Portuguese Immigrants in the United States

Touro Synagogue
Newport, Rhode Island

The Sephardim Touro Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island was founded in 1658 by a group of Portuguese, and the synagogue, the first in the United States, was dedicated five years later. Moisés Seixas, an influential member of the congregation, wrote a congratulatory address, presented to George Washington in 1790 on behalf of "the children of the stock of Abraham" when the president visited Newport. In the address Seixas coined the famous phrase "to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance."

The Touro Congregation is represented in the following Library of Congress presentations:

American Treasures of the Library of Congress

The "To Bigotry No Sanction" address to Washington and his reply are included in this permanent exhibition.

Celebrating the Portuguese Communities in America: A Cartographic Perspective

The section Jewish Congregation in Colonial Newport, Rhode Island is accompanied by a map of Newport showing the synagogue's location.

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

This exhibit includes four items related to the synagogue: items 22, 24, and 25 can be found in part two of the first section, America as a Religious Refuge: The Seventeenth Century, and are a photograph of the building, a Torah breastplate, and a Matza board, respectively; item 154, contained in the first part of the sixth section, Religion and the Federal Government, is again George Washington's letter to the congregation.

Today in History

This American Memory presentation highlights August 17, the anniversary of the presentation of the address, and December 2, the dedication of the synagogue.

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Comments: Ask a Librarian ( July 15, 2010 )
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