Frederic David Mocatta, 1828—1905

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To be invited to be President of the Jewish Historical Society was, at any rate for me, not only an honour but also an embarrassment. It was an honour because of the many distin? guished and learned men who have held this office since Lucien Wolf became the first President in 1893. It was an embarrassment, not only because of the quality in the field of scholarship and historical research of previous Presidents, but, even more so, because your President is, on election, traditionally expected to read a paper resulting from some original research. This latter requirement led me in the first place to decline the invitation, but I was pressed and, probably too weakly, eventually consented, on its being suggested to me that I might read a paper on F. D. Mocatta, un? doubtedly the most distinguished holder of my patronymic there has been in this country. My father, who was a second cousin once removed of F. D. Mocatta and who knew him, brought me up to know something of his reputation and standing. For some years now I have been Chairman of the Mocatta Library Committee of University College. These facts, a natural pride and interest in my family name, and some final persuasion by my brother-in law, Mr. A. S. Diamond, a former President of the Society, eventually induced me to accept the invitation to be President this year. In consequence, I am addressing you tonight feeling honoured, but still embarrassed, though considerably wiser about the subject of this paper, as well as other matters, as the result of many hours spent in the Mocatta Library and elsewhere.


Frederic David Mocatta (Frederic without the final 'k' mistakenly printed on our pro? gramme) was born on 15 January 1828 and died on 16 January 1905, aged 77. He was

* Presidential Address delivered to the J.H.S.E. on 12 November 1969.

the fourth and youngest child of Abraham Mocatta (1797-1880) and of Miriam Brandon (1796-1875). His great-grandfather was Abraham Lumbrozo de Mattos (1730-1800), who, in 1791, by royal licence, dropped the names of Lumbrozo de Mattos and substituted his maternal grandfather's name of Mocatta. Had it not been for this, the family name of Mocatta would have died out in this country. So far as can be ascertained, all the Mocat tas, both in this country and in Australia, where there have been and still are many holders of the name, are descended from this Abraham Mocatta, born Lumbrozo de Mattos. Through his mother he was the grandson of Moses Mocatta, who died in 1693, while on a visit from London to Amsterdam. It is not known when this Moses Mocatta settled in Lon? don, but his name appears in the accounts of the old Greechurch Lane Synagogue, now at Bevis Marks, in 1671 and subsequent years, and he was clearly a pious man and a keen member of the congregation. In the accounts of 1674 he is shown as having presented not only an ethrog but also a flagellation

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