis, like Washington's advance of $64,000, at an earlier period, out of his own purse, with no other security but his own faith in the cause, to pay his daily expenses, while he was leading their armies, inspired the confidence that made men rally 'round the flag. Even so Jeremiah purchased a field in Anathoth, in the days when Judah was captive under Babylon, paying down seventeen shekels of silver as a token of his faith that the land would someday be delivered from the enemy and restored to peaceful habitation. Washington's pledge of property to liberty was repaid by a grateful people —but for his services, not a dollar.
The men who stood with Washington were recklessly rash in the pursuit of their ideals. John Dickinson said:
It is not our duty to leave wealth to our children, but it is our duty to leave liberty to them. We have counted the cost of this contest and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery.
Samuel Adams, hungry and poorly clad, rejected with scorn the offer of a profitable office, wealth, a title even, to turn him from his allegiance to America.
John Adams wrote to his wife:
I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin and to the ruin of our children. She replied: I am willing, in this cause, to run all the risks with you and be ruined with you if you are ruined.
Benjamin Franklin, past seventy, then the most celebrated man in all America, accepted the dangerous mission to France, saying: I am old and good for nothing, but as the storekeepers say of the remnants of cloth, 'I am but a fag end and you may have me for what you please.'
America has honored these patriotic men and justly so, by high places in her history, and as we sing their praises we are inspired with the invincible determination to give our country to our children as we got it from our fathers, a free and independent Nation, but this man, Haym Salomon, who, renouncing the maxim of worldly wisdom which says, Get all you can and keep all you get, gave all he had to the cause of America, gave it in a crucial moment, when money alone saved the day, and when, had he kept it, he could have made millions, and it is only just to ask that future writers of American history acknowledge the little Jew, the real financier of the American Revolution. Shall not the people of this peerless, unrivalled, unapproached and unapproachable Republic, now in the days of their prosperity, erect to this early benefactor a monument at Washington, a memorial to this ardent lover of human freedom, who did in his little office in Front Street, Philadelphia, for the Nation's credit, what Washington did on the field of battle for the people's freedom?
A. U. S. Government Reports On Haym Salomon Claim
Rep. F. A. Talmadge, April 26, 1848, House Reports, No. 504, 3Oth Congress, 1st sess., Vol. III.
Report of Senator J. D. Bright, July 28, 1848. Senate Reports No. 219, 3Oth Congress, 1st sess.
Report of Senator I. P. Walker, August 9, 1850. Senate Reports, No. 177, 3 1st Congress, 1st sess., Vol. I.
Report of Senator Charles Durkee, March 9, 1860. Senate Reports, No. 127, 36th Congress, 1st sess., Vol. I.
Report of Senator M. S. Wilkinson, July 2, 1862. Senate Reports, No. 65, 37th Congress, 2d sess.
Senate Reports, June 24, 1864, No. 93, 37th Congress, 2d sess.
Senate Report to 31st Congress.
Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 41, Vol. IX, p. 58.
The House Report (No. 2,556 to accompany H. R. 7,896) summarizes the efforts made in previous Congresses and reprints in full the Senate Report to the 37th Congress.
B. Books And Articles
Adams, Herbert B., Haym Salomon:
Publication, American Jewish Historical Society, No. 2, pp. 15-19.
Daly, Judge Charles Patrick:
Settlement of the Jews in North America. Edited by Max J. Kohler, New York, 1893; pp. 58-60.
Hollander, Jacob H.:
Some further references relating to Haym Salomon. Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, Vol. Ill (1895) ; pp.
Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. X (1905) ; pp.
Magnus, Lady Kate:
Outlines of Jewish History, Philadelphia, 1890; p. 350.
Writings (Hunt), 228-242.
The Hebrews in America, New York, 1888; pp. 66-70.
Diary (in Mss.), in Library of Congress, Washington.
Salomon, Haym M.:
Two letters relating to Haym Salomon. Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, No. 16 (1907), pp. 189-192.
|Haym Salomon Sons of Liberty 1956 Cartoon Page|
II. Other Jewish Patriots of the Revolution
HAYM SALOMON was not the only Jew who sacrificed his fortune for Independence, for we find that among the signers of the bills of credit for the Continental Congress, in 1776, were Benjamin Levy, of Philadelphia, and Benjamin Jacobs, of New York. Samuel Lyon, of New York, was among the signers of similar bills in 1779. Isaac Moses, of Philadelphia, contributed $15,000 to the Colonial Treasury, and Herman Levy, another Philadelphian, repeatedly advanced considerable sums for the support of the army in the field. Manuel Mordecai Noah, of South Carolina, not only served in the army, as an officer on Washington's staff, and likewise with General Marion, but gave $100,000 to further the cause in which he was enlisted.
Among the patriots of the South none worked more unselfishly than Mordecai Sheftall, Chairman of the Rebel Parochial Committee, organized to regulate the internal affairs of Savannah and composed of patriots, opposed to the royal government, and who, after active hostilities were begun in the South, was appointed Commissary-General to the troops of Georgia in July, 1777, and soon thereafter was also appointed Commissary to the Continental troops; and when the British attacked Savannah in December, 1778, Sheftall's name appears not only foremost among the patriot-defenders of that city and as one who advanced considerable money to the cause, but as one who was placed on board the prison ship because of his refusal to flock to the royal standard. In 1780, when the British authorities passed the disqualifying act, we find the name of Mordecai Sheftall near the head of the list with the most prominent patriot names of Georgia, among the 600 Jews of Charleston, S. C., then the largest Jewish city in America, there was not one Tory.
The Jews in New York were not on a footing of political equality with Christians until the adoption of the first constitution of the State of New York, in 1777, New York having been the first State actually granting full religious liberty to the Jews. Even in Maryland, to which Bancroft has referred as among the first colonies which " adopted religious freedom as the basis of the State," religious freedom was limited to those who believed in Jesus Christ, and accompanied by a proviso, which declared that any person who denied the Trinity should be punished with death. Even after the Revolution, though under the Constitution of the United States a Jew was eligible to any office, no one could hold any office under the government of Maryland without signing a declaration that he believed in the Christian religion. These intolerant provisions were not repealed in Maryland until February 26, 1825.
Though subjected to civil disabilities and unreasonable demands in most of the States, where they had settled prior to the Revolution, yet the Colonial cause found among the Jews its staunchest friends. Freely they gave their lives for Independence and aided with their money, to equip and maintain the armies of the Revolution.
The Non-Importation Resolution in 1765, the first organized movement in the agitation for separation from the mother country—a document still preserved in Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia—contains the following Jewish names: Benjamin Levy, Samson Levy, Joseph Jacobs, Hayman Levy, Jr., David Franks, Mathias Bush, Michael Gratz, Bernard Gratz and Moses Mordecai.
The decision reached in New York, in 1770, to make more stringent the Non-Importation Agreement, which Colonists had adopted to bring England to terms on the taxation question, had among its signers, Samuel Judah, Hayman Levy, Jacob Moses, Jacob Meyers, Jonas Phillips and Isaac Seixas.
Cyrus Adler recently called attention to the following incident, based on the unpublished letter of Jared Sparks:
At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, a Mr. Gomez, of New York, proposed to a member of the Continental Congress that he form a company of soldiers for service. The member of Congress remonstrated with Mr. Gomez on the score of age, he being then sixty-eight, to which Mr. Gomez replied that he ' could stop a bullet as well as a younger man.'
Colonel Isaac Franks became aide-de-camp to Washington, holding the rank of Colonel on his staff and served with distinction throughout the war.
|Issac Franks Advertisement in the THE PENNSYLVANIA JOURNAL & WEEKLY ADVERTISER, Philadelphia, dated April 5, 1783|
Major Benjamin Nones, a native of Bordeaux, France, who came to America in 1777, served on the staffs of both Lafayette and Washington. He entered service under Pulaski, as a private, and as he writes: fought in almost every action which took place in Carolina, and in the disastrous affair of Savannah shared the hardships of that sanguinary day. He became Major of a legion of four hundred men, attached to Baron de Kalb's command and composed in part of Hebrews.
Colonel David S. Franks, of Montreal, openly sympathized with and aided the Americans under Generals Montgomery and Arnold during their invasion of Canada, and was forced to flee from Canada in 1776, when the American forces abandoned the country. The name of David S. Franks appeared on Governor Carleton's list of twenty-nine persons, sent to the British Ministry early in 1777, being the principal persons who settled in the province who very zealously served the rebels in the winter of 1775-1776, and fled upon their leaving it. Franks, who left Canada with the intention of joining the American Army, although his course in this matter resulted in heavy pecuniary losses in his business affairs and also alienated him from his father, became aide-de-camp to Arnold, intrepid, zealous, and able soldier that he was, until jealousy, extravagance and spite led him to take up the traitor's role. Franks gave testimony to Mrs. Arnold's innocence of all complicity in her husband's treason. Suspicions were aroused against Franks on account of Arnold's treason, but after a searching inquiry into his conduct, he wras not only acquitted, but was sent to Europe with important dispatches to Jay and Franklin, with instructions to await their orders. In a letter from Robert Morris to Franklin, dated Philadelphia, July 13, 1781, we read: The bearer of the letter, Major Franks, formerly aide-de-camp to General Arnold, and honorably acquitted of all connection with him, after a full and impartial inquiry, will be able to give you our public news more particularly than I could relate them.
Philip Moses Russell, in the spring of 1775, enlisted as a surgeon's mate under command of General Lee. After the British occupation of Philadelphia in September, 1777, he became surgeon's mate to Surgeon Norman of the' Second Virginia Regiment. Russell-went into the winter quarters with the army at Valley Forge, 1777-1778.
Sickness forced him to resign in August, 1780. He received a letter of commendation from General Washington for his assiduous and faithful attentions to the sick and wounded.
Solomon Bush, Emanuel de la Motta, Benjamin Ezekiel, Jason Sampson, Ascher Levy, Nathaniel Levy, David Hays and his son Jacob, Reuben Etting, Jacob I. Cohen, Major Lewis Bush, Aaron Benjamin, Moses Bloomfield, Isaac Israel and Benjamin Moses are the names of a few of the other Jews who distinguished themselves upon the battlefields of the Revolution.
A pretty good record is it not, when we remember that there were only 3,000 Jews —men, women and children, in the Colonies at the time of the Revolution?
The commemoration of the first battlefield of the Revolutionary War was made possible through a Jew. Upon learning that Amos Lawrence, of Boston, had pledged himself to give $10,000 to complete the Bunker Hill monument, if any other person could be found to give a like amount, Judah Touro, of New Orleans, who came to the aid of Andrew Jackson during the memorable defense of that city, immediately sent a check for the amount. In the History of Bunker Hill Monument, which was published by George Washington Warren, appears the following tribute to Judah Touro:
He was one of that smallest of all classes into which mankind can be divided —of men who accumulate wealth without ever doing a wrong, taking an advantage, or making an enemy; who become rich without being avaricious; who deny themselves the comforts of life that they may acquire the means of promoting the comfort and elevating the condition of their fellowmen.
Dad, why are you a Republican?
Amos and Judah, venerated names, Patriarch and Prophet press their equal claims; Like generous coursers running neck and neck, Each aids the work by giving it a check. Christian and Jew, they carry out one plan, For, though of different faiths, each is in heart a man.
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