chapter  8
14 Pages

The First Jews in America: New York and the Middle Colonies

Peter Stuyvesant had tried to frustrate the settlement of Jews in Curacao before being appointed governor of New Amsterdam. The Secret Relationship allows that Jews in colonial New York may have been few in number, but charges they were very powerful as "dealers, owners, shippers, or supporters of the slave trade. Jews played an equally inconsequential role in the slave trade in New Amsterdam-New York. "Jacob Marcus tells us that some Jews did enjoy "well-appointed homes, silver, fine linen, expensive glassware, good cutlery, rugs and carpets." The Swedes, Dutch, and English also competed for supremacy in what was to become Pennsylvania when William Penn chartered the first permanent British settlement at Philadelphia in 1682. As for slave traders before Pennyslvania shut down the practice on the eve of the Revolution, the Philadelphia firm of Charles Willings and Robert Morris was importing hundreds of Africans in the period 1754—1766.