In preparation for the two hundredth anniversary of American independence, the United States Postal Service issued a series of stamps commemorating "Contributors to the Cause" of the American Revolution. Among the heroes so honored was Haym Salomon (1740-85), a Polish-born Jew who cast his lot with the American rebels. His citation reads: "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."
A son of an ancient people whose traditions included a strong devotion to liberty, Haym Salomon made the freedom of the young American republic his cause. When Salomon arrived in New York from Europe, in 1775, Revolutionary fever was at a pitch. Almost immediately, he began to work for the Sons of Liberty, the most active of the organizations seeking to throw off the British yoke. After the outbreak of war, when New York was occupied by the British, he was twice arrested as a spy but escaped both times. The second time he fled to the safety of Philadelphia, leaving behind his business and his family (who later managed to join him).
In Philadelphia Haym Salomon proved his further devotion to the cause of American liberty. By this time the Colonies had declared their freedom, but the infant United States government found itself faced with crisis after crisis. Salomon supported it with all his energy, resources, and granite will throughout the many dark hours. As authorized broker to the Office of Finance of the American Revolution, he subscribed to government loans, converted foreign bills of exchange into hard cash, gave generously to the beleaguered soldiers, and financed several military units with his own money. At the same time, he was active in the affairs of the Jewish community, contributing handsomely to the building of Mikveh Israel Synagogue in Philadelphia.
During the period of the Revolution, there were about twenty-five hundred Jews living in America. Of these the best known is Haym Salomon. This is his story.
From the dust jacket
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