Gideon, Samson

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GIDEON, SAMSON (originally Gideon Abudiente ; 1699–1762), English financier. His father Reuel Gideon Abudiente (c. 1655–1722), a West India merchant in London, was descended from the Hamburg scholar of the same name. Gideon early made a considerable fortune by speculation. In the mid-18th century, he was the principal agent for raising English government loans. His advice helped to preserve the financial stability of the country during the Jacobite rebellion in 1745. During the Seven Years' War (1755–63), he advised the English government in financial matters, and in 1758 was thanked by the king for his services in raising a loan for Hanover. Gideon left more than £500,000. In his younger days he supported the synagogue, and in 1720 contributed a sonnet in English to the Spanish translation of the Psalms by D. Lopez *Laguna. Subsequently, however, he bought a country estate, married out of the faith, had his children baptized, and, on the pretext of disapproving of the Jewish Naturalization Bill (1753), resigned his synagogue membership. He continued nevertheless to contribute to the synagogue secretly and left it a large legacy on the condition that he would be buried in its cemetery. By 1750 Gideon had obtained a coat of arms for himself and was a substantial landowner. In 1757 his daughter married Viscount Gage. In 1759 he obtained the title of baronet for his son, also samson gideon (1745–1824), who became Lord Eardley in 1789. The son had no contacts with Judaism. In 1770 he was elected to Parliament, the first member of Parliament to have known Jewish ancestry. He was also the first person of known Jewish ancestry to be granted a peerage in Britain. Among his descendants was Hugh Culling Eardley Childers (1827–1896), who was chancellor of the Exchequer in 1882–85.


Sutherland, in: jhset, 17 (1953), 79–90; A.M. Hyamson, Sephardim of England (1951), 128–33; C. Roth, An glo-Jewish Letters (1938), 130–2, 176. add. bibliography: odnb online; Katz, England, 248–49, 267–71; T. Endelman, Jews of Georgian England, 28–31, 139–40, 255–56; M. Jolles, Directory of Distinguished British Jews, 75.

[Cecil Roth /

William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]