Essays

Benjamin Franklin and the Jews

franklin

by Andrew Hamilton

FRANKLIN’S racialism was evident in the demographic pamphlet “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, Etc.” (1751)(see “Benjamin Franklin on Demography & Whiteness”) cited by Thomas Malthus on the first page of the second edition of his Essay on the Principle of Population (1802).

Scattered comments pertaining to race and Jews can be found throughout Franklin’s writings.

In Benjamin Franklin’s day, Jews did not demographically comprise a large enough percentage of the population to exercise the social control they previously had over Spain and Portugal, or were later to wield over Russia, the United States, and the rest of the “West.”

In 1767 Franklin told pioneer German statistician Gottfried Achenwall that there were Jews in Pennsylvania and New York. In Pennsylvania there were some Jewish schools, but New York had a synagogue.

The Jewish population must have increased over the years. Near the end of Franklin’s life, in 1788, the Jews begged for money from well-to-do Christians to help construct their Philadelphia synagogue, Congregation Mikveh Israel. They wrote in their appeal:

They [the Jews] are therefore under the necessity of earnestly soliciting from their worthy fellow citizens of every religious denomination, their worshipping Almighty God in a way & manner different from other religious societies, [will] never deter the enlightened citizens of Philadelphia, from generously subscribing towards the preservation of a [Jewish] religious house of worship.

Franklin donated £5 toward the £800 needed, or 0.6% of the total — a not insignificant sum in my view.

American Jews consisted primarily of Iberian-descended Sephardim rather than German/East European Ashkenazim — two genetically distinct populations.

In light of what has transpired since, it is educational to examine the reactions of whites to the Jewish presence in their societies.

Plenty were out-and-out philo-Semites of the kind ubiquitous today. One such was the Puritan divine Ezra Stiles, a Congregationalist minister and president of Yale University.

Sephardic Jews were readily accepted by both custom and marriage into the top ranks of colonial and early American society, consequently genetically entwining themselves with the native ruling class as they always have — in ancient Rome and Persia, in 20th century Communist dictatorships, and in 19th to 21st century “democratic” Europe and the US.

Early American Jews were wealthy, privileged, and enjoyed high social status. They dominated the lucrative trade in African slaves; the wealthy Aaron Lopez of Newport, Rhode Island was the premiere trafficker in human flesh in the colonies.

Here are some of Benjamin Franklin’s comments about Jews.

In a 1766 letter there is a cryptic reference to a debt: “As the other bankers beside the Jew, have satisfied you that it was fully paid, I am sure I ought to be satisfied, though I do not understand it.”

Writing from London in 1767 to his son William Franklin:

We have had an ugly affair at the Royal Society lately. One Dacosta, a Jew, who, as our clerk, was entrusted with collecting our monies, has been so unfaithful as to embezzle near £1300 in four years. Being one of the council this year as well as the last, I have been employed all the last week in attending the enquiry into and unraveling his accounts, in order to come at a full knowledge of his frauds.

Three months later he wrote to a French correspondent, “a wicked Jew, entrusted as our clerk and collector, has unobserved run away with our money upon earth, to the amount of near 1500 pounds, which makes it necessary for us in this affair to apply for Royal assistance.”

In late 1781 badly needed war goods purchased in the Netherlands from the Jewish banking firm Jean de Neufville & Fils of Amsterdam were being withheld, causing Franklin, then the American diplomat to France, to write angrily to John Adams in Holland:

I think they have no right to stop the goods; and I think also that the keeping us out of possession of £50,000 sterling’s worth of goods for securing the payment of a petty demand for damages, appears to me not only ungenteel & dishonourable treatment, but a monstrous injustice. It seems to me that it is principally with Mr. Neufville we have to do; and though I believe him to be as much a Jew as any in Jerusalem, I did not expect that with so many & such constant professions of friendship for the United States, with which he lards all his letters, he would have attempted to enforce his demands (which I doubt not will be extravagant enough) by a proceeding so abominable. . . . But I would not be compelled to pay whatever he may please to demand, because he has our goods in possession. We have, you observe, our hands in the lion’s mouth; but if Mr. N. is a lion, I am a bear, and I think I can hug & grip him till he lets go our hands. He has bought goods for us, and till he delivers them he has no equitable right to be paid for them . . . let him keep his goods & seek his remedy where he can find it. . . . His proposition when I first saw him, of terms on which he would borrow money for us, stamped his character on my mind with an impression so deep that it is not yet effaced. (Letter to John Adams, November 26, 1781)

Franklin’s irritation becomes more understandable in a second letter to Adams a few weeks later — quoted here at length — when, in response to Adams’s inquiry, he spelled out Neufville’s terms for a proposed Revolutionary War loan. With unbelievable understatement the statesman calls it “an extravagant security for a trifling sum”:

The first proposition is, “That for the security of this loan of two million guilders, Holland currency, we engaged & hypothe-qued (his words) [French law, hypothèque; hypothecation, the pledging of something as security for a debt without delivery of title or possession] to said Mr John de Neufville and Son of Amsterdam, or their representatives, as we do engage and hy-potheque to them in the name of the whole Congress of the thirteen United States of North America, generally all the lands, cities, territories and possessions of the said thirteen States, so which they have and possess at present, as which they may have or possess in the future, with all their income, revenue & produce, until the entire payment of this loan & the interests due thereon. . . .”

The second proposition was (verbatim, as the first) “That out of the produces again through all those thirteen States of America shall be send over and shipped to Europe, and chiefly or as much as possible to the port of Amsterdam during the ten years of this loan the double of one tenth part of this loan, to the value of four hundred thousand guilders, which as far as is possible they’ll come to Amsterdam, shall be sold there by Mr. John de Neufville and Son, and what goes to other ports by their correspondents, and the money kept at their disposal for the use of Congress at least during the first five years; and during the last five years of this loan one-half of this money is to serve to decharge every year one tenth part of the money borrowed, engaging that before the end of the tenth year there will be remitted in such a manner, and left in hands of said Mr John de Neufville & Son of Amsterdam, a sufficient sum of money to decharge this whole loan with the interest due thereon.”

You will observe that this article is obscurely expressed; I was obliged to demand Eclaircissements [clarification] in conversation. The conversation was also difficult to understand; Mr de N’s English not being then of the clearest. But from the whole after much discourse, I gathered, that we were to send over every year for the first five years, in tobacco, rice, indigo, codfish, oil, &c &c. the value of 400,000 guilders, to be sold by Messrs J. de N. & Son, for our use, on a commission, of five per cent.; and that the money was to remain in their hands to enable them to pay off in the last 5 years the principal of the loan, though one-half of it was to remain in their hands till the end of the term. — A subsequent article (the 6th) also provides that 100,000 guilders more should be annually sent over in produce to them, & sold, &c. to discharge the interest. . . .

Besides this, I was led to understand, that it would be very agreeable to these gentlemen, if in acknowledgment of their zeal for our cause & great service in procuring this loan, they could be made by some law of Co[ngress] the general consignee of America, to receive and sell upon commission by themselves and correspondents in the different ports & nations, all the produce of America that should be sent by our merchants to Europe.

Franklin concluded the second letter with one of the bitterest statements I’ve ever seen by such an equable gentleman:

I was wrong in supposing J de Neufville as much a Jew as any in Jerusalem, since Jacob was not content with his per cents, but took the whole of his brother Esau’s birthright; & his posterity did the same by the Canaanites, & cut their throats into the bargain, which in my conscience I do not think Mr. J. de Neufville has the least inclination to do by us — while he can get anything by our being alive. (Letter to John Adams, December 14, 1781)

It is difficult to discover background information about this affair because virtually all major biographies of Franklin omit any mention of it.

The company in question was an Amsterdam merchant banking firm that unsuccessfully attempted to raise funds for John Adams and Franklin in the Netherlands.

A document on the Massachusetts Historical Society website suggests that John Adams, then ambassador to the Netherlands, was responsible for initiating contact with Neufville. His action came back to haunt him years later, and, in 1809, after his presidency and during his retirement, he felt compelled to publicly justify his negotiations with the banking house. (See footnote 4 of the MHS document.)

Mind-boggling as they are, Franklin’s Neufville letters are not mentioned by liberal biographers Carl Van Doren (Benjamin Franklin, 1938; Pulitzer Prize for Biography) or Yale University’s Edmund S. Morgan (Benjamin Franklin, 2002).

But both authors must have known about them.

Morgan’s book was based upon precisely the Benjamin Franklin Papers I’m quoting — and he says in his preface that he read them all.

Van Doren’s book, which is very thorough, is also based upon Franklin’s writings — Van Doren extensively quotes Franklin’s own words from scattered journals, letters, and miscellaneous writings with the stated aim of “completing” Franklin’s unfinished Autobiography. And the de Neufville letters had been published by Albert H. Smyth, editor of the multi-volume The Writings of Benjamin Franklin (1905–1907).

Mention of Neufville is also missing from the major biographies by H. W. Brands (2000), Walter Isaacson (2003), and others.

The only secondary source referring to the affair that I have found is the much older Pulitzer Prize-winning biography by William Cabell Bruce:

Nor, when an extortioner attempted to perpetrate an outrage upon the United States, did [Franklin] fail to oppose him with a wit quite as keen and with a spirit far more resolute. Such a skinflint seems to have been De Neufville, of Amsterdam, who offered on one occasion to borrow money for the United States, provided that their representatives hypothecated to his firm, in the name of the whole Congress of the Thirteen United States, as security for the loan, all the lands, cities, territories and possessions of the said Thirteen States, present or prospective. After mercilessly analyzing in a letter to John Adams the unconscionable covenants by which this tremendous hypothecation was to be accompanied, Franklin ended with these observations [about Jacob and Esau, quoted above].

The immediate occasion for this letter was the refusal of De Neufville to allow the goods which had bred trouble between Franklin and William Jackson to be delivered to the agents of the United States until a claim for damages that he had preferred against the United States was satisfied. . . .

And [Franklin] was as good as his word, and let De Neufville know that, if he did not deliver the goods, the bills drawn by him on Franklin for the price, though accepted, would not be paid. A few days later, in another letter to Adams with respect to the same matter, Franklin said in regard to a proposal of settlement made by De Neufville, “I think that the less we have to do with that Shark the better; his jaws are too strong, his teeth too many and his appetite immensely voracious.” Before the episode was ended, De Neufville was only too glad to dispatch his son to Paris to beseech the bear to relax his hug. (Benjamin Franklin Self-Revealed: A Biographical and Critical Study Based Mainly on His Own Writings, 2 vols. [New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1917]).

When Franklin was dying, in December 1789, so emaciated from weight loss caused by opium treatment that, he said, “little remains of me but a skeleton covered with a skin,” he received a request for money from a Jewish woman. He explained in a letter to a friend that she was

the widow of a Jew who, happening to be one of a number of passengers, that were about 46? years ago in a stage-boat going to New York, and which, by the unskillful management of the boatman, overset the canoe from whence I was endeavouring to get on board her, near Staten Island, has ever since worried me with demands of a gratuity for having as he pretended been instrumental in saving my life; though that was in no danger, as we were near the shore, and you know what an expert swimmer I am, and he was no more of any service to me in stopping the boat to take me in, than every other passenger; to all of whom I gave a liberal entertainment at the tavern when we arrived at New York, to their general satisfaction at the time. But this Hayes never saw me afterwards, at New York, or Brunswick or Philadelphia that he did not dun me for money on the pretense of his being poor and having been so happy as to be instrumental in saving my life, which was really in no danger. In this way he got of me sometimes a double Joannes, sometimes a Spanish doubloon, and never less, how much in the whole I do not know having kept no account of it, but it must have been a very considerable sum; and as he neither incurred any risk, nor was at any trouble in my behalf, I have long since thought him well paid for any little expense of humanity he might have felt on the occasion. He seems, however, to have left me to his widow as part of her dowry.

It is fascinating to observe that the pushy, grasping, self-centered Hayes got what he wanted from the eternally busy and socially well-connected Dr. Franklin, despite the latter’s awareness, even resentment, over the slimy con man’s brazen impositions.

Why? Franklin was no doormat. Yet the Jew shamelessly pressed himself upon him and — voilà! — got what he wanted.

Conclusion

In Franklin’s allusions to Jews we see a definite differentiation, separation, setting apart — a perception of otherness.

Jewishness is also frequently associated with negative traits. The harsh-sounding term “Jew,” rather than “Hebrew,” “Israelite,” or some other euphemism of the time, sounds somewhat like an epithet.

This negative connotation is significant because, although philo-Semites must acknowledge — if only sneakily and dishonestly — that Jews are radically different from whites — including themselves — all criticism is forbidden.

We (rightly, in the eyes of philo-Semites) are second- or third-class citizens.

Jews, by contrast, are our moral, intellectual, and social superiors. Unlike us, they must not be evaluated objectively or by the same standards as other people. Nothing they say or do is ever wrong. It is acceptable to single them out positively as a group, but never negatively. Even the most godless philo-Semites are convinced that Jews incarnate some ineffable divine holiness, elevating the Chosen far above the ranks of ordinary mortals, whose rights and interests do not matter by comparison.

But Franklin, seemingly, did not think that way.

A Note on Sources

The definitive edition of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Yale University Press, 1959–2011), 40 volumes long and counting, has now reached the year 1783 — when he was still a diplomat in France.

A digital version of the papers in CD ROM format, including many not yet published in book form, was created in 1988 by the Packard Humanities Institute headed by David W. Packard, son of Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard.

Yale Revolutionary War historian Edmund S. Morgan based his book Benjamin Franklin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002) on reading “everything on the disk and the volumes [The Papers of Benjamin Franklin published to that time] but not much else.” (Morgan preface to Benjamin Franklin, p. ix.)

In 2006, Yale finally made the contents of the Packard CD available to a much wider audience via this website. (See Digital Ben Franklin: History of the Project.)

Edmund S. Morgan wrote a special Introduction to Ben Franklin for the website (left-hand frame).

* * *

Source: Counter-Currents

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Walt Hampton
Walt Hampton
22 August, 2015 11:32 pm

The Yids already want
to place a Negress on a twenty-dollar
FRN. Is it too far-fetched they will
agitate for Shelton Adelson’s mug on
the one-hundred-dollar FRN?

Oilburner
Oilburner
24 August, 2015 12:27 am

Meanwhile, apparently “conservative” Steve Sailer thinks we should go for suicidal Hollywood bimbo, and convert to Judaism, Marilyn Monroe instead.

Walt Hampton
Walt Hampton
24 August, 2015 1:32 am

I am tempted to say
that all of this will be rendered moot as
FRN’s are going the way of the Zimbabwean
dollar. However, I do not want to be too
hasty by putting the cart before the horse.

Angelicus
Angelicus
28 October, 2019 9:49 pm

I found this article to be a feeble and pathetic attempt to portray Benjamin Franklin as some kind of proto-White Nationalist. He, like most of the Founding Fathers, was a Freemason, therefore an enemy of traditional Aryan society. To know what the Freemasons stood for you just have to look at the disastrous French Revolution, whose motto: Liberte-Egalite-Fraternite is the cornerstone of every Liberal/Marxist/Jewish organization One of the first resolutions of the French revolutionary government was to grant French citizenship to the Jews giving them full civic rights, destroying the wise, centuries-old, traditional social order upheld by the Catholic Church, another mortal enemy of the Jews and the Freemasons. (I am not a Christian but only an ignorant or an imbecile can deny the positive role played by the Catholic… Read more »

Truthweed
Truthweed
Reply to  Angelicus
28 October, 2019 11:23 pm

Greetings Angelicus. The Protocols have much to say about freemasonry being a jewish front to deceive the goys. They even state what will be done when they no longer need them: 9. Death is the inevitable end for all. It is better to bring that end nearer to those who hinder our affairs than to ourselves, to the founders of this affair. WE EXECUTE MASONS IN SUCH WISE THAT NONE SAVE THE BROTHERHOOD CAN EVER HAVE A SUSPICION OF IT, NOT EVEN THE VICTIMS THEMSELVES OF OUR DEATH SENTENCE, THEY ALL DIE WHEN REQUIRED AS IF FROM A NORMAL KIND OF ILLNESS ….. Knowing this, even the brotherhood in its turn dare not protest. By such methods we have plucked out of the midst of MASONRY the very root of… Read more »

Angelicus
Angelicus
Reply to  Truthweed
29 October, 2019 12:08 am

Nice to hear from you Truthweed:

You are right. There is an excellent study about the links between Freemasonry and the Jews but unfortunately, it is only available in Spanish. Of inferior quality, but still very interesting and useful is “Freemasonry and Judaism” by the French writer Leon de Poncins. Here is a link to download it in PDF format: https://ia800303.us.archive.org/6/items/FreemasonryAndJudaism/freemasonry-and-judaism.pdf

Regards

pj dooner
pj dooner
Reply to  Angelicus
29 October, 2019 10:04 am

As far as I can determine from researching Freemasonry they were a benevolent group until the jews infiltrated them around the time of the American Revolution. Before that they were anti-Papacy after the Pope allied himself with the French King and tried to destroy their predecessors, the Knights Templars, in 1307 but some Knights escaped to Scotland and that’s where the Freemasons originated.

Andrew Hamilton
Andrew Hamilton
Reply to  Angelicus
29 October, 2019 10:53 am

I typically don’t “attempt to portray” historical figures as “proto-White Nationalists” or anything else. Franklin’s views about race and the Jews are as I describe them. For a long time now I have studied White history and historical figures like Franklin in an effort to understand the totality of their psychology, beliefs, assumptions, lifestyles, and family and community structures apart from what the Left Establishment says about them, what Jews say about them (as in your recommended video; Jews lie ALL THE TIME, sometimes subtly and imperceptibly, sometimes blatantly, and aren’t a reliable guide to anything), or even what White nationalists say about them (typically in the form of select, isolated quotes). To do this I have more and more over the years relied upon their own words and actions,… Read more »

Angelicus
Angelicus
Reply to  Andrew Hamilton
30 October, 2019 2:06 pm

Although your article is exceptionally well documented and written it does not proves convincingly that Benjamin Franklin disliked the Jews, as you said: “In Franklin’s allusions to Jews we see a definite differentiation, separation, setting apart — a perception of otherness.” That is correct but so what? He obviously never entertain strong feelings towards them, negative or otherwise. What I am aiming at is that I got the impression that you have tried to present Franklin as a man aware of the evil nature of the Jews but this is not borne by his own words. You obviously have done a great research and yet you could not come up with one single quote by Franklin where he condemns the Chosen People. Therefore Franklin’s opinion about them is totally irrelevant… Read more »

Andrew Hamilton
Andrew Hamilton
Reply to  Angelicus
31 October, 2019 11:28 am

Franklin was not anti-Jewish in your sense, or in my sense either. Jews were few in number and not as intrusive or dominant in Northern and Western Europe then as they are today. But compared to the vast majority of Whites then and now Franklin had an unusually nuanced and critical view of Jews. He was certainly aware of their existence and alien qualities. I consider that to be significant and commendable. “It is undeniable that the USA has been based on Jewish principles as it was founded by Puritans (fanatical Jew lovers and followers of the Old Testament) and Freemasons. If you want to know the end look at the beginning.” I can’t possibly endorse a simplistic view like that. The people you denounce actually did a remarkably good… Read more »

Angelicus
Angelicus
Reply to  Andrew Hamilton
31 October, 2019 9:26 pm

Greetings Andrew: Thank you very much for your observations. I admit I am a bit of a hothead and sometimes I tend to simplify matters just to make a point, but I still believe that it is undeniable that Puritanism’s Jewish mentality shaped America’s ruling class. To this, we must add the nefarious effects of the liberal ideals of the Enlightenment and its Masonic followers. As a result of this North American society provided a fertile ground for the Jews to prosper, as they did from the very beginning. Franklin did not have strong views about the Jews, positive or negative that is a fact (if I understood you properly) therefore I questioned (and still do) the relevance of his opinions within the context of North American history and the… Read more »

Andrew Hamilton
Andrew Hamilton
Reply to  Angelicus
3 November, 2019 11:47 am

You write exceptionally good English.

For that reason, and because the attitudes you express about Puritans, the American revolution, the Enlightenment, and Protestants being worse than the Catholic Church are very common among American racialists, I assumed you were American.

As an aside, Franklin maintained a substantial trans-European correspondence with leading political and scientific figures in various lands. One of his correspondents was an Italian scientist with whom he exchanged letters on scientific subjects. Franklin could read Italian but not write it, and the Italian could read English but not write it. So each wrote letters in his own language, which the other then read.

Angelicus
Angelicus
Reply to  Andrew Hamilton
3 November, 2019 5:16 pm

Greetings Andrew:

Thank you for your kind words regarding my English. I have learned a lot, and I still do, through reading. In fact English is almost my everyday language, I am married to a lovely English woman and English-speaking websites are by far the best in the world regarding White Nationalism and the JQ, therefore I spent most of the day reading them, especially National Vanguard. I saw that you have published another post about Benjamin Franklin’s views about race, I am looking forward to reading it.

By the way, I also visit regularly and I am subscribed to The Occidental Observer where I found an excellent article that mentions one by you which I am going to read now. Here it is:https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2009/08/01/the-culture-of-deceit/

Have a good day.

William White Williams • Chairman, National Alliance
William White Williams • Chairman, National Alliance
Reply to  Andrew Hamilton
30 October, 2019 7:18 pm

[Franklin’s] famous autobiography is also well worth reading, though it is not about race (except implicitly, which is how I read all such things anyway). Thus far I rank him as far and away the most impressive of the American revolutionaries. — Thank you, Mr. Hamilton. I missed this article of yours when it was first published here four years ago. BF was indeed a very impressive Founding Father, whether he was a mason or not. Many of those Aryan FFs were masons. So what? Cosmotheist Books carries his autobiography for just $6: https://cosmotheistchurch.org/product/the-autobiography-of-benjamin-franklin/ I’m no historian, but the dim view of Jews attributed to Franklin that I heard back in the 1980s, I had hoped was authentic. It likely wasn’t, but what say you? Of course the Jew says… Read more »

Andrew Hamilton
Andrew Hamilton

It speaks well of Cosmotheist Books that it carries Franklin’s Autobiography. There’s lots of wisdom in it by a man whose accomplishments are staggering once you become aware of them. My Dad, who was by no means bookish, read it twice. Given the subject matter, my biggest mistake in this article was forgetting to mention The Franklin Prophecy, which you quote, because so many people who think critically about Jews are exposed to it early in their intellectual journey. So I looked into it long before I wrote the article. I see no reason to doubt that it first popped up in the 1930s in a publication of William Dudley Pelley’s, as the Jews state. Pelley was head of the Silver Shirts. Pelley or somebody close to him presumably fabricated… Read more »

fodwell
fodwell
31 October, 2019 5:06 pm

I’m surprised that Mr. Franklin chose to be a hard case federalist. The Federal principle destroyed statehood.