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Abraham before Abraham: pursuing the Portuguese roots of the Seixas Family.

Moses Solomons, a grandson of Gershom Mendes Seixas, the first native-born Jewish minister in the North America, kept an annotation that recovered a distant memory of the adventurous escape of his forefather Abraham Mendes Seixas (grandfather of Gershom Mendes Seixas) from the grip of the Portuguese Inquisition:

   The progenitor of this now very numerous family had a faithful
   servant who was a man of great physical strength and when the
   minions of the "Holy Office" entered the grounds of his master, he
   hastened to warn him of the danger and together they hurriedly
   looked around for a place of concealment. Seeing no safety by
   remaining on the premises, the loyal servant hid him beneath the
   clothing that lay in a large pannier (basket) used for conveying
   the garments to the water-side for the periodical cleansing, and
   carried him in the basket away from the house on his back to a
   place of security, concealing him until he could secretly leave the
   country for England, where his family joined him as soon as they
   could do so with safety and secure what property they could make
   portable. (1)

Saved by a loyal Hercules, Abraham Seixas fled from Lisbon to London in the early 17ZOS, where he gave rise to a "numerous" and influential family with branches spread across Europe, the Caribbean and North America. We did not have more than some foggy traces about his past, until now. Among them is a name: Miguel Pacheco da Silva, his so-called Christian name, which he allegedly used before his escape. (1)

Abraham Mendes Seixas' offspring would end up playing a remarkable role in the creation and consolidation of the main eighteenth-century North American Jewish communities and, in the process, of American independence. Three of his grandchildren were particularly important. Gershom Mendes Seixas served as minister of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York and was an illustrious patriot and philanthropist; Moses Mendes Seixas became the first cashier of the Bank of Rhode Island, a Masonic leader and president of the Jewish congregation of Newport, R.I.; and Benjamin Mendes Seixas, served as a trustee for the congregations Kahal Kadosh Mikveh Israel (Philadelphia) and Shearith Israel (New York) and was one of the founders of the New York Stock Exchange. (3) These men were the children of Abraham Mendes Seixas' son Isaac, the first Seixas to come to America, who arrived in 1738.

The history of the Sephardic diaspora is full of stories like that of the Seixas family, who had to reinvent themselves and make a fresh start, motivated by religious persecution in their homelands or simply by the pursuit of new and appealing business opportunities. Some of them did it with outstanding success, improving their economic situation and social status. In most cases, these changes were not conducive to a complete break with their past. Social and economic links established in their places of origin were maintained and expanded in the diaspora, and sustained the families as they travelled and resettled in new lands. (4) Despite the rupture and change common to their diaspora experience, they relied upon social and familial ties along with overlapping economic networks, to assist them in successfully integrating into a new societies. These enduring links between those who stayed and those who left Portugal and, on a wider scope, between New Christians (5) and Sephardim, were supported by kinship ties, commercial connections, cultural affinities and, occasionally, by religious sympathies. According to British historian Jonathan Israel, these relationships were key to giving the Sephardic-Jewish and Crypto-Jewish diasporas "a flexibility and capacity to cross confessional, political, and cultural divides that, in a transatlantic context, seems to have far surpassed that of any other trading diaspora." (6)

Since the Sephardic families' diaspora is a story of continuities more than of ruptures, an understanding of their background is fundamental to comprehending the whole picture. In the case of the Seixas family, there is a gap in their storyline caused by Abraham Mendes Seixas' escape and his adoption of a new identity in London, and that gap obfuscates the family background. The strategy followed by Seixas to hide his past and begin a new life also masked whatever his real intentions may have been, and it still confuses those who try to discover his first identity. Who was Abraham Mendes Seixas before once again becoming Abraham? That is the question we will try to solve in the following pages.

The Mendes Seixas from Celorico

The first clue we will follow will not be Seixas' alleged Christian name, Miguel Pacheco da Silva. Records from the Portuguese Inquisition contain no evidence of someone with that name imprisoned in the early eighteenth century or even in the late seventeenth century, and this contradicts the memory held by Seixas' descendants that their "progenitor" had fled from Lisbon to avoid "the minions of the 'Holy Office.'" On the other hand, the surname Seixas, or even Mendes Seixas, is frequently repeated in many Inquisition trials. (7)

The roots of this New Christian family were in Celorico da Beira, a village in the interior of Portugal, close to the Serra da Estrela mountain range and with a population of about 950 inhabitants in the middle of the eighteenth century. (8) The surnames Mendes and Seixas appeared together for the first time in the person of Matias Mendes Seixas, who was born in Celorico da Beira around 1634 and who was a resident of Guarda in 1664, when the Inquisition of Lisbon arrested him. (9) Seixas was the surname of his grandfather, Antonio Seixas, who had married a woman from Celorico, Beatriz Mendes. Matias Mendes Seixas' brothers used different pairs of surnames: Belchior Mendes Correia, who inherited the family name of their father, Bernardo Mendes Correia, a merchant from Madrid; and Rafael Mendes da Silva, whose reasons for the adoption of the surname Silva are unknown, though the name survived among his offspring. (10) The surname Mendes Seixas continued being used by the following generations and by another branch of the Seixas family--the children of Isabel Seixas (Matias Mendes Seixas' second cousin) and Diogo Mendes--who also adopted it. (11)

Matias Mendes Seixas and Belchior Mendes Correia were physicians, and their brother, Rafael Mendes da Silva, was a lawyer; all of them had graduated from the University of Coimbra. Although medicine and law filled the professional lives of many members of the Seixas family, others earned their living from trading. In the seventeenth century, the commercial activities of the Seixas family became regional. They traded goods, especially fabrics, in neighboring cities and villages such as Guarda, Covilha, Trancoso and Pinhel. However, it is likely that their trade network had already crossed the Portuguese borders in the first half of the seventeenth century. Some members of the family were then living in Toledo, Spain, and there is also information about other family members who had crossed the Atlantic Ocean to reach Peru. (12)

The geographic mobility of the Seixas family was deeply influenced by the Inquisition's persecution. It is possible to identify four moments of high Inquisition activity against them from the time of the mid-seventeenth century. The first one was in the second half of the 1660s. As we have seen, the Inquisition of Lisbon had tried Matias Mendes Seixas and his brothers. After being reconciled, (13) Matias Mendes Seixas moved to Covilha, where his daughters, Mariana da Silva and Clara Maria Seixas, were born. Both would follow their father's destiny some decades later. Actually, in the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Inquisition returned to attack the Seixas family with increased vigor. Afterward, throughout the first half of the next century, the pressure on the family was incessant, especially in the 17ZOS and 1740s. As a consequence, many members of the family migrated outside of the Celorico-Guarda-Covilha axis and even outside of Portugal. This situation is particularly evident in the Inquisition trials of the 1740s, when the defendants testified that most of their relatives were absent from the country. However, the exact locations of their whereabouts were usually omitted, sometimes because the defendants really did not know, and sometimes because they wanted to protect their relatives and even themselves from the inquisitors' enquiry. (14)

From the beginning of the eighteenth century, a wave of imprisonments profoundly affected several branches of the Seixas family. Some of the children and grandchildren of Rafael Mendes da Silva and Matias Mendes Seixas were tried, as well as almost all of the offspring of Isabel de Seixas. By then, both branches were already linked through the marriage of Beatriz Mendes da Silva, Rafael Mendes da Silva's daughter, to Antonio Mendes Seixas, Isabel de Seixas' son, in Celorico on April 23 1706.15 By then, the couple were the parents of a baby, Ana, who had been born in February. (16) Therefore, it was late in her pregnancy when Beatriz da Silva presented herself before the Inquisition of Coimbra on November 27' 1705 and confessed to being guilty of adopting Jewish customs and beliefs. (17)

After her reconciliation in July of 1706, Beatriz da Silva and her husband moved to Lisbon. However, this did not occur immediately. On November 27, 1707, Antonio Mendes Seixas was still in Celorico, where he became the godfather of a little girl (18) and, in 1708, his name was not yet mentioned in the Rol de Confessados (list of confessed people) of the parish of Santa Justa, where he would establish his residence. (19) However, according to inquisitorial documentation, his son, Rafael, would have been born in Lisbon in 1708 or 1709. (20) Therefore, Antonio Mendes Seixas would have arrived in the city around 1709.

Yet, Lisbon was far from being a safe haven. The first three decades of the eighteenth century were marked by the resurgence of the Inquisition's prosecution against the New Christians residents of the city. The numbers are impressive: About 500 New Christians were tried then. Among the most important of them were merchants and moneylenders with origins outside of Lisbon who were well connected in the international trade networks.

As expected, the high activity of the Inquisition in the first half of the eighteenth century had dramatic consequences for the trade elite of Lisbon. The picture traced by David Grant Smith on the "mercantile class" of Portugal in the seventeenth century shows a social group mostly constituted by New Christians, with an intergenerational continuity of the commercial activity and with an elite that was bound together by strong ties of kinship, compadrio (ritual kinship) and/or partnership. (21) A completely different situation would be noticed one century later. In his study about the businessmen of Lisbon in the second half of the eighteenth century, Jorge Miguel Pedreira characterizes them as a mobile and differentiated body, in which he could identify only twelve individuals with "Jewish blood." (22) Between these portraits lies the fatal blow the Inquisition delivered against the Portuguese New Christians. For most of them, migration was the solution. The strengthening of Anglo-Portuguese economic and diplomatic relations and the consequent increase in the traffic between both countries, as well as the news of great business opportunities and religious tolerance that arrived from England, made London the migrants' preferred destination. (23)

The captains of English vessels usually ignored orders against receiving on board refugees from the Inquisition, and, for a good amount of money, they agreed to ship New Christians who were trying to escape. Some of those who were successful in their migrations, even to quite distant regions, still traded with Lisbon under different names and through the mediation of English merchants settled in the city. (24) A good example is Gabriel Lopes Pinheiro, a merchant who was well known by Antonio Mendes Seixas. In his youth, Pinheiro had tried to flee from Lisbon on board an English ship, but he was arrested and brought to the Inquisition jail. Some years later, he would be more successful. In London, Pinheiro connected himself to some influential Jewish merchants and expanded his business. In 1731, he allegedly was mainly responsible for the bankruptcy of the British bankers, the Woodward brothers, because of a large loan they had made to him and his partner, Diogo de Aguilar. However, Pinheiro continued to trade with Portugal, using the alternative name Pedro Fortes and the intermediation of English merchants established in Lisbon as the partnership Buller & Bear. (25)

One man, two identities, several lives--Gabriel Pinheiro was not the only one.

Abraham and his offspring

In fact, the key question is the link between Antonio Mendes Seixas and the members of the Seixas family who were settled in London in the 1720s. To solve it, we need to know another piece of the puzzle, the merchant Abraham Mendes Seixas.

The information about him is sparse. He had arrived in London from Lisbon before 1725. On the 28th of March of that year, he married Abigail Mendes Seixas. (26) It would be the second time the couple had made their vows. The first time, they had married in a Christian ceremony held many years before in Portugal. However, when the couple moved to London and publicly embraced Judaism, they felt the need to renew their marriage vows before the community that had hosted them and according to the religion they had recently professed, even though they were already the parents of three children: Isaac, Judith and Rebecca.

Their acceptance and full integration within the community were essential steps for the newcomers. This made it possible for them not only to find favorable circumstances for the profession and practice of Judaism, but also to insert themselves into pre-existing social and economic networks whose bonds were strengthened through the sharing of the same faith and nourished by kinship and ethnicity ties. It was the most secure and advantageous way to establish new, solid and wider commercial contacts--a recipe for the success of any businessman. (27)

According to documents from the time, Abraham Mendes Seixas was very successful in his integration within the Jewish community of London. Only a few years after his arrival, he was already a prominent member of the Bevis Marks Synagogue, the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation of London, integrating the Mahamad (synagogue governing board). (28) He would have the same success in his business career.

Living outside the city, in large country estates, became a trend among London's Jewish elite by the early eighteenth century, and Seixas lived his last days in the parish of St. Dunstan Stepney, in Middlesex. This choice represented a sign of status and an attempt to approach English gentry society through the reproduction of its behaviors and lifestyle. (29) Seixas was just another wealthy Jewish merchant who chose to establish his residence in the countryside, close to his peers.

His comfortable economic situation can also be observed in his will, signed on the 6th of March of 1738, about one month before his death. By then, Seixas was already a widower, and his only heirs were his children and sons-in-law. (30) An exception was Esther da Silva, a woman whose link with him is not clear (she is mentioned only as someone who lived in Abraham Mendes Seixas' home) and to whom he bequeathed 50 [pounds sterling] and "all the clothes and linen she had in use."

Despite Seixas' comfortable economic situation, his will reflected some family tensions. In fact, Seixas was not above openly expressing how he distrusted his only son, Isaac, or even how he wanted to punish him, according to his own words, for "reasons better known to myself." Unfortunately, we do not know what those reasons were, but the fact is that he bequeathed to Isaac only 50 [pounds sterling] (the same amount left to Esther da Silva) and an annuity of 30 [pounds sterling], handed to him in two half-yearly payments by the executors of the will, Rodrigo Pacheco and Daniel Mendes Seixas, husbands of Seixas' daughters, Judith and Rebecca, respectively. He also added some conditions for the allowance of this annuity. Firstly, Isaac Mendes Seixas could never alienate, mortgage or sell it. Secondly, if he married, the executors would have the power to choose whether to maintain the annuity or to deliver him the whole amount of his father's estate. However, that marriage must have the approval of the executors. If it did not, the annuity would continue to be paid during Isaac Mendes Seixas' lifetime but, when he died, his children would not receive anything and the whole amount of the estate would devolve to Seixas' daughters or their heirs. In effect, Seixas' will made his son dependant upon his brothers-in-law. It must be emphasized that Isaac Mendes Seixas was approximately Z9 years old when his father died.

Isaac Seixas left for America shortly afterward and arrived in New York via Barbados. (31) The Seixas family had prior business connections in North America. Indeed, Abraham Mendes Seixas even did business with two New York merchants, the brothers Isaac and Abraham De Peyster. When Seixas died, the De Peyster brothers owed him a considerable sum of money that was still unpaid many years later. (32)

These prior commercial contacts in New York would be a crucial factor for Isaac Mendes Seixas' quick integration into the city's social and economic circles. Another factor would be his marriage. In May of 1740, he married Rachel Levy, the eldest daughter of Moses Levy, an influential merchant and one of the leaders of Congregation Shearith Israel. (33) Initially, the marriage raised some controversy inside the community, especially among the Sephardim, who kept an elitist sentiment and a segregating posture against the Ashkenazim, as did Sephardim in the European Jewish communities. (34) However, in the following decades, this behavior moderated, and intermarriages between Sephardim and Ashkenazim became more and more common in American communities. (35)

Seixas' family in London also refused to peacefully accept his marriage. Many years after Abraham Mendes Seixas died, Isaac Mendes Seixas was still receiving his annuity, instead of all the inheritance left by his father. In spite of being regularly informed about the income of his father's estate, whose investments spread to Jamaica and Brazil, Seixas had to deal with the opposition of his brother-in-law Daniel Mendes Seixas, who refused to give him the rest of his inheritance. This position was probably motivated by the non-acceptance of his marriage to the Ashkenazi Rachel Levy. (36) In 1765, Daniel Mendes Seixas died after naming his wife, Rebecca Mendes Seixas, as executor of his will. Consequently, she became the executor of her father's will, too, as both Rodrigo Pacheco and Judith Mendes Seixas had already died. (37) At that point, Isaac Mendes Seixas increased the pressure on his sister to give him the rest of their father's estate. He tried to convince her, arguing that, if he had the power to administrate the estate, he could obtain a high interest (7 percent) from merchants in Newport. (38) Moreover, he had decided to go back to London if necessary. But his sister defended her position:

   Besides, if by this intended voyage, you have any intention of
   persuading me to release you any other sum than what I have already
   done or that I shall comply with your proposal of releasing you
   all, in order that you may there make a greater interest, I must
   tell you that my resolution is not to release anything. (39)

Rebecca Mendes Seixas contended that her intention was only to comply with their father's wish to keep in the fund a sufficient sum to produce an interest of 30 [pounds sterling] per year. In her will, she directed that the interest should continue to be paid to her brother, Isaac, and that, after his death, it should be conceded to his widow and children. This, she wrote, was to "leave my affairs in the most clearest manner possible to avoid all disputes after my death."40 It was clear from this that, in the last years of their lives, Rebecca Mendes Seixas had already accepted his brother's marriage and she was determined to ensure his offspring's security.

Isaac Mendes Seixas' success in broadly integrating himself into the Jewish community of New York and in fulfilling high positions within the Shearith Israel congregation--as adjunto (assistant) in 1746 and as one of its elders in 1755--would not have a parallel in his business career. (41) Probably, it was his floating financial situation that encouraged him to move to Newport in 1765, where his son Moses Seixas was already a successful merchant and one of the richest men of the city. Indeed, in a letter written in 1766, his sister Rebecca Mendes Seixas expressed the way in which his situation concerned her: " ... could I remedy your necessities & distress agreeable to my inclination you may rely I would certainly do it, and in order that you may in some measure be sensible of it." (42)

Despite all the disagreements motivated by estate matters, Isaac and Rebecca Mendes Seixas never broke their ties. They diligently continued to keep corresponding, even when Isaac Mendes Seixas moved to Stratford after the British occupation of Newport, and Rebecca Mendes Seixas went to Kingston with her daughter, also named Rebecca, and her son-in-law Daniel Brandon Seixas in 1778. (43)

One of those letters reveals an important clue for the solution of our initial question. On the 25th of March of 1772, Rebecca Mendes Seixas informed Isaac Mendes Seixas about the death of "our brother Pedro," who "had departed this life the 4th of January." (44) Who was Pedro? After all, in Abraham Mendes Seixas' will, there is no mention of a son other than Isaac. (45) The name "Pedro" is completely absent.

Searching for Mr. Seixas

The pieces of the puzzle are before us. The next step is to join them together. For that, we have to return to Lisbon or, rather, to the branch of the Seixas family that had been living there since the end of the first decade of the eighteenth century: the couple Antonio Mendes Seixas and Beatriz Mendes da Silva and their three children, Rafael, Ana and Rosa.

In Lisbon, Antonio Mendes Seixas became an assentista,46 which means that he belonged to the "oligopoly" of merchant-bankers who assumed Crown contracts, an elite body inside the large mercantile group. (47) He was probably involved in the tobacco business with his partner, Rodrigo Alvares Corcho, also a New Christian. (48)

Antonio Mendes Seixas had settled his home in Rua da Tarouca, in the parish of Santa Justa. This was a highly commercialized area of Lisbon, where many merchants had established their residences and businesses. (49) Even before his settlement in the parish, Seixas already knew this block well. When, as a young man, he had come to Lisbon in representation of his father's business, he used to stay near Rua da Tarouca, in an inn in Beco das Comedias, which also hosted many other merchants and traders from outside. (50)

At his home in Rua da Tarouca, Seixas used to accommodate some relatives who had arrived in Lisbon. In 1711 and 1712., his stepson, Pedro Vaz da Silva, was living with him. (51) Pedro Vaz da Silva and his sister, Leonor Mendes, had been born from Beatriz Mendes da Silva's first marriage with Tome Vaz, a merchant from Celorico da Beira. The Inquisition in 1705 and 1706 had tried Pedro Vaz da Silva and his sister. (52) After the reconciliation, he moved to Covilha, where he married his second cousin Mariana da Silva. The young couple then went to Lisbon. (53) However, it would be for a short time, because Mariana da Silva was not yet living in the city in 1712 and, less than one year later, Pedro Vaz da Silva would leave his stepfather's house and return to Covilha. (54)

Other guests of Antonio Mendes Seixas were close relatives of his wife, Beatriz--her nephew Manuel Henriques da Silva (who lived at his aunt's home between 1712-1713 and 1721-1724) and her niece Maria Mendes (1714-1724) or, already in 1722 and 1723, her grandson Tome, who was the son of Pedro Vaz da Silva. Between 1711 and 1714, Antonio Mendes Seixas also accommodated in his home Ana Mendes and another Maria Mendes, two daughters of Simao Franco, a shoemaker from Covilha. Some years later, Ana Mendes would marry Manuel Henriques da Silva. However, we do not know if there was a prior family link between Franco's daughters and the Seixas family."

However, the sharing of their daily life with these newcomers could be quite risky, and Antonio Mendes Seixas would realize that in 1712. At that time, Manuel Henriques da Silva presented himself before the Inquisition of Lisbon and stated that he had professed his faith in the Law of Moses with Ana and Maria Mendes at Antonio Mendes Seixas' home. (56) Both sisters confirmed his confession, and Ana Mendes added that she also had communicated her secret faith with other New Christians at the same place. (57) Although none of them had directly denounced either Antonio Mendes Seixas or his family, such a close relationship with these alleged Judaizers would have increased the suspicion that hung over them.

Indeed, Antonio Mendes Seixas already had a scandal in his past. Some years before, in 1703, the Inquisition had arrested him. (58) He was then a 22-year-old merchant residing in Celorico da Beira, but already with good connections in Lisbon and Oporto, where he used to go as his father's agent. Among his acquaintances were some New Christians who had been integrated into Lisbon's commercial elite--for example, Jose Nunes Chaves, Pedro Furtado and the aforementioned Gabriel Lopes Pinheiro. Therefore, Antonio Mendes Seixas' trial reveals the career of a young trader from Celorico with business contacts beyond the local or regional markets, reaching the main economic centers of Portugal--Lisbon and Oporto--and with connections to other businessmen who were deeply integrated in international trade networks. Despite the lack of information about Antonio Mendes Seixas' career beyond what his trial unveils, we suppose that those business contacts would have been consolidated and enlarged over the following years. However, for a New Christian, a wide social and economic network could also mean a large spectrum of potential complainants, even if he was a sincere Christian. His "tainted blood" was enough to justify the suspicion.

Therefore, the ghost of the Inquisition was a well-known character for Antonio Mendes Seixas, and, in 1712, it seemed to be very close once again. This threat, as well as his problematic partnership with Rodrigo Alvares Corcho, would have made Seixas leave Lisbon for a while. (59) In fact, between 1714 and 1718, he did not live with his family in Rua da Tarouca. (60)

Seixas' ultimate departure from Lisbon would happen some years later, probably, for the same reasons. In 1725, Rodrigo Alvares Corcho presented himself before the Inquisition to confess his alleged "guilt of Judaism." Then, he accused Seixas, who was no longer in Lisbon, of being a Judaizer. (61) Indeed, neither Seixas nor his family appears to have been mentioned in the Rol de Confessados from the parish of Santa Justa in 1725. (62)

From this evidence, it is possible to ascertain coincidences between the life paths of Antonio and Abraham Mendes Seixas. Antonio Mendes Seixas left Lisbon shortly before 1725. In that year, Abraham Mendes Seixas was already in London, having come from Lisbon, too. Both were merchants and both had three children: one male and two females. Moreover, the sons of the two were nearly the same age: Isaac Mendes Seixas was born in 1709 and Rafael Mendes Seixas around 1708. Furthermore, in 1725, Beatriz Mendes da Silva was already in her 50s, and it is extremely unlikely that she had other children after that. (63)

Another suggestion that Antonio and Abraham Mendes Seixas were the same person lies in Rebecca Mendes Seixas' mention of "our brother Pedro." As we have seen, Beatriz Mendes da Silva had a son from her first marriage named Pedro Vaz da Silva, who, according to information from Inquisition trials, was no longer in Portugal in 1746. (64)

On March 16, 1770, a "Pedro Vas da Silva, otherwise Abram Vas da Silva" signed his will in London. Introducing himself as a "native of Portugal," he named his sons Dr. Joseph Vaz da Silva and Raphael Vaz da Silva heirs and executors of his will and left an insignificant amount to the children of his other son, David da Silva, who had died in Kingston some years before: " ... notwithstanding they are legitimate and got in lawful matrimony, I give only one shilling to each of my said grandchildren." (65) Unfortunately, the reasons why Pedro Vaz da Silva would want to punish his grandchildren were not explained.

This document offers us a great deal of evidence that allows us to suppose that this "Pedro Vas da Silva," who was living in London in 1770, was none other than the son of Beatriz Mendes da Silva who had left Portugal before 1748. Besides the name, the coincidences also lie in their children. In 1745, Pedro Vaz da Silva had two sons who were living with him--Tome Vaz da Silva, who had become a physician, and Antonio Mendes Seixas, a merchant--and another one, Joao Mendes Seixas, who had left Portugal some years before and whose whereabouts were then allegedly unknown. (66) Considering that Pedro Vaz da Silva and his family had migrated to a country where they were allowed to openly profess their Jewish faith, and that they actually had done so, the change of names would be a usual procedure. So, we suppose that Dr. Tome Vaz da Silva, Antonio Mendes Seixas and Joao Mendes Seixas were Dr. Joseph Vaz da Silva, Raphael Vaz da Silva and David da Silva, respectively.

In his will, the Londoner Pedro Vaz da Silva also asked his sons to provide "Ana Mendes and my cousin Michaella da Silveira," who lived in his home, with all they needed for their subsistence. The fact is that Pedro Vaz da Silva (Beatriz Mendes da Silva's son) had a cousin named Micaela, who was a sister-in-law of Ana Mendes. Mendes was the same one who was living at Antonio Mendes Seixas' home in 1712 and who, some years later, married Manuel Henriques da Silva, Micaela's brother. (67) Moreover, Silveira was a usual surname in Pedro Vaz da Silva's family, and his mother also appears mentioned in the documentation as Beatriz Mendes da Silveira, instead of as Silva. (68)

All combined, the evidence is strong enough to support the hypothesis that these two men were the same person. But, would Pedro Vaz da Silva be the same Pedro mentioned by Rebecca Mendes Seixas?

On January 10, 1772, Pedro Vaz da Silva's will was proved by its executors. He had died shortly before. (69) As we have seen above, Rebecca's brother Pedro died on January 4, 1772. Both had been residing in London. By following this line of reasoning, it is clear why Abraham Mendes Seixas did not refer to any son named Pedro in his will. After all, Pedro Vaz da Silva was not his son, but rather his stepson.

All the pieces seem to fit. But one question remains: Why Miguel Pacheco da Silva? Antonio Mendes Seixas was not the first New Christian merchant who, arriving in a country where he could embrace Judaism without so many constraints, adopted not only a Jewish name but also a Christian pseudonym that he used to maintain business contacts with Portugal or Spain. (70) We have seen before the case of Gabriel Lopes Pinheiro, alias Pedro Fortes. A new Christian identity was a good way to keep contacts with Portugal without endangering the relatives who stayed there. Furthermore, other reasons could justify the adoption of those alternative identities, such as unsolved dues or business quarrels.

Analyzing Antonio Mendes Seixas' genealogy, the inspiration for the name Miguel Pacheco da Silva is almost evident. Silva was the family name of his wife (Beatriz Mendes da Silva) and a very common one in his family. On the other hand, Pacheco was a surname used by two of his brothers, Diogo and Jeronimo Rodrigues Pacheco.

One of Abraham Mendes Seixas' sons-in-law also had the same surname, Rodrigo Pacheco. It is not incongruous to guess a prior familial link between them, as well as with Abraham Mendes Seixas' other son-in-law, Daniel Mendes Seixas. After all, a great part of the Seixas family was no longer in Portugal in the mid-eighteenth century, and it is very likely that some of them were established in London.

We have seen above how endogamous marriages were common in the Portuguese branches of this family. This trend would have been kept in the diaspora for the following generations. A good example is Rebecca Mendes Seixas' daughter, who married Daniel Brandon Seixas, her second cousin. Daniel Brandon Seixas was the son of Abraham Rodrigues Brandao (alias Gaspar Rodrigues Brandao) and Catarina Henriques Seixas, Antonio Mendes Seixas' niece. (71) This branch of the Seixas family moved to London after a wave of arrests by the Inquisition in Lisbon around 1745 and, in the 1770s, some of its members were living in Jamaica, including Jacob Rodrigues Brandon, Daniel Brandon Seixas' brother, who died in 1776. As executor of his will, Daniel Brandon Seixas had to go to Jamaica, taking with him his wife, his son and his mother-in-law, Rebecca Mendes Seixas. (72) Another chapter of the history of the Seixas family's diaspora had begun.

Conclusion, or a few words about the persistence of memory

At first glance, the life path of Abraham Mendes Seixas, formerly Antonio Mendes Seixas, can seem to be full of ruptures and radical changes as he traveled from a small village in the interior of Portugal to the capital of the kingdom and, afterward, to London, the place from which his offspring departed for the New World. However, if we come close to the heart of the problem, we will see continuities. The young Antonio Mendes Seixas from Celorico da Beira already had commercial contacts within Lisbon's mercantile elite long before having settled in the city. These prior ties supported his move to the capital of the kingdom. On the other hand, the change of residence did not mean a break with his roots. Following in his footsteps, some relatives went to Lisbon and Antonio Mendes Seixas hosted them at his own home. When the siege lifted and the threat of the Inquisition neared, Antonio Mendes Seixas left Lisbon. London was his destiny, as it was for a large number of the endangered New Christian businessmen of Lisbon in the first decades of the eighteenth century. Some of them were old acquaintances of Antonio Mendes Seixas', such as Gabriel Lopes Pinheiro or Jose Nunes Chaves. Despite the lack of documentary information, we can suppose that their relationship was not broken even after Antonio Mendes Seixas' arrest in the beginning of the eighteenth century or his departure from Lisbon some years later, with the same destination that they had aimed for.

Therefore, when Antonio Mendes Seixas formally embraced Judaism and adopted a new identity in London, he certainly was supported by some of his acquaintances who had previously settled in the city. In the following years, he would play the same role for other newcomers. After all, as it happened when he moved from Celorico to Lisbon, he did not forget his homeland or those he had left there. Abraham Mendes Seixas became support for his relatives who also had chosen to start a new life in London. Marriage bonds solidified those relationships: Abraham Mendes Seixas' daughters married relatives and, one generation later, his granddaughter also married a distant cousin.

After Abraham Mendes Seixas' death in 1728, the Seixas family made another geographic change. The settlement of his son, Isaac Mendes Seixas, in North America marked a new chapter in the Seixas family's storyline. In spite of the fact that Isaac Mendes Seixas would probably be the first family member to settle there, his father had already established contacts with New York businessmen such as the De Peyster brothers. When his sister Rebecca left London for Kingston decades afterward, her reasons were different. By then, she was already a widow and she simply followed her son-in-law, whose family responsibilities had led him to Jamaica.

Lisbon, London, New York, Kingston--looking only at the cities that marked the life paths of Abraham, Isaac and Rebecca Mendes Seixas, it is possible to see how their personal and family stories were connected to an Atlantic context. The Seixas family's networks had been spread over both sides of the Atlantic since the first half of the seventeenth century. As we have seen, there was already one Seixas living in Peru by then. As time went on, this Atlantic dimension developed, built on a specific political, religious and economic framework and supported by kinship, friendship, communal and professional ties. This dimension also rested on constant geographical expansion, as the result of growing (voluntarily or not) mobility. The Seixas family's networks were cumulative and continuous, promoting their integration into different social and economic contexts, guaranteeing security and reliability in situations of uncertainty, providing new opportunities for business or career progress, and sustaining their social mobility and family reproduction. In sum, the circumstances that explain the evolution of the Seixas family in only three generations match the characteristics that justify the distinctiveness of the Sephardic diaspora and its success compared with other "trading nations" in the Atlantic world. (73)

Another element nourished the continuity that marked the Sephardic diaspora--memory. Memory linked medieval Jewry and the New Christians after the general conversion in Portugal and Spain. With the disappearance of a formal religious distinction, the "quality of blood" became the justification for prejudice and social exclusion. (74) Based on racist assumptions, this concept was supported by the reminder of a more or less distant ancestor who had been a Jew. (75) Some New Christians internalized such memory, and it contributed to the construction of a complex identity: on the one hand, sustained by the reference to a common past, a "faith of remembrance," in the words of Nathan Wachtel; on the other hand, characterized by ambivalent and multiple sentiments, beliefs and behaviors, which philosopher Yovel Yirmiyahu classified as a new form of otherness, the "other within." (76)

This framework did not disappear in the diaspora, even where religious persecution was no more than a memory. (77) After all, the memories of oppression and ostracism remained strong and became "an important catalyst of self-consciousness" and a crucial factor of unity and identity, as Miriam Bodian observed for the Amsterdam community. (78)

The Seixas family serves as an example: The memory reworked by Gershom Mendes Seixas' grandson about his ancestor was essentially a story of persecution, escape and finding freedom. Many details about the Seixas family's "progenitor" had vanished--the name given to him by his parents when he was born, his life in Portugal, the small village of Celorico da Beira where his roots were--but not the identification of the enemy, who were common to many Portuguese and Spanish Jews, who became protagonists in the Sephardic diaspora: the Inquisition. Probably, the rest of the story is only a constructed memory, a kind of Seixas family foundation legend. Nevertheless, it is full of meaning. The character of the faithful servant could be interpreted as expressing the importance of relations of trust and solidarity in the life path of a pursued New Christian, a key-factor for his survival. The basket "used for conveying the garments to the water-side for the periodical cleansing," where the fugitive was hidden, is not only a refiguring of Moses' story, but also a symbol of transition from a life tainted with appearances, lies and secrets to the cleanliness of a fresh start. A new man was born. His name was Abraham.


For funding my research work, I am grateful to Catedra de Estudos Sefarditas Alberto Benveniste, especially to Maria de Fatima Reis and Paulo Mendes Pinto. Particular thanks are due to Maria Fernanda Guimaraes for her suggestions and sharing of some documental sources, and to Maria Joao Estevao for the revision of the text. I am also grateful for the constructive criticisms of the two anonymous referees, which were essential for the improvement of this paper.

(1.) "Items Relating to the Seixas Family, New York," Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 17 (1920): 346.

(2.) This name is mentioned in Abraham Mendes Seixas' will: "[...] I, Abraham Mendes Seixas, otherwise Miguel Pacheco da Silva, being in my perfect understanding [...]" (PROB 11/689/18, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, The National Archives, Kew).

(3.) About Gershom Mendes Seixas and his brothers, see Naphtali Taylor Phillips, "The Levy and Seixas Families of Newport and New York," Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 4 (1896): 189-214; David de Sola Pool, Portraits Etched in the Stone: Early Jewish Settlers 1682-1831 (New York, Columbia University Press: 1952); Thomas Kessner, "Gershom Mendes Seixas: His Religious 'Calling,' Outlook and Competence," American Jewish Historical Quarterly 58 (1968-1969): 445-471; Jacob Rader Marcus, "The Handsome Young Priest in the Black Gown: The Personal World of Gershom Seixas," Hebrew Union College Annual 40-41 (1969-1970): 409-467; Kenneth Libo, The Seixas-Kursheedts and the Rise of Early American Jewry (New York, Bloch Pub: 2001).

(4.) Pilar Huerga Criado, "Entre Castilla y los Paises Bajos: Lazos familiares y relaciones personales," in Familia, Religion y Negocio. El sefardismo en las relaciones entre el mundo iberico y los Paises Bajos en la Edad Moderna, ed. Jaime Contreras, Bernardo J. Garcia Garcia and Ignacio Pulido (Madrid: Fundacion Carlos de Amberes and Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, 2002): 39-65. See also, in the same book, the article by Bernardo Lopez Belinchon, "Familia, negocios y sefarditismo" (343-363).

(5.) In this paper, we will use the concept "New Christian" to identify the descendants of Iberian Jews who were converted to Christianity in the late fifteenth century. This is the concept most commonly used by Portuguese sources until 1773, when the distinction between Old Christians and New Christians was officially abolished. We used this concept instead of, for example, "crypto-Jew" because it is, from our point of view, less religiously committed, and not necessarily suggesting an adherence to secret religious practices and beliefs associated with Judaism.

(6.) Jonathan Israel, "Jews and Crypto-Jews in the Atlantic World Systems, 1500-1800," in Atlantic Diasporas: Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism, 1500-1800, ed. Richard L. Kagan and Philip D. Morgan (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009): 4.

(7.) We researched the name "Miguel Pacheco da Silva," as well as its variations, in the database of the Portuguese Inquisition's archives (Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Lisbon) without any result. Furthermore, we also did not find any mention of the name Miguel Pacheco da Silva in the trials of the Seixas family members who were imprisoned by the Inquisition in the first half of the eighteenth century. In order to rebuild the genealogy and discover the branch from which the American Seixas family descended, we exhaustively read records of the Inquisition trials relating to members of the Seixas family from the second half of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth century. We matched this information with other sources--Rol de Confessados (list of confessed people), parish records, wills, correspondence and bibliography--which permitted us to identify the path of each family's branch (within the limits of the fragmented nature of the sources) and to see which of them matched with the information we had on Abraham Mendes Seixas and his offspring. This work was essential in order to avoid any misunderstandings caused by homonyms and parallel family branches with identical names and structures.

(8.) Memorias Paroquiais, vol. 10, no. 258, p. 1743, Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo (henceforth cited as IAN/TT), Lisbon.

(9.) Processo (henceforth cited as Proc.) no. 5216 (Matias Mendes Seixas), Inquisigao de Lisboa (henceforth cited as IL), IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(10.) Procs. nos. 9372 (Belchior Mendes Correia) and 11333 (Rafael Mendes da Silva), IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(11.) Proc. no. 5754 (Antonia Mendes Seixas), Inquisigao de Coimbra (henceforth cited as IC), IAN/TT, Lisbon; proc. no. 13252 (Antonio Mendes Seixas), IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon. About Isabel Seixas, see proc. 7162, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon. Isabel Seixas was the daughter of Beatriz Mendes, cousin of Matias Mendes Seixas' mother.

(12.) Proc. no. 10322, fols. 33r-33v, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon. Miguel da Fonseca Seixas mentioned some cousins (Miguel Rodrigues and the children of his uncle Tomas Gomes) who had died in Toledo, and a brother, Lopo da Fonseca, who was in Peru.

(13.) The reconciliation occurred when the Inquisition received back into the Church the penitent, after he had been sentenced in the auto-de-fe to a punishment that could be spiritual penalties, confiscation of goods, obligation to wear in public the penitential garment (the sambenito), imprisonment and/or exile. When the defendant was found guilty of heresy, he was relaxado (delivered) to the secular authorities, i.e., condemned to death.

(14.) Proc. no. 4724 (Antonio Mendes Seixas), fols. 49Y-51V, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon. In 1748, in the genealogical session (when the defendant was interrogated about his family links), Antonio Mendes Seixas (Matias Mendes Seixas' grandson) stated that his parents and brothers, as well as the most of his cousins and uncles, were "absents," which meant that they were no longer in Portugal.

(15.) Livro de Registos Mistos, 1692-1711, liv. M4, cx. 46, fol. 133r, Paroquia de Santa Maria de Celorico (henceforth cited as PSMC), IAN/TT, Lisbon. Beatriz Mendes da Silva was widowed by her first husband, Tome Vaz, on January 15, 1705 (Ibid., fol. 87v).

(16.) Livro de Registo de Baptismos, 1706-1718, liv. Bi, cx. 46, fol. zr, PSMC, IAN/ TT, Lisbon.

(17.) Proc. no. 13252 (Antonio Mendes Seixas), fol. 25V, and proc. no. 5099 (Leonor Mendes), fol. nr, 28V, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon. The whereabouts of Beatriz Mendes da Silva's trial is unknown, but we have information concerning it from the records of her daughter Leonor Mendes' trial.

(18.) Livro de Registo de Baptismos, 1706-1718, liv. Bi, cx. 46, fol. 18v, PSMC, IAN/ TT, Lisbon. In this record, Antonio Mendes Seixas is mentioned as a resident of Celorico da Beira.

(19.) Rol de Confessados, 1708, Paroquia de Santa Justa (henceforth cited as PSJ), Arquivo Historico do Patriarcado de Lisboa (henceforth cited as AHPL), Lisbon.

(20.) Proc. no. 4157 (Manuel Henriques da Silva), fol. 8r, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(21.) See David Grant Smith, "The Mercantile Class of Portugal and Brazil in the Seventeenth Century: A Socioeconomic Study of the Merchants of Lisbon and Bahia, 1620-1690" (Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1975).

(22.) Jorge Miguel Pedreira, "Os negociantes de Lisboa na segunda metade do seculo XVIII: padroes de recrutamento e percursos sociais," Andlise Social 27 (1992): 421-426. See also Idem, "Os Homens de Negocio da Praca de Lisboa de Pombal ao Vintismo (1755-1822). Diferenciacao, reproducao e identificagao de um grupo social" (Doctoral dissertation, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 1995).

(23.) About Anglo-Portuguese economic and diplomatic relations, see H. E. S. Fisher, The Portugal Trade: A Study of Anglo-Portuguese Commerce 1700-1770 (London: Methuen, 1971); Sandro Sideri, Trade and Power: Informal Colonialism in Anglo-Portuguese Relations (Rotterdam: University Press, 1970); and L. M. E. Shaw, The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance and the English Merchants in Portugal, 1654-1810 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998).

(24.) Charles Ralph Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne Empire--1415-1825 (London: Hutchinson, 1969): 334.

(25.) Carla da Costa Vieira, "Familia, Perseguicao e Mobilidade. O caso da fami'lia Medina," Erasmo: Revista de Historia Bajomedieval y Moderna 1 (2014): 52-54; Charles Ralph Boxer, Descriptive List of the

State Papers Portugal 1661-1780 in the Public Record Office, London (Lisbon: Academia Portuguesa das Ciencias, 1979): 129.

(26.) Malcolm H. Stern, First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies, 1654-1988, (Baltimore: Ottenheimer Publishers, 1991): 263,

(27.) About the role played by the Sephardic economic and social networks in the building of a cross-cultural trade in the Early Modern Age (through the case-study of the Sephardic Jews of Livorno), see Francesca Trivellato, The Familiarity of Strangers: The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2009).

(28.) David de Sola Pool, Portraits Etched in Stone: Early English Settlers, 1681-1831 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952): 346.

(29.) Adam Sutcliffe, "The Boundaries of Community: Urban Space and Intercultural Interaction in Early Modern, Sephardi Amsterdam, and London," in The Dutch Intersection: The Jews and the Netherlands in Modern History, ed. Yosef Kaplan (Leiden: Brill, 2008): 6-7.

(30.) Will of Abraham Mendes Seixas, 7 April 1738, PROB 11/689/18, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, The National Archives, Kew. In his will, Seixas suggests that his wife, Abigail, was already dead ("I do declare that I was lawfully married once of which matrimony I had three children who are all of them alive this day").

(31.) Pool, Portraits Etched in the Stone, 346.

(32.) "Items relating to the Seixas family," 350-353. The problem with the collection of this debt reached the courts and the process lasted for many years because of De Peyster's allegation that one of the executors of Abraham Mendes Seixas' will, Rodrigo Pacheco, who died in 1729, had left a debt whose value exceeded what they owed to Seixas' heirs. Therefore, the De Peyster brothers stated that they were not debtors, but rather lenders to the Seixas' estate.

(33.) Pool, Portraits Etched in Stone, 198-201, 346-347.

(34.) See Yosef Kaplan, "La 'Nation' Sefarade Face au Monde Ashkenaze," in Les Nouveaux-Juifs d'Amsterdam. Essais sur l'histoire sociale et intellectuelle du juda'isme sefarade au XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Editions Chandeigne, 1999): 87-119.

(35.) Eli Faber, A Time for Planting: The First Migration 1654-1820 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992): 65.

(36.) "Items relating to the Seixas family," 356.

(37.) Will of Daniel Mendes Seixas, July 2.6, 1765, PROB n/910/340, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, The National Archives, Kew.

(38.) "Items relating to the Seixas Family," 362.

(39.) Ibid., 364.

(40.) Ibid., 360, 365.

(41.) "The Earliest Extant Minute Books of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, 1728-1786," in Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 21 (1913): 50-51, 71.

(42.) "Items relating to the Seixas family," 359.

(43.) Jacob Rader Marcus, "A Light on Early Connecticut Jewry," American Jewish Archives 1(2) (1949): 4. "Items relating to the Seixas family," 367-368.

(44.) "Items relating to the Seixas family," 366.

(45.) Will of Abraham Mendes Seixas, April 7, 1738, PROB 11/689/18, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, The National Archives, Kew.

(46.) Proc. no. 11397 (Rafael Mendes Furtado), fol. 58V, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon. A nephew of Beatriz Mendes da Silva, Rafael Mendes Furtado, mentioned that Antonio Mendes Seixas had been an assentista before his departure from Lisbon.

(47.) Smith, "The Mercantile Class of Portugal," 14, 117. We are using Smith's categorization of the Portuguese mercantile group's hierarchy in the seventeenth century, which continued being valid for the following century. At the top, there were merchant-bankers (bomens de negocio), a group that included assentistas, followed by merchants (mercadores), then traders (tratantes) and, at the bottom, shopkeepers (tendeiros). About the role played by the royal contracts in the formation of the Portuguese mercantile elite in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, see also Jorge Miguel Pedreira, "Tratos e contratos: actividades, interesses e orientagoes dos investimentos dos negociantes da praga de Lisboa (1755-1822)," Andlise Social XXXI 136-137 (1996): 355-379.

(48.) "Antonio Mendes Seixas e Rodrigo Alvares Carcho [Corcho], Carta que proibe apelar e agravar da determinagao dos louvados no ajuste da sociedade," liv. 36, fol. 264V, Chancelaria de D. Joao V: Registo de Doagoes, Oflcios e Merces, IAN/TT, Lisbon. Proc. no. 10125, fol. 45, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon. In his trial, Rodrigo Alvares Corcho mentioned that he had left Portugal and gone to Spain after being accused of a crime related to the tobacco business. We suppose that it happened while he had the partnership with Antonio Mendes Seixas, as it can be deduced by the aforementioned document from the Chancellery of King John V. Indeed, Antonio Mendes Seixas also left Lisbon after 1713.

(49.) Rol de Confessados, 1711, fol. 49V, PSJ, AHPL, Lisbon. About the parish of Santa Justa in the first half of the eighteenth century, see Delminda Rijo, "Historia, Sociedade e Famllia em Santa Justa antes do Grande Terramoto de 1755: Palacio Cadaval e o Hospital Real De Todos os Santos," Rossio. Estudos de Lisboa, o (2012): 62-86, http://issuu. com/camara_municipal_lisboa/docs/revista_rossio_olisipografia_o?e=640918 5/2323206; Delminda Rijo, Fatima Aragonez and Francisco Moreira, "A Freguesia de Santa Justa na transigao para o seculo XVIII: Historia, Demografia e Sociedade," in Familia, Espaco e Patrimonio, ed. Carlota Simoes (Porto: CITCEM, 2011): 95-121, in http://www.ghp.ics.

(50.) Proc. no. 537 (Luis Nunes da Costa), fol. 48r, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(51.) Rol de Confessados, 17x1, fol. 49V; 1712, fol. 45V, PSJ, AHPL, Lisbon.

(52.) Proc. no. 9891 (Pedro Vaz da Silva), IC, and proc. no. 5099 (Leonor Mendes), IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(53.) Proc. no. 1382 (Ana Mendes), fols. I2v-I3r, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon. Mariana da Silva was the granddaughter of Matias Mendes da Silva, who was the brother of Pedro Vaz da Silva's grandfather, Rafael Mendes da Silva.

(54.) Rol de Confessados, 1712, fol. 45V; 1713, fol. 54V, PSJ, AHPL, Lisbon. Proc. no. 4157 (Manuel Henriques da Silva), fol. 9r, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(55.) Rol de Confessados de Santa Justa, 1711, fol. 49V; 1712, fol. 45V; 1713, fol. 54V; 1714, fol. 54r; T715, fol. 5ir; 1716, fol. 53r; 1717, fol. 34V; 1718, fol. 50V; 1719, fol. 54V; 1720, fol. 47V; 1721, fol. 44r; 1722, fol. 46V; 1723, fol. 42; 1724, fol. 4ir, PSJ, AHPL, Lisbon.

(56.) Proc. no. 4157 (Manuel Henriques da Silva), fols. isr-ijv, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(57.) Proc. no. 1x781 (Maria Mendes), fol. 73V; and proc. no. 11804 (Beatriz Mendes), fols. 23V, 29r, 73v-74r, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(58.) Proc. no. 13252 (Antonio Mendes Seixas), IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(59.) "Antonio Mendes Seixas e Rodrigo Alvares Carcho [Corcho] ... fol. 264V. See note 45.

(60.) See note 53-55.

(61.) Proc. no. 10125, fol. 37V, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(62.) Rol de Confessados, 172.5, PSJ, AHPL, Lisbon.

(63.) Proc. no. 5099, fols. lov-nr, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(64.) Proc. no. 7998 (Alvaro Mendes Cardoso), fols. 46r-46v, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(65.) Will of Pedro Abraham or Abram Vas Da Silva, January 10 1772, PROB 11/974/115, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, The National Archives, Kew.

(66.) Proc. no. 11287 (Matias Mendes Seixas), fols. 34r-34v, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(67.) Proc. no. 11397, fol. 57V, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon. Mariana and Manuel Henriques da Silva were the children of Ana Mendes da Silva, Beatriz Mendes da Silva's sister.

(68.) Proc. no. 8887 (Antonio Cardoso Porto, alias Belchior Mendes Correia), fol. 34ir, IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon.

(69.) Will of Pedro Abraham or Abram Vas Da Silva, January 10, 1772, PROB 11/974/111, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, The National Archives, Kew.

(70.) Trivellato, The familiarity of Strangers, 18-19.

(71.) Will of Abraham Rodrigues Brandao, 23 August 1769, PROB 11/950/396, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, The National Archives, Kew. We also discovered the identification of this family link by crosschecking different sources. In 1789, Abraham Rodrigues Brandon signed his will, in which he named his son, Daniel Brandon Seixas, as executor. Among the many names mentioned in this will, there are Brites Maria and Daniel de Lara Pimentel, introduced as Abraham Rodrigues Brandon's stepchildren. According to genealogical information from Inquisition trials, Brites and Daniel were the children of Catarina Henriques Seixas and her first husband, Bernardo de Lara Pimentel. After Bernardo's death, Catarina married Gaspar Rodrigues Brandao, who was the brother of her son-in-law Joao Rodrigues Brandao (Proc. no. 6591 (Brites Maria Seixas) and proc. no. 1569 (Catarina Henriques), IL, IAN/TT, Lisbon). Consequently, Gaspar Rodrigues Brandao became Abraham Rodrigues Brandon when he moved to London in the mideighteenth century.

(72.) Will of Jacob Rodrigues Brandon, December 17,1776, PROB 11/1024/284, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, The National Archives, Kew.

(73.) Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert, "La Nation among the Nations: Portuguese and Other Maritime Trading Diasporas in the Atlantic, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries," Atlantic Diasporas: Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism, 1500-1800, ed. Richard L. Kagan and Philip D. Morgan (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, Z009): 75-98. See also Jonathan I. Israel, Diasporas within a Diaspora: Jews, Crypto-Jews and the World Maritime Empires (1540-1540) (Leiden: Brill, 2002) (especially the introduction).

(74.) Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, "Propos de Spinoza sur la survivance du peuple juif," Sefardica. Essais sur I'histoire des Juifs, des marranes & des nouveaux-chretiens d'origine hispano-portugaise (Paris: Editions Chandeigne, 1998): 195-196. See also Albert A. Sicroff, Les controverses des statuts de "purete de sang" en Espagne du XV au XVII siecle (Paris: Didier, 1960).

(75.) Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Assimilation and Racial Anti-Semitism: The Iberian and the German Models (New York: Leo Baeck Institute, 1982): 12-21.

(76.) Nathan Wachtel, The Faith of Remembrance: Marrano Labyrinths (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013); Yovel Yirmiyahu, The Other Within: The Marranos: Split Identity and Emerging Modernity (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2009).

(77.) David Graizbourg exemplified the problems of the adaptation of the Converso refugees with the case of the renegades who returned to Christianity even after living as Jews in exile. See David L. Graizbourg, Souls in Dispute: Converso Identities in Iberia and the Jewish Diaspora, 1780-1700 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1004).

(78.) Miriam Bodian, Hebrews of the Portuguese Nation: Converses and Community in Early Modern Amsterdam (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997): 79.

This article is the result of the project "Roots--the Portuguese Background of America's Sephardic Elites" funded by Catedra de Estudos Sefarditas Alberto Benveniste (University of Lisbon).
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Title Annotation:Abraham Mendes Seixas
Author:Vieira, Carla
Publication:American Jewish History
Geographic Code:100NA
Date:Apr 1, 2015
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