Rothschild, Lionel (ON HOLD)

Led London House of Rothschild 1836-79, 1st Jewish Member of Parliament (1858)

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Description:
(1808-1879) British banker and politician, son of Nathan Mayer Rothschild, member of the prominent Rothschild family. Led London House of Rothschild 1836-1879. In 1836, he married his cousin, Baroness Charlotte von Rothschild, of the Rothschild banking family of Naples. They had 5 children. In 1847, he was first elected to the British House of Commons as one of four MPs for the City of London constituency. Because Jews were at that point still barred from sitting in the chamber due to the Christian oath required to be sworn in, PM Lord John Russell introduced a Jewish Disabilities Bill to remove the problem with the oath. In 1848, the bill was approved by the House of Commons but twice rejected by the House of Lords. After being rejected again by the Upper House in 1849, Rothschild resigned his seat and stood again winning in a by-election in order to strengthen his claim. In 1850, he entered the House of Commons to take his seat but refused to swear on a Christian Bible asking to use only the Old Testament. This was permitted but when omitting the words "upon the true faith of a Christian" from the oath he was required to leave. In 1851 a new Jewish Disabilities Bill was defeated in the House of Lords. In the 1852 general election, he was again elected but the next year the bill was again defeated in the Upper House. Finally, in 1858, the House of Lords agreed to a proposal to allow each House to decide its own oath. On July 26, 1858 de Rothschild took the oath with covered head, substituting "so help me, [using a Hebrew word for] God" for the ordinary form of oath, and took his seat as the 1st Jewish member of Parliament. He was re-elected in general elections in 1859 and 1865, defeated in 1868, returned unopposed in a by-election in 1869, defeated a 2nd time in the 1874 general election. He was proposed as a member of the House of Lords in 1868, but Queen Victoria refused to elevate him to this status. She denied this was because Rothschild was a Jew, claiming it was because of his business activities; few believed her. In 1885 the Queen raised Rothschild's son Nathan to the peerage and he became the 1st Jewish member of the House of Lords. A fan of thoroughbred horse racing, his colt "Sir Bevys" won the 1879 Epsom Derby. Uncommon LS, 9 x 7 ½, to J. Emerson Tennent, Board of Control for Indian Affairs, London, November 17 1843, acknowledging receipt of Tennent’s letter of Oct. 23 and thanking him for his trouble. Tennent had referred Rothschild’s letter of Oct. 2 to the Court of Directors of the East India Company and had sent the reply of the Secretary, Mr. Melvill (Philip Melvill [1796–1882], Bengal Army officer, Military Secretary to the East India Company 1837-58) with 2 enclosures regarding foreign trade in British India. With 1996 letter from The Rothschild Archive regarding this letter. Sir James Emerson Tennent, 1st Baronet FRS (b. James Emerson, 1804–1869) Irish politician and traveler, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1862. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, afterwards LL.D. He took up the cause of Greek independence, and traveled in Greece, writing A Picture of Greece (1826), Letters from the Aegean (1829), and A History of Modern Greece (1830). He was called to the English bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1831. In 1831, he married the daughter and co-heiress of Wm. Tennent (d. 1832), a wealthy Belfast merchant, and adopted his wife’s name in addition to his own by royal licence. MP for Belfast 1832, Secretary to the Board of Control 1841 and in 1843 was presented with a service of plate by British calico printers in thanks for his getting a bill passed in Parliament for the copyright of calico designs. Knighted and appointed colonial secretary of Ceylon 1845 to 1850. He wrote Christianity in Ceylon (1850) and Ceylon, Physical, Historical and Topographical (2 vols., 1859). On his return, he became MP for Lisburn, and under Lord Derby was secretary to the Poor Law Board in 1852, permanent secretary to the Board of Trade 1852-67, and on retirement, received a baronetcy. His other books inc.: Belgium in 1840 (1841), Wine: its Duties and Taxation (1855), The Wild Elephant and The Method Of Capturing It in Ceylon (1867), Sketches Of The Natural History Of Ceylon (1868).

Condition: Very good, tiny edge tear at lower left corner and very light stain at lower left; penned notation and tiny catalogue label at top left; folds
Type:Letter






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