AGUILAR, DIEGO D' (or MOSES LOPEZ PEREIRA):
By: Meyer Kayserling
A Marano who flourished in the eighteenth century; born probably in Spain; died at London in 1759. In 1722 he went from Lisbon to London, and thence to Vienna. From 1725 to 1747 he held the tobacco monopoly in Austria, and had the power to establish factories and regulate prices. When in 1747 he besought the government to return to him a part of the money that he had deposited on account of the revenues, the empress Maria Theresa replied: "This appears to me just. I owe him much more; therefore, return it to him." Aguilar was a great favorite with the empress, who commissioned him to rebuild and enlarge the imperial palace at Schönbrunn, and he advanced 300,000 florins for the work. In recognition of his services Maria Theresa created him a baron and privy councilor to the crown of the Netherlands and Italy. Aguilar, who together with his family enjoyed the greatest freedom of belief, was the founder of the Spanish or Turco-Jewish community in Vienna, and succeeded in obtaining many concessions for the relief of his oppressed coreligionists. As a result of his efforts the Jews of Moravia were protected from pillage in 1742, and the intention of Maria Theresa to expel the Jews from the whole of the Austrian empire, in 1748 or 1749, was abandoned. He left Vienna suddenly in 1749, because the Spanish government demanded his extradition. He went to London, where he had a brother, who, like himself, was reputed to be very wealthy (see
- Zemlinsky, Historia de la Comunidad Israelita-Española en Viena, Vienna, 1888;
- Frankl, in Allg. Zeit. d. Jud. 1854, p. 630 et seq., 656 et seq.;
- G. Wolf, Gesch. der Juden in Wien, pp. 68, 277;
- Wilson, Wonderful Characters, p. 64.