Aguilar, Diego Dʾ

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AGUILAR, DIEGO Dʾ

AGUILAR, DIEGO D' (Moses Lopez Pereira ; c. 1699–1759), Marrano financier. D'Aguilar, born in Portugal, where his father held the tobacco monopoly, went in 1722 via London to Vienna, where he reverted to Judaism. In Austria he reorganized the state tobacco monopoly, which he held from 1723 until 1739 for an annual payment of seven million florins. In 1726 d'Aguilar was made a baron and subsequently privy councillor. He helped to raise large loans for the Imperial treasury – the amount for 1732 was ten million florins – and advanced the empress 300,000 florins for rebuilding Schoenbrunn Castle. D'Aguilar used his influence at court to assist the Jews. In 1742, in conjunction with Issachar Berush *Eskeles, he succeeded in preventing the expulsion of the Jews from *Moravia. He was also at the center of the negotiations to prevent their expulsion from *Prague in 1744. He helped the Mantua community in 1752, organized relief for the Belgrade community after a destructive fire, and collected funds for Ereẓ Israel. He is said to have prevented the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna by contacting the sultan. D'Aguilar founded the "Turkish (i.e., Sephardi) congregations in Vienna and *Timisoara.

When the Spanish government asked for his extradition for trial by the Inquisition as a Judaizer, Aguilar moved in 1757 with his 14 children to London. There he took an active part in the life of the Sephardi community. His eldest son, ephraim lopez pereira (1739–1802), second Baron D'Aguilar, was also active for a time in London Jewish communal life. Later he became notorious as an eccentric and miser, and proprietor of what became known as "Starvation Farm." Another son, joseph (d. 1774), severed his connection with Judaism, entered the army, and was progenitor of an important English military family, including General Sir george charles (1784–1855), who commanded in the Chinese War (1841–42), and General Sir charles lawrence (1821–1912).

bibliography:

N.M. Gelber, in: jsos, 10 (1948), 360–2 (includes bibliography); J. Fraenkel, Jews of Austria (1967), 327–9; Roth, England, 288–9; J. Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (19562), 91–93, 457–8; Ben-Zvi, in: Sefunot, 2 (1958), 192–3; Mevoraḥ, in: Zion, 28 (1963), 128 ff.; S. Simonsohn, Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Dukkasut Mantovah, 1 (1962), 357–9; idem, in: Sefer Yovel… N.M. Gelber (1963), 145–9; H. Schnee, Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 3 (1955), 247; 4 (1963), 316–7; Hyamson, Sephardim of England (19512), index; Roth, Marranos, 308–10; Roth, England, index; N.M. Gelber, in: rej, 97 (1934), 115 ff.

[Meir Lamed]

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