|Vol. III, No. 1
Nissan 5605, April 1845
Dr. Jacob De La Motta.
As our last number was going to press, we received the melancholy announcement of the death of Dr. Jacob De La Motta, who died at Charleston, on the 13th of February, aged about 56. We were ever since in hopes that some one of his personal friends and relatives on the spot would give us an account of his life for publication; but failing in this, we cannot permit the present number to go forth without some tribute from our pen, imperfect as this necessarily must be. Dr. De La Motta, was regularly educated as a physician, and graduated in Philadelphia; if we recollect rightly. At an early age he entered the United States Army as surgeon, and served during the whole or a part of the late war with England. When the army, at the conclusion of peace, was reduced, the Doctor of course, with many others, lost his post. He was however offered the station of a surgeon’s mate, which he respectfully declined. This tender of office proves conclusively that he must have given entire satisfaction in the discharge of his duty. He then returned to Charleston, but removed some years later to Savannah, where he was the means of erecting a Synagogue, and organizing anew the small congregation of Israelites. The Doctor was not of those who because they love science despise the faith of their fathers; on the contrary, true to the martyr spirit of his ancestors, he honoured their professions by his practice, and thus consecrated his time to the service of his religion, and both in Savannah and Charleston he officiated as minister and preacher, gratis, for several years. Occasionally too, when at the north, he assisted at our Synagogue, and thus many persons in different places can bear testimony to the efficiency of the Doctor in affairs of our religion. Even when no longer acting as minister, the affairs of the Synagogue always enlisted his care, and for many years, when he had again returned to Charleston, we find him in the post of president of the old congregation, or otherwise usefully active. When the unfortunate separation took place, about four years and a half ago, Dr. De La Motta was made president of the so-called orthodox party, and acted in that capacity as well as minister, for rather more than two years. Since then he had in a measure withdrawn from public life, and from the unpleasant contentions which agitate the Israelites in Charleston. We are not going to praise or censure him for the part of non-interference which he took latterly; no doubt he gave offence to those who had acted with and under him; but perhaps his declining health admonished him to rest from strife, more particularly as his female relatives were attached to the new order of things. But now he has gone to a place of rest, where contention and strife are unknown, and where he will be judged by his Maker according to his deeds.
We omitted to state, as an evidence of the estimation in which he was held, that when President Harrison was elected to the Executive Chair, he appointed Dr. De La Motta, to the highly responsible office of Receiver General for his district; and when at the repeal of the independent treasury he had to transfer the public moneys to other hands, his accounts were in such a state that they were examined at a glance and found correct. He was emphatically an honest man and a pious Israelite; no doubt he erred, as we all do; but his integrity could never be questioned.
He contributed a few articles to our work. Our renders can hence judge of his qualification as a writer. To us he seemed to be more correct in his views than happy in the manner of expressing them; but it must be considered that his education had been a medical one, that many of his best years were consumed in active duties, and hence writing was not his business, and all conversant, with it know how slowly any thing like a proficiency in it is acquired.
Dr. De La Motta of late years suffered occasionally from paralytic attacks, and when he visited the north last summer, he appeared extremely enfeebled; death came at length more as a relief than the king of terrors; his disease made a renewed attach upon him on the morning of the 13th of February, when he expected company at dinner that day, and before the sun rose next morning, he slept the sleep which knows no awakening except the resurrection. Till then—sleep departed spirit; may thy righteousness go before thee, may the glory of God receive thee, and may those whom thou hast left, wife and children, sisters and relatives, be worthy of thee and rejoin thee in a life without end in the presence of thy God.