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Maarten Janssen, 2014-

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1663. Carta de Simão Mendes de Almeida, mercador, para Nuno da Cunha Ataíde, conde de Pontével.

Author(s) Simão Gomes de Almeida      
Addressee(s) Nuno da Cunha de Ataíde      
In English

Friendship letter from Simão Mendes de Almeida, merchant, to Nuno da Cunha Ataíde, Count of Pontével

The author asks the addressee to help him prove his innocence and go back home in safety.

This is the Inquisition lawsuit of Simão Gomes, a 35 years old New Christian accused of Judaism. The defendant was a merchant, son of Francisco Carvalho and Brites Gomes and he was married to Guiomar Serrana, also a New Christian. He lived in London. Simão Gomes confessed having lived several years under the Judaic faith, after his father had taught him the Law of Moses. After he went to London, the defendant realized that he no longer wanted to live as a Jew, but he wished to convert himself to Christianism. He wrote friar Cristóvão do Rosário, a religious member of the ‘Ordem dos Pregadores’ and also the queen of England’s preacher, telling him about his intentions. Since his name was mentioned in several proceedings of family members accused of Judaism, Simão Gomes decided to present his confession to the Inquisition. He presented the letters he had written to friar Cristóvão do Rosário as proof of his conversion to Christianism after arriving at London. This way he hoped to gain forgiveness and some benefits that allowed him to come back to Lisbon with his family. He was well succeeded in his efforts. In an auto-de-fé on 23rd July 1664, the defendant was sentenced to abjuration in the form of instruction in the Catholic faith, spiritual penitence and payment of legal costs. He was released five days later.

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