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University of Toronto Library 


Joseph and Gertie Schwartz 
Memorial Library Fund 


Jewish Studies 

y^-v ^; ' A^: 



Afl«r a Pholograi li by F.lliut & Fry. I^udoa. 


2r Centennial BiograpljB 



By LUCIEN wolf 






The following biography has been compiled entirely 
from official records and other reliable data. I have to 
thank many kind friends for their assistance. Mr. E. H. 
Lin do, Secretary to the Spanish and Portuguese Syna- 
gogue, and Mr. Lewis Emanuel, Secretary to the Board 
of Deputies, opened to me the important archives com- 
mitted to their care. Mr. J. B. Montefiore, Mr. F. D. 
Mocatta, Mr. H. Guedalla, Dr. L. Loewe, Mr. Edwin 
Arnold, and Signor Cesar Olivetti of Turin placed at my 
disposal a great deal of anecdotic and other information, 
and Mr. Guedalla most painstakingly revised the proof- 
sheets. Among the sources of information not acknowl- 
edged in the following pages I must gratefully mention 
Mr. Israel Davis's Biographical Sketch of Sir Moses 
Montefiore, reprinted from the Times i and the files of 
a large number of Jewish newspapers, particularly the 
Jewish World and Jewish Chronicle of London. 

L. W. 



The Montefiore Family. — Origin of its Name. — Montefiores at 
Ancona. — Settlement of the Family in Leghorn. — Moses Vita 
Montefiore Comes to England. — Commercial Career. — Jews in 
London in 1760. — Descendants of the Jewish Hidalgos. — Abra- 
ham Lumbrozo de Mattos Mocatta. — Benjamin D'Israeli. — Moses 
Vita Montefiore's Family. — Adventures of Joshua Montefiore. — 
Sir Moses' Father Marries a Daughter of Abraham Mocatta. — 
Antiquity of the Mocatta Family. — Mose Mocato a Literary Con- 
temporary of Spinoza. — Messrs. Mocatta & Goldsmid of London. 
— Connection with the Lamegos and Disraelis. — Joseph Elias 
Montefiore. — His Family. — Birth of Moses Montefiore. — Moses 
Montefiore's Education and Apprenticeship page 1 


Moses Montefiore Enters the Stock Exchange. —Jewish Brokers. 
— Eminent Jews in the City. — Abraham Montefiore Joins his 
Brother.— Nathan Maier Rothschild Establishes Himself in Lon- 
don. — Montefiore's Marriage. — Connection of the Montefiores with 
the Rothschilds. — First News of Waterloo. — Transactions of the 
New Court Financiers. — Death of Abraham Montefiore. — Retire- 
ment of Moses Montefiore. — The Alliance Insurance Company. 
— Story of its Establishment. — The Imperial Continental Gas 
Association.— The Slave Loan.— Park Lane Sixty Years Ago. . 13 



May Day, 1827.— The Start from Park Lane.— London to Dover in 
Twelve Hours. — Posting through France. — Aged Poor on the 
Route. — Dangers of Eastern Travel. — The Greek Insurrection 

viii Contents. 

and the Powers.— Pirates in the Mediterranean.— Mr. Montefiore 
Engages a Schooner and is Convoyed to Alexandria by a Sloop 
of War.- Chase of a Pirate.— From Alexandria to Cairo.— Inter- 
view with Mehemet Ali.— New Year at Alexandria.— Journey to 
Jaffa Disguised as Turks.— Reception at Jerusalem.— The Jews 
of the Holy Land.— The Return Journey,— Battle of Navarino.— 
Admiral Sir William Codrington Intrusts Mr. Montefiore with 
Despatches. — Home Again. — Mr. Montefiore and H. R. H. the 
Duke of Clarence page 25 


Ineligibility of Minors for Membership of the Synagogue.— Mr. 
Montefiore Petitions the Council of Elders for Admission. — Peti- 
tion Granted on the same Day that a New Chief Rabbi is Elected. 
— Mr. Montefiore's Zeal in the Service of the Synagogue. — He 
holds Oflace.— Becomes Treasurer.- Isaac Disraeli's Synagogue 
Account. — Reaches the Dignity of Pamass. — Signatures in old 
Minute-books. — The * ' Montefiore" Almshouses. — Extra-syna- 
gogal Labors. — The Lavadores. — The two "Nations" in the Jew- 
ish Community. — Mr. Montefiore Disapproves of the Division. — 
Contributes by his Marriage and his Advice to its Eradication. — 
Devotes himself to the Emancipation Struggle. — Becomes a 
Member of the Board of Deputies. — Throws himself with Energy 
into the Work.— Purchases East Cliff Lodge.— Could Jews hold 
Land?— Former Residents at East Cliff 36 


THE JEWS OF ENGLAND (750-1837). 
Early History. — Position in the Country Previous to the Expulsion. 
— Jewish Learning. —Jewish Heroism. — Siatutum de Judaismo. — 
Expulsion by Edward I.— Legend of London Bridge.— Secret 
Visits to England. — Return under Cromwell. — Denied Civil 
Rights.— Disabilities in 1828.— Mr. Montefiore Devotes himself 
to the Emancipation Struggle. — Early History of the Movement 
not Encouraging.— The " Jew Bill" of 1753.— Mr. Montefiore 
and the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. — Interviews 
with the Duke of Sussex.— Agitation from 1830 to 1837.— Mr. 
Montefiore becomes President of the Board of Deputies.— Sheriff 
of London.— Knlghted.—Queen Victoria and Sir Moses Monte- 
flora.— Capital Punishment.- Sir Moses Montefiore and Marshal 
Soult.— Sir Hoses turns his Attention to his Foreign Brethren. .46 

Contents. ix 


Jews and Agriculture. — Mr. Cobbett's Taunt. — Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore Determines to Introduce Agriculture among the Jews of 
the Holy Land. — Journey to the East for that Purpose. — Inves- 
tigates the Condition of European Communities on his Route. 
— Brussels. — Aix-la-Chapelle. — Strasbourg. — Avignon. — Mar- 
seilles. — Nice. — Genoa. — Florence. — Papal States. — Disabilities 
of the Jews of Rome. — Lady Montefiore Expresses her Indigna- 
tion to a Papal Monsignore. — Dr. Loewe. — The Eastern Ques- 
tion. — Arrival at Beyrout. — Progress through Palestine. — Enthu- 
siastic Receptions. — Safed. — Tiberias. — Jerusalem. — Sir Moses 
makes Inquiries into the Condition of the Jews. — Distributes 
Money. — Back to Alexandria. — Interview with Mehemet Ali, who 
Promises to Assist his Plans. — Return to England.— Changes in 
Eastern Politics.— Defeat of Sir Moses' Plans page 57 



The "Red Spectre" of Judaism. — Its History and Origin. — Revival 
of the Blood Accusation at Damascus in Consequence of the Dis- 
appearance of Father Thomas. — The Fanaticism of the Monks 
and the Designs of the French Consul. — M. de Ratti-Menton sets 
himself to Manufacture a Case against the Jews. — Secures the 
Co-operation of the Governor of the City. — Arrest, Torture, and 
Confession of a Jewish Barber. — A Jewish Youth Flogged to 
Death. — Further Arrests. — The Prisoners Submitted to Terrible 
Tortures. — Wholesale Seizure of Jewish Children. — Ratti-Men- 
ton's MoucTiards. — Another Confession. — The Bottle of Human 
Blood. — Two of the Prisoners Die under Torture. — Protests of the 
Austrian Consul. — A Mass over Mutton Bones. — Attempt to Ex- 
cite the Mussulman Populace, — The Prisoners Condemned to 
Death.— The " Red Spectre" at Rhodes.— Anti- Jewish Risings.. 71 



Significance of the new Blood Accusation to the Jews of England. 
— Appeals for Help. — Meeting convened by Sir Moses Montefiore. 
— Interview with Lord Palmerston. — M. Cremieux has an Audi- 
ence of Louis Philippe. — Action of Prince Metternich. — Mehemet 
Ali takes Alarm, and Appoints a Consular Commission of 
Inquiry.— French Intrigues.— M. Thiers Protests against the 

X Contents, 

Inquiry. — Resolve to send a Mission to Mehemet All, headed 
by Sir Moses Montefiore.— Debate in Parliament.— Indignation 
Meeting at the Mansion House. — Acquittal of the Jews of 
Rhodes.— Sir Moses Montefiore arrives at Alexandria, and Inter- 
views the Viceroy. — Hesitation of Mehemet Ali,— Intrigues of the 
French Consul.— Sir Moses Montefiore's Diplomacy.— Its Happy 
Results. — Release of the Damascus Prisoners. — The Eastern 
Question. — Egypt and the Quadruple Alliance.— Mehemet Ali 
Loses Syria.— Sir Moses Montefiore Proceeds to Constantino- 
ple, and Obtains an Important Firman from the Sultan.— The 
Journey Home.— Sir Moses Montefiore and Louis Philippe. 
— Rejoicings of the Jews. — Royal Recognition of Sir Moses' Ef- 
forts PAGE 84 


Synagogal Labors.— Sir Moses' Popularity. — Visits to the Congrega- 
tional Schools.— He helps to promote Education in the Jewish 
Community.— Jews' College, the Jews' Hospital, and the Free 
School.— The Board of Deputies. — Its Constitution and Functions. 
—Sir Moses Corresponds with Sir James Graham and Sir Robert 
Peel in respect to Various Bills before Parliament. — Foreign 
Affairs.— The Holy Land.— Sir Moses Montefiore Establishes a 
Loan Fund, a Printing Establishment, and a Linen Factory at 
Jerusalem. — Assists Agricultural Schemes, and Founds a Free 
Dispensary. — He Raises a Relief Fund for the Jews of Smyrna. — 
Promotes the Building of a Khan at Beyrout.— The Blood Accu- 
sation at Marmora.'— Sir Moses Montefiore and Sir Stratford Can- 
ning. — The Jews of Morocco. — Correspondence with Bokhara. — 
The " Reform" Movement in the Anglo- Jewish Community. . 100 



Oppressed Condition of the Jews of Russia. — Seriousness of the 
Russo-Jewish Question. — Its Origin Religious, not Secular. — The 
Modern Charges Refuted by History. — Review of Russo-Jewish 
History. — First Settlements of the Jews in the South. — Conversion 
of the Khozars to Judaism, — A Jewish Kingdom in Russia. — The 
Civilizing Influences of the Jews.— Inroads of the Tartars and 
Extinction of the Khozars.— Jewish Settlements in the West.— 
Their Privileges.— Gratifying Results of Jewish Colonization.— 
Numerousness of the Polish Jews a Source of Congratulation by 
Nfttive Historians.— The Russian Prince Sviatopolk Invites the 

Contents. xi 

Jews into his Dominions. — The Jews held in High Esteem by the 
People. — They Serve in the Army. — They Proselytize on an Ex- 
tensive Scale. — Judaism Embraced by the Metropolitan of the 
Greek Church. — With the Rise of the Power of the Church the 
Privileges of the Jews are Curtailed. — Three Centuries of Ghetto 
life.— Four Millions of Jews still Oppressed page 111 



The Board of Deputies and the Russo- Jewish Question. — Sir Moses 
Montefiore Invited to St. Petersburg by the Russian Government 
to Confer with the Minister of Education on the Condition of the 
Jews. — Policy of the Czar Nicholas towards the Jews. —The Per- 
secuting Ukase of 1843. — Jewish Appeals to Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore. — Temporary Suspension of the Ukase. — David Urquhart on 
Russian Persecutions. — Reissue of the Ukase. — Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore Appeals to Lord Aberdeen to Intercede with the Czar. — The 
Ukase is again Suspended. — Promulgated Once More in 1845. — 
A Deputation of Russian Jews Arrives in England. — Diplomatic 
Representations to the Russian Government are Ineffectual. — Sir 
Moses Montefiore Deputed to proceed to St. Petersburg. — Dangers 
of the Journey. — Flattering Reception in the Russian Capital. — 
The Ukase suspended for a Third Time. — Interview with the Czar. 
— Sir Moses proceeds on a Tour of the Western Provinces. — Ad- 
ventures on the Journey. — Willingness of the Jews to follow 
his Advice. — Triumphant Progress through Jewish Russia. — Sir 
Moses Montefiore and Prince Paskievitch. — Revocation of the 
Ukase. — Return to England. — Enthusiasm of the English Jews. — 
Royal Appreciation of the Mission. — A Baronetcy conferred on 
Sir Moses Montefiore 123 



Resumption of the Emancipation Struggle.— Mr. David Salomons 
and the Court of Aldermen. — Passing of the Municipal Corpora- 
tions Bill. — Sir Moses Montefiore and the Duke of Cambridge. — 
Accession to Power of Lord John Russell. — Baron Lionel de 
Rothschild is Returned to Parliament. — Prevented from Taking 
his Seat. — The Premier Proposes to Abolish Jewish Disabilities. 
— The Bill is Passed by the Commons but Thrown out by the 
Lords.— Sir Moses Montefiore Organizes an Agitation in Favor 



of the Bill.— Second Defeat of the Bill.— The End of the Strug- 
gle.— Who shall be the First Jewish Peer ?— Condition of the 
Foreign Jews.— Another Blood Accusation at Damascus.— Sir 
Moses Monteflore proceeds to Paris and Interviews M. Guizot 
and King Louis Philippe.— Satisfactory Assurances.— The Jews 
of Turkey. — Proposed Readmission of the Jews to Spain. — La- 
bors of Mr. Guedalla.— Home Affairs.— Three Missions to Pales- 
tine.— The " Judah Touro" Legacy.— Useful Works in the Holy 
Land.— Sir Moses Monteflore and Said Pasha.— Conversation 
with the Khedive on the Suez Canal page 137 



Lady Montefiore's Health gives Cause for Anxiety.— A Winter in 
Italy.— Sad Condition of the Italian Jews.— Return to England.— 
The Mortara Case.— Abduction of a Jewish Boy by the Roman 
Inquisition on the Ground that he had been Secretly Baptized. — 
The Pope Refuses to Surrender him.— Appeal to Sir Moses Monte- 
flore. — Excitement in Europe. — Another Attempted Secret Bap- 
tism. — The Pretensions of the Papacy. — Action of Christian Pub- 
lic Bodies in England. — Indignation Meetings. — Consternation 
Among the Jews of the Papal States. — Sir Moses Monteflore In- 
terviews Lord Malmesbury. — Representations to Napoleon III. — 
The Powers Remonstrate with the Papal Government. — Non Pos- 
sumtis. — Sir Moses Monteflore Proceeds to Rome. — Kegotiations 
with Cardinal Antonelli. — The Pope Refuses to see Sir Moses or 
to Surrender the Child. — Subsequent Efforts unavailing. — The 
Labors of 1859, 1860, and 1861. — Miscellaneous Foreign Business. 
— The Morocco Relief Fund. — Persecution of the Syrian Chris- 
tians. — Appeals of Sir Moses Monteflore and M. Cremieux. — The 
" Blood Accusation" Tablet at Damascus 153 



Death of Lady Monteflore.— Her Early Years.— Education.— Mar- 
riage,— Participation in her Husband's Humanitarian Work.— 
Accompanies Sir Moses on his Foreign Missions.— Diaries of the 
Journeys to Palestine.— Extracts from her Journals.— Home Life. 
— Anecdote Illustrative of her Benevolence. — Communal Labors. 
— Tlie Fuaeral at Ramsgate.— Memorial Foundations.— The 
Tomb oa the East Cliff 167 

Contents. xiii 


Trip to Constantinople to Obtain a Confirmation of Firmans from 
the new Sultan. — Return to England, and Retirement at Rams- 
gate. — Appeal from Gibraltar on Behalf of Moorish Jews. — Arrest 
and Torture of Twelve Jews at Saffl at the Instance of the Span- 
ish Consul. — Execution of Two of the Prisoners. — Sir Moses Hur- 
ries to London and Prevails upon the Foreign Secretary to Tele- 
graph to Morocco requesting a Stay of Proceedings. — Correspon- 
dence with Morocco Discloses a Sad State of AjBfairs among the 
Local Jews. — Sir Moses resolves to Proceed to Morocco. — The 
Journey to Madrid. — Interview with Queen Isabella. — Friendliness 
of the Spanish Government. — Arrival at Tangier. — Release of the 
Prisoners. — The Journey into the Interior. — Arrival at Morocco 
City. — Imposing Reception by the Sultan. — Promulgation of an 
Edict Protecting Jews and Christians. — Second Interview with 
the Sultan. — The Return Home. — Audiences with Queen Isabella 
and Napoleon III. — Reception in England. — Parliamentary Tri- 
bute to Sir Moses Montefiore.— Freedom of the City of Lon- 
don PAGE 188 



Drought in the Holy Land.— A new Relief Fund.— The Sixth 
Journey to Palestine. — The Locust Pest in Palestine. — Sir Moses 
Investigates the Condition of the Jerusalem Jewish Community. 
— Promotes Public Works in the Holy City. — Holds an Inquiry 
respecting a Charge brought against the Safed Jews by the 
Rev. Dr. Macleod. — Suggestions for the Application of the Bal- 
ance of the Relief Fund.— Death of Dr. Hodgkin.— Persecution 
of Jews in Roumania. — Mission to Bucharest. — Interviews with 
Prince Charles. — The Prince's Assurances. — Home Labors. — A 
Second Journey to Russia. — Reception at St. Petersburg. — Audi- 
ence with the Czar Alexander II. — Improved Condition of the 
Russian Jews. — Resignation of the Presidency of the Board of 
Deputies.— The Montefiore Testimonial Fund 205 


"forty days' sojourn in the holy land." 

le Seventh Journey to the Holy Land. — Diary of the Journey. — 
'• Forty Days* Sojourn in the Holy Land." — Arrival at Venice. — 
Admiral Drummond Warns Sir Moses against Cholera. — Ancient 

xiv Contents, 

Intercourse between the Jews of Venice and London. — The Sab- 
bath at Sea.— Arrival at Port Said.— Reception at Jaffa. — The 
Jews of Jaffa. — On the Way to Jerusalem. — A Moonlight Ride 
from Bab-el- Wad. — Enthusiastic Welcome at Jerusalem. — The 
Work of the Forty Days. — Georgian Jews and Jewish Hero- 
ism. — Sir Moses Suggests Sanitary Improvements at Jerusalem. 
— Return Home. — Scheme for the Amelioration of the Condi- 
tion of the Palestinian Jews. — Sir Moses Montefiore and Jerusa- 
lem PAGE 222 

Conclusion 237 


Sm Moses Montepioke. After a Photograph. . Frontispiece 

East Cliff Villa. Ramsgate To face page 44 

Sib Moses Montefiore. From the Portrait by 

G. Richmond, R. A To face page 130 

In the Gothic Chamber. East Cliff Villa, Ramsgate. 

(Showing Portrait op Lady Montefiore.). .To face page 168 




The Montefiore Family. — Origin of its Name. — Montefiores at Ancona. 
— Settlement of the Family in Leghorn, — Moses Vita Montefiore Comes 
to England. — Commercial Career.— Jews in London in 1760. — De- 
scendants of the Jewish Hidalgos. — Abraham Lumbrozo de Mattos Mo- 
catta. — Benjamin D'Israeli. — Moses Vita Montefiore's Family. — Ad- 
ventures of Joshua Montefiore. — Sir Moses' Father Marries a Daughter 
of Abraham Mocatta. — Antiquity of the Mocatta Family. — Mose Mo- 
cato a Literary Contemporary of Spinoza. — Messrs. Mocatta & Gold- 
smid of London. — Connection with the Lamegos and Disraelis. — 
Joseph Elias Montefiore. — His Family. — Birth of Moses Montefiore. — 
Moses Montefiore's Education and Apprenticeship. 

One evening, in the early part of the year 1784, a 
highly respectable Jewish merchant of the city of Lon- 
don announced to his wife, in their cosey drawing-room 
at Kennington, that he purposed paying a visit to Italy 
at an early date, to buy some advantageous parcels of 
straw bonnets, to which his correspondents had drawn 
his attention. In those days, when not merely the bor- 
ing of the Mont Cenis, but railways themselves, were 
undreamed of, such a journey was no light matter. The 
wife, however, was young and adventurous, and she gave 
her consent to the proposed enterprise on one condition : 
that she was not left behind. The husband prudently 
declined to contest his partner's whim ; the conjugal 


2 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

bargain was struck ; the company of the lady's brother 
was invited, and the journey was undertaken. Not the 
least important incident in this commercial expedition 
occurred at Leghorn, on the evening of the 24:th of Oc- 
tober, ITStt. The lady in question gave birth to a boy, 
whose name was registered in the archives of the local 
synagogue as Moses Haim Montefiore. The travellers 
were Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Elias Montefiore, of London, 
and Mrs. Montefiore's brother, Moses Mocatta, likewise 
of London ; the nouveau-ne was the subject of this book. 
In the Yia Reale, opposite the new Leghorn Synagogue, 
the house is still pointed out in which this event took 
place, just one hundred years ago. 

Little is known of the family history of the Monte- 
fiores beyond the four generations settled in England. 
It is generally assumed that they must have come 
originally from the small town of the same name in the 
Italian province of Ascoli Piceno. The fact has, how- 
ever, been overlooked that there are two Montefiores in 
Italy, one in the neighborhood of Fermo, and the other 
near Forli. No certain evidence exists to connect the 
family with either of these places, although, from the 
frequent adoption by Jews of surnames from the names 
of the towns in which they have resided, there is a 
strong probability that at some period it was domiciled 
in one of the Montefiores. At the same time the fact 
must not be lost sight of that names of flowers or con- 
nected with flowers have always been popular with 
Jews, and that the name Montefiore itself appears very 
frequently among Jews in the German equivalent 
Blumberg, together with many kindred names, such as 
Bluinenbach, Blumenthal, Rosenberg, Eosenthal, Ros- 
oufeld, Veilchenfeld, Lilienfeld, etc. 

^amily and Early Life. 

The earliest record which has been preserved of the 
Montefiore family is neither engraved on stone nor in- 
scribed on parchment. It exists appropriately enough 
in the shape of a silk ritual curtain, magnificently em- 
broidered, and fringed with gold, which, on festive occa- 
sions, is suspended before the Ark in the ancient Jewish 
Synagogue at Ancona. In the centre of this curtain is 
a Hebrew inscription recording its gift to the Synagogue 
in 1630 by Leone (Judah) Montefiore, whose wife Ra- 
chel, it states, had embroidered and inscribed it with her 
own hands. The Montefiores appear to have occupied 
a good position as merchants at Ancona, where, through- 
out the middle ages, their co-religionists enjoyed the 
reputation of a prosperous and industrious class. When 
Pius y. expelled the Jews from the States of the Church 
he expressly excepted those of Ancona, in order not to 
disturb the trade with the East, which was entirely in 
their hands. In the latter half of the seventeenth cen- 
tury Amadio Montefiore and Ismael Montefiore appear, 
from entries in the Synagogue books, to have been prom- 
inent members of the Ancona Jewish Community. 

At an early period some of the Ancona Montefiores 
settled in Leghorn. The Jews of that city enjoyed 
even greater prosperity than their brethren in the Adri- 
atic port. Their commercial genius was an important 
element in the development of commerce and industry 
all over Italy, but in Leghorn the tolerance of the Me- 
dicis secured them the freest scope for their activity. 
Menasseh ben Israel, in his petition to Cromwell for 
the readmission of the Jews to England, attributes the 
rise of Legliorn entirely to the industry and " mer- 
chandising " of the Jews ; and, indeed, their commercial 
influence must have been very great, when we find a 

4 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

writer relating, in the early part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, that the inhabitants generally, Jew and Gentile, 
observed the Jewish Sabbath as a day of rest from bus- 
iness. Early in the seventeenth century there were 
Montefiores in Leghorn, who signed themselves " Monte- 
fiore d'Ancona," thus placing their origin beyond all 
doubt. One of them, Isach Yita Montefiore, was a mer- 
chant of standing about 1690. He took into his busi- 
ness his nephew Judah, who had come from Ancona to 
seek his fortune. Judah, in process of time, married a 
daughter of the Medinas, who presented him with four 
sons, the eldest of whom, Moses Haim (or Yita^) Monte- 
fiore, was Sir Moses Montefiore's grandfather. 

Moses Yita Montefiore, the elder, was born Decem- 
ber 28th, 1712, and married, on March 29th, 1752, Ester 
Hannah, daughter of Massahod Racah, a Moorish mer- 
chant of Leghorn. The bride was only seventeen ; and, 
according to a portrait of her, still extant, was of re- 
markable beauty. Moses Montefiore did not prosper at 
Leghorn ; and six years after his marriage he resolved 
to emigrate to England, where several of his mother's 
relatives had made large fortunes, notably the wealthy 
Sir Solomon Medina, who financed Marlborough's cam- 
paigns, and was the Rothschild of the reign of Queen 
Anne. Accompanied by his youngest brother Joseph 
— who stayed, however, but a short time — Moses Monte- 
fiore landed in England in 1758, and immediately estab- 
lished himself as a merchant, trading with Italy. He 
lived and had his offices and warehouses at Nos. 13 and 
15 Philpot Lane, in the city of London ; and, according 
to his son Joshua, who has recorded the fact in his Bi- 

*" Haim" is a common Hebrew name, signifying " Life," or, in Ital- 
ian, " Vita." " Hyam " and " Hyman " are forms of the same name. 

Family and Early Life. 5 

ble, was " of high and respectable standing in society, 
and a merchant of eminence." After twenty years of 
successful trading, he took a house in Mutton Lane, 
Hackney, then a rural district, much affected by wealthy 
Jews. Here dwelt at their ease such notable Israelites 
as Ephraim Aguilar, the father of Grace Aguilar, and a 
scion of one of the most distinguished of the Portu- 
guese Jewish families, his kinsman, the generous Abra- 
ham Lopez Pereira, who left a substantial sum to the 
churchwardens of Hackney to supply the local poor 
with coals in the winter season, in addition to noble 
legacies to the Synagogue, and David Alves Rebello, the 
gifted numismatist and writer on natural history. Close 
by, in Bethnal Green, resided many more descendants 
of the Jewish Hidalgos, among them Abraham Lum- 
brozo de Mattos Mocatta, an opulent Jewish broker, 
whose daughter Rachel became the wife of Montefiore's 
son Joseph, and mother of Sir Moses. Abraham Mo- 
catta was one of the patriotic band of London mer- 
chants who, in March, 1774, when the rumors of a 
French invasion in favor of the young Pretender were 
prevalent, waited on George 11. with an address, ex- 
pressing their "resentment and indignation at so rash 
an attempt," and declaring their resolution "at this 
critical conjuncture to exert our utmost endeavors for 
the support of public credit ; and at all times to hazard 
our lives and fortunes in defence of your Majesty's sa- 
cred person and government, and of the security of the 
Protestant succession in your family." Among the Ital- 
ian merchants with whom the elder Montefiore com- 
peted in business was one Benjamin D'Israeli, of 6 
Great St. Helen's, the father of Isaac D'Israeli, author 
of " Curiosities of Literature," and grandfather of the 

6 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Earl of Beaconsfield, sometime Prime Minister of Eng- 
land. Among the Hebrews he must have frequently 
met in the ancient Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue 
in Bevis Marks were the two Bernals, Abraham Ricar- 
do, the father of the economist, Ephraim, Baron d'Agui- 
lar, ancestor of General d'Aguilar, and father-in-law of 
Admiral Keith Steward, Mordecai Rodrigues Lopez, 
grandfather of the present Sir Massey Lopes, l!^aphtali 
Basevi, the father-in-law^ of Isaac D'Israeli, and the scions 
of many other ancient Hebrew families, such as the 
Abrabanels, Mendez da Costas, Yilla-Beals, Alvarez, 
Lindos, Lousadas, Francos, Salvadors, Samudas, Nunes, 
Osorios, Seixas, Fonsecas, Supinos, da Silvas, Garcias, 
de Castros, and Ximenes. 

Moses Montefiore not only prospered, he completed 
the Mosaic blessing by multiplying as well. His wife 
bore him seventeen children, nine sons and eight daugh- 
ters. Several of the daughters married well. Of the 
sons the first three were born at Leghorn, and the el- 
dest, Judah, remained there in the care of his grandpar- 
ents ; the second, David, became a tobacco merchant, 
and carried on business in the Borough ; the third, 
Samuel, married Mr. Abraham Mocatta's daughter Grace, 
entered the export business, and settled in Mansell Street, 
Goodman's Fields ; the fourth, Joseph Elias, was the fa- 
ther of Sir Moses ; the fifth, Abraham, went abroad ; the 
sixth, Joshua, became a lawyer and a soldier ; the sev- 
enth and eighth, Eliezer (who married a granddaughter 
of Simon Barrow, of Atnsterdam), and Jacob, became 
partners, established themselves as general merchants in 
Camomile Street, City, and subsequently went to the 
West Lidics ; a ninth son, Lazarus, died in infancy. 

The most remarkable of all Moses Montefiore's chil- 


Fannily and Eaiiy Life. 7 

dren was his sixth son, Joshua. Possessed of a well- 
stored mind and splendid abilities, he might have made 
an important name for himself had it not been for his 
roving disposition. At eighteen years of age he com- 
menced to study law with James Cross, and, in the 
same year that his nephew. Sir Moses Montefiore, was 
born, he was admitted an attorney-at-law and solicitor 
in Chancery by Sir William Scott, Judge of the Ad- 
miralty Court, and Notary Public by the Court of Fac- 
ulties of the Archbishop of Canterbury. While work- 
ing at his profession he obtained considerable success 
as an author. His " Commercial and Notarial Prece- 
dents" quickly ran through three editions in London 
and two in the United States. His " Commercial Dic- 
tionary," which was dedicated by permission to Lord 
Ellenborough, was long regarded as the standard work 
of its kind. He also wrote the " Trader's Compendium," 
the "United States Trader's Compendium," an essay on 
the "Law of Copyright," and "Law and Treatise on 
Book-keeping." Joshua Montefiore was, however, not 
fitted for a stay-at-home life, and he seized the first op- 
portunity of exchanging the pen for a sterner weapon. 
Towards the end of 1791 a colonizing mania seized the 
citizens of London. Several merchants formed them- 
selves into a society for the purpose of establishing set- 
tlements on or near the coast of Africa, and an expedi- 
tion, consisting of 275 adventurers, was fitted out to take 
possession of the Island of Bulama. One of the di- 
r motors was Moses Ximenes, afterwards Sir Maurice 
Ximenes, a prominent and wealthy Israelite, and among 
the adventurers was Joshua Montefiore, who gave up 
his legal practice to take part in an enterprise which 
accorded so well with his venturesome tastes. 

8 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

The expedition turned out disastrously, and Joshua 
Monteliore was one of the few who survived its many 
trials and reverses. On his return home he wrote an 
account of his adventures. From this work it appears 
that, having a taste for soldiering, the military arrange- 
ments of the expedition were from the outset confided 
to him. It was he who hoisted the British flag on 
landing at Bulama, and he, too, organized the whole 
offensive and defensive economy of the colony. Soon 
after the adventurers were settled, we find him in com- 
mand of one of the vessels belonging to the expedition, 
keeping a lookout for suspicious craft, and chasing and 
boarding Portuguese slavers. One day the colony was 
surprised by a war-canoe full of armed " Indians," and 
it devolved upon him to pacify the chiefs by a diplo- 
matic palaver. The "Indians" retired, and Joshua 
counselled his fellow-colonists, on the next appearance 
of the natives, to make overtures to them for the acqui- 
sition of the island by purchase, at the same time point- 
ing out the injustice of holding by force land which did 
not rightly belong to them. His filibustering hearers 
stared amazed at this unexpected sermon, and flatly re- 
fused to follow his advice. The result was that, when 
next the "Indians" landed, a severe conflict took place, 
and the new colony was wrecked. Joshua Montefiore 
then travelled into the Papel country, met the Antula 
Indians, interviewed a native king, and dined with him 
on porcupine and squirrels. At Sierra Leone he visited 
another dusky potentate, the King of Nambana, whom 
he describes as " a very respectable old gentleman." 

On his return home he was presented by Lord Boston 
to King George HI., at his Majesty's special request, and 
was offered knighthood, which he declined. Finding 

Family and Early Life, 9 

it difficult to settle down to his old profession, he en- 
tered the army, and was the first Jew to hold a milita- 
ry commission in England. He served in various parts 
of the world, and in 1809, as an officer in the York 
Light Infantry, was at the taking of Martinique and 
Guadaloupe. On his retirement he proceeded to the 
United States, where he practised as a lawyer, and pub- 
lished a weekly political journal, entitled Men and 
Measures^ which was subventioned by the British Gov- 
ernment. In his seventy-third year he mai-ried a sec- 
ond time, and died in 1843, aged eighty-one, leaving 
issue by his second marriage, seven children, the young- 
est of whom was only six weeks old. Joshua Monte- 
fiore had cast his lot among strangers, but on his death- 
bed he called his eldest daughter to his side, and, asking 
her for pen, ink, and paper, wrote out from memory 
an English translation of the Hebrew burial service, 
which he enjoined her to read aloud at his funeral. 
He also desired to be buried in his garden at St. Albans, 
Vermont, and his wish was complied with. One of his 
sons, Mr. Joseph Montefiore, has achieved quite a rep- 
utation as a lawyer and journalist, and is now editor of 
the Baldwin Bulletin, Wisconsin. Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore still retains a vivid recollection of his dashing 
" Uncle Josh," whose laced red coat and pigtail, and 
cocked hat and sword, together with his fund of tre- 
mendous anecdote, rendered him a huge favorite with 
his nephews. 

On his mother's side. Sir Moses Montefiore's lineage 
is of undoubted antiquity. "Mocatta" is an Arabic 
name, which carries back the family bearing it to, at 
least, the period of the Moorish dominion in Spain. 
The Mocattas claim for themselves, however, a more 


10 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

remote antiquity, alleging that, as an Eastern Jewish 
family, they entered the Peninsula in the wake of the 
conquering armies of Tarik and Musa, in the eighth 
century. After the expulsions by Ferdinand and Isa- 
bella part of the family settled in Venice, traded, flour- 
ished, became impoverished, and died out about a cen- 
tury ago, leaving their tombs on the Lido, the long 
island extending like a breakwater in front of the Vene- 
tian lagoon, where the Jewish cemetery was situated. 
The branch from which Sir Moses Montefiore is de- 
scended emigrated to Holland, and traded there. Some 
members presided from time to time over the Amster- 
dam Congregation. Others, with literary tastes, made 
graceful contributions to the poetical literature of the 
Hispano-Jewish exiles. A Mosd Mocato was a literary 
contemporary of Spinoza, and one of a band of twenty- 
one young Jewish poets who applauded in Hebrew, 
Spanish, and Latin verse the publication of Joseph 
Penso's Hebrew dramas. The literary traditions of the 
family have in recent years been worthily sustained by 
Mr. Frederic D. Mocatta, with an excellent sketch of 
the history of the Jews of Spain and Portugal. 

When, in 1688, William of Orange entered England, 
a large number of Dutch Jews took up their abode in 
that country. Among them were the Mocattas, or Lum- 
brozo de Mattos Mocattas, as they were called. In 1694 
Mr. Isaac de Mocatta established in Mansell Street the 
firm which, about three quarters of a century later, be- 
came Mocatta & Keyser, and in 1783, when Mr. Asher 
Goldsmid joined it, assumed the style, which it still pre- 
serves, of Mocatta & Goldsmid, bullion brokers to the 
Bank of England and the East India Company. Sir 
Moses Montefiore's maternal grandfather, Abraham 
Lumbrozo de Mattos Mocatta, married, about 1760, the 

Family and Early Life. 11 

heiress of the Lamegos, another ancient and distin- 
guished family, one of the progenitors of which was 
Joseph Zapateiro de Lamego, a Jewish navigator of 
the fifteenth century, who first brought the intelligence 
to Europe that there was a South Cape of Africa, which 
could be doubled. Moses Mocatta, one of the sons of 
Mr. Abraham Mocatta — the names Lumbrozo de Mat- 
tes were dropped by royal license in 1780 — was the 
author of several works, and translator of the celebrated 
controversial essay of Isaac Troki, " Chizuk Emunah." 
He was a fellow-traveller of his sister and brother-in-law 
in 1784, when his nephew, Moses Montefiore, was born, 
at Leghorn. It may be mentioned that, through the Mo- 
cattas, a slight relationship is established between Sir 
Moses Montefiore and the late Earl of Beaconsfield. 
The motlier of the earl, nee Sarah Basevi, was sister-in- 
law to Sir Moses Montefiore's uncle, Moses Mocatta, 
and also to Ephraim Lindo, whose brother, David Abar- 
banel Lindo, was Sir Moses' uncle, by marriage with 
Abraham Mocatta's daughter Sarah. It was David 
Abarbanel Lindo who performed on Lord Beacons- 
field the ceremony of initiation into the Covenant 
of Abraham. 

Joseph Elias Montefiore, the father of Sir Moses, was 
born in London, on the 15th of October, 1759, soon after 
his parents arrived in England. He passed his early 
years in his father's warehouses in Philpot Lane, and 
eventually established himself on his own account in 
Lime Street, Fenchurch Street. Here he carried on a 
considerable business in Italian goods, notably Leghorn 
straw bonnets and Carrara marbles. On his marriage, in 
1783, he took a house at No. 3 Kennington Place, Yaux- 
hall, where, in addition to his eldest son, seven children 
were born to him — two sons, Abraham and Horatio, and 

12 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

^"VQ daughters, Sarah, Esther, Abigail, Eebecca, and Jus- 
tina. All the sons did well in life. Abraham, whose 
commercial career was identified with that of his elder 
brother, was twice married. By his first wife, a daugh- 
ter of Mr. George Hall, of the London Stock Exchange, 
he had one daughter, Marj, who married Mr. Benjamin 
Mocatta, and by his second wife, Henrietta Rothschild, 
he had two sons (Joseph Meyer, of Worth Park, and 
Nathaniel Meyer, of Cold East), and two daughters, 
Charlotte and Louisa, the latter of whom is the present 
Lady Anthony de Rothschild. Horatio became a suc- 
cessful London merchant. He married Sarah, a daugh- 
ter of David Mocatta, by whom he had a family of six 
sons and six daughters. His youngest son is Lieutenant- 
Colonel Emanuel Montefiore, late of Bombay. Of the 
daughters of Joseph Montefiore, the eldest, Sarah, mar- 
ried, first, Mr. Solomon Sebag, of London, and secondly, 
Mr. Moses Asher Goldsmid, youngest brother of Sir 
Isaac Lyon Goldsmid ; the second, Esther, met her 
death by an accident in her fifteenth year; the third, 
Abigail, became the wife of Benjamin Gompertz, a 
well-known mathematician and actuary of the Alliance 
Insurance Company ; the fourth, Rebecca, married Mr. 
Joseph Solomon, of London ; and the youngest, Justi- 
na, found a husband in the same family whence her 
elder brother took his wife. She married Mr. Benjamin 
Cohen, of Richmond, Surrey, who was for many years 
connected with the elder Rothschild. One of their 
sons is Mr. Arthur Cohen, Q.C., M.P. 

All the sons of Mr. Joseph Montefiore received an 
elementary education at a local school, which they left 
early for the more serious business of life. Mr. Moses 
Mocatta, who lived in Kennington Place, a short dis- 
tance from the Montefiores, superintended their studios 

Commercial Career. 13 

in Hebrew and religion, and it was from him that Mo- 
ses Montefiore derived that large-hearted interest in the 
traditions and fortunes of his race which has enabled 
liim to exert so potent an influence on their more re- 
cent history. On leaving school, each of the sons was 
taught a trade. Abraham was apprenticed to Mr. Flow- 
er, tlie eminent silk merchant, of Watling Street. It is 
a curious circumstance that Mr. Flower's grandson, Mr. 
Cyril Flower, afterwards became the husband of one of 
Abraham Montefiore's granddaughters. Moses entered 
a provision house. One of his father's neighbors in 
Kennington Place was a Mr. Robert Johnson, head of 
the tirnl of Johnson, McCulloch, Sons, & Co., whole- 
sale tea merchants and grocers, of 19 Eastcheap. An 
intimacy sprang up between the two families, and 
young Moses Montefiore became articled to the East- 
cheap house. Here, in the closing years of the last 
century, he gained his first commercial experience. 



I Moses Montefiore Enters the Stock Exchange. — Jewish Brokers. — Emi- 
nent Jews in the City. — Abraham Montefiore Joins his Brother. — Na- 
than Maier Rothschild Establishes Himself in London. — Montefiore's 
Marriage. — Connection of the Montefiores with the Rothschilds. — First 
News of Waterloo, — Transactions of the New Court Financiers. — 
Death of Abraham Montefiore. — Retirement of Moses Montefiore. — 
The Alliance Insurance Company. — Story of its Establishment. — Tlie 
Imperial Continental Gas Association.— The Slave Loan. — Park Lane 
Sixty Years ago. 

Young Montefiore did not continue long in the trade 
for which his father had destined him. More rapid 

14 Tlie Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

fortunes were to be made in the money business, in 
which at that period the house founded by his moth- 
er's family, Messrs. Mocatta & Goldsmid, "Brokers in 
Bullion, Specie, Diamonds, and Pearls, Grigsby's Cof- 
fee House, near Bank," occupied a prominent position. 
Of a handsome presence, over six feet in height, engag- 
ing in his manners, and a Captain in the Surrey Militia, 
Montefiore was very much liked by his rich relatives, 
and was a frequent guest at the palatial residences of 
the Goldsmids at Morden and Eoehampton. At Asher 
Goldsmid's house, on one occasion, he met Lord Nelson 
at dinner, and chanted the lengthy Grace after meals of 
the Hebrew liturgy in his presence. His intimtcy with 
Asher Goldsmid's gifted son seems to have strongly in- 
fluenced his own character. Isaac Lyon Goldsmid was 
an earnest philanthropist, as well as an astute financier. 
The friend subsequently of Brougham, James Mill, 
Mi*8. Fry, and Robert Owen, a busy advocate of Negro 
Emancipation, the restriction of capital punishment, 
and the cause of popular education, he was eminently 
fitted to be the companion of one who was destined 
to rank conspicuously among the philanthropists of the 

Moses Montefiore having testified a desire to adopt 
a Stock Exchange career, his uncles purchased for him 
for £1200 the right to practise as one of the twelve 
Jewish brokers licensed by the City. The fact that 
the number of Jewish brokers was then limited is an 
interesting indication of the restrictions under which 
the Jews of England lived in Moses Montefiore's youth. 
Sometimes even these restrictions were not considered 
suflBciently narrow by enemies of the Jews. On one 
occasion when a Jew applied to be admitted as broker 

Commercial Career. 15 

in the City of London, a petition was presented by the 
Christian brokers, praying for its rejection. The terms 
of the petition are extremely curious. It was entitled, 
"Keasons offered humbly to the Lord Mayor and 
Court of Alderman against a Jew (who is a known 
enemy to the Christian religion), his being admitted a 
broker." The reasons alleged were six in number, and 
recited in substance that the Jews had by statute no 
right to immunities and privileges of any kind, and that 
every branch of trade would be injured by admitting 
them as brokers. The statement of fact contained in 
these reasons cannot of course be disputed; the pro- 
phecy, however, has happily failed to be realized, even 
with the abolition of the restriction by which the num- 
ber of Jewish brokers was limited.* 

On the Stock Exchange Moses Montefiore's amiable 
disposition rendered him very popular. His enterprise, 
industry, and steadiness, too, obtained for him the con- 
fidence of many clients. " Always remember that it is 
better to earn a pound, than toss for two," said an old 
Scotch friend, to whom he applied for advice when 
about to commence business on his own account ; and 
this counsel would always occur to him when he felt 
tempted to plunge into speculation. His enterprise is 
illustrated by his issuing a weekly price-list of securities 

* " The last recorded instance of a Jew purchasing the right to 
act as broker took place in 1826, when Mr. J. B. Montefiore bought 
for 1500 guineas from Sir William Magnay, the then Lord Mayor, 
the medal which formed the title-deed of the privilege, and which 
had lapsed by the death of the previous owner. Two years after 
the absurd limitation was removed." — Piciotto, "Sketches of 
Anglo- Jewish History," p. 386. 

16 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

at a time when sucli publications were almost unknown. 
At first his office was at Grigsby's Coffee House, where 
he basked in the prestige of his maternal uncle's patron- 
age ; but later on he established himself successively at 
!N"o, 1 Birchin Lane, and 3 Bartholomew Lane. In 
course of time he was joined by his brother, Abraham 
Montefiore, who had realized a small fortune in the silk 
trade, but was ambitious to turn over his money more 
rapidly than was possible in industrial undertakings. 
The firm of Montefiore Bros, carried on business in 
Shorter's Court, Throgmorton Street. 

The year in which Moses Montefiore was admitted 
into the Stock Exchange also witnessed the entry into 
the same institution of David Eicardo, subsequently 
member of Parliament for Portarlington, and the ablest 
economist of his day. David Eicardo had seceded from 
Judaism, and left the parental roof as a mere youth ; 
and Christian strangers had helped him in his studies 
and his financial career. His father, to whom his 
apostasy was the source of an abiding sorrow, still carried 
on business as a merchant at Garraway's Coffee House. 
The Eothschilds of the time were Messrs Benjamin and 
Abraham Goldsmid, of 6 Capel Court, whose town 
houses were in Finsbury Square and Spital Square, and 
who possessed princely estates at Morden and Eoe- 
hampton. At this period Lord Beaconsfield's maternal 
and paternal grandfathers were still familiar figures in 
the City. Naphtali Basevi, or, as he was called in the 
Synagogue, Naphtali de Solomon Bathsheba, was a 
merchant in Wormwood Street, Broad Street ; Benja- 
min D'Israeli had retired from the firm of D'Israeli & 
Parkins, of which he had been the head, and was living 
in Charles Street, Stoke Newington, but he still occa- 

Commercial Career, 17 

sionally looked in to the City, and transacted business 
at Tom's Coffee House, Comhill. 

Witli all their industry and ability it is doubtful 
whether the Montefiores would have been as successful 
as they eventually were, had it not been for their con- 
nection with the boldest speculator and shrewdest 
financier of the time, E'athan Maier Rothschild. In 
1812, when this connection commenced, Rothschild was 
only thirty-five years old, but he had already founded, 
on a secure basis, the English branch of the world- 
famed house of which he was destined to become the 
leading spirit. In his twentieth year, such was his 
father's confidence in him, that he had despatched him 
to Manchester with £20,000 in his pocket to start in 
business as a manufacturer of cotton goods, and within 
five years he had increased this capital tenfold. In 1802 
his father's financial transactions with England assumed 
such large proportions that he found it necessary to 
establish a branch of his banking business in London. 
He called upon E"athan to undertake its organization 
and management. The well-known probity of the 
elder Rothschild had made him the depositary of the 
fortunes of many of the French nobility, who, fleeing 
from the terrors and conquering armies of the Republic, 
knew not where to lodge their money for safety. Roths- 
child took it into his keeping, and in due time trans- 
mitted it to his son in London, who turned it to good 
account. Unacquainted with the sources of Nathan 
Rothschild's capital, the steady-going city folk of those 
days looked askance at the large transactions of the new 
financier ; and when, in 1806, he asked the wealthy 
Levi Barent Cohen, of Angel Court, Throgmorton 
Street, for his daughter, it was not unnaturally thought 

18 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

that the speculating stranger was more attracted by the 
young lady's dowry of £10,000 than by her personal 
charms. Mr. Cohen himself hesitated at first to give 
his consent to the marriage, whereupon, it is said, the 
future millionaire attempted to calm his intended 
father-in-law's fears by the characteristic remark, " If, 
instead of giving me one of your daughters, you could 
give me all, it would be the best stroke of business you 
had ever done." 

The year in which the marriage took place (1806) 
was a fortunate one for the Rothschilds. It was the 
year which saw the power of Prussia broken on the field 
of Jena. Immediately after the battle, J^apoleon, with 
his usual high-handedness, expelled the Elector William 
I. of Hesse-Cassel from his dominions, although he had 
previously recognized him as one of the neutral princes. 
Before his flight the Elector deposited large sums of 
money with Maier Rothschild, who had for some years 
acted as his Court agent, and these sums — said to have 
amounted to nearly £600,000 — the latter was success- 
ful in transmitting to his son in London. With this 
accession of capital l^athan Rothschild was enabled to 
enter upon a large extension of his financial operations. 
The times were propitious to so long-headed a capitalist. 
The coalition against ITapoleon drew large sums of 
gold from England, and Rothschild became the pay- 
master of the allied forces. How sagaciously he utilized 
every opportunity for turning over his capital may be 
judged from the circumstance that he once bought biUs 
of the Duke of Wellington at a discount, then sold to 
Government the gold wherewith to cash them, and 
finally undertook to convey the money to Portugal to 
pay the troops. It was he who organized the vast net- 

CommerGial Career. 19 

work of agencies all over Europe whicli gave the firm 
the earliest political information, and at the same time 
the means of turning it to the most comprehensive 
account. In the infancy of steam he had special steam- 
boats to bring his news from Boulogne to Dover, and 
carrier-pigeons to % with it to London. The value of 
his Continental agencies was recognized in 1809 by the 
British Government, who, during that year, remitted 
through his house all the sums despatched to the Con- 
tinent to keep up the struggle with l^apoleon. When, 
in 1810, the money-market was left without an acknowl- 
edged head, owing to the death of Abraham Goldsmid, 
Kothschild became, by general consent, the arbiter of 
the Stock Exchange. 

The connection of the Montefiores with this remark- 
able man was brought about in 1812, when Moses 
Montefiore married Judith Cohen, a daughter of Levi 
Barent Cohen, and sister-in-law of the future millionaire. 
Later on Abraham Montefiore espoused as his second 
wife Rothschild's sister Henrietta, and their daughter 
Louisa married in 1840 Rothschild's second son, An- 

Moses Montefiore took a house in New Court, St. 
Swithin's Lane, adjoining the one occupied by his 
brother-in-law. A warm friendship sprung up between 
the two men, and Montefiore became intimately as- 
sociated with Rothschild in all his enterprises. His 
business career from this time is inseparable from that 
of his brother-in-law, for whom he acted as stockbroker. 
In 1813 the transactions of the firm in ]S"ew Court 
entered on a phase of unparalleled magnitude. The 
allies arrayed an army of nearly a million of men against 
Napoleon, and Rothschild strained every nerve to keep 

20 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Lord Castlereagli well supplied with funds. In that 
year he made his first public appearance as an Enghsh 
loan contractor, bringing out a loan for £12,000,000. 

The time of the Napoleonic wars afforded a host of 
opportunities for the acquisition of wealth; but what 
were chances to the majority of speculators were cer- 
tainties to the financiers of New Court. Kothschild's 
agents kept him supplied with the latest intelligence, 
and in his counting-house more was known of the 
movements of armies and of the schemes of Continental 
statesmen than in Downing Street itself. Both the 
escape from Elba and the result of the battle of "Water- 
loo were known to him before any other man in Eng- 
land. Sir Moses still relates to the few visitors he is 
allowed to receive how, at five o'clock one morning, he 
was roused by Mr. Kothschild with the intelligence that 
Napoleon had eluded the vigilance of the English cruisers 
and had landed at Cannes. Hastily dressing himself, 
he received instructions what sales to effect on the Ex- 
change, and then Mr. Rothschild went to communicate 
his information to the Ministry. A French courier had 
brought the news, too precious to be intrusted to the 
usual pigeon-post, and when, in the evening, he was 
given a packet of despatches for the correspondents 
from whom he had come, Mr. Eothschild asked him, as 
he filled a stirrup-cup, if he knew what news he had 
brought. The man answered " No." " Napoleon has 
escaped from Elba and is now in France," announced 
Mr. Eothschild. For a moment the man looked in- 
credulous. Then waving his glass, he shouted " Yive 
I'Empereur 1" and enthusiastically tossed off a bumper. 
As the courier took his leave Rothschild turned to his 
brother-in-law and said reflectively, " If that is the tern- 

Commercial Career, 21 

per of the French I foresee we shall have some trouble 

Mr. Eothschild was not an ungenerous employer, and 
the little Frenchman, to whom he was indebted for 
many valuable services, he subsequently set up in busi- 
ness in Calais. "When Sir Moses, in after-years, had 
occasion to visit the Continent, he frequently visited the 
ex-courier and indulged in a chat with him on the stir- 
ring times in which he had faithfully borne his part. 

A change now took place in the transactions of ITew 
Court. The feverish anxieties of war time were over, 
and financial operations became founded on a firmer and 
more substantial basis. In other respects the character 
of the business carried on by Mr. Eothschild and his 
colleagues was little altered. Instead of finding money 
to pay armies they now had to provide the means for re- 
organizing the unsettled European Governments. The 
French undertook to give compensation to the allies 
for every kind of damage caused by the armies of the 
Consulate and Empire, and to pay an indemnity of 
700,000,000 francs. Altogether two milliards were 
required, and it devolved upon the Eothschilds to nego- 
tiate loans for the settlement of this huge claim. 

In 1824 Abraham Montefiore died at Lyons, on his 
way home from Cannes, whither he had gone for the 
re-establishment of his health. He had been excep- 
tionally fortunate on the Stock Exchange, and left 
behind him an immense fortune. Moses Montefiore 
had also accumulated considerable wealth, and now, 
past the midway of life, without children to work for 
or partner to assist him, he began to consider whether 
he might not free himself from the labors and anxieties 
of money-getting. As was his wont, he turned to his 

22 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

beloved wife for advice, and her counsel — " thank God, 
and be content " — ^he followed. The year in which Sir 
Moses retired from business was the stormiest the City 
had known since the days of the South Sea Bubble, but, 
as in 1Y21 so in 1825, the Jewish financial houses stood 
as firm as a rock. 

With a few companies, of which he was President or 
Director, Mr. Montefiore continued his connection. 
Among these were the Alliance Insurance Company, 
the Imperial Continental Gas Association, the Provin- 
cial Bank of Ireland, and the British, Irish, and Colo- 
nial Silk Company. Of the two first he was a founder. 
The establishment of the Alliance was brought about 
by the unsuccessful candidature of Mr. Benjamin Gom- 
pertz, a brother-in-law of Mr. Montefiore, for the post 
of actuary to the Guardian Office. It was whispered at 
the time that Mr. Gompertz owed his want of success 
to the fact of his being a Jew, and much indignation 
was excited among his co-religionists in consequence. 
Dissatisfaction also prevailed in the Jewish community 
at the difficulties which the existing companies inter- 
posed in the way of granting fire policies to Jews, the 
impression appearing to prevail that arson had some 
peculiar charm for the Hebrew. Mr. Montefiore con- 
sulted Mr. Kothschild on the subject, and suggested the 
formation of a new insurance office. In this Mr. Roths- 
child concurred, although he was already a shareholder 
in the Guardian, and very soon an influential directorate 
was brought together. Curiously enough the strong 
Jewish character of the new office became an important 
element in its success. It had not then been ascertained 
that the Jews enjoyed a greater longevity than other 
raxjes, and their lives were consequently insured at rates 

Commercial Career, 23 

determined by the ordinary actuarial calculations. Some 
fifteen years later Hoffmann of Berlin, and Bernouilli 
of Basle, commenced the elaborate studies in vital sta- 
tistics which have since proved that Jewish lives are, on 
an average, nearly fifty per cent, more valuable than 
those of any other known people. 

The Gas Association was at first not so successful. 
Its object was to extend the system of gas-lighting to 
the principal European cities. Only ten years before 
men of scientific eminence, among them Davy, WoUas- 
ton, and Watt, had declared that coal gas could never 
be safely applied to the purposes of street-lighting, and 
an immense amount of prejudice still remained to be 
encountered. Progress was extremely slow, and for 
seventeen years Sir Moses took no director's fees. Dur- 
ing his foreign tours he paid many anxious visits to the 
company's Continental establishments. He was fre- 
quently advised to terminate the operations of the com- 
pany, but he declined. His courage and enterprise 
were ultimately rewarded. The company gradually 
turned the corner, and is now one of the most prosper- 
ous of the commercial societies in the City. Of both 
these companies Sir Moses still remains President, and 
it is his custom to give an annual dinner to all employed 
in their London offices. In 1836 the Eoyal Society 
recognized his exertions in the early introduction of 
gas by electing him a fellow, as " a gentleman much 
attached to science and its practical use." His support- 
ers on the occasion were Sir Kichard Yyvyan, Dr. Bab- 
ington, Dr. Pettigrew, Colonel Colby, and others. 

Sir Moses was also one of the original directors of the 
Provincial Bank of Ireland, and so great was his inter- 
est in that undertaking that, when its offices were 

M The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

opened in Dublin, he made a special journey across St. 
George's Channel to issue its first note over the counter. 
Later in life he joined the board of the South Eastern 
Railway Company on its formation ; and he was also 
concerned in financing the loan of £20,000,000 by which 
the objects of the Slave Emancipation movement of 
1833 were carried out. 

On his retirement Mr. Montefiore sold his residence 
in New Court, St. Swithin's Lane, to the Alliance In- 
surance Company, and, as befitted a gentleman of for- 
tune and leisure, took a house in the fashionable West. 
This was in Green Street, Park Lane. He afterwards 
removed to his present address, 35 Park Lane, then 10 
Grosvenor Gate. Mr. Rothschild appears to have taken 
a house about the same time in Piccadilly, and the 
brothers-in-law were, consequently, still neighbors. The 
district was then comparatively new, and as open and 
suburban as Kilburn and Willesden at the present daiy. 
The row of houses in which Mr. Montefiore took up his 
abode was unfinished, and where Marble Arch now 
stands were tea-houses and the booths of donkey- and 
pony-keepers, who hired out their cattle to children for 
a gallop down the Bayswater Road. 

First Visit to the Holy Land, 25 



May Day, 1827. — The Start from Park Lane. — London to Dover in 
Twelve Hours. — Posting through France. — Aged Poor on the 
Route. — Dangers of Eastern Travel. — The Greek Insurrection 
and the Powers. — Pirates in the Mediterranean. — Mr. Montefiore 
Engages a Schooner and is Convoyed to Alexandria by a Sloop 
of War. — Chase of a Pirate. — From Alexandria to Cairo. — Inter- 
view with Mehemet Ali. — New Year at Alexandria. — Journey to 
Jaffa Disguised as Turks. — Reception at Jerusalem. — The Jews 
of the Holy Land. — The Return Journey. — Battle of Navarino. 
Admiral Sir William Codrington Intrusts Mr. Montefiore with 
Despatches. — Home Again. — Mr. Montefiore and H. R. H. the 
Duke of Clarence. 

It is May Day in tlie year 1827 — a typical May Day. 
!N^ot a speck is visible in the gleaming sky, and tlie trees 
of Hyde Park are clad in their full robes of green. A 
concert of carolling and chirping songsters comes from 
the leafy shadows, and the air is laden with perfume 
from the flower gardens of the neighborhood. Eight 
o'clock has not yet struck, but notwithstanding the 
earliness of the hour one of the houses in Park Lane is 
already astir. A capacious travelling carriage with four 
horses stands at the door, and servants are busy packing 
away valises and trunks, and all the requisites for a pro- 
tracted journey. 

Mr. and Mrs. Montefiore are about to undertake their 

26 The Life of Svr Moses Montefiore. 

long-contemplated visit to the Holy Land, tlie cradle of 
tlieir race, tlie theatre of the most remarkable episodes 
in its stupendous history. Many a time in the brief 
holidays snatched from the absorbing occupations of 
their City life, the worthy and pious couple had laid 
out plans for a visit in the following year to the hal- 
lowed soil in which so much of their historic sympathy 
centred, but when the time came something always 
occurred to prevent it — either political complications 
rendered travelling in the Mediterranean unsafe, or Mr. 
Montefiore could not be spared from the Stock Ex- 
change — and so they were obliged to content themselves 
with another peep at Paris, or a short stay at Rome, or 
a visit to the birthplace of the Montefiores in the city of 
the Medicis, or sometimes only with a ramble along the 
South coast, amid scenes consecrated by the recollections 
of their honeymoon. Now, however, the City had 
ceased to have an imperative claim on Mr. Montefiore's 
time, and the cherished project was to be realized. 

At six o'clock Mr. Montefiore had gone, as was his 
wont, to attend early morning service in the synagogue, 
and thither, as soon as the travelling carriage was ready^ 
his wife proceeded, first stopping for a moment in Pic- 
cadilly to wave her adieux to young Hannah Roths- 
child,* who had risen thus early to bid her beloved aunt 
and uncle God-speed. The carriage clattered into the 
City, took up Mr. Montefiore in Bevis Marks, and made 
its way towards the Dover Road. Breakfast was taken 
at Dartford and dinner at Canterbury, and at the end 
of twelve hours the travellers alighted at Dover. 

* Afterwards wife of the Right Hon. Henry Fitzroy, and mother 
of the present Lady Coutts Lindsay of Balcarres. 

First Visit to the Holy Land, 27 

Yery interesting is Mrs. Montefiore's diary* of the 
journey which commenced so auspiciously on this bright 
May morning ; particularly as showing how primitive 
still were the conditions of foreign travel fifty years 
ago. It is not surprising to learn that, when it took 
twelve hours to journey to Dover, three months w^ere 
required to reach Malta, and that only after seven weeks 
more could Jerusalem be entered. JSTor were the cir- 
cumstances of this voyage less striking and romantic 
than one might expect from its primitive character, 
albeit its date is so comparatively recent. 

Mr. and Mrs. Montefiore embarked from Dover un- 
der a salute of guns in honor of their fellow-passenger, 
the Prussian Ambassador, who was about to take leave 
of absence. The travelling carriage was put on board, 
and served as a cabin during the passage.- Arrived at 
Calais, the Montefiores were joined by their relatives, 
Mr. and Mrs. David Salomons, and together they pro- 
ceeded to post through France. Boulogne, Montreuil, 
Abbeville, Grandvilliers, Beaumont, and Charenton 
were reached in rapid succession, the outskirts of Paris 
were passed, a brisk run was enjoyed on the Melun 
road, the Autun mountain was scaled, and on the 11th 
May Lyons was reached. Here the happy party was 
saddened by the receipt of letters announcing the death 
of a relative, and their depression was not relieved when, 
in the course of the evening, Mr. Montefiore discovered 
that they were stopping in the hotel in which his 
brother Abraham had breathed his last three years be- 
fore. So far, however, the journey had been a happy 
one. Every now and then we read of Mrs. Montefiore 

* Privately printed in 1836. 

28 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

enjoying " a stage outside the coach with dear M ," 

" a little variety," adds the diarist, with almost girlish 
archness, "which made it pleasing to all parties." Lit- 
tle dreaming of the old age that one of their party was 
destined to attain, the travellers took an especial delight 
in relieving the wants of the aged poor on their route. 
At Chambery they assisted a poverty-stricken woman 
who was stated to be 114 years old; at Lans-le-bourg 
one of the applicants for their bounty was 93; and at 
a village on the dreary mountain side of Kadicofani, 
" which seems the asylum of poverty, Montefiore gave 
the curate a dollar for the oldest person in the place, 
who they said had only the heavens for his covering and 
the earth for his couch." 

Having traversed the Mont Cenis without accident, 
and written a few grateful sentences in their prayer- 
books for their " safe passage across the Alpine bar- 
rier," the travellers arrived at Florence in time to cele- 
brate Shehuoth (the Feast of Weeks). The gentlemen 
went to the synagogue at seven in the morning, but the 
heat was so great that the ladies were obliged to con- 
duct their devotions at their hotel. Naples, their last 
resting-place on the European mainland, was reached 
during the rejoicings of the festa of Corpus Domini, 
and here the Montefiores bade farewell to their travel- 
ling companions. 

Rumors now began to reach the voyagers of the dan- 
gers of travelling in the East. The Greek insurrection 
had attracted the official attention of Europe in conse- 
quence of the cruelties of Ibrahim Pacha in the Pelo- 
ponnesus, and the relations between the Porte and the 
Powers were becoming strained. It was pointed out to 
Mr. Montefiore that under these circumstances a journey 

First Visit to the Holy Lcmd. 29 

to Palestine was fraught with great peril. The Duke 
of Richelieu, on his way home from Egypt, happened, 
however, to stop at Naples, and he reassured the travel- 
lers. They determined to proceed. The Portia, a 176- 
ton brig, was engaged to take them to Messina, whence 
they were carried in a litter over the Sicilian mountains, 
and at Capo Passero embarked in a sjpercmara, or two- 
masted open row-boat, for Malta. General Ponsonby, 
the governor, received them most cordially, but did not 
allay their anxieties as to the safety of Eastern travel. 
So lawless had the high seas become in consequence of 
the disorganized state of Oriental politics, that it had 
been found necessary to dispatch a large naval fotce 
against the pirates. Mr. Montefiore, high-spirited and 
sanguine, was with difficulty persuaded from taking 
passage in an unescorted merchantman. On the 1st 
August news was received that an ultimatum had been 
presented to the Porte by the British, French, and Rus- 
sian ministers, and again the travellers were warned 
that it would be " too enterprising" to proceed until a 
reply had been handed to the Powers by the Sultan. 
Still Mr. Montefiore " seems bent upon going at all 
events," and the Leonidas, a vessel of 380 tons burden, 
carrying twenty-two men, " which we trust will be 
amply sufficient to repel the attacks of pirates," was en- 
engaged for £550 to take him and his wife to Alexan- 
dria. Mrs. Montefiore now became indisposed — the 
anxieties of the journey had apparently told upon her — 
and it was not until the welcome intelligence was re- 
ceived that the Leonidas was to be convoyed to Alexan- 
dria by the Gannet sloop-of-war, that she was enabled 
to leave her chamber. 

Having relieved the poor of the Malta congregation, 

30 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

and given a farewell breakfast to the chiefs of the Syna- 
gogue, the travellers again embarked. On the seventh 
day after their departure the Gannet gave chase to a sup- 
posed pirate, but " the valiant anticipations of making a 
capture were vain." Otherwise the voyage was quiet 
and dull. On the twelfth day they arrived at Alexan- 
dria, where they passed a couple of days examining the 
antiquities of the city. Then, in three days more, they 
partly sailed and were partly towed up the IS'ile in a 
cangia to Cairo. Here they explored the great Pyramid 
under the guidance of a Bedouin, who told them he had 
acted in the same capacity to Napoleon, and on the 5th 
September they were presented to Mehemet Ali. The 
portrait of this remarkable man, sketched by Mrs. Mon- 
tefiore, is very interesting : 

" The conversation was supported in a lively manner 
by the Pacha for three quarters of an hour. He smoked, 
and ordered coffee to be served. His pipe was richly 
studded with diamonds and other precious stones. He 
encourages every new invention and improvement, and 
informed Montefiore of his having established silk and 
other manufactories in his territories ; and that he had 
planted numbers of olive and mulberry trees. His ex- 
tensive mercantile transactions were, however, a great 
source of jealousy and dissatisfaction to his subjects, 
who are thereby deprived of the advantages of compe- 
tition and unfettered trade. He would not grant a far- 
mer a longer lease than a year, and fixed the price of 
all the produce of the land himself. At the age of 
forty-five he commenced learning to read and write, 
which he persevered in to his satisfaction ; a singular 
instance of strength of mind. All his vast transactions 
are managed by himself, and every written document 

First Visit to the Holy Land, 31 

passes under his inspection. He told Montefiore that 
he never indulges in more than four hours' sleep during 
the night. He might prove a great character in the 
world were he entirely unfettered." 

This interview laid the foundation of a lasting friend- 
ship. Mehemet Ali was so charmed with his Jewish 
visitor that he proposed to him to act as his agent in 
England. Although Mr. Montefiore's retirement from 
business rendered his acceptance of this offer impracti- 
cable, he has always maintained relations of a friendly 
character with the Egyptian Court. When, in after 
years, Said Pacha, a successor of Mehemet, sent his son 
Toussoun to England to be educated, his guardianship 
was confided to Sir Moses. 

Another cangia took the travellers back to Alexan- 
dria, but there the chances of being able to reach Jerusar 
lem in safety became more than ever remote. The Sul- 
tan — or " Grand Signor," as Mrs. Montefiore calls him 
in old-fashioned phrase — had not deigned to reply to the 
ultimatum of the powers, and war seemed imminent. 
Mr. Montefiore was in despair; his good wife, not so ar- 
dent to brave danger, philosophized on the " futility and 
weakness of all human plans." Their position was any- 
thing but enviable. One person told them that Abdallah, 
the Pacha of Damascus, was inimical to all Europeans, 
and " that a Frank by going to Syria would run the risk 
of being massacred." To return was equally out of the 
question, for no convoy was available, and the pirates 
had assembled in force. " You will certainly be sold 
for slaves if you stir," said Mr. Salt, the British Consul, 
and so they were obliged to pass the Jewish New Year 
" pent up in a miserable room, in a confined street, and 
suffocating from the sands and hot blasts of the sirocco 

32 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

wind." Mrs. Montefiore adds, complacently, that her 
husband " now began to comprehend that travelling is 
not always divested of disagreeables." 

In this way they were detained several weeks in 
Egypt; but eventually they resolved, in defiance of all 
danger, to set sail for Jaffa. Mrs. Montefiore donned 
the Turkish hernische and white muslin turban and veil, 
in order to pass for a Mussulman lady, in case of acci- 
dents. Several of the European gentlemen on board 
also assumed an Oriental garb; but Mr. Montefiore, gal- 
lant as ever, refused all solicitations to disguise himself. 
Fortunately Jaffa was reached in safety; and, after some 
parleying, the travellers were allowed by the Turkish 
authorities to land, and to proceed to Jerusalem. 

By all classes of the population of the holy city they 
were received with overwhelming cordiality. So de- 
lighted were the Jews to welcome one of their own 
faith, who was affluent and honored, that the Chacham, 
in his enthusiasm, likened Mr. Montefiore's visit to the 
coming of the Messiah. The Governor invited him to 
his house, offered him pipes and coffee, and ordered a 
scribe to add a handsome eulogium to his passport, to 
which he affixed his name and seal. The travellers had 
entered Jerusalem with the prof oundest reverence ; but 
this feehng was soon transformed into pity for its 
"fallen, desolate, and abject condition," as Mrs. Mon- 
tefiore describes it. This is the account her diary gives 
of the state of the Holy Land : 

" Many were the solemn thoughts which rose in our 
minds on finding ourselves in this Holy Land : the 
country of our ancestors, of our religion, and of our 
former greatness, but now, alas ! of persecution and 
oppression. We hear from every one of the extortions 


Fi/rst Visit to the Holy Land, 33 

that are levied, and that there is no means of support, 
except such as is provided by the bounty of other coun- 
tries, with the exception of the little help afforded by the 
few families who continue here from a principle of re- 
ligious enthusiasm, and contribute all in their power to 
the support of the necessitous. There are four Syna- 
gogues adjoining each other, belonging to the Portu- 
guese, who form the principal portion of the Jewish, 
community. The Germans have only one place of 
worship, and the greater proportion of the population 
are from Poland. . . . There is no commerce ; and 
shops are not suffered on terms which admit of their 
becoming profitable." 

On the 21st October they left Jerusalem. During 
the whole of the preceding night seventeen Pabbis 
sat up praying for them in the Synagogue. The next 
morning the Portuguese high-priest came at an early 
hour to give them his blessing; and then, amid the 
good wishes of a numerous multitude, who followed 
them to the gates, they set out on their return 

This visit to Jerusalem impressed the travellers deep- 
ly ; it gave a deep-seated and serious purpose to their 
lives ; it cemented the foundations of that ardent inter- 
est in the fortunes of their oppressed race, and suffering 
humanity generally, which has written the name of 
" Montefiore" so large in the history of Judaism and 
philanthropy. How deeply this influence was felt, 
even at the early period of this first journey, may be 
seen in Mrs. Montefiore's eloquent words at the close of 
her chapter on Jerusalem : 

" ' Farewell, Holy City ! ' we exclaimed, in our hearts. 
Blessed be the Almighty, who has protected us while 

34: The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

contemplating the sacred scenes wMch environ thee ! 
Thankful may we ever be for His manifold mercies ! 
May the fountain of our feelings evermore run in the 
current of praise and entire devotion to His wiU and His 
truth, till the time shall arrive when the ransomed of 
the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and 
everlasting joy upon their heads.' " 

The return journey was undertaken not a moment too 
soon ; indeed, had it not been for the slowness with 
which news travelled in the year 1827, the departure of 
the Montefiores from Turkish territory might not have 
been altogether unmolested. The battle of Navarino 
had been fought the day before they left Jerusalem, and 
they arrived in Alexandria in time to hear the Arab 
women lamenting the disaster in the public streets. 
Nor had all danger from pirates passed away. Vessels 
preceding them had been attacked by the Greek bucca- 
neers ; and at Alexandria they witnessed the arrival of 
one of these corsairs in the safe custody of a French 
cutter. The journey back to Malta was full of anxieties. 
Being without convoy, they asked the chief officer of 
the ship whether he would offer any resistance were he 
attacked. " Oh, certainly !" was the encouraging reply. 
"Do you think I should tamely consent to have my 
ship pillaged, when I have the promise of Captain Mon- 
tefiore's assistance, and four loaded guns to the vessel ?" 
" Then we have a chance of having our throats cut !" 
blankly exclaimed Dr. Madden, who was of the party. 

Their usual good fortune attended them, however ; 
and, after a somewhat stormy voyage, Malta was safely 
reached. Here they met Admiral Sir William Codring- 
ton, to whom they had letters of introduction, and were 
entrusted by him with despatches, on the subject of 

First Visit to the Holy Land. 35 

ITavarino, to the Duke of Clarence, afterwards "William 
lY. Homeward, then, they travelled with all speed. 
H. M. S. Mastiff carried them in six days to Messina, 
and thence to Naples ; and much the same route as 
the outward journey brought them in eight weeks to 

The despatches, of which he was the bearer, Mr. 
Montefiore delivered at the house of the Duke of Clar- 
ence before going to his own home. Next morning 
His Koyal Highness sent for him to Park Lane, to thank 
him personally for his complaisance. In the course of 
the conversation that ensued His Royal Highness asked 
what people in the East were saying of Navarino? 
" That it could not be prevented," was the answer ; 
" for, as the British commander himseK said, * when the 
British flag is insulted, an EngHsh admiral knows what 
is his duty ! ' " To which the Duke replied, musingly, 
" Inevitable ! Inevitable !" 

36 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 



Ineligibility of Minors for Membership of the Synagogue. — Mr. 
Monteflore Petitions the Council of Elders for Admission. — Peti- 
tion Granted on the same Day that a New Chief Rabbi is Elected. 
— Mr. Montefiore's Zeal in the Service of the Synagogue. — He 
holds Office. — Becomes Treasurer. — Isaac Disraeli's Synagogue 
Account. — Reaches the Dignity of Parnass. — Signatures in old 
Minute-books. — The "Monteflore" Almshouses. — Extra-syna- 
gogual Labors. — The Lavadores. — The two "Nations" in the 
Jewish Community. — Mr. Monteflore Disapproves of the Divi- 
sion. — Contributes by his Marriage and his Advice to its Eradi- 
cation.— Devotes himself to the Emancipation Struggle. — Be- 
comes a Member of the Board of Deputies.— Throws himself 
with Energy into the Work. — Purchases East Cliff Lodge. — 
Could Jews hold Land ?— Former Residents at East Cliff. 

Foe nearly a quarter of a century previous to the 
journey described in the last chapter Mr. Monteflore 
had been an earnest and active member of the Syna- 
gogue. From his earliest youth he had been a punctual 
attendant at the services, and, from the time he attained 
man's estate, a generous contributor to the congregational 
funds. It was one of the rules of the Portuguese Syna- 
gogue that no one should be eligible for membership of 
the congregation before his twenty-first year, and this 
rule was only waived under exceptional circumstances, 
and on receipt of a petition for admission from the 
youthful candidate. On the 4th !N"ovember, 1804, an 

Ea/rly Oomimmal Labors. 37 

important meeting of tlie Coimcil of Elders was held 
nuder the presidency of Mr. Jacob Samuda, the Warden 
President, for the purpose of electing a new Chief 
Rabbi. After a long deliberation the choice fell upon 
the learned Rabbi Raphael Meldola, of Leghorn, and a 
hope was expressed that this gentleman would succeed 
in reyiving the religious spirit of the congregation, 
which since the death of the late Chacham Azevedo had 
been very conspicuously waning. Towards the conclu- 
sion of the meeting the chairman announced that he had 
received a petition from Mr. Moses Montefiore, of Yaux- 
hall, who, although only twenty years of age, was desir- 
ous of being admitted a Yahid, or member of the congre- 
gation. A few questions were asked and the prayer was 
unanimously granted. To no two men is English Juda- 
ism more substantially indebted than Chacham Meldola 
and Sir Moses Montefiore, and it is an interesting coin- 
cidence that they were elected members of the commu- 
nity, though in widely different ranks, on the same day. 
The Synagogue authorities had no reason to regret 
J their infraction of the law in admitting Mr. Montefiore. 

I A more regular attendant at the services had never been 
seen within the Synagogue walls. Every morning, at 
seven o'clock, he was in his place, piously offering up 
his prayers to the God of his ancestors. As his means 
improved, so year by year he increased his contributions 
to the Synagogue exchequer ; and, at the meetings of 
the Yahidim no one evinced a more earnest interest in 
the affairs of the congregation. He soon took rank in 
the community, and one by one served all the various 
officesvconnected with the administration. He was suc- 
cessively Pa/rnass or Governor of the Terra Santa and 
CoAitmoa funds, of the Hospital, the Burial Society, and 

38 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

the Theological College. In 1814 he became Gabay, or 
Treasurer, and, in that capacity, had doubtless much to 
do with the celebrated Synagogue account, which Isaac 
D'Israeh refused to pay in that year, and which eventu- 
ally led to the secession of the D'Israelis from the Jew- 
ish community. Five years later he reached the proud 
position of Parnass^ or Warden-President of the con- 
gregation. Six times he has served this important post, 
the last occasion on which his towering form was seen 
in the Bcmca (warden's box) being in 1864. His assi- 
duity in the discharge of his duties may be seen by a 
reference to the minute-books of the congregation. He 
appears to have been very rarely absent from the vari- 
ous meetings, and hundreds of times his signature, in a 
neat Italian hand, may be read at the foot of the records 
of the proceedings. Previous to 1826 his autograph 
appears in the Hebrew style, viz., " Moseh de Joseph 
Eliau Montefiore ;" subsequent to that date he adopted 
his present signature, " Moses Montefiore," and, except 
that it is somewhat firmer, it differs in no respect from 
his signature at the present day. 

In 1823 Mr. Montefiore presented the Synagogue 
with an estate of thirteen houses in Cock Court, Jewry 
Street, on the condition that the rents arising during 
five years should be invested to form a repairing fund, 
and then the dwellings should be occupied by deserving 
poor. The " Montefiore Almshouses" are stiU an inter- 
esting feature in the Sephardic community. 

Mr. Montefiore did not confine his attention to 
organizations immediately connected with the Syna- 
gogue. He co-operated in all the various societies 
which labored for the communal welfare. His un- 
ostentatious but practical piety in this respect is iUus- 

Early Communal Labors. 39 

trated by his connection with the Lavadores^ an extra- 
Sjnagogal Society for washing the dead and preparing 
the bodies for burial. There is no more sacred duty in- 
cumbent on the Israehte than to perform the last offices 
for the dying and the dead. The importance of the 
duty in Jewish teaching has been beautifully expressed 
by Heinrich Heine : 

* Drei Gebote sind die Hochsten : 
Gastrecht tiben, Kranke pflegen 
XJnd zum Grabe bin den Todten 
Mit Gebeten zu geleiten." 

As a matter of fact the teaching goes beyond mere 
prayer at burial. The duty is prescribed of washing 
and coffining the corpse, and so highly is this duty 
esteemed that the discharge of it is held to be a privilege 
to which only the most blameless Jews may be ad- 
mitted. Hence in every community a voluntary society 
exists charged with this function, and the most jealous 
care is exercised over the admission of members. The 
wealthiest Jews are frequently found among them, and, 
in former years, membership conveyed a higher dis- 
tinction than wealth or rank. In foreign countries, 
when the Jews desire to render particular honor to an 
eminent non-Jew, they elect him an honorary member 
of their Chevra Kadisha^ as the society is called in the 
German communities. One of these at Grosswardein 
recently elected M. Tisza, the Hungarian Premier, a 
member, in acknowledgment of his defence of the 
Israelites against the Anti-Semitic agitators. The late 
Emperor Ferdinand of Austria was a member of the 
Chevra Kadisha of Prague, and whenever his name ap- 
peared on the rota he never failed to appoint a Jewish 

40 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

substitute to perform Ms duties. The English Jews 
established their society of LoAiadores in 1723. It con- 
sists of twenty-five members, each of whom pays an 
entrance fee and an annual contribution towards the 
expenses. Mr. Montefiore was admitted a member in 
1808. Among the dead for whom he performed the 
last offices was the very Chacham Meldola who entered 
the Anglo-Jewish community on the same day that he 
was elected a Tdhid. On the seventieth anniversary 
of his entrance into the society he was reappointed its 
Governor, although, of course, unable any longer to 
undertake the work attached to the office. 

Orthodox in his principles, and strictly observant of 
the minute Jewish ceremonial, Moses Montefiore was 
still a far-seeing and liberal man of the world. His 
superiority to ancient prejudices was illustrated by his 
marriage. There was a time when unions between 
Spanish and German Jews were frowned upon by the 
aristocratic denizens of Bevis Marks. The pride of the 
Sephardim, nurtured in the most brilliant age of Spanish 
culture, of which they were at once the promoters and 
the ornaments, had never been broken. Even the 
colossal persecution under Ferdinand and Isabella had 
not humbled them, and in their exile they shrunk in- 
stinctively from fellowship with their German and 
Polish brethren, upon whose sad history not one ray of 
light had been shed, and who had been reduced by 
ceaseless oppression to a lowly, pettifogging, almost an 
ignoble race. The barrier between the two " nations," 
as they were called, although unsanctioned by law or 
ritual, continued for a long time after the German 
Jews in this country had vindicated their native Hebrew 
energy and skill by commercial and intellectual sue- 

Early Communal Labors. 


cesses. As .ate as 1744, when Jacob Bernal, an ancestor 
of the present Dnchess of St. Albans, desired to wed a 
German Jewess, he had to apply for leave to the Mahor 
mad or Council of Elders of the Synagogue, and then 
he only obtained permission under the most humiliating 
conditions. This and kindred prejudices had never 
found a supporter in Moses Montefiore. By his mar- 
riage in 1812 with a " Tedesco" — for the Cohen family 
belonged to that plebeian section of the community — 
he contributed to break it down. The folly and in- 
justice of the division between the two " nations" be- 
came apparent to him as soon as he made the acquaint- 
ance of his wife's accomplished family. "When he be- 
gan to think over the struggle the Jews would soon 
have to sustain in order to win a legal and social equality 
with their Christian fellow-citizens, his intelligence as- 
sured him that any such division in the community was 
a source of absolute danger to its interests. In almost 
every city he has visited during his several missions to 
foreign countries, he has preached the necessity of com- 
mnal union to his co-religionists. In Jerusalem he 
spoke earnestly on the subject to the ecclesiastical chiefs 
during his first visit. " Discord and differences in the 
bosom of Judaism have been my greatest grief," he 
significantly said in 1863, to a deputation which waited 
upon him at Pesth, from the most orthodox and un- 
bending of the Jewish congregations in the city. 

Deeply impressed with what he had seen of the de- 
led condition of his co-religionists in the East, 
during his tour in 1827, Mr. Montefiore resolved, soon 
after his return to England, to take a still more active 
part in the public life of the Anglo-Jewish community. 
A survey of the condition of his brethren assured him 

4:2 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

that it would be impossible for tbem to do anything of 
importance for the benefit of oppressed foreign com- 
munities. It was obviously necessary that they should 
win their own freedom first ; and he was gratified to see, 
that for a struggle to this end both the times and the 
condition of his co-religionists were favorable. Mr. 
Montefiore's views on Jewish emancipation were not of 
an heroic kind, but they were intelligent and practical. 
" I am an enemy of all sudden transitions," he said in 
conversation some years after. " The Jew must, in his 
claims and wishes, not outstrip the age. Let him ad- 
vance slowly but steadily ; let him gradually accustom 
his Christian fellow-citizens to his gradual progress and 
success in public life, and what may not be obtainable 
even by an arduous struggle, will, after a certain time, 
fall into his lap like ripe fruit." Mr. Montefiore thought 
he saw these conditions fulfilled as he pondered on the 
subject fifty-six years ago. There was union in the 
community ; many of its members had won for them- 
selves distinguished positions in society, and the ten- 
dency of national thought, as illustrated in Parliament 
by the Catholic emancipation agitation, was distinctly 

A representative body charged with the duty of 
" watching" all chances of emancipation was already in 
existence in the Anglo-Jewish community. The De- 
putados, or " United Deputies of British Jews," was 
formed in 1746, when the two houses of the Irish 
Legislature were quarrelling over a Jewish I^aturaliza- 
tion Bill. The Irish House of Commons had twice 
passed the Bill, and twice it had been rejected by the 
House of Lords. The Bevis Marks Synagogue formed 
a Committee of Diligence, to render assistance to the 

Early Communal Labors. 43 

party favorable to Jewish emancipation, but the Bill 
was again and finally negatived by the Peers. Un- 
daunted by their want of success, the Jews of London 
set themselves to organize their forces. From the 
"Committee of Diligence" was formed in 1760 the 
" Deputies of the Portuguese nation," and towards the 
end of the same year that body admitted to its deliberar 
tions representatives of the German congregations in 
Duke's Place and Magpie Alley. For many years the 
labors of the " Deputies" were not of any great import- 
ance. The presentation of addresses to the Crown, full 
of assurances of Jewish loyalty, on occasions of public 
rejoicing or public mourning, formed the staple of their 
work. In 1795 their representations to Parliament pro- 
cured the rejection of a clause of doubtful bearing in 
the Sedition Bill, and in 1805 they prosecuted the St 
Jarms^ Chronicle for the publication of some offensive 
articles against the Jews, and obtained an apology from 
the Editor. 

This body, of which Mr. Moses Mocatta had become 
president, was joined by Mr. Montefiore early in 1828. 
An inspection of the minutes of the " United Deputies" 
discloses from this date a sudden development in their 
corporate activity, which it is impossible not to associate 
with their new recruit. During the very month of his 
election he became a member of a sub-committee charged 
draw up a petition in reference to the repeal of the 

^est and Corporation Acts, and to present it to the 
House of Lords. Indeed in tliis year the agitation for 
the removal of Jewish disabilities in England was for 
the first time placed on a firm basis. The De^utados 
became the soul of the agitation, and Mr. Montefiore the 

>ul of the Deputados, 

44: The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Two years later Mr. Montefiore solved one of the 
Disability problems in his own person, by purchasing 
the small East Cliff estate, near Kamsgate, notwith- 
standing that many eminent legal authorities still con- 
sidered that the Jews could not lawfully possess real 
estate in England. It is true that in 1818 Sir Samuel 
Komilly had held that Jews born in England were as 
much entitled to own land as any other natives, at 
the same time pointing out that no one had ever ob- 
jected to a title on the ground that the owner was a 
Jew ; nevertheless, down to the removal of all disabili- 
ties in 1853, this point was still doubted under the statutes 
or ordinances of the 54th and 55th Henry III. (c.e. 
1269), which declared that no Jew should hold a free- 
hold, and it was never definitely settled. 

East Cliff Lodge is a charming marine villa, in the 
Strawberry Hill or modern Gothic style. It consists of 
a centre and two wings, with the summit embattled, and 
each wing surmounted by an ornamental turret and 
spire. The dining-room, pronounced by local guide- 
books " the most elegant specimen of Gothic domestic 
architecture in England," is a noble apartment, having 
a screen of columns at the lower end, and opening from 
a vestibule by folding doors curiously wrought. The 
grounds, which cover about thirteen acres, and extend 
to the verge of the cliff, are laid out with great taste and 
judgment. Their principal attractions are two sub- 
terranean caverns, reputed to be the work of smugglers, 
which lead from the summit of the cliff by a gradual 
descent, 500 yards long, to the beach below. One 
cavern diverges in an easterly, the other in a westerly 
direction. Both are lighted by a series of arched re- 
cesses, excavated out of the solid chalk, and which, 

Early Communal Labors. 45 

carpeted with turf and covered with shrubs and flowers, 
present a very gay appearance during the summer sea- 
son. The house was built about 1795 by Mr. Benjamin 
Bond Hopkins, who disposed of it to Yiscount Keith, 
better known as Lord Elphinstone. It then became the 
property of the Marquis Wellesley, brother of the Duke 
of Wellington. At one time it was the favorite sum- 
mer residence of Queen Caroline, when Princess of 
Wales. Mr. Montefiore rented East Cliff Lodge for 
some years before he purchased it. One of the first 
uses to which he put the land when it became his own 
was the building of a synagogue, which he opened to all 
comers. The foundation- stone was laid in 1831, and the 
building was consecrated in 1833. Soon after he had 
thus permanently taken up his abode in Kent he was 
appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the county. 

46 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 


THE JEWS OF ENGLAND (750-1837). 

Early History. — Position in the Country Previous to llie Expulsion. 
Jewish Learning. — Jewish Heroism. — Statutum de Judaismo. — 
Expulsion by Edward I.— Legend of London Bridge.— Secret 
Visits to England. — Return under Cromwell. — Denied Civil 
Righta — Disabilities in 1828. — Mr. Montefiore Devotes himself 
to the Emancipation Struggle. — Early History of the Movement 
not Encouraging.— The "Jew Bill" of 1753.— Mr. Montefiore 
and the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. — Interviews 
with the Duke of Sussex.— Agitation from 1830 to 1837.— Mr. 
Montefiore becomes President of the Board of Deputies. — Sheriff 
of London. — Knighted. — Queen Victoria and Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore. — Capital Punishment. — Sir Moses Montefiore and Marshal 
Soult.— Sir Moses turns his Attention to his Foreign Brethren. 

At what period tlie earliest Jewish settlement took 
place in England is one of those difficult historical 
questions of which nothing more certain is known than 
that it is " involved in obscurity*" A copyist's error in 
the Pesihtha Babbathi, by which "Mauritania" was 
transformed into " Britannia," has suggested that the 
Jews were already acquainted with Britain in the 
Talmudic age. It has also been surmised that Hebrew 
supercargoes accompanied the Phoenician mariners who 
traded with the Cimbri and Damnonii of Cornwall 
before the Eoman invasion. The first mention of Jews 
in any document connected with English history is in 
the canons of Ecbright, Archbishop of York, which 

The Jews of England (750-1837). 47 

contain an ordinance that " no Christian shall Judaize 
or presume to eat with a Jew." These canons were 
issued in the year 750. 

After the ]N'orman Conquest the Jews of England 
became numerous and wealthy. It is a mistake to 
imagine, with Professor Goldwin Smith, that they vol- 
untarily "streamed" into the country as rapacious 
camp followers of the Conqueror. The truth is they 
were brought over here by William, with the deliberate 
design of their acting as engines of indirect taxation. 
" The Jews," says William of E"ewburgh, " are the 
Koyal usurers," and it was in this capacity that they 
were domiciled in England. How they had become 
forced into this position is a melancholy story. Excluded 
from markets and trade guilds, prohibited from dealing 
in wines and cereals, forbidden to employ slaves at a 
time when all manufacturing industry was conducted 
by serf -labor, no means of earning their bread remained 
to them but usury. The Church smoothed their way 
to this occupation, by prohibiting Christians (on the 
strength of the passage, Luke vi. 35) from taking inter- 
est of any kind on loans. Amid the universal want of 
ready money occasioned by the constant decrease in the 
stock of gold and silver, and the absence of any substi- 
tute for the precious metals, borrowing became a neces- 
sity with all classes, and the Jews, who had acquired 
considerable wealth by trading, were thus forced to lend. 
High interest increased their riches ; and the English 
kings, whose taxing power was greatly crippled by the 
freedom of the barons, consequently submitted them to 
crushing imposts. To enable them thus to make good 
the deficiencies in the revenue, they were specially taken 
into the Koyal protection, and their rates of interest — 

4:8 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

once as liigli as 86f per cent — were sanctioned by Koyal 

It is not surprising that, under these circumstances, 
the Jews became hateful to the nation ; but Mr. Free- 
man's picture of them, "stalking defiantly among the 
people of the land," is purely an effort of fancy. In 
their learning and their heroic fidelity to their religion, 
we have abundant evidence of their good sense. Jews 
taught geometry, logic, and philosophy in the Univer- 
sity of Oxford, and Jewish schools or colleges were 
established in London, York, Lincoln, Oxford, Cam- 
bridge, and "Warwick. Thither flocked Jew and Gentile 
to hear distinguished Rabbis expound the principles of 
arithmetic, Hebrew, Arabic, and medicine. The cele- 
brated Ibn-Ezra visited England in 1159, and delivered 
lectures in London. During his stay he wrote his 
religio-philosophical work Jesod Mora. Among other 
learned Jews who lived in England before the expulsion 
were Eabbi Jacob, of Orleans, who taught in London, 
and Kabbi Benjamin, of Canterbury, both pupils of 
Rabbi Jacob Tam, the famous Tossafist, and grandson 
of Rashi. The fidelity of the Jews to their religion was 
illustrated by a thousand martyr deaths, but by nothing 
more gloriously than their beleaguerment in York Cas- 
tle, when five hundred destroyed themselves rather 
than apostatize. It is impossible to read Isaac d'Israeli's 
vivid sketch of this " scene of heroic exertion" without 
feeling that to portray these men as the grasping and 
arrogant bullies depicted to us in Mr. Freeman's pages 
is little less than a calumny. 

Massacres of Jews were, as a rule, sternly punished 
by the English kings, who could ill afford to have their 
" chattels" injured. When, however, exorbitant taxes 

The Jews of England (Y50-183Y). 49 

could no longer be squeezed from them, they were ruth- 
lessly abandoned to the fury of the populace. The 
competition of the Caorsini, who disguised their usury 
in commissions and expenses, first reduced their value 
in the eyes of the King. The Government tried to ex- 
pel the new-comers, but in vain ; they were the servants 
of the Pope, and no one dared touch them. With the 
gradual relaxation of the Royal interest in the Jews, 
the clergy grew bolder in denouncing them as heretics. 
The public mind became inflamed ; and to gain popu- 
larity Edward I. passed the statute De Judaismo, which, 
among other restrictions, prohibited the Jews from 
practising the usury they had already been compelled, 
to the King's great grief, to abandon. Their expulsion 
from the country, amid horrible cruelties, soon followed. 

The Jews carried with them into exile the remem- 
brance of many an outrage that marked their exodus 
from Britain. Of one they preserved the tradition 
through no less than ^yq centuries. A number of Jews 
were barbarously drowned in the Thames, close by 
where London Bridge now stands. When the old bridge 
was in existence the fall of the waters at ebb tide caused 
a disturbance under one of the arches ; and this, as late 
as eighty years ago, the Jewish gossips firmly believed 
was occasioned by the wrath of the Deity at the horrible 
crime committed there in the year 1290. 

It is generally assumed that from this date until the 
Protectorate there were no Jews in England. Indeed, 
Mr. J. R. Green goes so far as to assert that " from the 
time of Edward to that of Cromwell no Jew touched 
English ground." Recent researches have proved, how- 
ever, that in spite of proscription, Hebrews frequently 
visited these shores. The House of Converts, near 

50 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Chancery Lane, received Jews continuously from tlie 
thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries ; and the files of 
accounts preserved in the Record Office show that as 
many as seventy-two Jews resided within its walls dur- 
ing the early years of Edward III.'s reign. In the State 
papers relating to the marriage of Katherine of Aragon 
with Arthur, Prince of Wales, we are told that Henry 
YII. had a long interview with a Spanish envoy to dis- 
cuss the presence of Jews in England. Roderigo Lopes, 
acknowledged to be a Jew, was Physician to Queen 
Elizabeth. The great legal luminaries, Littleton and 
Coke, both inveigh against the Jews with a vigor inex- 
plicable, except on the hypothesis that members of the 
proscribed race were resident in England. It was not, 
however, until the time of Cromwell that Jews took up 
their abode in the land in any number. ]^o actual revo- 
cation of the edict of expulsion seems to have taken place, 
but that some sort of permission to return was granted 
them it is impossible to doubt. In 1657 they considered 
their position sufficiently secure to justify them in pur- 
chasing a burial-ground ; and Cromwell's views on their 
readmission are put beyond all doubt, by the fact that 
he granted Menasseh ben Israel, the Jewish advocate, a 
pension of £100 a year. 

Until the year 1829, when the Test and Corporation 
Acts were appealed, it was held by legal authorities 
that Jews in England had no civil rights ; and even as 
late as 1846 the Act De Judmsmo was formally on the 
Statute Book. In 1673 the Jews were indicted for 
worshipping in public in their synagogues ; and in 1685 
thirty-seven of their merchants were suddenly arrested 
in the Royal Exchange, under the statute 23 of Eliza- 
beth, for not attending any church. Two years earlier 

The Jews of England (Y50-1837). 


it had been argued before the King's Bencli by the 
Attorney-General, in the case of the East India Com- 
pany V. Sand, that all Jews in England were under an 
implied license, which the King might revoke, the effect 
of doing which would be that they would then become 
aliens. Even as great a judge as Lord Hardwicke held, 
in 1Y44, that a bequest for the maintenance of a Syna- 
gogue was void, because the Jewish religion was not 
tolerated in England, but only connived at by the Legis- 
lature. This decision was accepted as a precedent in 
1786 by Lord Thurlow, and again in 1818 by Lord 
Eldon. In 1828, when Moses Montefiore set in motion 
the struggle for Jewish emancipation, the English Jews, 
according to " Tomlin's Law Dictionary," still labored 
under serious disabilities. " A Jew," we are told, " is 
prevented from sitting in Parliament, holding any office, 
civil or military, under the Crown, or any situation in 
corporate bodies. He may be excluded from practising 
at the bar, or as an attorney, proctor, or notary, from 
voting at elections, from enjoying any exhibition in 
either university, or from holding some offices of 
:inferior importance." 

Wlien Mr. Montefiore joined the Deputados of Bevis 
Marks, the question of Jewish Emancipation had already 
a Parliamentary history. It had not, however, been en- 
couraging. Certainly in 1Y23 a slight concession had 
been made in respect to the oath of abjuration, and in 
1740 an impracticable Naturalization Act had been 
passed for the Colonies ; but the attempt of Mr. Pelham 
in 1753 to carry into effect a wider scheme of Jewish 
Emancipation for the home country had produced such 
an uproar, that, for nearly a century after, the bulk of 
the English Israelites shrunk from publicly agitating 

52 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

for their rights. Mr. Pelham's Act, historically known 
as " The Jew Bill," was at first passed by both Houses 
and received the Eoyal assent, but it only lived for a 
few months. An alarm for the Church and for religion 
spread through the land. It was proclaimed from 
countless pulpits that if the Jews were naturalized in 
Britain the country became liable to the curses pro- 
nounced by prophecy against Jerusalem and the Holy 
Land. Every dead wall in the kingdom exhibited in 
varied thography the couplet, 

" No Jews, 
No wooden shoes." 

Mr. Sydenham voted for the measure and lost his seat 
for Exeter in consequence. A respectable clergyman 
named Tucker, who wrote a defence of the Jews, was 
maltreated by the populace. The Bishop of Norwich, 
who supported the Bill, was insulted on his ensuing 
confirmation circuit. At Ipswich the boys called upon 
his lordship " to come and circumcise them," and a 
paper was afiixed to one of the church doors to state 
that " next day, being Saturday, his lordship would 
confirm the Jews, and on the day following the Chris- 
tians." To such a pitch rose the popular excitement 
that the Ministers beat a hasty and ignominious retreat. 
On the very first day of the next session the Duke of 
Newcastle brought in a Bill to repeal the previous mea- 
sure, and it was rapidly carried through both Houses. 
The incident elicited a stinging commentary from Horace 
"Walpole. " The populace," he wrote, " grew suddenly 
so zealous for the honor of the prophecies that foretold 
calamity and eternal depression to the Jews, that they 
seemed to fear lest the completion of them should be 

The Jews of England (Y50-183T). 


defeated by Act of Parliament. The little curates 
preached against the Bishops for deserting the interests 
of the Gospel ; and aldermen grew drunk at county clubs 
in the cause of Jesus Christ, as they had used to do for 
the sake of King James. A cabal of ministers, who 
had insulted their master with impunity, who had be- 
trayed every ally and party with success, and who had 
crammed down every Bill that was calculated for their 
own favor, yielded to transitory noise, and submitted to 
fight under the banners of prophecy in order to carry a 
few more seats in another Parliament." 

The remembrance of the intolerant spirit displayed 
by the English people on this occasion, rendered the 
Jews for many years exceedingly anxious to avoid any- 
thing that might direct public attention to them as a 
body. The repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 
1828, however, aroused their hopes, and Mr. Montefiore, 
on behalf of the Board of Deputies, with the assistance 
outside of Mr. JST. M. Eothschild and Mr., afterwards 
Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, endeavored to obtain a re- 
moval of the disqualifications pressing upon Jews. Mr. 
Montefiore had several interviews on the subject with the 
Duke of Sussex, whose sympathy with the Jews had been 
already evinced in many substantial ways, and obtained 
from him a promise of his interest and support. The 
Premier, however, was unfavorable to any concession, 
on the ground that it was inexpedient so soon after the 
passing of the Catholic Rehef Bill to excite the feelings 
of the country by another measure of the same descrip- 
tion. The movement consequently fell to the ground. 
Not for long, however. In January, 1830, a petition 
to Parliament was prepared and a deputation from the 
Board of Deputies waited upon the Duke of Sussex, who 

64 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

again promised his support. A host of petitions from 
Jews and non-Jews all over the country poured into the 
House of Commons, and on the 5th of April Mr. Rob- 
ert Grant moved for leave to bring in a Bill for the Re- 
peal of the Civil Disabilities of the Jews. Mr. Monte- 
fiore and his brother Deputies were indefatigable in 
their efforts to bring pressure to bear on Parliament to 
pass the Bill. A committee of their body sat daily be- 
tween ten and four o'clock at the King's Head in the 
Poultry, and incurred expenses amounting to little less 
than £1000. IS'evertheless, on the second reading of 
the Bill, on the 23d May, it was thrown out by 228 
noes against 165 ayes. Three years later another effort 
was made and with better success. The Commons 
passed Mr. Grant's Bill, but in the Lords it was thrown 
out. Year by year, for four years more, the campaign 
was prosecuted with unwearying zeal, Mr. Montefiore in 
the mean time becoming the leader of the movement by 
his election to the Presidency of the Board of Deputies 
in succession to his uncle, Mr. Moses Mocatta. Each 
year, however, the Lords proved obdurate, and a pause 
in the struggle took place. 

The agitation so far had not been altogether without 
profit to the Jews. Mr. David Salomons had opened 
the shrievalty to his co-religionists in 1835, and a bill to 
enable him to serve passed through Parliament without 
opposition. Mr. Montefiore took advantage of the Act 
to become a candidate for the same office in 1837, and 
was elected. Early in the year he headed two deputa- 
tions — one from the Board of Deputies, and the other 
from the town of Ramsgate — to congratulate the young 
Queen on her accession. When Her Majesty subse- 
quently entered the City of London on Lord Mayor's 

The Jews of England (750-1837). 


day, tlie honor of knighthood was conferred on the new 
Sheriff as well as on the Lord Major, the famous Mr. 
Alderman Wood, father of Lord Hatherley. These 
were not the first occasions on which Sir Moses had met 
Queen Victoria. In 1834, when the Duchess of Kent 
and her daughter were residing at Townlej House, 
Kamsgate, they frequently rambled through the pictu- 
resque grounds of East Cliff Lodge, and Mr. Montefiore 
courteously provided them with a special key to his pri- 
vate gate. On his first visit to court he was graciously 
reminded of his hospitality. " We always remember with 
pleasure the happy days we spent at Eamsgate," cor- 
dially added the Duchess of Kent, who was standing 
)y the throne. 
With another member of the royal family Sir Moses 
id also established intimate relations; this was the 
Duke of Sussex, uncle to the Queen. His Eoyal High- 
ness had taken a deep interest in the Jews. He was a 
patron of their hospital, and presided at its anniversary 
dinners. A diligent student of the Hebrew language, and 
Jewish history and literature, he also actively assisted in 
the movement for Jewish emancipation. Sir Moses 
Montefiore was the first conforming Jew to receive the 
honor of knighthood, and the Duke rightly interpreted 
the circumstance as indicating the failure of anti- Jewish 
prejudice. He took no pains to hide his satisfaction. 
When the ceremony of investiture was performed he was 
present, and at its conclusion he seized Sir Moses' hand, 
and heartily shaking it exclaimed, " This is one of the 
tilings I have worked for all my life !" 

The year of office Sir Moses served as sheriff was 
distinguished by the large collections made for the City 
charities, and by the complete absence of capital punish- 

56 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

ment. The latter circumstance is a source of great pride 
to Sir Moses. There was certainly one criminal con- 
demned to death, but with the assistance of a lady highly 
placed, a reprieve was obtained. Sir Moses, at that 
period, found few to sympathize with him in his hu- 
mane dislike of the death punishment. His representa- 
tions on the subject to Lord John Russell were coldly 
received, and when, while showing Marshal Soult over 
IS'ewgate, he expressed his opinions on the subject to 
that inflexible disciplinarian, they evoked only an aston- 
ished stare. 

During the same year he continued indef atigably to 
discharge his duties as President of the Board of Depu- 
ties. He began now, however, to turn his attention 
more towards the foreign Jews, whose oppressed condi- 
tion had attracted his sympathies ten years before. The 
emancipation struggle was safe in other hands, and he 
felt he could now leave it. His brother-in-law, David 
Salomons, his nephew, Lionel de Rothschild, his rela- 
tives, Isaac Lyon Goldsmid and Francis Goldsmid, were 
all prepared to invade the precincts of Parliament itself 
in the interests of Jewish emancipation ; but for so 
public a struggle Sir Moses Montefiore had no ambi- 

Second Visit to the Holy Lcmd. 




: Jews and Agriculture. — Mr. Cobbett's Taunt. — Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore Determines to Introduce Agriculture among the Jews of 
the Holy Land. — Journey to the East for that Purpose. — Inves- 
tigates the Condition of European Communities on his Route. 
— Brussels. — Aix-la-Chapelle. — Strasbourg. — Avignon. — Mar- 
seilles. — Nice. — Genoa. — Florence. — Papal States. — Disabilities 
of the Jews of Rome. — Lady Montefiore Expresses her Indigna- 
tion to a Papal Monsignore. — Dr. Loewe. — The Eastern Ques- 
tion. — Arrival at Beyrout. — Progress through Palestine. — Enthu- 
siastic Receptions. — Safed. — Tiberias. — Jerusalem. — Sir Moses 
makes Inquiries into the Condition of the Jews. — Distributes 
Money. — Back to Alexandria. — Interview with Mehemet Ali, who 
Promises to Assist his Plans. — Return to England. — Changes in 
Eastern Politics. — Defeat of Sir Moses' Plans. 

Amid the engrossing labors of the Disability agitation, 
Sir Moses Montefiore had still found time to commu- 
nicate occasionally with foreign Jewish communities. 
Distress, however remote, never failed to attract his 
attention, or to elicit from him sympathetic and sub- 
stantial assistance. The interest he evinced in the wel- 
fare of his oppressed brethren spread his fame far and 
wide among them. Dr. Wolff, the well-known mission- 
ary, found, already in 1834, that his name was known 
to the Jews of Bokhara, Samarcand, Balkh, Khokand, 
and Herat. 

Several circumstances now combined to determine 
him to a more active and systematic treatment of the 

58 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

various problems raised by tbe appeals addressed to him 
from abroad. Not only was he enabled by the lull in 
home affairs to give these problems more attention than 
formerly, but he had convinced himself that it was of 
greater importance to the honor and fair fame of Juda- 
ism that the Jewish character, as exemplified by the 
great mass of his foreign brethren, should be assisted 
to rehabilitate itself, than that every effort should be 
concentrated on one or two agitations for the repeal of 
local disabilities. Mr. Cobbett's taunt that " the Israelite 
is never seen to take a spade in his hand, but waits like 
the voracious slug to devour what has been produced by 
labor in which he has no share," had sunk deep in his 
heart, and he resolved to seize an early opportunity of 
assisting the more downtrodden communities of his co- 
religionists, to improve their condition by agricultural 
and industrial labor. He selected the Jews of Palestine 
for his first experiment in this direction. His choice of 
these communities was determined partly by the fact, 
that the Holy Land had a special attraction for him, 
and partly because he had reason to hope that his influ- 
ence with Mehemet Ali, then lord of Syria, would 
enable him to obtain a fair field for his operations. 

Accompanied by his devoted spouse, he started on 
his second voyage to the Holy Land on the 1st IN'ovem- 
ber, 1838. The journey was not a direct one, as the 
travellers were desirous of inquiring into the political 
and social condition of the Jewish communities of the 
Continent. To this task they devoted close upon seven 

In Lady Montefiore's private journal * many interest- 

* Privately printed in 1844. 

Second Visit to the Holy Land. 


ing particulars are preserved conceming the Continen- 
tal Jews at this period. Their condition was not alto- 
gether unsatisfactory, although the sun of ciyil and re- 
ligious liberty had not yet dawned. At Brussels the 
travellers found a community of about eighty families, 
possessing a neat little synagogue, in which sermons in 
German were delivered weekly. At Aix-la-Chapelle 
the community, though very poor, were erecting a new 
synagogue, towards the expense of which the travellers 
contributed. At Strasbourg ritual reforms had already 
been introduced ; but at Avignon, once the home of so 
many learned Rabbis, there were no regular religious ser- 
vices, and no means of obtaining Kosher food. Marseilles 
had some excellent communal schools, in which Hebrew, 
French, and Latin were efficiently taught ; but in Nice, 
then a town of the kingdom of Sardinia, the Jews were 
so oppressed, that the Chacham told Sir Moses it was 
with the greatest difficulty he retained his position 
in the community. Notwithstanding the disabilities to 
which they were subjected, the Jews had, with touching 
loyalty, erected a handsome monument, with a Hebrew 
inscription, commemorating the visit of the King Charles 
Felix to the town. 

Skirting the shores of the Mediterranean in their 
travelling coach-and-six, the Montefiores arrived on the 
3d of January at Genoa, where they attended the ancient 
Synagogue, and relieved the poor, principally immi- 
grants from Northern Africa. The community they 
found in a very impoverished state. Proceeding to 
Florence, where there was a Jewish population of 3000, 
^they met with the first indications in Italy of a liberal 
►licy towards the Jews. The Tuscan Government, 
Itliough maintaining many of the old restrictions, had 

60 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

recently given its Hebrew subjects considerable freedom 
in commercial matters. They were allowed, vnter alia, 
to farm the tobacco revenues ; and many of them were 
extremely well of. In the Papal States, on the other 
hand, the old mediaeval regulations were maintained. 
"How painful," exclaims Lady Montefiore, in her 
diary, " it is to find our people under so many disadvan- 
tages here (Kome) ! Three thousand five hundred souls 
are obliged to maintain themselves by shops, and in a 
confined part of the city. Arts, sciences, mechanism, 
are prohibited. Four times in the year two hundred 
are obliged to attend a sermon for their conversion. It 
is said that no proselytes are made, except occasionally 
from among the most destitute. Leo XII. deprived 
them of the privilege granted by Pius YIL of keeping 
shops out of the Ghetto." Lady Montefiore did not 
confine the expression of her feelings on this subject to 
the privacy of her diary. While entertaining a Papal 
Monsignore, she tells us, " I did not conceal from him 
the indignation with which I should be animated at 
finding myself denied all opportunity of acquiring dis- 
tinction by the free and honorable exertion of such 
ability as might be conferred upon me by the Author of 
my being." 

It was during this visit to Rome that Sir Moses 
Montefiore first encountered Dr. Louis Loewe, a Jewish 
scholar, who for close upon half a century has acted as 
the benevolent Hebrew's lieutenant in all his philan- 
thropic enterprises. An accomplished linguist and earn- 
est Israelite, Dr. Loewe was well fitted for duties, the 
adequate discharge of which required a wide acquaintance 
with foreign languages almost as much as a good Jewish 
heart. Dr. Loewe had already obtained considerable 

Second Visit to the Holy Land. 61 

reputation as a linguist, and while in England had en- 
joyed the patronage of the Duke of Sussex. He had 
travelled extensively in Ethiopia, Syria, Palestine, Tur- 
key, Asia Minor, and Greece. Arabic literature he had 
jread with Sheik Mohammad Ayad Ettantavy ; Persian 
^he had studied under Sheik Eefa; and Coptic he had 
learnt of a Coptic priest. His career had been an ad- 
venturous one, and now, on his return from an Eastern 
tour, he was prosecuting literary researches in the Vati- 
can library, under the auspices of the Cardinals Mezzo- 
fanti, Angelo Mai, and Lambruschini. Dr. Loewe 
spent Passover with the Montefiores at Home, and read 
and expounded to them the Passover service. He sub- 
sequently accepted an invitation to accompany them to 
the Holy Land. 

The Mediterranean was no longer infested with the 
pirates who, on the previous journey, had been so 
serious a source of anxiety; but the eternal Eastern 
Question, in another of its protean shapes, still rendered 
the dominions of the Padishah unsafe for European 
travellers. Shortly before leaving Pome a private mes- 
sage was conveyed to Lady Montefiore from the Baron- 
ess James de Rothschild at Kaples, informing her that 
there was good reason to believe that the Sultan was 
about to make an effort to recover Syria from Mehemet 
Ali, by force of arms, and advising her to persuade her 
husband not to pursue his projected tour. Sir Moses 
was deeply concerned at this intelligence, calculated as 
it was to defeat his cherished plans ; but he buoyed him- 
self up with the hope that he might effect the object of 
his mission before the actual outbreak of hostilities, and 
he adhered to his determination to proceed. No sooner 
had he arrived at Malta, however, than he was met by 

62 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

other and more serious objections. The plague had 
broken out in the Holy Land, and the gates of Jerusalem 
were closed ; the country was stated to be infested with 
brigands; and the heat of a Syrian summer, he was 
warned, would severely try a European constitution. 
Sir Moses was still not to be dissuaded from his enter- 
prise, but he began to feel considerable anxiety on his 
wife's score. He suggested to her that he should pro- 
ceed alone. " This I peremptorily resisted," writes 
Lady Montefiore, ^' and the expression of Euth furnished 
my heart at the moment with the language it most 
desired to use : ' Entreat me not to leave thee, or to 
return from following after thee; for whither thou 
goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge.' " 
Two days later the attached couple embarked in the 
English steamer Megara, and within a week they cast 
anchor in the Bay of Beyrout. 

The journey through the Holy Land resembled 
almost a royal progress. As the friend of Mehemet 
Ali, Sir Moses was received by the authorities with dis- 
tinction ; as a benevolent and wealthy Israelite, desirous 
of seeing Palestine prosper, he was welcomed by the 
poverty-stricken inhabitants with enthusiasm. Immedi- 
ately on his arrival at Beyrout, the Governor waited 
upon him, and begged him to take up his quarters in his 
own house. The following day a numerous congrega- 
tion assembled in the Synagogue and offered up special 
prayers for the safe accomplishment of his undertaking. 
At Safed, where he passed the Pentecost holidays, the 
rejoicings were of the wildest description. Deputations 
met him on the road and presented addresses. Crowds 
of people — young and old, rich and poor — danced 
around him, shouted, clapped their hands, sounded their 

Second Visit to the Holy Lcmd. 


Darrabnkas, and chanted songs of praise. As he entered 
the city guns were fired, and the streets and the tops of 
the houses were thronged with men, women, and chil- 
dren. The Governor, Abd-el-Khalim, attended by the 
Cadi and other influential Mussulmans paid him a cere- 
monious visit, and expressed a hope that, "as Queen 
Esther had delivered her people from destruction, so 
might the Hebrews, suffering in Palestine under such 
accumulated distresses, be relieved by his (Sir Moses') 
efforts." Not less cordial was the reception at Tiberias. 
Deputations from all the congregations awaited Sir 
Moses outside the walls, and the Governor, mounted on 
a beautiful Arab steed, and attended by a numerous 
suite, presented him with an address of welcome. Then 
with music and dancing, and amid deafening cries of 
*' Live the protector !" he entered the town. On the 7th 
June he arrived outside Jerusalem, but in consequence 
of the plague raging in the town, encamped on the 
Mount of Olives. The Governor, Mohamed Djisdor, 
paid a visit to his encampment and pressed him to 
enter the city ; eventually he consented. The conver- 
sation at this interview, which was interpreted by Dr. 
Loewe, and has been preserved by Lady Montefiore, is 
worth quoting : 

The Governor. — "May your day be bright and 
lessed !" 

Sir Moses. — " And yours full of blessings and com- 

The Governor. — "May the Almighty prolong your 
Sir Moses. — " And yours continue in happiness." 
The Governor. — " The air is delightful here." 
Sir Moses. — "Most beautiful. I should think the 

64r The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

breezes of this mountain would convey health and every 
other blessing to the Holy City." 

The Governor. — "Doubtless all blessings arise from 
this mountain; particularly as you have pitched your 
tent upon it." 

Sir Moses, — "Blessed be he who bestows so much 
honor upon me by his kind and flattering expressions !" 

The Governor. — " I say what my heart feels, and that 
which the whole world witnesses with me !" 

Sir Moses. — " I wish it were in my power to show 
my friendly feelings towards you, as well as to others 
who think so kindly of me." 

The Governor. — " I wish to impress on your mind 
that not only the Jews, but the Mussulmans, Christians, 
and every other class of the inhabitants are most anxious 
for your entrance into the Holy City." 

Sir Moses. — " I am perfectly convinced of the worthy 
and distinguished character of its inhabitants, and that 
such it should be is not astonishing, subjected as it is to 
the careful observation of such a governor as yourself ; 
and had it not been on account of Lady M., I should 
have entered the town the very day of my arrival." 

The Governor. — " God shall prolong your life. Only 
under the watchful eye of our Lord, Ibrahim Pacha, and 
yourself, can happiness be increased. At the time when 
our lord came to Jerusalem I went to meet him. He 
said to me, ' Achmet ! ' I replied, ' Effendina ! ' ' You 
know the age when it was said. This is a Christian and 
that a Jew, and there is a Mussulman ! but now, 
Achmet, these times are past. Never ask what he is : 
let him be of whatsoever religion he may, do him justice, 
as the Lord of the world desired of us.' " 

Si/r Moses. — " These are my sentiments. Make no 

Second Visit to the Holy Land. 


listinction. Be like the sun which shines over the whole 
^orld — all are blessed by its light, all strengthened and 
refreshed by its warmth, whether they be Jews, Chris- 
tians, or Mussulmans." 

The Governor . — "Long live Effendina! His sword 

is very long ! Look at the spot on which your tents are 

pitched. Ten years ago five hundred men would have 

)een needed to make your abode here secure. At pres- 

it you may walk with a bag of gold in your hand. 

'ot a soul would molest you." 

Sir Moses. — " You are perfectly right. I can myself 
>ear witness to the change that has taken place in this 
mntry. Twelve years ago, when I visited this town, 
often heard the complaints of travellers. Even at that 
Ime I personally experienced no inconvenience. But 
low that Mehemet Ali governs, we not only travel in 
security, but are furnished by his highness with letters 
►f introduction to the various authorities of the country." 
The Governor. — " Mehemet Ali knows how to appre- 
ciate distinguished persons like yourself ; and I assure 
rou I am longing to show you every proof of my respect, 
lut while you are sitting here in quarantine our means 
are limited, and it is impossible for us to manifest the 
lelight which would otherwise be evidenced. Follow 
ly advice. Enter the city, and I will come and accom- 
my yon with the whole of my suite. The day of your 
appearing among us shall be a festival to all the people. 
I will send you a beautiful Arabian horse; in short, 
whatever you like, whether soldiers, horses, or servants. 
Depend upon it, by my head, by my eyes, by my beard, 
all shall be ready in a moment !" 

Sir Moses. — " I feel highly obliged to you, and am 
fully assured of your good-will. I promise you that I 

66 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

will enter, be it the will of God, on Wednesday morn- 
ing, when I shall be happy to avail myself of the kind 
offer of your company." 

The Governor. — " You have poured torrents of bless- 
ings on my head; and I shall not fail to be here, at 
whatever hour you desire, with the Khakham Morenu, 
whether before or after sunrise. We are all your ser- 

The Governor was as good as his word, and a princely 
reception was accorded to Sir Moses Montefiore. We 
cannot do better than quote the description from Lady 
Montefiore's bright narrative : 

" At a quarter past three we were called, in order to 
commence early preparations for entering the city. The 
Governor arrived at six o'clock, attended by his officers 
and suite. Coffee, cibouks, and a plate of cake were 
served, his excellency giving a piece of the latter to each 
of his suite. After some conversation, we rose to de- 
part. M expressed his wish to ride his own horse, 

thinking that sent for him too spirited, but the Gover- 
nor replied that two young men were appointed to walk 
by his side. All the party being mounted, the Gover- 
nor led the way attended by his officers. The chief of 
the cavalry arranged the order of march, and two sol- 
diers with long muskets were appointed immediately 
to precede me. The scene produced by this descent of 
the Mount of Olives, passing as we were through the 
most romantic defiles, and with long lines of Turkish 
soldiers, mounted on noble Arab horses and dressed in 
the most costly costume, cannot be easily described. 
More honor, they said, could not have been paid even 
to a king. We entered the city through the Gate of the 
Tribes. The streets were narrow, and almost filled ii]) 

Second Visit to the Holy Land. 67 

^p witli loose stones and the ruins of houses which had 

fallen to decay. Our guards on each side were busily 

engaged in keeping off the people, a precaution rendered 

necessary to lessen the danger of contagion. Having 

passed through the bazaar, we entered the Jewish quar- 

l^» ter of the town, and which appeared the cleanest of any 

I^B we had traversed. The streets, every lattice, and all the 

I^V tops of the houses were thronged with children and 

■^" veiled females. Bands of music, and choirs of singers 

welcomed our arrival with melodies composed for the 

IH^ occasion, while every now and then the loud, quick 

■^■^ clapping of hands gave signal that the whole vast crowd 

of spectators was striving to give expression to popular 

I delight. Having reached the Synagogue, the Governor 
entered with us, and then said, addressing M , he 
would leave us to our devotions, and that his oflScer 
should attend us, when we pleased to return to our 
encampment. M was called to the Sepher, and 
offered prayer for all our friends in England, as well as 
for those present. I was allowed the honor of lighting 
four lamps in front of the altar, and putting the bells on 

the Sepher. Blessings were then given for M and 

me, and for the party. We then went successively to 
three other Portuguese, and two German Synagogues. 
Blessings at each place of devotion were offered up for 
us, and no sight can I imagine more impressive or de- 
lightful than that which was thus exhibited." 

I In each of the Holy Cities Sir Moses made elaborate 
inquiries into the state of the Jewish population. He 
endeavored to acquaint himself so thoroughly with the 
condition of every individual, that, in the schemes he 
was contemplating, no one Jew should be neglected. 

68 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

ing all lie saw, he instructed Dr. Loewe to take a kind 
of census of the Hebrew population. For this purpose 
statistical forms were prepared and distributed, and 
when filled up, thej gave copious particulars respecting 
the communities and their institutions. A collection 
was also made of such suggestions for effecting improve- 
ments, as any thouglitful persons in each locality might 
care to commit to writing. The Jewish population 
seemed to regard Sir Moses' schemes with much favor. 
Elaborate reports were supplied by the Rabbis, in which 
many excellent and practical suggestions were made. 
Lady Montefiore sums them up in the words : " Energy 
and talent exist. Nothing is needed but protection and 

But Sir Moses did more than make these statistical 
inquiries ; he munificently relieved the pressing wants 
of the poor in each of the Holy Cities, and without dis- 
tinction of creed. Anticipating that he should find the 
people in a very sorry state, through the devastations of 
earthquake and plague, and the marauding forays of the 
Druses, he provided himself before leaving Alexandria 
with a large sum of money in specie, for distribution in 
the Holy Land. The safety of this money was no small 
source of anxiety during the journey from Beyrout to 
Safed. The country was alive with brigands, and Sir 
Moses and his companions were compelled to arm them- 
selves to the teeth ; even Lady Montefiore carried pistols 
in her holsters. One night, when the escort whose duty 
it was to look after the tents lost their way. Sir Moses 
and Lady Montefiore had to sleep in their rugs, while 
Dr. Loewe and the courier kept watch with loaded fire- 
arms. With their usual good fortune the travellers 
escaped molestation, and the money was successfully 


Second Visit to the Holy Land. 69 

^m distributed at Safed and Tiberias. Careful inquiries 
•^" were first made in order to avoid imposture, and then 
the poor were admitted to Sir Moses' presence in batches 
of thirty, and each man and woman was presented with 
a Spanish dollar, and with half that sum for every child 
under thirteen years of age. Orphans and children over 
thirteen received a full dollar. With rare consideration. 
Sir Moses arranged to receive separately in the evenings, 
those who shrunk from exposing their poverty to the 
I^B public gaze. At Jerusalem he was unable to perform 
' this interesting ceremony, as his stock of money had 

become exhausted, and there was no banker in the city 
to honor his credits ; he was compelled therefore to give 
the authorities drafts on Beyrout. One of the happy 
results of this importation of ready money was, that in 
Safed and Tiberias the price of a measure of corn fell 

■ immediately from five piastres to two. 
His inquiries completed. Sir Moses made all haste to 
lay his plans before Mehemet AH. He reached Alex- 
andria on July 13th, and was cordially received by the 
Pacha, who listened attentively while he unfolded his 
schemes. Mehemet Ali promised every assistance, and 
expressed himself anxious to improve the condition of 
his Hebrew subjects. " You shall have any portion of 
land open for sale in Syria," he said, " and any other 
land which by application to the Sultan might be pro- 
cured for you. You may have any one you would like 
me to appoint as Governor in any of the rural districts 
of the Holy Land, and I will do everything that lies in 
my power to support your praiseworthy endeavors." 
^^^ He further gave instructions to his Minister of Finance, 
^H Burghos Bey, to confirm these assurances in writing. 

70 The Life of Sw Moses Montefiore. 

Land. Sir Moses returned to England with a light 
heart, and prepared to put his plans into execution. 

**The best laid schemes o' mice an' men, 
Gang aft a-gley." 

He was still conning over the voluminous data he had 
collected, and was constructing in his mind the founda- 
tion of a new commonwealth for Palestine, when he 
was suddenly called upon to proceed again to the East 
— this time, not as a peaceful reformer, but as the cham- 
pion of his people, charged to vindicate their honor in 
the face of a foul conspiracy. He cheerfully laid aside 
his agricultural schemes, and gh-ded up his loins for the 
new enterprise. When he returned home in the follow- 
ing spring, crowned with laurels, and hailed on all sides 
as the deliverer of Israel, his triumph was clouded by 
one sad thought — the projects to which he had devoted 
the whole of the previous year were no longer possible. 
Mehemet Ali had ceased to be lord of Syria, and his im- 
proving rule had been replaced by the asphyxiating au- 
thority of the Stamboul Effendis, under whom questions 
of social well-being could expect little furtherance. 

The Damascus Dramfia, 




The "Red Spectre" of Judaism. — Its History and Origin. — Revival 
of the Blood Accusation at Damascus in Consequence of the Dis- 
appearance of Father Thomas. — The Fanaticism of the Monks 
and the Designs of the French Consul. — M. de Ratti-Menton sets 
himself to Manufacture a Case against the Jews.— Secures the 
Co-operation of the Governor of the City. — Arrest, Torture, and 
Confession of a Jewish Barber. — A Jewish Youth Flogged to 
Death. — Further Arrests. — The Prisoners Submitted to Terrible 
Tortures. — Wholesale Seizure of Jewish Children. — Ratti-Men- 
ton's Mouchards. — Another Confession. — The Bottle of Human 
Blood. — Two of the Prisoners Die under Torture. — Protests of the 
Austrian Consul. — A Mass over Mutton Bones. — Attempt to Ex- 
cite the Mussulman Populace. — The Prisoners Condemned to 
Death. — The *• Red Spectre" at Rhodes. — Anti- Jewish Risings. 

Some eighteen centuries and a half ago the city of 
Alexandria was distracted by an agitation against the 
Jews, which, in many of its features, was a perfect 
type of the anti-Semitic movements we have witnessed 
during the present century. The charges against the 
Hebrew people were then the same as now. One 
writer discovered that they were an unsociable tribe ; 
another affirmed that their religion was a danger to the 
State. The Kohling of the day was an Egyptian named 
Apion, who declared that the Jews were required by 
a secret tradition" to make use of human blood in 
leir Passover ceremonies, and that, consequently, they 

T2 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

were obliged to sacrifice annually a certain number of 
Gentiles. The public mind became inflamed, and 
Flaccus Aquilius, tlie Roman Prefect, desirous, like 
many a modern functionary, of ingratiating himself 
with the people, took no measures to prevent the riots 
and massacres that eventually occurred. 

No circumstance of this ancient anti-Jewish agitation 
has been more frequently repeated than the charge of 
the ritual use of human blood. This "Red Spectre" 
of Judaism has haunted the whole history of the He- 
brew dispersion, and has written the larger portion of 
its martyrology. It clung even to the skirts of Chris- 
tianity in the early days of its temporal impotence, 
when its Hebrew origin was still fresh in men's minds. 
Athenagoras found himself compelled to appeal to 
Marcus Aurelius for protection against the calumny ; 
and Origen, in his reply to Celsus, was obliged to cite 
from the Old Testament the many prohibitions ofi the 
use of blood as evidence of the impossibility of the 
alleged practice. In course of time, however, Chris- 
tians themselves adopted the fable, together with many 
other of the superstitions of paganism, and, by a tri- 
umph of prejudice, fastened it on the very people 
whose traditions they had relied on to rebut it when it 
was related of themselves. Notwithstanding that the 
post-Biblical legal codes of the Jews worked out into 
elaborate detail the Scriptural laws on this subject, the 
Church obstinately persisted in repeating the charge. 
No Christian ever disappeared about Easter time but 
the cry immediately arose that he had been murdered 
by the Jews. The calendar bristles with saints who 
are supposed in the flesh to have been victims of this 
"damnable practice of Judaism." Miracles were 

Tli6 Damascus Drama. 


wrought by tlieir bodies and their relics; and their 
shrines have been visited by thousands of pilgrims. 
To this day the accusation is persisted in, and there 
are still people in Europe who believe that ritual mur- 
der is a practice of orthodox Judaism. 

The origin of this extraordinary delusion has per- 
plexed many historical scholars. The most probable 
theory seems to be that it was only a natural corollary 
of the vague impression of the Pagan world that Juda- 
ism was a form of sorcery. In the supernatural medi- 
cine-chest blood has always occupied an important place. 
Even in Biblical times its magical virtue was the bur- 
den of a vulgar superstition ; for we read of harlots 
washing themselves in Ahab's blood, no doubt under 
the impression that some peculiar beautifying property 
attached to the blood of a king. Homer, Horace, and 
Pliny speak of the magical use of blood. Gower in his 
De Confessione Amantis states it to have been pre- 
scribed to Constantino for the cure of his leprosy ; but 
that he refused to try it, and for his piety was miracu- 
lously healed : 

*' The would him bathe in childes bloode, 
Within seven winters' age; 
For as thei sayen, that shulde assuage 
The lepre." 

It is very likely that the superior healthiness of the 
Fews, and their immunity from many epidemic diseases, 
lelped to ^x more firmly in the popular mind the idea 

lat they occasionally fortified themselves with doses of 
mman blood. The specific association of the accusa- 
ion with the Passover has been attributed to the red 

Lne drunk on the first evening of the festival. Red 

74: The Life of Sir Moses Moniefiore. 

wine is chosen because, according to an old Jewish 
legend, when Pharaoh was once seriously ill he caused 
his body to be bathed daily in a bath of the blood of 
Jewish children in order to regain his health. The 
fate of these children and other Jews, stated to have 
been murdered in Egypt, is commemorated on the Pass- 
over by drinking red wine ; and it is conjectured that 
supporters of the Blood Accusation imagine this wine 
to be blood. 

In the spring of 1840 the Jews of Europe were 
startled by a revival of the blood calumny in a peculi- 
arly virulent form. Paragraphs appeared in the Times^ 
the Leipziger Allgemeine Zeitung, the Semaphore de 
Marseilles, and other influential journals, announcing 
that a charge of ritual murder had actually been brought 
home to the Israelitish community of Damascus. Sir 
Moses Montefiore immediately caused inquiries to be 
made into the truth of the allegation, but it was with 
great difficulty that any reliable information could be 
obtained. Ultimately, however, the true story leaked 
out, and, as its harrowing details assumed tangible form, 
it caused a thrill of horror to run through the whole of 
"Western Europe. 

Early in the year a Capuchin friar, named Thomas 
de Calangiano, had, together with his servant, unac- 
countably disappeared. The reverend gentleman was 
well known all over Damascus, where he exercised the 
profession of physician, visiting in that capacity all 
classes of the population, Mussulmans, Catholics, Arme- 
nians, and Jews. A rumor at first pervaded the town 
that a quarrel liad taken place between him and a Turk, 
and that the latter had been heard to swear that the 
" Christian dog" should die by his hand. It was even 

The Damascus Drama. 


said that a figlit had taken place, Yery mysteriously, 
however, the story died away ; and one fine morning a 
mob of Christians crowded into the Jewish quarter, 
shouting that the Jews had murdered Father Thomas, 
to employ his blood in their superstitious rites. Whether 
this demonstration was promoted by the Catholic clergy 
or not, it is impossible to say ; but the barbarous sur- 
mise by which it was actuated does not seem to have 
been at all repugnant to the feelings of these holy men. 
On the contrary, it appears to have suited their interests 
to give it all the support in their power, in order, appar- 
ently, to avoid a conflict between themselves and the 
dominant Mussulman population, which would have 
certainly taken place had an investigation been made of 
tlie clew afforded by the rumored quarrel. Besides, as 
Graetz has shrewdly remarked, a monk killed by the 
Jews would have given them another saint, and fur- 
nished them with an additional claim on the purses of 
the faithful. 

The expediency of the course adopted by the monks 
jcommended itself with peculiar force to the tortuous 
lind of the French Consul, the Count de Ratti-Menton, 
unscrupulous schemer, whose moral character may be 
iferred from the fact that he had already been dis- 
missed from oflSces of trust in Sicily and Tiflis. He 
acquiesced in the accusation against the Jews with alac- 
rity, not merely on the score of the personal interests of 
the local Christians, but, as he diplomatically thought, 
to serve the political ends of France in the East by cur- 
rying favor with the Mussulman population. He im- 
mediately set himself to manufacture a case against the 
Jews ; and for this purpose took into his confidence a 
trio of the most notorious rascals in Damascus, Hanna 

76 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Bacliari Bej, a well-known Jew-hater, Mohammed El- 
Telii, an adventurer, who had ah-eady extorted money 
from the Jews on a trumped-up charge of ritual murder ; 
and Shibli Ajub, a Christian Arab, who was actually 
undergoing at the time a term of imprisonment for 
forgery, of which he had been convicted mainly on the 
evidence of a Jew. The Governor of Damascus, Sheriff 
Pasha, needed no pressing to consent to the proceedings 
of the French Consul. Gallic influence was then para- 
mount in the councils of Mehemet Ali, who was relying 
on the specious promises of Louis Philippe to enable 
him to defy the European allies of the Sultan. It was 
consequently more than a provincial official's head was 
worth to offend a diplomatic agent of the French Gov- 
ernment. Besides, Sheriff Pasha was not insensible to 
the prospect of plunder held out by a well-devised Blood 

The stage thus cleared, the curtain rose on the first 
act of the drama. Bachari Bey, after a long and mys- 
terious inquiry, discovered a person who was willing to 
swear that, on the day of the Padre's disappearance, he 
had seen him and his servant enter a house in the Jew- 
ish quarter of the city. The tenant of the house in 
question, a poor barber, was waited upon by the satel- 
lites of the French Consul, and sternly interrogated. 
He showed so much trepidation and confusion, that it 
was resolved to arrest him, and he was handed over by 
Ratti-Menton to Sheriff Pasha for further examination. 
This took the form of 500 lashes, but it failed to extort 
a confession. More exquisite torture was resorted to, 
but still the poor barber steadfastly denied all knowledge 
of the crime. He was then thrown into a pestiferous 
dungeon to regain strength for further torture. During 

The Damascus Drama. 


his incarceration Shibli Ajiib made his acquaintance as 
a fellow- prisoner, and, acting upon instructions from 
without, endeavored to gain his confidence, with a view 
to eliciting from him the fate of Father Thomas. But 
still he protested that he knew nothing about it ; and all 
the machinations of his wily interlocutor were powerless 
to induce him to incriminate either himself or any of 
his brethren. At last, growing impatient, Shibli de- 
clared himself in his true character. Adopting an im- 
perious tone, he called upon the half -distracted barber 
to confess his guilt at once ; he told him that he was an 
aojent of the Pasha, and if the truth were not imme- 
diately avowed, the tortnre would there and then be re- 
sumed. In an agony of terror the miserable creature 
threw himself at Shibli's feet, and frantically implored 
his mercy. Shibli coldly repeated his interrogatories, 
rhen the barber, yielding to his fears, gasped out that 
le was guilty. So, at least, Shibli reported to his supe- 
iors, at the same time stating that the barber had men- 
ioned as his accomplices several Jewish merchants of 
Damascus, who all, curiously enough, turned out to be 
rery wealthy men. 

In the mean time Sheriff Pasha had sent for the Jew- 
ish ecclesiastical chiefs, and had commanded them to 
discover the criminals within three days. The whole 
community were in consequence summoned to the 
Synagogue by the Rabbis, and a proclamation was read 
calling upon any Jew who knew aught that might lead 
to the detection of the murderers to instantly make it 
known under pain of excommunication. The com- 
munity were likewise enjoined to institute a diligent 
search for the criminals. In consequence of this proc- 
lamation a young man, a Jew, who kept a tobacconist's 

78 TJie Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

shop in the Moslem quarter, close by one of the city 
gates, came forward, and stated that the missing priest 
and his servant had passed by his door at six o'clock on 
the evening of the day on which he was last seen ; that 
he had solicited them to purchase turribehi^ but that they 
had passed on to the house of a Turkish merchant, 
which they had entered. The young man was taken 
before the Pasha, to whom he repeated his story ; but 
the latter, instead of inquiring into its truth, angrily 
accused him of being an accomplice, and ordered him 
to be mercilessly flogged. The youth perished under 
the bastinado. He was the first martyr in this terrible 

Ratti-Menton lost no time in communicating to 
Sheriff Pasha the nature of the barber's alleged confes- 
sion; and seven of the most influential Jews in the 
town — David Arari, his son and two brothers, Moses 
Abulafia, Moses Saloniki, and Joseph , Laniado, the 
latter a man over eighty years of age — were forthwith 
arrested. Examined by the Governor, they one and all 
asserted their innocence. At the suggestion of Ratti- 
Menton the bastinado was called into requisition ; but 
still they denied all knowledge of the missing monk. 
Then they were submitted to the most excruciating tor- 
tures. They were soaked with their clothes for hours 
at a stretch in large tanks of cold water ; their eyes 
were punctured ; they were made to stand upright 
without support for nearly two days ; and when their 
wearied bodies fell down, they were aroused by the 
prick of soldiers' bayonets; they were dragged by the 
ear until their blood gushed ; thorns were driven be- 
tween the nails and flesh of their fingers and toes ; fire 
was set to their beards till their faces were singed; 

The Damascus Drama. 


and candles were held under their noses, so that the 
flames burnt their nostrils. But still no admission of 
guilt passed their lips. Sheriff Pasha then bethought 
himself of another and still more fiendish plan. He 
ordered sixty Jewish children, ranging in age from 
three to ten years, to be forcibly torn from their 
mothers, and locked up in a room without food, in the 
hope that the bereaved parents would frantically de- 
nounce the murderers. This infernal expedient also 
failed. Then maddened by their want of success, Sheriff 
Pasha and Ratti-Menton invaded the Jewish quarter 
with a troop of soldiers, and demolished several houses 
ostensibly to find evidence. Nothing was discovered ; 
and the enraged Governor before taking his leave swore 
a tremendous oath, that if the body of Father Thomas 
were not soon produced, many hundred Jewish heads 
should pay the penalty. 

All this time Ratti-Menton's mouchards had not been 
idle. They had managed to -obtain for themselves the 
entree to the houses of the imprisoned Jews, and day 
after day they had spent in cajoling the servants. Mo- 
hammed El-Telli had specially attached himself to one 
of Arari's servants, Mourad El-Fallat, and eventually he 
prevailed upon him to admit that he had killed Father 
Thomas at his master's orders, and in presence of the 
other prisoners. This was held by Ratti-Menton to be 
a confirmation of the barber's narrative, notwithstanding 
the discrepancy that both the self-accusers claimed to 
have alone committed the deed. A search for the 
remains of the murdered man was at once instituted, 
and resulted in the finding of a piece of bone and a 
rag in a drain near Arari's house. The bone was de 
Glared by Ratti-Menton to be a portion of the priest's 

80 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

skull, and the rag a part of his cap. The guilt of the 
accused was now considered established, and all that 
remained to be discovered was the blood, for the sake 
of which the Padre was alleged to have been murdered. 
The seven prisoners were again dragged before the 
Pasha and examined, but to no purpose. Torture was 
then once more tried. The aged Laniado died under 
the bastinado. Worn out with pain, one of the prisoners 
whispered to a jailer that he had given the blood to 
Moses Abulafia. The latter, after receiving another 
thousand blows, and hardly knowing what he was saying, 
stammered out that he had hidden the bottle in a certain 
closet. Abulafia was carried on the backs of four men 
to the closet indicated by him, where, of course, no 
traces of blood were found. The tortures were then 
resumed, but without any other result than that David 
Arari shared the fate of Joseph Laniado, and Abulafia 
purchased immunity from further molestation by turn- 
ing Mussulman. 

Towards the beginning of March suspicion fell upon 
six more Jews, among them one Isaac Levi Picciotto, 
an Austrian subject. He appealed to his Consul, M. 
Merlato, for protection, and the latter, who had watched 
the proceedings of Katti-Menton with undisguised 
abhorrence, refused to deliver him up. All kinds of 
so-called evidence of his guilt were offered, and threats 
were even used towards his protector, but M. Merlato 
proved immovable. About the same time more bones 
were discovered, and although they were pronounced by 
physicians to be sheep's bones, Eatti-Menton declared 
them to be the skeleton of the missing priest. He even 
went to the extent of ordering the monks to celebrate 
a mass over the remains, and then sent another insolent 

The Damascus Drama. 


message to the Austrian Consul, demanding of him the 
Jew Picciotto. 

M. Merlato now thoroughly lost his patience. The 
horror with which he had silently watched the French 
Consul's proceedings became intolerable, and he felt 
compelled to remonstrate with him publicly. This he 
did in no measured terms, at the same time threatening 
to communicate with his government. The gravity of 
his position seems to have now dawned upon Katti- 
Menton for the first time, and he hastily devoted liim- 
self to the task of transferring the responsibility for 
the outrages from himself to the Mussulman popula- 
tion, who, strange to say, had taken but a very languid 
interest in the whole affair. In order to excite their 
fanaticism, he caused to be translated into Arabic a 
lying anti-Jewish work, the Pompta BibliotTieca^ of 
Lucio Ferrajo, in which the ritual use of human blood 
by Jews is sought to be demonstrated by forged 
extracts from the Talmud. The riots he anticipated 
would follow from this publication did not, however, 
take place. Then he resolved to put a bold face on 
the whole matter. He held a mock judicial inquiry, 
at which he admitted the Pomjpta Bibliotheca as 
evidence, and his own creatures as witnesses, and 
ultimately decided (1) that the Jews used human blood 
\m their Passover services, and (2) that the imprisoned 
Jews had murdered the priest Thomas de Calangiano 
for the purposes of their Passover. As a result of this 
finding, he formally demanded of the Governor the 
execution of the prisoners ; and Sheriff Pasha, with an 
equally ostentatious respect for legal procedure, prom- 
ised to apply immediately to Cairo for a confirmation 
of the death sentences. 

82 The Life of Sir Moses Montejlore. 

While this tragedy was being enacted at Damascus, 
a no less unhappy revival of the Blood Accusation 
occurred in Rhodes. In that island, a Greek boy, ten 
years of age, had disappeared, and a rumor at once 
spread that the Jews had killed him. The Consuls 
of the European powers, in their zeal for Christian 
interests, called upon the Mussulman Governor, Jussuf 
Pasha, to adopt severe measures against the Jews. 
Among the bitterest accusers of the persecuted Hebrews 
were the British Consul, Mr. Wilkinson, and his son. 
The Austrian Consul alone protested against the dis- 
graceful return to mediaeval superstition. On the rep- 
resentations of two Greek women that the missing boy 
had been last seen in the company of a certain Jew, 
this unhappy individual was seized and thrown into 
prison. Then, to the lasting shame of Christian civili- 
zation, the Consuls attempted to extort a confession by 
torture. They flogged their prisoner, they burnt his 
flesh with red-hot irons, and dislocated his bones on the 
rack. The result was, of course, the same as at Damas- 
cus — the wretched Hebrew, delirious with pain, aim- 
lessly moaned out the names of several of his co-re- 
ligionists. These were in their turn seized and charged, 
not only with the murder, but also with having 
extracted the blood from the body of the missing 
boy, and transmitted it to the Chief Rabbi at Con- 
stantinople. No confession being forthcoming, they 
were also tortured and imprisoned. Then the gates 
of the Ghetto were ordered to be closed, and no food 
was allowed to enter for three days. Still no discovery 
was made ; and it was finally attempted to manufacture 
a case by smuggling a dead body into the Jewish 

The Damascus Drama. 


[uarter at night. Tlie vigilance of the Jews defeated 
this infamous plan. 
The news soon spread that another Jewish ritual 

icrifice had been detected, and popular risings against 
the Israelites took place in several towns of Syria. 
What Eatti-Menton had been powerless to effect by his 
transparent intrigues, was brought about by the con- 
sternation caused by the new discovery at Rhodes. At 
Djabar, near Damascus, the mob rose and sacked the 
synagogue. At Beyrout and Smyrna serious riots, 

»roke out. For a moment it seemed as if the whole of 

lastern Judaism was about to be ingulfed in a wave of 
This was the horrible story that startled the Jews of 
estern Europe about the middle of April, 1840. 

84 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 



Significance of the new Blood Accusation to the Jews of England. 
— Appeals for Help. — Meeting convened by Sir Moses Montefiore. 
— Interview with Lord Palmerston. — M. Cremieux has an Audi- 
ence of Louis Philippe. — Action of Prince Metternich. — Mehemet 
Ali takes Alarm, and Appoints a Consular Commission of 
Inquiry. — French Intrigues. — M. Thiers Protests against the 
Inquiry. — Resolve to send a Mission to Mehemet Ali, headed 
by Sir Moses Montefiore. — Debate in Parliament. — Indignation 
Meeting at the Mansion House. — Acquittal of the Jews of 
Rhodes. — Sir Moses Montefiore arrives at Alexandria, and Inter- 
views the Viceroy. — Hesitation of Mehemet Ali. — Intrigues of the 
French Consul. — Sir Moses Montefiore's Diplomacy. — Its Happy 
Results. — Release of the Damascus Prisoners. — The Eastern 
Question. — Egypt and the Quadruple Alliance. — Mehemet Ali 
Loses Syria. — Sir Moses Montefiore Proceeds to Constantinople, 
and Obtains an Important Firman from the Sultan. — The Jour- 
ney Home. — Sir Moses Montefiore and Louis Philippe. — Re- 
joicings of the Jews. — Royal Recognition of Sir Moses' Efforts. 

To the Jews of England the new Blood Accusation 
was a source of the deepest anxiety. Under any cir- 
cumstances the revival of so sinister an appeal to vulgar 
fears and prejudices would have been of serious mo- 
ment, but occurring in the midst of a critical struggle 
for their emancipation, and in connection with political 
complication, which rendered an adverse decision by no 
means improbable, its aspect in 1840 was of an exceed- 
ingly grave character. The Roman Catholic Church 
had irrevocably committed itself to the guilt of the 

The Mission to Mehemet Ali. 85 

Damascus Israelites, and France, masking her designs 
on Syria by a Pharisaical championship of the Eastern 
Christians, had bound herself to a similar conclusion. 
In the diplomatic conflict between Lonis Philippe and 
the Quadruple Alliance, a French success meant certain 
conviction of the imprisoned Jews at Damascus ; and, in 
presence of M. Thiers' warlike attitude, such a success 
was by no means unlikely. To the Powers it was prob- 
ably a small matter, in the aggregate of interests at stake 
in Egypt, whether a few Jews were or were not found 
guilty of murder ; but, to the Jews as a body, and par- 
ticularly those of England, no more serious question had 
occurred for many years. The alleged murder was, it 
must be remembered, a ritual murder, and for a civilized 
European power like France to give its countenance, 
however incidentally, to the theory of the possibility of 
such a murder, was to arm the enemies of the Jews — 
and they were by no means few — with the most power- 
ful weapon they had possessed for ages. Far-seeing 
Jew^ in England felt this. They saw, too, its practical 
bearing on their own struggle for freedom, and their 
action was consequently prompt. 

On the 21st Apnl Sir Moses Montefiore convened a 
meeting at his residence in Park Lane to consider the 
news from the East. Many Jews eminent in the com- 
munity attended, in addition to the members of the 
Board of Deputies; Mr. Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, Mr. 
David Salomons, Mr. A. A. Goldsmid, Dr. Loewe, 
and Dr. Barnard Yan Oven were among those present. 
M. Cremieux, then Yice-President of the Consistoire 
Central, and a busy advocate at the French bar, at- 
tended on behalf of the Jews of France. The story of 
the sufferings of the Eastern Israelites was placed before 

86 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

the meeting in the shape of letters from Damascus, 
Bejront, Alexandria, and Constantinople, and a com- 
munication was also read from the Eev. S. Hirschel, the 
then Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, solemnly repudiating 
the charge of shedding liuman blood for ritual purposes. 
After a spirited discussion, a series of resolutions was 
adopted, expressing the concern, disgust, and horror of 
the meeting at such unfounded and cruel accusations 
against their Eastern brethren, and at the barbarous tor- 
tures inflicted upon them ; entreating the Governments 
of England, France, and Austria to take up the cause of 
the unhappy Jews, and appointing a deputation to wait 
on Lord Palmerston (who was at the time Her Majesty's 
Secretary for Foreign Affairs), with Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore at its head. 

The reception accorded to Sir Moses and his col- 
leagues at Downing Street was extremely gratifying. 
Lord Palmerston expressed abhorrence of the persecu- 
tion at Damascus ; assured the deputation that the influ- 
ence of the British Government should be exerted on 
behalf of the Jews, and promised that instructions should 
immediately be sent to Colonel Hodges, at Alexandria, 
and Lord Ponsonby, at Constantinople, directing them 
to use every effort to prevent a continuance of the out- 
rages. On the same day M. Cremieux had an audience 
of the French King, but with not quite so satisfactory 
a result. " I know nothing of all you have told me," 
coldly replied Louis Philippe, " but if, in any part of 
the world, there are Jews who appeal to my protection, 
and it is in the power of my Government to afford that 
protection, you may depend upon it that it will be 
granted." In Austria, on the other hand, very efficient 
action was taken. Prince Metternich, pleased to find 

The Mission to Mehemet Ali. 87 

that his diplomatic agents in the East had ah'eadj de- 
clared themselves on what he was shrewd enough to 
perceive would prove the side of justice and right, ad- 
dressed a personal remonstrance to Mehemet Ali, and 
instructed the Austrian Consul Laurier to insist upon 
the fullest reparation to the Damascus Israelites. 

The result of these vigorous movements on the part 
of the Western Jews was to cause great uneasiness in 
the mind of the Egyptian Viceroy. M. Cochelet, the 
French Consul at Alexandria, did his best to laugh 
away Mehemet's anxieties, and for a time the latter 
yielded himself up entirely to the Frenchman's advice 
and consolations ; but at last a joint representation by 
the foreign Consuls convinced him that the Powers were 
in earnest, and he hurriedly sent orders to Sheriff Pasha 
to stop the outrages, and directed that an armed force 
should proceed to Damascus to quell disturbances and 
maintain order. He also appointed a Commission of 
Inquiry, consisting of the English, Austrian, Eussian, 
and Prussian Consuls, with permission to take evidence 
at Damascus, and to conduct their proceedings accord- 
ing to European rule. 

Nothing could have been more satisfactory to the 
Jews. Unfortunately the political atmosphere was too 
heavily charged with intrigue for so straightforward a 
course to be pursued to the end. The warlike policy of 
the French Ministry had brought about serious differ- 
ences between M. Thiers and his Eoyal master, and the 
former was desirous, at all hazards, to obtain for himself 
the support of a majority in the Chambers. Just at that 
moment the Clerical party were equally anxious that no 
inquiry should be held in respect to the Damascus out- 
rages, and, to conciliate them, M. Thiers instructed M. 

88 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Cochelet to protest in the strongest possible maimer 
against the appointment of the Consular commission. 
Mehemet Ali, apprehensive amid his increasing diffi- 
culties of alienating his only friend among the Powers, 
allowed himself to be intimidated, and forthwith can- 
celled the appointment. 

It now became necessary for the Jews of Europe to 
renew their agitation. Conferences and meetings were 
lield at Sir Moses Montefiore's house, and commimica- 
tions were opened with foreign and colonial communities. 
Eventually, on the 15tli June, it was resolved to send 
a mission to Mehemet Ali, and the zealous President 
of the Board of Deputies was asked to undertake its 
leadership. With his usual devotion to the interests 
of his brethren he accepted the onerous appointment, 
and a subscription to defray the expenses was imme- 
diately set on foot. The Sephardi congregation in Bevis 
Marks handsomely gave £600 from their Cautivos fund ; 
other Synagogues offered according to their means. 
Meetings in support of the action of the London Israel- 
ites were held, and contributions were raised at Ham- 
burg, Leghorn, E^ew York, Philadelphia, St. Thomas, 
and Jamaica. M. Cremieux was deputed by the Jews 
of France to accompany Sir Moses Montefiore, but he 
failed to obtain from the French Government the 
slightest support ; even recommendations to French 
officials in the East were denied him. M. Thiers had 
been irritated by a debate on the Damascus affair that 
had taken place in the French Chamber at the instance 
of M. Achille Fould, and this was doubtless his revenge. 
It had a very desponding effect upon M. Cremieux, who, 
on his arrival in London, bitterly declared, " La France 
est contre nous 1" 

The Mission to Mehemet Ali. 


Before the departure of the mission two significant 
emonstrations in its favor took place in London, the 
first in the House of Commons, the second at the Man- 
sion House. The debate in Parliament was initiated 
by Sir Robert Peel, who, " in the interests of general 
humanity," called upon the Ministry to insist upon an 
investigation of the Damascus mystery. " Thus," said 
the speaker, " they will be enabled to rescue that great 
portion of society, the Jews, who, in every other coun- 
try in which they live, have, by their conduct in private 
life, conciliated the general estimation and good-will of 
their fellow-subjects, from a charge which is founded on 
prejudice, and must subject them to the most grievous 
injustice." Lord Palmerston's reply was all that could 
be desired. Full reports had not yet been received from 
the East, but strong representations had been made to 
ehemet Ali. "Upon hearing of the circumstance," 
id the Minister, "I immediately instructed Colonel 
edges at Alexandria to bring the subject under the 
rious attention of the Pasha of Egypt, to point out to 
im the effect which such atrocities as these must pro- 
nce on the public mind of Europe, and to urge him, 
for his own sake, to institute such inquiries as would 
enable him to punish the guilty parties, if guilty parties 
there are, and to make such an atonement as is in his 
power to the unfortunate sufferers." The demonstra- 
tion at the Mansion House was still more gratifying. It 
was convened by the Lord Mayor, Sir Chapman Mar- 
shall, in response to a memorial signed by 210 members 
of Parliament, merchants, bankers, etc., and was influen- 
tially attended. The speakers included Mr. J. A. Smith, 
M.P., Dr. Bowring, Lord Howden, and Daniel O'Con- 
uell, and among the company were Sir Denham Nor- 

90 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

rejs, M.P., Mr. James Morrison, M.P., Mr. W. Attwood, 
M.P., Mr. Martin Smith, M.P., Mr. S. Gurney, the 
Hon. and Rev. Baptist IToel, Sir C. Forbes, Mr. John 
Dillon, and Thomas Campbell, the poet. Several effective 
speeches were delivered, and, amid much enthusiasm, 
resolutions were passed setting forth the commiseration 
felt by all true Christians for the persecuted Jews of 
Damascus and Rhodes, declaring their abhorrence at the 
use of torture and their disbelief in the confessions ob- 
tained thereby, and expressing their deep regret that, in 
this enlightened age, a persecution should have arisen 
against the Jews, originating in ignorance and inflamed 
by bigotry. The Lord Mayor was empowered by the 
meeting to present copies of these resolutions to all the 
foreign ambassadors as well as to the British Govern- 
ment. Thus encouraged. Sir Moses Montefiore left 
London on the Ytli July accompanied by Lady Monte- 
fiore, M. Cremieux, M. Munk, Mr. Alderman Wire, Dr. 
Loewe, and Dr. Madden. Before his departure he was 
graciously received by Her Majesty the Queen, and was 
furnished by the Foreign Office with recommendations 
to the diplomatic agents of Great Britain in the East. 
He was also provided by the Jewish ecclesiastical 
authorities with important documents formally repudiat- 
ing the charge of ritual murder. 

Notwithstanding the hostile attitude of the French 
Government, the Mission were well received at their 
various halting-places in France, especially at Avignon, 
Nimes, Carpentras, and Marseilles. At the latter town 
good news reached them from Rhodes. A special 
tribunal, under the presidency of Rifaat Bey, had, after 
a short but exhaustive inquiry, come to the conclusion 
that the accusation against the Jews was unfounded. 

TJie Mission to Mehemet Ali. 91 

The prisoners had been restored to their homes, and 
Jnssuf Pasha, the Governor, dismissed from his post by 
the Sultan. At Leghorn, on the other hand, discourag- 
ing intelligence was received from Syria. That province 
was in open rebellion against the rule of Mehemet Ali ; 
Suleiman Pasha, one of the Viceroy's generals, had been 
attacked and taken prisoner, and Beyrout was blockaded. 
The dangers of the expedition were pointed out to Sir 
Moses Montefiore, but he declined to desert the cause 
he had undertaken, whatever the risks to which he might 
be exposed. On the 2Yth July the Mission arrived at 
Malta, where they learnt that the insurrection in Syria 
was on the point of being quelled. Continuing their 
voyage, they reached Alexandria on the 4th August. 

Sir Moses Montefiore at once delivered his credentials 
and despatches to Colonel Hodges, and requested that 
he would procure for him an immediate audience with 
the Pasha. At the same time all the foreign Consuls, 
with the exception of M. Cochelet, tendered their sup- 
port to the Jewish representative. On the 6th August 
Sir Moses was courteously received by Mehemet Ali, to 
whom he presented a petition asking for permission to 
proceed to Damascus for the purpose of obtaining evi- 
dence on behalf of the imprisoned Jews, and to see and 
interrogate the prisoners. He further prayed that safety 
should be guaranteed to the members of the Mission and 
all persons giving evidence. Mehemet Ali promised to 
consider the petition. Two more interviews took place, 
but no decision was arrived at. On one pretence or an- 
other Sir Moses was then put off from day to day, and 
it soon became evident that intrigues were being carried 
on against him, the nature of which he could only sus- 
pect from M. Cochelet's frequent interviews with the 

92 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Yiceroy and his open unfriendliness to the Mission. M. 
Cochelet had daringly shown his animosity by declining, 
contrary to all etiquette, to present M. Cremieux to the 

Sir Moses proved equal to the difficulties of the situ- 
ation. The embarrassment of Mehemet Ali in respect 
to Syria was becoming daily more critical, and it was 
obvious that, while there was still a hope of peace, he 
would not care to strain his relations with the Powers 
by a conflict with the entire consular body. Sir Moses 
accordingly arranged that another petition should be 
drawn up, but this time by the Consuls, who should 
present it in person to the Pasha. This move had its 
desired effect. The day before the petition was to be 
presented an English merchant of Alexandria, Mr. 
Briggs, called upon Sir Moses and informed him that 
the Pasha was willing to release the prisoners provided 
the whole matter was allowed to fall into oblivion. The 
Jewish Mission had not desired merely the release of the 
Jews, but a new trial to enable them to clear their char- 
acter. Considering, however, the perturbed political 
state of the country. Sir Moses agreed to waive his 
demands for a trial, provided Mehemet Ali discharged 
the prisoners at once. Mr. Briggs repeated the obser- 
vation to Mehemet Ali, whereupon His Highness, 
still under the influence of M. Cochelet, made out the 
Firman in the shape of a pardon. This was, of course, 
not acceptable to Sir Moses, who returned it, with the 
remark that the discharge must be granted as an act of 
justice, or he should not be able to accept it at all. 
Ultimately the firmness of the Jewish champion pre- 
vailed, and the Firman was amended as he wished. 
Subsequently an order of general protection to the 

The Mission to Mehemet Ali. 93 

Jews was also given, together with permission to the 
members of the Jewish Mission to proceed to Damas- 
cus. At a concluding interview Mehemet Ali person- 
ally assured the Hebrew embassy of his complete dis- 
belief of the Blood Accusation. 

Sir Moses Montefiore and his colleagues had intended 
to carry the Firman themselves to Damascus, but their 
design had to be abandoned, partly in consequence of 
the dangers of the journey, and partly because it was 
feared that an outbreak of fanaticism on the part of the 
Christians might follow such a visit. An authenticated 
copy of the order of release was forwarded to Sheriff 
Pasha by other channels, and the British Consul was 
requested to see that it was carried out. The Firman 
arrived on the 6th September. M. de Ratti-Menton 
endeavored for a time to oppose its execution, but un- 
availingly. The nine prisoners — seven of whom had 
become crippled for life by the tortures to which they 
had been subjected — were released, and it was publicly 
made known that the Jews who had fled might return 
to their families. To a large proportion of the Moliam- 
medan population the Firman gave great satisfaction, 
but the Christians did not disguise their disappointment. 
With solemn pomp they erected in the Church of the 
Capuchins, over the mutton bones discovered by Ratti- 

IMenton, a memorial tablet, setting forth that beneath 
were interred the remains of Father Thomas, " who had 
been murdered by the Jews." 
The members of the Jewish Mission, before return- 
ing home, attempted to sow the seeds of some permanent 
improvement in the condition of the Eastern Israelites. 
Sir Moses Montefiore made a careful study of their po- 

94 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

advantages of secular education. The latter then left for 
Europe, and received a perfect ovation on his liomeward 

Sir Moses was preparing to follow his colleague's ex- 
ample, when a change in the political situation necessi- 
tated an alteration in his plans. An open rupture had, 
at last, taken place between Mehemet Ali and the Quad- 
ruple Alliance, and at Kaleb-Medina the Egyptian forces 
had been totally defeated. Alexandria itself was block- 
aded by Admiral Napier, and at Damascus the monks, 
taking advantage of the new complications, were fiercely 
preaching a crusade against the Jews. Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore rightly judged that, to accomplish the mission with 
which he had been entrusted, it was now necessary to 
obtain from the new master of Syria the same assur- 
ances that he had received from the old. He accordingly 
sailed for Constantinople, and on the 28th October 
was received in audience by the Sultan, Abdul-Medjid. 
He has himself described his interview with the Com- 
mander of the Faithful. In a letter to the Board of 
Deputies he wrote as follows : 

"At the appointed time, accompanied by George 
Samuel, Esq., D. W. Wire, Esq., and Dr. Loewe, with 
Frederick Pisani, Esq., first Dragoman to the British 
Embassy, I proceeded to the palace. We went in state. 
On our arrival we were saluted by a guard of honor and 
a military band, and ushered into an elegant apartment, 
where H.E. Eeschid Pasha and Kiza Pasha awaited our 
arrival. Pipes and coffee were handed round. In a 
few minutes an oflScer announced that his Imperial 
Majesty was ready to receive us. Preceded and fol- 
lowed by a great many officers, we walked across a 
garden, and were introduced into the State apartments, 


The Mission to Mehemet AH. 95 

where we found His Majesty seated. We advanced to 
the right, when the great officers of State took their 
places on the left of His Majesty. I read an address, 
which was translated into Turkish by Mr. Pisani. His 
Majesty made a most gracious reply, which was after- 
wards reduced into writing, and sent to me by H.E. 
Keschid Pasha. As soon as His Majesty had finished 
liis reply, he requested me to come nearer to him, when 
I was presented by H.E. Reschid Pasha, and His Majesty 
then desh-ed I would present the gentlemen accompany- 
ing me, which I did, severally, by name. Immediately 
we retired from the presence we were conducted to a 
room below, where sherbet was served round, and we 
received the congratulations of the ministers present; 
after which we left the palace and returned home, in 
the same state with which we went. Thus ended an 
audience most gratifying to my feelings, because I was 
assured the honor conferred upon us reflected back upon 
those who sent us, as well as upon all our co-religionists. 
This is my apology for being so minute in detailing cir- 
cumstances which might otherwise appear unimportant. 
I have not yet got the Firman, but I have no reason to 
doubt that I shall receive it in sufficient time to enable 
me to leave here by the next packet for Malta. So im- 
portant, however, do I consider it, that I shall not hesi- 
tate to make a further sacrifice of my comforts, and 
winter here rather than leave the city without its being 
in my possession." 

On the 11th November he received the Firman 
from Reschid Pasha. In this document not only is the 
groundlessness of the Blood Accusation demonstrated, 
but the equality of the Jews with the other subjects of 
the Padishah is declared, and any molestation of them 

S6 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

in their religions or temporal concerns prohibited. Sir 
Moses does not overrate the importance of this Firman 
in the following extract from one of his letters to a 
friend in England : 

" There can be no doubt but that the Firman will be 
productive of lasting benefit to our people. It has been 
received with joy I cannot describe by those to whom I 
had the pleasure of reading it, and by those to whom its 
contents were made known during the course of our 
voyage. ... In the East it is as much appreciated as 
were the Acts for the Repeal of the Catholic Disabilities 
and the Test and Corporation Acts at home, by those 
who were interested in such repeal. It is, indeed, the 
^ Magna Charta ' for the Jews in the Turkish dominions. 
How can I express my gratitude to Him in whose hands 
are all our affairs, that He has been pleased to prosper 
our labors, and enabled us to vindicate the innocence of 
our brethren ! Thus the clouds that hung over them, 
and which for a time threatened to obscure the bright- 
ness and glory of our religion, have, by the merciful 
goodness of God, been driven away ; I trust forever. 
And I pray that peace may now be upon all Israel 1 I 
cannot but congratulate you, and all our friends in Eng- 
land, upon the triumphant success which has attended 
our labors. Sustained by God — upheld by your prayers 
and sympathies — we have surmounted many difficulties, 
endured much privation and anxiety, and at last have 
been rewarded for all, by the assurance that we have 
not left our country in vain." 

Before quitting Constantinople Sir Moses Montefiore 
devoted considerable attention to the educational wants 
of his brethren in the Turkish capital. At a meeting 
of the principal men in the community he rebuked 

The Mission to Mehemet Ali. 97 


l^»them for their unwisdom in concentrating all their 
^H energies on the study of Hebrew, without giving due 
^H attention to the vernacular of the land in which they 
^H lived. He then requested Dr. Loewe to draw up a kind 
^^" of proclamation to the Jews of the Ottoman Empire. 
, pointing out the importance of studying the Turkish 

Y^k language. Copies of this proclamation were distributed 
"^^ broadcast, and posted on the portals of every synagogue. 

Sagacious statesmen in Turkey cordially approved of this 
Y^m action of Sir Moses. Reschid Pasha is reported to have 
I^H said to him, " If you had done nothing more than this 
I^B in Constantinople, you should consider yourself amply 
I^B compensated for the trouble and fatigue you have un- 
I^B dergone. In advising your brethren to acquire a knowl- 
I^K edge of the Turkish language you have been instru- 
I^B mental in enabling them to raise themselves to some of 
I^H the highest offices in the Empire." Events have justi- 
I^K fied this remark of Abdul-Medjid's shrewd Yizier. To- 
^^B day many posts of dignity and usefulness at the Sublime 
^^B Porte are occupied by Jews. 

I^B On his way home Sir Moses Montefiore, with charac- 
I^H teristic thoroughness, gave two more finishing-touches to 

the great work he had so happily completed. At Rome 

I he saw Cardinal Rivarola, the head of the Capuchin 
Order, and obtained from him a promise that instruc- 
tions should be sent to Damascus, commanding the 
removal of the memorial tablet to Father Thomas, 
which described the Padre as having been murdered by 
Jews. The order was sent, but the Damascus monks 
i^H disregarded it, and for twenty years the stone with its 
I^H lying inscnption was allowed to remain. At Paris Sir 
I^B Moses was presented to the French King by the British 
I^B Ambassador, and handed to His Majesty a copy of the 

98 The Life of Sir Moses Montefim^e. 

Sultan's Firman declaring the innocence of the Damas- 
cus Jews. Louis Philippe congratulated the Jewish 
champion on the success he had achieved, although he 
could not but have felt some degree of humiliation in 
doing so. It was not only that the Firman marked the 
defeat of French ambitions in the East, but the circum- 
stances of the interview itself seemed full of sly mock- 
ery at the mistakes of France. That a Jew should read 
a lesson on toleration to a French monarch was in itself 
bad enough, but that he should read this lesson on the 
authority of a Turkish Sultan, who had just got the 
better of France in a political struggle, must have been 
extremely awkward. 

In England Sir Moses Montefiore was received with 
great rejoicings. A Day of Thanksgiving was ap- 
pointed for the 8th March, 1841, and special services 
were held in the Synagogues. A testimonial monument 
in silver designed by Sir Gr. Hayter, and measuring 
three and a half feet in height, was presented to him by 
the Jews, and the Queen showed a graceful apprecia- 
tion of his labors by granting him permission to add 
supporters to his arms, a privilege usually only accorded 
to peers and knights of orders. All over Europe and 
America, and even in the far East, the Jews celebrated 
with enthusiasm the success of their champion. In 
Germany it was proposed to institute a new Purim in 
his honor, and Isaac Erter, the most elegant of modern 
Hebrew stylists, wrote a considerable portion of a work 
in Biblical verse to be read in the Synagogue on each 
anniversary, as the Book of Esther is read on the daj^ 
which commemorates the defeat of the conspiracy of 

The Jews did not overestimate the significance of Sir 

The Mission to Meheinet AIL 99 

Moses' triumph. It has had far-reaching consequences 
in Hebrew history, the beneficial effects of which are 
still unexhausted. " Damascus " became the watch- 
word of a new struggle for freedom, which reached from 
the shores of the Persian Gulf to the banks of the 
Thames — a struggle to throw off not only political 
shackles but the demoralizing effects of centuries of 
persecution. It taught the Jews the necessity of a 
common effort to raise themselves to the level of 
modern culture, so that not only might they win a 
political equality with their fellow-men, but that their 
traditions might be worthily sustained. It founded 
Jewish solidarity on a new and intelligent basis, and to- 
day the Alliance Israelite Tlniverselle^ with its brilliant 
record of political successes and its network of schools 
covering the East from Bagdad to Salonica, is its 
practical outcome. 

The Jewish triumph derived no small amount of its 
lustre from the straightforwardness and honesty with 
which it had been obtained. Amid the dark intrigues 
of the Eastern imbroglio of 1840 the conduct of Sir 
Moses Montefiore and his colleagues is one of the few 
circumstances on which the mind can dwell with pleas- 
ure. More than one offer of venal assistance was made 
to them, but they were scornfully rejected. The rich 
id vivacious table-talk of Sir Moses Montefiore com- 
)rises no more striking anecdote than that in which 
he is wont to relate how he subsequently repelled the 
charge that the Firman of the 12th Eamazan had 
cbeen bought. In the course of his negotiations with 
Jardinal Antonelli on the Mortara affair he had occa- 
sion to refer to the Firman, whereupon the Cardinal 
jlyly asked how much of Kothschild's gold he had paid 

100 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

for it ? " Not so much," warmly answered Sir Moses, 
" as I gave your lackey for hanging up my coat in your 



Synagogal Labors. — Sir Moses' Popularity. — Visits to the Congrega- 
tional Schools. — He helps to promote Education in the Jewish 
Community. — Jews' College, the Jews' Hospital, and the Free 
School. — The Board of Deputies. — Its Constitution and Functions. 
— Sir Moses Corresponds with Sir James Graham and Sir Robert 
Peel in respect to Various Bills before Parliament. — Foreign 
Affairs.— The Holy Land. — Sir Moses Montefiore Establishes a 
Loan Fund, a Printing Establishment, and a Linen Factory at 
Jerusalem. — Assists Agricultural Schemes, and Founds a Free 
Dispensary. — He Raises a Relief Fund for the Jews of Smyrna. — 
Promotes the Building of a Khan at Beyrout. — The Blood Accu- 
sation at Marmora. — Sir Moses Montefiore and Sir Stratford Can- 
ning. — The Jews of Morocco. — Correspondence with Bokhara. 
— The " Reform" Movement in the Anglo- Jewish Community. 

MiscELLAc^Eous work in the community at home oc- 
cupied the next ^nq years of Sir Moses Montefiore's 
life. This was the work nearest his heart, and he de- 
voted to it all his energies. To labor for the ancient 
Synagogue round which so many solemn traditions gath- 
ered, to assist in administering the affairs of its dej^end- 
ent institutions— monuments to the benevolence and in- 
telligence of his own kith and kin — were almost passions 
with him. He attended the meetings of every institu- 
tion to which he belonged with old-world punctuality. 
In the President's chair at the Board of Deputies he 

Five Years of Home Worh. 


repj'esented the political interests of his brethren with 
dignity and zeal. The Synagogue knew no more fa- 
miliar figure than his. On Sabbath mornings, when in 
town, he would religiously walk from Park Lane to 
Bevis Marks, accompanied by his affectionate wife, the 
Law prohibiting riding on the Day of Eest. In the 
afternoons he generally attended MincJia service at the 
Western Synagogue of the German Jews in St. Alban's 
Place, St. James'. At the time of which we are writing 
he had already been four times Pa/rnass^ or Warden 
President, of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation, 
viz., in 1819, 1826, 1832, and 1840. 

His co-religionists recognized his piety, and repaid his 
devotion to their interests with affectionate homage. In 
the small community which centred at Bevis Marks he 
was regarded almost as another " Prince of the Captiv- 
ity," and he acknowledged this high estimation of him- 
self by a generous discharge of the responsibilities of 
his implied seigniory. One of the sights of the London 
Jewery forty years ago was his annual visit to the 
^Spanish and Portuguese Congregational Schools. This 
Iways occurred at Purim time, on the occasion of the 
distribution of prizes. It was the great gala day of the 
institution. The classes would assemble in their full 
strength to receive him, as, beaming with smiles, and 
bowing right and left, he made a kind of Royal prog- 
ress of the establishment, the boys and girls meanwhile 
singing a hymn of welcome in their lustiest tones. Lady 
[ontefiore and Dr. Loewe usually accompanied him on 
lese pleasant pilgrimages, and behind him marched the 
Jeadle of the Synagogue, Mr. Genese, carrying a heavy 
)ag of newly-minted silver coin, the clink of which sent 
thrill through the school. When the formal business 

102 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

of the day had been disposed of, and the prizes distrib- 
uted, Sir Moses would deliver a brief address, and then 
each of the pupils, over three hundred in number, 
would be called up to receive a present — ranging from 
a florin to a crown piece — from the " lucky bag" carried 
by the Beadle. With each present came a hearty shake 
of the hand and a cordial " I wish you a merry Purim." 
The less bashful scholars would answer, "Thank you. 
Sir Moses, I wish you the same ;" whereupon the philan- 
thropist would say, " Thanks ; I hope we shall all be 
happy," with grave emphasis on the " all." Lady Mon- 
tefiore was passionately fond of children, and she would 
pet and caress the younger pupils as they toddled up to 
the platform to receive their present; sometimes she 
would take them in her lap and kiss them. ]S"o one was 
forgotten on these happy Purim visits. When the 
" lucky bag" was emptied, there were equally lucky 
slips of paper for the teachers, and a golden guinea or 
so for the door-keeper. To this day the ceremony is 
continued by a representative of the venerable baronet. 

Sir Moses Montefiore's activity in the promotion of 
education was not confined to these schools, or even to 
the Sephardi " nation." He had been, in earlier years, 
a governor of the " Beth Hamedrash," or Talmud ic Col- 
lege, founded in 1734 by the pious Benjamin Mendes 
da Costa, and he continued to take a deep interest in the 
work of that institution. The theological literature re- 
sulting from the studies pursued within its walls found 
in him a generous patron. He particularly encouraged 
the Eev. D. A. de Sola in his literary enterprises, and 
the subject and plan of that gentleman's useful work 
on "The Blessings" originated with him. 

Of Jews' College, a theological seminary established 

Five Years of Home Work. 103 

some years later by leading members of the German 
community, lie was one of tbe founders. The scheme 
originated in 1838, but it was only after the return from 
Damascus, in 1841, that any measures were taken for 
its realization. Mr. Jacob Franklin, the editor of the 
Voice of Jacobs was its most active promoter, and it was 
his wish that it should be established as a memorial of 
the success of the Jewish Mission to Mehemet Ali. Sir 
Moses Montefiore wrote to Mr. Franklin from Constan- 
tinople approving the plan, and when, on his return to 
England, he paid over to the treasurers of the Damascus 
Fund a personal contribution of £2200 towards the ex- 
penses of his Mission, Mr. Franklin very reasonably sug- 
gested that this sum should be utilized for the purposes 
of the proposed college. The growing differences in 
the community at the time prevented the realization of 
the project, and Sir Moses' £2200 were distributed 
among the contributors to the Damascus Fund as repre- 
senting a surplus in the accounts. It was not until 1845, 
when Dr. Adler was appointed Chief Eabbi, that the 
scheme was revived, and then still eleven years elapsed 
before it was carried into effect. When, ultimately, 
the College was started in 1856, Dr. Adler and Sir 
Moses Montefiore, to whose exertions its establishment 
was in a great measure due, became respectively its 
President and Yice-President. 

In the Jews' Free School and the Jews' Hospital, two 
more educational establishments of the German Jews, 
Sir Moses also took considerable interest. At the time 
of which we are writing he had passed the President's 
chair of both institutions. Of tlie latter, a creation of 
the Goldsmids, he was elected President in 1837, suc- 
ceeding his relative, Mr. Sheriff, afterwards Sir David 

104 Tlie Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Salomons. In 1843, when the Duke of Sussex died, 
he was instrumental in persuading the late Duke of 
Cambridge to succeed his brother as a patron of the 
institution. Also, in the provinces. Sir Moses was an 
active worker in the cause of education. The same 
year that he interviewed the Duke of Cambridge in the 
interests of the Jews' Hospital, he laid the foundation- 
stone of the Hebrew National Schools, at Birmingham, 
and in the following year he presided at their formal 

During his temporary absence in the East in 1840 
his place as President of the Board of Deputies had 
been filled by Mr. Hananel de Castro ; but immediately 
on his return to England he was re-elected by acclama- 
tion. The Deputados had special reasons for holding 
Sir Moses in high esteem, independent of the considera- 
tion that his mission to Damascus had earned for him a 
fame which reflected upon the body over which he pre- 
sided. It was due to his intelligent administration that 
the Board had become the most important representative 
body in the Anglo-Jewish community. E'o sooner had 
he been elected its President in 1835, than he set him- 
self to remodel its constitution in such a way as to make 
it the accredited mouth-piece of the Jews of England. 
At his instance a scheme was elaborated for admitting 
to the Board delegates from every Jewish congregation 
that might desire the privilege of being represented ; 
and this not only enhanced the importance of the Board, 
but it had the larger effect of promoting and consolidat- 
ing the union of the community for political purposes. 
A mass of miscellaneous business of a highly important 
kind now occupied the Board. Under the Marriage 
Acts it became the duty of its President to certify Syna- 

Five Years of Home Work, 


gogue secretaries as registrars for marriage purposes ; 
and this imparted to it a certain official standing, whicli 
no other Jewish institution enjoyed. Under the provi- 
sions of the constitution of the old Committee of Dili- 
gence, of which it was the heir, it had to watch the 
progress of legislation at home, in order to safeguard 
Jewish interests ; while in consequence of the exhaustion 
of the Cautivos Fund of the Spanish and Portuguese 
Congregation, the duty devolved upon it of receiving 
and considering such appeals as were formerly addressed 
to that body by oppressed foreign Jewish communities. 

Upon the multifarious duties arising from these func- 
tions Sir Moses entered immediately on his re-election 
to the Presidency. In addition to taking part in the 
various measures promoted by the Board for sustaining 
the Civil and Religious Liberty agitation, he was inde- 
fatigable in pressing upon Government Jewish griev- 
ances and claims in respect to minor legislative mat- 
ters. Thus, in 1842, we find him corresponding with, 
and interviewing Sir James Graham on the operation 
of the Poor Laws, by which pauper Jews were excluded 
from out-door relief. During the same year he induced 
Sir Robert Peel to introduce a clause into the Income 
Tax Bill, placing Jewish Synagogues on an equal 
footing with other places of worship in respect to im- 
posts on property and income. In the following year 
again he was in correspondence with Sir James Graham 
on the subject of a Burials Bill and a Factory Bill. In 
almost every instance he succeeded in obtaining valuable 
concessions for his co-religionists. 

The foreign business of the Board had a more especial 
attraction for him ; for he alone of all its members knew 
how real were the hardships of Jewish life in the Ghettos 

106 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

of the Continent and the East. It so happened, that, 
as the Deputies had no funds of their own — their annual 
expenses were assessed on the Synagogues they repre- 
sented — and could not therefore act with the requisite 
promptitude in emergencies when immediate relief was 
required, the larger portion of the foreign business fell 
to Sir Moses' personal administration, which was un- 
hampered by circumlocutory statutes and standing 
orders. His name, too, was so much better known 
abroad than that of the Board, that in the majority of 
cases the appeals were addressed direct to him in his 
private capacity, and only brought under the notice of 
the Board when public action became necessary. This 
was especially the case with the business connected with 
the Holy Land. 

The changes in the suzerainty of Syria having de- 
feated for a time the agricultural schemes he had elabo- 
rated in 1837, Sir Moses endeavored by other means 
to effect an amelioration in the lot of the Palestinian 
Hebrews. In 1842 Colonel Churchill, whose acquaint- 
ance he had made in the East, addressed to him some 
very interesting letters, proposing that efforts should 
be made by the Jews of Europe to promote a re-estab- 
lishment of the Kingdom of Judah in Palestine. Sir 
Moses, who is a devout believer in the literal restora- 
tion, answered Colonel Churchill sympathetically, but 
expressed his opinion that the time was hardly ripe for 
a practical consideration of the project. At the same 
time as Colonel Churchill was about returning to the 
East for a stay of several years, he asked him to take 
charge of a fund he was desirous of providing, for the 
promotion of thrift among the Jews of the Holy Land, 
by advancing loans to the industrious poor in amounts 

Five Years of Home Work. 


rarying between 500 and 1000 piastres. During the 
ime year he labored assiduously to introduce useful 
Industries among the Jews of Palestine. He sent a 
^printing-press to Jerusalem, which gave employment 
to several persons, and produced many useful works, and 
he also estabhshed a linen manufactory on a considera- 
ble scale, with a girls' school attached to it. To insure 
the factory being conducted on the best modern prin- 
iples, he sent out a technical instructor to take charge 
^of it, and had three native Jews brought to England, 
and taught the art of weaving at Preston. The needle- 
women and laundresses of the Holy City he also as- 
sisted to carry on their trades efficiently ; and, with a 
view to attaching the Jews of Safed, Tiberias, Hebron, 
and Jaffa more firmly to husbandry, he supplied them 
with oxen and all the necessary appliances of agricul- 
ture. The charitable requirements of the communities 
were also not neglected. Among many other matters. 
Sir Moses took a deep interest in a scheme put forth in 
1842 by Dr. Philippson, of Magdeburg, for the estab- 
lishment of a Jewish hospital at Jerusalem. Appeals 
for subscriptions were issued, and Sir Moses had the 
necessary architectural plans prepared. The realization 
of the project, however, lagged, and, as there was at 
the time much sickness in the Holy City, Sir Moses, at 
his own cost, despatched thither a medical man. Dr. 
Friinkel, and established a dispensary, which he has 
ever since maintained. The large amount of good 
achieved by this prompt action is sufficiently illustrated 
by the fact, that the very first day the dispensary was 
opened sixty patients were treated, and the number in- 
creased daily. 
But it was not only the Jews of the Holy Land for 

108 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

whom Sir Moses Montefiore labored. A few months 
after his return from Constantinople, a disastrous fire 
destroyed the Jewish quarter of Smyrna. Urgent ap- 
peals were addressed to the Western communities, and 
Sir Moses raised a considerable Kelief Fund. Two 
years later he interested himself in a project for build- 
ing a Khan for Jewish travellers at Beyrout, which was 
successfully carried out. In 1844 the Blood Accusa- 
tion was revived in the island of Marmora. Sir Moses 
placed the facts of the case before Sir Stratford Can- 
ning, who had succeeded Lord Ponsonby as British 
Ambassador to the Porte, and he procured a public 
trial at Constantinople, which resulted in the acquittal 
of the accused. Sir Moses took the opportunity af- 
forded by his correspondence with " the great Eltchi" 
to induce him to give some attention to the condition 
of the Hebrews in the Ottoman Empire. Sir Stratford 
received his representations very cordially, and a month 
or two later was enabled to report that he had prevailed 
upon the Turkish Grovemment to make a grant of land 
to the poor of Constantinople for a new burial-ground, 
of which they stood in need. The Jews of Morocco, 
Tripoli, Tunis, and Persia appealed in turn to Sir 
Moses at this period, and were all more or less as- 
sisted. In 1845 he memoriahzed the Emperor of Mo- 
rocco to grant his Jewish subjects the same rights as 
had been guaranteed to the Jews of Turkey, under the 
Firman of the 12th Ramazan, and received a satisfac- 
tory reply — satisfactory, that is, as far as promises were 
concerned. So extensive had his influence in the East 
become at this time, that when Colonel Stoddart and 
Captain ConoUy were thrown into prison by the Emir 
Nazrullah, of Bokhara, the British Government made 

Five Years of Home WorJc. 


strenuous efforts to convey a letter from him to the 
Jews of the Khanate, asking them to interest them- 
selves in the fate of the English emissaries. Unfortu- 
nately the letter only arrived after they had been put 
to death, but in one sense it had the desired effect. 
The warm terms in which it was couched led the Bok- 
liara Jews to imagine that the English officers were fel- 
low-Israelites, and they " interested themselves in their 
fate" to the extent of mourning their loss in the syna- 

In work of this description Sir Moses Montefiore not 
only gratified his philanthropic tastes, but found relief 
from the cares and anxieties which at this time, more 
than at any other period of his career, beset his position 
in the Anglo-Jewish community. Towards the middle 
of 1841, a schism had taken place among the English 
Jews, and a congregation in the West-end of London 
had been started on lines differing somewhat from those 
which had guided the foundation of the City synagogues 
two hundred years before. Sir Moses Montefiore, whose 
orthodoxy has ever been of the most rigid type, strongly 
pposed the new movement, and the community became 
a prey to the bitterest dissensions. In comparing to- 
day the so-called " Eeform" synagogue with the Ortho- 
dox Jewish congregations, it is difficult to understand 
how such a movement could have caused the commo- 
tion it did at the time of its inception. Sir Moses 
Montefiore himself was not uncompromisingly wedded 
to the old order of things, notwithstanding that he led 
the Orthodox party on this occasion. We have seen, 
for example, how he disapproved of the ancient differ- 
ences between the Spanish and German congregations, 
and he gave a further and emphatic illustration of his 

110 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

opinion on this subject in 1845, by proceeding to 
Dover to receive, on behalf of the Jews of England, 
the new "German" Chief Eabbi, Dr. ^. M. Adler, 
on his arrival in this country. One of the grounds, 
too, on which the new synagogue was opposed, was, 
that it violated an ancient statute of the Bevis Marks 
congregation, prohibiting the establishment of district 
synagogues ; and yet, in 1844, Sir Moses himself pro- 
moted the establishment of a Western branch of the 
Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, by offering £5000 
towards the expense of its erection. The fact seems 
to have been, that the Orthodox party was actuated 
rather by vague fears of what might take place if a 
dissatisfied section of the community were to establish 
a synagogue independent of the constituted authorities, 
than of disapproval of what was actually contemplated 
by the seceders — fears that have been amply justified 
by the dangerous course since pursued by Jewish Ee- 
form in America and elsewhere. The " Reform" move- 
ment in England, however, turned out to be little 
more than a premature anticipation of the natural 
progress of forty years. How mild it was is evidenced 
by the fact, that when Dr. Frankel, the reforming Chief 
Rabbi of Dresden, was asked to place himself at its head, 
he declined on the score that it did not contemplate 
changes of a sufficiently radical character ; and, a few 
years ago, Professor Marks, the Chief Minister of the 
West London Congregation of British Jews — as the new 
synagogue called itself — publicly declared, in the pres- 
ence of the Rev. Dr. Hermann Adler, the Delegate Chief 
Rabbi, that there would have been no secession in 1841 
had the Orthodox synagogue then been as it is now. At 
the present time, there is little appreciable difference 

The Jewish Question in Russia. Ill 

between the various synagogues of Great Britain. The 
Jews of England, as a body, are the most orthodox and 
united of Occidental Jewish communities ; and it is in 
no complimentary spirit, but as indicative of an impor- 
tant and undeniable fact, that all classes among them 
concur to-day in paying homage to Sir Moses Montefiore. 
They recognize in him the most representative of Eng- 
lish Jews — a thorough embodiment of their views and 



Oppressed Condition of the Jews of Russia. — Seriousness of the 
Russo- Jewish Question. —Its Origin Religious, not Secular. — The 
Modern Charges Refuted by History. — Review of Russo- Jewish 
History.— First Settlements of the Jews in the South. — Conversion 
of the Khozars to Judaism, — A Jewish Kingdom in Russia. — The 
Civilizing Influences of the Jews. — Inroads of the Tartars and 
Extinction of the Khozars. — Jewish Settlements in the West. — 
Their Privileges. — Gratifying Results of Jewish Colonization. — 
Numerousness of the Polish Jews a Source of Congratulation by 
Native Historians. — The Russian Prince Sviatopolk Invites the 
Jews into his Dominions. — The Jews held in High Esteem by the 
People. — They Serve in the Army. — They Proselytize on an Ex- 
tensive Scale. — Judaism Embraced by the Metropolitan of the 
Greek Church.— With the Rise of the Power of the Church the 
Privileges of the Jews are Curtailed. — Three Centuries of Ghetto 
Life. — Four Millions of Jews still Oppressed. 

The sessions of the Board of Deputies (1841 — 46), 
referred to in our last chapter, were particularly notable 
for their connection with the Jewish Question in Russia 

112 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

— the most serious question of modern Jewish history. 
Through a correspondence opened with Sir Moses 
Montefiore in 1842, the Western Hebrews were for the 
first time made aware of the terrible condition of their 
Russian co-religionists; and, in the subsequent action 
of the Board of Deputies, the foundations were laid of 
the movement for their relief which has ever since been 
gallantly carried on in the happier countries of Europe. 
The E-usso- Jewish Question is something more than a 
Jewish or even a Russian Question. It is one of the 
most extraordinary problems presented by the complex 
phenomena of modern society ; and it appeals loudly to 
the humanitarian sense of civilized Europe for a speedy 
and equitable solution. 

The ostensible reason for the oppression and perse- 
cution of the Jews of Russia is that they constitute a 
pernicious element in the Empire ; as a matter of fact, 
they are the victims of religious hatred. The struggle 
between Judaism and Christianity has been more serious 
in Russia than in any other country ; and, consequently, 
the hatred of the Jew has become more deeply rooted 
in the national sentiment. How unfounded is the popu- 
lar theory of the Russo-Jewish Question is shown by 
the fact that, whenever the Jews in Russia were politi- 
cally unrestricted, they exerted a distinctly beneficial 
influence on the country. Their history is, indeed, at 
every step a refutation of the charges now brought 
against them. 

About the year 726 Leo the Isaurian, Emperor of 
Byzantium, published at Constantinople his celebrated 
Edict against Image Worship. The clergy and monks 
rebelled, and the Emperor was on all sides denounced 
as a Jew. In order to show that, notwithstanding his 

The Jewish Question in Russia, 113 

enlightened opposition to miracle-working fetiches he 
was in other respects a good Christian, Leo attempted 
to persecute the Jews into embracing the Cross. Many 
conversions were effected ; but a large number of the 
Hebrews, whose ancestors had established themselves 
in the land long before Christianity, fled further afield, 
to seek an asylum among the more tolerant pagans. 
Thus it came about that Jewish settlements were 
formed in the Cimmerian Peninsula of Tauris (the 
lodern Crimea), and Hebrew communities were 
bunded at Theodosia (now Kaffa), Kareon polls (Eski 
Irim), Phanegoria (Taman), and Bosphorus (Kertch). 
I'rom the Crimea these Grseco-Jewish communities 
spread to the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea, and the Mouth 
>f the Volga. These are the first authentic appearances 
>f the Jews on Russian soil. 
The inhabitants of the region thus invaded were the 
^hozars, or Togarmi (as they subsequently called them- 
jlves), a Finnish tribe, who, after the break-up of the 
Impire of the Huns, had established themselves in the 
^neighborhood of Astrachan, whence they had gradually 
extended a powerful dominion. Successful in a war 
with the Persians, they disputed the sovereignty of the 
East with the Byzantine Emperors, and both the Bul- 
gars and Russins paid them tribute. Upon this semi- 
barbarous people the Jews exercised the happiest 
influence, and ultimately one of their sages, Isaac San- 
gari, converted their King, Bulan, and a large portion 
of the nation, to Judaism. In a subsequent reign, that 
of a King named Obadiah, Judaism was formally ac- 
knowledged as the religion of the State. Learned Jews 
crowded the Court ; synagogues were built and public 
colleges established for the study of the Bible and Tal- 

114 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

mud. While the West and South were distracted by 
an anarchy of sectarian wrangling, and the North and 
East were shrouded in an impenetrable shadow of bar- 
barism, the shores of the Caspian and the Euxine flour- 
ished in the benignant light of a Jewish civilization. 

The Jews persuaded the Khozars to abolish slavery, 
to tolerate all races and religions, to acknowledge the 
sanctity of family ties, and to cultivate literature and 
the sciences. One of their kings, Joseph, corresponded 
with Chasdai Ibn-Shaprut, the famous Jewish Yizier 
of the Caliph Abderrahman III., of Cordova. The 
power of this Jewish State increased rapidly. Even 
the Byzantine Emperors paid tribute to it, and there 
was at one time a chance of Kliozar-Judaism spreading 
all over Russia. The country was, however, saved to 
Christianity by Sviatoslav of Kiev, the Charles Martel 
of Muscovy, who in 965, on the field of Sarkel, inflicted 
a severe check on the power of the Togarmi. From 
this date the importance of the Khozars gradually de- 
clined. Under the influence of Judaism they had be- 
come a peaceful people, and they were no longer able 
to withstand the inroads of the martial Slavs and Rus- 
sians by whom they were surrounded. The kingdom 
shrunk until it became confined to the Crimea. In the 
reign of a King named David they made a last effort to 
re-establish Judaism in the provinces they had lost by 
sending Jewish Rabbis to convert the Russin Prince, 
Vladimir the Great, but he, under the influence of his 
wife, a sister of the Emperor of Constantinople, pre- 
ferred the doctrines of the Greek Church, and was 
baptized. David was the last of the Khozar kings. In 
1016 the Crimea was seized by the Russins, and the 
Jewish State was suppressed. The Khozar princes and 

The Jewish Question in Russia. 115 

nobles fled to Spain, where many of their descendants 
became distinguished for Tahnudic learning. The 
people, equally true to their Judaism, held aloof from 
the conquerors, and gradually merged themselves with 
the Karaites, who had become numerous in Taurida. 
The modern Karaites of the Crimea, with their fair 
complexions and un-Jewish features, are descendants 
of this intermixture of Jewish Khozars and Karaite 

In the mean time other Jews had effected an entrance 
into Eussia* from the West. The circumstances were 
curiously similar to the Southern immigration. Chris- 
tianity had been introduced into Germany, and one of 
its first results was a persecution of the Hebrews, w^ho, 
like their brethren in the Byzantine Empire, had pre- 
ceded by some centuries the arrival of the new faith. 
Compelled once more to take in hand the wanderer's 
staff, the German Jews sent a deputation to the Pagan 
Leszek, Prince of Poland, asking to be permitted to 
take refuge in his dominions. The names and condition 
of the members of this embassy throw an interesting 
light on the degree of culture attained by the Jews of 
Central Europe at this early epoch. They were Kabbi 
Hezekiah Sephardi, Eabbi Akiba Estramaduri, the 
mathematician Emanuel Ascaloni, the rhetorician Kabbi 
Levi Baccari, and Rabbi Nathaniel Barcelloni. At 
Gnesen, in the year 893, they interviewed the Polish 
Prince. Rabbi Levi was the spokesman of the party, 
and delivered a short address in Latin, describing the 

* The Russo - Jewish Question being largely a Polish - Jewish 
question, the term " Russia" is used here in its most extended geo- 
graphical sense. 

116 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

persecutions to which his brethren were subjected in 
Germany. He prayed that they might be allowed to 
find an asylum in Poland, and, anticipating some anti- 
Jewish prejudice among the subjects of Leszek, sug- 
gested that a remote and unpopulated district might be 
assigned to them to inhabit and cultivate in peace. 
Leszek inquired what were the tenets of Judaism, and 
then promised to take counsel with the national priest- 
hood on the petition. Three days later Rabbi Levi 
and his companions were summoned into the presence 
of the Polish potentate to hear his decision. Christian 
Russia of to-day might learn a lesson from the liberality 
of this pagan and semi-barbarous prince of nearly a 
thousand years ago. Not only did he open his domin- 
ions freely to the persecuted Hebrews, but he declined 
to accept their humble suggestion to limit their rights 
of residence. He permitted them to settle freely all 
over Poland, and to follow agricultural, industrial, com- 
mercial, or any useful avocations without let or hin- 
drance. In the following year, 894, a great concourse 
of Jews settled in Poland. 

According to the theories of the modern persecutors 
of the Jews, Leszek's liberal policy should have resulted 
in disaster to the whole country. Strange to say, the 
very contrary was the case. We have seen how bene- 
ficial was the Jewish settlement in the South while it 
lasted; in the West it proved equally advantageous. 
For nearly seven hundred years the Jew.s managed, 
with but slight intermission, to preserve the privileges 
granted to them in 894, and we have it on the testi- 
mony of countless chronicles that they deserved the 
liberty they enjoyed. This period, marked by the dy- 
nasties of Piast and Jagellon, was the golden age of 

The Jewish Question in Russia. 117 

Polish history, and the Jews contributed not a little to 
the reigning prosperity. It is one of the creeds of 
modern Anti-Semitism that Jews in large numbers must 
be injurious to a country, while a few may be economi- 
cally useful ; and yet at this period the Jews were pro- 
portionately more numerous in Poland than at the 
present day. The tolerance of the Polish rulers at- 
tracted them from all parts of Europe. They flew 
thither from the restrictive laws of the Hungarian and 
Bohemian rulers, and from the popular outbursts in 
Germany and France. The expulsion from England 
in 1290 furnished a large contingent. Albertrandy 
states that in 1264, in some of the Polish provinces, 
they constituted one eighth of the population. 

Can it be because Anti-Semitism had not then become 
a scientific movement, that men of intelligence congrat- 
ulated the country on the numerousness of its Hebrews ? 
Hardly. A large number of Jews forced to ply a few 
not very wealth-making trades may be an undesirable 
element in a country, but when this large number is 
unhampered by invidious legislation, and distributed in 
every department of industry, it is valuable in propor- 
tion to the intensity of the inherent energy and skill of 
its individuals. The Jews in Poland, between the 
eighth and sixteenth centuries, were unrestricted in 
their avocations, and their industry and intelligence 
constituted them a mainstay of the agricultural and 
mercantile prosperity of the land. The foreign trade 
was entirely in their hands, and their transactions ex- 
tended even to Asia and Africa. A work, published 
in 1539, states that while handicrafts were almost un- 
known among the Polish Christians, and there were not 
more than 500 Christian merchants in the country, the 

118 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Jewish merchants numbered 3200, and the Jewish 
mechanics three times as many. Casimir the Great 
was, probably, the wisest monarch that ever reigned in 
Poland, and he ostentatiously recognized the utility of 
the Jews by confirming and extending their privileges. 
It was principally with Jewish money that he built the 
seventy towns with which he endowed Poland. The 
historian Mickiewicz, reviewing the influence of the 
Jews, says truly, " Ce n'est pas sans une raison provi- 
dentielle que plusieurs millions d'Israelites existent 
depuis tant de siecles au milieu des Polonais et que 
leur sort se lie intimement avec celui de la nation polo- 
naise." Indeed, so obvious was the value of the Jews 
in Poland that, towards the end of the eleventh cen- 
tury, the Russian monarch, Sviatopolk, invited a num- 
ber of them to Kiev, and granted them important 
privileges with a view to the promotion of the trade of 
the city. 

The best proof, however, that the Jews did not con- 
stitute a pernicious element in Kussia in the days of 
their freedom, is afforded by the estimation in which 
they were held by their native fellow-countrymen. 
Mr. Freeman's theory of the mediaeval Jew, protected 
by nobles but hated by the people, would not find a 
shadow of confirmation in Russian history. Czacki, 
writing of the reign of Casimir the Great, says, " The 
Christian in his Church and the Jew in his Synagogue 
offered up thanks to Heaven for their happiness in liv- 
ing in the same country, and for their enjoyment of 
equal rights." Cardinal Commandoni, Papal Nuncio 
at the Court of Sigismund Augustus, at the time when 
Roman Catholic influences were just beginning to 
darken the political horizon, expresses astonishment at 

The Jewish Question in Russia. 119 

the favorable position of the Jews. " There are," he 
says, " a large number of Hebrews in these provinces 
who are not held in contempt as in other countries. 
They do not live on the ignoble profits of usury and 
brokerages, but they possess lands, are engaged in com- 
merce, and devote themselves to literature and science. 
They are rich, and enjoy a reputation for honesty. No 
badges are worn by them to distinguish them from 
Christians, but, on the contrary, they carry swords and 
possess equal rights with other citizens." The Cardinal 
was not disposed to paint a favorable picture of the 
Jews, for, in the same document, he inveighs fiercely 
against the Poles for their indulgence to such "infidels." 
The Jus militare held the Jews equally liable to mili- 
tary service with other Poles, and instances of their 
valor are noted more than once in Polish history. 

Judaism itself was held in high esteem, and at one 
le, when the country was distracted with sectarian 
jealousies, the Jews proselytized with such success that 
for a moment the whole edifice of Polish and Russian 
Christianity trembled at its base. In Poland the un- 
compromising attitude of Peter Gamrat, Bishop of 
Cracow, who condemned several of the converts to the 
stake, damped the proselytizing ardor of the Jews ; but 
in Russia their success was most remarkable. The soul 
of the movement was a Jew of Kiev named Scharja or 
Zacharias, a learned and accomplished man, well versed 
in the literature and sciences of his day. In 1471 he 
came to Novgorod in the train of the Prince Michael 
Olelkovich, and his reputation as a savant brought him 
into contact with a distinguished circle. The first con- 
verts he made were two priests named Dionysius and 
Alexius, Gabriel, the proto-papas of the Cathedral of 

120 Thxi Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Novgorod, and the Bojar Tutchin, a layman of high 
rank. With the assistance of several learned Jews 
from Lithuania secret communities of converts were 
organized at Novgorod and Pskov, and the propaganda 
was proceeded with industriously. When Novgorod 
became a portion of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, Dio- 
nysius and Alexius were appointed proto-papas of the 
two principal churches in the capital. Here they suc- 
ceeded in making the most extraordinary conversions. 
Kooritzin, the secretary of the Grand Duke, his brother, 
Ivan, the Princess Helena, and Zozimus, abbot of the 
convent of St. Simeon, were among the converts ; and 
on the latter being elevated in 1490 to the dignity of 
Archbishop of Moscow a circumcised believer in Juda- 
ism became the head of the Kussian Church. There 
was every likelihood of the history of the Khozars being 
repeated on a larger scale in Russia proper, when the 
heresy was discovored by Gennadius, Bishop of Nov- 
gorod. Its spread was promptly stopped. Dionysius 
and Gabriel were imprisoned for life, Zozimus resigned 
his high position and retired to a convent, and Koorit- 
zin was burnt alive. The moment was, however, critical 
for Russian Christianity. It is said that not a single 
town in the whole country was free from a taint of Juda- 
ism. The movement split up into many sects, of which 
the modern Molokani and Subotniki are the remains. 

In Poland the Jews continued for a hundred years 
longer to enjoy their ancient privileges, but in Russia 
their doom was sealed. Christianity recognized in 
them its direst foes, and persecuted them unmercifully. 
Very gradually the hostile feeling spread to Poland ; 
but it assumed no tangible form until the rise of the 
Jesuit power towards the end of the Jagellon dynasty. 


The Jevnsli Question in Russia. 121 


Then, one by one, all the restrictions of Ghetto life 
were introduced. The oppression was avowedly re- 
ligious ; no pernicious influences of an economical kind 
were alleged. With a full conviction of the righteous- 
ness of their conduct, and in the name of a merciful 
God, the representatives of Latin and Greek Christianity 
set themselves to the task of demoralizing a million hu- 
man beings. 

If, then, to-day there is anything objectionable in the 
character of the Polish Jew, who is to blame ? Do the 
Russians expect a people to emerge from a seclusion of 
three centuries un dazed, un cramped, familiar with the 
progress achieved in their absence ? The wonder is that 
the Jews are not infinitely worse than they really are. 
It is marvellous that throughout their oppression they 
should have so completely conserved their moral purity 
and their intellectual power. To-day they are nearly 
four millions in number, and are still enchained by 
odious disabilities. Over and over again in modern 
times they have proved their capacity for progress, and 
demonstrated the falsity of the charges brought against 
them. But, apart from all controversies as to their 
character, they are human beings, and this surely should 
be sufficient to enlist the sympathy of the boasted 
humanity of the century in their behalf. It will read 
curiously in the pages of some future historian that the 
age which gloried in having freed the Negro, silently 

I acquiesced in the oppression of the people to whom the 
world is indebted for the Decalogue. 

122 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 



The Board ot Deputies and the Russo- Jewish Question. — Sir Moses 
Montefiore Invited to St. Petersburg by the Russian Government 
to Confer with the Minister of Education on the Condition of the 
Jews. — Policy of the Czar Nicholas towards the Jews. — The Per- 
secuting Ukase of 1843. — Jewish Appeals to Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore. — Temporary Suspension of the Ukase.— David Urquhart on 
Russian Persecutions. — Reissue of the Ukase. — Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore Appeals to Lord Aberdeen to Intercede with the Czar. — The 
Ukase is again Suspended. — Promulgated Once More in 1845. — 
A Deputation of Russian Jews Arrives in England. — Diplomatic 
Representations to the,Russian Government are Ineffectual. — Sir 
Moses Montefiore Deputed to proceed to St. Petersburg. — Dangers 
of the Journey.— Flattering Reception in the Russian Capital.— 
The Ukase suspended for a Third Time. — Interview with the Czar. 
— Sir Moses proceeds on a Tour of the Western Provinces.— Ad- 
ventures on the Journey. — Willingness of the Jews to follow 
his Advice. — Triumphant Progress through Jewish Russia. — Sir 
Moses Montefiore and Prince Paskievitch. — Revocation of the 
Ukase.— Return to England.— Enthusiasm of the English Jews. — 
Royal Appreciation of the Mission.— A Baronetcy conferred on 
Sir Moses Montefiore. 

At a meeting of the Board of Deputies, held on the 
12th September, 1842, Sir Moses Montefiore announced 
that he had received an important communication from 
the Russian Government, inviting him to St. Peters- 
burg to confer with Count Ouvarov, Minister of Educa- 
tion, on the condition of the Russian Jews. The letter, 
which was couched in very complimentary terms, stated 
that the Jews were in so retrograde a state, that it would 

Russian Persecutions: Mission to the Czar. 123 

be impossible for some time " to pronounce the word 
* Emancipation ; ' " but that with a view to their ulti- 
mate affranchisement the Emperor desired to introduce 
among them an advanced system of education. Un- 
fortunately the Government had found in the *' bigotry 
and ignorance" of the Jews an invincible obstacle to the 
realization of their benevolent desires. They therefore 
appealed to Sir Moses for his co-operation. " You, Sir," 
declared the letter, " enjoy the fullest confidence of the 
Russian Jews : your name is uttered with the most pro- 
found veneration by them." The Government, there- 
fore, hoped that, with his assistance, the scheme they 
had in contemplation might be made acceptable to his 
co-religionists. At the same time other letters were re- 
ceived by Sir Moses from several of the Jewish com- 
munities, urging him to seize the opportunity of plead- 
ing their cause before the Czar. 

Sir Moses was unable to accept this invitation for 
private reasons; but had he proceeded to St. Peters- 
burg, it is doubtful whether he would have found the 
Russian Government as anxious as they professed to be 
to ameliorate the lot of his brethren in faith. The real 
history of the remarkable invitation of Count Ouvarov 
has yet to be written. Read in the light of the cruel 
and arbitrary policy pursued by the Emperor Nicholas 
towards the Jews since his accession to the throne in 
1825, it cannot but suggest some arriere-jpensee at issue 
with its well-intentioned tone. No section of the Rus- 
sian population had felt the weight of the Czar's iron 
hand more heavily than the Jews. In 1827, when he 
was engaged in the organization of a navy, it was sug- 
gested to him that the serfs were too clumsy and loosely 
knit to make good sailors, but that the Jews, with their 

124 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

lithe and active figures, might be very advantageously 
employed, especially if trained for the purpose in their 
youth. The Emperor acted upon the suggestion with 
the literal and reckless promptness that always charac- 
terized him. In one night 30,000 young Jewish chil- 
dren were torn from their mothers' arms, and carried 
away to the shores of the Black Sea to be inducted into 
the mysteries of seamanship. From the moment of 
their seizure they were submitted to the most rigorous 
discipline, and were so cruelly treated, that not more 
than 10,000 of them survived to enter the navy. Shut 
out from communication with their families, the Czar 
also closed against them the portals of their religion, 
and had them brought up in the tenets of the Eusso- 
Greek Church. This was not the only occasion on 
which his Majesty showed that his attitude towards the 
Jews was biassed by religious considerations; for in 
1828 he tried to have all the Jews in the Kussian army 
forcibly baptized. 

But, besides isolated instances of persecution such as 
these, the Emperor Nicholas had made himself specially 
conspicuous in Kusso-Jewish history, by codifying on a 
comprehensive scale the laws for the oppression of the 
Jews, which had been formulated at different times by 
his Russian and Polish predecessors. The ostensible 
object of the new code, which was promulgated in 
April, 4835, consisted " in a regulation of the position 
of the Jews, which, while enabling them to earn their 
livelihood by agriculture, and industrial occupations, 
as also to educate their children, would at the same 
time remove all inducements to indolence and illegal 
pursuits." The effect was, however, very different. 
Prince Demidoff San-Donato, in his admirable work on 

Russian Persecutions: Mission to the Czar. 125 

" The Jewish Question in Kussia," which has recently 
been translated into English, under the auspices of Sir 
Moses Montefiore's nephew, Mr. H. Guedalla, says of 
this code, " From the sense of its enactments it would 
appear that, according to the views of the Legislature, 
the Jews, per se, do not possess any of the rights inher- 
ent to all men and citizens. Thus, for instance, with 
regard to all Russian subjects, with the exception of 
Jews, the fundamental legal principle is that everything 
not prohibited by law is allowed ; whereas for the Jews 
the maxim is that everything which is not positively 
allowed by law, is to be considered prohibited." This 
is the legislation by which the Jews of Eussia are 
governed to-day. Well might Baron Henry de "Worms 
exclaim on a recent occasion, that it was tantamount to 
a ban of excommunication ! 

The only recognizable explanation of Count Ouva- 
rov's invitation to Sir Moses Montefiore was, that the 
Russian Government had seen the error of its ways in 
respect to the Jews, and had resolved to mend them. 
This theory was, however, rudely dispelled in the follow- 
ing year. In consequence of the smuggling which took 
)lace on the Western frontiers, and in which a few 
Wews were thought to participate, the Czar, with his 
usual drastic precipitancy, issued a Ukase, on the 20th 
April, 1843, ordering the removal into the interior of 
all Jews domiciled within a zone of 50 versts (close 
upon 35 English miles) along the German and Aus- 
trian frontiers. This reckless measure was worthy 
of the man who, heedless of engineering difficulties, 
commanded his railways to be built in mathematically 
straight lines. It was calculated to break up no less 
than a thousand Jewish congregations, and ruin over 

126 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

three hundred towns and villages. Its effect on the 
commerce of the Empire would have been disastrous in 
the extreme. To the communities at which it was 
levelled, it was of terrible significance. It meant the 
destruction of all their little property, and their means 
of livelihood ; it meant the break-up of homes which, 
however miserable, were still brightened by loving do- 
mestic reminiscences, and hallowed by the recollection 
of ancestors whose ashes reposed in the immediate vicin- 
ity. For wanton cruelty, the whole legislation even of 
autocratic Russia may be searched in vain for the equal 
of this decree. 

Nearly three months elapsed before any intelligence 
of the new persecution reached Western Europe. One 
morning in July, Sir Moses Montefiore was shocked to 
receive a letter from the Jews of Konigsberg describing 
what had taken place, and appealing for help. With his 
customary promptness he called upon Baron Brunnow, 
the Russian Ambassador at the Court of St. James, and 
urged him to inform his Government how dire wxre the 
hardships the Ukase was calculated to inflict. At the 
same time he wrote a friendly letter to Count Ouvarov, 
soliciting his good offices to obtain an abrogation of the 
decree. The effect of these representations was, that 
the Ukase was suspended for some months. 

In January, 1844, an intimation was forwarded to the 
Jewish communities, that the Ukase would shortly be 
enforced, and agonizing appeals were again addressed to 
Sir Moses Montefiore. The cause of the persecuted 
Jews was, on this occasion, generously taken up by the 
whole European press. In England, David Urquhart, 
then in the acutest throes of his Russophobia, thus wrote 
in the Po^'tfoUo : 

jRussian Persecutions: Mission to the Czar, 127 

" Hitherto there was one People who, obedient Beasts 
of Burthen, could excite neither the Fears nor the An- 
tipathies of Russia, who presented neither a political nor 
religious Bond, or Hold, or Opposition to Her. These 
were the Jews. Suddenly they too are added to the 
number of the sufferers. First, came a Ukase, subjecting 
them to Military, not Service, but Conscription ; and 
now an Imperial Command converts them into home- 
less and destitute Wanderers. Half a Million of Human 
Beings are thus smitten, but the very Option is not left 
to them of what was the Doom of the Jews of Spain. 
They dare not even fly from their Oppressor and seek a 
Refuge in less inhospitable lands, or that Mercy from 
the Mussulman that the Christian denied. They are 
expatriated yet firmly grasped. Hopelessness of Refuge 
is added to Destitution — their Fate is completed in the 
Words, to move fifty versts into the interior of Russia, 
.... Russia, who had outraged every Commandment 
of God, and every Law of Man, fills up with this last 
Atrocity the Measure of Iniquity. Russia having 
already, by such Crimes committed with Impunity, 
steeped the IlsTations of Europe in Infamy, by this last 
fills up the Measure and the Proof of their Degrada- 

Convinced this time that direct appeals to the Rus- 
sian Authorities would be useless. Sir Moses Montefiore 
resolved on public and organized action. In consulta- 
tion with the Board of Deputies, he determined to lay 
the facts of the persecution before the British Govern- 
ment. Accompanied by his nephew. Baron Lionel de 
Rothschild, he accordingly waited on the Earl of Aber- 
deen, who, on behalf of Her Majesty's Ministers, prom- 

5d to use his friendly offices with the Czar. A couple 

128 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

of months later, the Emperor himself appeared in Eng- 
land on a visit to the Queen. Sir Moses sought an in- 
terview with His Majesty, but in vain. He prevailed 
upon him, however, to receive and consider a memorial, 
and again it was notified that the operation of the edict 
would be suspended. 

E"ot for long, however. The Emperor's heart was 
apparently set on the execution of his grim scheme, and, 
towards the end of 1845, he resolved on the reissue of 
the Ukase. This determination, after twenty months 
of tranquillity, took the Jews of Europe by surprise. 
For a time they hesitated as to the course they should 
pursue. Their apparent inactivity drew upon them the 
scornful reproaches of David XJrquhart, expressed with 
his usual array of italics and capital letters. Writing 
in the Portfolio, he thus contrasted the energy they 
had displayed in the Damascus affair with their seeming 
apathy in face of the Russian persecution : 

" How Can this Indifference of a Body so proverbially 
attached to each other, and which ha#e recently mani- 
fested that Attachment in so signal a Manner, be ac- 
counted for under this, the heaviest Blow that for 
Centuries has fallen on their Head ? This there is no 
Difficulty in accounting for. The Persecutor is Russia. 
That says all ! Who dares to question, aye, or even to 
wince, when he knows that it is her hand that applies 
the Lash? That Moment, those who were heard the 
loudest, and who looked the fiercest, are heard no more, 
and their Eye is on the Ground. It is all one, Jew or 
Gentile, Stockbroker or Field -Marshal, Clothesman or 
Sovereign, Montefiore or Gordon, Eothschild or Guelf, 
they are all Servants to the same Master, and Beasts of 
Burden — there is Pasture for them in the same Yalley, 

Russian Persecutions : Mission to the Czm*, 129 

Harness for them in the same Stall; they feed, and 
perform their Task !" 

Urquhart was mistaken. Soon after the publication 
of this article, a deputation of Eussian Jews arrived in 
England to lay their grievances before Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore, and he once more endeavored to interest the 
British Government in their behalf. At the same time, 
at Vienna, Baron Solomon de Rothschild publicly called 
upon the Eussian Ambassador to intercede with his 
Government. These representations proved fruitless. 
The Jews of Western Europe now became thoroughly 
aroused. Supported by the leading journals, Dr. 
Frankel, the learned Chief Eabbi of Dresden, published 
a vigorous appeal to the world for help. The Eussian 
Government mockingly answered with an expulsion of 
foreign Jews. Notwithstanding the irritation caused 
by this last measure, no European Power ventured on 
a remonstrance. To avert the impending disaster the 
Jews evidently had only themselves to rely upon. In 
this crisis Sir Moses Montefiore gallantly came forward 
and offered to proceed to St. Petersburg to plead the 
cause of his brethren personally with the Czar. 

This proposal was received by the Jews with enthusi- 
asm. As soon as the necessary preparations were com- 
pleted, special prayers for the success of the Mission 
were offered up in all the synagogues of the British 
Empire by order of the Chief Eabbi, and even the 
Eeform Congregation in Burton Crescent sent forth an 
applauding " God-speed " from its proscribed pulpit. 
On the 26th February, 1846, Sir Moses Montefiore, 
accompanied by Lady Montefiore and Dr. Loewe, and 
attended by a numerous suite, set out on his second 
important expedition. The wintry weather was exceed- 

130 The Life of Sir Moses MonUfiore. 

ingly severe, and the journey long and tedious. On the 
snow-bound roads the travellers were frequently alarmed 
by the howling of hungry packs of wolves, and they 
had to keep a gong perpetually sounding to frighten 
them away. St. Petersburg was not reached until the 
31st March. 

The reception accorded to Sir Moses in the Eussian 
capital was very flattering. Apart from the recom- 
mendations with which he had been furnished by the 
British Government, and which, under any circum- 
stances, would have secured him ceremonious attention, 
the political whirligig had brought about a modification 
in the Czar's view of the obnoxious Ukase which enabled 
him to be more gracious to the Jewish champion than 
might have otherwise been possible. Sir Moses was 
treated not merely as a distinguished private individual, 
but as the representative of a people. He was asked 
to consider himself the guest of the Emperor; State 
carriages were placed at his disposal, and a Government 
official was ordered to be in constant attendance on him. 
During the Passover holidays he worshipped in the 
synagogues used by the Jewish soldiers of the garrison, 
which, for the occasion, were handsomely decorated at 
the expense of the Czar. 

The presentation of the Memorial of which he was 
the bearer took place on the 9th April. Previous to 
the arrival of the Hebrew philanthropist in St. Peters- 
burg, the counsellors of the Czar had ventured to point 
out that, while it was doubtful whether the proposed 
removal of the Jews into the interior would have the 
contemplated effect of checking smuggling, it was cer- 
tain that so sudden a change in the social condition of 
the Western Provinces would bring about grave eco- 

Hussicm Persecutions: Mission to the Cza/r, 131 

Domical evils which would react upon the entire Empire. 
The Czar had listened to these representations with 
more attention than he usually bestowed on advice 
opposed to his preconceived opinions, and on the 22d 
March the operation of the Ukase had been suspended 
for four years. This action had not, however, removed 
the raison dJetre of Sir Moses Montefiore's Mission. 
He was charged to procure, if possible, the entire revo- 
cation of the decree, and also to obtain a general reform 
of the laws affecting the Eussian Jews. 

Sir Moses gave the following account of his audience 
with the Emperor in one of his letters : 

"I have the pleasure to inform you that, with the 
blessing of God, I have had the opportunity of plead- 
ing the cause of our brethren in this Empire before 
the mighty monarch. On Thursday I was honored 
with an audience by the Emperor, was most gracious- 
ly received, and all my statements listened to most 
patiently. His Majesty said I should have the satis- 
faction of taking with me his assurance and the assur- 
ances of his Ministers, that he was most desirous for the 
improvement of my co-religionists in his Empire, and 
that object engaged his attention at present. His 
Majesty intimated a desire that I should visit my 
brethren in those towns in which they were the most 
numerous, and he would put me in communication with 
his ministers." 

The conversation here referred to occupied half an 
hour, and was conducted without witnesses. In honor 
of the occasion the Palace guard for the day was com- 
posed of Jewish soldiers. After the Emperor had read 
the Memorial he turned to Sir Moses and said, in the 
most affable manner, " A present causons.^^ He then 

132 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

chattily descanted on the difficulties of the E-usso- 
Jewisli problem, gave his visitor some details of alleged 
Jewish demoralization, which. Sir Moses subsequently 
declared, " made every hair of my head stand on end," 
and expressed a desire to deal liberally with the Jews, 
if only the ancient laws of the Empire would allow 
him. " But your Majesty might alter these laws," in- 
terposed Montefiore. "I hope I may succeed," an- 
swered the Emperor. Referring to the Jewish sentries 
on duty, Nicholas said he had 100,000 brave Israelites 
in his army, and complimentarily described them as 
" veritable Maccabees." It appeared to Sir Moses that, in 
spite of the Czar's liberal protestations, he was strongly 
possessed by a perverted estimate of Jewish character. 
In concluding the interview, the Emperor made the 
suggestion, referred to in Sir Moses' letter, that he 
should himself visit the Jewish communities in the 
"West, and he advised him to counsel his co-religionists 
to lay aside their old-fashioned dress and mediaeval cus- 
toms. In taking his leave. Sir Moses observed, " Sire, 
I commend my Jewish brethren to your protection." 
" They shall have it if they resemble you," courteously 
answered the Czar. 

Sir Moses lost no time in acting upon the Emperor's 
suggestion that he should visit his Eussian brethren in 
their homes. The earnest spirit in which he undertook 
this important investigation is indicated in a letter he 
addressed to a friend in London. He wrote : 

" To-morrow, please God, I proceed on my visit, in 
compliance with the desire of his Imperial Majesty, to 
several towns in which the Jews principally reside. 
After witnessing their situation, I have the assurance of 
the Ministers that any report or suggestion that I may 

I^K propoE 

Russian Persecutions: Mission to the Czar, 133 

: proper to make shall have their earnest attention, 
and a promise that my letter shall be placed in the 
hands of the Emperor himself. I have had long and 
frequent intercourse with the principal Ministers on the 
subject of the unfortunate condition of our co-religion- 
ists in this Empire; and I feel confident that there is a 
great desire for their improvement, but I fear tliere is 
the greatest poverty among them. The most likely 
remedy for this evil would be their employment in the 
cultivation of land and the establishment of manufac- 
tories; these pursuits require capital, which, I appre- 
hend, it will be difficult to raise in this country. I have 
been much pleased with two Synagogues, which I have 
had the gratification of attending during the holidays, 
with the consent of His Majesty, who was graciously 
pleased afterwards to inquire if I was satisfied with 
them. Both buildings were crowded wdth Jewish 
soldiers ; and it was a gratifying sight to witness their 
orderly conduct and great devotion. The Hazanim 
were soldiers, and the prayers, Parasa, etc., were 
extremely well read, and would have done credit to any 
Synagogue in London." 

Armed with letters to the provincial authorities and 
with the privilege of using the Government relays. Sir 
Moses left St. Petersburg on the 21st April. His 
journey is said to have resembled a royal progress. At 
Wilna, the capital of Jewish Poland, — one third of the 
population are Jews — he spent eleven days. Immedi- 
ately on his arrival he was waited upon by the Military 
Commandant, General von Mirkowiez, while the wives 
and daughters of the principal officials paid their re- 
spects to Lady Montefiore. A round of festivities was 
proposed by the authorities, but declined by Sir Moses. 

134 Tlie Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

He found the Jews willing to follow his advice in every 
particular. They expressed their readiness to engage in 
agriculture, and the administrators of the communal 
schools undertook to have the boys instructed in the 
vernacular and in branches of useful secular knowledge. 
At every town at which he stopped he gave largely to 
the poor of all denominations, and at Wilna left 10,000 
silver roubles for the Jewish poor alone. The journey 
was not without its adventures. In crossing the Dwina 
the ice gave way, and one of the servants was drowned. 
The Montefiores themselves narrowly escaped with their 
lives. The general results of Sir Moses' observations 
are tersely described in one of his letters to London. 
Writing from Warsaw, under date of the 20th May, he 

" There is much to be done in Poland. I have al- 
ready received the promise of many of the Hasidim 
to change their fur caps for hats, and to adopt the Ger- 
man costume generally. I think this change will have 
a happy effect on their position, and be the means of 
producing a good feeling between their fellow-subjects 
and themselves. I have received the assurance of many 
that they would willingly engage themselves in agricul- 
ture if they could procure land ; and his Highness the 
Viceroy is desirous that they should do so. I therefore 
hope that those Jews in this kingdom who have the 
ability will purchase land (which I am told is very 
cheap), and will employ their brethren in its cultivation. 
Our co-religionists are most willing to work ; they are 
good masons, bricklayers, carpenters, etc., and of course 
tailors, shoemakers, bootmakers, weavers, etc. I was 
pained to witness how some labor for a bit of bread : 
there were thousands of them on the roads breaking 

Eussian Persecutions: Mission to the Cza/r. 135 

stones ; and truly happy when they could get even that 
humiliating employment. The Jewish schools are 
most deserving of commendation ; the females are quite 
equal in talent to the males." 

At Warsaw Sir Moses was somewhat rudely reminded 
of the insincerity of the Russian authorities in their 
assumed benevolence towards the Jews. In an inter- 
view with Prince Paskiewitch, the Governor- General 
of Poland, he represented how advantageous it would 
be to admit Jewish pupils to the public schools. " God 
forbid !" cynically replied the Prince. " The Jews are 
already too clever for us. How would it be if they got 
good schooling ?" This remark, spoken probably in 
jest, throws a flood of light on the Russian policy to- 
wards the Jews. The opinion is not new in Russian 
history. It reminds us of a remarkable letter written 
some sixty years before by the Empress Catherine to 
the Governor of Moscow, who had complained of the 
difficulties he experienced in establishing schools. " Mon 
cher Prince," wrote the Empress, "vousvous plaignez 
de ce que les Russes n'ont pas le desir de s'instruire. 
Si j'institue des ecoles, ce n'est pas pour nous, c'est pour 
I'Europe ou il faut maintenir notre rang dan»l' opinion ; 
mais du jour, ou nos paysans voudraient s'eclairer, ni 
vous ni moi, nous ne resterions a nos places." 

His tour of the Jewish communities completed. Sir 
Moses Montefiore returned to England by rapid stages, 
bringing with him the news that the Ukaze which had 
occasioned his journey had been finally abrogated. As 
a further result of his mission, an Imperial rescript was 
subsequently issued, granting Jews the right to acquire 
land, and to enroll themselves in commercial corpora- 
tions. The conditions attached to this permission were. 

136 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

however, not sufficiently favorable to admit of the 
Jews availing themselves very extensively of its pro- 
visions. The personal advice and example of Sir Moses 
did more to stimulate the Russian Hebrews to an im- 
provement of their condition than all the grudging 
concessions of the Government. If the Jews are to-day 
better off than they were in 1846, it is only in a very 
small measure due to the exertions of the authorities. 

In England Sir Moses Montefiore's co-religionists 
received him with an enthusiasm hardly inferior to that 
which greeted him on his triumphant return from the 
East in 1840. His efforts on behalf of his persecuted 
brethren were graciously appreciated, too, by the high- 
est personages in the realm. An entertainment in his 
honor, given by his sister-in-law, the then Dowager 
Baroness de Rothschild, at Gunnersbury Park, was at- 
tended by more than one member of the royal family ; 
and the Queen testified her interest in his humanitarian 
work by conferring upon him his baronetcy. 

A Busy Decade, 




Resumption of the Emancipation Struggle.— Mr. David Salomons 
and the Court of Aldermen.— Passing of the Municipal Corpora- 
tions Bill.— Sir Moses Montefiore and the Duke of Cambridge- 
Accession to Power of Lord John Russell. — Baron Lionel de 
Rothschild is Returned to Parliament.— Prevented from Taking 
his Seat. — The Premier Proposes to Abolish Jewish Disabilities. 
—The Bill is Passed by the Commons but Thrown out by the 
Lords. — Sir Moses Montefiore Organizes an Agitation in Favor 
of the Bill.— Second Defeat of the Bill.— The End of the Strug- 
gle. — Who shall be the First Jewish Peer ? — Condition of the 
Foreign Jews. — Another Blood Accusation at Damascus. — Sir 
Moses Montefiore proceeds to Paris and Interviews M. Guizot 
and King Louis Philippe. — Satisfactory Assurances. — The Jews 
of Turkey. — Proposed Readmission of the Jews to Spain. — La- 
bors of Mr. Guedalla.— Home Affairs. — Three Missions to Pales- 
tine. — The ' ' Judah Touro" Legacy. — Useful Works in the Holy 
Land. — Sir Moses Montefiore and Said Pasha. — Conversation 
with the Khedive on the Suez Canal. 

HE meridian of Sir Moses Montefiore' s career was 
reached in the period we are now approaching. At 
an age when with most men " the years have stolen fire 
from the mind, and vigor from the limb," he was in 
the prime of life. Time had dealt its gentlest with 
him. Almost within sight of the Psalmist's limit of 
age, his appetite for work was unslaked, and his ener- 
gies unexhausted. The ten years ending on his seventy- 
third birthday were the busiest in his whole career. 

138 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

The session following his return from Russia found 
him again hard at work in the President's chair of the 
Board of Deputies. One of the first questions he was 
called upon to consider was the resumption of the 
Emancipation struggle in England. Strange as it may 
seem, it is nevertheless a fact that Sir Moses Montefiore, 
a Baronet of the United Kingdom, ex-sheriff of Lon- 
don and Middlesex, and high sherijff for the county 
of Kent, a Commissioner of Lunacy for London, and a 
Magistrate of Middlesex, Deputy Lieutenant for Kent, 
and a Magistrate for the Cinque Ports, who had been 
twice honored by his sovereign for his labors in the 
cause of oppressed humanity, and whose example had 
taught his co-religionists in the remotest countries to 
regard England as the home of liberty, was himself in 
1847 still a victim of political disabilities. Two years 
before he had initiated, after a lull of eight years, a new 
campaign against the disqualifications under which the 
English Jews labored ; but he had not been able to 
achieve more than the opening to them of Corporation 
offices. The occasion of this campaign was the annul- 
ment of the election of his brother-in-law, Mr. David 
Salomons, as Alderman for the ward of Portsoken in 
the City of London, in consequence of his inability to 
subscribe to the declaration " On the true faith of a 
Christian," with which the oath of office concluded. 
At a meeting of the Board of Deputies held on the 
23d of January, 1845, Sir Moses Montefiore brought 
the circumstance officially under the notice of his col- 
leagues, and moved " that the time is now fitting for a 
recommencement of the agitation for Jewish emancipa- 
tion." The resolution was adopted, and a special com- 
mittee appointed to act upon it. 

A Busy Decade. 139 

This body met frequently at the chambers in Capel 
Court, occupied by its chairman in his capacity as Presi- 
dent of the Alliance Insurance Company. At one of 
these meetings (10th February) it was resolved to seek 
a conference with Her Majesty's Government, and, ac- 
cordingly, on the 19th February, Sir Moses Montefiore, 
accompanied by his nephew, the late Baron Lionel de 
Kothschild, had an interview with Sir Robert Peel at 
Downing Street. The Premier stated that a measure 
for the partial repeal of Jewish Disabilities was under 
his consideration, but that he was not then prepared to 
disclose it. On the 4th March another interview took 
place, when the Minister showed Sir Moses Montefiore 
a Bill enabling Jews to fill corporation ofiices. This, 
he said, was the extent to which the Government was 
inclined to go. Sir Moses expressed his regret that no 
larger measure of repeal was contemplated, but hoped 
that in a subsequent session the Ministry would present 
the Jews with a final instalment of relief. 

The Bill was introduced into Parliament, and passed 
oth Houses without opposition. In the Lords it was 
armly commended by the Duke of Cambridge, uncle 
the Queen, and a patron of the Jews' Hospital, who, 
the course of his speech, made some interesting refer- 
ees to Sir Moses Montefiore. His Royal Highness 

*'I have had occasion for some time to know the 
ood which persons professing the Jewish religion have 
one, and particularly with reference to the different 
harities to which I belong ; and I can certainly say that 
it is to them that we owe a great deal, and that they 
ntribute a very large portion of the funds of all the 
arities over which I have the honor of presiding. 

140 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Two of tlie individuals whose names were mentioned in 
the speech of my noble and learned friend on the Wool- 
sack are personally known to myself. One was for- 
merly High Sheriff of the county of Kent (Mr. Salo- 
mons), and I can bear witness to the good which he has 
done. Also, there was Sir Moses Montefiore, who, 
about Ja.wQ years ago, was Sheriff of London, and I must 
state, in justice to him, what occurred between him and 
me whilst he held that office. I happened to be re- 
quested by the Bishop of Winchester to preside at a 
meeting for the purpose of increasing the number of 
churches in that diocese. I went down to Winchester, 
and I happened to be walking in the garden, when I 
met Sir Moses Montefiore, who had come down on a 
very melancholy occasion, to attend the deathbed of a 
favorite niece. He came up to me, and learning what 
was the object of the meeting which I was about to at- 
tend, he gave me a very handsome sum which he desired 
me to present. I will not mention what the sum was, 
for it would be a violation of good taste to do so ; but I 
think it only just to mention his name, and to show 
that I really feel that we owe a great debt of gratitude 
to gentlemen professing his persuasion for the good 
which they have done." 

During Sir Moses Montefiore's absence in Russia, an 
important change took place in the direction of politi- 
cal affairs at home. On the 25th June, 1846, Sir Rob- 
ert Peel was defeated on the Irish Coercion Bill, and 
two days later his Ministry resigned. The hopes of the 
Jews rose high when Lord John Russell, the author of 
the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, and a 
prominent sympathizer with the cause of Jewish eman- 
cipation, was invited by the Queen to form a new ad- 


A Busy Decade. 141 

ministration. At the very first meeting of the 1846-4Y 
session of tlie Board of Deputies, Sir Moses Montefiore, 
who enjoyed the personal friendship of the new Premier, 
promised to use his influence to obtain the repeal of the 
remaining disabilities. Unfortunately other urgent po- 
litical questions so completely absorbed the time of the 
new Ministry that they were unable to give any imme- 
diate attention to the Jewish question. On May 22d, 
184:7, however, Parliament was dissolved, and at the 
general election which followed, Baron Lionel de Eoths- 
child was elected one of the members for the City of 
London. Being unable to take his seat in consequence 
of the obnoxious wording of the oath, the Government 
were forced to take action in accordance with their well- 
known proclivities. 

On the 16th December Lord John Eussell, in an able 
nd exhaustive speech, moved in the House of Com- 
ons, "That this House resolve itself into a Commit- 
e on the Kemoval of Civil and Keligious Disabilities 
affecting Her Majesty's Jewish subjects." An interest- 
ing debate ensued, and the motion was carried by 256 
to 186 votes. A Bill was introduced on the 20th De- 
cember. The unimpeachable conduct of the Jews in 
the municipal offices they had filled afforded their par- 
liamentary friends a new argument in their favor ; and 
the high character of Sir Moses Montefiore, Sir David 
Salomons, and Baron de Rothschild was quoted more 
than once by the partisans of the Bill. The Prime 
Minister in his opening speech made very dexterous use 
of this argument. He said : 

" We have been told, also, that there is a very solemn 
denunciation in the prophecies which should prevent 
our granting to the Jews the rights they claim. But, I 

14:2 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

would ask, where it is that those who use this argument 
would draw the line ? In this country we have much 
relaxed the rigor of our enactments respecting them. 
A Jew has been a magistrate ; a Jew has been a sheriff. 
By a late statute, which was introduced by the Eight 
Honorable member for Tarn worth, Jews may hold offices 
in corporations ; and it was but the other day that a 
Jew was admitted to the office of Alderman in the Cor- 
poration of the City of London. I ask you what right 
or business have you to interpret a prophecy so as to 
draw the line between an Alderman and a Commissioner 
of Customs, between a Justice of the Peace and a per- 
son having a right to sit in Parliament ?" 

These observations derived especial force from the 
circumstance that " the Eight Honorable member for 
Tamworth," Sir Kobert Peel, had at first declared him- 
self against the Bill. On the second reading, to the 
great surprise of the House, the ex-premier announced 
that he had changed his mind and both spoke and voted 
in its favor. In this speech Sir Eobert several times 
referred to Sir Moses Montefiore. The following pas- 
sage may be quoted : 

" I have other motives that weigh with me. There 
are countries in which the Jews are still subject to per- 
secution and oppression. Twice within the last three 
or four years has a British subject, distinguished for 
his benevolence and philanthropy. Sir Moses Montefi- * 
ore, repaired to distant lands, in the hope of mitigating 
the hard lot of the suffering Jews. He repaired to St. 
Petersburg for the purpose of imploring mercy towards 
the Jews in Poland. He repaired to the East for the 
purpose of relieving, if possible, the Jews in Palestine, 
from shameful wrongs, perpetrated on the pretext that 


A Busy Decade, 143 

they murdered Christian children in order that their 
blood might be available for the Passover. He carried 
with him letters of recommendation from British 
Ministers, certifying his high character for integrity 
and honor, and the purity of the motives by which he 
was actuated. How much more persuasive would 
those letters have been if they could have announced 
the fact that every ancient prejudice against the Jews 
had been extinguished here, and that the Jew was on a 
perfect equality, as to civil rights, with his Christian 

The Bill was passed; but on reaching the Lords it 
shared the fate of its predecessors and was defeated by 
163 to 128 votes. Baron de Rothschild hereupon re- 
signed his seat. 

As soon as the result of the deliberations of the 
iUpper Chamber was made known, Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore convened a meeting of the Board of Deputies to 
^consider by what means the agitation should be con- 
tinued. It was resolved to confide it to a special com- 
fmittee, the chairmanship of which was offered to the 
(President of the Board. Sir Moses accepted the honor, 
md began forthwith to organize a formidable move- 
Iment. He secured the co-operation of the Goldsmids, 
[who had already distinguished themselves by their 
lexertions in the cause, and drew up a form of petition 
[which he distributed among all the metropolitan and 
j provincial Jewish congregations for signature. In 
[January, 1848, he was enabled to send up a large num- 
fber of memorials to the House of Lords in favor of 
^Lord John RusselPs Bill. His committee met three 
times a week during something more than a year at 
Baron Rothschild's offices in J^ew Court, St. Swithin's 

IM The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Lane. The Lords, however, again threw out the 
measure, and the Jews, disheartened by their want of 
success, gradually dropped their agitation. 

From this time until 1868, when, through the per- 
sonal exertions of Baron de Eothschild and Sir David 
Salomons the Jewish Disabilities were at last repealed. 
Sir Moses Montefiore was but little concerned in the 
agitation. He remained, however, to the end Chairman 
of the Special Committee of the Deputies charged with 
its organization, and when eventually his nephew was 
permitted to take his seat in the Commons, he was the 
first to offer him his congratulations. Baron de Eoths- 
child, in the course of his reply, expressed a hope which 
to-day reads almost like a prophecy. " Permit me," he 
wrote, "to felicitate you upon an event in which we 
have a strong common interest, and to reciprocate the 
hope that you, too, may long live to enjoy the advan- 
tages and to witness the ulterior results which may be 
expected to flow from it." 

Sir Moses had no Parliamentary ambition, although, 
had he desired it, he could have been returned without 
opposition, on more than one occasion, for the division 
of the county of Kent in which he resides. His family 
has, however, never ceased to be represented in St. 
Stephens, and at the present time a nephew (Mr. Arthur 
Cohen, Q.C.) and a grand-nephew (Sir Nathaniel de 
Rothschild) occupy seats in the Commons. The wish 
has often been expressed that the last shadow of 
Jewish disability might be removed from the British 
Constitution by the admission of a Jew to the House 
of Lords ; and Sir Moses Montefiore has been, not un- 
reasonably, indicated as the man upon whom such a 
distinction should fall. There are those, both within 

\m Dat 


A Busy Decade. 145 

and without the Jewish community, who still hope to 
see this wish fulfilled. 

Throughout the Emancipation struggle Sir Moses 
Montefiore's heart remained as heretofore with his 
foreign brethren. This will account for his not taking 
so prominent a part in the solution of the great political 
question at home as his less travelled relatives and col- 
leagues. The foreign Jews, particularly those in the 
East, remained in a distressing state, a prey not only to 
persecuting laws, but persecuting popular passion. The 
negative indignity of political disability that had been 
the great trouble of the British Jews was happiness in 
comparison with the positive hardships, the misery, and 
insecurity, which beset the lives of thousands of their 
brethren in Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It was 
well for them that Sir Moses Montefiore did interest 
himself in their welfare. 

A revival of the Blood Accusation at Damascus en- 
gaged his attention towards the middle of 1847. In 
April of that year, a Christian child had disappeared, 
and the Jews had been charged with murdering it in 
order to employ its blood for ritual purposes. The 
wretched superstition was supported by the French 
Consulate, the chief of which represented to the 
Ottoman Governor, Sefata Pasha, that it was credibly 
established that the Jews used Christian blood in the 
celebration of their Passover. Sefata Pasha does not 
seem to have been acquainted with the famous Firman 
of the 12th Ramazan, which vindicated the Jews from 
this accusation under the hand and seal of the Padishah 
himself, for he ordered a strict search to be instituted in 
the Jewish quarter, and although nothing of an incrimi- 
nating nature was found, imprisoned several Jews on 

146 The Life of Sir Moses Montejwi^e. 

suspicion. Ultimately the missing boy, who had been 
staying at Baalbec, reappeared in good health, but the 
Jewish prisoners were not released. 

On these facts being brought under the notice of 
Sir Moses Montefiore, he determined to seek an inter- 
view with the French king, in order to assure his co- 
religionists in future against the extraordinary malev- 
olence of the French diplomatic agents in the East. 
Accompanied by Lady Montefiore and Dr. Loewe, he 
proceeded to Paris, where M. Guizot lent a ready ear 
to his complaint, and obtained for him an audience of 
Louis Philippe. His Majesty, more cordial than in 
1840, assured his Jewish visitor that he regarded the 
Blood Accusation as a gross calumny on the Jews. 
He expressed his indignation that it should have been 
countenanced by any person employed by his Govern- 
ment, and promised that every necessary step should 
be taken to prevent a repetition of the outrage. This 
promise His Majesty did not forget. Sir Moses, a 
short time after his return to England, had the satis- 
faction of receiving the following letter from M. 
Guizot : 

"Pabis, Auguit 25th, 1847. 

" Sir : The King has sent to me a letter, addressed 
by you to him on the 9th of this month, on the subject 
of the prejudice which unhappily prevails against the 
Israelites in the East, and which accuses them of using 
human blood in their sacrifices. You express a wish 
that the agents of His Majesty in the Levant shall not 
only be restrained from contributing in any way to up- 
hold such a prejudice, but that they shall employ every 
means in their power to discountenance and refute it. 

"The King's Government regards the imputation in 

A Busy Decade, 147 

question as false and calumnious, and its agents are gen- 
erally too enlightened to make themselves the organs of 
it. The Government regrets and censures it in the most 
express terms. This it is eager to do in the case to 
which you refer, relative to a Christian child at Damas- 
cus, who had disappeared in April last, and the accusa- 
tion which the agent of the French Consulate did not 
scruple to prefer on that subject to the Pasha against 
the Jews. No direct information having been received 
on that subject, I have called for explanations from the 
King's consul at Damascus, directing him, if the case as 
reported to you be correct, to express on my part the 
severest censure of the conduct of the individual, who, 
on a mere report, should cast such imputations on a 
whole people. 

"Accept, sir, the assurance of my most distinguished 
consideration. Guizot." 

The consular officers were subsequently censured, 
but it was only after very great difficulty and a long 
correspondence with the Turkish authorities that the 
imprisoned Jews were set free. 

In 1854 Sir Moses was again at work in the interests 
of the Turkish Jews. He directed the attention of the 
Earl of Clarendon to their condition, and memorialized 
the British Government to include them in their schemes 
for the benefit of the Turkish rayahs. He also corre- 
sponded with Lord Stratford de Kedcliffe, and obtained 
through him several important decisions, which helped 
to protect the provincial Jews against the rapacity of 
local officials. 

A vast amount of miscellaneous business — both for- 
eign and domestic — was transacted by Sir Moses at this 

148 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

period at the Board of Deputies. Among other inter- 
esting matters, we find him, in 1854, corresponding 
with several Spanish noblemen on the readmission of 
the Jews to Spain. M. Furtado, of the Consistoire 
Israelite de St. Esprit, first wrote to him on the subject, 
and, on the recommendation of that gentleman, he 
formed a committee to take the matter in hand. The 
proposal was brought before the Cortes at Madrid some 
months later, but was lost bj seventeen votes. After 
the dissolution of the Committee, Sir Moses' nephew, 
Mr. H. Guedalla, gave a great deal of attention to the 
question, and it was mainly through his exertions in 
1868 and 1880, that G-eneral Prim and Senor Sagasta, 
announced the revocation of the Edict of Expulsion of 

In home affairs Sir Moses zealously continued to 
watch the work of Parliament in so far as it affected 
the interests of his co-religionists. He procured the 
insertion of clauses protecting Jewish marriages in the 
Marriage Act, corresponded with Sir George Grey on 
the bearing of the law on Jewish Friendly Societies, 
and induced the Lord Advocate of Scotland to make 
considerable alterations in a Bill for the Kegistration of 
Births in Scotland in order to meet Jewish requirements. 

By far the largest portion of his time was, however, 
given to his brethren in the Holy Land. His labors 
during this busy decade include no less than three pil- 
grimages to Palestine. In January, 1849, the cholera 
broke out at Tiberias. As soon as the intelligence 
reached England, Sir Moses Montefiore issued an appeal 
to the Anglo-Jewish community. The period was one 
of great commercial depression, and the appeal was not 
successful. The subscriptions fell short of £200. Mean- 


A Busy Decade. 149 

while the distress spread in all directions. The Chris- 
tian Conversionist Societies availed themselves of the 
opportunity to push forward tlieir propaganda, and, be- 
ing well supplied with funds, were for a time exception- 
ally fortunate in making converts. This only added to 
the distress of the remaining faithful, and in March they 
addressed a letter to Sir Moses Montefiore, pressing him 
to come to their assistance. The benevolent Baronet 
lost no time in responding to this prayer. Accompanied 
by Lady Montefiore and Colonel Gawler (an ex-governor 
of South Australia, who had gone deep into schemes 
for the colonization of Palestine), he started for Jeru- 
salem early in May. He did not go further on this 
occasion than the Holy City, and confined himself to 
the distribution of money to the needy of all confes- 
sions. The amount he gave away is said to have ex- 
ceeded £5000. 

The second journey took place in 1855, under much 
graver circumstances. The outbreak of the Eussian 
war in 1853 had stopped the influx of charitable con- 
tributions from Poland upon which a large number of 
the Jews of Palestine depended for their daily bread. 
This misfortune was aggravated by a failure of the 
crops, followed by one of the severest winters ever ex- 
perienced in the Holy Land. Neither food nor fuel 
were procurable, and, to crown the misery, a severe 
epidemic of small-pox appeared in Jerusalem itself. 
The Chief Rabbi set out for Europe to collect funds, 
but died on his way at Alexandria. In England, Dr. 
Adler, and Sir Moses Montefiore, issued an appeal, and 
succeeded in collecting nearly £20,000. Remittances 
amounting to £8000 were made to the distressed com- 
munities, and a scheme was drawn up to expend the 

150 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

balance on works of more permanent usefulness than a 
mere eleemosynary distribution. About this time a 
wealthy and charitable Israelite of I^ew Orleans, named 
Judah Touro, died, and, although perfectly unknown 
to Sir Moses, bequeathed to him $50,000, to be applied, 
as he might think fit, for the benefit of his co-reli- 
gionists in Palestine. Sir Moses resolved to proceed 
once more to the East to ascertain personally the best 
means of expending this legacy, as well as the remain- 
der of the London Fund. Accompanied by his de- 
voted wife, Mr. and Mrs. H. Guedalla, Dr. Loewe, and 
Mr. G. Kursheedt, one of the executors of Touro's will, 
he set out in May, 1855. The party journeyed via 
Hanover, Prague, Trieste, Corfu, and Constantinople. 
In the Turkish capital a Firman, permitting purchases 
of land in Palestine, was obtained from the Sultan by 
the aid of Lord Stratford de Eedcliffe. Arrived at 
Jerusalem, Sir Moses encountered considerable opposi- 
tion to his determination to devote the funds in his 
hands to reproductive enterprises. The Jews con* 
sidered that it was no part of their duty to work or to 
learn to earn their living, and protested that their task 
in life was sufficiently fulfilled by prayer and religious 
exercises. With his usual good sense. Sir Moses per- 
sisted in his wise resolution. He laid the foundation- 
stone of a hospital, planned the Touro Almshouses 
outside the Jaffa Gate, gave orders for the erection of 
a windmill, opened a girls' school and an industrial 
school, had the public slaughtering-place removed from 
the Jewish quarter, where offal had been allowed to 
accumulate since the days of the Caliph Omar, to a 
place without the city, and established agricultural 
colonies at Jaffa, Safed, and Tiberias. 

A Busy Decade, 151 

On his way home he stopped for a few days at Alex- 
andria, where he was royally entertained by the Yice- 
roy, Said Pasha, who in 1852 had been his guest at 
Park Lane. A palace was placed at his disposal, and 
his meals were sent to him daily by tlie Pasha. Said 
was then full of his scheme foi* a canal through the 
Isthmus of Suez, and at his farewell interview with Sir 
Moses he asked him to use his influence to raise capital 
for the enterprise in England. Sir Moses explained 
how unpopular the project was, but expressed his opin- 
ion that if the Khedive would guarantee a dividend of 
five per cent, English money might still be forthcoming. 
His Highness' answer was worthy of his exalted posi- 
tion. " If that is the only way in which it can be ob- 
tained," he answered, "I will do without it. I have 
already sunk two millions of my own money in the 
undertaking, and that should be a suflBcient guarantee 
for any investor." 

The third mission of this series took place in 1857, 
but it had no public significance. 

152 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 



Lady Montefiore's Health gives Cause for Anxiety. — A Winter in 
Italy. — Sad Condition of the Italian Jews.— Return to England. — 
The Mortara Case. — Abduction of a Jewish Boy by the Roman 
Inquisition on the Ground that he had been Secretly Baptized. — 
The Pope Refuses to Surrender him. — Appeal to Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore. — Excitement in Europe. — Another Attempted Secret Bap- 
tism. — The Pretensions of the Papacy. — Action of Christian Pub- 
lic Bodies in England. — Indignation Meetings. — Consternation 
Among the Jews of the Papal States. — Sir Moses Montefiore In- 
terviews Lord Malmesbury. — Representations to Napoleon III. — 
The Powers Remonstrate with the Papal Government. — Non Pos- 
sumus. — Sir Moses Montefiore Proceeds to Rome. — Negotiations 
with Cardinal Antonelli. — The Pope Refuses to see Sir Moses or 
to Surrender the Child. — Subsequent Efforts unavailing. — The 
Labors of 1859, 1860, and 1861. — Miscellaneous Foreign Business. 
— The Morocco Relief Fund. — Persecution of the Syrian Chris- 
tians. — Appeals of Sir Moses Montefiore and M. Cremieux. — The 
" Blood Accusation" Tablet at Damascus. 

Towards the end of 1857, Lady Montefiore's health 
gave cause for much anxiety. Since the trying journey 
to Russia, in the depth of the winter of 1846, she had 
been more or less ailing, and her indisposition had, un- 
happily, shown but little sign of yielding to medical skill. 
The physicians now advised that it would be dangerous 
to winter in England, and she accordingly repaired with 
her husband to Italy. Here, during several months, 
the affectionate pair roamed from town to town, seeking 


The Mortar a Gase^ etc. 153 

health in change of scene and the geniality of the cli- 
mate, and finding happiness in renewed efforts to re- 
lieve the misery of their Italian co-religionists, still in 
a sad and degraded condition. Many passages in Lady 
Montefiore's diaries — some have been qnoted in a pre- 
ceding chapter — testify to her deep sympathy with the 
Italian Hebrews. Their oppression touched her nearly. 
The name she bore had been adopted in an Italian 
Ghetto, and she must have frequently thought with 
gratitude of the circumstance that had naturalized it in 
a freer clime. The dawn of a new era for Italy was, 
however, already perceptible on the political horizon. 
At the very moment that Sir Moses and Lady Monte- 
fiore were celebrating the Passover — the Jewish feast 
of Freedom — at Florence, Mazzini was maturing his 
plans at Genoa for another of the insurrections upon 
which, but a few years later, the structure of Italian 
Liberty was reared. 

In July the Montefiores were again in England. A 
few weeks after their return, the newspapers gave cur- 
rency to a story which redirected their attention to the 
woes of their Italian co-religionists. Quoting from the 
Bologna correspondence of a Turin journal, the Jewish 
Chronicle^ of August 15th, 1858, published the follow- 
ing intelligence : 

" On "Wednesday evening, the 23d of June, an officer 
of the Papal police, accompanied by gens d^armes^ pre- 
sented himself at the residence of Signer Mortara, an 
Israelite, and demanded, in the name of the Holy Of- 
fice, the surrender of one of his boys. The same had 
been secretly baptized by the Christian servant-maid in 
the house, which had been betrayed to the Holy Office. 
The terror and consternation of the Jewish family can 

154: The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

easily be imagined, when, despite all remonstrance, 
the order was executed, and the boy, on the evening 
of the 24th, was transferred to the Convent of the 
Dominicans, in order to be brought up there as a Chris- 

At the ensuing meeting of the Board of Deputies on 
the 17th, the President's attention was called to this ex- 
traordinary story by Mr. Henry Harris — at present the 
Treasurer, and, we believe, the senior member of the 
Board. Sir Moses Montefiore replied, that he had al- 
ready seen the paragraph, but that it had not taken him 
by surprise, as during his recent stay in Italy, he had 
been much saddened to observe the oppressed condition 
of many of the Jewish communities. He suggested 
that inquiries should be made, with a view to ascertain- 
ing whether the paragraph was true, and if so, what 
were the full details. The suggestion was agreed to, and 
inquiries were immediately set on foot. The story they 
disclosed was startling in the extreme. 

On the date given in the extract quoted by the Jew- 
ish newspaper, a number of officers of the Roman In- 
quisition had appeared at the house of Momolo, or Solo- 
mon, Mortara, a Jew of Bologna, and without assigning 
any reason, had forcibly carried off Edgar Levi Mortara, 
his infant son, aged six years. Several apphcations 
were made to the Holy Office for an explanation of the 
outrage, and eventually the parents of the abducted boy 
were informed, that he had been secretly baptized when 
one year old by his nurse, Mina Morisi, and that he was 
consequently the property of the Church. The child, 
it was further stated, was ill at the time, and the nurse, 
anxious for its welfare, had consulted a druggist named 
Lepori, who had piously suggested that it should be 


The Mortara Case, etc. 166 

baptized. For five years Mina had kept tlie story 
secret, but it had recently come to the knowledge of 
the Inquisition through her confessor, and the Church 
had determined to claim its own. Mortara urged upon 
the consideration of the Holy Office several circum- 
stances which seemed to indicate that the narrative of 
Mina Morisi had been concocted, and that no baptism 
had taken place at all. For reply, he was informed, 
that the tribunal of the Inquisition had thoroughly 
sifted the case, and had established the right of the 
Church to the child. He then addressed himself to 
Cardinal Antonelli, but with no better result, and finally 
he petitioned the Pope. The Holy Father informed 
him that there was only one means of recovering his 
son, and that, by following him into his new faith. 
During these unhappy negotiations, the mother of the 
stolen child died of grief. 

Together with these details came an appeal to Sir 
Moses Montefiore for assistance, signed by the repre- 
sentatives of twenty-one Sardinian Jewish congrega- 
tions. A special meeting of the Deputies was sum- 
moned, to consider this appeal and the new information. 
The result of their deliberations was, that a sub-com- 
mittee was appointed, under the Chairmanship of Sir 
Moses Montefiore, to concert action with foreign Jew- 
ish bodies. In the mean time, the Italian papers circu- 
lated the story all over Europe, and a very painful sen- 
sation was caused by it, even in Catholic countries. 

No action of the Papal Government more distinctly 
marked the abandonment of the liberal principles, by 
which Pius IX. had appeared to be actuated before the 
flight to Gaeta. Even those friends of the Papacy who 
had formerly regarded the Pontiff as hardly sufficiently 

166 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

orthodox, felt that this revival of the mediaeval rights 
of the Inquisition was a grave error. The prevailing 
indignation was increased by another and similar storj, 
reported about the same time from Genoa. A Catholic 
nurse, having charge of a Jewish infant, secretly took 
it to her confessor for baptism. The priest regretfully 
explained to the woman, that in Piedmont the mere act 
of baptism would not, as in the Papal territories, insure 
the child being brought up as a Christian, but he ad- 
vised her to deprive the infant of sustenance, and when 
it was on the point of death to bring it to him, and he 
would baptize it and save its soul. The conspiracy was 
discovered by the doctor attending the child, and, the 
nurse having confessed, the priest was prosecuted. 

The liberal journals throughout Europe severely com- 
mented on this and the Mortara case. The official Gov- 
ernment paper at Turin called on every civilized coun- 
try to demand the restitution of the boy Mortara ; the 
Journal des Dehats counselled the withdrawal of the 
French Ambassador at the Papal Court ; and the Siecle, 
the organ of Prince Napoleon, considered that such out- 
rages had rendered the abolition of the Papacy a Euro- 
pean duty. Public bodies also took the matter in hand. 
At the Annual Conference of the Evangelical Alliance, 
a vote of sympathy with the Jews was unanimously 
agreed to on the motion of Sir Culling Eardley, who 
communicated it to Sir Moses Montefiore. The Com- 
mittees of the Protestant Association, and the Scottish 
Eeformation Society, petitioned for the intervention of 
the British Government, and indignation meetings were 
held in London, New York, Philadelphia, and many 
other cities. 

The excitement was much aggravated when the un- 

The Mortara Case, etc, 157 

^K compromising attitude of the Papacy was made known 
I^H through its organs in the Press, l^o single detail of 
^H the story was denied : on the contrary, the Ultramon- 
^H tanes congratulated themselves on what had taken place. 
^^B The Volkshlatt, of Wurtemburg, a clerical journal, thus 
T^^ frankly expounded the views of Rome: "The world, 
and all Christendom, might put on sackcloth, yet the 

■ child, having received baptism, must remain Catholic. 
Rome, after all, only wishes to keep open to the child 
the path to salvation, and in any case, the authority of 

■ the parents over their child has to yield to the authority 
of the Church, and that of the Pope." The Roman 
correspondent of the Journal de Bruxelles, a kind of 

l^fe Belgian Univers, affected to see the hand of God in the 
I^H iniquitous proceedings. " The knowledge of what has 
I^H occurred at Bologna," he wrote, " will only exhibit in 
I^B stronger relief the wisdom of the Church, the paternal 
I^B vigilance of the Roman Government in regard to its 
■^» Israelitish subjects, and the mysterious prodigies of 
Grace, which sometimes employs the means most un- 

I expected and most extraordinary in the eyes of the 
world to manifest its force." The most shameless 
stories were invented to apologize for the conduct of 
the Holy Office. A favorite theory was, that by a 
miracle the infant Mortara had become a convinced 
Cathohc even before his abduction. One of the clerical 
papers related, that when he entered the institution of 
the Catechumens, he perceived a statue of Our Lady 
, of Tears. " Why does she cry ?" he asked. " She is 

I weeping," answered his attendants, " because the Jews 
do not become converted, and are not willing to acknowl- 
edge her divine Son." " Then she is weeping for my 

168 The lAfe of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Meanwhile the utmost consternation seized the Jew- 
ish communities in the Papal States. Scores of chil- 
dren were hurriedly sent away to the guardianship of 
friends in Modena and Tuscany. A day of humiliation 
was publicly proclaimed by the Rabbis in the Roman 
Ghetto, and appeals innumerable were addressed to the 
foreign communities. Dr. Philippson, the able and 
eloquent Rabbi of Magdeburg, impatient of the diplo- 
matic and reserved action of the eminent Jews in Eng- 
land and France, obtained the signatures of forty emi- 
nent German Rabbis to a memorial to the Pope, which 
he forwarded direct to the Yatican. About the same 
time the London Board of Deputies, flushed with its 
Damascus and Russian successes, proposed that a Jew- 
ish mission should proceed to Rome. Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore declined to entertain the suggestion, while the 
ordinary means of expostulating with a foreign Gov- 
ernment were unexhausted, and it consequently fell to 
the ground. On the 4th October Sir Moses had an im- 
portant interview with the Foreign Secretary. Lord 
Malmesbury assured him that Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment was fully alive to the importance of the question 
involved in the abduction of yoimg Mortara, " as Prot- 
estants were as much exposed to such acts of injustice 
as Jews," and promised to make strong representations 
to Rome. At the same time the Central Jewish Con- 
sistory of France presented a petition to the Emperor 
Napoleon III., who also expressed his sympathy with 
the Jews, and promised to use his good offices with the 
Pope. The result of these negotiations was that on 
the ITth November all the Great European Powers — 
Austria not excepted — addressed private remonstrances 
to the Papal Government, and strongly advised the 

The Mortar a Oase^ etc, 159 

surrender of Mortara. The reply was a firm Won 

The project of a Jewish Mission to the Pope was now 
revived, and at a meeting of the Board of Deputies held 
•on the 22d December Sir Moses Montefiore was asked 
to undertake it. With his usual alacrity he consented, 
although it seemed to many a forlorn hope. The 
veteran Jewish champion was more sanguine than his 
colleagues, and in his hopefulness was encouraged by 
his kind-hearted wife, who insisted on rising from her 
bed of sickness to bear him company on his new errand 
of mercy. By the advice of her physicians the journey 
was postponed for a few weeks, and, when ultimately it 
was undertaken, she was only permitted to travel by 
short stages. On the Sabbath, February 5th, special 
prayers to prosper the Mission were read in all the 
synagogues, and on the 27th, accompanied by Dr. 
Hodgkin, their medical attendant, and Mr. Kursheedt, 
on behalf of the American Israelites, Sir Moses and 
Lady Montefiore left London. In consequence of Lady 
Montefiore's continued indisposition the journey was a 
protracted one, and Kome was not reached until April 

Prior to his departure Sir Moses Montefiore had been 
assured of the sympathy of the late Prince Consort, and 
had been provided with cordial letters of recommen- 
dation to the British diplomatic agent at Rome. The 
Emperor Kapoleon III. had also promised him the un- 
official support of the French representative, the Due 
de Gramont. The delicate semi-official position of 
British agent at the Papal capital was at this period 
filled by the late Lord Ampthill^ then Mr. Odo Russell. 
Sir Moses Montefiore had already met Mr. RusseU at 

160 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Constantinople in 1855 when lie was first attache tinder 
Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, and it was with pleasure 
that he renewed the acquaintance of a young man of so 
charming a presence and so liberal a disposition. Mr. 
Kussell proved indefatigable in his exertions to forward 
the object of the Jewish mission and to procure an in- 
terview for Sir Moses with the Pope ; but the greater 
the pressure he brought to bear on the Holy See the 
greater seemed the resistance it offered. At first a 
somewhat humorous disposition to temporize was 
shown. Cardinal Antonelli, doubtful as to whether 
anything could be done, referred Mr. Russell to Mon- 
signore Talbot. In his turn Monsignore Talbot was 
hopeful, thought that the Pope would receive Sir Moses, 
but recommended an application to Monsignore Paca, 
the Papal " Maestro di Camera." The suggested ap- 
plication was made but no reply was received. After 
waiting a few days an explanation of Monsignore 
Paca's silence was asked for, when it was unofficially 
intimated to Sir Moses that it was not usual for the 
Papal " Maestro di Camera" to enter into correspond- 
ence with private individuals on public matters. In 
this ill-timed joke some twenty days were wasted. 

Another application was now made to Cardinal An- 
tonelli, and Mr. Eussell was informed that the Pope, 
considering the case terminated, had finally resolved 
not to see Sir Moses, but that he (the Cardinal) was 
willing to receive the Jewish emissary and to convey to 
His Holiness the petition he was so desirous of present- 
ing. Accordingly, on the 28th April, Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore had an interview with the Cardinal, who listened 
courteously to all he had to say, and promised to lay his 
memorial before the Holy Father. A few days later 

The Mortar a Case, etc. 161 

Mr. Odo Kussell was requested to notify to Sir Moses 
that the Pope remained immovable ; that it had been 
determined that Edgar Mortara should be educated in 
the Komish faith, but that when he attained his six- 
teenth or seventeenth year he would be " free to follow 
his own judgment." In communicating this decision 
Mr. Eussell gave sympathetic expression to his disap- 
pointment : " I fear," he wrote, " you were but too right 
in saying that our only hope now rests with that great 
God whose most holy laws have in this melancholy case 
been violated by the hand of man." 

Sir Moses himself was deeply chagrined at his failure; 
but he did not despair of eventual success. He re- 
mained some ten days in Rome, in the hope of inducing 
the Pope to reverse his decision. Even after his return 
to England he frequently renewed his efforts. On the 
establishment of the " Alliance Israelite Universelle" 
in 1860 he endeavored to concert measures with that 
body to induce the Pope to reopen the question ; and 
in 1861, when Victor Emmanuel was proclaimed King of 
Italy, he tried to interest the new monarch in the case. 
All, however, to no avail. Edgar Mortara remained 

How deeply the susceptibilities of the Papacy were 
wounded by the agitation to which this abduction had 
given rise is shown by a speech which the Pope de- 
livered eight years later to the assembled canons of the 
Lateran and of the Basilica of St. Peter, on the occasion 
of the sixteenth anniversary of the return to Rome from 
Gaeta. Among the students entered for education as 
Catholics in the Lateran was Mortara, whom Pius in- 
cidentally addressed thus : 

" You are very much endeared to me, my son, be- 

162 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

cause I have obtained jon for Christ at a great price. 
I have paid a very large ransom on jour account. A 
universal invective has broken out against me and the 
Apostolic Chair. Governments and nations, the mighty 
of the world, and the men of the Press, who are also 
the power of the day, have declared war against me. 
Even the kings have placed themselves at the head of 
the campaign, and caused their ministers to write me 
diplomatic notes on your account. But I do not wish 
to complain of kings. All I wish is to refer to the out- 
rages, calumnies, and maledictions pronounced by many 
individuals who appear to feel indignation that the good 
God should have made to you the gift of the true faith, 
by removing you from the darkness of death, the same 
in which your family is still immured. They complain 
chiefly of the misfortune suffered by your parents be- 
cause you have been regenerated by the holy baptism, 
and because you have received that instruction which 
God was pleased to grant you." 

Since then nothing has been heard of young Mortara, 
except that in due course he was formally ordained a 

One effect — ^fortunately only transitory — of the ill- 
success of the Mission to Rome appears to have been that 
the doughty philanthropist began to distrust his own 
powers to support the benevolent enterprises in which 
he was engaged. On his re-election to the Presidency 
of the Board of Deputies, at the opening of the new 
session in 1859, he addressed a letter to his colleagues, 
the burden of which was contained in the following 
paragraph : 

" I am constrained to add that I fear increasing years 
may ere long impair such efficiency as I may be able, at 

The Mortara Case, etc. 163 

i present, to exhibit in tlie performance of my duties, and 
I would, therefore, venture to hope that it may be 
agreeable to the Board to permit me to retire from the 
office (the presidency) at no distant date." 

The feeling that prompted this letter was only mo- 
mentary, and the minute-books of the Deputies contain 
ample evidence that their President's " efficiency in the 
performance of his duties" was still far from being im- 
paired. The years 1859, 1860, and 1861 found him as 
busy as ever. A revival of the Blood Accusation at 
Gralatz directed his attention to the down-trodden con- 
dition of the Roumanian Jews, and he induced Lord 
John Eussell to make repeated representations to both 
Constantinople and Bucharest on the subject. He also 
prevailed upon the Government to use their influence to 
stop a brutal persecution of the Jews of Persia, who ad- 
dressed a touching appeal to him, in which they styled 
him " Our Prince and Father." Through his exertions, 
too, Musurus Pasha obtained redress for the Jews of 
Bagdad, who had been molested in their possession of 
the tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel, and some improve- 
ment was effected in the condition of the Jews of the 
Ionian Islands, in consequence of his timely represen- 
tations to Mr. Gladstone on his appointment as High 
Commissioner to the Islands. In 1860 he raised a fund 
of over £12,000 for the relief of the Jewish refugees 
from Morocco, who, in consequence of the outbreak of 
the war with Spain, and the fanaticism to which it gave 
rise among the Moors, had fled to Gibraltar, Algesiras, 
and Tarifa. The condition of these fugitives, number- 
ing close upon 5000, was pitiable in the extreme, but 
they were received with generous hospitality by the late 
General Sir William Codrington, Governor of Gibraltar, 

164: The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

and son of Sir Moses Montefiore's old friend, tlie hero 
of [N^avarino, and by the Spanish authorities, both eccle- 
siastical and lay. The fund raised more than sufficed 
for their relief and repatriation, and with the balance 
schools were established at Tetuan, Tangier, and Moga- 

A more notable instance of Sir Moses Montefiore's 
active benevolence occurred later in the same year, 
when tlie Christians of Syria were attacked by the 
Druses of Mount Lebanon. The disaster was terrible ; 
20,000 Christians who had escaped massacre were 
wandering in the open country without food or fuel, 
and in peril of their lives. Immediately on reading 
the news in the Times ^ Sir Moses hurried up to town, 
and called personally at Printing House Square, at one 
o'clock in the morning, bearing the following letter, 
which he requested might be inserted : 

" SiK : T have noticed with the deepest sympathy 
the statement made last week in the House of Lords 
that, owing to the recent outbreak in Syria, tliere are 
20,000 of the Christian inhabitants, women and cliildren, 
wandering over its mountains, exposed to the utmost 
peril. Being intimately acquainted with the nature of 
that country and the condition of its people, I appreci- 
ate, I am sorry to say, but too painfully, the vast 
amount of misery that must have been endured and 
which is still prevalent. 

" I believe that private benevolence may do some- 
thing towards the alleviation of the distress of the 
unhappy multitudes now defenceless, homeless, and 

" I well know from experience the philanthropy of 

TTie Mortara Case^ etc. 165 

my fellow-countrymen, and I venture to think that the 
public would gladly and without delay contribute to the 
raising of a fund to be applied, as circumstances may 
require and under judicious management, for the relief 
of these unfortunate objects of persecution. 

" I would suggest, therefore, that a small, active, and 
influential Committee be at once formed with the view 
of raising subscriptions and of placing themselves in 
communication with the British Consul-General at 
Beyrout, and the other British Consular authorities 
throughout Syria, so that assistance may be rendered 
by the remittance of money and the transmission of 
necessary supplies ; and I take the liberty of enclosing 
my check for £200 towards the proposed fund. 

"Your recent eloquent and judicious advocacy of the 
cause of the Syrian Christians has encouraged me to 
address you, and will, I trust, be a sufficient excuse for 
my so doing. 

" I have the honor to be. Sir, 

" Yours faithfully, 

"Moses Montefiore. 

"East Cliff Lodge, Ramsgate, July 10." 

Curiously enough, the very next day an appeal on 
the same subject was addressed to the Jews of France 
by M. Cremieux, who called upon his co-religionists to 
be the first to fly to the assistance of their persecuted 
Christian brethren. Both appeals were very successful. 
Sir Moses Montefiore's Committee alone raised £22,- 

This action of the two men who, nineteen years 
before, had had so much difficulty in rescuing their 
brethren from the fanaticism of the same Syrian 

166 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Christians who were now persecuted in their turn, 
affords a splendid ilhistration of the generous and for- 
giving spirit which Christianity is generally supposed 
to monopolize. But it was on broader grounds than 
mere generosity or magnanimity that these noble Jews 
took up this movement — the grounds of humanity and 
religious toleration. Their feelings received eloquent 
expression in the stirring farewell verses which a Jewish 
poet, Leon Halevy, brother of the composer, addressed 
to the French expeditionary corps on its departure for 
the scene of the disorders : 

" Pour punir des meutres infSmes, 
Vous courez aux bords syriens. 
Vengez les enfants et les femmes, 
Sauvez des frdres, des Chretiens! 
Croisade du Dieu qui console, 
Tu reunis tous les croyants: 
Le juif a donne son obole 
Comme il donnera ses enfants." 

And still there were fanatical hearts in Europe which 
this action of the Jews could not soften. One journal 
publicly insinuated that they were actuated by a desire 
to expiate the ritual murder of Father Thomas in 1840. 
The Jews reaped, however, an unexpected reward. 
During the disturbances at Damascus the Church of the 
Capuchins was destroyed, and with it the notorious 
"Blood Accusation" tablet, imputing the alleged 
murder of Father Thomas to the Jews, which Sir Moses 
Montefiore had made so many unsuccessful efforts to 
have removed. 

Lady Montefiore. 




Death of Lady Montefiore.— Her Early Years,— Education.— Mar- 
riage. — Participation in her Husband's Humanitarian Work. — 
Accompanies Sir Moses on his Foreign Missions. — Diaries of the 
Journeys to Palestine. — Extracts from her Journals. — Home Life. 
— Anecdote Illustrative of her Benevolence. — Communal Labors. 
— The Funeral at Ramsgate. — Memorial Foundations. — The 
Tomb on the East Clif . 

On the 24tli September, 1862 — the eve of the Jewish 
New Year 5623 — Sir Moses Montefiore experienced the 
[great sorrow of his life, in the death of his dear help- 
mate of fifty years. The Continental tours advised by 
[the doctors had proved only of slight avail, and since 
the return from Eome in 1859 so visibly had her health 
declined that even these had had to be abandoned. Lady 
Montefiore spent the last year of her life alternately in 
London and Ramsgate, the object of the unceasing soli- 
citude of her affectionate husband. During the summer 
of 1862, when the Jubilee of her married life was cele- 
brated, a slight improvement in her health inspired her 
friends with hope. " Providence," as one of her biog- 
raphers* sympathetically remarked, ''restored, before 
the final extinction of the lamp, a portion of the bright- 
ness which it once shed around." She was even able 

Jewish Chronicle, Oct. 3d, 1863. 

168 TJie Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

to take some carriage exercise with seeming benefit, and 
on the very day that she was attacked by the sickness 
which finally consigned her to the grave, arrangements 
had been made to take her to the International Exhibi- 

This was on the 19th September. The following 
Tuesday prayers for her recovery were offered up dur- 
ing morning service in Bevis Marks, and in the after- 
noon in the Great Synagogue. The next day was the 
Eve of the I^ew Year, and again reassuring symptoms 
showed themselves. Hopes for the prolongation of her 
life were entertained. She conversed with her usual 
serenity and pious resignation, and even expressed some 
anxiety on the score of the hospitable reception of her 
visitors. As the setting sun annonnced the commence- 
ment of the Jewish Festival, Sir Moses repaired to the 
room adjoining hers, which formed a kind of domestic 
oratory, and offered up in her hearing the prayers pre- 
scribed for the solemn occasion. These devotions over, 
he re-entered her room, and, laying his hands on her 
head, pronounced the benediction, which he had never 
missed for fifty years on Sabbaths and Festivals, and 
then bowed his head to receive her blessing in his turn. 
Ee-inspired with hope, he descended to his own room, 
where he cheerfully conversed with the friends and 
relatives assembled round his hospitable board. When, 
however, the physician came to pay his evening visit he 
found the patient so weak and her pulse so low that he 
deemed it necessary to inform Sir Moses that the end 
was near. At half-past eleven Lady Montefiore peace- 
fully breathed her last. "Her death," said the sympa- 
thetic necrologer from whom we have quoted, " was like 
her life — calm. She did not die — she fell asleep. She 

Lady Montefiore, 169 

expired without a struggle, as our sages say of Moses — 
by a kiss." 

" Good Lady Montefiore," as she was lovingly called 
by all who knew her, was a perfect daughter of Israel. 
" The woman who feareth the Eternal," said the wisest 
of kings, '' deserveth to be praised ;" and no woman's 
life was ever more completely or more happily governed 
by the fear of God than that of Judith Montefiore. 
Born two years before the death of Moses Mendelssohn, 
when the influence of the great " Kegenerator of Juda- 
ism" had made itself felt upon Jewish women, to the 
extent of raising them to preside over some of the most 
brilliant of the continental Salons^ Judith Montefiore 
readily assimilated all the culture of that restless period. 
At the same time she conserved the inherent sympathy 
with the historic aspirations of her race which consti- 
tutes the true Jewess, and which was so conspicuously 
absent in the characters of the brilliant circle of Hebrew 
women — Dorothea Mendelssohn, Henriette Herz, Eachel 
Levin, etc. — who were the high-priestesses of German 
culture in her youth. Her father. Levy Barent Cohen, 
was already a wealthy London merchant, and a man of 
consequence in his Synagogue, when the first Monte- 
fiore and D'Israeli emigrated to England, when the elder 
Rothschild was still a money-changer in the Frank- 
fort Ghetto ; and the London money-market was ruled 
by Sampson Gideon, the ancestor of the Eardley family. 
Levy Barent Cohen was a man whose mind had been 
widened by an extensive intercourse with men ; but 
this, instead of weakening his allegiance to his faith, 
had enlarged his conception of his duty to it. The 
spirit that reigned in his home, situated in the heart of 
the Jewish quarter of London, was a happy combination 

170 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

of the religious idealism of Judea, and the cultivated 
spirit of the age of Gibbon and Hume, Walpole and 
Burke. No pains were spared to place his children on 
the highest mental level of the day, and the highest 
moral level of the Jewish Law. Taught by the best 
masters, and trained by the loving care of pious parents, 
they grew up to be accomplished and religious men and 
women. One of the daughters, Hannah, became the 
first Baroness Kothschild ; Judith married Moses Monte- 
fiore on June 10, 1812. 

The young couple went into housekeeping in lN"ew 
Court, St. Swithin's Lane, close to the home of their 
relatives, Mr. and Mrs. 1^. M. Bothschild. Here they 
lived happily for thirteen years, undisturbed by distract- 
ing ambitions, and prospering steadily year by year. 
The wife idolized her noble-minded and handsome hus- 
band; he reverenced her beautiful womanly nature. 
Her prudence and intelligence ruled all his undertak- 
ings ; and he has never ceased to ascribe his success in 
life to the wisdom of her advice and her sympathy with 
his labors. When he retired from business her humani- 
tarian instincts largely directed the spending of the 
fortune she had thus helped to accumulate. But it is 
impossible to write a separate account of her participa- 
tion in her husband's life-work, she was so completely 
identified with it. A few years ago an admiring 
stranger expressed to Sir Moses his gratification at hav- 
ing been permitted to converse with the man " whose 
glory is engraved on the heart of every Israelite." " I 
am no great man," modestly answered the j^hilanthro- 
pist. " The little good that I have accomplished, or 
rather that I intended to accomplish, I am indebted for 
it to my never-to-be-forgotten wife, whose enthusiasm 

Lady Montefiore. 


for everything that is noble and whose religiousness 
sustained me in my career." 

Lady Montefiore accompanied her husband in all his 
foreign missions up to 1859, and was the beneficent 
genius of these memorable expeditions. A thousand 
little incidents illustrate the enthusiasm with which she 
seconded her husband's labors. When in the Holy 
Land, in 1838, she took part personally in the ceremony 
of receiving a new Scroll of the Law in the Synagogue 
at Saf ed ; in another Synagogue she decorated the Scroll 
during divine service ; and at one of the Jerusalem 
houses of worship she piously lit the lamps in front of 
the altar, and before the whole congregation. In the 
latter city she promoted the formation of a Ladies' 
Charity for the relief of the sick. How often she 
officiated as godmother in the course of this tour it is 
difficult to say. A farewell address, presented to Sir 
Moses by the Portuguese and German congregations 
of Jerusalem, concludes with a reference to Lady 
Montefiore which indicates how thoroughly she had 
engaged the affections of the people of the Holy City : 

" Blessed be the Eternal Lord of Hosts, who failed 
not to send a Redeemer to his land, and succor, from 
the Majesty of his power, to the offspring of his right- 
eous servants. On the head of his people he has placed 
a helmet, and in his great mercy has appointed his 
servant Moses to exalt the light of his resplendent 
might, and to make it a wonder before all the nations 
of the earth. By the blessing of the Almighty did 
Moses obtain the accomplished, honored, and most vir- 
tuous Lady Yehoodit (Judith). May all the blessings 
of ladies in their tents rest upon her !" 

During the journey to Russia in 1846, when her 

172 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

health was abeady breaking, she was indefatigable in 
her efforts to alleviate the misery she saw everywhere 
around her. A Polish Jew, writing from Wilna to 
Mr. Councillor Barnett, of Birmingham, shortly after 
Sir Moses' visit, said : " His Lady (long may her life be 
spared !) had not a dry eye for weeping over the extreme 
distress she here beheld." The wife and daughters of 
the Russian Governor paid her a ceremonious visit, and 
expressed in handsome terms the admiration she had 
inspired among all classes. At Berlin, on the home- 
ward journey, seventeen young maidens, some dressed 
in white and others in blue, presented her with a laurel 
crown wreathed with white roses, on an embroidered 
velvet cushion. To her conduct during the eventful 
mission to Mehemet Ali in 1840 her husband paid a 
public tribute in a speech he delivered on his return 
home. " To Lady Montefiore," he said, " I owe a debt 
of gratitude ; her counsels and zeal for our religion and 
love to our brethren were at all times conspicuous. 
They animated me under difficulties and consoled me 
under disappointments." In the earlier journeys Sir 
Moses had frequent occasion to marvel at her quiet 
courage. Lady Montefiore relates in her diaries that 
when crossing the Alps in 1827 he admiringly dubbed 
her "a little Napoleon." Also during the severe 
weather which they encountered in 1838 between Alex- 
andria and Malta her fearlessness was so conspicuous 
that he playfully declared she was " a little Admiral." 

Lady Monte fiore's diaries, two of which were printed 
some years ago for private circulation, afford a sufficient 
insight into the manifold beauties of her nature. Tliey 
are charming reading, and illustrate every side of a 
richly varied character. The first is a record of the 

Lady Montefiore, 



journey to the East in 1827. It seems to be the less 
studied work of the two, and is full of delicious little 
peep-holes to her mind. The following passage written 
at Naples delightfully illustrates thegayety and thorough 
womanliness of her disposition : 

" We landed opposite the Hotel della Victoria, and 
having been welcomed on our return by Mr. Martigny, 
we inquired if the apartments we occupied on our late 
visit were disengaged, he answered that they were occu- 
pied by a lady and gentleman. ' Their names ? ' * The 
Baroness and Baron Anselme de Rothschild!' In an 
instant we were together. What a delightful surprise. 
How handsome she looks ! and the baby, what a fine 
fat boy ! We dined with them, and Baron Charles en- 
gaged us to go to the opera. It was a grand night, in 
honor of the Duke of Calabria's natal day : and all the 
company were in full dress. Returned from San Carlo : 
a brilliant spectacle, all the royal family were present. 
The ladies in diamonds and feathers had a fine effect in 
this handsome theatre." 

After a stormy day on the road Lady Montefiore's 
spirit of domesticity peeps out in this pretty word-pic- 

"IN'ow seated by a comfortable fire with an affec- 
tionate companion, the table nicely prepared for tea, 
and kettle boiling, the rattling of the windows and 
boisterous sounds make me the more sensible of present 
enjoyments and the storm we have just escaped. Surely 
the German saying is true, ' Getheilte freud^ ist gam^ze 
freude ; getheilter schmerz ist halber schmerz ! ' " 

Lady Montefiore was an excellent whist-player. There 
is a touch of humor in the following reference to this 
jpencham^t of hers : 

174 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

"The firmament presented a more than usually 
majestic appearance: the golden and bright tinted 
clouds, Sicily bordering the horizon on the right, on 
the left Malta, and Gozo opposite. A chilly atmos- 
phere, however, made me hasten to quit this varied 
scene for the more domestic and comfortable one of a 
game at cards, though I confess not quite so sublime 
and rational. Dr. Madden joined us in the rub- 

Her observations on the Holy Land are conceived in 
a spirit of singular loftiness. Kayserling, in his " Jiidis- 
chen Frauen," compares their style to that of Schubert's 
"Reise in das Morgenland." Of Jerusalem she thus 
wrote in 1827 : 

" There is no city in the world which can bear com- 
parison in point of interest with Jerusalem, — fallen, 
desolate, and abject, even as it appears — changed as it 
has been since the days of its glory. The capitals of 
the ancient world inspire us, at the sight of their decay- 
ing monuments, with thoughts that lead us far back into 
the history of our race, with feelings that enlarge the 
sphere of our sympathies, by uniting our recollections 
of the past with the substantial forms of things present ; 
but there is a power in the human mind by which it is 
capable of renewing scenes as vividly without external 
aids, as when they are most abundant. There are no 
marble records on the plain of Marathon, to aid the en- 
thusiasm of the traveller, but he feels no want of them : 
and thus it is, whenever any strong and definite feeling 
of our moral nature is concerned, we need but be pres- 
ent on the spot where great events occurred, and if they 
were intimately connected with the fate of multitudes, 
or with the history of our religion, we shall experience a 

Lady Montefiore. 


sentiment of veneration and interest amounting to awe, 
and one above all comparison nobler than that which is 
excited chiefly by the pomp or wonders of antiquity. 
It is hence that Jerusalem, notwithstanding the plough- 
share of the heathen, infinitely exceeds in interests 
Rome, Athens, and even the cities of Egypt, still 
abounding, as they do, in monuments of their former 
grandeur, and wonderful and venerable as they are 
above all other places on which the mere temporal 
history of mankind can bestow a sanctity. No place has 
ever suffered like Jerusalem : — it is more than probable 
that not a single relic exists of the city that was the joy 
of the whole earth : but the most careful and enthusiastic 
of travellers confess, that when they have endeavored to 
find particular marks for their footsteps, there was little 
to encourage them in the investigation. But it depends 
not for its power of inspiring veneration on the remains 
of temples and palaces; and were there even a less 
chance of speculating with success respecting the sites 
of its ancient edifices, it would still be the city towards 
which every religious and meditative mind would turn 
with the deepest longing. It is with Jerusalem as it 
would be with the home of our youth, were it levelled 
with the earth, and we returned after many years, and 
found the spot on which it stood a ploughed field, or a 
deserted waste : the same thoughts would arise in our 
iiearts as if the building were still before us, and would 
probably be rendered still more impressive from the 
very circumstance that the ruin which had taken place 
was complete." 

In reference to the Pyramids, Lady Montefiore has 
some remarks which are equally notable : 

" Time has been longer conquered by the Pyramids 

176 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

than by any other production of human art. They 
lift their strange forms above that sea of ages which 
holds in its bosom all other relics of that hoar antiquity 
to which they belong : they were old in days which are 
the remotest in authentic history ; and instead of their 
crumbling down to the earth, like other monuments of 
men's labor, it appears as if they are only doomed to 
disappear when the earth shall have gradually accumu- 
lated its own dust and ashes around them. They truly 
merit the appellation of one of the seven wonders of the 
world ; and it is next to impossible to contemplate them 
without experiencing a keen desire to determine the 
motives of those who built them, and the object for 
which they were erected." 

Lady Montefiore's theory on this subject illustrates 
the religious side of her character : 

" There is every reason to believe that religion fur- 
nished both the motives and the design from which they 
sprang ; and the most rational antiquaries agree in con- 
sidering them in the light of temples, certain portions of 
which were appropriated for the burial of the dead. 
The numerous idols still to be found in them, and the 
splendid mausoleums of their chambers, afford the 
strongest proof of the correctness of this idea. There 
is, however, a general principle which affords, it may 
be observed without presumption, a still more powerful 
proof of their sacred origin. Keligion is the only 
motive sufficiently strong, and sufficiently enduring, to 
inspire men with such vast designs ; and in the early 
ages of the world this was especially the case. A few 
great principles of thought governed all their actions ; 
and among these, as it must ever be when the economy 
of society is simple, the fear or the love, the desire to 

Lady Montefiore. 


propitiate, or the hope of pleasing, the Deity, will 
always be found predominant over the rest." 

On the way home Dr. Madden was among the fellow- 
travellers of the Montefiores, and contributed not a 
little to the enjoyment of the voyage. He composed a 
song on the storm, and wrote a poem on the New Year, 
to which Lady Montefiore added a verse. Dr. Madden's 
poem ran thus : 

" It is a wayward, strange delight, 

That mankind feel to part with time — 
To fix upon the old year's flight 
For festive joys in every clime. 

" To me this season's not of joy, 

But sadness more, for it doth seem, 
In its brief passage, to destroy 
Another trace of life's short dream. 

*' The old year passes, and the flow 
Of youthful feeling sinks apace, 
The new advances, and the glow 
Of early ardor yields its place. 

" Each year the hand of age falls cold 
And colder on the heart; and all 
Our fondest hopes, as we grow old, 
Flit by, like phantoms past recall." 

The verse added by Lady Montefiore was character- 
istic : 

** But is there not one cheering hope yet left? 
That which should animate succeeding years? 
For if of transient joys we are bereft. 
Our trust in heaven will chase away our tears." 


The second diary is a record of the journey of 1838. 
That expedition, it will be remembered, had a distinctly 

178 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Jewish and humanitarian aim, and Lady Montefiore's 
journal fully reflects its quasi-^xxhlic character. It is 
less of a personal diary, and more of a serious narrative 
of travel than the former work. Full of important 
memoranda on Jewish questions, it forms a really use- 
ful book of reference on the condition of the Conti- 
nental and Eastern Jewish communities forty-five years 
ago. The facts mentioned by Lady Montefiore have 
already been summarized in a preceding chapter. There 
remain, however, several interesting passages that may 
be quoted here. 

On the way to Ghent the diarist amused herself with 
reading Bulwer's last new novel, " Leila, or the Siege of 
Granada," a work in which there is a strong Jewish 
elenaent. These are Lady Montefiore's shrewd reflec- 
tions on the book : 

"I admire Mr. Bulwer's delineations, but not his 
sentiments, which give a coloring to the character of 
a people tending to support prejudices, so galling to the 
feelings of those who are as sensible to honor, gener- 
osity, and virtue, as those of more prosperous nations. 
It may be policy to exaggerate faults, but is it justice 
to create them solely to gratify opponents ? It is too 
much the practice of authors engaged in the production 
of light literature, to utter sentiments existing only in 
their own imaginations, and, by ascribing them to others, 
to disseminate a baneful prejudice against multitudes 
who feel indignant at finding themselves the subjects of 
unjust suspicion." 

The condition of the Jews at Nice evokes the follow- 
ing sympathetic remarks : 

" In the course of conversation we learned that this 
country was greatly wanting in liberality, and that the 

Lady Montefiore. 


members of our community are subject to much oppres- 
sion, and many disadvantages. How long will the 
powerful oppress the weak, and endeavor to stifle the 
energies of their fellow-beings? One consolation re- 
mains under such a state of things. Conscientious feel- 
ings, well maintained under oppression, ever excite the 
sympathy and admiration of independent and virtuous 

At Kome, where the orthodox Jewess was delighted 
to find that divine service was conducted " without the 
introduction of modern airs in the chanting," she was 
a witness, among other sights, of the ceremony of the 
Pope's benediction of the people. On the inconsisten- 
cies of this ceremony she reflects very pointedly : 

" His Holiness washed the feet of twelve pilgrims, each 
of whom received a new suit of clothes and a medal. 
His Holiness then waited on them at dinner, assisted 
by several cardinals, who knelt to the Pope when hand- 
ing him the dishes to serve to the poor men. These 
acts of humiliation may be well intended, and doubt- 
less have some good tendency, teaching the individual, 
however exalted in rank, the virtue of a humble spirit, 
and that religion surpasses every other distinction ; but, 
on the other hand, the accompanying pomp and display 
may be regarded as somewhat lessening the merit of the 
action. The table was decorated with all the magnifi- 
cence of regal state; and the pilgrims, after regaling 
themselves with every luxury, were permitted to take 
away the remains of everything that was served to 

The arrival in Egypt is sketched with great anima- 
tion : 

" It was at an early hour that I heard the call to make 

180 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

ready the anchor — a most satisfactory sound. At seven 
o'clock we dressed and went on deck to have a sight of 
Pompey's Pillar and Cleopatra's ISTeedle, objects bright 
and familiar to our memory. The pilot now came on 
board, and we were soon surrounded by Turkish boats, 
turbans, and divers-colored costumes. The quarantine 
boat then approached, and our bill of health was de- 
manded. Captain G , on handing it out, said that 

it might be taken with the hand ; but no ! a long pair 
of scissors, more resembling a pair of tongs, were 
stretched forth, and by these the document was held 
till perused by the janizary. When it had been ascer- 
tained that all were healthy, this singular instrument 
was laid down, and the paper taken by the hand. A 
corpulent Turk, the British Consul's head dragoman, 
came on board, and the letter-bags were handed out ; 
while, amidst the vociferations and unintelligible jargon 
of the Arabs, numerous boats surrounded the ship, the 
anxious masters of which, pleading for themselves, or 
the hotels for which they were employed, could only 
be kept off so as to afford a free passage from the vessel 
by a copious sprinkling of water." 

Lady Montefiore is particularly happy in her descrip- 
tion of Scriptural scenes. On reaching Beyrout she 
writes : 

" At an early hour the land of Syria was in view, and 
at seven o'clock the anchor was cast in the Bay of Bey- 
rout. We were soon on deck, and magnificent was the 
scene presented to our view. Immediately before us 
rose the lofty mountains of Lebanon, precipitous, and 
crowned with snow, in strange contrast with the yellow 
barren shore, and in stranger still the glowing sky, and 
the dazzling rays of the sun, which threw their efful- 

Lady Montefiore. 


gence far and wide over every object that the eye could 
reach, wrapping the town of Sidon itself in a blaze of 
morning splendor." 

A still more picturesque passage is written after leav- 
ing Safed : 

" At a short distance forward, the beautiful lake of 
Tiberias, part of which some of our suite called Beer 
Miriam, presented itself to view. A delicious valley 
then appeared to our right, extending to the famous 
village Akbara, mentioned in the Talmud. After a 
continued ascent for some distance, we began to descend, 
and noticed to our left the rock called Akebi, in which 
are extensive caves, where the inhabitants took refuge 
during a former attack on Safed by the Druses. The 
rock is also famous for its number of bees ; and when 
we witnessed the honey exuding from it, and filling the 
air with its fragrance, how forcibly did the words of the 
Psalmist recur to our minds, ' And with honey out of 
the rock would I have satisfied thee.' We then passed 
the cross-roads, of which the right leads to Acre, the 
left to Damascus ; and soon after, several villages and 
valleys, filled with luxuriant com, interspersed with ^g, 
olive, mulberry, and pomegranate trees, covered with 
bright blossoms, delighted the sight. On the road lay 
some pieces of stone, which our mukkarries amused 
themselves with striking ; the sound returned was like 
that of a fine bell, verifying the saying of Scripture — 
' A land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills 
thou mayest dig brass.' " 

Again on reaching Gilead : 

" Having seated ourselves in a small cavern, formed 
in the rocks of Mount Djalood, the ancient Gilead, 
how many solemn though pleasurable thoughts floated 

182 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

through our minds ! ' Is there no balm in Gilead ? Is 
there no physician there ? Why then is not the health 
of the daughter of my people recovered ? ' ( Jer. viii. 22.) 
So sighed the prophet in times when the sorrows of 
Israel were as yet but beginning. Oh, how does the 
heart of the pilgrim cling to and yearn over the later 
words of the same prophet, ' I will bring Israel again to 
his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, 
and his soul shall be satisfied upon Mount Ephraim and 
Gilead. In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, 
the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there 
shall be none ; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not 
be found ; for I will pardon them whom I reserve.' " 

Approaching Jerusalem the narrative becomes very 
striking : 

" What the feelings of a traveller are, when among 
the mountains on which the awful power of the 
Almighty once visibly rested, and when approaching 
the city where he placed his name ; whence his law was 
to go forth to all the world ; where the beauty of holi- 
ness shone in its morning splendor ; and to which, even 
in its sorrow and captivity, even in its desolation, the 
very Gentiles, the people of all nations of the earth, z& 
well as its own children, look with profound awe and 
admiration. — Oh ! what the feelings of the traveller are 
on such a spot, and when hstening to the enraptured 
tones of Israel's own inspired king, none can imagine 
but those who have had the privilege and the f eh city to 
experience them. As we drew nearer to Jerusalem the 
aspect of the surrounding country became more and 
more sterile and gloomy. The land was covered with 
thorns and briers, and sadl}^ did the words of the Psalm- 
ist rise to the thoughts — ' He turneth rivers into a wil- 

Lady Montefiore. 183 

derness, and the water-springs into dry ground ; a fruit- 
ful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them 
that dwell therein ! ' (Ps. cvii. 33, 34.) But solemn as 
were the feelings excited by the melancholy desolate- 
ness of the rocky hills and valleys through which we 
were passing, they were suddenly lost in a sense of rap- 
ture and indescribable joy — for now the Holy City itself 
rose full into view, with all its cupolas and minarets re- 
flecting the splendor of the heavens. Dismounting 
from our horses, we sat down and poured forth the 
sentiments which so strongly animated our hearts in de- 
vout praises to Him whose mercy and providence alone 
had thus brought us, in health and safety, to the city 
of our fathers. Pursuing our path, we soon passed the 
tomb of Nabi Shemuel (the Prophet Samuel), and at 
about five o'clock reached the gates of the Holy City. 
Khassan having dismounted, his mule instantly ran off, 
and notwithstanding the efforts of his master, of Ibra- 
him, Armstrong, and Bekhor, kept them in chase till he 
stopped on the Mount of Olives. There Dr. Loewe 
proposed* we should encamp; but Montefiore, being 
greatly fatigued, considered that it would be better to 
select a less elevated situation. "We accordingly pro- 
ceeded to the valley fixed on by the mukkarries ; but 
soon discovered that we had committed a serious error 
in choosing a spot whence the air was excluded, and 
which the contagious atmosphere of the town was so 
much more likely to infect ; we, therefore, ascended a 
steep path, cut out of the mountain, almost like a flight 
of stairs, but which our horses scaled with their custom- 
ary ease and safety. The pure air of the Mount of 
Olives breathed around us with the most refreshing 
fragrance ; and as we directed our attention to the sur- 

184 Tlie Life of Sir Moses Montefwre, 

rounding view, Jerusalem was seen in its entire extent 
at our feet, the Yalley of Jelioshaphat to our left, and 
in the distance the dark misty waves of the Dead Sea." 

Before leaving the Holy Land the travellers visited 
the tomb of King David and the remnant of Solomon's 
Temple. Both subjects Lady Montefiore treats with 
sympathetic dignity. The first she thus describes : 

" Having entered a spacious vaulted chamber, painted 
in Turkish fashion, we saw at the further end a trellised 
door, and being led to the spot, we beheld through the 
lattice the sacred and royal deposit of the best and 
noblest of kings. Yes ! there we contemplated the rest- 
ing-place of all that was mortal of him whom the elect- 
ing wisdom of the Almighty had placed on the throne 
of a kingdom, which had, at first, but the Lord himself 
for its king : of him who, resplendent as he was in 
royal dignity, was still more glorious for those gifts of 
wisdom, of hoKness, and heavenly genius, in the sub- 
lime power of which he moulded the thoughts of count- 
less generations to forms of celestial beauty, and still 
furnishes worshippers of every clime and nation with 
the purest and noblest language of devotion. In the 
records of his experience, whether tried by affliction and 
humbled by the weight of conscious sin, or filled with 
the gladdening feelings of hope, the heart never fails to 
read revelations of its deepest secrets, to discover more 
of its state and nature, and to learn better how to adore 
the eternal Spirit, who spoke by the mouth of this 
kingly prophet." 

The reference to the remnant of the Temple con- 
cludes with a beautiful aspiration : 

" "We yesterday went to inspect the western wall of 
the Temple of Solomon. How wonderful that it should 

Lojdy Montefiore. 185 

have so long defied the ravages of time! The huge 
stones seemed to cling together ; to be cemented by a 
power mightier than decay, that they may be a memo- 
rial of Israel's past glory ; and, oh ! may they not be re- 
garded as a sign of future greatness, when Israel shall 
be redeemed, and the whole world shall, with one accord, 
sing praises to Israel's God !" 

Many more extracts might be made from these charm- 
ing volumes, but we have quoted enough to justify the 
highest estimate of Judith Montefiore's character. The 
experience of those who knew her is that her soul 
walked out in these pages. 

"With her literary powers she united other attainments 
of a high order. She spoke French, German, and 
Italian with ease, and much of her leisure during 
the voyage of 1838 she devoted to the study of Arabic 
under Dr. Loewe, with whom she likewise read Hebrew 
Hterature. She was also an accomplished musician, 
playing the piano and guitar, and singing sweetly. It 
was her delight to join with her melodious voice in the 
hymns which on Sabbaths and festivals resounded in 
her house. Her home life was a pattern. " Possessed 
of a refined mind," said the Chief Rabbi in his discourse 
over her grave, " of the most cultivated taste, she still, 
in a quiet unassuming way, devoutly fulfilled the duties 
of a Jewish wife. To mention only one of these, never, 
not even during severe illness, did she neglect to light 
the Sabbath lamp — she who herself was the light of her 
home." Her generosity knew no bounds ; no one ever 
sought help of her and was denied. Her husband still 
tells a story illustrative of her large-hearted benevolence. 
Among those who had frequently received money from 
him was a co-religionist of the most undeserving kind. 

186 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

Again and again had Sir Moses sent him checks, and 
again and again had the irrepressible beggar applied for 
assistance. Sir Moses, having discovered that his money 
was spent in gambling, informed his wife that he should 
give the ne'er-do-well no more help ; whereupon Lady 
Montefiore opened her own check-book, and wrote a 
check, remarking, "My dear, I think we had better 
send him something ; I am sure nobody else will, if we 
do not." In communal affairs she was by no means in- 
active. At school prize-distributions she was a familiar 
figure, and she worked, together with her sister the 
Baroness de Rothschild and her niece, Baroness Lionel 
de Rothschild, in the organization and administration of 
many philanthropic enterprises. At the Jews' Free 
School and the schools of the Sephardic community 
she was a frequent visitor. The Jewish Ladies' Loan 
and Visiting Society was started partly under her 

On the Fast of Guedaliah — three days after her 
death — the remains of this pious daughter of Israel were 
laid to their eternal rest, close by the Synagogue which 
she and her husband had founded and endowed thirty- 
two years before, near their Ramsgate home. A large 
gathering of Christians and Jews testified in sympa- 
thetic silence to the affection in which she was held. 
The day being Sunday, the shops in the adjoiniug 
town were closed as a matter of course ; but in all the 
churches the ministers feelingly alluded to the sad 
event, while the vessels in the harbor had their flags 
at half-mast. 

The sorrowing husband gave large sums in her name 
to every Synagogue in the United Kingdom, and to the 
inmates of the Jewish orphan asylums. He built to her 

Lady Montefiore. 187 

memory a college at Ramsgate where aged Rabbis 
study and expound the Law, and lie also founded prizes 
and scholarships for girls and boys at the several Jewish 
public schools. The Jewish community perpetuated 
her name by establishing the Judith Lady Montefiore 
Convalescent Home at South IS'orwood. At East Cliff 
Lodge her memory is still fondly cherished. IsTone of 
the old-fashioned furniture has been altered since she 
superintended the household, and the same damask cur- 
tains hang at the windows and surround the beds. Por- 
traits of her hang in many of the rooms, and every 
scrap of linen used in the house is marked with a He- 
brew in memoriam inscription. Even her custom of 
feeding the wild birds and encouraging them to frequent 
the dense shrubberies round the lodge is still maintained 
with scrupulous exactitude. In fact it may be said that 
all the wishes she expressed while living are faithfully 
observed now she is dead. 

On the road between Bethlehem and Jerusalem is a 
small white-domed structure which the guides point 
out as the tomb of Rachel. The pilgrim who enters 
the building may yet read on the walls the inscription 
"Judith Montefiore," traced there fifty-seven years 
ago by a hand now twenty-two years stilled in death. 
On the landward side of the ridge of a high cliff in the 
county of Kent, embowered in the evergreen foliage of 
cypress and arbor vitse, and within sound of the 
restless waves of the ISTorth Sea, is a fac-simile of this 
historic tomb. It covers the earthly remains of Judith 

188 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 



Trip to Constantinople to Obtain a Confirmation of Firmans from 
the new Sultan. — Return to England, and Retirement at Rams- 
gate. — Appeal from Gibraltar on Behalf of Moorish Jews. — Arrest 
and Torture of Twelve Jews at Safli at the Instance of the Span- 
ish Consul.— Execution of Two of the Prisoners. — Sir Moses Hur- 
ries to London and Prevails upon the Foreign Secretary to Tele- 
graph to Morocco requesting a Stay of Proceedings.— Correspon- 
dence with Morocco Discloses a Sad State of Affairs among the 
Local Jews. — Sir Moses resolves to Proceed to Morocco. — The 
Journey to Madrid.— Inter view with Queen Isabella.— Friendliness 
of the Spanish Government. — Arrival at Tangier. — Release of the 
Prisoners. — The Journey into the Interior. — Arrival at Morocco 
City.— Imposing Reception by the Sultan. — Promulgation of an 
Edict Protecting Jews and Christians. — Second Interview with 
the Sultan. — The Return Home. — Audiences with Queen Isabella 
and Napoleon III.— Reception in England.— Parliamentary Tri- 
bute to Sir Moses Montefiore. — Freedom of the City of London. 

The bereaved husband spent the winter of 1862-63 
in seclusion at Nice. He was meditating another pil- 
grimage to the Hoi J Land, when letters reached him 
expressing fears lest the death of the Sultan Abdul- 
Medjid might change the benevolent attitude of the 
Turkish Government towards its Jewish subjects. This 
rendered an alteration in his plans necessary, and he pro- 
ceeded to Constantinople instead of Jerusalem. The new 
Sultan, Abdul- Aziz, received him graciously in audience, 
and confirmed the Firmans granted by his late brother. 

The Journey to Morocco. 189 

His Majesty spontaneously assured his visitor that his 
Jewish subjects should have his full protection, the 
same as all other religious denominations in his realm. 
Sir Moses had also several interviews with the Grand 
Yizier, who gave him an official letter to the Pasha of 
Jerusalem, acquainting him with the Sultan's confirma- 
tion of the Firmans. Returning to England towards 
the end of June, the venerable baronet retired to his 
seat near Eamsgate, where he passed his time superin- 
tending the important works he had planned in memory 
of his beloved consort. The events of the latter part of 
the year, however, called him from his sorrowing retire- 

Among the letters received at East Cliff Lodge on 
the last day of October, 1863 — ten days after Sir Moses' 
eightieth birthday — was a bulky packet bearing the seal 
of the Gibraltar Jewish congregation. The day being 
Sabbath, it was not opened till sundown. Its contents 
were, however, of pressing importance. At Saffi, a sea- 
port on the west coast of Morocco, a Spaniard had died 
suddenly, and suspicions of foul play, probably poison- 
ing, had been aroused in the mind of the Spanish Con- 
sul. In his official capacity he called upon the Moorish 
authorities to investigate the case, and they, in great 
trepidation, cast about for a convenient scapegoat. The 
procedure was singular. No steps were taken to ascer- 
tain whether there were any facts to establish the cause 
of death, or to show that it had a connection with crime ; 
but the most convenient person was forthwith arrested 
and examined under the scourge and other kinds of 
torture. Israelites being the least protected of the popu- 
lation, the culprit was sought among their body, and it 
being discovered that a Jewish lad, about fourteen 

190 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

years of age, Jacob "Wizeman by name, had resided in 
the family of the deceased, he was seized and " exam- 
ined." There is little variation in the methods of 
human brutality ; and from this point the story re^ 
counted by the chiefs of the Gibraltar Jewish congre- 
gation bore a close resemblance to many other narra- 
tives of Eastern persecution which had in previous 
years engaged Sir Moses Montefiore's sympathies. 
After persisting for a long time in the assertion of his 
innocence, Wizeman yielded to the pressure of pro- 
tracted agony, and acquiesced in the suggestion that 
poison had been used. Further instalments of torture 
induced him to denounce, one by one, eleven persons 
whose names were mentioned to him. These were 
arrested, and one, Eliahu Lalouche, was also subjected 
to examination by torture, but without wringing any 
confession from him. The lad, when released, reasserted 
his innocence; this, however, did not save him. His 
confession being on record, he was condemned to death 
by the Moorish authorities and publicly executed, the 
Spanish Consul acquiescing in the sentence, notwith- 
standing the irregular manner in which the conviction 
had been obtained. Of the other prisoners eight were 
thrown into prison, and three sent to Tangier, where 
one of them, Eliahu Lalouche, was executed. These 
events had produced the greatest dismay among the 
Jewish population, and from Tangier urgent appeals for 
help had been despatched to Gibraltar, whence they 
were forwarded to England. 

This shocking story aroused Sir Moses Montefiore's 
active benevolence to a high pitch. Early the next 
morning he was on his way to London, and by noon was 
hunting up the Secretary and Under Secretary of State 

The Journey to Morocco. 191 

for Foreign Affairs. Earl Russell was out of town, 
but, though it was Sunday^ Sir Moses succeeded in 
gaining an interview with the Under Secretary, Mr., 
afterwards Sir Austin H. Layard. Telegraphic com- 
munication was resorted to, and in a very short time the 
continental wires were at work, conveying the instruc- 
tions of the Foreign Office to Sir John Drummond 
Hay, the British Ambassador at Tangier, to use all the 
influence of his position to obtain at least a temporary 
suspension of further executions. Such was the cordial 
alacrity with which the British Government gave its 
important assistance, that this despatch anticipated a 
telegram previously sent by Sir Moses Montefiore by 
some hours. 

In the course of the following week. Sir Moses 
Montefiore laid the facts that had come to his knowl- 
edge before the Board of Deputies, and an active 
correspondence was set on foot with Gibraltar and 
Tangier. It was ascertained that both the Moorish 
and Spanish authorities were averse to the release of 
the prisoners, although their innocence seemed to be 
completely established. Beyond this, the correspond- 
ence revealed an extremely sad state of affairs among 
the Jews of Morocco, and a terrible condition of lawless- 
ness in the whole country. Sir Moses rightly judged 
that something more was necessary to assure the well- 
being of the Jews than the mere rescue of the prisoners 
of the moment. He came to the conclusion that out- 
rages such as had been enacted at Saffi were inevitable 
in a country where the Jews were unprotected by law. 
He consequently intimated to the Board of Deputies 
his readiness, notwithstanding his advanced years, to 
proceed to Morocco, and to endeavor to obtain at the 

192 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

hands of the Sultan a definite legal status for his co- 
religionists. Needless to say, the offer was gratefully 

Preparations for the new expedition were rapidly 
made, and on the 15th l^ovember the veteran champion 
of Israel was ready to leave England. His suite con- 
sisted of his nephew, Mr. H. Guedalla, whose father 
was a native of Morocco and extensively known as a 
merchant in the country, Mr. Sampson Samuel, the 
solicitor and secretary to the Board of Deputies, and 
Dr. Hodgkin, his physician and attached friend, whose 
feelings were warmly engaged in the undertaking. Be- 
sides these gentlemen he was accompanied by an ex- 
perienced courier and two trusty servants. On the Sab- 
bath preceding the departure of the mission Sir Moses 
visited the principal London Synagogues, where special 
prayers to "crown his efforts with success," and to 
"cause him to return in safety to his beloved home," 
were offered up by order of the Chief Rabbi. Two 
days later the party assembled at Dover, and the vener- 
able baronet having piously deposited a new scroll of 
the Law in the local Synagogue, they crossed over to 
Calais in the steamer. Tuesday evening they spent at 
Paris, and the following morning before daybreak were 
again en route. At Bordeaux Sir Moses inspected the 
works of the Imperial Continental Gas Association, of 
which he is still President, and then proceeded to Bay- 
onne, where he halted for the Sabbath. The next day 
the party pursued their journey, partly by rail and partly 
by diligence, across the Pyrenees to St. Sebastian, 
whence they journeyed via Burgos to Madrid. 

Here Sir Moses placed himself at once in communi- 
cation with Sir J. F. Crampton, the British Ambassador 

The Journey to Morocco. 


to the Court of Spain, to whom he carried letters of 
introduction from the Home Government. The Minis- 
ter received him cordially, and frequent interviews took 
place between them, both at the British Embassy and 
the Hotel de los Principes, where Sir Moses had taken 
up his abode. Visits were also paid to and received 
from the Marquis of Miraflores, the Prime Minister, the 
Duke of Tetuan, General Prim, and other persons of 
distinction to whom he was introduced both by the 
British Ambassador and his friend and relative, M. Weis- 
weiller, who had long resided in Madrid, and whose high 
position as a banker and the Consul of more than one 
foreign power rendered him highly influential even with 
the Court. Although these introductions were the 
means of procuring for Sir Moses the most friendly 
feeling on the part of the Queen's ministers and distinct 
assurances that the pi-oceedings at Saffi had not been 
dictated by any unkindness or prejudice on their part, 
as well as letters to the Spanish Minister at Tangier, 
written to facilitate his object, he was naturally unwill- 
ing to quit Madrid until he had had an interview with 
Queen Isabella herself. This took place on the 30th Nov- 
ember. Sir Moses was introduced by Sir J. F. Crampton,* 
and the audience, which was private, lasted a consider- 
able time. Sir Moses wrote home that he was highly grati- 
fied with the gracious and kind manner of his reception. 
During the stay in the Spanish capital it had tran- 
spired that M. Weisweiller was intimately acquainted 
witli Don Antonio Merry, father of the Spanish Minis- 
ter at Tangier, and Sir Moses consequently stopped at 
Seville on his way to the coast, saw Don Antonio, and 
obtained a friendly letter of introduction to his son. 
At Cadiz the fatigue of incessant travelling began to tell 

194 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

on the energetic pliilantliropist's health, and he was 
obliged to keep his bed. His vigorous constitution, 
however, soon enabled him to overcome his indispo- 
sition, and the 10th December saw him on board the 
French steam frigate Gorgone^ on his way to Tangier. 
The arrival at the Moorish port is amusingly sketched 
by Dr. Hodgkin, who wrote an account of the tour : 

"Our kind captain and his officers had ingeniously 
contrived, on the spur of the occasion, by the help of 
a mattress and cordage, a kind of portable couch or car, 
in which, for want of a suitable landing-place. Sir Moses 
might be borne over a considerable extent of shallow 
water between the boat and the shore. His porters and 
a great many of the laboring class of Israelites were 
wading, and his superior size thus conspicuously moving 
over the water, surrounded by a shabby amphibious 
group, appeared to me like a travestied representation of 
Neptune among the Tritons." 

The Jews of the town received Sir Moses with 
enthusiasm. M. Pariente, a prominent Israelite, vacated 
and expressly fitted up his commodious residence for the 
occupation of the Hebrew Embassy, and no sooner were 
•they housed than deputations waited upon them from 
the communities of Tetuan, Alcazar, Arzila, Laraish, 
Mequinez, Mogador, Azamor, and Fez. The following 
day they attended divine service in a new Synagogue 
erected by M. Joseph Eshriguy, who dedicated the sacred 
edifice for the benefit of the poor in commemoration of 
the Mission. Visits were then paid to Sir John D. Hay, 
the British representative, his Spanish colleague, Don 
Francisco Merry y Colon, and the Moorish Minister of 
Foreign Affairs, Sid Mohammed Bargash. The result 
of these interviews was the release of the two Israelites 

The Journey to Morocco. 


in prison at Tangier, and a promise that representations 
should be made to the Saffi local authorities in refer- 
ence to the remaining prisoners within their jurisdic- 

Sir Moses did not confine his attention to the Jews. 
During his stay at Tangier he was one day visited by 
a large deputation of Moors, about fifty in number, 
who, with their chiefs, had come from a distant part of 
the country to appeal to him to intercede for the release 
of one of their tribe, who had been imprisoned during 
two years and a half on suspicion of having murdered 
two Israelites, but had not been brought to trial. Grati- 
fied at this display of confidence in his sense of justice 
on the part of the native population, generally so hostile 
to Jews, Sir Moses made careful inquiries into the case, 
and, finding that the man's guilt had not been proved, 
promptly interceded with the authorities. In a few 
hours the prisoner's chains were removed, and he was 
brought by the members of his tribe to return thanks 
to his deliverer. Sir Moses availed himself of the op- 
portunity to urge the grateful Moors to show kindness 
and afford protection to his co-religionists; and they 
readily gave their solemn promise that all Jews travel- 
ling in their district should be safe. 

Having determined to proceed into the interior, to 
the City of Morocco, in order to thank the Sultan for 
his release of the Tangier prisoners, and to petition His 
Majesty to grant to his Jewish and Christian subjects 
the same protection and privileges as were enjoyed by 
their Moorish co-citizens. Sir Moses now returned to 
Gibraltar, in order to take shipping round the west 
coast to Safii or Mogador. Before leaving Tangier he 
made a careful examination of the condition of the Jew- 

196 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

ish community, gave a great deal of good advice to its 
chiefs, and subscribed largely to its several charities. 
Noticing that the means of educating Jewish girls of 
the poorer class were very inadequate, he gave a sum of 
£300 to found a new girls' school in memory of Lady 
Montefiore. At Gibraltar Sir Moses was cordially re- 
ceived by the Governor, General Sir William Codring- 
ton, with whom he had been in correspondence four 
years before in relation to the Jewish refugees from 
Morocco. As a mark of respect, a military band was 
ordered to play before his house in the evening, and the 
Governor gave a banquet in his honor. A gratifying 
proof of the benevolent interest of the Home Govern- 
ment in the Mission was afforded by H. M. S. Magi- 
cienne being placed at Sir Moses Montefiore's disposal 
by Earl Russell, who telegraphed his instructions to 
Malta, where the frigate was lying. 

On the 6th January the party again embarked, and 
three days later, in the teeth of contrary winds, arrived 
off Saffi. Here, as at almost every port on the West 
African coast, the landing is very difficult, and the surf 
ran so high that all idea of going on shore had to be 
abandoned. The Magicienne saluted the fort with 
several guns, and the compliment was promptly re- 
turned. A conversation was carried on with the town 
by signals, when, to Sir Moses Montefiore's great satis- 
faction, he was informed that the Saffi prisoners had 
been liberated. The arrival of the Sultan's escort, des- 
tined to accompany the venerable Jew to the capital, 
was also announced. On the following day a safe land- 
ing was effected at Mogador ; and during the afternoon 
of Sunday, the 17th January, the octogenarian philan- 
thropist, with a numerous escort, set out on his difficult 

The Journey to Morocco, 


journey across the desert of the Atlas to the City of 

Sir Moses Montefiore has himself briefly described 
this interesting excursion in his letters to his nephew, 
Mr. J. M. Montefiore, who acted as president of the 
Board of Deputies during his uncle's absence. In a 
letter dated " Morocco, the 26th January," he writes : 

" Were I to attempt even an outline of each day's 
events I should greatly exceed the limits of a letter ; 
sufiice it, therefore, to say that we happily accomplished 
our journey from Mogador to this city in eight days, 
resting on the Sabbath. During this period we were 
subjected to a broiling sun by day and cold and occa- 
sionally heavy dews and high winds by night ; never- 
theless, we have borne our fatigues well ; fortunately 
we escaped rain, otherwise, apart from every other in- 
convenience, we might have been detained for days in 
staying to pass rivers ; as it was, happily no such imped- 
iment arose. . . . The distance from Mogador to Mo- 
rocco (city) is said to be about 110 miles ; we have, 
therefore, travelled at an average of sixteen miles a 
day. This may occasion a smile to those who are accus- 
tomed to railway speed ; but it should be borne in mind 
that there are no roads in this empire, that we had to 
encamp each day some hours before darkness to enable 
our camels, etc., to reach the resting-place, and for the 
erection of our tents, etc., etc., and it was absolutely 
necessary that we should stop at the margin of some 
stream or river, an ample supply of water being indis- 
pensable. After our first day's journey we kept the 
snow-clad Atlas mountains constantly in view ; our en- 
campments and the surrounding scenery each day of 
our pilgrimage would have offered a series of charming 

198 The Life of Sir Moses Montejlore, 

scenes for an artist. You may judge of the importance 
of our numbers: Our encampment consisted of from 
thirteen to fifteen camels, several baggage mules, about 
100 camp-followers, including soldiers, etc. ; indeed, on 
Friday afternoon, after we had been met by the deputa- 
tion from Morocco, Mr. Samuel counted about eighteen 
camels and sixty horses and mules, with a few donkeys 
in addition." 

At every town and village on their route the travel- 
lers, being guests of the Sultan, were received with 
hospitality and respect. Each night the Moors in the 
locality made " mona " for them and their retinue, an 
entertainment provided gratis by the people, and sub- 
tracted from the taxes, which they afterwards pay in 
kind to the Sultan. One of these "monas," presented 
by a generous Pasha, consisted of four sheep, a large 
number of fowls, a thousand eggs, melons, a stupendous 
gourd, honey, ten pounds of loaf-sugar, wax candles, 
vegetables, etc. Sir Moses, of course, made suitable 
presents in return. The aged traveller, finding himself 
unequal to keeping the saddle, travelled in a chaise-d- 
jporteuT^ lent him by Sr. Jose Daniel Colago, the Por- 
tuguese Minister at Tangier. Long before the arrival 
at the City of Morocco, deputations of Jews and further 
escorts of the Sultan's troops reached Sir Moses, and 
outside the walls twelve officers of distinction waited 
to conduct him to the Palace which the Sultan had 
appointed for his residence. Dr. Hodgkin*s description 
of this Moorish dwelling is very interesting : 

" It consists of two stories, with an imperfect third. 
In the basement is an inner court, with a small fount in 
the middle, surrounded by apartments, which served as 
day-rooms, eating-rooms, and bedrooms. The court is 

The Journey to Morocco. 


not open to the sky, as is common in Moorish houses ; 
and its roof forms the floor to the court of the story 
above. A narrow staircase near the entrance leads to 
the next story, consisting of a larger and smaller hall, 
both of which are open to the sky, and partially sur- 
rounded by apartments, devoted to the personal service 
of Sir Moses Montefiore, and also of his official attend- 
ants. From this floor another staircase leads to the roof, 
which is surrounded by a parapet. The openings to the 
halls below are similarly protected. Two small rooms 
taken out of the apartments on one side form the partial 
third story. The first impression we received on en- 
tering this imperial residence was not very pleasing. 
There was a degree of dampness, with a close and musty 
odor, which convinced us that it had not been recently 
tenanted ; but a little observation sufficed to show us 
that it had been diligently put into something like 
order, and beautified, though still very deficient in furni- 
ture, and most of those things we regard as comforts ; 
but there was a good deal of finery and effect in inferior 
workmanship. For example, there were pilasters and 
arches in plaster, and the capitals of the latter picked 
out in colored wash. Paint, and white and yellow 
washes, had been employed within and without. New 
Brussels carpets had been laid down on some of the 
floors ; beds and ornamental pillows, either placed on 
European bedsteads or immediately on the floor, were 
prepared in the sleeping apartments. Tumblers of cut 
glass, gilt, for use at dinner ; large earthen jars, capable 
of holding nearly twenty gallons, stood in the halls ; but 
tables, chairs, and other seats were nearly, if not alto- 
gether, absent. The windows were not glazed ; but they 
might be closed by jalousies or shutters, which, though 

200 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

they would serve to keep out light and rain, were in- 
effectual defences against the cold, which, owing to the 
proximity of the snowy Atlas range, made the nights of 
so low a temperature, that we stood in more need of 
warm clothing in that part of the twenty-four hours than 
I have almost ever done in England. There were no 
fireplaces, so we used the kitchen chafing-dishes to give 
us a little warmth in the evening." 

Five days were occupied in hstening to Jewish depu- 
tations, and conferring with Moorish ministers. On 
the 31st January an official intimation was conveyed to 
Sir Moses Montefiore that the Sultan would receive 
him publicly on the next day. "We cannot do better 
than give Sir Moses' own account of this memorable 
interview : 

" On Monday, the 1st instant, long before dawn, we 
could distinguish the sounds of martial music, indicating 
the muster of the troops in and about the environs of the 
Sultan's palace. At the early hour of seven a.m., I had 
the honor to receive a visit from Sid Saib El Yamany, 
the good and intelligent Oozier, or Chief Minister of 
His Sheriffian Majesty, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abderahman 
Ben Hisham, the present Sultan of Morocco. He 
expressed the pleasure of the Sultan to receive us at 
his Court, and His Majesty's desire to make our 
visit to his capital an agreeable one. Shortly after 
the departure of the Oozier, the Eoyal Yice-Chamber- 
lain, with a cortege of cavalry, arrived at our palace to 
convey us to the audience. You may recollect that our 
party, in addition to myself, consisted of Mr. Thomas 
Fellowes Eeade, Consul to Her Britannic Majesty at 
Tangier, Captain "William Armytage, of H.M.S. Magi- 
oiemiey two of his officers, Dr. James Gibson, Thomas 

Tlie Journey to Morocco. 


Forbes, and Lieutenant Francis Durant, my fellow- 
trayellers Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, and Mr. Sampson 
Samuel, and Mr. Moses Nahon, of Tangier, who had 
volunteered to accompany us to Morocco, and to whom 
we are all deeply indebted. ... A quarter of an hour's 
ride brought us to the gates opening upon an avenue 
leading to the courtyard, or open space before the palace. 
This avenue, which is of very considerable length, was 
lined on both sides by infantry troops, of great variety of 
hue and accoutrements. They were standing in closely 
serried ranks, and we must have passed several hundreds 
before emerging into the open plain. There a magnifi- 
cent sight opened upon us ; we beheld in every direction 
masses of troops, consisting of cavalry and foot-soldiers. 
I should estimate the total number assembled on this 
occasion at not less than six thousand. We went for- 
ward some little distance into the plain, and saw 
approaching us the Oozier, the Grand Chamberlain, and 
other dignitaries of the Court. I descended from my 
vehicle, and my companions ahghted from their steeds 
to meet them. We were cordially welcomed. We 
arranged ourselves in a line to await the appearance of 
the Sultan. This was preceded by a string of led white 
horses, and the Sultan's carriage covered with green 
cloth. His Majesty's approach was announced by a flour- 
ish of trumpets ; then His Majesty appeared, mounted on a 
superb white charger, the spirited movements of which 
were controlled by him with consummate skill. The color 
of the charger intimated that we were welcomed with the 
highest distinction. The countenance of His Majesty 
is expressive of great intelligence and benevolence. 
The Sultan expressed his pleasure at seeing me at his 
Court ; he said my name was well known to him, as 

202 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

well as my desire to improve the condition of my 
brethren ; he hoped that my sojourn in his capital would 
be agreeable ; he dwelt with great emphasis on his long- 
existing amicable relations with our country; he also 
said it was gratifying to him to see two of the officers 
in its service at his Court. I had the honor, at this 
audience, to place in the hands of His Majesty my 
Memorial on behalf of the Jewish and Christian sub- 
jects of his Empire. After the interview we were 
escorted back to our garden palace with the same 
honors as had been paid to us on our way to the Court, 
my chair having a white horse led before it, as well on 
my going as on my returning, which is a high and dis- 
tinguished mark of honor. The Oozier had invited us 
to his palace for the evening of the same day ; we were 
entertained with true Oriental hospitahty. In the course 
of the evening's conversation, we elicited from the 
Oozier the assurance of the Sultan's desire, as well as 
his own, to protect the Jews of Morocco. He took 
notes of some particular grievances which we brought 
to his knowledge, and promised to institute the neces- 
sary inquiries, with a view to their being redressed. 
Other measures were discussed, such as the enlargement 
of the crowded Jewish quarters in Mogador, the grant 
of a house for a hospital at Tangier, all of which the 
Oozier assured us should receive his favorable consider- 

On the following Friday the Sultan's reply to Sir 
Moses Montefiore's Memorial was received in the shape 
of an important edict commanding that the Jews and 
all other subjects " shall be treated in manner conform- 
able with the evenly balanced scales of justice, and that 
they shall occupy a position of perfect equality with all 

TJie Journey to Morocco. ^OB 

other people." The next day he paid a farewell visit 
to the Moorish sovereign, who received him in state in 
a Kiosk in the Palace Gardens. His Majesty's manner 
was extremely courteous, and, in a conversation of some 
length, he renewed his assurance of welcome, expressed 
a hope that Sir Moses had been happy and comfortable 
during his stay in the capital, and repeated his declara- 
tion that it was his intention and desire to protect his 
Jewish subjects. An inspection of the Jewish quarter 
followed, and on the 8th February — the objects of the 
mission having been accomplished — Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore, accompanied by a brilliant military escort, bade 
farewell to the city and proceeded towards Mazagran, 
where it had been arranged that the Magicienne should 
meet him. The journey back to the coast occupied 
seven days, exclusive of the Sabbath, and was marked 
by even greater cordiahty on the part of the native 
population than the march from Mogador into the in- 

At Gibraltar Sir Moses again spent several days, re- 
ceiving deputations, paying visits, and getting through 
a vast amount of correspondence, which the business of 
his mission had entailed upon him. Thence he took the 
French steam packet to Malaga, and the railway to 
Madrid, where he had a second interview with Queen 
Isabella, who congratulated him on the success of his 
embassy. From Madrid he travelled, partly by carriage- 
road and partly by railway, to Paris, stopping at Bay- 
onne for a day to celebrate the Jewish feast of Purim. 
In the French capital he had a private audience of the 
Emperor l^apoleon III., who welcomed him most 
graciously, and to whom he presented a copy of the Im- 
perial Edict of the Sultan of Morocco. Two days later 

204: The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

lie was receiving the felicitations of his friends at East 
CM Lodge. 

Congratulatory addresses were showered upon the 
venerable baronet from all parts of England and the 
Continent. In the House of Commons the Under 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Layard) 
gave an interesting account of the mission. " When it 
is recollected," said the honorable gentleman, " that 
there are 500,000 Jews in Morocco, some idea may be 
formed of the great service rendered by Sir Moses 
Montefiore ; and having had the honor of acting with 
him on various occasions, I can bear testimony to the 
noble and generous spirit of humanity and philanthropy 
which actuates him, without reference to any sect or 
creed, which extends to the people of every nation who 
are suffering wrong and injustice." The Court of 
Common Council took the opportunity of pubHcly 
according him the thanks of the citizens of London 
" for the signal services he had rendered by missions to 
various countries for the relief of persons oppressed for 
their religious convictions, and more especially by a 
journey to Morocco, undertaken to solicit the Emperor 
to relieve his Jewish and Christian subjects from aU 
civil and religious disabilities." It may be mentioned 
here that at a later date the Fishmongers' Company 
offered him their freedom, and the Master, Mr. Yenning, 
and other members of the Court, proceeded to East Cliff 
to invest him. 

The mission to Morocco was a notable achievement ; 
and although it did not altogether stop persecution, it 
must be ranked among the most remarkable of Sir 
Moses Montefiore's works. Whatever the local acts of 
oppression by irresponsible officials, the Edict obtained 

Another Busy Decade. 205 

by the venerable Hebrew remains a charter to wbicli his 
co-religionists can always appeal ; and when, one of 
these days, there may be more cohesion in the machin- 
ery of Moorish government, it will be a power in the 
land. But power or no power, law or dead-letter, the 
spirit which inspired its silver-haired author, under the 
weight of fourscore years, to undertake a long and 
perilous journey to obtain it, can never cease to do 
honor to his name. 



Drought in the Holy Land. — A new Relief Fund. — The Sixth 
Journey to Palestine. — The Locust Pest in Palestine. — Sir Moses 
Investigates the Condition of the Jerusalem Jewish Community. 
— Promotes Public Works in the Holy City. — Holds an Inquiry 
respecting a Charge brought against the Saf ed Jews by the 
Rev. Dr. Macleod. — Suggestions for the Application of the Bal- 
ance of the Relief Fund. — Death of Dr. Hodgkin. — Persecution 
of Jews in Roumania. — Mission to Bucharest. — Interviews with 
Prince Charles. — The Prince's Assurances. — Home Labors. — A 
Second Journey to Russia. — Reception at St. Petersburg. — Audi- 
ence with the Czar Alexander II.— Improved Condition of the 
Russian Jews. — Resignation of the Presidency of the Board of 
Deputies.— The Montefiore Testimonial Fund. 

Yery few examples of activity in public affairs after 
the eighth decade are afforded in biographical literature. 
The spectacle of Lord Brougham at eighty-two heading 
a great social gathering like that which took place at 
Glasgow in September, 1860, or of Lord Lyndhurst at 

206 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

eighty-eight pouring out the words of experience and 
sagacity in the House of Lords for four hours at a time, 
stands almost alone. These octogenarian feats have, 
however, been eclipsed by Sir Moses Montefiore. In 
the most characteristic business of his public career — 
missions to foreign countries in the interests of his 
brethren — his eighth and ninth decade have been the 
busiest of his life. If the reader will turn back the 
pages of this work he will find that while Sir Moses 
undertook only one journey during his fifth decade, and 
two in his sixth and seventh respectively, he performed 
four in his eighth. During his ninth decade he also 
undertook four journeys — two to Jerusalem, one to 
Roumania, and one to Russia. 

The year 1865 found the Holy Land again suffering 
from drought and disease. A pest of locusts covered 
the country, and in Jerusalem the cholera raged with 
such fierceness that within a short time fifteen per cent, 
of the population were cut off by it. The usual appeal 
was addressed to Sir Moses Montefiore, and he, in con- 
junction with the Board of Deputies, started another 
Holy Land Relief Fund. About £3000 were sent out 
to meet the necessities of the moment, and early in 
1866, Sir Moses proceeded to the East with the object 
of personally applying the balance of the fund. He 
was accompanied by Dr. Hodgkin, his Quaker physician. 
Captain Henry Moore, brother of the British Consul at 
Jerusalem, his relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Sebag, and his 
old friend, Dr. Loewe. 

Of this tour, as of the succeeding journey to Pales- 
tine, Sir Moses Montefiore has himself written an ac- 
count. It is in the shape of a report to the Board of 
Deputies, but in style and matter it is far more interest- 

Another Busy Decade. 


ing than official documents usually are. He tells us how 
on his arrival in Egypt he repaired to the Synagogue 
Kinees EUeyahoo, " which is built on the spot where it 
is said the celebrated Temple of Alexandria, or Onias, 
once stood." He graphically describes his landing at 
Jaffa, when he was ceremoniously received by the gov- 
ernor of the town, the judges, the commander of the 
troops, and the representatives of the various religious 
denominations. He relates how his friends immediately 
on his arrival gave him descriptions of the sufferings 
and loss of life occasioned by the recent calamities. 
" Yery frequently," he adds, " these afflicting narratives 
were interrupted by the appearance upon our windows 
of the new and still green locusts, which we were in- 
formed were the much dreaded forerunners of another 
bad season. Many a morning before sunrise we heard 
the rattling of the drum to awaken the inhabitants of 
Jaffa to the fulfilment of their duty, each to collect a 
measure of locusts before daybreak, so that the threaten- 
ing enemy might be destroyed. The appearance of 
these locusts is the more dreaded on account of the be- 
lief that it always brings in its train some epidemic dis- 
ease, the woful consequence of which had so recently 
been experienced." On the road to Jerusalem he was 
hospitably entertained in the mountain home of the 
chief of Aboo-Goosh, "supposed to be the Kiryat- 
Yearim of Scripture, where Abinadab dwelt, in whose 
house, on the top of the hill, the ark of the Lord had 
been placed when taken from the Philistines of Beth- 

At Jerusalem Sir Moses was, as usual, received with 
distinction, and during his stay the Governor stationed 
a guard of honor at his dwelling. He visited the van- 

208 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

ous institutions of the city, and his own special founda- 
tions, and was pleased to find them well administered. 
During his stay he not only inquired minutely into the 
condition of the Jewish community, and distributed 
large sums among the poor, but he also promoted sev- 
eral works of importance to the general population. 
He concerted measures with the Governor to improve 
the water-supply of Jerusalem, and had the gratification 
of seeing water reflowing into the city from the pools 
of Solomon ; he contributed to the building of a hos- 
pital for leprosy, and he erected an awniag at the 
" Wailing Place," near the western wall of the Temple, 
in order to afford shelter to the pious persons visiting 
the sacred spot for meditation and prayer. An interest- 
ing incident of his stay in the Holy City was a quasi- 
judicial inquiry he held respecting an accusation pub- 
lished by Good Words against the spiritual heads of the 
Safed congregation. The Kev. Dr. Macleod, who had 
visited Palestine in 1864, wrote to that journal charging 
the Safed Jews with having inflicted the punishment of 
death on a Spanish Jewess who had been convicted of 
adultery. Sii* Moses sent to Safed for the Kabbis, the 
members of the Jewish Ecclesiastical Court, and a num- 
ber of other persons capable of giving evidence in the 
case, and satisfied himself that there was no truth in 
the accusation. 

The result of his inquiries as to the best means of 
expending the balance of the Kehef Fund, he thus sets 
forth in his report : 

" There now remains for me to present to you my hum- 
ble opinion as to the most practicable remedies which 
can be applied for the mitigation of the evils under which 
our brethren in the Holy Land labor, and to state to 

Another Busy Decade. 209 

you the result of that investigation. Let me remind 
you, in the first place, that in our own country it seems 
to have become the settled opinion of those to whom 
England would point as the men of the highest intellect, 
and the greatest experience and zeal in the cause of 
humanity, that the wisest scheme for being at the same 
time useful and charitable to the poor, is to be found in 
the erection, maintenance, and improvement of dwell- 
ing-houses. The reasons on which this opinion is 
founded have been of late so often and so ably ex- 
pounded, that any attempt to enlarge upon them here 
would be out of place. But if these reasons apply to 
the condition of the poor of England, I am convinced, 
by the information I received from the most intelligent 
persons in the East, and by a careful and anxious study 
of those circumstances which surround the Jews of Pal- 
estine — circumstances which I have attempted to fore- 
shadow in this Report — that the same reasons apply 
with tenfold force to the poverty and distress which 
prevail amongst our co-religionists in the Holy Land. 
1 am therefore of opinion, that the balance of the Relief 
Fund cannot be better employed than in the erection 
of dwellings, as far as the means will admit, on the 
ground already selected by me — a ground which, for its 
healthy position, and many other reasons, I deem best 
adapted for the desired object. I would further sug- 
gest to my co-religionists, that with a view of removing 
existing evils, and of promoting the well-being of the 
Jews in the Holy Land, a general collection should be 
made, so as to constitute a fund, as well for the encour- 
agement of agricultural pursuits, as for the erection of 
additional dwellings outside the walls of the Holy City. 
I am quite aware that your honorable Board could not 

210 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

impose on itself so heavy and responsible an undertak- 
ing ; but I hope and believe that the Jews at large may 
direct their attention thereto, and conjointly, by means 
of Building Societies, or otherwise, organize the neces- 
sary arrangements." 

During this tour, Sir Moses Montefiore had the mis- 
fortune to lose liis attached and highly valued friend, 
Dr. Hodgkin, who expired after a short illness at Jaffa. 
For forty years he had been intimately associated with 
the Jewish philanthropist, in whose benevolent schemes 
he had always taken an ardent interest. Sir Moses made 
a touching reference to his loss in his report to the 
Board of Deputies ; 

"It has pleased the Almighty to take him [Dr. 
Hodgkin] from us, and that he should not again behold 
his loving consort and beloved relatives. He breathed 
his last in a land endeared to him by hallowed reminis- 
cences. To one so guileless, so pious, so amiable in pri- 
vate life, so respected in his public career, and so desir- 
ous to assist, with all his heart, in the amelioration of 
the condition of the human race, death could not have 
had any terror. His soul has ascended to appear before 
the throne of glory, there to receive that heavenly re- 
compense which is awarded to the good and rigliteous 
of all nations. I trust I may be pardoned for this heart- 
felt but inadequate tribute to the memory of my late 
friend. His long and intimate association with me 
and my late dearly-beloved wife, his companionship 
in our travels, and the vivid recollection of his many 
virtues, make me anxious to blend his name, and 
the record of his virtues, with the narrative of these 

Over his grave at Jaffa Sir Moses erected an obelisk 

Another Busy Decade. 


inscribed with a feeling tribute to bis scientific attain- 
ments and " self-sacriiicing pliilantbropy." 

The next journey was to Roumania, and was under- 
taken in the following year. Tbe persecution and op- 
pression of tbe Jews in tbis Principality arise very cu- 
riously from an abuse of tbe constitutional form of 
government wbicb tbe Western Powers conferred on 
Moldo-Wallacbia in 1856. Altbougb to-day tbe Eou- 
manian Jews are beld by law to be aliens, tbey were, 
as a matter of fact, established in tbe country long be- 
fore tbe present composite people, or even tbe race 
wbicb gave its name to tbe land. From tbe soil of 
ancient Dacia prayers w^ere offered up to tbe God of 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, at a time when altars dedi- 
cated to Mars and Yenus were yet unknown. But 
what in after years particularly attracted tbe Jews to 
the country was the absence there of any great trading 
class. Agriculturists were many, and landed proprie- 
tors were also numerous ; but a mercantile and industrial 
class, capable of turning the resources of the land to 
commercial account, did not exist. For a long period 
the Jews were the only mechanics, manufacturers, and 
merchants in Eoumania. "When, in course of time, the 
Roumans themselves engaged in these occupations, the 
rivalry between them and the Hebrews became intense, 
and bitter jealousies arose. The Roumans, assuming 
a history and an ethnography that did not exist, mur- 
nmred that the "stranger" was stealing the national 
birthright. It was not, however, until 1856 that this 
rivalry assumed a dangerous form. Then, when the 
people, under a constitutional government, superseded 
the powers of the Hospodars and Boyars, who had 
formerly protected the Jews, they set themselves to op- 

212 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

press their too active competitors. They commenced 
by ignoring them in their franchise scheme, and after- 
wards, one by one, closed against them various branches 
of trade. Constitutional government, in fact, enabled 
an ignorant and selfish people to give expression to their 
selfishness and intolerance, where a wise autocracy had 
formerly kept such passions in check. It is truly a curi- 
ous page in the history of politics. 

Popular feeling once unmuzzled, the anti-Jewish 
movement took a wide scope. From legal oppression 
in the Council Chamber to violent persecution in the 
streets is but a step ; and from 1864 to the end of 1866 
not a month passed but some dreadful outrage upon the 
Jews was chronicled. M. Cremieux paid a visit to 
Bucharest in 1866, and secured a large number of prom- 
ises from members of the Chamber of Deputies to sup- 
port a measure emancipating the Jews ; but no sooner 
had he left, than the people rose, threatened Parlia- 
ment, maltreated a number of Jews, and destroyed their 
Synagogue, which was the finest building in the capital. 

In 1867 the persecutions became more cruel. No 
sopner had Sir Moses Montefiore returned from Jerusa- 
lem, than he found himself compelled to open a corre- 
spondence with the British Government on the subject. 
At his request Lord Stanley telegraphed a vigorous re- 
monstrance to the Poumanian Government, but still 
the persecutions continued. In June serious anti-Jewish 
riots took place at Jassy and other places ; and about 
the middle of July public opinion in Europe was shocked 
by an exceptionally terrible outrage at Galatz, called in 
the consular despatches the " Noyades of Galatz." Ten 
Jews, who were alleged by the Poumanian Government 
to be vagabonds from Turkey, but who were in reality 

Another Busy Decade. 


natives of Koumania, were ordered to be expelled the 
country. A file of soldiers escorted them from Galatz, 
half -way across the Danube, and landed them, without 
food or fuel, on a marshy island. During the night one 
of them perished in the mud. The survivors were res- 
cued by the Turks, and taken back to Galatz ; but on 
attempting to reland, a scuffie took place, and the Rou- 
manian soldiers drove the poor Hebrews at the point 
of the bayonet into the river, where they were drowned. 

The incident caused great indignation in Western 
Europe, and Sir Moses Montefiore, as President of the 
Board of Deputies, set out immediately for Bucharest, 
to make personal representations to Prince (now King) 
Charles on the whole question of the treatment of the 
Roumanian Jews. At Paris he was received by the 
Emperor ^Napoleon III., who assured him of his best 
wishes and support, and attached a French ofiicer to his 
suite as a mark of his sympathy. JSTotwithstanding his 
great age. Sir Moses travelled very rapidly, engaging 
special trains when the ordinary service did not insure 
sufficient despatch, and at Donauwerth hiring a special 
steamer to take him down the Danube via Yienna into 
Roumania. Immediately on arriving at Bucharest, he 
was cordially welcomed by the Corps Diplomatique, 
who assured him that, under the instructions of their 
respective governments, he might rely on their best ser- 
vices being placed at his disposal for the accomplishment 
of the object of his Mission. 

Sir Moses had several interviews with the Prince, and 
the members of his government, and succeeded in obtain- 
ing from his Highness the most gratifying assurances. 
Before his departure he received the following note 
from the Prince : 

214 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

" Monsieur le Bahonnet, 

" J'ai regu votre lettre du 27 Aout dernier, et j'en ai 
pris connaissance avec un vif interet. Comme j'ai eu 
Poccasion de vous le dire de vive voix, les voeux que 
vous formez pour vos co-religioimaires sont deja accom- 
plis. Le Israelites sont I'objet de toute ma sollicitude 
et de toute celle de mon Gouvernement, et je suis Men 
aise que vous soyez venu en Roumanie pour vous con- 
vaincre que la persecution reHgieuse, dont la malveil- 
lance a fait tant de bruit, n'existe point. S'il est arrive 
que des Israelites fussent inquietes, ce sont la des faits 
isoles dont mon Gouvernement ne pent pas assumer la 
responsabilite. Je tiendra toujours a honneur de f aire 
respecter la liberte religieuse, et je veiUerai sans cesse a 
I'execution des lois qui protegent les Israelites, comme 
tons les autres Roumains dans leur personne, et dans 
leur biens. 

" Yeuillez re^evoir, Monsieur le Baronnet, I'assurance 
de ma consideration tres distinguee. 

" Chaeles. 

"CoTROCENi, LE 18/30 Aout, 1867." 

To what extent Prince Charles was hoodwinked by 
his own ministers it is impossible to say ; but notwith- 
standing the professions contained in this letter — the 
sincerity of which there is no reason to doubt — he 
has been powerless to stop the persecutions. The 
vicious national sentiment has been too strong for him, 
and the Jews of Roumania are still unemancipated, and 
are periodically persecuted by both the Government and 
the people. 

The third journey in this decade was to Russia, and 
took place in 1872. The intervening years were spent 

Another Busy Decade. 


in labors in connection with the home community. In 
1870 Sir Moses assisted at the consecration of the Cen- 
tral Synagogue in London. In 1871 he opened a sub- 
scription during a famine in Persia for the relief of 
the Jews, in whose political condition he had formerly 
taken much interest. A considerable fund was raised, 
and £17,973 was distributed through Mr. Alison, the 
British Minister at Teheran. 

In 1872, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of 
the birth of Peter the Great, the Board of Deputies 
adopted an address of congratulation to the Czar Alex- 
ander II., and Sir Moses Montefiore was deputed to 
journey to St. Petersburg to present it. En route 
every one tried to dissuade him from proceeding to his 
destination on account of the cholera, which raged there 
with great severity ; but impelled by a sense of duty he 
determined to persevere even if left alone. " The jour- 
nals," he wrote home, " gave an alarming account of the 
unsatisfactory state of health in St. Petersburg, and it 
being the opinion of some of those who accompanied 
me that it would be imprudent on my part to proceed any 
further, I considered it my duty to gather around me 
those who appeared to fear the approach to the Russian 
frontier, counselling their return to England (it being 
well established that persons who entertain the fear of 
infection are more liable to be attacked by the epidemic), 
but after due consideration all decided to resume the 
journey with me." 

On his arrival in the Russian capital Sir Moses pre- 
sented to the English Ambassador and M. de Westmann 
the letters of introduction with which he had been fur- 
nished by Earl Granville and Count de Brunnow. By 
the Russian Minister he was received with marked kind- 

216 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

ness and urbanity. After some conversation, M. de 
Westmann observed: "We were acquainted witb the 
object of your visit to our city before your arrival ; 
the Emperor will receive you, and we shall endeavor to 
render everything as easy and agreeable to you as pos- 
sible. His Imperial Majesty is at present absent from 
St. Petersburg at the military manoeuvres, but I shall 
seek His Imperial Majesty's orders regarding the day 
and place when and where the Emperor will receive 
you." In recording this conversation Sir Moses wrote : 
" I need scarcely say how grateful I felt to our 
Heavenly Father for having thus, a few hours only 
after my arrival in St. Petersburg, enabled me to re- 
ceive from the Russian Minister such kind and assuring 
expressions, and, deeply sensible of the goodness of the 
Almighty who had succored and protected me and my 
companions, I prepared with gladness for the holy 

The interview with the Czar, which took place on the 
following Wednesday, Sir Moses thus describes : 

" At the appointed hour, I proceeded to the Winter 
Palace, accompanied by Dr. Loewe. Instead of having 
the fatigue of ascending the Grand Staircase, we were 
elevated by means of a lift to the Grande Salle d'Attente 
of the Emperor, into which we were immediately 
ushered. There we found His Excellency Monsieur de 
Westmann, the Imperial Lord Chamberlain, the Im- 
perial Grand Maitre des Ceremonies, and several other 
distinguished personages, who entered into conversation 
with me on various subjects of importance to our co- 
religionists. After an interval thus agreeably passed. 
His Excellency, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, was 
summoned before the Czar, and soon afterwards I was 

Another Busy Decade, 


conducted into tlie presence of His Imperial Majesty, to 
whom, in the name of your Board and its several con- 
stituent congregations, I presented the Address. His 
Imperial Majesty, who conversed most fluently in the 
English language, received me with the utmost grace 
and kindness ; he adverted to the circumstance of my 
having had the honor of an audience with his august 
father in the year 1846, and expressed himself most 
graciously on every subject having reference to my 
mission. His Imperial Majesty also graciously received 
Dr. Loewe. IS'or can I here omit to record my grateful 
appreciation of His Imperial Majesty's consideration in 
having come from the seat of the summer manoeuvres 
to the Winter Palace — expressly to spare me fatigue, 
in consequence of my advanced age — and having there 
received the Address of which I was the bearer. I 
quitted the Palace with a heart overflowing with grati- 
tude, for indeed I am at a loss for words in which 
adequately to describe the gracious sentiments which 
His Imperial Majesty, and the members of his Govern- 
ment, evinced towards me. On my way to the hotel I 
was enthusiastically greeted by hundreds of our brethren 
who were awaiting my return from the Palace, and 
whose faces were illumined by joy." 

During his short stay in St. Petersburg Sir Moses 
was gratified to find a remarkable improvement in the 
position of the Jews since his earlier visit. He saw a 
considerable number of Jews who had been distin- 
guished by decorations of different grades by the Em- 
peror, and conversed with Jewish merchants, literary 
men, editors of Russian periodicals, artisans, and persons 
who had formerly served in the Imperial army, all of 
whom expressed satisfaction with their position. He 

218 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

found Synagogues in whicli sermons were preached in 
Russian and German, and obtained copies of " beautiful 
maps with all the modern improvements in which the 
cities, villages, mountains, rivers, railways, etc., all ap- 
pear in Hebrew, and several educational works on his- 
tory, geography, grammar, natural philosophy, and 
physics, also published in the Hebrew language, to 
enable those who are yet unacquainted with the national 
language to advance their education in all useful secular 
subjects." Summing up his observations on the con- 
dition of the Russian Hebrews, Sir Moses wrote : 

"The Jews now dress like any gentlemen in Eng- 
land, France, or Germany, their schools are well at- 
tended, and they are foremost in every honorable enter- 
prise. During my journey, I had frequent opportunities 
of receiving from our brethren assurances of the rapid 
increase of their Synagogues, schools, and charitable 
institutions ; and, as indicative of the improved spirit- 
ual and social condition of our co-religionists abroad, I 
may notice, that amongst the many thousands of Jews 
with whom I came in contact, I observed the most 
charitable and benevolent dispositions, an insatiable 
thirst for knowledge, a pure and religious zeal, and a 
high degree of prosperity. Looking back to what the 
condition of our co-religionists in Russia was twenty-six 
years ago, and having regard to their present position, 
they have now indeed abundant reason to cherish grate- 
ful feelings towards the Emperor, to whom their pros- 
perity is in so great a measure attributable ; and if there 
yet remain some few restrictions, the hope may surely 
be entertained, that, with the advance of secular educa- 
tion among them, these disabilities may be gradually 

Another Busy Decade, 


A hope, unfortunately, not destined to be realized. 
Ten years later it was Sir Moses Montefiore's grief to 
read of popular persecutions and official intolerance in 
the Empire of the Czars, carried out on as large a 
scale as during the darkest period of the reign of 

Sir Moses Montefiore was now nearly ninety years of 
age, and he began to feel that the time had arrived 
when he might resign to younger hands his office in 
connection with the Board of Deputies. The members 
of the Board returned at the General Election of April, 
1874, met for the first time on the 7th May. Sir Moses 
was re-elected to the presidency, but declined the office 
on the ground of the uncertain state of his health. The 
Board urged him to reconsider his decision, and a 
deputation from that body having waited on him at 
Ramsgate, he was at length prevailed upon to accede to 
its wishes. Later in the session, however, his colleagues 
were pained to receive a letter again pressing his resig- 
nation both of the presidency and of his seat. Earnest 
efforts were made to induce him to alter his determina- 
tion but without avail, and, bearing in mind his advanced 
age, it was felt that it would not be right to persuade 
him further to retain an office involving arduous and 
responsible duties. In parting with its venerated presi- 
dent, the Board expressed its high estimate of his labors 
in a series of eloquent resolutions which, engrossed on 
vellum and emblazoned, were signed by every deputy and 
presented to the worthy Baronet. Sir Moses acknowl- 
edged the resolutions in the following characteristic 
letter to his nephew, who had been elected to succeed 

220 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

"Grosvenok Gate, Park Lane, 

''2Uh November, 5635—1874. 

"My dear Joseph Mayer Montefiore, 

" I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt from 
your hands of a copy of resohitions, beautifully engrossed 
on vellum and emblazoned, adopted by the London 
Committee of Deputies of British Jews at a meeting 
held on the 6th October, ultimo, on the occasion of my 
resignation of the office of President of the Board. The 
sentiments conveyed by these resolutions are so highly 
gratifying, and the language in which they are couched 
so extremely cordial, that I can but very inadequately 
assure the Board and yourself how profound an impres- 
sion they have made on my heart. It has been my oft- 
recurring and much-valued privilege to receive mani- 
festations of the Board's approbation and regard, but 
never have I experienced more perfect satisfaction than 
I derive from the resolutions now before me ; satisfac- 
tion enhanced, indeed, by the circumstance of their being 
signed by every Member of the Board. In my retire- 
ment from the Board of Deputies, over which I have 
had the distinguished honor to preside for upwards of 
thirty years, and with which I have been connected from 
a very early period, I carry with me the unfading recol- 
lection of the sympathy and encouragement it has in- 
variably afforded me at those important moments of my 
life, when, moved by the murmur of the oppressed or 
the cry of the afflicted, the Board deputed me to plead 
on its behalf, in distant lands, the cause of toleration 
and humanity. The Board may, indeed, discern the 
best reward of its active labors in the amelioration of 
the condition of our co-religionists, that has resulted 
from those just and enlightened measures, which, by 

Another Busy Decade. 


God's blessing, are attributable to its wise and temper- 
ate intervention. Long may the Members of the Com- 
munity of Israel, who rejoice in the benignant sway of 
our Gracious Sovereign, find the promotion of their 
welfare, and the preservation of our Holy Religion, the 
objects of the zealous care of the London Committee of 
Deputies of British Jews. Long may our brethren in 
foreign countries receive from the Board a ready re- 
sponse when appealed to for aid or intercession. I am 
sensible that I have given but feeble expression to that 
which, however, I deeply feel. But I may rely on that 
indulgent consideration which has been ever extended 
to me. And I feel assured that you will kindly make 
known to my former esteemed colleagues,^f ar better than 
any words of mine can acquaint them, how heartfelt is 
my gratitude for the resolutions with which they have 
presented me, and how fervent is my prayer for the long 
life and enduring happiness of themselves and their 
families, for the lasting prosperity of the Board of 
Deputies, and for the speedy restoration of the Glory 
of Zion. 

"I have the honor to be, my dear Joseph Mayer 

" Yours most faithfully, 


The Board elected its late President an honorary 
member of its body, and raised a fund of over £12,000 
as a testimonial to his high character and public services. 
On being consulted as to the application of this money, 
Sir Moses expressed a wish that it should be devoted to 
public works for the improvement of the condition 
of the Jews in the Holy Land, in accordance with the 

The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

suggestions made in liis report on tlie mission of 

In July, 18Y4, Sir Moses Montefiore, still active, not- 
withstanding his four-score-and-ten years, set out on his 
seventh journey to Palestine — the fourth foreign mis- 
sion in his ninth decade. 


The Seventh Journey to the Holy Land. — Diary of the Journey. — 
"Forty Days' Sojourn in the Holy Laud." — Arrival at Venice. — 
Admiral Drummond Warns Sir Moses against Cholera. — Ancient 
Intercourse between the Jews of Venice and London. — The Sab- 
bath at Sea.— Arrival at Port Said.— Reception at Jaffa. — The 
Jews of Jaffa. — On the Way to Jerusalem. — A Moonlight Ride 
from Bab-el- Wad. — Enthusiastic Welcome at Jerusalem. — The 
Work of the Forty Days. — Georgian Jews and Jewish Heroism. — 
Sir Moses Suggests Sanitary Improvements at Jerusalem. — Re- 
turn Home.— Scheme for the Amelioration of the Condition of 
the Palestinian Jews. — Sir Moses Montefiore and Jerusalem. 

Although undertaken after his retirement from pub- 
lic life, this seventh journey to Palestine by Sir Moses 
Montefiore was no mere holiday tour. Its history illus- 
trates interestingly the energy and public spirit that 
continued to animate the warm-hearted nonagenarian. 
Soon after he was released from his labors in connection 
with the Board of Deputies, he commenced anew to 
study the problems connected with the condition of the 
Jews of the Holy Land, which for nearly fifty years 
had baffled all attempts at solution. On the 29th July, 
1874, he addressed a Hebrew circular letter to the Jew- 

^^Forty Days' Sojourn in the Holy LandP 223 

isli congregations, asking for suggestions as to tlie best 
means of improving their condition. The following is 
a translation of this interesting letter : 

•• * I have set the Lord always before me." 

** Gkosvenor Gate, Park Lane, 

"London, Wednesday, 15th of Ab, 5634. 

" Peace, peace to the chosen of the people, whose de- 
light is in the law of the Lord ; my sonl loves them 
according to their worth and dignity. May the Eternal 
bless them. May their reward be complete from the 
Lord, the God of Israel, and may their eyes and ours 
behold the glory of the rebuilding of Aree-el. 
" To the Key. the Hakim Bashi, and the representa- 
tives of the several Hebrew Congregations in the Holy 
City of * * *. 

" Gentlemen : It has ever been my earnest desire, since 
I first had the opportunity of becoming acquainted with 
the state of great poverty and distress that prevailed 
among you, to ameliorate your condition and cause salva- 
tion to spring forth in the Holy Land by means of indus- 
trial pursuits, such as agriculture, mechanical work, or 
some suitable business, so as to enable both the man who 
is not qualified to study, but is fully able (by his physical 
strength) to work, as well as the student, who, prompted 
by a desire to maintain himself by the labor of his 
hands, may be willing to devote the day to the work 
necessary for the support of his family, and the night 
to the study of the Law of God, to find the means of 
an honorable living. Already, in the years 5599 and 
5626, I entreated you to assist me with your wise and 
judicious counsel, and begged* of you to point out to me 
the right path. I then forwarded to you statistical and 

224 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

agricultural forms, to enable you to record therein all 
the information required, and you most cheerfully com- 
plied with my request, and gave me all the particulars 
referring to these subjects. I, on my part, made known 
to all my friends and acquaintances the information I 
received from you; but, unfortunately, from various 
unaccountable causes, I met with little success, and 
your condition remained the same as before. Having 
again this year noticed all the troubles and hardships 
you had to undergo from scarcity of bread, and from 
want of means to procure it, I thought I would try 
again, now for the third time, to ascertain whether any 
of your suggestions regarding the best mode of amelio- 
rating your condition, either by agriculture or by mecha- 
nical work, within or without the house, or some suit- 
able business pursuits, if clearly and distinctly set forth 
to our brethren, might not, under present circumstances, 
be more favorably received, and induce them more read- 
ily to hasten with their succor to a most deserving class 
of people, so as to procure lasting comfort among you. 
Let me, therefore, entreat you to fully acquaint me with 
your views on this subject ; point out to me what I am 
to do in order to hasten thereby the cause of bring- 
ing salvation into the land. Consider well which is 
the proper path appearing most clearly to you to pro- 
duce the remedy you stand in need of. By doing so 
you will comply with the wishes of your brethren, who 
love and kiss, as it were, the dust of the Holy Land. 
Be strong and of good courage. Do not say, ' Our 
words are of no avail,' but send speedily a reply to him 
who holds you in great esteem, and prays for the wel- 
fare of his people. 


''Forty Days' Sojourn m the Holy LamdP 225 

The replies received by Sir Moses Montefiore were 
presented by bim to the Palestine Committee of the 
Board of Deputies. Tbey expressed a willingness to 
work, and suggested large purcbases of land for tbe 
foundation of agricultural colonies. Tbe Board did not 
accede to tbe proposals of Sir Moses' correspondents, 
and some of tbe members seemed to be of tbe opinion 
tbat tbe Jews of tbe Holy Land were not tbe bonest 
and willing people tbat Sir Moses believed tbem to be. 
Objections were especially urged against tbe system 
tbat prevailed in Palestine of maintaining by tbe bounty 
of tbe foreign communities sucb Jews as migbt elect to 
pass tbeir time in religious exercises. Tbese opinions 
being communicated to Sir Moses Montefiore, be re- 
solved once more to proceed to Palestine to see for 
bimself wbetber be bad been deceived in tbe estimate 
be bad formed of bis co-religionists in tbat ballowed 

Tbis journey Sir Moses bas described in a diary, pri- 
vately circulated, under tbe title of " Forty Days' So- 
journ in tbe Holy Land." It is an interesting pendant 
to tbe journals of tbe earlier missions written by bis 
lamented wife. Tbe same religious spirit serenely il- 
lumines its pages, and, in tbe course of its unaffected 
cbronicle, many an insigbt is afforded into tbe workings 
of a character tbe mainspring of wbicb is reliance on 
tbe eternal bounty of God. 

Having offered up bis prayers "in tbe mausoleum 
of ber wbo, like a guardian angel, so often sustained 
me on my journeys witb ber loving affection and judi- 
cious counsel," be left East Cliff on tbe 15tb June. By 
tbe advice of bis pbysician be only travelled by sbort 
stages, but tbis restriction be utilized, to enable bim to 

226 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

commiinicate witli the Jewish congregations on his route, 
with a view of ascertaining their opinions regarding the 
Jews of Jerusalem. 

On arriving at Venice he was met by Admiral Sir 
James Drummond, to whom he presented a letter of 
introduction with which he had been furnished by the 
British Government. The Admiral assured him of his 
desire to do anything he might require to facilitate his 
journey, but informed him that his old enemy the chol- 
era had broken out at Damascus, and that the spread of 
the epidemic along the coast was apprehended. Sir 
Moses writes : 

" This unexpected news at first somewhat startled me, 
for I well knew the danger to which we should be ex- 
posed in a hot climate, in the most unhealthy season ; 
but I soon recovered my former resolution. It ap- 
peared to me that I had a certain duty to perform — a 
duty owing to our religion, to our beloved brethren in 
the Holy Land; nothing, therefore, I made up my 
mind, should prevent me proceeding on my journey. 
I communicated my resolution to the Admiral, who 
kindly expressed his hope for my safe return. Return- 
ing to the hotel, I heard that the sad news of the chol- 
era being in Syria, and the necessity of remaining in 
quarantine on leaving that country, had also reached 
my Gorrupagnons de voyage, and they all entreated me 
to give up the idea of going to the Holy Land ; but I 
would not yield ; indeed, with every persuasive word of 
theirs to make me return, my resolution became stronger 
and stronger to proceed." 

Tlie Jews of Venice received Sir Moses with enthu- 
siasm. A service in his honor was held in the Syna- 
gogue ; and so numerous was the attendance, that the 

''Forty Days' Sojourn in the Holy LandP 22Y 

whole square around the sacred edifice, and the adjoin- 
ing streets, were filled with those who could not obtain 
seats. On leaving the Synagogue and stepping into his 
gondola, a choir which lined the street chanted the 
prayer of the congregation for his safe journey. Dur- 
ing his stay, Signor Soave, a Jewish professor, brought 
under his notice an interesting document which had 
been found in the archives of the Yenetian congrega- 
tion. This was a letter addressed to the treasurer of 
the Jewish association called the "Caisse for the Re- 
demption of Captives," by the Portuguese congrega- 
tion of London, in May, 1705. The writer of the letter, 
Mr. Mosse de Medina, Warden of the English congre- 
gation, made a remittance of 60 ducados de banco to- 
wards the redemption of three Hebrew slaves, brought 
to Yenice in a Maltese vessel. On this Sir Moses point- 
edly remarks : 

" The sympathy which Hebrew communities have at 
all times evinced towards their suffering brethren has 
always been proverbial ; it is one of the noblest traits 
in the character of Israel, and we have every reason to 
hope that our communities will continue to retain that 
characteristic, especially when it concerns the aid of 
those who sacrifice all their worldly interest to the 
service of God, and the glorification of our holy reli- 

After a short visit to Alexandria Sir Moses embarked 
on the Austrian steamer Ettore for Jaffa. The day after 
his departure was the Sabbath, and he did not fail to 
celebrate the holy day with all the minutiae prescribed 
by the Jewish ritual. ,, He tells us: 

" That day has always been a particular object of de- 
light to me. By the kindness and civility of the people 

228 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

on board I was never interrupted in any way in the per- 
formance of my religious duties. Every Friday, as the 
Sabbath was about setting in, I could light my Sabbath- 
lamp, which I always carried with me, and I often had 
the gratification of seeing the seven lights (emblems of 
the six days of creation, and the seventh day of rest) 
burn as late as midnight, undisturbed by the motion of 
the vessel, even when going at the rate of ten to eleven 
knots an hour. We recited our prayers and ' Kidoosh,' 
the blessings of which were responded to by the sincere 
' Amen ' of those who joined me in prayer, and enjoyed 
our Sabbath meal. On the Sabbath morning I had 
always the satisfaction of hearing, after the usual prayer, 
one of our Commentaries on the portion of the week 
expounded to me by Dr. Loewe, and the rest of the day 
passed in pleasing conversation on all that concerns our 
brethren in the Holy Land. On board of the Ettore^ 
that happiness became greatly enhanced by the contem- 
plation of the short distance which now only separated 
me from the hallowed goal I had in view." 

A characteristic and graphic passage describes the 
night before the arrival in the Holy Land : 

"Myriads of celestial luminaries, each of them as 
large and bright almost as any of the radiant planets 
in the Western horizon, were now emitting their silvery 
rays of light in the spangled canopy over us. Sure and 
steady our ship steered towards the coast of the land so 
dearly beloved, summoning all to sleep, but few of the 
passengers retired that night. Every one of them ap- 
peared to be in meditation. It was silent all around us 
— silent, so that the palpitation of the heart might 
almost be heard. It was, as if every one had the words 
on his lips, ^ Ah, when will our eyes be gladdened by 

''Forty Days' Sojourn m the Holy LandP 229 

the first glance of the Holy Land ? When shall we be 
able to set foot on the spot which was the long-wished- 
for goal of our meditations?' Such were that night 
the feelings of every Gentile passenger on board. And 
what other thoughts, I ask, could have engrossed the 
mind of an Israelite ? The words of R. Yehooda 
Halevi, which he uttered when entering the gates of 
Jerusalem, now came into my mind : ' The kingdoms 
of idolatry will all change and disappear ; thy glory 
alone, O Zion, will last forever ; for the Eternal has 
chosen thee for His abode. Happy the man who is now 
waiting in confiding hope to behold the rising glory of 
Thy light.' " 

At Jaffa, Sir Moses was received by the authorities 
with the usual ceremonies. As he stepped from his 
boat a detachment of soldiers drawn up in two lines, 
commanded by the Kaimekam, presented arms, and a 
large concourse of people cheered enthusiastically. 
Deputations read addresses of welcome from the con- 
gregations of Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Hebron, and the 
British Yice-Consul invited him to accept the accom- 
modation of his country residence, situated a little way 
outside the town on the Jerusalem road. Staying here 
for a few days. Sir Moses examined minutely the garden 
he had established in the neighborhood some years be- 
fore. He found that it contained 900 fruit-trees, and 
that it required some repairs, but he refused to supply 
a steam-engine to work the water-wheel in place of the 
ordinary mules, because of the cost of fuel and the 
absence of skilled mechanics. In order to test the 
willingness of the poor to work he offered a small sum 
of money — designedly very trivial — to have the large cis- 
tern on the estate filled, and was delighted to watch the 

230 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

alacrity with which a crowd turned out to work the 
wheel while they saug in chorus Psalm cxxviii., in 
which occurs the verse, " Thou shalt eat the labor of 
thine hands ; happy shalt thou be and it shall be well 
with thee." He also had elaborate statistical accounts 
of the Jaffa community prepared, and received depu- 
tations who convinced him that the charges which had 
been brought against the Jews were without founda- 

On the way to Jerusalem he observed many signs of 
improvement since his last visit, and was particularly 
pleased to note that several of the fields were cultivated 
by Jews. His diary gives a dramatic account of a moon- 
light ride from Bab-el- Wad : 

" We waited for the rising of the moon, and at twenty 
minutes past eleven o'clock started for Jerusalem. Those 
were exciting moments which presented themselves to 
my mind now and then, as w^e ascended and descended 
the hills and dales on the road ; the moon throwing her 
long and dark shadow w^ien behind a rock. They re- 
called to memory how much exposed the traveller was 
in former years to the attacks of a Bedouin, or some 
feudal lord. Now, thank God, thanks to the protection 
of the Turkish Government, we do not hear of such out- 
rages on peaceable pilgrims. Just as I concluded these 
meditations two Bedouins in full speed dashed along 
from behind some hidden rock, and directed their course 
right up to our carriage. ' Good heaven,' I thought, 
* we ought not to be too hasty here in bestowing praises 
on the protection of the police. What in the world will 
they do with us ? ' But Dr. Loewe, who was with me in 
the carriage, suddenly called out as loud as he possibly 
could, ' Shdlom Aleykhem, Kabbi B. S., Shdlom Aleyk- 

''Forty Days' Sojourn in the Holy LandP 231 

ham, Rabbi L. S.,' and turning round to me, lie said, 
' These are not Bedouins, though they are dressed exactly 
like them, and gallop along the hills like the sons of the 
desert, but they are simply our own brethren from Jeru- 
salem, who, I have no doubt, came to ascertain the exact 
time of your intended entry into Jerusalem, to give 
timely notice to the people to come out to meet you ? ' 
And so it was. A minute afterwards they pulled up the 
reins of their fiery chargers, and stood before us. 'A 
happy and blessed week to you. Dr. Loewe,' they 
shouted ; ' where is Sir Moses ? how is he ? when will 
he enter Jerusalem ? ' As I bent my head forward they 
reverentially saluted me, and stated to me the object of 
their coming ; but as it was my intention purposely to 
avoid giving any unnecessary inconvenience to my 
Jerusalem friends, I declined letting them know the 
exact hour. They again saluted, galloped off, and soon 
disappeared. I was told that they had left Jerusalem 
after Habdalah, and now intended being again in the 
Holy City early in the morning. If there be many such 
horsemen in the Holy Land like these two supposed 
Bedouins, they certainly ought not in justice to be re- 
garded as descendants from sickly parents, as some per- 
sons supposed." 

Notwithstanding that he had given no intimation of 
the time of his intended entry into Jerusalem, he was 
received with great rejoicings. Yenerable Rabbis sa- 
luted him at the gates ; crowds assembled in the streets 
and enthusiastically shouted their welcome, and even 
the roofs of the houses were thronged with gayly attired 
women and children, who showered upon him copies of 
poems especially comjDosed in his honor. The British 
Consul waited upon him, and the Governor of the city 

232 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

sent liis brother to express his regret that no official 
reception had been arranged in consequence of the sud- 
denness of his arrivah 

During the forty days he spent in the Holy City Sir 
Moses made the most elaborate inquiries into the condi- 
tion of the Jewish population, and thoroughly satisfied 
himself that they were as worthy of liis confidence and 
support as ever. He visited the Synagogues, cross- 
questioned the managers of the various charities, and 
had all the schools examined in secular and religious 
subjects by Dr. Loewe. The results were very satisfac- 
tory. Among the congregations he visited was a new 
one composed of Georgian Jews, who had settled in the 
Holy Land by special permission of the Russian Govern- 
ment. " Some of them," he writes, "had decorations on 
their breast. One of the name of Elialiu ben Israel had 
three ; he received one from the late Emperor Nicholas, 
and two from the present Emperor Alexander. When 
I inquired of their chief. Hakim Eliahu ben Jacob, how 
they came by these special marks of distinction, he told 
me that, during the war of the Russians with the Circas- 
sians, the Jewish soldiers fought most bravely ; and that 
when all the people in the town of Kutais deserted the 
place, they, the Jews, remained, and with their blood 
defended the treasury of the Russian Government. The 
soldier with the three decorations said that he received 
on each occasion wlien those decorations had been given 
to him an embrace from the Emperor." 

Recoiving distressing accounts of the spread of 
cholera. Sir Moses made an attempt to permanently 
improve the sanitary condition of Jerusalem. He 
ordered several houses to be whitewashed, a number of 
streets to be cleansed, and the refuse to be removed 

'''Forty Dayi Sojourn in the Holy LamdP 233 

outside the city. He also made representations to the 
authorities on the subject of clearing the pool of 
Bethesda, into which the sewage of the town was con- 
ducted, recommending that it should be filled with pure 
water, and that special pools should be dug for the re- 
ception of the refuse of the town. 

Before his departure he was visited by the Sheik of 
the Mosque of Omar, who presented him with Arabic 
and Cufic inscriptions ; a deputation of Armenian 
priests, who expressed the friendly sentiments of the 
Patriarch ; a sheik of the Haram, who offered him a 
souvenir in the shape of some curious native flasks for 
oil lamps, and a Jewish emissary from Arabia Felix, 
who was on his way to petition the Turkish Government 
to free his brethren from disabilities. On the 8th 
August his stay terminated, and he again bade farewell 
to Jerusalem. Thirty-two days later he was offering up 
his grateful prayers in his Synagogue at Ramsgate. 

The opinions and propositions suggested by this pil- 
grimage. Sir Moses thus sets forth at the end of his 
jouraal : 

" The great regard which I always entertained towards 
our brethren in the Holy Land has now become, if pos- 
sible, doubly increased, so that if you were to ask me, 
*Are they worthy and deserving of assistance?' I 
would reply, '■ Most decidedly.' * Are they willing and 
capable of work ? ' ' Undoubtedly.' ' Are their mental 
powers of a satisfactory nature % ' ' Certainly.' * Ought 
we, as Israelites, in particular, to render them support ? ' 
' Learn,' I would say, ' if your own sacred Scriptures 
do not satisfy you, from non-Israelites what degree of 
support those are entitled to who consecrate their lives 
to the worship of God. Go and cast a glance upon the 

234 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

numerous munificent endowments; upon the magnificent 
institutions ; upon the annual contributions, not only in 
Jerusalem, but in every part of the world ; not only by 
individuals, but by almost every mighty ruler on earth. 
I^otice the war which had broken out within our recol- 
lection respecting a privilege of repairing a house of 
devotion, all for the sole object to support religion, and 
are we Israelites to stand back and say, " We are all prac- 
tical men ; let everybody in Jerusalem go and work. "We 
do not want a set of indolent people who, by poring over 
books, teaching the word of God, think they are per- 
forming their duties in life, and wait for our support." 
The Jews in Jerusalem, in every part of the Holy Land, 
I tell you, do work ; are more industrious even than 
many men in Europe, otherwise none of them would 
remain alive ; but, when the work does not sufficiently 
pay ; when there is no market for the produce of the 
land; when famine, cholera, and other misfortunes 
befall the inhabitants, we Israelites, unto whom God 
revealed Himself on Sinai, more than any other nation, 
must step forward and render them help — raise them 
from their state of distress.' If you put the question to 
me, saying thus : ' Now we are willing to contribute 
towards a fund intended to render them such assistance 
as they may require ; we are ready to make even sacri- 
fices of our own means if necessary ; what scheme do 
you propose as best adapted to carry out the object in 
view ? ' I would reply : ' Carry out simply what they 
themselves have suggested ; but begin, in the first in- 
stance, with the building of houses in Jerusalem. Select 
land outside the city ; raise, in the form of a large square 
or crescent, a number of suitable houses, with European 
improvements ; have in the centre of the square oi* cres- 

^^ Forty Day 8^ Sojourn in the Holy LandP 235 

cent a synagogue, a college, and a public bath. Let each 
house have in front a plot of ground large enough to 
cultivate olive-trees, the vine, and necessary vegetables, 
so as to give the occupiers of the houses a taste for 
agriculture. The houses ought to pay a moderate 
rental, by the amount of which, after securing the sum 
required for the payment of a clerk and overseer, and 
the repair of the houses, there should be established a 
Loan Society on safe principles, for the benefit of the 
poor working class, the trader, the agriculturist, or any 
poor deserving man. Two per cent, should be charged 
on each loan, so as to cover thereby the expenses neces- 
sary for a special clerk, and the rent of an appropriate 
house. If the amount of your funds be sufficient, build 
houses in Saf ed, Tiberias, and Hebron, on the same 
plan ; establish, by the rental also. Loan Societies on 
similar principles of security. And should you further 
prosper, and have £30,000 or £50,000 to dispose of, you 
will, without difficulty, be able to purchase as much land 
as you would like in the vicinity of Safed, Pekeein, 
Tiberias, Hebron, Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Khaifa, and you 
will find in all those places a number of persons who 
would be most willing to follow agricultural pursuits. 
There are, according to the applications which have been 
printed, more than 170 persons ready in Safed and 
Tiberias alone; Pekeein and Khaifa also offer a good 
number: but there are, no doubt, persons, even in 
Jerusalem, who are willing to cultivate land.' And if 
now you address me, saying, ' Which would be the 
proper time to commence the work, supposing we were 
ready to be guided by your counsel ? ' my reply then 
would be, ' Commence at once ; begin the work this 
day, if you can. Our brethren throughout Europe, 

236 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Persia, and Turkey have been roused by your promises, 
whicli have been made known to them in the most 
hopeful terms by Hebrew, German, French, Italian, 
and English periodicals. You led them to cherish the 
hope that you would surely make no delay in proceeding 
to ameliorate the condition of the Sons of Zion. They 
now cry out, " Here we are ; give us land, give us work : 
you promised to do so. We are willing, for the sake 
of our love to Jerusalem, to undertake the execution of 
the most laborious tasks ; " but the Representatives of 
the Community have no answer to give : they simply, 
with a cast-down countenance, say, in the words of King 
Solomon, "Clouds and wind without rain." You are 
then, I repeat, in sacred duty bound not to disappoint 
them any longer. Begin the hallowed task at once, and 
He who takes delight in Zion will establish the work 
upon you.' " 

These suggestions have of late years been energetically 
acted upon by the Montefiore Testimonial Committee. 
Agricultural colonies have been assisted, and, by means 
of loans to building societies, the beginnings of a new and 
beautiful city outside the Jaffa gate of Jerusalem have 
been made. The result to-day of Sir Moses Montetiore's 
persistent efforts to erect improved dwellings for the 
Jews of Palestine is, that the Holy City now possesses 
a western suburb of six hundred houses, inhabited by 
nearly 4000 Israelites, many of whom own the freeholds 
of their dwellings. 

This was Sir Moses Montefiore's last foreign journey. 
There is a peculiar fitness in the circumstance that he 
should have terminated his public career in the very 
city where nearly half a century before he had gathered 
the great inspiration of his life. The supporters on his 

Conclusion. 237 

coat-of-arms hold aloft banners on which the word 
"Jerusalem" is inscribed in Hebrew characters, and 
" Jerusalem" has been the watchword of his life — not 
merely in the restricted sense of the actual city and its 
inhabitants, but in the wider significance of the word as 
the countersign of Hebrew tradition and the rallying 
cry of the Humanitarian Ideal of Judaism. Jerusalem 
is more than a monument of the ancient glory of the 
Kingdom of God ; it is the sanctuary of the sublime 
aspiration which every Israelite utters daily, " that the 
world may be established under the rule of the 
Almighty, all the children of flesh invoke His name, 
and all the wicked of the earth turn towards Him." 
The inner workings of Sir Moses Montefiore's life are 
laid bare when we find that this is the key-note to which 
it has been attuned. 



An age that melts with unperceived decay, 
And glides in modest innocence away; 
Whose peaceful Day benevolence endears, 
"Whose Night congratulating conscience cheers; 
The general favorite as the general friend : 
Such age there is and who shall wish it end? 

Dr. Johnson, Vanity of Human Wishes. 

Since his return from Jerusalem in 1875 Sir Moses 
Montefiore has lived in semi-retirement at liis charming 
country-seat near Ramsgate. Notwithstanding his great 
age his heart and mind remain as actively devoted to 

238 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

works of benevolence as in the prime of liis manhood. 
He still takes a lively interest in public affairs, and, with 
the help of an English amanuensis and a foreign secre- 
tary, carries on a voluminous correspondence in Hebrew 
and modern languages for the furtherance of the philan- 
thropic schemes to which he has devoted his life. 

On more than one occasion during the last few years 
he has actively concerned himself in public questions. 
In the Eusso-Turkish war, six years ago — involving, as 
it did, the fate of a large Jewish population — he evinced 
the deepest interest, and he took no pains to hide on 
which side his sympathies were engaged. As soon as 
the Turkish Eelief Fund was started he joined the Com- 
mittee, and at the same time addressed a sympathetic 
letter to Musurus Pasha, the Turkish Ambassador in 
England. The following is the text of this character- 
istic epistle : * 

"East Cliff Lodge, Ramsgate, Jan. 1, 1877. 
" Your Excellency : 

" You will, I trust, give credit to my words when I 
assure you that I hail the opportunity now presented to 
me to evince my gratitude to the Turkish Government 
for the kind and effective protection they have at all 
times extended to my co-religionists; and I shall never 
forget the glorious Hatti-Sherif given to the Jews in 
the year 1840 by his late Imperial Majesty, Abdul 
Medjid, assuring to the Jews the same rights and privi- 
leges as those enjoyed by all the other subjects of the 
Turkish Empire. I earnestly hope that peace will soon 
be restored throughout the whole extent of the Sultan's 
dominions, and that the Government of his Imperial 

* Jewish WorU, Jan. 12, 1877. 


Conclusion. 239 

Majesty will have everj opportunity to show the world 
that nothing could afford His Majesty greater satisfac- 
tion and delight than to see all his subjects, without any 
distinction of creed, in the words of Holy Writ, ' sitting 
under his vine and his fig-tree,' in full enjoyment of the 
blessings our Heavenly Father bestows on them. 

" May I beg your Excellency to favor me by adding 
tlie enclosed two checks to the fund now being raised 
for the relief of the wounded Turkish soldiers, one 
check for £50 in my own name, and the other for a 
similar amount of £50 in memory of my lamented wife, 
Judith, Lady Montefiore. 

" With the most sincere assurance of my high esteem, 
respect, and regard, I remain, 

" Your Excellency's very obedient humble servant, 


Sir Moses also seconded with much energy the efforts 
of the Baroness Burdett Coutts in connection with the 
Turkish Compassionate Fund, and even offered to pro- 
ceed to the East in the interests of the Fund. The 
circumstance was characteristic of the warm-hearted 
philanthropist. The Baroness having received an in- 
timation that a large number of Jews were among the 
sufferers from the war, immediately communicated the 
fact to Sir Moses, who promptly answered by telegram 
as follows : 

" Greatly obliged for telegram. Deeply sympathize 
with sufferers. Have already forwarded my mite to 
Eoumania, Turkey, and Holland, but will have much 
pleasure in sending you by to-day's post £100 for the 
Committee in Constantinople, over which Mr. Layard 
presides, to alleviate the sufferings of the people with- 

24:0 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

out distinction of creed. Should my presence in Con- 
stantinople or Adrianople be deemed in any way bene- 
ficial to the sufferers, I shall be ready to proceed there 
without delay." 

In communicating this telegram to the papers the 
Baroness wrote, " I cannot deny myself the pleasure of 
enclosing you my revered and chivalrous friend's reply, 
alike as characteristic of his unwearying energy of mind 
and warmth of heart." 

Wh*en the war was over and the Plenipotentiaries of 
the Powers met at Berlin to decide upon terms of 
peace, no one watched the newspaper records of their 
labors more anxiously than the venerable champion of 
Israel. He corresponded with his co-religionist. Baron 
von Bleichroder, on the subject of bringing the claims 
of the Jews of Eastern Europe before the Congress, 
and made many private representations in other eminent 
quarters. The Congress accepted the principle of reli- 
gious equality for the Danubian Principalities, and Sir 
Moses Montefiore, on being apprised of the fact, tele- 
graphed his congratulations to Baron von Bleichroder. 
"Most gratified," he wrote, "with the happy intelli- 
gence contained in your telegram, for which I heartily 
thank you. I beg to congratulate you on the success of 
your unceasing efforts. Praise to the God of Israel for 
his mercy and goodness to his people." To Lord Bea- 
consfield and Lord Salisbury he returned his personal 
thanks immediately on their arrival in London. He 
made a special journey to the metropolis for the pur- 
pose, and when the Plenipotentiaries arrived at Char- 
ing Cross railway station he was the first to greet them. 

Nor are these the only instances of his public activity 
during his tenth decade. In 1880 he raised a Belief 

Conclusion. 241 

Fund for the Jews of Persia, who had suffered severely 
from famine, and in the following year promoted a 
similar fund for the starving population of Armenia 
and Kurdistan. On the occasion of the coronation of 
the Czar Alexander III., he addressed a letter of con- 
gratulation to the new monarch, in which he did not 
forget to plead earnestly for his brethren ; and during 
the recent trial at iN^yereghyaza he circulated papers 
refuting the Blood Accusation, among the members of 
the Hungarian Parliament, and also sent assistance to 
the accused. 

The most striking feature in the character of Sir 
Moses Montefiore is his profound religiousness — a reli- 
giousness born and nourished of Hebrew tradition, sus- 
taining itself by a scrupulous observance of the minute 
ceremonial of Rabbinism, and expressing itself in a con- 
scientious practice of its humanitarian precepts. It is 
related that a Christian gentleman once asked him, " If 
the commandments of Judaism and Christianity are the 
same, wherein lies the differenced' "We obey the 
commandments," was his felicitous answer. This de- 
scription of Judaism may not accord with the character 
of every Jew, but there can be no doubt of its applica- 
bility to that of Moses Montefiore. Contemporary ortho- 
dox Judaism claims him as its brightest ornament, and 
with justice ; for he, more than any other man, has illus- 
trated by his life-conduct the noblest possibilities of its 

Until four years ago he was regular in his attendance 
at the Synagogue, and even now he reads daily every 
word of the prescribed prayers. He fasts on the anni- 
versary of the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans, and 
on the Day of Atonement. The dietary laws he obeys 

242 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

to the letter, and throughont his life he has rigorously 
abstained from tasting the flesh of animals that divide 
not the hoof nor chew the end. With these traditional 
observances he unites a literal adherence to the hopes 
of a national restoration of Israel as expressed by the 
Prophets and Rabbis. When questioned on the sub^ 
ject some years ago, he answered with a satisfied smile, 
"I am quite certain of it; it has been my constant 
dream, and I hope will be realized some day when I 
shall be no more." To the objection that it would be 
impossible to gather in the Israelites scattered in all the 
comers of the globe, he replied, " I do not expect that 
all Israelites will quit their abodes in those territories in 
which they feel happy, even as there are Englishmen in 
Hungary, Germany, America, and Japan ; but Palestine 
must belong to the Jews, and Jerusalem is destined to 
become the seat of a Jewish Empire." 

It is notable that critics of Judaism who find a dan- 
gerous narrowness in this creed — they call it " tribalism" 
— ^have never attempted to explain the phenomenon oi 
its development in the person of Moses Montefiore, of the 
most unrestricted humanitarianism. The noble spirit 
with which it has inspired him is illustrated by his entire 
career ; but, happily, in many of his letters he has given 
it a definite expression upon which those who come 
after him may do well to ponder. The following let^ 
ter,* for example, which he addressed ^lyq years ago to 
the editor of a Jewish journal published at Philadelphia, 
breathes a spirit with which his co-religionists cannot be 
made too extensively acquainted : 

* Jewish W(yrld, Jan. 3, 1880. 

Conclusion. 243 

"East Cliff Lodge, Ramsgate, 
" Bosh Hodesli Kislei), 5640. 

" Dear Sir : My attention has recently been drawn 
to a notice you have given in the Jewish Record of the 
95 th anniversary of my birthday, accompanied by a 
prayer referring to some important events in the history 
of Israel which occurred in our own time. 

"It is not with the purpose of conveying my special 
thanks to you for the flattering expressions you thought 
proper to introduce on that occasion, that I trouble 
you with these lines, knowing such to have been dic- 
tated to you by the good opinion you entertain of my 
humble efforts to serve in a good cause, overrating the 
little merit I may, to a certain degree, have thereby 
earned ; but I am prompted to address you by a desire 
of manifesting to you my appreciation of the important 
service you render to all Hebrew communities, when 
recalling to their memory, from time to time, the com- 
forting assurance that ' the Guardian of Israel neither 
slumbereth nor sleepeth ; ' that He shows mercy to the 
innocent sufferer at times when all hope had been aban- 
doned by him ; and that the Omnipotent wiU never 
withdraw His protecting grace from all who strictly 
abide by the law He revealed on Sinai. Our brethren, 
I am happy to say, still evince that ardent love towards 
one another, as in times of old ; they constitute, as it 
were, all over the world, one body, and the sufferings 
of those who live in the remotest parts of the globe, as 
soon as they become known to them, touch their hearts, 
and find sympathy in every Jewish family. The He- 
brew communities in America are pre-eminently distin- 
guished by that characteristic trait of Israel. On all 
occasions, when the cry of anguish reaches their ear, 

244 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

promptly and most generously they offer their noble 
contributions to assuage the sufferings of the brother. 
And I ascribe the cause of it to their innate feeling of 
benevolence, intensely aroused by the eloquent ad- 
dresses they hear from men of great learning and piety, 
re-echoed from house to house by the powerful appeals 
from learned and conscientious editors of journals, rais- 
ing high the banner of Israel for the vindication of our 
holy religion. 

" You, my dear sir, are one of those zealous brothers 
who stand in the breach to defend the sacred cause ; 
great is your merit, and greater still the reward you earn 
by the consciousness of cordially associating yourself 
with all the earnest laborers in the vineyard of God — 
your heart surely must be full with joy. 

" Permit me, dear sir, to entertain the hope that you 
will continue to avail yourself of every opportunity to 
preserve, and, where necessary, to rekindle, that spirit 
of devotion, -that holy zeal which constitutes the life of 
Israel. Continue to retain in the heart of our brethren 
that indomitable courage which made our forefathers 
plead the cause of our religion in the presence of kings, 
and never felt ashamed of performing those Heavenly 
Commandments which are binding upon them as Israel- 

" You will have no difficulty among our American 
brethren in executing so pleasing a task. I know many 
instances of their devotion to all that is good and holy, 
and have every reason to believe that they will gladly 
avail themselves of the opportunity to follow any of 
your suggestions, by which the children may be enabled 
to follow the footsteps of their fathers and forefathers 
in the fear of God. 

Conclusion. 245 

" As for myself, as long as God will bless me witli 
health and strength, as long as my hand is able to move, 
my feet to walk, and my eyes to see, I will not cease to 
remember all the mercies God has shown to Israel, and 
the promises he vouchsafed unto us. 

" Zealously and cheerfully I will, conjointly with our 
faithful brethren, hold high the banner of Jerusalem, 
always praying that we may live to see the great day 
when the name of God, as One God, will be adored 
among all the nations of the earth. 

" "With best regards, I am, dear sir, 
" Yours very truly, 

"Moses Montefioee." 

In connection with the question of the so-called 
"tribalism" of Judaism, the inquiry has of late years 
been raised whether orthodox Jews can be patriots ; and 
even in England a prominent writer has been found 
to maintain the negative of this proposition ; and yet it 
is indubitable that the Queen of that happy realm has no 
subject more loyal than the orthodox Jew, Moses Monte- 
fiore. To be faithful to the land of one's adoption is a 
teaching to which the Jewish Kabbis have given great 
prominence ; and on more than one occasion Sir Moses 
Montefiore has urged it upon his brethren, even when 
they have been suffering the direst persecution. One 
instance may here be quoted — a letter he addressed to the 
Jews of Morocco shortly after his return from his memor- 
able mission to that unenlightened country. The letter 

was as f oUows : 

"East Cliff Lodge, Kamsgate, 

*' Uh Elul-Wi September, 5624—1864. 
" My dear Brethren and Friends : 

" Throughout the world, a chief characteristic of the 

246 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Jews is that of being loyal, obedient, and peaceful sub- 
jects of their Sovereign. From what I have seen and 
know of my brethren in Morocco, I feel assured they 
are not exceptions to this universally admitted truth. 
The precepts inculcating this conduct are enforced on us 
by the Sacred Scriptures, and by the wise exhortations 
of our Sages. Unless due respect be paid to the just 
exercise of legally constituted authority, there can be 
neither order nor safety. Happily, the Imperial Edict 
of your august Sovereign is intended to sustain the 
cause of justice and humanity throughout the Moorish 
Empire ; and though it may be that, in some places, the 
subordinate authorities abuse the powers with which they 
are intrusted, let it not be said that their severity or 
wrong-doing is attributable to any manifestation of dis- 
respect on your part. You must never for a moment 
forget the loyalty, the affection and respect due to your 
Sovereign, on whom you must rely, and to whom, in 
case of need, you must appeal for protection against 
oppression, and redress for injury. Let neither actions 
nor words from you induce your fellow-countrymen of 
the Mahometan Faith to suppose that you are in any 
way unmindful or regardless of your duties as subjects 
of His Imperial Majesty ; but, on the contrary, that it 
is your ardent desire, and most anxious wish, to testify 
your love and obedience towards him, and also to culti- 
vate the esteem and good-will of your fellow-country- 
men. It is by conduct such as this, we may hope, that, 
under the Almighty's blessing, the hearts of those who 
would molest or injure you will be softened ; or that, 
should injustice be done, it will be speedily and surely 
punished. Most ardently and most anxiously do I desire 
your welfare. To promote this I have labored with in- 

Conclusion, 247 

tense anxiety. I know full well, that these my words 
are conveyed to willing listeners — to those who fnlly re- 
cognize their truth ; and I feel sure that you will, to the 
utmost of your ability, seek to give effect to my wishes. 
Over the poor and less educated classes of our brethren 
in Morocco let your watchful care be exercised so far as 
in you lies, so that they pay due obedience and respect 
to the constituted authorities ; let them be patient under 
small annoyances, but firm and reliant on their august 
Sovereign, who will not fail to punish those who abuse 
his commands, disregard his Edict, or venture to inflict 
serious wrong upon his Jewish subjects. I trust and 
believe that in such cases the ear of your august Sover- 
eign will ever be open to your cry. 

" May it be the will of God to remove from you all 
further suffering, and to inspire your rulers with the 
spirit of humanity and justice, and to grant to your 
august Sovereign a long and happy reign. 

" This is the heartfelt prayer of 

" Yours faithfully, 

"Moses Montefioee." 

I^ot less practical than his religion has been his charity. 
The common form of charity — that of staying at home 
in one's easy-chair, and signing checks upon one's bank- 
ers whenever appealed to — ^has not been the charity of 
Moses Montefiore. In addition to his money, he has 
taken his personal earnestness and exertions wherever 
good work was to be done. It has been well observed, 
that " you cannot draw checks for this sort of charity ; 
bankers don't lock the article up in their strong-room ; 
and dividends are not paid upon it till this world's 
quarter-days are over." It comes out of the endless 

248 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

wealth of a good heart, loving its fellows, and ready to 
give more than its superfluity for their sake ; and where 
it goes, it effects what money alone is weak to do. 
Sir Moses Montefiore is as ready as he is practical. 
About forty years ago, he was proposed as a candidate for 
a presentation Governorship of Christ's Hospital, but was 
strongly opposed by a Christian clergyman. On tin 
his friends related the cause of his desiring the honor. 
Some weeks previously he had been travelling by water 
to his country-seat at Ramsgate, when he was accosted 
on board the steamer by a man, who asked him for 
pecuniary assistance. He inquired into the cause of the 
man's distress, and having given him a sum of money, 
appointed a day for him to call at East Cliff Lodge to 
be further relieved. The next morning Sir Moses 
received a letter from the same individual, stating that 
being irretrievably ruined he had determined to commit 
suicide, and asking the philanthropist, on whom he con- 
fessed he had no claim, to care for his wife and son. In 
the course of the day the writer was found dead at the 
foot of the cliff. Sir Moses generously pensioned the 
widow, and determined to make an effort to get the boy 
into Christ's Hospital. This was the reason that he 
wished to obtain a presentation Governorship, and he 
was ready, in accordance with the rules of the institu- 
tion, to subscribe £500 to its funds. Needless to add, 
he was elected. 

Of Sir Moses' courtesy and geniality many anecdotes 
are related. Coming up to town in his reserved saloon 
in the Ramsgate train, he would frequently offer a seat 
to strangers whom he saw incommoded by the pressure 
of tourists, and sometimes in London send them home 
in his own carriage, walking or taking a cab himself. A 

OonclMsion. 249 

barrister having sent his clerk to him with a letter after 
office hours, the baronet asked the boy to read to him, 
and being pleased with his elocution, kept him to din- 
ner, and gave him a copy of " Shakespeare." Of young 
folks he has always been fond : and he possesses the 
rare faculty of engaging their confidence, and making 
them at home. Not many months ago he appeared at 
a charity bazaar, and bought continuously a great quan- 
tity of toys and trinkets, which he as continuously gave 
away to the hungry-eyed youngsters who crowded round 
him. At festival seasons he delighted while Lady 
Montefiore was living to ask home to his hospitable house 
visitors who attended his Synagogue. An instance of 
his thoughtfulness is related by the late Mr. Sidney 
Samuel, in his " Jewish Life in the East." Describing 
his visit to Jaffa, Mr. Samuel says : 

" I heard from my estimable and hospitable host of 
one of those acts of politeness and kindly courtesy on 
the part of Sir Moses Montefiore which contribute so 
much to endear the name of one who so worthily up- 
holds the dignity of Judaism to all who have the good 
fortune to know him. Residing for thirteen days in 
the house of my host, on the occasion of his recent visit 
to the Holy Land, he noticed that the daughter of the 
house, who had presented him with a beautifully em- 
broidered Tephillin'^ bag, was a musician. Not con- 
tent with sending the father a valuable gift, he gave the 
young lady a handsome piano, and a box of musical 
publications, which derive additional value from the fact 
of their having belonged to the late Lady Montefiore ; 
and he has since on the festive occasions of Purim kept 
her supplied with the latest music." 

* Phylacteries. 

250 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Although his brethren, from their unprotected state, 
have always had the first claim on his benevolence, 
Sir Moses' charity has not been confined to them. His 
is almost always the first response to every appeal, 
irrespective of religious differences. Not a Mansion 
House list is published but it includes his name ; and 
his private charity knows no sectarian limits. Last 
year he sent to the Sheriffs fund for the relief of 
prisoners discharged from Newgate a pound for every 
year of his long life. The year before, Lord Shaftes- 
bury, happening to meet the Delegate Chief Eabbi, 
exclaimed, " Your great Judas Maccabeus has just sent 
me £98 for my Ragged Schools !" Countless charities 
are benefited in the same way. During the anxieties of 
the Kusso-Jewish persecution he found time to send 
£500 towards the building-fund of the City of London 
College, accompanying his check with a graceful and 
sympathetic letter. 

His catholicity is equally exemplary. In 1865 the 
cholera broke out in Smyrna, and the Jews suffering 
severely, Mr. Hyde Clarke telegraphed for help to Sir 
Moses Montefiore and Sir Francis Goldsmid. From 
both he received telegrams empowering him to spend 
a sum of money, and when their letters arrived they 
were found to be couched in almost identical terms. 
This is the version given by Mr. Clarke: "We have 
sent you money, as you have asked, for the Jews, but 
our practice in life has been to give alms without con- 
sideration of race or creed. If, therefore, you find 
there are others in greater distress than the Jews, we 
beg you to help them rather than the Jews." Another 
instance is related by Mr. Edwin Arnold. Some years 
ago Mr. Arnold desired to establish a hospital at Naza- 

Conclusion. 251 

reth, on a piece of ground which was the very spot where 
the Synagogue was built, in which Jesus stood up to 
read the Scriptures. He applied to Sir Moses for assist- 
ance. " Certainly," was the brief but cordial reply. 
" "What will you have ? Only name the sum." He 
gives subscriptions to churches and chapels, as well as 
synagogues ; and he has obtained benefices for deserv- 
ing clergymen. The late Archbishop Tait often visited 
East Cliff; and Sir Moses generously assisted in Mrs. 
Tait's charitable labors. The busts of the Archbishop 
and his wife, in the latter's Orphanage at Thanet, were 
presented by Sir Moses. He was a subscriber to the 
Dean Stanley Memorial Fund. When he was High 
Sheriff of Kent, his chaplain was the Kev. Mr. Sickle- 
more, the Yicar of St. Lawrence; and since he has 
resided in the county, the clergy of the various denomi- 
nations have always acted as his almoners. 

In Eamsgate he enjoys unbounded popularity. Dur- 
ing his sixty-five years' residence in the neighborhood 
he has been foremost in every work of benevolence. 
Not a society has been started to which he has not sub- 
scribed, and he has even assisted in building the local 
churches. The schools have been an especial object of 
his benevolent interest, and on more than one occasion 
he has obtained holidays for the pupils, and has enter- 
tained them by the thousand. The inmates of the work- 
houses revere him. Until a year or two ago it was his 
practice to pay them periodical visits, and he always 
came loaded with articles of comfort which he person- 
ally distributed among them. One of the visiting 
magistrates relates that on the first occasion of his 
inspecting the Union, an old lady came forward, and on 
behalf of the other inmates said, " When you see Sir 

252 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore. 

Moses Montefiore, sir, will you convey our very grate- 
ful and heartfelt thanks to him for his benevolence to 
us all." On the occasion of his ninety-ninth birthday 
an address written by one of the inmates was presented 
" To the Eight Honorable Sir Moses Montefiore, Bart.," 
and, in acknowledgment of his " unvarying kindness to 
the poor," the working-men of St. Luke's Parish pre- 
sented him four years ago with a handsome Bible in 
Hebrew and English. The widows and orphans of 
Kamsgate fishermen are also objects of his solicitude. 
His own experiences of the high seas enable him to 
sympathize with those who have to brave the dangers 
of the deep for a living. On his last birthday he said 
earnestly to a deputation of Life-boat men, who pre- 
sented him with a congratulatory address, "You are 
brave fellows. "When I hear the wind blow I know you 
are out in your life-boat, and I pray to God for your 
safety." In 1868 the townsmen of Kamsgate subscribed 
for a portrait of the benevolent baronet, which they 
placed in their Town Hall. It was painted by Mr. S. A. 
Hart, R.A., and represents Sir Moses attired in the cos- 
tume of a Deputy-Lieutenant, standing on a hill overlook- 
ing Jerusalem, with the walls of the Holy City and the 
Dome of the Mosque of St. Omar in the background. 
Another portrait, which hangs in the Board-room of the 
Alliance Insurance Company, is by Mr. A. B. Richmond, 

On the eve of completing the hundredth year of his 
life Sir Moses Montefiore is still in the enjoyment of 
health, genial as ever, a cordial host, and a delightful 
conversationalist. Six feet three inches in height and 
stooping but slightly, he presents a striking figure to the 
visitor who sees him for the first time. His attire, with 

Conclusion, 253 

its huge white neckcloth, ample frill and high-collared 
coat, is of a period that has passed into history, but it is 
still arranged with the old-world neatness and elegance 
of the punctilious days of the Fourth George. But if 
his dress is old-fashioned, his expression and manner are 
of all time. The cordial grasp of his hand, his benign 
mien, the kindness and good-humored wisdom of his 
conversation are beyond the aging touch of fashion. 
His interest in public affairs is still intelligent and keen, 
and he is a wide reader of newspapers and periodicals. 
All his letters have his personal attention, and he directs 
every detail of the work of his secretaries. He has his 
favorite books, and takes especial delight in Sturm's 
" Reflections" and Cicero " De Senectute." 

The order of his life is necessarily somewhat method- 
ical. He rises at eleven, and retires to rest at nine. 
During the day he sits chiefly in the bay-window of his 
bedroom, which overlooks the sea ; but occasionally he 
ventures into the adjoining apartment, a cheerful room, 
decked with portraits of Lady Monteflore, Sir Anthony 
de Rothschild, and Captain Keppel, and containing a 
bust, by Weekes, of Lord Hammond. In fine weather 
he drives out and visits the grave of his wife. Were he 
asked to reveal the secret of his longevity he would 
probably repeat the qnaint recipe of an eminent French 
physiologist : " Fuir I'exces en tout ; respecter les 
vieilles habitudes; respirer un air pur; approprier les 
aliments a son temperament ; fair les medecines et les 
medecins ; avoir le coeur tranquille, le coeur gai, I'esprit 

Such, in brief outline, is the man who now, amid a 
chorus of congratulations, is approaching the completion 
of the hundredth year of his life, a life which has been 

254 The Life of Sir Moses Montefiore, 

pronounced from the Throne itself to have been " use- 
ful and lionorable." * Future generations will doubtless 
enlarge upon this Royal estimate of Sir Moses Monte- 
fiore's career; but it would not conduce to historic 
accuracy were the writer of these pages, in the presence 
of an actuality which dwarfs so much else, to attempt 
an anticipation of their verdict. That the history of 
pliilanthropy will write an approving word after his 
name none can doubt ; that Jewish history will devote 
a large share of its fifty-seventh- century chapter to his 
achievements, and to the spirit by which he has been 
actuated, this faint record will show. But these are 
questions with which at present we have happily noth- 
ing to do. Our duty now is only to congratulate the 
venerable philanthropist upon the happy anniversary 
which was celebrated on the 26th October. Upon 
such an occasion we cannot do better than relate to the 
generation which has grown up since Moses Monte- 
fiore's most active woi'k was performed the story of the 
life which has earned so much of the good- will of men. 
If these pages help in the performance of that duty 
they will have fulfilled their purpose. 

* Congratulatory telegram of the Queen on Sir Moses' ninety- 
ninth birthday.