Sep 28, 2023 - Sale 2646

Sale 2646 - Lot 168

Price Realized: $ 7,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 7,000 - $ 10,000
(JUDAICA.) Thomas Kennedy. Speech . . . in the Legislature of Maryland, on the Bill Respecting Civil Rights and Religious Privileges. 15 printed pages. 8vo, 9 1/2 x 6 inches, on two uncut folding sheets, stitched; professionally conserved including filled areas in lower margins, edges reinforced, repaired tears in top margins of early leaves. Annapolis, MD: J. Hughes, 1823

Additional Details

For fifty years after independence, the state of Maryland prohibited Jews from holding public office. This law was repeatedly challenged by the state's small Jewish community and its more reasonable legislators. Acts to rectify this injustice, popularly known as "The Jew Bill," met with failure in 1804 and 1818. Thomas Kennedy was one of the legislature's leading supporters of Jewish rights. In 1823, he gave this first speech in support of "An act to extend to the sect of people professing the Jewish religion the same rights and privileges that are enjoyed by Christians," which would ultimately be passed in 1826. In part:

"The bill now before us has been playfully called more than once, a favorite baby, or bantling of mine. . . . Ere it is a year old, will become the darling and the pride of Maryland. . . . There is not another state in the Union that requires a religious test as a qualification for office." He also recounts the history of oppression of Catholics, which played a role in the founding of Maryland. Rosenbach 245; Singerman 375. 2 examples in OCLC (American Jewish Historical Society and Hebrew Union College), and none others traced at auction.