The popular imagination which has seized on Menasseh ben Israel as a representative figure of Anglo-Jewry, and on his mission to England as the pivotal point in the modern period of Anglo-Jewish history, has not been led away merely by the dramatic qualities of the events which are bound up with his name, remarkable though they were. There is something deeper and more significant underlying the instinct. We live in a period of the study of origins : and the origins of the community to which we belong, which determine to some extent its characteristics and our position even at the present time, are assuredly deserving of special attention from us. Because these events appeal to our sense of the dramatic, and because they are of especial local and personal interest, they are not necessarily (as some of our pedants insinuate) of no real historic importance. Every fresh detail which can throw light upon the tangled negotiations which surrounded Menasseh ben Israel's mission and the Whitehall Conference does something to explain the facts of our condition here in England to-day, and is therefore of more than academic interest. And the importance is more than local: for the favourable position of the Jews in England was not without a considerable effect upon the removal of Jewish disabilities throughout the world, and the accidents of its origin had repercussions far beyond the bounds of this country. For these reasons the results of a fortunate (though wholly accidental) recent trouvaille in the Italian archives, though by no means revolutionary, have their importance as well as their interest, and are presented here with a minimum of delay. Although not essentially connected, the documents in question possess a certain unity by reason of their bearing upon this one central event in Anglo-Jewish history. Yet the present study should not be considered as more than a supplement to the tale which has been unfolded by earlier workers in the same field. It is not desired to recapitulate the whole story, but merely to bring into relief one or two fresh and significant data. The sidelights which are here presented are no more than a mere addendum. For the full account, it is necessary to have recourse to the pioneer labours of Mr. Lucien Wolf, without which any supplementary work would have been impossible, and to which any subsequent discoveries can figure only in the light of a mere appendix.
' The End of the Earth.'
It is not indeed only from unknown documents that it is possible to obtain new information in historical inquiry. Sometimes a fresh reading of the old, familiar sources will bring out details hitherto unappreciated. A preliminary question in any account of the part played by Menasseh ben Israel in the resettlement of the Jews in England is to ascertain precisely what attracted his attention to this country. It is known that he was deeply influenced by the prophecy of Daniel (xii. 7) : " When he shall