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MOTTA, JACOB DE LA:

American physician; son of Emanuel de la Motta; born about 1789; died at Charleston, S. C., Feb. 13, 1845. He studied medicine, and was made a member of the South Carolina Medical Society in 1810. He became surgeon in the United States army and served in that capacity during the War of 1812. After the war Motta went to Charleston, and some years later to Savannah, Ga.; in the latter city he was chiefly instrumental in erecting a synagogue, in which he acted gratuitously as preacher for several years. Subsequently he returned to Charleston, where he becameone of its leading physicians, and where he took an active part in communal affairs.

In 1816, in New York, he delivered the eulogy on Gershom Mendes Seixas, and in 1820 delivered a discourse at the consecration of the synagogue of the Mickva Israel congregation at Savannah; this discourse attracted the attention of Jefferson and Madison, both of whom wrote appreciative letters to its author. When Harrison became president (1841) he appointed Motta receiver-general for his district, an office which he filled with great credit.

Bibliography:
  • A. E. Frankland, in American Jews' Annual, 1888, p. 124;
  • The Occident, iii. 59, Philadelphia, 1845;
  • Publications Am. Jew. Hist. Soc. iii. 134;
  • Cyrus Adler, in Menorah, vii. 193;
  • Markens, The Hebrews in America, p. 52, New York, 1888.
A. L. Hü.
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