Mrs. Brydges Willyams and Benjamin Disraeli

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struggle far more than from the Jewish Renascence in Amsterdam that the chief spiritual impulses came which vibrated so powerfully in the London Marrano community during the eventful years 1655-1656.

Lucien Wolf.

April 1915.

6 Mrs. Brydges Willyams and Benjamin Disraeli.

A note in the recently published third volume of the Life of Disraeli (p. 454) credits me with the discovery that the mysterious Mrs. Sarah Brydges "Willyams nee Mendez da Costa, who left some ??40,000 to Benjamin Disraeli, was a daughter of Abraham Mendez da Costa of Bath, who died in 1782. As the identity of this lady has long puzzled Jewish genealogists and students of Disraeliana, it may be worth while to place on record the simple but indisputable evidence on which my identification rests. This is contained in the following hitherto un printed letter of Mrs. Willyams to Disraeli, written in reply to the letter from him of July 20, 1859, printed on p. 467 of the Life:

Mount Beaddon, July 22, 1859.

I received this morning your most kind letter, and soon after the lost arms of my family, for all of which I most gratefully thank you. It would be the greatest additional gratification to me if there could be traced through the Lions rouge my alliance to the Laras.

The shield is beautifully emblazoned. It is, however, remarkable that there are no supporters to it, and that the Coronet is different from the Coronet on a seal in my possession of my grandfather, Daniel Mendez da Costa, which is undoubtedly original, and instead of a motto on the scroll of the shield, there is the name Mendez da Costa.

The reference here to Daniel Mendez da Costa is conclusive. This gentleman, who was of the Jamaican branch of his family, had a con? siderable posterity, but he had only one granddaughter in the male line, named Sarah. She was the younger of the two daughters of his younger son, Abraham Mendez da Costa of Bath, and it was consequently she who became Mrs. Brydges Willyams.

This identification is proved in another way. From a passage in a letter written by Disraeli on July 12, 1861 (Life, p. 467), it appears that Mrs. Brydges Willyams' mother's maiden name was " Legh." The following extract from the Marriage Register of St. Margaret's, West? minster, for which I am indebted to Mr. Colyer-Fergusson, shows that Abraham Mendez da Costa married a Miss Elizabeth Leigh, who was, no doubt, the same person :-


I should add that the proof is clinched still further by the fact that Abraham Mendez da Costa of Bath, the father of Sarah, refers to his wife as "Elizabeth" in his will (Prob. Off. Reg. Gostling 91).

This identification enables us to trace the hitherto mysterious provenance of Mrs. Brydges Willyams's wealth. It did not come from her father, who inherited only .?4000 from

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