Sir Benjamin Samuel Phillips, Lord Mayor of London, 1865

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Benjamin Samuel Phillips, Lord mayor of London

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Phillips and Hannah Phillips
Husband of Rachel Phillips
Father of Sarah de Worms, Baroness Pirbright; Samuel Henry Faudel-Phillips and Sir George Faudel-Phillips, 1st Baronet
Brother of Moses Phillips; George Joshua Phillips; Maurice Phillips; Frances Heilbron; Harriet Coleman and 5 others

Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:

About Sir Benjamin Samuel Phillips, Lord Mayor of London, 1865

From H.S. Morais, Eminent Israelites of the Nineteenth Century.

Sir Benjamin Samuel Phillips was born at London, England, on January 4th, 1811. He early engaged in commercial pursuits, displaying, at the same time, warm interest in politics. But, despite a pronounced inclination to make himself felt in matters of impor tance to every Englishman, no chance was open to carry out that wish. Jews, at that period, were not permitted to take any part in the administration of public affairs,

The first Hebrew who held municipal office in Great Britain was Mr. Phineas Levi, and Mr. Phillips the first who served as a Common Councilman of London. Mr. Phillips was chosen an Alderman of his native city in 1857, and so faithfully did he perform his obligations that the people elected him Sheriff, a post which he filled in 1859-60. The opponents of Jewish rights soon perceived that a Hebrew could discharge the duties of an office as capably as a Gentile. But prejudice dies hard. Though the bearing of the incumbent of the Sheriffalty brought home to the minds of many the conviction that they had long been in error, yet there remained a large number who could not overcome religious bias. The only way to disarm opposition was to exercise abilities with re markable tact and discretion.

Mr. Phillips' popularity increased to such a degree, that, on September 29th, 1865, he was made Lord Mayor of London. In deference to his strict conformity to Jewish observances, the outgoing Chief Magistrate postponed the usual festivities, from the 29th of September, which fell on the eve of the Day of Atonement, to the 3d of October, — another clear proof that those who are staunch in their faith, will ever secure the consideration of the intelligent.

During Mr. Phillips' Mayoralty, he had the honor of entertaining the King of Belgium at a grand banquet. The royal appreciation was shown by decorating the Lord Mayor with the Order of Leopold. But Mr. Phillips won a nobler title to admiration, when, in 1866, he devised means to relieve the distress caused by the visitation of the cholera, and the famine in India. These measures added to his well-earned reputation, and when, on December 28th, 1866, Queen Victoria knighted her officer, she expressed what the whole nation felt. Sir Benjamin, since the close of his term as Lord Mayor, has been Deputy Lieutenant for Middlesex, and a magistrate for the county of Kent. Not a little of the credit due to this exalted Israelite belonged to his estimable wife, who died on February 1st, 1880. Her courteous demeanor and engaging address, especially as Lady Mayoress, endeared her to the people of London.

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Sir Benjamin Samuel Phillips, Lord Mayor of London, 1865's Timeline

January 4, 1811
London, United Kingdom
Age 21
Age 23
October 1, 1838
Age 27
July 29, 1840
Age 29
October 9, 1889
Age 78