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Maarten Janssen, 2014-

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1663. Carta de Jacob José Henriques para Simão Mendes de Almeida, mercador.

Autor(es) Jacob José Henriques      
Destinatario(s) Simão Gomes de Almeida      
In English

Warning letter from Jacob José Henriques to Simão Mendes de Almeida, merchant

The author warns the addressee about the rumours being spread in the city concerning him and his loyalty to the Jewish people. He asks for a clarification.

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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