A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble - Vol. 1

By Franz Kobler | Go to book overview

37
A Jewish Physician seeks a Safe-Conduct from England to Flanders

RABBI ELIJAH MENAHEM, known as Master Elias of London, was the most distinguished figure in English Jewry in the decades before the expulsion. He excelled alike as a Hebrew writer and as a medical practitioner. His reputation in the latter capacity was such that in 1280 he received a call to the court of the Count of Flanders, to attend the Count's nephew. His request to the Chancellor of England for a safe-conduct was written in French, and tells of the great efforts made by the Count to secure the treatment of his relative by the Jewish physician.

ELIAS OF LONDON TO ROBERT BURNELL, BISHOP OF BATH AND WELLS, CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND

'...he hath requested me by express letters and through many high persons of the country that I do go thither in person'

[ London, 1280]

To my dear Lord from his liege, salutation! Sire,

Whereas my name is known much in distant lands at more than its true value (which is naught), I have been requested by the Count of Flanders by many letters and through a special messenger to cure a malady which his nephew hath, which malady is perilous, and to administer thereto a remedy. And whereas by the cure we have sent him he is somewhat eased, more than by any other which hath been administered to him by any other person, he hath requested me by express letters and through many high persons of the country that I do go thither in person or else send him a sure substitute: for a man can work better by sight than by hearsay. He hath written to you that you may procure me safe-conduct from our Lord the

-246-

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