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LAGUNA, DANIEL ISRAEL LOPEZ:

Spanish poet; born in Portugal about the middle of the seventeenth century of Marano parents, who subsequently settled in southern France. He studied the humanities at a Spanish university. Persecuted and imprisoned by the Inquisition as a Marano, he languished for several years in captivity, finally succeeding in escaping. He then went to Jamaica, British West Indies, where he openly confessed Judaism.

At Jamaica Laguna completed the poetical work which he had begun in prison—a Spanish paraphrase of the Psalms. In the introductory poem containing an acrostic, "A el Zeloso Lector" (To the Kind Reader), he relates his varied experiences, and in several of his versions of the Psalms he alludes to his sufferings in the dungeons of the Inquisition. With this work, the fruit of twenty-three years of labor, he went to London, where several of his relatives, members of the Laguna family, were then living. Here he found a patron in the person of the learned Mordecai Nunes Almeyda, who arranged to have the work printed. It appeared in a handsome edition, under the title "Espejo Fiel de Vidas Que Contiene los Psalmos de David en Verso" (London, 1720), with an approbation in Spanish by Haham David Nieto, another, in Hebrew, by Joseph ibn Danon, and an artistic "geroglifico" by Abraham Lopez de Oliveyra. It was dedicated to Almeyda, and was praised in Spanish, Latin, and English verse by many, including Almeyda; the latter's mother, Manuela Nunes de Almeyda, and sisters, Bienbenida Cohen Belmonte and Sarah de Fonseca Pina y Pimentel; Sarah's husband, Manuel Fonseca Pina, and son Moseh de Manuel Fonseca Pina; as well as Jacob Henriquez Pimentel (alias Manuel de Umanes), and his son Abraham, who wrote a long introduction to the work; David Henriquez Pimentel; and Abraham Gomez Silveyra. David Chaves, the physician, and Isaac de Sequeira Samuda wrote Latin hexameters in its honor, and Samson Guideon, then a young financier, as well as Abraham Bravo, a friend of the author, praised the work in English verse. The poet's eldest son, David Lopez Laguna, and his nephew, Jacob Lopez Laguna, wrote Spanish poems on it. Laguna subsequently returned to Jamaica to his wife, Riki, and his three sons, David, Jacob, and Isaac. He died at the age of seventy; but the date of his death is not known.

Another Daniel Lopes Laguna from Bordeaux died in Paris March 8, 1780 ("Revue Et. Juives," xxvi. 244).

Other members of the Laguna family, Abraham Laguna, Jacob Laguna, and Rebecca Laguna, were naturalized at Jamaica between 1740 and 1743.

Bibliography:
  • Kayserling, Sephardim, pp. 297 et seq.;
  • idem, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. p. 88;
  • idem, in J. Q. R. xiii. 569 et seq.;
  • Gaster, Hist. of Bevis Marks, pp. 117 et seq.;
  • Publ. Am. Hist. Soc. iii. 110 et seq., iv. 121 et seq., 162 et seq., v. 112 et seq.
J. M. K.
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