RAPHAEL, ALEXANDER (1775–1850), English merchant. Born in Madras (India) of Persian Jewish parentage, Raphael settled in England and built up a considerable fortune as a stockbroker in the City of London. Having become converted to Roman Catholicism, he was sheriff of London in 1834 and was elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal in 1835 and again in 1847–50. He was one of the two Roman Catholic M.P.s who opposed Jewish emancipation, notwithstanding the fact that their own religious disabilities had been removed so recently. Although he was not the first person born a Jew to be elected to the English parliament, his career is of interest as typifying the assimilatory potentialities of even an Oriental Jew in early 19th century England. There is some doubt about his ancestry: it is possible that his mother was not Jewish. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A.M. Hyamson, in: JHSET, 16 (1952), 225–6. (Cecil Roth)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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