The Baruh Lousadas and the extraordinary Baron Moses d'Aguilar of the Holy Roman Empire

There are many versions of the story of Baron Moses d'Aguilar, and none that is obviously authoritative, but the following hopefully will not be too contentious. In Lisbon (see note 9 below) he was known as Diogo Lopes Pereira where his New Christian family farmed a tobacco monopoly for the Portuguese crown. He left Portugal in 1722 to avoid the Inquisition (but see note 5 below) and made for London where the partnership of Pereira and Lima imported gold from Portugal and continued to do so after he left for Vienna. According to (ref 15 p119) Pereira had become acquainted with the future Emperor Charles VI in Lisbon and his first journey to Vienna was at the invitation of the Emperor who sought to improve revenue from the Imperial tobacco monopoly (see note 11 below). From 1725 to 1748 Pereira leased the monopoly and at the outset was ennobled (by the Emperor on 26 Mar 1726 according to ref 293) becoming Baron d'Aguilar of the Holy Roman Empire (see also note 19 below). As he was married in Amsterdam on 7 Aug 1726, he may have travelled back and forth from Vienna while setting up the arrangement (see also note 16 below). At the time of his marriage his mother was living in London (as shown by his marriage bann - see note 15 below - but ref 310 reports both parents were buried in Vienna at the Jewish cemetery at Seegasse together with other relatives).

His Amsterdam Jewish marriage shows that he was openly a Jew for the bulk of his time in Vienna. There he assisted Jews of the Empire and, in particular, founded the Turkish Sephardic Jewish community in Vienna (see note 8 below). In 1740, the eldest daughter of Charles VI became Empress Maria Theresa - following the War of the Austrian Succession (see note 7 below). She made d'Aguilar a Privy Councillor (see note 12 below) and may have had a soft spot for him (see note 13 below) especially after his financial support of her work on Schönbrunn Palace. But the Empress expelled Jews from Prague in 1744 but this policy was partially revoked a few years later (ref 96 p37). Given his support for the Jews of the Empire it is hard to imagine Baron d'Aguilar not working for this partial reversal. His appointment generated growing resistance within the Empire (see note 6 below), and he left Vienna in 1748 (according to ref 293) not arriving in England until 1756 (see note 14 below). Perhaps he spent the intervening period in Amsterdam (see note 17 below).

He was a key Lousada ancestor through the 1771 marriages (see chart above) which were marked with some ceremony (see note 2 below). Though the first marriage appears to have been childless the second one was not - see note 1 below for some implications. Further marriages had a Franco connection (see note 3 below). The Mendes da Costa marriages provide a link to oldest Sephardim of England (see note 4 below). Of course, all these d'Aguilar marriages did not come entirely out of the blue - see note 18 below. Baron Moses d'Aguilar died in England on 10 Aug 1759 (see note 10) and upon his death the increasingly eccentric Ephraim became the second Baron (see note 14 below).


1. The name Moses was given to Moses Baruh Lousada #32 after his maternal grandfather Baron Moses d'Aguilar for he was the 2nd son of Isaac #34 of Devonshire Place, the first son being of course named Jacob #36 after his paternal grandfather. The first son of John Baruh Lousada had the baptismal name Mortimer, but would have been first given the name Moses before conversion. Moses Baruh Lousada #32 was also the paternal grandfather of Edward Charles Lousada.

2. The 2 Lousada d'Aguilar marriages were marked by the issue of commemorative tableware. The Lousadas married the Jamaican Aguilars, but this is not shown here as we do not know whether the Aguilars can otherwise be linked with the d'Aguilars (Lopes Pereiras).

3. The Franco/d'Aguilar marriages link the Baruch Lousadas less directly with Baron Moses d'Aguilar. These marriages also link the two main English Lousada branches headed by Jacob #380 and Emanuel #41.  

4. The Mendes da Costa name is central to English Sephardic history. From ref 6 p62 we learn that probably all the older Sephardic families of England can trace their descent back to Alvares da Costa and Fernando Mendes. The former had been one of the agents of the King of Portugal in the payment of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza when she married Charles 2, whilst the latter was court physician who followed her to England and attended Charles 2 in his last illness. The Queen was godmother of his daughter Catherine!

5. According to one source - ref 59 - he had become a bishop actively working for the Inquisition though this is unlikely given his young age! This is one of a set of myths debunked by ref 310. Further clarification of his life was achieved by Carla Vieira in her talk 'Trade and Persecution: three merchants between Lisbon and London' given to Sephardic World on 13 Feb 2022 - see In particular many details are given of his father Manuel and how Diogo Lopes Pereira worked his way through the bankruptcy of his father (who was running the tobacco monopoly in Lisbon).

6. There was growing resistance of local merchants and the envoys of Spain, Portugal, Turkey and the Vatican (p160 ref 56) and perhaps it was the extradition demand from the Spanish Inquisition which was the final straw.

7. The various European powers sought advantage for themselves in exchange for support for the unconventional succession proposed

8. Ref 59 p85 notes that commemoration of Baron Moses d'Aguilar occurred annually every Rosh Hashanah (a week earlier than Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement) until 1938.

9. It is not too hard to find indications of his early Portuguese ancestry, but have not confirmed these from primary sources.

10. Ref 91 p231 citing The London Magazine 1732-85 p433. His burial was at Mile End Road (Nuovo Cemetery).

11. It was a challenge but he made a success of it. From can be found the following information: A new vice entered Central Europe during the Thirty-Years War (1618-48) via English soldiers. Although opposed by the Catholic and Protestant churches as well as traditional rabbis, tobacco was rapidly adopted by soldiers of both sides of the conflict and through them disseminated to the general population. In the second half of the seventeenth century, the countries north of the Alps began organizing a tobacco trade. In 1701, the Habsburg Emperor Leopold I published a general charter for all his provinces, where he declared that tobacco trade and production was to be a state monopoly. Like the Spanish king, he embraced tobacco as a taxable commodity and source of revenue for the crown. The revenues generated by tobacco taxes did not live up to the hopes of the Emperor and his Treasury, and the Treasury decided in 1722 to set up its own tobacco factories, as was standard in the Western European countries. The first and primary factory was erected in September 1722 in Hainburg (Lower Austria) with Baussart von Sonnenfeld, a Privy Councillor at the Imperial Treasury, as its first director. In 1723, the Treasury expanded its tobacco bureaucracy across the Empire, establishing provincial branches of the central tobacco administration in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Upper Austria, Styria-Carinthia, Carinola and the Austrian Littoral (i.e. the area of Trieste, Istria and Gorizia). The erection of state-owned factories, provincial and district administration offices, all manned by properly paid civil servants was expected to be the first step toward proper organization of the tobacco monopoly in the Habsburg Monarchy. However, shortcomings on the local level resulted in corruption, rising prices and a simultaneous decrease in product quality. These shortcomings lend to an enhanced black market trade and Charles VI (1685-1740) invited to Vienna Diego Lopes Pereira to bring order to the marketplace. His family had been active in the tobacco business since 1653 and Diego learned the business in Portugal from his father Manuel. He quickly pinpointed the deficiencies in the organization of the Habsburg monopoly after his arrival in Vienna in 1725. He elaborated a plan, according to which he would lease the monopoly for the whole Monarchy for eight years (enough time for efficient restructuring), paying an annual rent beyond the profit of the best year. In return, he stipulated terms that would allow him to effectively eradicate the reigning defects and deficits. The Court Treasury dismissed the propositions; partly because of economic conservatism, partly because of anti-Semitism. They were scandalized by the idea of a Jew ruling over Austrian civil servants. Moreover, they conjured the threat of him infiltrating Austrian tobacco trade with huge numbers of Jews that would considerably augment the (legally restricted) number of Jews residing in the Bohemian Lands. After two months of tedious negotiations, leasing the monopoly for the whole Monarchy was agreed, together with a Christian companion (Marchese Carignani), for a yearly rent of 400,000 florins during the first five years and 500,000 florins during the remaining three years. Furthermore, he and Carignani had to sign a Letter of Commitment neither to employ Jews in the administration nor in points of sale; for retail sale, they were permitted to use the services of Jews who were legal residents of the Habsburg Monarchy. Despite much resistance, Diego Lopes Pereira provided the Imperial Treasury with constantly growing revenue for almost 25 years.

12. To the Crown of the Netherlands and Italy.

13. There is a story that when in 1747 he asked the government to return to him a part of the money that he had deposited on account of the revenues, the empress Maria Theresa replied: "This appears to me just. I owe him much more; therefore, return it to him."

14. According to ref 202, he with wife arrived in England in 1756 when Judith who accompanied them (and who much later in 1803 provided the information under the Aliens Act) was 9. Many sources suggest he arrived with a large retinue, a large family and a large fortune. It is as difficult to find an authoritative account of his descendants as it is to find an authoritative biography - perhaps he even left descendants behind in Vienna as ref 359 seems to indicate, where the suggestion is combined with a further suggestion of a marriage in Vienna. However as this source is augmented by an extract of a Jewish Encyclopaedia article containing numerous factual errors about the Baron's life eg that the Empress ennobled him, these suggestions must be regarded as not totally reliable. John Bury has provided some research notes on the 2nd Baron d'Aguilar - uploaded.

15. His marriage bann (below) of 8 July 1726 preceded his 7 Aug 1726 Amsterdam marriage (see below right). His wife was a niece of a grandson of Abraham Israel Pereira (for a diagram of the link see here):


16. He was in Amsterdam in 1727, for he witnessed the marriage of his brother-in-law Abraham da Fonseca to Rebecca Fernandes Nunes of London - see  

17. In 1752 he witnessed the Amsterdam marriage of his daughter Rebecca to Daniel Rodriguez - see However as ref 301 shows he reappeared in Vienna in 1750 and 1752.

18. The father-in-law of Baron Moses d'Aguilar was a brother-in-law of a grandson of Abraham Israel Pereira - see here - and this shows that the da Fonseca connection also extended to the Barbados-Jamaica transition of the Baruch Lousadas in the form of the Touro marriage.

19. Ref 310 confirms this account of the ennoblement by the Emperor, pointing out that a record of it was found in the Austrian State Archives, and suggesting that it was based on prior Portuguese nobility.