Moses Samuel (occasionally Samuels) was born in London in 1795, and moved with his widowed mother to Liverpool in 1805. He was a scholar, a linguist and also established a business as a watchmaker and jeweler. Samuel studied the philosophy of Moses Mendelssohn, whom he called “the grand luminary of science and knowledge” and became the leading interpreter and translator of Mendelssohn’s work in English. This book, his English edition of Mendelssohn’s Jerusalem, was published in 1838.
Moses Samuel was a strictly orthodox Jew, who fought against the Reform movement, with Liberal political views. He died in 1860.
One more thing about Moses Samuel. His son Walter Samuel together with his wife, Harriett took over his watchmaker and jewellery business. This was named H Samuel (after Harriett) and became the first and largest multi-shop jeweler in Britain.
The book was dedicated to Isaac Lyon Goldsmid. Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid was a financier and was one of the leaders of the movement for the political emancipation of the Jews in Britain. He played a part in founding University College, London, and was the first unconverted Jew to become a baronet.
The printed subscription list at the beginning of the book is of very great interest. Here are the lay leaders of Anglo-Jewry in 1838, together with their streets and the cities where they lived. Included are Sir Moses Montefiore, then a Sheriff, Mrs N. M. Rothschild and many others:
The book starts with an English translation of Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel’s Vindiciae Judaeorum, a key document in the “readmission” of the Jews to England in 1656.
Then Mendelssohn’s long preface to Vindiciae Judaeorum, translated from German to English.
This is followed by a number of other letters and papers, and then Moses Samuel’s copious notes on the subject. All rather scholarly, and one wonders if the leaders of Anglo-Jewry who subscribed to the book read through all the arguments.