Tuesday, 22 November 2011

False alarm of Ritual Murder in Italy, 1721

It is interesting that as late as 1721, when people were more-or-less modern they were still living with accusations of ritual murder. Perhaps this helps explain Protestant disdain towards Catholicism, and perhaps why Sephardi Jews ended principally in non-Catholic countries.

In the case below, I suspect the Papal States were concerned the ritual murder rumous might be bad for business. Also, they wanted to keep control.

I can't help noticing that the Notary's name sounds Spanish.
Having in the last Register, Page 260, inserted an Account concerning the Jews at Ferrara, which appeal's altogether groundless, and Letters from that City assuring us, that no Jews of that Place have been committed to the Prison of the Inquisition, nor accus'd of the Murder of any Child, or of any other Misdemeanor, nor of any Thing contrary to the Respect due to the Christian Religion, or the Fidelity and Submission they owe to their Sovereign- the Pope : That Felix Coen, mention'd in the said Account, and all the other Jews in Ferrara, enjoy a full and entire Liberty and Tranquillity ; and, in a Word, that it was a most malicious and false Contrivance, which might have occasion'd the Death of a World of innocent People, as appears by the following Decree of the Inquisition of Sinigaglia, where the common People had begun to insult the Jews, and would, in all Probability, have proceeded farther, had not that Tribunal interpos'd their Authority, by publishing the said Decree, which is as follows:

THE Rumour spread in this City, that the Jews of Ferrara have murder'd a Christian in that Part of the Town they inhabit, with several Circumstances altogether contrary to our Holy Faith, having given Occasion to some Christians to reproach, insult, and abuse the Jews of this City, and to threaten them with farther Resentment ; and there being certain Advice, by a Letter from the most Reverend Father Inquisitor of Ferrara, dated the 2nd Instant, and directed to the most Reverend Father Inquisitor of Ancona, that the said Report is notoriously false and groundless: For these Causes we have thought fit to give Notice thereof to the Publics by these Presents, forbidding every Body to rail at, abuse, or insult the Jews in any Manner whatsoever, upon Pain of Imprisonment, and other arbitrary Punishment, as the Superiors shall think fit, even upon the Deposition of one single Witness. Therefore we exhort every Body to pay ready Obedience to this Order, that they may not incur the Penalties aforesaid. .-.

Given at Sinigaglia, July 14, 1721.


Settimio Cinueh, Vicar-General
Fr. J. B. Badalini, Vicar of the Holy Office of the Inquisition
Bernando Mostrada, Notary

Source: The Historical Register, 1721

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