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A Publication of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
"Intellectual Ammunition to Destroy Gun Control"

A Jew Hungry for Freedom

Haym Salomon


Haym Salomon

  • Freedom's price is paid in blood and/or cash
  • Jews came to Colonial America because they hated European oppression
  • Jews in Colonial America fought to bear arms in defense of their communities
  • Haym Salomon spoke several languages and was an international broker
  • Salomon worked for the Revolution behind British lines in New York
  • He narrowly escaped a British noose, and lost his business when he fled
  • Once he re-built his business, he resumed working for the Revolution
  • The Continental government was starved for cash to wage the war
  • Salomon helped the government to raise cash
  • He became broker to the 'Office of Finance", which became the U.S. Treasury
  • Salomon died in 1785, of tuberculosis, caught while in a British prison
  • When he died, Salomon was technically bankrupt
  • Salomon showed how a Freedom-loving Jew should behave
  • Salomon set an example which modern Jewish communal "leaders"should follow


A. The Prices of Freedom: Blood and Cash

Freedom is not free. If it is to be gained and held, it must be paid for. There are two forms of payment: cash and blood. Some of each usually is needed. In part, cash and blood may be substituted for each other. Generally, the more cash that is available, the less blood need be shed.

In a struggle to obtain freedom, cash-rich freedom-fighters can use more money and so economize on the shedding of blood. For example, with a big bank account:

  • arms can be bought, rather than stolen quietly from armories or captured from the enemy;
  • a well-placed bribe - e.g., to a guard to get him to "look theother way" - can save many lives.

If armed conflict cannot be avoided - and winning freedom usually involves some confrontations or fighting - freedom-fighters with big bankrolls can buy enough arms (if they have access to sellers) and so avoid a fight on grossly unequal terms. This type of fight usually involves heavy loss of life.

A sum of cash, or an amount of blood, if applied at a strategic place or time -can have an impact much larger than would otherwise be so. Finding a dollar in the street when one is very hungry plainly means more than finding a dollar in the street just after one has won a huge lottery jackpot.


B. Jews and the American Revolution

1. Crossing the Ocean

When Christopher Columbus "found" the "New World", a handful of Jews jumped at the chance to escape Europe's oppressive governments. Jews in Spain and Portugal were offered a choice in 1492: convert to Christianity or leave. Some converted. Some converted but practiced Judaism secretly. Most left. Some went to Poland. Others went to Ottoman Turkey.

A few hardy Jews from Spain and Portugal headed west across the Atlantic Ocean, to the "New World". They settled in the Caribbean islands or on the eastern coast of South America. By the mid-1600s, a handful had moved to the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, which we now call New York. (1)


2. To Escape Oppression

These Jews' rejection of oppression distinguished them from the vast majority of Jews in Europe. The Jews who headed for the "New World" knew it was wrong to stay in countries where for centuries they had been oppressed and murdered by anti-Semitic governments. They understood that it was - and is - suicidal to choose to stay in a place where the authorities:

  • enacted laws which targeted Jews;
  • incited persecution of Jews, which put innocent lives at daily risk.

For these Jews the choice was obvious because they knew that preservation of life is a core Jewish value. There are only three things a Jew may not do to save his/her own life: commit murder, worship idols, and engage in prohibited forms of sexual activity.

On the first point, it is impermissible to murder, to take an innocent life to save one's own. Thus, if a Jew becomes a hostage, and the hostage-taker orders the Jew to murder another, equally innocent hostage, the Jew may not do this even to save his/her own life. It is permissible, and in some cases mandatory to kill - to take the life of someone who is not innocent,e.g., an attacker who clearly has deadly intent - to save one's own life, if that is the only way to save one's own life. Suicide - whether by action or inaction - is impermissible under Jewish law.

The Jews who escaped to the New World understood this. The majority of Jews who remained in Europe - and never left even when it was possible to do so - had lost sight of:

  • the example of the Patriarch Abraham and the Matriarch Sarah, whose great faith moved them to follow G-d's command and take the great risks of crossing the desert between Mesopotamia and Canaan, to escape Mesopotamia's oppression;(2)
  • the core Jewish value that life is so precious that it must be defended by fight or by flight.

Judaism embodies a burning desire for freedom to serve G-d. This was a driving force in Judaism from the time of the Patriarch Abraham and the Matriarch Sarah, until the dawn of the Common Era. However, there have always been Jews who rejected freedom. They have often paid a fearsome toll for this rejection.

Indeed, sometimes only a tough-minded minority of Jews remained freedom-lovers. For example, despite seeing the miracles accompanying the Exodus, 80% of Jews refused to leave Egypt and died there by hand of Heaven.(3)

But Jews' commitment to Freedom has never been extinguished. Even the Roman Empire, mighty as it was, could not do so. In 70 Common Era (C.E.), the Romans seized Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. In 132 C.E. the Jews went to war with Rome to regain Freedom. After three years of bitter combat- in which the Romans took few prisoners - the Romans won. The Romans killed hundreds of thousands of Jews in battle, and then murdered many others. Many survivors were sold into slavery or exiled.

For the next 1,800 years, the exiled Jews lived in various lands. In exile, Jews were usually bitterly oppressed. As centuries passed, many Jews came to accept as normal quite vicious oppression, just as most had come to accept slavery in Egypt. Among repressive measures imposed on Jews were:

  • bans on entry into many trades;
  • limits on the size and number of synagogues;
  • laws that Jews had to wear special clothes;
  • legal confinement to certain neighborhoods (ghettos);
  • liability to pay taxes assessed only on Jews;
  • mob attacks inspired or organized by civil or ecclesiastical authorities;
  • sudden expulsions from cities, provinces, or countries (e.g., Spainin 1492).(4)

Over these centuries, many Jews lost the capacity even to imagine a life without persecution. The Jews' tradition before the Roman invasion- of staunchly defending their freedom to worship the G-d of Abraham -slowly was buried under a mountain of psychological rubbish imposed by the government of Rome and its oppressive/murderous successors. Some ancient monuments - even huge buildings or entire cities - are often "found"under millennia worth of dust and debris. However, other ancient buildings- e.g., the Parthenon in the center of Athens, Greece - have never been hidden.

Thus, while many Jews' forgot about freedom, there were always Jews who:

  • understood freedom;
  • longed for it;
  • seized every chance to re-gain it.

These Jews held to Jewish law, which rejects every form of oppression. These Jews' faith in G-d moved them to take huge risks for freedom - to cross the Atlantic Ocean to a new, unknown land - just as Abraham and Sarah had left Mesopotamia and crossed the desert to Canaan to be free of the unhealthy way of life in Mesopotamia.


3. Keeping Europe out of America

The freedom-loving Jews who left Europe for the New World were strongly disinclined to accept more European-style oppression. When one of the Dutch governors of New Amsterdam tried to impose Old World restrictions on New Amsterdam's Jews, they fought him tooth and nail.

New Amsterdam's Governor between 1647 and 1664, Peter Stuyvesant, just did not like Jews. He tried to force Jews to pay a special tax in lieu of helping to guard the town. In those times, New Yorkers lived in fear of attacks by Native Americans, retaliating for savage massacres against them committed by the Dutch during the early 1640s.

Asser Levy van Swellem, a Jewish butcher, insisted on walking guard like other citizens of New Amsterdam. He flatly refused Stuyvesant's offer of an exemption from military service in exchange for a tax payment. Stuyvesant eventually backed down under pressure from the Dutch authorities: Levy and other Jews took their turns guarding their fellow citizens.(5)

Over the next century, a trickle of freedom-loving Jews willing to take action to get it -- boosted the Jewish community in the 13 Colonies. There were, of course, anti-Semites in America.(6) By 1790, there were perhaps 3,000 Jews in the 13 British colonies, the entire population of which was about 3.9 million. Jews represented less than 0.1 percent (one-tenth ofone percent) of the population.(7)


C. Enter Haym Salomon

1. Time of Troubles

Not earlier than 1768 - but more likely in 1772 - a Polish Jew arrived in New York. Haym Salomon (his first name is pronounced Hi-yeem) was born in 1740 in Lissa - also called Leszno - in Southwestern Poland.(9) Shortly after his twentieth birthday, he left Poland, never to return.

Poland was then in trouble. Its more powerful neighbors - Russia, Austria, and Prussia - on 5 August 1772 signed a treaty under which they divided Poland between them.(10) Those were hard years in Poland: economic opportunities were especially scarce for Jews because they faced so many restrictive measures. This likely explains why Salomon had to leave home to seek his fortune.(11)


2. The Wisdom of Salomon

Salomon was a linguist. He had three mother tongues - Hebrew, Yiddish [note: based on German, written in Hebrew letters, and incorporating words from a wide range of languages - spoken by European Jews] and Polish. He also spoke English, Dutch, German, Russian, French, and Italian. He may have worked for a time in Holland, visited England briefly, and thence made his way to America.

Possibly at home, and certainly during his travels, he was trained as a broker. In that era - before the development of global banks, credit cards, telephones, and computers - brokers were not as specialized as they now are. In the second half of the 1700s, a broker might:

  • serve as a local banker (e.g., by cashing checks)
  • handle international transactions (e.g., sending money to persons in other countries)
  • buying and selling currencies or government securities;
  • buying and selling a wide range of commodities (from soup to nuts).

In the late 1700s, it was not easy to send money and goods across oceans. Because instant credit checks were impossible, a network of trustworthy contacts in other countries was the key to moving money and goods between countries. Salomon, having worked in several places in Europe, had the contacts and technical skills to handle a wide range of financial transactions, both domestic and international.

For example, in that era, a variety of currencies - British, French, and Spanish - circulated in the thirteen colonies. Once the revolution began, the Continental government joined the states in issuing money, both paper and coin.(12) As a result, a broker in the 1770s and 1780s had to be good at handling a wide range of currencies. The value of those currencies varied according to the state of supply and demand at a given place. There was no global market for goods or currencies. Commodities - hides, grains, furs - also were acceptable as a means of payment.(13)


3. Salomon Joins the Revolution

Upon arriving in New York, Haym Salomon began to build a business as a broker. He used his knowledge of foreign exchange and European contacts to make payments between the Colonies and points in Europe. He also sold a wide range of commodities, e.g., rice, for those who hired him.

Salomon focussed on building his business, rather than on politics. He joined the Sons of Liberty shortly after the Battle of Lexington (19April 1776).14 20-22). He stayed in New York, which the British occupied in mid-September, even though most other Jews fled to Philadelphia, because they, too, were anti-British.(15)

On 20-21 September 1777, about one-quarter of New York's buildings burned.(16) Salomon was arrested on general suspicion of involvement with the Revolutionaries. Perhaps his failure to flee - along with most of the other Jews - made the British suspect him. It seems unlikely that the British felt he was one of the arsonists, if there were any at all. In that case, they likely would have executed him at once. In a time when cities mainly were filled with wooden buildings, large-scale fires were a commonplace. The New York fire could have arisen from any number of common causes.

The British first sent Salomon to the "Old Sugar House". This was a dilapidated warehouse used as a prison. Its roof was so poor that Autumn rains kept the prisoners constantly wet and cold. Many died of exposure. Salomon contracted a bad chest cold that did not go away. He was then sent to the Provost prison, a maximum security jail.(17)

This was an even nastier place: prisoners were crammed tightly into cells and tortured at the whim of the head jailer, one William Cunningham (later hanged in Britain after being convicted of forgery).(18) In this era there were no treaties ensuring decent treatment for prisoners of war. Continentals held by the British got little food or medical attention.

Salomon's language skills enabled him to save his life. Many of theBritish troops were German mercenaries, known as Hessians. Their commander, General von Heister, did not speak English. Few British officers spoke German. After Salomon had spent several weeks in detention, Von Heistermade Salomon his interpreter and put him in charge of buying food for British forces.(19) The British would have vetoed this if they thought, even for a moment, that Salomon had been directly involved in New York's great fire.(20)

He took advantage of his freedom:

  • to help French and American prisoners to escape;(21)
  • to encourage Hessian enlisted men to desert;(22)
  • to resume his brokerage business;(23)
  • to get married (on 6 July 1777) (24)

Salomon's wife, Rachel, came from one of the oldest Jewish families in America, many of whose members soldiered in the Revolutionary War. For example, Colonel David Franks, "friend of Jefferson, Jay, and Franklin,...was delegated by Congress later to carry the signed copy of the Treaty of Peace of 1783 to England, and was a marshal in President Washington's inaugural procession in 1789".(25) Isaac Franks, Salomon's brother-in-law,a private in Colonel Lasher's militia, was stationed on Long Island, and was later captured by the British.(26) It is not likely that the Franks family would have encouraged her to marry someone of less than Sterling character.


D. Salomon in Harm's Way

While Salomon's business in British-held New York prospered, his position there was insecure, because of his secret work for the Revolution. He could have kept a low profile, by simply doing his business, and by steering clear of any actions that might have excited British suspicions. But that would not have been consistent with his commitment to the Revolutionary cause.

In July 1778 Salomon - who by then had contracted tuberculosis as a result of his imprisonment - was again arrested. He was returned to theProvost prison, this time to a special section from which few were released. He was charged with espionage and encouraging desertions. After a brief trial, he was sentenced to hang on the morning of 11 August 1778.(27) On the night before his execution, Salomon apparently bribed a guard with a few gold coins concealed in his clothing for such an emergency.(28) Nathan Hale was less fortunate.

Under cover of darkness Salomon passed through the British lines and made his way to Philadelphia. He arrived nearly penniless and without his wife and child, whom he had left in New York. He was later re-united with them, likely as a result of having made "pay-offs" to get the mout of New York. The British seized his personal property and accounts receivable, which Salomon said amounted to £5,000-6,000, a sum equal to $120,000-$140,000 in 1995 dollars.(29) He applied to the Congress fora position, but was refused,(30) doubtless because the Congress had not even enough money to pay its own members.

Salomon resumed work as a broker, and eventually was appointed official broker to French government officials in America. France - moved by deep-seated dislike of Britain - was a major supporter of the American revolutionaries.(31) By November 1780, Salomon had saved £1,200 (about $30,000 in 1995dollars). The Philadelphia tax list of that year shows him - under the name Hyman Solomon - to have had one of the more modest fortunes in the city. For example Tench Francis, Merchant, had holdings valued at £186,000.32


E. Salomon's Role in the Revolution

1. The Government's Financial Fiasco

Salomon's greatest contribution to the Revolution was not his covert work in New York. Rather, he helped to rescue the Continental government from a self-inflicted financial disaster.

Because it lacked a central bank to control the issuance of money (theFederal Reserve Bank was not set up until 1913) the Continental government printed paper money with wild abandon. From 1775 to 1779, Congress ordered the printing of $160,000,000 in paper money. As a result, a Continental paper dollar was worth 4 cents of a silver dollar.(33)

The Congress undertook not to issue more than $200,000,000 in paper currency on 3 September 1779. Yet, it hit that ceiling on 18 March 1780. As a result, Congress declared that $40 paper dollars - at first worth one silver dollar each - would equal $1 silver dollar.(34)

This debasing of the currency forced a huge loss - 96 cents per dollar- on those who had accepted Continental paper money at face value. The loss - 96 cents per dollar - equalled the gap between the face value of the currency (one hundred cents), and the depreciated value (four cents). Any government that debases its currency in this way finds that no one wants its currency. Substitutes - other currencies or non-cash items (e.g.,diamonds, cigarettes, etc.) - are found.

The fledgling government's effort to levy taxes generally had been futile. Since it did not have tax revenues, soldiers were offered land grants in lieu of salaries paid in cash.(35) Land grants cannot be eaten. As a result, some cash had to be found for out-of-pocket expenses, i.e., purchases of food. Rations of food often were inadequate.(36) In May 1776, the Continental Army - with about 125,000 men - required about £9,300/day for pay, food, and clothing.(37) This sum, equal to about $225,000 in 1995 dollars, suggests that the Revolutionary Army definitely had little cash to spare.


2. Funds Famine

The cash shortage almost sank the Revolutionary cause. In the winter of 1777-78, many of General Washington's troops starved or froze to death at Valley Forge Pennsylvania, because they lacked the money to buy food and fuel. While loans from France, Holland, and Spain paid for munitions and other equipment bought in Europe - and helped to meet part of the cash needs - the Continental government had to regain credibility before it could raise cash by selling debt instruments. To regain credibility, the government had to prove that it could redeem its debt instruments in full on the due date.

The importance of raising money was well understood. John Adams wrote to the Congress from Paris that "'the nation which can longest find money to carry on the war, can generally hold out the longest.'"(38). Even by mid-1780, the cash shortage was severe. On 11 June 1780, ElbridgeGerry - a signer of the Declaration of Independence - had written to Morris, remarking that, "'The present reduced state of ye Army & ye Wants of every Species of Supplies...may all be traced to an exhausted Treasury..."(39) Robert Morris, the Continental Government's Superintendent of Finance, wanted leading merchants to set up a bank to finance the war effort. While the bank was established, it soon closed its doors.(40)


3. Salomon to the Rescue

After escaping the British hangman in New York, Salomon had spent 1779-80 rebuilding his brokerage business. By 1781 he resumed helping the Revolutionary cause. On 8 June 1781 Morris appointed Salomon to be Broker to the Officeof Finance.(41) In 1781 and first-half 1782, he helped Morris to raise about $200,000 by selling government securities.(42) This was a huge sum: General von Steuben, one of the most senior officers of the Revolutionary army, had a yearly salary of $2,400 in 1783.(43)

As a result, on 12 July 1782, Morris authorized Salomon to use in his public advertisements the term, "Broker to the Office of Finance". Morris could not "see any disadvantage...but the reverse, and he [Salomon- jes] expects individual benefits there from".(44) Plainly Morris would not have done this unless he had already found Salomon's help to be valuable, or unless he expected Salomon to be of substantial service.

Salomon's ties to the government began only a few months before the American triumph at the Battle of Yorktown (19 October 1781), which battle decided the military outcome of the Revolutionary War. Yet the preliminary peace documents were not signed until 30 November 1782, and at end-1782 Britain still occupied New York.(45) During this period military outlays were required. Thus, while the sums Salomon raised were not large, they tided the government over the long transition from full-scale war to peace.

This explains why Robert Morris, in his diary entry of 26 July 1782 noted that: "Haym Solomon respecting Exchange, my Anxiety to provide for the regular discharge of the Paymaster General's Notes which fall due the first of August occasions very frequent Consultations on this Subject because I wish to preserve the Exchange tho I am in great want of the Money."(46)

In modern English, Morris needed to sell debt to raise cash to redeem maturing obligations. Yet, he feared that efforts to sell a great deal of new government debt would lower the value of existing debt obligations, thus making it yet harder to get government debt accepted.

By end-August 1782 even Salomon found it impossible to find anyone willing to buy U.S. government debt obligations. Thus, on 26 August 1782 Morris noted in his diary, "Solomon the Broker came and I urged him to leave no Stone unturned to find Money & the Means by which I can obtain it."Morris was in a bind. Three days later he noted, "Sent for Mr. Haym Solomon several times this Day to assist me in raising Money."(47)

Salomon went so far as to back-up government obligations with his own credit:

"With a magnificent disregard of his own interests, he endorses the paper of the broken-backed government. No one else will do this --Salomon endorses its papers and its officers' paper and its Allies' paper,and makes himself personally liable for all. We have the evidence; no need for speculation or surmise."(48)

Kohler explained that:

"Most of the French loan money was spent abroad, and when the American authorities drew on France, in excess of the sums left for payment there, the bills of exchange (in modern terms, checks - jes) were dishonored. It was no mere nominal arrangement, to endorse such paper for our Governmentin those days!"(49)

Salomon advertised in Philadelphia papers on 19 April 1783 that he would personally make good on any checks he had guaranteed, that had not been honored by the French government.(50)

In addition to helping the government to find desperately needed cash, Salomon also helped a number of individuals to continue in government service. For example, James Madison:

"as testified to by Madison and Madison's own biographies -- ...might have been compelled to retire from Congress, had not Salomon lent money to him under conditions making it extremely doubtful, if it could ever be repaid. He himself wrote to a friend that, 'I have for some time been a pensioner on the favor of Haym Salomon, a Jew broker.' Again on another occasion he wrote: ..."The price of money is so usurious that he thinks it ought to be extorted from none but those that aim at a profitable speculation. To a necessitous delegate he gratuitously spares a supply out of his private stock.'"(51)


E. Exit Haym Salomon

The Thirteen Colonies' independence formally was recognized by the signing of a peace treaty with Britain at Paris in September 1783; on 4 December 1783, British troops withdrew from New York, their last holding in theThirteen Colonies.(52)

Haym Salomon's commitment to freedom did not end with the conclusion of the Peace of Paris. In 1784 he enrolled in the Pennsylvania militia. Specifically, he was in Captain Joseph Greenaway's Company, First Battalion, Philadelphia County Militia, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Shee.(53)

Unhappily, Salomon did not have much time to enjoy the Freedom which he had helped to achieve. He died, of tuberculosis, on 5 January 1785, leaving a widow, Rachel, and four infant children. He was, technically, bankrupt, his assets being slightly less than his debts.(54)


F. Afterword

There is a myth that Haym Salomon personally gave huge sums - variously given as $353,000 or $600,000 - to the Continental Congress, and was never repaid. These myths arose because his youngest son, Haym M. Salomon, lodged claims against the U.S. Government for repayment of these sums beginning in 1827, and persisted with these demands until 1864. It is important to note that Haym Salomon never made any such claims in the year between the end of the Revolutionary War and his death.

It seems likely that Haym M. Salomon - born after his father's death- lodged these claims because he never understood the nature of:

  • his father's business;
  • the financial environment of the 1770s and 1780s.

When he examined his father's financial records, it did not occur to him that ledger entries in dollars, were in Continental dollars. These dollars - as noted above - were heavily depreciated, i.e., they were worth only a fraction of that amount.

By the time Haym M. Salomon was an adult - just after the turn of the19th Century - the U.S. had begun to issue its own coinage, and the dollar's value was stable. He probably never realized that in the 1780s, a dollar was worth far less than its face value.

Haym M. Salomon appears never to have realized that because his father was a broker, he held an inventory of financial instruments, the values of which fluctuated constantly, much as do the prices of common stocks every day on the New York Stock Exchange.

Haym Salomon likely bought some of these instruments and hoped their prices would rise. Had he remained alive and in business, he might have profited from some prices rises above his purchase price. When he died, these instruments had to be sold to meet claims against him. That precluded his estate's benefiting from any rise in their value.

Various Congressional committees probed Haym M. Salomon's claims from1848 through 1864. Rather than gathering and carefully examining the data as was done by Samuel Oppenheim in 1926, these committees usually supported Haym M. Salomon's erroneous claims.(55)

Haym Salomon's actual achievements - helping Robert Morris to keep the fledgling U.S. government from self-inflicted financial chaos - have been obscured by the myth that he gave his huge fortune to advance the Revolution. That is sad. Even sadder is that Haym Salomon - a freedom-loving Jew -departed this Life without ever having seen the last of his children or the first fruits of his political labor, the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.


G. Lessons

Haym Salomon could have quietly lived well in New York by helping tof eed the British Army of occupation. They plainly found him useful. But he could not stop helping the Revolution. That is why he had to flee from British-held New York to the safety of American-held Philadelphia.

Salomon was dedicated to the Revolution because he understood its goal: Freedom. He knew the Founders wanted to create a new kind of government, one in which government could not be an oppressor. That it why he had to help them.

He had been brought up in Poland, where Jews were a barely tolerated minority. He evidently spent some time in Holland, then one of the more tolerant countries in Europe. He stayed briefly in Britain. None of these places satisfied him: in all the countries of his travels, governments had the capacity to oppress and at times had done so. So, he moved on.

True to his roots - in the first Jewish Freedom-lovers, the Patriarch Abraham and the Matriarch Sarah - Haym Salomon crossed the Atlantic to a new land, to find Freedom. Haym Salomon's ferocious dedication to theRevolution - to the establishment of Freedom in American - is a shining example of self-sacrifice in a noble cause.

But leaders of many Jewish communal organization seem not to know of Salomon's shining example. Thus, many such persons work to enhance government power at the expense of law-abiding Americans. These "leaders"seem blind to the hard lessons of Jewish history: that the biggest oppressors and murderers of Jews for nearly 2,000 years have been governments gone bad. Haym Salomon understood that history. Indeed, he had lived it, and wanted to make a change for the better.

Though he did not live to see it blossom, yet knew that the change had begun. We salute him, and, in this 210 year of his passing, hope to reinvigorate and to build upon his legacy.

(1) Laurens R. Schwartz, Jews and the American Revolution: Haym Salomon and others; McFarland and Co., Jefferson NC 1987, p. 14.

(2) See Genesis 12:1-7.

(3) See authoritative commentary on the Five Books of Moses, the Torah, by Rabbi Shlomo ben Itzhak [b. 1040 - d. 1105]. His name, translated, is Rabbi Solomon, son of Isaac. He is always referred to by an acronym based on his name, Rashi. In that era, Jews did not use surnames (family names), a practice imposed by secular authorities in Europe several centuries later.

On Exodus 13:18, Rashi states, "only one out of five went forth from Egypt and four parts of the people died during the three days of darkness." Earlier, on Exodus 10:22, Rashi states that, "there were wicked people among the Israelites of that generation who had no desire to leave Egypt, and they died during the three days of darkness...". Rabbi A.M. Silbermann and Rev. M. Rosenbaum, Chumash with Rashi's Commentary, Feldheim Publishers Ltd., Jerusalem, Israel, 1985; Vol. 2, Sh'mos [Exodus]; p. 49 and p. 67. The Chumash is the Hebrew term for a printed text of the Five Books of Moses. The word "Chumash" is based on the Hebrew word for "five".

(4) For a summary of such enactments, see Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews; Homes and Meier, New York NY, 1985; pp. 11-12.

(5) Schwartz, pp. 14-15.

(6) ibid., p. 8.

(7) ibid., p. 8.

(8) ibid., p. 7.

(9) ibid., p. 5.

(10) Michael T. Florinsky, Russia: A History and an Interpretation; The Macmillan Company, New York, 1969; p. 524. Poland only regained its independence in 1919.

(11) Schwartz, pp. 6-7.

(12) ibid., p. 20.

(13) ibid., pp. 20-21.

(14) Clovis H. Brakebill, Haym Salomon: Financial Genius of the Revolution; Sons of the American Revolution Magazine, Louisville KY, Spring 1984; pp. 20-22.

(15) Schwartz, p. 11.

(16) Brakebill, p. 20.

(17) ibid., p. 20.

(18) Schwartz, pp. 12-13.

(19) ibid., p. 12.

(20) Max James Kohler, Haym Salomon, the Patriot Broker of the Revolution: self-published, 1931, p. 19. There is a copy filed with Haym Salomon's papers, which are archived at the American Jewish Historical Society, 2 Thornton Road, Waltham MA 02154.

(21) ibid., pp. 19-20; Schwartz, p. 13.

(22) Brakebill, p. 21.

(23) Kohler, p. 20.

(24) Schwartz, p. 13.

(25) Kohler, p. 8.

(26) Schwartz, p. 11-12.

(27) Brakebill, pp. 21-22.

(28) ibid., p. 22.

(29) Kohler, p. 8.

(30) Brakebill, p. 22.

(31) Schwartz, p. 34.

(32) ibid., p. 35.

(33) ibid., p. 22.

(34) ibid., pp. 37-38.

(35) ibid., p. 24.

(36) ibid., p. 25.

(37) ibid., pp. 24-25. This amount equals $225,000 in 1995 dollars.

(38) ibid., p. 37.

(39) ibid., p. 39.

(40) ibid., p. 39.

(41) Samuel J. Oppenheim, Report In re New Data About Haym Salomon; American Jewish Historical Society, Waltham MA, 8 June 1926; p. 2. The report is a typescript and seems never to have been published.

(42) Kohler, p. 8.

(43) Schwartz, p. 76. General Washington was paid about £2,900/year, or about $70,000 in 1995 dollars, see Schwartz, p. 24.

(44) Ruth L. Benjamin, Report on Haym Salomon Investigation; American Jewish Historical Society, Waltham MA, 12 August 1927; p. 12. The report is a typescript and seems never to have been published.

(45) Schwartz, p. 77.

(46) Benjamin, p. 14. Capitalization in original.

(47) ibid., p. 14.

(48) Charles Edward Russell, Haym Salomon and the Revolution; Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, New York NY 1930; pp. 212-13.

(49) Kohler, p. 18.

(50) ibid., p. 18.

(51) ibid., p. 17.

(52) Robert Kelley, The Shaping of the American Past; Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1975; Vol. 1, pp. 117-18.

(53) Pennsylvania Archives, 3rd Series, Vol. III, pp. 1283, 1287.

(54) Oppenheim, pp. 3-4.

(55) See for example, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Revolutionary Claims, Rep. No. 504, 26 April 1848 [30th Congress, First Session]; U.S.Senate, Committee on Revolutionary Claims, Rep. Com. No. 353, 25 January1859 [35th Congress, 2nd Session]; U.S. Senate, Committee on Revolutionary Claims, Rep. Com. No. 127, 9 March 1860 [36th Congress, 1st Session]; U.S.Senate, Committee on Revolutionary Claims, Rep. Com. No. 65, 2 July 1862 [37th Congress, 2nd Session]; U.S. Senate, Committee on Revolutionary Claims, Rep Com. No. 93, 24 June 1864 [38th Congress, 1st Session]). These erroneous claims proved to be vary durable, long outliving Haym M. Salomon. In 1893,Congress used these erroneous claims as a basis to consider issuing a gold medal honoring Haym Salomon (U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Library, Report No. 2556, 24 February 1893 [52nd Congress, 2nd Session]. In 1926, Congress again reviewed the matter (U.S. Senate, Committee on Revolutionary Claims, Document No. 178, 20 December 1926 [69th Congress, 2nd Session].

Addendum July 22, 2002:

One of the most interesting yet relatively unknown aspects of Jewish history concerns Jewish involvement with the creation of America. This involvement is chronicled here on the Internet, and also in a travelling exhibit entitled "Builders of America - The Jewish Heritage". (Sorry - this link appears to have expired).


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