In 1656, political theorist James Harrington made a startling proposal to Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, who had that year failed to resolve the English Jewish question: should Jews be admitted to England as full citizens? Harrington’s bizarre proposal was to lease Ireland in perpetuity to the Jews, having removed the Anglo‐Irish landlords. In 1817, Anglo‐Irish author Maria Edgeworth wrote ‘Harrington’, in an attempt to redress her own earlier insulting depictions of Jews. However flawed, her novel can be seen as an important link in the struggle against English anti‐Semitism, from James Harrington’s proposal for a Jewish Ireland, through the 1753 ‘Jewish Naturalization Act’, to George Elliot’s 1876 masterpiece, Daniel Deronda.
The Irish Jewish Museum, 3 Walworth Road, South Circular Road, Dublin 8
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