Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Haym Solomon - Definition
Haym Solomon - Definition
Haym Solomon (or Salomon) (1740 - 1785) was a prime financier of the American side during the American War of Independence against Great Britain. A Jew born in Prussia/Poland, he died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1 Life and accomplishments
2 Historical legends about him
3 Jewish pride
4 Early death
5 Honors, testimonials, and memorials
6 1975 stamp issued by USPS: First day cover honoring Haym Salomon
7 External links
Life and accomplishments
He was an astute merchant and banker and succeeded in accumulating a huge fortune, which he subsequently devoted to the use of the American Government during the American Revolution. For example, he negotiated all the war aid from France and Holland, endorsing and selling bills to American merchants.
He was the paymaster-general of the French military forces in the early times of the United States. It is asserted that over $100,000 he advanced was never repaid. He lent the young United Sates government about $600,000, and at his death about $400,000 of this amount had not been repaid. This was irrespective of what he had lent to statesman and others while performing public duties and trusts.
He was a brilliant financier and one of George Washington's personal friends. At one point he was sentenced to death by the British, but he bribed his jailer and escaped. During the American Revolution, Solomon went to France and raised an additional 3.5 million British pounds from the Sassoon and Rothschild banking houses and families. He spoke eight languages. When Solomon was in France he passed himself off as a French diplomat.
Historical legends about him
Solomon supposedly wrote the first draft of the United States Constitution according to some historians. Some claim that he designed The Great Seal of the United States , which is why it has what some believe resembles a Jewish Star above the eagle's head design, and it is also on the back of every American one dollar bill. He believed the United States would become a world power. At war's end, many in the Continental Congress were desperately poor and ironically Solomon too died completely bankrupt.
He was involved in Jewish community affairs, being a member of Mikveh Israel Congregation in Philadelphia, and in 1782 made the largest individual contribution towards the construction of its main building. In 1783 Haym Solomon and other prominent Jews appealed to the Pennsylvania Council of Censors urging them to remove the religious test oath required for office-holding under the State Constitution. In 1784, he answered Anti-Semitic slander in the press by stating: "I am a Jew; it is my own nation; I do not despair that we shall obtain every other privilege that we aspire to enjoy along with our fellow-citizens."
The gravesite of Haym Solomon is at Mikveh Israel Cemetery in Philadelphia , it is unmarked, and two plaques memorialize him. The following obituary was printed in the Independent Gazetteer: "Thursday, last, expired, after a lingering illness, Mr. Hyam Solomon, an eminent broker of this city, was a native of Poland, and of the Hebrew nation. He was remarkable for his skill and integrity in his profession, and for his generous and humane deportment. His remains were yesterday deposited in the burial ground of the synagogue of this city." He is commemorated by a marble tablet on its east wall installed by his great-grandson, William Salomon. A granite memorial is set inside the gate of the cemetery.
Honors, testimonials, and memorials
In 1893 a bill was presented before the 52nd United States Congress ordering a gold medal struck in recognition of Solomon's contributions to the United States. In 1941 the writer Howard Fast wrote a book "Haym Salomon Son of Liberty". In 1941, the George Washington-Robert Morris-Haym Salomon Memorial was erected along Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. In 1975 the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring Haym Soloman for his contributions to the cause of the American Revolution. This stamp was uniquely printed on the front and the back. On the glue side of the stamp, the following words were printed in pale, green ink:
"Financial Hero - Businessman and broker Haym Salomon was responsible for raising most of the money needed to finance the American Revolution and later to save the new nation from collapse."
Many Historians have said that without his contribution to the cause "there would be no America today".
1975 stamp issued by USPS: First day cover honoring Haym Salomon
Haym Salomon story (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/jewish/salomon.asp)
US Dept. of Interior on Haym Salomon (http://www.nps.gov/revwar/about_the_revolution/haym_salomom.html)
Currency and Finance in the 18th Century : Bills of Exchange (http://www.continentalline.org/articles/9703/970301.htm)
Role of Jewish Freemasons in the American Revolution (http://www.freemason.org/cfo/july_august_2001/juda.htm)
Contributions of Sephardic Jews to the USA (http://www.sephardicstudies.org/1776.html)
Son of Liberty & 1973 Medal (http://www.americanrevolution.com/HaymSalomon.htm)