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Volume I, by Sir Moses Montefiore and Judith Montefiore

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Title: Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, Volume I
       Comprising Their Life and Work as Recorded in Their Diaries
              From 1812 to 1883

Author: Sir Moses Montefiore
        Judith Montefiore

Editor: Dr. L. Loewe

Release Date: August 2, 2008 [EBook #26170]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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In Two Volumes




Ancient Coat Of Arms Of The Montefiore Family, explained on page 6.

(The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved.)
Copyright—Belford-Clarke Co., Chicago.


In submitting to the public the Memoirs, including the Diaries, of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, I deem it desirable to explain the motives by which I have been actuated, as well as the sources from which most of my information has been drawn.

The late Sir Moses Montefiore, from a desire to show his high appreciation of the services rendered to the cause of humanity by Judith, Lady Montefiore, his affectionate partner in life, directed the executors of his last will "to permit me to take into my custody and care all the notes, memoranda, journals, and manuscripts in his possession written by his deeply lamented wife, to assist me in writing a Memoir of her useful and blessed life."

The executors having promptly complied with these instructions, I soon found myself in possession of five journals by Lady Montefiore, besides many valuable letters and papers, including documents of great importance, as well as of no less than eighty-five diaries of Sir Moses Montefiore, dating from 1814 to 1883, all in his own handwriting.

In addition to such facilities for producing a Memoir, I had the special advantage of personally knowing both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore for many years. There is an entry in the diaries referring to a dinner at the house of one of their relatives on the 27th of November 1835 (where I met them for the first time), and to a visit I subsequently paid them at East Cliff Lodge, Ramsgate, by special invitation, from the 3rd to the 13th of December of the same year.

I also had the privilege of accompanying them on thirteen philanthropic missions to foreign lands, some of which were undertaken by both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and others by Sir Moses alone after Lady Montefiore's death. The first of these missions took place in the year 1839, and the last in 1874.

A no less important circumstance, which I may perhaps be allowed to mention, is, that I was with Sir Moses on the last day of his life, until he breathed his last, and had the satisfaction of hearing from his own lips, immediately before his death, the expression of his approval of my humble endeavours to assist him, as far as lay in my power, in attaining the various objects he had in view.

However desirous I might have been to adhere strictly to his wishes, I found it impossible to write a Memoir of Lady Montefiore without making it, at the same time, a Memoir of Sir Moses himself, both of them having been so closely united in all their benevolent works and projects. It appeared to me most desirable, therefore, in order to convey to the reader a correct idea of the contents of the book, to entitle it "The Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore."

In order, however, to comply with the instructions of the will, I shall, in giving the particulars of their family descent, first introduce the parentage of Lady Montefiore.

To assist the reader in finding the exact month and year referring to Hebrew Communal affairs, I have always given the Hebrew date conjointly with that of the Christian era, more especially as all the entries in the diaries invariably have these double dates.


1Oscar Villas, Broadstairs, Kent,
21st June 1887 (5647 a.m.).


Birth of Sir Moses Montefiore at Leghorn—His Family—Early Years 1
Early Education—Becomes a Stockbroker—His Marriage 12
Extracts from the Diaries—Financial Transactions—Public Events before and after and after Waterloo—Elected President of the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew Community 19
Daily Life—Death of his Brother Abraham—An early Panama Canal Project 25
First Journey to Jerusalem 36
Mr and Mrs Montefiore leave Alexandria—A Sea Voyage Sixty Years ago 47
Arrival in England—Illness of Mr Montefiore—The Struggle for Jewish Emancipation 55
Lady Hester Stanhope—Her Eccentricities—Parliament and the Jews 63
Mr Montefiore presented to the King—Spanish and Portuguese Jews in London in 1829 69
Interview with the Duke of Wellington in furtherance of the Jewish—Cause—The Duke's Dilatory Tactics—Laying the Foundation-stone of the Synagogue at Hereson 78
Lord Brougham and the Jews—The Jewish Poor in London—Mr Montefiore hands his Broker's Medal to his Brother—Dedication of the Synagogue at Hereson—The Lords reject the Jewish Disabilities Bill 86
Illness of Mr Montefiore—His Recovery—Sir David Salomons proposed as Sheriff—Visit of the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria to Ramsgate—Mr Montefiore's Hospitals—Naming of the Vessel Britannia by Mrs Montefiore—A Loan of Fifteen Millions 93
Death of Mr N. M. Rothschild—Mr Montefiore visits Dublin—Becomes the First Jewish Member of the Royal Society—Death of William IV.—Mr Montefiore elected Sheriff 103
The Jews' Marriage Bill—Mr Montefiore at the Queen's Drawing-Room—His Inauguration as Sheriff 111
Death of Mr Montefiore's Uncle—Mr Montefiore rides in the Lord Mayor's Procession—Is Knighted—His Speech at the Lord Mayor's Banquet—Presents Petition on behalf of the Jews to Parliament 119
Destruction of the Royal Exchange—City Traditions—"Jews' Walk"—Sir Moses dines at Lambeth Palace 130
Another Petition to Parliament—Sir Moses intercedes successfully for the Life of a Convict—Death of Lady Montefiore's Brother 137
Bartholomew Fair—Sir Moses earns the Thanks of the City—Preparations for a Second Journey to the Holy Land—The Journey—Adventures on Road and River in France 145
Genoa, Carrara, Leghorn, and Rome—Disquieting Rumours—Quarantine Precautions—Arrival at Alexandria—Travel in the Holy Land 153
Reception at Safed—Sad Condition of the People—Sir Moses' Project for the Cultivation of the Land in Palestine by the Jews—Death of the Chief Rabbi of the German Congregation in Jerusalem—Tiberias 162
Invitation from the Portuguese Congregation at Jerusalem—Sanitary Measures in the Holy City—The Wives of the Governor of Tiberias visit Lady Montefiore—A Pleasant Journey—Arrival at Jerusalem 171
The Tomb of David—Spread of the Plague—Mussulman Fanaticism—Suspicious Conduct of the Governor of Jerusalem—Nayani, Beth Dagon, Jaffa, Emkhalet, and Tantura 180
Encampment near Mount Carmel—State of the Country—Child Marriages in the Portuguese Community at Haifa—Arrival in Beyrout 188
On Board the Acheron—Sir Moses' Plans on behalf of the Jews in Palestine—Interview with Boghoz Bey—Proposed Joint Stock Banks in the East 196
Arrival at Malta—Home again—Boghoz Bey returns no Answer—Touching Appeal from the Persecuted Jews of Damascus and Rhodes—Revival of the old Calumny about killing Christians to put their Blood in Passover Cakes 204
Indignation Meetings in London—M. Crémieux—Lord Palmerston's Action—Sir Moses starts on a Mission to the East—Origin of the Passover Cake Superstition 213
Arrival at Leghorn—Alexandria—Sir Moses' Address to the Pasha—Action of the Grand Vizir 222
Authentic Accounts of the Circumstances attending the Accusations against the Jews—Terrible Sufferings of the Accused—Evidence of their Innocence—Witnesses in their favour Bastinadoed to Death 229
Affairs in the East—Ultimatum from the Powers—Gloomy Prospects of the Mission—Negotiations with the Pasha—Excitement in Alexandria—Illness of Lady Montefiore 240
The English Government and the Pasha—Mohhammad Ali and the Slaves—The Pasha promises to release the DamascusPrisoners—He grants them an "Honourable Liberation" 248
Interview with the Pasha—Liberation of the Jews of Damascus—Public Rejoicings and Thanksgiving—Departure of Sir Moses for Constantinople 256
Constantinople—Condition of the Jewish Residents—Interview with Rechid Pasha—Audience with the Sultan—He grants a Firman 266
Distress among the Jews at Salonica—Oppressive Laws with regard to them—Text of the Firman—Its Promulgation 275
Departure from Malta—Naples—Rome—A Shameful Inscription—Prejudices against the Jews at the Vatican 282
Monsignor Bruti and his Hints—Cardinal Riverola—Ineffectual Attempts to Interview the Pope—Returning Homewards—Alarming Accident—The Governor of Genoa—Interview with King Louis Philippe 289
Home again—Sir Moses presents a Facsimile of the Firman to the Queen—Her Majesty's Special Mark of Favour—Reform Movement among the London Jews—Appeal for English Protection from the Jews in the East 298
Presentation from Hamburg—Sir Moses meets the King of Prussia—Address to Prince Albert—Attempt on the Queen's Life—Petitions to Sir Moses from Russia 305
Address and Testimonial from the Jews—Sir Moses' Speech in reply—Death of the Duke of Sussex—The Deportation Ukase in Russia—Opening of the New Royal Exchange—Sir Moses made Sheriff of Kent 313
Affairs in Morocco—Letter to the Emperor—His Reply—Deputation to Sir Robert Peel—Death of Lady Montefiore's Brother Isaac—Sir Moses sets out for Russia 320
Perils of Russian Travelling in Winter—Arrival at St Petersburg—Interviews with Count Nesselrode and the Czar—Count Kisseleff's Prejudices 328
Count Kisseleff is more Conciliatory—Sir Moses sets out for Wilna—Arrival at Wilna—The Jews' Answers to the Charges of Russian Officials 336
The Jewish Schools at Wilna—Wilcomir—Deplorable Condition of the Hebrew Community in that Town—Kowno—Warsaw 344
Deputation from Krakau—The Polish Jews and their Garb—Sir Moses leaves Warsaw—Posen, Berlin, and Frankfort—Home 351
Sir Moses receives the Congratulations of his English Co-religionists—His Exhaustive Report to Count Kisseleff—Examination of the Charges against the Jews—Their Alleged Disinclination to engage in Agriculture 359
Report to Count Ouvaroff on the State of Education among the Jews in Russia and Poland—Vindication of the Loyalty of the Jews 374
Report to Count Kisseleff on the State of the Jews in Poland—Protest against the Restrictions to which they were subjected 381
The Czar's Reply to Sir Moses' Representations—Count Ouvaroff's Views—Sir Moses again writes to Count Kisseleff—Sir Moses is created a Baronet 385


Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore

[Pg 1]



The neighbourhood of the Tower of London was, a hundred years ago, the centre of attraction for thousands of persons engaged in financial pursuits, not so much on account of the protection which the presence of the garrison might afford in case of tumult, as of the convenience offered by the locality from its vicinity to the wharves, the Custom House, the Mint, the Bank, the Royal Exchange, and many important counting-houses and places of business. For those who took an interest in Hebrew Communal Institutions, it possessed the additional advantage of being within ten minutes or a quarter of an hour's walk of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue and the Great German Synagogue, together with their Colleges and Schools, and several minor places of worship.

Tower Hill, the Minories, and the four streets enclosing the Tenter Ground were then favourite places of residence for the merchant; and in one of these, Great Prescott Street, lived Levi Barent Cohen, the father of Judith, afterwards Lady Montefiore.

He was a wealthy merchant from Amsterdam, who settled in England, where fortune favoured his commercial undertakings.

In his own country his name is to this day held in great respect. He not only during his lifetime kept up a cordial correspondence with his friends and relatives—who were indebted to him for many acts of kindness—but, wishing to have[Pg 2] his name commemorated in the House of Prayer by some act of charity, he bequeathed a certain sum of money to be given annually to the poor, in consideration of which, he desired to have some of the Daily Prayers offered up from the very place which he used to occupy in the Synagogue of his native city.

He was a man, upright in all his transactions, and a strict adherent to the tenets of his religion. He was of a very kind and sociable disposition, which prompted him to keep open house for his friends and visitors, whom he always received with the most generous hospitality. He was first married to Fanny, a daughter of Joseph Diamantschleifer of Amsterdam, by whom he had three children: two sons, Solomon and Joseph, and one daughter, Fanny.

Solomon became the father-in-law of the late Sir David Salomons, and Joseph the father of the late Mr Louis Cohen. Fanny married Salomon Hyman Cohen Wessels, of Amsterdam, a gentleman who was well known at that time for his philanthropy, and whose family, at the period of Napoleon I., was held in great esteem among the aristocracy of Holland.

Mrs Levi Barent Cohen unfortunately died at an early age, and Mr Cohen married her sister Lydia, by whom he had seven children: five daughters—Hannah, Judith, Jessy, Adelaide, and Esther; and two sons—Isaac and Benjamin.

Hannah became the wife of Mr N. M. Rothschild; Judith was married to Mr Moses Montefiore; Jessy to Mr Davidson; Adelaide to Mr John Hebbert; and Esther to Mr S. M. Samuel, the father of Mr George Samuel, and grandfather of Baron Henry de Worms, M. P. Isaac became the father-in-law of Baron Meyer de Rothschild, and Benjamin the father of Mr Arthur Cohen, Q. C., and Mr Nath. B. Cohen.

Judith, one of the subjects of these Memoirs, was born, according to the entry in one of Sir Moses' Diaries, on the 20th February 1784; her birthday, however, was generally celebrated at East Cliff Lodge in the month of October, in conjunction with another festivity held there on the first Saturday after the Tabernacle Holidays.

With regard to most persons noted for their character or ability, there exists a tradition of some unusual occurrence happening during their early life. In the case of Lady Montefiore, there is an event which she once related to me herself.[Pg 3]

"When I was a little girl," she said, "about three or four years old, I fell over the railing of a staircase, quite two storeys high, into the hall below. Everybody in the house thought I must be killed, but when they came to pick me up they found me quietly seated as if nothing in the world had happened to me."

It was a characteristic of hers which was subsequently much noticed by those around her, that, no matter in what circumstances she was placed, when others were excited or depressed by some painful event or the fear of approaching peril, she would remain calm, and retain her presence of mind. She would endeavour to cheer and strengthen others by words of hope, and where it was possible to avoid any threatened danger, she would quietly give her opinion as to the best course to be pursued.

She received from her earliest childhood an excellent English education, and her studies in foreign languages were most successful. She spoke French, German, and Italian fluently, and read and translated correctly the Hebrew language of her prayers, as well as portions of the Pentateuch, generally read in the Synagogues on Sabbaths and Festivals.

Nor were the accomplishments of music and drawing neglected; but that which characterised and enhanced the value of her education most was "the fear of God," which, she had been taught, constituted "the beginning of knowledge."

By the example set in her parents' house, this lesson took an especially deep root in her heart. One day at Park Lane the conversation happened to turn on the practice of religious observances, and Lady Montefiore related what had occurred when she was still under the parental roof.

"Once," she said, "on the fast-day for the destruction of Jerusalem, we were sitting, as is customary, in mourning attire, on low stools, reciting the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Suddenly the servant entered the room, closely followed by Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, and several other gentlemen. My sisters became somewhat embarrassed, not liking to be thus surprised in our peculiar position, but I quietly kept my seat, and when Sir Sidney asked the reason of our being seated so low, I replied, This is the anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem, which is kept by conforming Jews as a day of mourning and humiliation.[Pg 4] The valour exhibited by our ancestors on this sad occasion is no doubt well known to you, Sir Sidney, and to the other gentlemen present, and I feel sure that you will understand our grief that it was unavailing to save the Holy City and the Temple. But we treasure the memory of it as a bright example to ourselves and to all following generations, how to fight and to sacrifice our lives for the land in which we were born and which gives us shelter and protection."

"Sir Sidney and the other gentlemen," she said, "appeared to be much pleased with the explanation I gave them; they observed that it was a most noble feeling which prompts the true patriot to mourn for the brave who have fallen on the field of battle for their country; and that the memory of the struggles of the Jews in Palestine to remain the rightful masters of the land which God had apportioned to them as an inheritance, would ever remain, not only in the heart of every brave man in the British realm, but also in that of every right-thinking man in all other parts of the world as a glorious monument of their dauntless valour and fervent devotion to a good and holy cause."

Lady Montefiore not only appreciated the education she received, but also remembered with deep gratitude all those who had imparted instruction to her. Her friends have often been the bearers of generous pensions to gentlemen who had been her teachers when she was young, and they never heard her mention their names without expressions of gratitude.

In addition to her other good qualities, there was one which is not always to be met with among those who happen to be in possession of great wealth, and with whom a few shillings are not generally an object worth entering in an account-book. With her, when her turn came among her sisters to superintend the management of the house, the smallest item of expense was entered with scrupulous accuracy, and whilst ever generous towards the deserving and needy who applied to her for assistance, she would never sanction the slightest waste.

I shall presently, as I proceed in my description of her character, have an opportunity of showing how, in her future position as a wife and philanthropist, all the excellences of her character were turned to the best account for the benefit of those to whom she and her husband rendered assistance in times of distress.[Pg 5]

The reader being now in full possession of all that is necessary for him to know of the parentage and education of Miss Judith Cohen, I propose to leave her for the present under her parental roof, in Angel Court, Throgmorton Street, with a loving father and a tenderly affectionate mother, and surrounded by excellent brothers and sisters; some of them employed in commercial pursuits, others in study, but all united in the contemplation and practice of works of brotherly love and charity towards their fellow-beings. To proceed with the lineage of Sir Moses.

Sir Moses Montefiore was born at Leghorn, whither his parents happened to repair, either on business or on a visit to their relations, a few weeks before that event took place.

According to an entry in the archives of the Hebrew Community of that city, he first saw the light on the 9th of Héshván 5545 a.m., corresponding to the 24th of October 1784.

During his visit to Leghorn in the year 1841, an opportunity was offered to him, when visiting the schools of the community, to inspect the archives in my presence, and he expressed his satisfaction at their accuracy.

Some doubt having been entertained by several of his biographers of the correctness of the date of his birth, and Sir Moses having generally received and accepted the congratulations of his friends on the the 8th of Héshván, it will not be out of place to give here an exact copy of the original entry in the archives in the Italian language, just as it has recently been forwarded to me by the Cavaliere Costa of Leghorn.

It reads as follows:—

"Nei registri di Nascite che esistone nell' archivìe delle Università Israelitica a C. 8, si trova la seguente nascita:—

"9 Héshván, 5545—24 Ottobre 1784. "Domenica.

"A Joseph di Moise Haim e Raquel Montefiore un figlio, che chiamarone Moise Haim."


"In the registers of births, which are preserved in the archives of the Hebrew community, there is to be found on p. 8 the following entry of birth:[Pg 6]

"9th Héshván 5545 a.m., 24th October 1784. "Sunday.

"Unto Joseph, son of Moses Haim, and Rachel Montefiore, a son was born, whom they call Moses Haim."

Sir Moses never signed his name "Haim," nor did his mother in her letters to him ever call him so. His father Joseph, after recovering from a dangerous illness, adopted the name of Eliyáhoo (the Eternal is my God) in addition to that of Joseph.

Various opinions have been expressed respecting the early history of Sir Moses Montefiore's ancestors, and the place whence they originally came, to Modena, Ancona, Fano, Rome, and Leghorn.

A manuscript in the library of "Judith Lady Montefiore's Theological College" at Ramsgate—containing a design of the original armorial bearings of the Montefiore family, surrounded by suitable mottoes, and a biographical account of the author of the work to which the manuscript refers—will greatly help us in elucidating the subject.

The manuscript is divided into two parts: one bears the name of "Kán Tsippor" ([Hebrew]), "The bird's nest," and treats of the Massorah of the Psalms, i.e., their divisions, accents, vowels, grammatical forms, and letters necessary for the preservation of the text; and the other, the name of "Gán Perákhim" ([Hebrew]), "The garden of flowers," containing poems, special prayers, family records, and descriptions of important events.

The hereditary marks of honour which served to denote the descent and alliances of the Montefiore family consisted of "a lion rampant," "a cedar tree," and "a number of little hills one above the other," each of these emblems being accompanied by a Hebrew inscription. Thus the lion rampant has the motto—



"Be strong as a lion to perform the will of thy Father in Heaven."

The hills bear the motto—



"(When) I lift up mine eyes unto the hills (I ask) whence cometh my help? [Answer] My help cometh from the Eternal."

And the cedar tree—



[Pg 7]

"The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon."

These emblems are precisely the same as those which Sir Moses had in his coat-of-arms, with the exception of the inscriptions. Probably he thought they were too long to be engraved on a signet, and he substituted for them the words "Jerusalem" and "Think and Thank."

The author of the manuscript bears the name of Joseph, and designates himself, on the title-page, as the son of the aged and learned Jacob Montefiore of Pesaro, adding the information that he is a resident of Ancona, and a son-in-law of the Rev. Isaac Elcostantin, the spiritual head of the Hebrew congregation in that place. The manuscript bears the date of 5501 a.m.—1740.

In his biography, the author, after rendering thanks to Heaven for numerous mercies which had been bestowed on him, gives the following account of himself and family:—

"I was eleven years old when I was called upon to assist, conjointly with my three brothers, Moses, Raphael, and Mazliakh, and five sisters, in providing for the maintenance of the family." Moses, the eldest of his brothers, died at the age of thirty-two, and Joseph (the biographer) entered the business of Sabbati Zevi Morini of Pesaro. Being prosperous in his commercial pursuits, he provided for his sisters, probably by giving to each of them a suitable dowry. One of them, Flaminia by name, became the wife of a celebrated preacher, Nathaniel Levi, the minister of the congregation of Pesaro.

The father, Jacob Montefiore, died at the age of eighty-three, and his sons went into business with a certain Cartoni of Lisina. They appear at first to have met with success, but the sudden death of the head of the firm caused the collapse of the business.

Joseph Montefiore subsequently married Justa or Justina, the granddaughter of the Rev. Abraham Elcostantin of Ancona. With a view of carrying on their business to greater advantage the brothers separated and removed to different parts of Italy, and Joseph himself, guided by the counsel of his wife, left Pesaro for Ancona for a similar purpose.

His brother-in-law died at that time in Modena, and Joseph was in a sufficiently prosperous position to be able to assist the widow and her children.

The latter grew up and married. One of them, a daughter,[Pg 8] went with her husband, Samuel Nachman, to Jerusalem, where, from religious motives, they settled.

One of his nephews, Nathaniel Montefiore, became a distinguished poet, and the manuscript in question contains a very beautiful composition of his in praise of the book (Kán Tsippor) and its author.

Joseph Montefiore resided for some time in Rome, also in Fano. There are prayers in the book which he composed during his stay in each of those places.

From these statements it would appear that the family of Montefiore, from which Sir Moses descended, first came to Pesaro.

Signor P. M. Arcantoni, the Syndic of the Municipality of Montefiore dell'aso, in the province of Ascoli-Picerno, expressed his strong belief, on the occasion of his offering to Sir Moses the congratulations of the commune on his completing the hundredth year of his life, that the ancestors of Sir Moses had settled in that place.

From Ancona, as has been stated, several members of the Montefiore family came to Leghorn, from which city at a very early period they emigrated to England.

The grandfather of Sir Moses, Moses Haim (or Vita) Montefiore, and his grandmother, Esther Racah, a daughter of Mássă'ood Racah of Leghorn, also left Italy and settled in London, where their son Joseph (born 15th October 1759, died 11th January 1804) married Rachel, the daughter of Abraham Lumbroso de Mattos Mocatta, who became the mother of Sir Moses.

They resided after their marriage at No. 3 Kennington Terrace, Vauxhall, and were blessed with eight children, three sons, Moses (the subject of these memoirs), Abraham, and Horatio, and five daughters, Sarah, Esther, Abigail, Rebecca, and Justina.

Abraham first married a daughter of Mr George Hall, of the London Stock Exchange; on her death, he married Henrietta Rothschild, a sister of the late N. M. Rothschild, by whom he had two sons, Joseph Meyer of Worth Park, and Nathaniel Meyer of Coldeast, and two daughters, Charlotte and Louise. The latter became the wife of Sir Antony de Rothschild.

House at Leghorn in which Sir Moses was born.
See Vol. I., page 9.

Horatio married Sarah, a daughter of David Mocatta, by [Pg 9]whom he had six sons, one of whom (Mr Emanuel Montefiore) is now a lieutenant-colonel in the British Army, and six daughters. After her death he married a daughter of Abraham Montefiore.

Sarah, the eldest daughter of Joseph and Rachel Montefiore, became the wife of Mr Solomon Sebag, and was the mother of Mr Joseph Sebag (now J. Sebag-Montefiore) and of Mrs Jemima Guadalla, who is married to Mr Haim Guadalla. After the death of her husband, Mrs Sebag married Mr Moses Asher Goldsmid, the brother of Sir Isaac Goldsmid.

Esther, the second daughter, unfortunately lost her life at the age of fifteen through an accident she met with during a fire that broke out in the house.

Abigail, the third, married Mr Benjamin Gompertz, a distinguished mathematician.

Rebecca, the fourth, married Mr Joseph Salomons, a son of Levi Salomons, of Crosby Square, father of the late Sir David Salomons, Bart.

Justina, the fifth, became the wife of Mr Benjamin Cohen, the brother of Lady Montefiore, and mother of Mr Arthur Cohen, Q. C., M. P., and Mr Nathaniel B. Cohen.

The reader is now invited to retrace his steps, for it is to Moses, the first-born son of Joseph and Rachel Montefiore, that I have to direct his attention. He must leave No. 3 Kennington Terrace and follow me in imagination to Leghorn.

Mr Joseph Montefiore having some business in that city, informed his wife of his intention to proceed to Italy, and Mrs Montefiore prevailed upon him to take her with him.

After they arrived at Leghorn, we find them in the house of Signer Moses Haim Racah, celebrating the happy event of the birth of a son, destined to become the champion of Israel.

The festivity on the day of naming (the eighth day after the birth of a son) is generally an occasion which brings together relatives, friends, heads of the congregation, and officers of the Synagogue. Offerings are made by all present for charitable institutions, and prayers recited for the life and prosperity of the child. It is therefore not a matter of surprise that there was a large assembly of the Hebrew community of Leghorn on that occasion.

Signor Racah, being his great-uncle, performed the duties of[Pg 10] godfather and ever from that day, and up to the year of his death, he evinced the liveliest interest in the welfare of his godson; when the latter was grown up the affection proved mutual.

Sir Moses when speaking of him used to say that he had greatly endeared himself to the people in Leghorn by his abilities and high character. He cherished the most benevolent feelings towards all good and honest men, and often, in times of grief and calamity, rendered help and consolation to all classes of the community. Sir Moses held him in great veneration, and during his stay in Italy gave special orders to have a copy of his likeness procured for him. A facsimile of the portrait is here given, with an inscription in Sir Moses' own handwriting.

In his will, Sir Moses, referring to him and to the Synagogue at Leghorn, thus expresses himself—

"To the trustees of the Synagogue at Leghorn in Italy, of which my honoured godfather (deceased) was a member, in augmentation of the fund for repairing that building, I bequeath £500; and to the same trustees, as a fund for keeping in repair the tomb of my said godfather and my godmother, Esther Racah, his wife, £200."

Two or three years before his death, Sir Moses ordered a coloured drawing of these tombs, with a complete copy of the epitaphs, to be sent to him, and it is now preserved in the library of the College at Ramsgate.

After a stay of several months at Leghorn, Mr and Mrs Montefiore returned to England. I have often heard descriptions of that homeward journey from Mrs Montefiore, when she used to visit her son at Park Lane.

"Moses," she said, "was a beautiful, strong, and very tall child, but yet on our return journey to England, during a severe winter, I was unwilling to entrust him to a stranger; I myself acted as his nurse, and many and many a time I felt the greatest discomfort through not having more than a cup of coffee, bread and butter, and a few eggs for my diet." "No meat of any description," she added, "passed my lips; my husband and myself being strict observers of the Scriptural injunctions as to diet." "But I am now," she said, with a pleasant smile, "amply repaid for the inconvenience I then had to endure." "What I thought a great privation, in no way affected the state of my health, nor that of the child; and I feel at present the greatest satisfaction[Pg 11] on account of my having strictly adhered to that which I thought was right."

Moses Racah of Leghorn, Godfather and Great Uncle of Sir Moses. See Vol. I., page 10.

In the course of time several more children were born to them, all of whom they reared most tenderly, and over whose education they watched with the greatest care. They had the happiness of seeing them grow up in health and strength, endowed with excellent qualities, Moses, the eldest, and the subject of these memoirs, being already conspicuous for his strength of understanding and kindness of disposition. They continued for many years to reside at Kennington Terrace, Vauxhall, in the same house in which they took up their residence immediately after their marriage. After their death it was occupied by members of their family till a few years ago, when it passed into the hands of strangers.

It was there that Mr Benjamin Gompertz (the author of the "Principles and Application of Imaginary Quantities") resided and the mother of Sir Moses breathed her last.

Joseph Eliahu, his father, was a well educated and God-fearing man, upright in all his dealings. He was extremely fond of botany and gardening. There is still in the library of Lady Montefiore's Theological College at Ramsgate, a book which formerly belonged to him, and in which remarks on the cultivation of plants are written in his own handwriting.

Sir Moses, when speaking of him, used to say, "He was at one time of a most cheerful disposition, but after he had the misfortune to lose one of his daughters at a fire which occurred in his house, he was never seen to smile."[Pg 12]



At an early age, we find young Moses Montefiore attending school in the neighbourhood of Kennington. After he had completed his elementary studies, he was removed to a more advanced class in another school, where he began to evince a great desire to cultivate his mind, independently of his class lessons. He was observed to copy short moral sentences from books falling into his hands, or interesting accounts of important events, which he endeavoured to commit to memory.

Afterwards, as he grew up in life, this became a habit with him, which he did not relinquish even when he had attained the age of ninety years. His diaries all contain either at the beginning or the end of the record of his day's work, some beautiful lines of poetry referring to moral or literary subjects: mostly quotations or extracts from standard works. Young Montefiore showed on all occasions the greatest respect for his teachers, bowing submissively to their authority in all cases of dispute between his fellow-students and himself.

He was acknowledged to be most frank and loyal in all his intercourse with his superiors. The respect due to constituted authorities he always used to consider, when he had become a man in active life, as a sacred duty. He was in the habit of saying, in the words of the royal philosopher, "Fear thou the Lord and the King, and meddle not with them that are given to change." Whatever might be his private opinion on any subject, he would in all his public and private transactions be guided only by the decision of an acknowledged authority.

Montefiore did not remain many years at school. There was at that time no prospect for him to enter life as a professor at a university, or as a member of the bar. There was no[Pg 13] sphere of work open to him in any of the professions; and even to enter the medical profession would have been difficult. There was nothing left for him, therefore, but to enter a commercial career. He used often to speak about the days of his apprenticeship in the business of one of their neighbours in Kennington, and how hard he had to work; when subsequently he was in a counting-house in the city, the hours were late, and he sometimes had to take letters to the post on the stroke of midnight. There were no copying machines, and all letters had to be copied by hand. He also spoke of the great distance he had to walk every night from the city to Kennington Terrace, during the cold winter months as well as in the summer time. There were then no omnibuses or other conveyances at hand such as we have now, and if there had been, he was of too saving a disposition to make any unnecessary outlay on his own person; he used to keep a strict account of the smallest item of his expenses. It was not with the object of complaining, or of regretting his early mode of life that he gave his friends these descriptions; his object was to impress on the mind of the rising generation the necessity of working hard and spending little, in order to make their way in the world.

By his habits of industry, by his strict compliance with the instructions of his superiors, and more especially by his own clear judgment in all matters connected with the business entrusted to him, he soon succeeded in obtaining promotion.

Having had the opportunity of seeing business transactions among brokers on the Stock Exchange, he decided upon securing for himself the privilege of being one of the limited number of Jewish brokers. According to the law of England at that time only twelve such brokers could be admitted, but Moses Montefiore had the satisfaction of soon seeing himself in possession of the much-coveted privilege. He took an office, and this owing to the prosperity with which his straightforward dealing and courteous manners were rewarded, he soon had to change for a larger one, which again he did not keep long. As his business had now to be conducted near the bank, he took up his quarters in Bartholomew Lane, where he remained to the last day of his life. It was there, after nearly the whole of that thoroughfare had become the property of the Alliance Life and Fire Assurance Company, and the houses had been rebuilt, that many an[Pg 14] important meeting of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and other boards of benevolent institutions was held; and the very book-case, in which all important papers connected with his business in that office were preserved, is now in one of the houses of Lady Montefiore's College, where he used now and then to take his breakfast on a Sabbath morning, when it was his intention to be present at a lecture in the college.

His brother Abraham, seeing young Moses successful in business, subsequently joined him as a partner, and the firm of Montefiore Bros. soon became known in England as one entitled to the respect of all honourable men.

However profitable or urgent the business may have been, the moment the time drew near, when it was necessary to prepare for the Sabbath or solemn festivals, Moses Montefiore quitted his office, and nothing could ever induce him to remain.

Sir Moses was scrupulously honourable in all his transactions, and it is a noteworthy fact, that during all his long life no whisper was ever heard against his reputation, although he was intimately connected with the management of financial and commercial undertakings of great magnitude and international character. His name stood so high, that thousands of people from all parts of the world entrusted him with money to be forwarded to the Holy Land, or for other charitable purposes, never asking for a receipt, and in many instances leaving the distribution of it to his own discretion.

In the year 1809, in the reign of George III., an act of parliament was passed enabling His Majesty to establish a local Militia Force for the defence of the country. Young Montefiore, who was then twenty-five years old, having attained his majority in 1805, deemed it his duty to be one of the first volunteers. Loyalty to the country in which he lived and prospered, and sincere devotion to his king, afterwards proved to be special traits in his character. In all foreign countries whither his philanthropic missions subsequently led him, his addresses to the people and his counsels, even to those who suffered under heavy oppression, contained exhortations to them to remain firm in their loyalty to their government.

We must now salute him as Captain Montefiore, for thus we find him styled, on a card among his papers,

[Pg 15]

Third Surrey Local Militia, Colonel Alcock, No. I,
Seventh Company.

"Captain Montefiore."

Lady Montefiore when young, copied from an oil painting in the Montefiore College, Ramsgate. See Vol. I., page 15.

There are still in the Gothic library, at East Cliff Lodge, details of guard mounted by the 3rd Regiment of Surrey Local Militia, standing orders, &c., also the orderly books showing that he was in the service from the year 1810 to 1814.

On the 22nd February in the latter year, after the parade on Duppas Hill, Croydon, when the regiment arrived at the depôt, the commanding officers of companies had to receive the signatures of all those who wished to extend their services, when called upon for any period in that same year not exceeding forty-two days. The feeling of the regiment on the subject was obtained in less time than was anticipated, and the commanding officer ordered the men to be paid and dismissed immediately.

Sir Moses used to say, when speaking to his friends on this subject, "I did all in my power to persuade my company to re-enlist, but I was not successful."

In the same year, he took lessons in sounding the bugle, and also devoted several hours a week to the study of French; it appears that he would not allow one hour of the day to pass without endeavouring to acquire some useful art or knowledge.

He was very particular in not missing a lesson, and entered them all in his diary of the year 1814.

In the midst of business, military duties, and studies, in which he passed the five years, 1810 to 1814, there was one date which he most justly considered the happiest of his life.

I am alluding to the 10th of June 1812 (corresponding, in that year, to the 30th of Siván, 5573 a.m., according to the Hebrew date), on which day he was permitted to take to himself as a partner in life, Judith, the daughter of Levi Barent Cohen.

He thoroughly appreciated the great blessing which that union brought upon him. Henceforth, for every important act of his, where the choice was left to him, whether it was the laying of a foundation stone for a house of prayer, a charitable institution, or a business office, he invariably fixed the date on the anniversary of his wedding day. Setting out on an important mission in the month of June, he would, when a short delay was[Pg 16] immaterial, defer it to the anniversary of his wedding. This was not, as some might suppose, from mere superstition, for in all his doings he was anxious to trust to the will of God alone; it was with the idea of uniting every important act in his life with one which made his existence on earth, as he affirmed, a heavenly paradise.

His own words, taken from the diary of 1844, will best express his feelings on the subject.

"On this happy day, the 10th of June," he writes, "thirty-two years have passed since the Almighty God of Israel, in His great goodness, blessed me with my dear Judith, and for ever shall I be most truly grateful for this blessing, the great cause of my happiness through life. From the first day of our happy union to this hour I have had every reason for increased love and esteem, and truly may I say, each succeeding year has brought with it greater proofs of her admirable character. A better and kinder wife never existed, one whose whole study has been to render her husband good and happy. May the God of our fathers bestow upon her His blessing, with life, health, and every other felicity. Amen."

As a lasting remembrance of the day he treasured the prayer-shawl which, according to the custom (in Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew communities), had been held over his head and that of his bride during the marriage ceremony and the offering up of the prayers.

In compliance with his wish the same shawl was again put over his head when his brethren performed the melancholy duty of depositing his mortal remains in their last resting-place.

But I will not further digress, and I resume my narrative of his happy life after his union with his beloved wife.

Henceforth the reader may consider them as one person, and every act of benevolence recorded further on in these Memoirs must be regarded as an emanation of the generous and kindly impulses which so abundantly filled the hearts of both.

In order to indicate the places to which the young couple would resort after the duties of the day, I need only remind the reader of the residences of their numerous relatives, with whom they were always on affectionate terms. At Highgate, Clapham, Lavender Hill, and Hastings, in all of these places they were most heartily welcomed, and they often went there to dine, take tea,[Pg 17] or spend a few days in the family circle. But the place to which they repaired for the enjoyment of a complete rest, or for considering and maturing a plan for some very great and important object, was an insignificant little spot of the name of "Smithembottom" in Surrey.

They used to go there on Sunday and remain until the next day, sometimes until the middle of the week, occasionally inviting a friend to join them. They greatly enjoyed the walk over hills, while forming pleasing anticipations of the future; and they always found on their return to the little inn, an excellent dinner, which their servants had brought with them from London—never forgetting, by the order of their master, a few bottles of his choice wine. "Wine, good and pure wine," Mr Montefiore used to say, "God has given to man to cheer him up when borne down by grief and sorrow; it gladdens his heart, and causes him to render thanks to heaven for mercies conferred upon him." In holy writ we find "give wine unto those that be of heavy heart;" also, "wine maketh glad the heart of man." No sanctification of our Sabbaths and festivals, and no union between two loving hearts, can be solemnised, without partaking of wine over which the blessing has been pronounced.

It was his desire to be happy, and make others around him happy, for such he said was the will of God (Deut. xxvi. II). When certain friends of his, who intended taking the total abstinence pledge, ventured to raise an argument on the desirability of his substituting water for wine, he would reply in the words which the vine said to the trees when they came to anoint him as king over them, "Should I leave my wine which cheereth God and man" (Judges ix. 13)? His friends smiled at this reasoning, and on their next visit to him drank to each other's health in the choice wine of his cellar.

I invariably heard him pronounce the blessing before he touched the exhilarating beverage, in such a tone as to leave no doubt in the minds of those present that he fully appreciated this gift of God.

He never gave up the habit of taking wine himself, and it was his greatest pleasure to see his friends enjoy it with him. To the sick and the poor he would frequently send large quantities.

The year 1812 passed very happily. Every member of the family was delighted with the young couple. They said, "such a[Pg 18] suitable union of two young people had not been seen for many years." In No. 4 New Court, where they took up their abode, they had Mr N. M. Rothschild their brother-in-law (in whose financial operations Montefiore was greatly interested), for a neighbour and friend. Young Mrs Montefiore had but a short distance to walk to see her parents, at Angel Court, Throgmorton Street, where Mrs Barent Levi Cohen now lived. The Stock Exchange and the Bank being in their immediate neighbourhood, where all their relatives had business transactions every day in the week except Sabbath and festivals, they often had the opportunity of seeing the whole family circle in their house.[Pg 19]




I am now at the starting point of my narrative of the public life and work of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore in connection more especially with the communities of their own race, and this I propose to give in the form of extracts from their diaries. These extracts contain the most material references to important events, accompanied by explanatory remarks of my own. With a view of making the reader acquainted with the passing opinions and feelings of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore and their earnestness of purpose and energy in every good cause, as well as with a desire to draw attention to the variety and multiplicity of the work they would accomplish in a single day, I shall frequently give these entries as I find them, in brief and at times abrupt sentences.

1813 (5573 a.m.).—Owing to the eventful vicissitudes of European wars, the greatest activity prevails on the Stock Exchange. Mr Montefiore is in constant intercourse with Mr N. M. Rothschild, through whose prudence and judicious recommendations with regard to the Bullion Market and Foreign Exchanges, he is enabled not only to avoid hazardous monetary transactions, but also to make successful ventures in these difficult times.

1814 (5574 a.m.).—The first peace in Paris is signed. The allied sovereigns visit England, and are received by the Prince Regent. Great festivities in the city, while considerable excitement prevails in all financial circles. Commerce is stagnant; taxation excessive, in consequence of the great debt the country had incurred during the war; the labouring classes cry out; food is scarce; there is no demand for labour, and wages are low. Nevertheless, Mr Montefiore and his wife entertain the[Pg 20] hope of a continuance of peace, which, they say, will soon remedy all evils. They frequently visit Highgate, where Mr N. M. Rothschild has his country house; go to Hastings, where their brother-in-law Mr S. M. Samuel, has taken a summer residence, and visit their mother, Mrs Montefiore, at Kennington Terrace. They contrive to devote a portion of the day or evening to the study of the French language and literature. Mr Montefiore, as captain of the local militia, continues taking lessons on the bugle.

1815 (5575 a.m.).—Mr Montefiore agrees with Lord Mayor Birch (grandfather of Dr Samuel Birch of the British Museum) to pay £600, for the transfer to himself, of Medina's Broker's medal (at that time the few Jewish brokers admitted had to pay an extraordinarily high fee for the privilege); he is engaged in his financial transactions with Mr N. M. Rothschild, and goes, in the interest of the latter and in his own, to Dunkirk and Yarmouth. On his return he frequently attends the meetings of the representatives of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogues; checks and signs the synagogue books, as treasurer, and is present at the meetings of a committee, representing four Hebrew congregations in London, for devising proper regulations to ensure the provision of meat prepared in accordance with Scriptural injunctions.

1816 (5576 a.m.).—He frequently attends the meetings of the Velhos (Elders) of the Spanish and Portuguese community, and the society for granting marriage portions to orphans. His work in connection with finance daily increases.

Great agitation prevails throughout the country; the Government having, in the previous year, passed a Corn Act to favour the English farmer, forbidding the importation of foreign grain, the price of wheat had reached 80s. per quarter; political societies, under the name of "Hampden Clubs," are formed all over the country. There is a cry for reform in the House of Commons; the Ministry, influenced by Lord Castlereagh, refuses all change; the price of wheat continues to rise daily after the peace.

Financiers feel very anxious about the result, but Mr and Mrs Montefiore, less apprehensive of serious disturbances, and desirous of change of scene and climate, purpose setting out to visit France and Italy.[Pg 21]

1816 (5576 a.m.).—They travel in France and Italy, visit public institutions, and make it a rule to see every object of interest. They take notice and make memoranda of the explanations given them by their Ciceroni, independently of the information derived from guide-books; they frequent theatres and operas as well as hospitals and schools. A beautiful and comfortable travelling chariot, procured in Paris from Beaupré, a famous coach builder, at the price of 4072 francs, and abundant provisions for themselves and friends, making them independent of inferior hotels for food, make their travels most agreeable to themselves and to all who accompany them.

Mr Montefiore and his wife were not only diligent observers of whatever they saw, but also possessed the good quality of never objecting to any difficulties to be overcome in order to add to their stock of knowledge or experiences.

During their travels in France and Italy, their pleasure was greatly enhanced by the kind attention they received at the hands of their friends, especially in Paris, where Mr Solomon de Rothschild and all the members of the family vied with each other in their efforts to make their stay as agreeable as possible.

At Lausanne, Mr Montefiore was very ill for three days with rheumatism in the face and ear, but he soon recovered, and was able to continue his journey. On August the 30th, after an absence of three months from England, they returned and arrived safely at Dover.

On September 20th he is appointed treasurer to the "Beth Holim" hospital of the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew community.

November 26th.—A private account is opened with Jones, Lloyd & Co. and the Bank of England; on the 29th of the same month he dissolves partnership with his brother Abraham, "God grant," he says, "it may prove fortunate for us both."

1817 (5577 a.m.).—This was a year of riot in England; in spite of the Royal proclamation against unlawful assemblages the riots increased; the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, but the seditious meetings continued. A motion in the House of Commons for reform had only seventy-seven supporters, two hundred and sixty-six voting for its rejection. Mr Montefiore,[Pg 22] like most financiers in London, was in constant anxiety, his state of health suffered, and it was desirable for him to leave England again for change of climate.

He completes the purchase of Tinley Lodge farm on July 30th. On October 7th he signs his will; and on the 13th of the same month, accompanied by his wife and several of their relatives, sets out on his second journey to France and Italy. On the road, he and Mrs Montefiore resume their Hebrew studies. They visit Paris, Lyons, Turin, Milan, and Carrara; the latter place being of special interest to them on account of their meeting with persons who had been connected in business transactions with Mr Montefiore's father.

1818 (5578 a.m.).—They arrive on the 1st of January at Leghorn, and meet several members of their family. They visit the house where Mr Montefiore was born, and are welcomed there by Mr Isaac Piccioto, who occupied the house at that time; they proceed thence to the burial ground to see the tomb of their uncle Racah, and on the following day leave for Pisa.

There they visit the house and garden of the said uncle Racah, Mr Montefiore observing, that it is a good garden, but a small house; thence they continue their journey to Sienna.

"I had a dispute," he says, "with the postmaster at a place called Bobzena, and was compelled to go to the Governor, who sent with me two gendarmes to settle the affair." "The road to Viterbo," he observes, "I found very dangerous; the country terribly dreary, wild and mountainous, with terrific caverns and great forests."

"On the 15th of January," he continues, "we became greatly alarmed by the vicinity of robbers on the road, and I had to walk upwards of seven miles behind the carriage until we arrived at Rome, whither we had been escorted by two gendarmes."

"In Rome," he says, "we saw this time in the Church of St John, the gate of bronze said to be that of the temple of Jerusalem; we also revisited the workshop of Canova, his studio, and saw all that a traveller could possibly see when under the guidance of a clever cicerone.

"We left Rome on the 11th of February, and passed a man lying dead on the road; he had been murdered in the night. This incident damped our spirits and rendered the journey, which would otherwise have been delightful, rather triste."[Pg 23]

On the 3rd of April they arrive at Frankfort-on-the-Main; in May they are again in London, and on the 13st inst., Mr Montefiore, dismissing from his mind (for the time) all impressions of gay France and smiling Italy, is to be found in the house of mourning, expressing his sympathy with the bereaved, and rendering comfort by the material help which he offers in the hour of need.

It is in the house of a devoted minister of his congregation, the Rev. Hazan Shalom, that we find him now performing the duties of a Lavadore, preparing the dead for its last resting-place.

The pleasures of his last journey, and the change of scene and climate appear to have greatly invigorated him, for we find him on another mournful occasion, exhibiting a degree of physical strength such as is seldom met with.

His mother-in-law having been taken ill on Saturday, the 14th of November, he went on foot from Smithembottom to Town, a walk of five hours, in order to avoid breaking one of the commandments, by riding in a carriage on the Sabbath. Unfortunately on his arrival, he found she had already expired. Prompted by religious fervour and attachment to the family, he attended during the first seven days the house of mourning, where all the relatives of the deceased assembled, morning and evening, for devotional exercises, and, with a view of devoting the rest of the day to the furtherance of some good cause, he remained in the city to be present at all the meetings of the representatives of his community.

In the month of December he went down to Brighton to intercede with General Bloomfield for three convicts. (The particulars of the case are not given in the diary), and on his return he resumed his usual financial pursuits.

1818 (5579 a.m.). He is elected President of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation. "I am resolved," he says, "to serve the office unbiassed, and to the best of my conscience." Mr Montefiore keeps his word faithfully, for he attends punctually all the meetings of the elders; and, on several occasions, goes about in a post-chaise to collect from his friends and acquaintances contributions towards the fund required for the hospital "Beth Holim" of his community.

This was the year in which the political crisis came, when public meetings, in favour of Parliamentary reform were held[Pg 24] everywhere, and Parliament passed six Acts restricting public liberty. In the midst of these troubles, on the 24th of May, the Princess Victoria, daughter of the Duke of Kent, the fourth son of the king, was born at Kensington Palace.

1820 (5580 a.m.). The Diary opens this year with observations on the life of man, and with a view of affording the reader an opportunity of reflecting on Mr Montefiore's character, I append a record of his pursuits such as we seldom meet with in a man in the prime of life, at the age of 30.

In full enjoyment of health, wealth, and every pleasure a man could possibly desire, he thus writes on the first page:—

"He who builds his hopes in the air of men's fair looks,
Lives like a drunken sailor on the mast,
Ready with every nod to tumble down
Into the fatal bowels of the deep.

"With moderate blessings be content,
Nor idly grasp at every shade,
Peace, competence, a life well spent,
Are blessings that can never fade;
And he that weakly sighs for more
Augments his misery, not his store."
[Pg 25]




Mr Montefiore's occupations may best be described in his own words, and may furnish a useful hint to those who neglect to keep an account of the way in which their time is spent. He writes:—

"With God's blessing,—Rise, say prayers at 7 o'clock. Breakfast at 9. Attend the Stock Exchange, if in London, 10. Dinner, 5. Read, write, and learn, if possible, Hebrew and French, 6. Read Bible and say prayers, 10. Then retire.

"Monday and Thursday mornings attend the Synagogue. Tuesday and Thursday evenings for visiting."

"I attended," he says, "many meetings at the City of London Tavern, also several charitable meetings at Bevis Marks, in connection with the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue; sometimes passing the whole day there from ten in the morning till half-past eleven at night (January 25, 1820), excepting two hours for dinner in the Committee room; answered in the evening 350 petitions from poor women, and also made frequent visits to the Villa Real School."

In the course of the year he went to Cambridge and to Norwich, visiting many of the colleges, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and other interesting institutions, and on February the 16th he attended the funeral sermon of his late Majesty George the Third (who died on the 29th of January).

He often went to his farm, near Tinley Lodge, and sometimes for special recreation to the English Opera, together with his wife and members of the family, always finding time for work and pleasure alike.

"Mr N. M. Rothschild," he records in an entry, "being taken ill, I stayed with him several days at Stamford Hill."[Pg 26]

Subsequently Mr Montefiore had some very important business in connection with a loan, and experienced much uneasiness, owing to a riot among the soldiers of the third regiment of the Guards, which, no doubt, affected the financial world.

He frequently went to the House of Commons and the House of Lords to ascertain the state of politics, and the progress of the Jews Emancipation Bill in particular; for the Roman Catholic Emancipation Bill, which, side-by-side with Parliamentary reform, and the demand for free trade, was at that time agitating the public mind, naturally prompted the Jews to bring before the House their own grievances. Mr Montefiore also visited the Female Freemasons' Charity, and generously supported the craft which, as has been said, has had a being "ever since symmetry began and harmony displayed her charms."

October 30.—An important event in his financial career takes place: he gives up his counting-house.

1821 (5581 a.m.)—The first day of this year corresponding with the Hebrew date, Tebet 28, on which his father, he writes, entered into eternal glory, 11th of January 1804 (5564 a.m.), he repairs morning and evening to the house of prayer, offering up the customary prayer in memory of the dead.

"I visited his tomb, distributing gifts to the poor and needy, and on my return passed the whole of the day in fasting and religious meditation."

The next entries refer to his frequent visits to the hospital, "Beth Holim," going to see King George IV. at Drury Lane, dining with the Directors of the Atlas Fire Assurance Company at the Albion, going afterwards with the Lord Mayor of Dublin to Covent Garden Theatre to see His Majesty again, his excursions to the country, together with his wife, and their visits to Finchley Lodge Farm, where they sometimes pass the day together. On his return to London, he attends, as in the preceding year, the meetings of the elders of his community and those of the communal institutions.

On 8th May they set out for Scotland. Of this tour Mrs Montefiore kept an interesting journal, which not only describes the state of the country and the mode of travelling sixty six years ago, but shows her good temper under difficulties, her[Pg 27] gratitude to Providence for the blessings they enjoyed, and for their safety after apparent danger, as also her keen appreciation of the beauties of nature and art. It contains, however, no information likely to be serviceable to the present generation travelling in Scotland.

In October we meet them again in London, in the House of Prayer, offering up thanks for their safe return from Scotland. During the rest of the year Mr Montefiore resumed his usual occupations, always combining the work of finance with that intended for the welfare of his community and charitable institutions of all classes of society, while Mrs Montefiore devoted herself to responding to every appeal for help commensurately with the merit of the case, comforting every sufferer by her kind acts of sympathy, and promoting peace and harmony among those whose friendship seemed likely to be interrupted.

An incident which, at the time, afforded Mr Montefiore special gratification, he refers to as follows:—

"I was present, on the Feast of Haunkah (the anniversary of the victory of the Maccabees), at a discourse delivered by the spiritual head of the congregation, in the College of the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew Community. The interest was greatly enhanced by the completion of the study of one of their theological books in the presence of all the students. The latter evinced great love for their study, and appeared well acquainted with the subject to which the lecturer referred."

Mrs Montefiore presented each student with a generous gift, as an encouragement to continued zeal in their work.

1822 (5582 a.m.).—He agrees to rent East Cliff Lodge for one year from the 15th of April, for £550 clear, and signs the agreement on 12th February.

On the eve of the Day of Atonement, in the presence of his assembled friends, he completes, by adding the last verse in his own handwriting, a scroll of the Pentateuch, for the use of the Synagogue, offering on the following day £140 for the benefit of various charitable institutions of his community as a token of his appreciation of the Synagogue Service.

The depressed state of trade in this and the preceding year, owing to serious apprehensions of war, had caused a great diminution in the importation and manufacture of goods, so that much anxiety prevailed. Referring to this subject, Mr Montefiore[Pg 28] makes an entry to the effect that a statement had been made in high quarters by the Duke of Wellington, that peace would be maintained, in consequence of which, says Mr Montefiore, all the public funds rose.

1823 (5583 a.m.).—Opens with a joyous event in the family. His brother Horatio, on the first of January, marries a daughter of David Mocatta, thus allying more closely the two most prominent families in the Hebrew community.

August 20th.—Mr and Mrs Montefiore leave England for the third time for France, Germany, and Italy.

The entry this day refers to something which happened to him seventeen years previously (1806), (for obvious reasons I do not give the name, which is written in full in the diary):—"N. N. robbed me of all and more than I had. Blessed be the Almighty, that He has not suffered my enemies to triumph over me."

On their arrival at Rome they find Mr Abraham Montefiore very ill; much worse, Mr Montefiore says, than they had expected. His critical state induces them to remain with him to the end of the year.

About the same time, his brother Horatio was elected an elder in his synagogue: "affording him many opportunities," Mr Montefiore observes, "to make himself useful to the congregation."

1824 (5584 a.m.).—His brother Abraham continues very ill, but Montefiore can remain with him no longer, his presence being much required in London.

February 13th.—Mr and Mrs Montefiore arrive in London, and on the 17th he again goes to the Stock Exchange, this being the first time for more than a year that he has done so.

July 28th.—The deed of settlement of the Alliance Life Assurance Company is read to the general court. On August 4th he has the gratification of affixing his name to it. "On the same day," he says, evidently with much pleasure, "I have received many applications for shares of the Imperial Continental Gas Association."

The diary introduces the subject of Insurance Companies by quoting the words of Suetonius.

"Suetonius conjectures," Mr Montefiore writes on the first page of the book, "that the Emperor Claudius was the original projector of insurances on ships and merchandise."[Pg 29]

"The first instances of the practice recorded in modern history," he observes, "occur in 1560, in consequence of the extensive wool trade between England and the Netherlands; though it was probably in use before that period, and seems to have been introduced by the Jews in 1182."

"It is treated of in the laws of Oleron, relating to sea affairs, as early as the year 1194."

"About the period of the great fire in London, 1666, an office was established for insuring houses from fire."

This information is probably no novelty to the reader, but my object in quoting it is to show how attentively Mr Montefiore studied every subject connected with his financial and other pursuits. We have in the College library a great variety of books bearing on insurance offices, all of which, it appears, he had at some time consulted for information.

Of both the above companies he was elected president, offices which he held to the last moment of his life. They are now numbered among the most prosperous companies in England.

His presence at the board was always a cause of the highest satisfaction, not only to the directors and shareholders, all of whom appreciated his sound judgment, cautious disposition and energy in the promotion and welfare of the company, but also to all the officers and employees of the respective offices.

In conversing with his friends on this subject, he used to say, "When our companies prosper, I wish to see everyone employed by us, from the highest to the lowest, derive some benefit from them in proportion to the position he occupies in the office." He also strongly advocated the promotion of harmony and friendliness among the officers of the companies, for which purpose, he used annually to give them an excellent dinner in one of the large hotels, inviting several of his personal friends to join them.

When travelling on the Continent, he invariably made a point of visiting every one of the branches of the Imperial Gas Association, making strict enquiries on every subject connected with the operations, and inviting all the officers to his table.

I have frequently (after the year 1839) accompanied him on such occasions, and often wondered at his minute knowledge of every item entered in the books of the respective offices.[Pg 30]

He often gave proof, in the last years of his life, of his special interest in the prosperity of these companies by the exertions he would make in signing every document sent down to him at Ramsgate for that purpose, even when he appeared to experience a difficulty in holding a pen.

He strongly objected to a system of giving high dividends to the shareholders. "Let us be satisfied," he used to say, "with five per cent., so that we may always rest in the full enjoyment of undisturbed life on the firm rock of security,"—the emblem represented on the office seal of the Alliance.

On August the 15th of that year he received a letter from Genoa stating that his brother Abraham was getting worse, and on Saturday, the 28th, he received the sad news of his death, which took place at Lyons whilst on his way back from Cannes.

"It was only in the month of January last," Mr Montefiore says of his brother, "that when his medical attendant recommended him to take a sea voyage, he agreed to go with me to Jerusalem, if I would hire a ship to take us there." "Seize, mortal," Mr Montefiore continues, quoting the words of the poet:

"Seize the transient hour,
Improve each moment as it flies;
Life a short summer—man a flower;
He dies, alas! how soon he dies."

1825 (5855 a.m.).—The lessons he sets for himself this year are given in quotations from authors, the selections showing the reflex of the impressions made on his mind by current events.

The first is an Italian proverb: "Chi parla semina, chi tace racolta," corresponding to the English, "The talker sows, the silent reaps."

Those which follow are from our own moralists:—

"A wise man will desire no more than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and live upon contentedly."

"He that loveth a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counsellor, a cheerful companion, or an effective comforter."

"The studies afford nourishment to our youth, delight to our old age, adorn prosperity, supply a refuge in adversity, and are a constant source of pleasure at home; they are no impediment while abroad, and attend us in the night season, in our travels, and in our retirement."[Pg 31]

"He may be well content that need not borrow nor flatter."

He attends this year regularly all the meetings of eight companies or associations: the Alliance British and Foreign Life and Fire Assurance, the Alliance Marine Assurance, the Imperial Continental Gas Association, the Provincial Bank of Ireland, the Imperial Brazilian Mining, the Chilian and Peruvian Mining, the Irish Manufactory, and the British Colonial Silk Company.

With all this, no doubt often very exciting work, he still finds time for attending all the meetings of charitable institutions of which he is a member, more especially those of his own community; while he is often met in the house of mourning performing duties sometimes most painful and distressing to a sympathising heart.

February 11th.—He attends for the first time the General Board of the Provincial Bank of Ireland.

Being now considered an authority of high standing in the financial world, various offers were made to him by promoters to join their companies or become one of their directors. Among these undertakings is one which I will name on account of the interest every man of business now takes in it. I allude to a company which had for its object the cutting of a ship canal for uniting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

He refused the directorship of that gigantic undertaking, which, after having been abandoned for nearly sixty years, was again taken up, under the name of the Panama Canal, by M. de Lesseps.

Thirty years later Mr Montefiore also refused to take a leading part or directorship in the Suez Canal Company, which M. de Lesseps had offered him when in Egypt. I happened to be present at the time when M. de Lesseps called on him with that object. It was in the year 1855, when Mr Montefiore had become Sir Moses Montefiore, and was enjoying the hospitality of his late Highness Said Pasha, who gave him one of his palaces to reside in during his stay at Alexandria.

M. de Lesseps spoke to him for several hours on the subject, but he could not be persuaded that so great an undertaking was destined to be a pecuniary success.

May 8th.—Mr and Mrs Montefiore leave for Paris. On their return they proceed in July to Oxford; and, at the end of[Pg 32] the same month, we see them in Ireland, whither Mr Montefiore went as a member of the deputation sent by the Provincial Bank. In recognition of the services rendered to the Board by himself and the other members of the deputation, a resolution was passed, a copy of which is here subjoined.

"Provincial Bank of Ireland,
"Friday, September 9th, 1825.

"At a meeting of the Court—Present:—John Morris, Esq., in the chair; M. Attwood, Esq., M. P.; H. A. Douglas, Esq.; S. A. Madgan, Esq.; J. T. Thorp, Esq.; Jas. Brogdon, Esq., M. P.; J. R. Macqueen, Esq., M. P.; C. E. Prescott, Esq.; S. N. Ward, Esq.

"Resolved unanimously, That the cordial thanks of the Court are due to Messrs Medley, Montefiore, and Blount for the zeal and ability they have evinced in the management of the business committed to their care, the result of which has fully realised the expectations of the Court, and will conduce most essentially to the prosperity of the Company.

"The Chairman is requested to communicate the resolution to the gentlemen of the deputation on their return from Ireland."

1826 (5586 a.m.).—The diary begins with the prayer, "Renew in me, O Lord, the right spirit."

For the information of the general reader I quote a short statement from some historical records of the state of financial transactions in this and the previous year which will explain the importance of the entries Mr Montefiore made in these years, referring to monetary transactions.

On the 12th of January there is an entry stating "the Government will lend the merchants five millions of Exchequer Bills, and the Bank directors have agreed to advance the money. They will not fund till June or July, and then only five or six millions." "This," Mr Montefiore thinks, "is much in favour of stocks."

One of his acquaintance died suddenly at this time, an unfortunate event which he considered was the fatal result of large speculations.

"These two years," the historian says, "were characterised by an extraordinary activity in all departments of trade and[Pg 33] commerce." Mr Huskisson, a minister who was a high authority on commercial matters, originated several important measures, especially those relating to the repeal of all duties on goods passing between Great Britain and Ireland, an alteration in the duties affecting the silk manufacture, and the repeal of the combination laws and of the law against the emigration of artisans; while the Executive formed commercial treaties, on the reciprocity system, with various countries in Europe, and, acknowledging the independence of the revolted Spanish colonies in America, drew them as additional customers into the British market.

Capital now so far exceeded the ordinary means of its employment, that many joint-stock companies were formed as a means of giving it a wider scope. Some of these associations professed objects which were by long established usage the proper business of individuals alone, and others involved hazardous and visionary projects to be carried into effect in remote countries. The depressed state of trade in 1821 and 1822 had led to a diminished importation and production of goods, and was succeeded by an advance of prices in 1823. The consequence was a sudden and unusually large demand and a powerful reaction of supply, which did not cease till production had far exceeded the bounds of moderation.

Through the facilities afforded by a large issue of paper money, the delusion was kept up longer than it would otherwise have been. The first symptom of something wrong was the turning of the exchange against England. A diminution of issues at the bank followed. Merchants began to experience difficulties in meeting pecuniary obligations. Then took place a run upon the banks, some of which, both in London and the country, were obliged to stop payment. Between October 1825 and February 1826, fifty-nine commissions of bankruptcy were issued against English country banks, and four times the number of private compositions were calculated to have taken place during the same period. While merchants and manufacturers were without credit, their inferiors were without employment, and distress reached almost every class of the community. Some liberal pecuniary measures on the part of the Bank of England helped in a short time, rather by inspiring confidence[Pg 34] than by actual disbursement of money, to retrieve in some measure the embarrassed circumstances of the country.

"On the same day," Mr Montefiore says, "when the death of an unfortunate speculator caused a general gloom to prevail in the financial world, I was asked by a gentleman if I had the courage to join him in a speculation, my reply was I would see to-morrow." "I fear," Mr Montefiore observes, "this day's awful lesson is quite lost upon him."

The entries I am now giving are very brief, sometimes abrupt, showing (probably) the excited state of affairs in the political and financial world, which appear to have induced him to form a resolution to withdraw entirely from all the turmoil of London.

March 5th.—Heard there will be no war. The ministers' plan of funding and repaying six millions of the bank has lowered the funds.

March 17th.—Attended the meeting of the schools; meeting of the society for granting marriage portions to orphans (Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew community).

March 20th.—The King of Portugal died; The Emperor of Austria dangerously ill; our good king much better.

April 9th.—Dined with Mr N. M. Rothschild; met there Prince Esterhazy, Duke of St Albans, his brother and two sisters, Lady Augusta Cotton, a son of Lord Coventry, and the Earl of Lauderdale.

April 13th.—The Emperor Nicholas insists upon the Turks evacuating Moldavia.

April 16th.—Attended meeting of the elders (Sp. and Port. Synagogue); signed 1171 cheques, dividends of the Alliance, sixteen shillings per share.

June 20th.—War commences again in India, after Bhurtpore had been stormed by Lord Combermere and peace made with the Burmese, when they had to pay £100,000 sterling, and cede a great extent of the territory.

During the following three months he again devotes much time to communal affairs, attending committees of schools and charitable institutions.

October 15th.—Political events of great importance attract his attention. He calls with Mr N. M. Rothschild on Prince[Pg 35] Esterhazy, who says that Canning and Villele are trying every means to settle a representative constitution for Spain.

October 22nd.—The entry states, "Received an express that the differences between the Russians and Turks are amicably settled."

October 29th.—He frequently attends meetings of the elders in this and the following month, also orders blankets for distribution among the poor.

December 12th.—The king sends a message to the House to the effect that five hundred troops would be sent to Portugal.

December 14th.—The King of France's speech is considered very warlike.

The diary concludes with the following memorandum:—

"By the blessings of God, prepare for a trip to Jerusalem. Get letters of introduction from Lord Auckland for Malta, and from J. Alexander for Constantinople. Study Italian, French, and Hebrew."[Pg 36]




The reader having accompanied Mr and Mrs Montefiore through the first period of their life and work, and seen them deservedly raised to a position enabling them, if so disposed, to take a prominent part in important public movements, I shall now describe all the incidents of note in connection with their pursuits in the second period of their lives.

In the year 1827 they decided to visit Jerusalem. Their sole reason for this determination was a wish to visit the Holy Land, a land with which their race is connected by so many associations, and of which the name is kept in loving remembrance in the prayers recited daily by every true Israelite.

Mrs Montefiore has given a most interesting account of that journey in her private journal, printed, but not published, and the following narrative is based upon the entries made therein, and in the diaries of Mr Montefiore. For the better understanding of those extracts which bear upon politics, it may not be out of place to briefly recapitulate the circumstances of the one important event that occurred in the administration of Viscount Goderich (Mr Robinson), who succeeded Canning as Premier under George IV. This event was the battle of Navarino, which was followed by the establishment of Greek independence. The cause of Greece was supported, from different motives (see Brewer's "Hume"), by Russia, France, and England. These Powers had their squadrons in the Levant, the English being under the command of Sir Edward Codrington. War had not yet been declared; the Turkish and Egyptian fleet, under Ibrahim Pasha, lay in the Bay of Navarino, and there was an understanding that it should remain till the affairs of Greece were arranged. As the Turks attempted to violate this agreement a general engagement ensued, and the Turkish and[Pg 37] Egyptian fleets were completely destroyed in the course of a few hours. By this impolitic act England and France played into the hands of Russia, who was anxious to weaken the power of Turkey, and thus they gave some help towards the long-cherished object of her ambition—the possession of Constantinople.

On May 1st, 1827 (5587-8 a.m.), Mr and Mrs Montefiore repaired to Synagogue as was their custom early in the morning before undertaking any important work, for the purpose of invoking the blessing of Divine Providence on this their first and long-projected journey to Jerusalem. Fortified with letters of introduction, in the first instance, to Admiral Codrington, then commanding on the Mediterranean Station, and taking with them their own carriages, they travelled viâ Dover, Calais, Turin, Milan, Florence, and Rome to Naples. Here a nephew of Mr Amschel Rothschild assisted them in obtaining a vessel to take them to Malta, where they visited the plantations of the Silk Company on the ditch of Porto Reale. There were about 5000 mulberry trees at this place, as well as about 400 at Sal Marson, "all looking healthy. We were present," says Mrs Montefiore, "at a dinner given by us in the Palace to the men, women, and children, who were and had been employed by the Silk Company, to the number of 140. The hall was beautifully decorated with shrubs and flowers, and 'Welcome' was written in large letters at the top of the room. There were many joints of beef, a sheep roasted whole, macaroni, rice, bread, cheese, water melons, and good wine. Everyone had as much as he could eat and drink. The broken victuals and wine were afterwards distributed among the poor to the number of thirty. A band of music then entered the hall, and all present danced, as happy as people could be."

At the Palace Mr Montefiore delivered Lord Auckland's and Lord Strangford's letters to the Governor, the Hon. F. C. Ponsonby, who advised him to go to the East in a ship of war, on account of the Greek pirates.

Amidst numerous kind and flattering attentions from the residents, amongst whom were Sir John Stoddart, Mr and Mrs St John, Captain Roberts, Colonel Bathurst, and Miss Hamilton, amidst amusements and excursions to Gozo and Marfa, Mr and Mrs Montefiore did not forget on Thursday, the 2nd of[Pg 38] August, the fast which was kept on the day of the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. "Thank God," he says in his diary, "we are quite well after breaking our fast, which we did at 9.35, several stars being then visible. The day has been dreadfully hot and fatiguing. My poor wife suffered so much that I endeavoured to persuade her to break her fast about four o'clock, but she would not. I felt extremely weak, but was free from headache."

The next day, Captain Anderson of the Leonidas called and agreed to take Mr and Mrs Montefiore and two servants to Alexandria, for a consideration of £400, and to wait there twenty days, and then take them to Jaffa. At this stage Mrs Montefiore was taken ill, but owing to the kind attention of Lady Stoddart, and the assistance of Mr Milan, the Governor's medical adviser, she soon recovered.

Mr and Mrs Montefiore now embarked on board the Leonidas, and sailed under convoy of the Garnet, with four other vessels to Alexandria. From here they proceeded to Cairo and the Pyramids, where, by the courtesy of Mr Salt, the British Consul General, Mr Montefiore had the honour of being presented to Mohhammad 'Ali Pasha in full divan. Mr Maltass, the Vice Consul, acted as interpreter, the Pacha speaking Turkish and his visitor French. "We were graciously received," Mr Montefiore says, "and remained in conversation three quarters of an hour. We had coffee with him. He spoke much of his wishes to improve his people, enquired where I was going, if I was pleased with Egypt, and paid me some compliments. After the interview I rode to the Obelisk. On my return I called on Mr Salt. I found him much alarmed at the non-arrival of a despatch which had been sent by an English sloop of war. The Porte had refused the mediation, and the English Admiral had orders to act. Mr Salt was to see the Pasha in the morning, and would then set off for Alexandria. The Pasha wrote to him saying that Mr Canning had died on the 22nd."

The party now returned to Alexandria, where they heard conflicting news with regard to the possibility of war. Meanwhile they visited all places of interest, especially the Synagogues, where the services appeared somewhat strange to them. Special mention is made of the Synagogue of Signor Fua, which they visited on New Year's Day, many of the tunes sung there[Pg 39] being the same as those used in the London Synagogues. The portion of the Sacred Scriptures was admirably read there by a young boy, "more in the German manner than in the Portuguese." The Scroll of the Pentateuch was in a wooden case, over which was the cloak, and the President called up as many as twenty to hear the Law read to them. The day of Atonement and the Tabernacle Holidays had to be spent here in consequence of the impossibility of obtaining means of proceeding further. "I have still every desire," says Mr Montefiore, "to proceed to Jerusalem, but cannot find any person willing to go with me. Although the plague was at Acre, the whole of Syria in revolt, the Christians fleeing to the mountains for safety, the question of peace or war still undecided, he himself ill, and Mrs Montefiore by no means recovered from her recent attack, he nevertheless determined at all risks to proceed to Jaffa and Jerusalem." "I find," he observed to his anxious wife, "my health and strength failing me so fast in this city, that I deem it now prudent to flee from it, even at the chance of encountering the 'Greek pirates.'" He engaged for this purpose the Henry Williams, a brig of 167 tons, under Captain Jones, to take them to Jaffa and bring them back for £50.

"I think," he says, "I more ardently desire to leave Egypt than ever our forefathers did. No one will ever recite the passover service" (which gives an account of the exodus from Egypt) "with more true devotion than I shall do, when it pleases Providence to restore me to my own country, and redeem me and my dear wife from this horrible land of misery and plague, the hand of God being still upon it."

These are expressions to which most persons in Egypt might frequently give utterance, when in a state of great pain and irritation, tormented by thousands of mosquitoes, and more especially when living in small confined apartments like those of the casino then occupied by Mr Montefiore. Only those who have been in Egypt fifty or sixty years ago can form an idea of the discomfort a traveller then had to put up with, and this was naturally keenly felt by those who, like Mr Montefiore, had been used to every comfort and attention in an English home.

Tuesday, October 16th.—They arrive at Jaffa. The Governor at first refused to allow any Franks to land, and ordered Captain Jones off, but the British Consul having procured permission for[Pg 40] them, they landed at mid-day. They found the road level and very sandy, lined with prickly pear, pomegranate, fig, orange, and lemon trees, the finest they had ever seen. On reaching Ramlah, Mr Montefiore was so fatigued he could scarcely dismount; almost too weak to walk.

Wednesday, October 17th.—They left Ramlah at 7 a.m., and entered the gate of David at Jerusalem at 5 p.m.

On approaching the holy city they dismount, manifesting their grief at the sight of Jerusalem in ruins, as mourners do when bewailing the loss of some dear relative. Mr and Mrs Montefiore then offered up a fervent prayer, giving thanks to God for having brought them safely to Jerusalem, the great and long desired object of their journey, and praying for His blessing on all they loved.

They then repaired to the house of Mr Joseph Amzalak, while the gentlemen who accompanied them took up their quarters in the Greek convent.

Thursday, October 18th.—They attend Synagogue at break of day in the house of their host. "Thanks to Providence," Mr Montefiore says, "I feel better, though still very weak." They receive visits from the head and representatives of the Spanish Hebrew community, also from the head and representatives of the German Hebrew community, all making the kindest offers of their services. Great complaints were made of poverty in Jerusalem, and oppression by the Governors, who were for ever calling for more money. "There are," they said, "fifty Portuguese families, consisting of about 200 individuals; forty German families, or 160 persons; and near 200 elderly widows in great distress."

Mr and Mrs Montefiore subsequently went to see the foundation stones of the ancient Temple, generally called the "Western Wall"; also to a house, from the roof of which they had a fine view of the Mosque of Omar, which is built on the site of Solomon's Temple. On their return they called on the Rev. Hahám Moses Soozin (the spiritual head of the Portuguese community), but as he happened to be out, they went to take coffee with the Rev. Rabbi Mendel, who occupied a like position in the German community. "He had prepared an excellent room for us," writes Mr Montefiore, "but our kind host would not allow us to leave him." During their absence from home the Governor[Pg 41] sent to say, that he expected Mr Montefiore to come and take coffee, and that he regretted that Mr Montefiore should have gone to the Jews: if he did not like going to the convent, he would have given him a house in the city. Mr Montefiore, on hearing the message, said, "I hope I shall ever live and die in the society of my brethren of Israel."

Friday, 19th.—This being the Mohammedan Sabbath, the Governor was at the Mosque, and Mr Montefiore could not call on him. Mrs Montefiore, accompanied by some ladies and travelling companions, went to see the tomb of Rachel. Mr Montefiore and his host, Mr Amzalak, proceeded to a college bearing the name of "Etz-Khayim" (tree of life), for the cultivation of theological studies. It belongs to the Portuguese community, and was established 148 years ago by an English gentleman of the name of "Franco."

Mr Montefiore then went to the ancient burial ground, where he obtained some terra santa to take home with him. On his return to the house of his host, he found every member of the family prepared to welcome the Sabbath. The apartments were beautifully clean and ready one hour before the time fixed for the commencement of prayers. After having attended Synagogue, they had an excellent dinner, their host and hostess being most kind and chatty.

"I was in better spirits," said Mr Montefiore, "than I had been for months."

Saturday, October 20th.—They again attended the house of God. Mr Montefiore took the opportunity to offer a special prayer in grateful recognition of the great mercy it had pleased heaven to bestow upon him and his wife, in permitting them to behold the Land of Promise.

The President of the congregation requested Mr Montefiore not to make any offering of a large amount, otherwise the local authorities might hear of it, and would still further raise their taxes.

At 12 o'clock they called on the Rev. Hahám Moses Soozin, after which they went to dine with the Rev. Rabbi Mendel. Here Mr Montefiore expressed his hope that both the German and Portuguese communities would always remain united in the blessed bonds of harmony. In the afternoon he paid his respects to the Governor at the Palace. The Governor offered[Pg 42] him coffee and other refreshments, and was extremely civil and friendly. On Mr Montefiore's expressing a wish to see Jerusalem again, his Excellency said he would be happy to let him have his guard. Mr Montefiore sent him a valuable telescope as a souvenir of the pleasant interviews, while hoping that the Governor might behave better to the Jews in future. His Excellency, in return, as a token of his appreciation of Mr Montefiore's visit, affixed the Visa to his passport in most flattering terms. As these were very peculiar, I append a translation.

"We declare that to-day arrived at Jerusalem our friend the English gentleman, Mr Montefiore. He has visited all the holy places, and all the grandees of the town, as well as several of lesser note, who have been highly gratified by making his acquaintance, he being a person of the greatest merit, and unequalled among the nation for propriety and amiability of manners; and having ourselves experienced the highest pleasure in his society we have written this to testify our sense of his politeness.

"Given in the last day of Rubic-el-owal, 1243.

"El Hha'jj Háfiz Mohhammad Ráshid Sathashour (or Selhhoor) Hassa, Governor of Jerusalem."

"No city in the world," Mr Montefiore observes in his diary, "can have a finer situation than this; nor is there a better climate;" and he concludes his record of his day's proceedings by wishing "Many happy returns of the day to his dear Judith."

The 20th of October being his wife's birthday, which was generally signalised, whether at home or abroad, by the distribution of numerous gifts to the poor and to the charitable institutions, it was, as a matter of course, thus observed in the Holy City, and in an unusually liberal spirit.

Sunday, October 21st.—Their short sojourn in Jerusalem was now concluded. Mr Montefiore rose at half-past two in the morning, and joined a number of persons who had been sitting up all night in the house of his host praying for his safe return, and for the welfare of all friends and lovers of Zion. Both the Rev. Moses Soozin and the Rev. Rabbi Mendel, accompanied[Pg 43] by more than one hundred of the principal inhabitants, came to see them off. At 7.38 they took leave of their kind host and hostess, who had most liberally housed and fed them without asking for the smallest remuneration, and had loaded them with cakes, wine, &c., for their journey. After a charming ride of over five hours between the mountains they came to the first well at the commencement of the plains, and arrived at the Greek convent of Ramlah. The road was very stony, rough, and steep, but no precipices; on the sides of the mountains were olives and fruit trees; the valleys well cultivated, the plain sandy.

They saw nothing of Aboo-Goosh, who was then the terror of the land, but they went rather in fear of him.

Tuesday, 23rd.—They started from Ramlah at 7 a.m., and reached Jaffa at 10.30, where they stayed a day, and then embarked on board the Henry Williams. The next day, being the anniversary of Mr Montefiore's birthday, he makes an entry of the event in his diary in the following words:—

"This day I begin a new era. I fully intend to dedicate much more time to the welfare of the poor, and to attend Synagogue as regularly as possible on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday."

Thursday, October 25th.—They were hailed about 1.30 p.m. by seven large boats, Turkish men-of-war, full of soldiers, who mistook them for Greeks. These boats came alongside and continued very close, appearing to entertain great suspicions of them, as several Greek vessels had been cruising off the port during the day. At dawn, however, they were convinced of their mistake. The following day, when close to the harbour of Alexandria, the travellers saw a Turkish corvette blown up. It had been used as a training ship for the Pasha's midshipmen, and it was supposed that two hundred persons perished. This awful occurrence greatly terrified them. They offered up additional thanks to heaven for having hitherto held them under its merciful protection.

At 9.52 a.m. they returned to the harbour of Alexandria, went on shore, and paid a visit to Mr and Mrs Barker, where they met the Austrian Consul. They also called on other friends, who were pleasantly surprised to see them return so speedily, having been uneasy about them on account of the many Greek vessels which had been off the harbour for some[Pg 44] time past. In the evening they went on board the Leonidas, where they purposed remaining.

Saturday, October 27th.—Mr and Mrs Barker, Captain Richard of the Pelorus, Messrs Bell and Harris, paid them a visit, bringing the news that the Pasha had received an account of the British Admiral having fired on a Turkish ship, obliging her to put back into port. Mr Barker said that the Pasha had told him on the previous night that he expected war, that it would be one of religion, and would last fifty years. "These were the words," Mr Montefiore writes in his diary, "Mr Salt had uttered to me on the 5th of September. Captain Richards also thought there would be war. Six vessels came into the harbour, and every one had been plundered by Greek pirates. A fine Genoese sloop which they passed on Thursday near Rosetta had been boarded in the evening and robbed; two other ships were also plundered in sight of the harbour of Alexandria on the same day, and although witnessed by the men-of-war, the wind prevented any of them giving chase." "In truth," Mr Montefiore says, "I have every reason to believe that for the last three months we are the only persons, sailing without a convoy, who have escaped."

Tuesday, October 30th.—They went on shore to be present at the naming of Mr S. M. Fua's infant son.

The women who generally attend on festive as well as on mournful occasions, made a horrid noise, which, however, appeared to please the Egyptian guests very much. Mr Montefiore called on Mr Barker, and the latter gave him the firman from the Pasha, which was to facilitate his travelling in Egypt. Mr Barker also begged of him, in the event of Mr Salt's death, to use his influence to obtain for him the post of consul general. Mr Salt, it afterwards appeared, must have been already dead when Mr Barker made this request, but, in all probability, he did not like to break the sad news to one just coming from a place of festivity.

"I little expected," says Mr Montefiore, "when I took leave of him on the 9th of this month, previous to my departure for Jerusalem, that it would be the last time I should see him. Upon my enquiring then of him if I could do anything for him in the Holy City, he thanked me, and said, 'only pray for me.' To the will of God we must all submit."[Pg 45]

Wednesday, October 31st.—The Pasha has this day made a proclamation in Alexandria, calling upon all true Mussulmans to come forward immediately for the protection of their religion, and to commence work at the fortification instantly. Capt. Richards, who paid Mr and Mrs Montefiore a late visit in the evening, said that he should sail the next day after the funeral. He had just come from the Pasha, who told him that the Grand Signor (the Sultan) had given orders to proceed to sea at all hazards.

Thursday, November 1st.—Mr Montefiore attended the funeral of Mr Salt. All the foreign Consuls were present in full uniform, also Capt. Richards of the Pelorus, with his officers, and many others—merchants, captains, &c. "The procession," he writes, "was headed by two handsome horses of the Pasha, without riders, then followed twelve of his janizaris (yenitjeri), twelve English marines, with arms reversed, and the English naval officers. The coffin was carried by six British sailors, and the pall was supported by six consuls, Mr Barker acting as chief mourner, and being followed by other consuls, merchants, captains, &c. Mr Salt was buried in the garden attached to his cottage, the Latin Convent having refused him burial, although his wife is interred there, he being a Protestant." After the funeral service, the marines fired three rounds. The Pelorus fired minute guns during the procession. The distance was nearly half-a-mile, and the dust and heat were so unbearable that Mr Montefiore says, "I was apprehensive of getting the fever."

Friday, 2nd.—A Turkish corvette brings news that the allied admirals off Navarino had, a fortnight before, sent word to Ibrahim Pasha to send the Egyptian fleet to Alexandria and the Ottoman fleet to Constantinople, which he had refused to do. The allied fleet then entered the ports in defiance of all the batteries, destroyed thirteen of the Pasha's finest ships, and thirty-two of the Sultan's, with a reported loss of 6000 or 8000 lives on the side of the Turks. The allied fleet then sailed from Navarino, probably for Constantinople. All the Franks in Alexandria are in the greatest alarm, dreading the revenge of the soldiers and Turks.

Saturday, November 3rd.—Mr Barker sent a note with an extract of the Admiral's letter to him, confirming yesterday's[Pg 46] news. The battle was fought on the 20th October, the Turks being said to have been the aggressors. The Turco-Egyptian fleet was annihilated, with a loss of 5000 men. "We are extremely uneasy," Mr Montefiore says, "at the prospect of not being allowed to sail next Tuesday with the French convoy, the French captain having refused to give instructions to, or to take charge of, any but French ships. He said we might sail at the same time, and if we could keep up with him, he would defend us, but he could not stop one moment, or shorten sail for us to keep company. Mr Barker has promised to go on board the Commodore and solicit the captain, as a personal favour, to direct the schooner to give us instructions."

Sunday, November 4th.—Mr Barker has been with the Pasha, who spoke lightly of the loss of his fleet, and said he would soon have another. His sentiments continued unchanged with regard to the Franks, and he pledged himself for their security; he said it was contrary to the Mooslim religion to destroy Christians, and in the event of the Sultan permitting such violence, he could not be called a good Mooslim afterwards. "A poor satisfaction for those he murdered," writes Mr Montefiore.

Monday, November 5th.—They went on shore to take leave of all their friends. Mr Barker gave Mr Montefiore a letter to Lord Dudley, soliciting the post of consul-general. He advised Capt. Anderson, as a friend, not to start, and the person who had chartered the captain's vessel also insisted on her waiting for a proper convoy, as the French schooner had refused to be delayed at sea for any but French ships. Mr Barker advised Mr Montefiore to go by one of the French vessels. "They had the conscience," Mr Montefiore says, "to ask 10,000 francs. Capt. Anderson, however, has resolved to go, and we shall go with him."[Pg 47]




Wednesday, November 7th, 1827.—Mr and Mrs Montefiore left Egypt. At 11 a.m. they were out of the harbour, sailing under the protection of the French schooner La Dauphinoise, Capt. Auvray, the convoy consisting of four French, one Austrian, three English, and one Russian vessel.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.—They proceeded with some difficulty, but on Friday, November 30, all on board thought they would be able to enter the harbour of Malta, as the weather was favourable, and Captain Anderson had resolved to make the attempt, although the sun had already set. In about two hours they were so near the shore that they could see the lights distinctly, and they could not have been more than a mile from the mouth of the port. All were extremely happy, expecting to anchor within an hour. "How frail are human joys," exclaims Mr Montefiore; "most suddenly the wind had changed again to the west, and commenced blowing in a terrific manner. Thus, in an instant, were our hopes gone, and we were blown off the land, a tremendous sea obliging us to take to our beds. God only knows when we shall reach Malta."

Saturday, December 1.—"The last was a dreadful night," he writes, "it blew almost a hurricane: a frightful sea: the ship rolled and pitched so as to occasion serious alarm to all on board. Poor Judith suffered severely. The captain had never in his life experienced a worse night, and to prevent our being blown further off Malta, he carried a press of sail. I shall never forget the night, but on each Sabbath eve shall recollect with gratitude God's mercy in saving us from destruction. This morning, at daybreak, we were five miles off Malta, having retained this situation by tacking backwards and forwards[Pg 48] during the night. The weather continued rough and stormy, but thanks be to the Almighty God, we anchored safely in the quarantine harbour at half-past seven, after a long and boisterous voyage of twenty-four days."

In commemoration of this merciful event, it became a custom of Mr Montefiore, from the year in which it took place, to the last year of his life, to read on the first night of the Passover Festival, the entry he then made in his journal, consisting of several appropriate verses from the Psalms of David.

"Sir John Stoddart wrote me a very friendly note, and came to the waterside to see us. After dinner we left the Leonidas, having spent more than three months in Captain Anderson's company, and slept sixty-eight nights on board his ship. He was most attentive and obliging, and we left him with regret."

At five minutes past five they entered the Lazaretto.

Sunday, December 2nd.—The Governor sent his private secretary to thank them for a turtle which they had brought him as a present, and to enquire after their health, requesting particularly to be informed how the news of the battle of Navarino had been received at Alexandria. Mr Montefiore replied by a special letter. Sir John Stoddart, the chief judge, with his daughter and Mr Maxwell, came to pay them a visit, but they were not allowed to approach within two yards of them. Captains Anderson and Jones called and brought the news that the Martha, Captain Smart, had come into harbour; they had been plundered and dreadfully ill-treated by the Greeks.

In the course of their stay at Malta, Mr and Mrs Montefiore had the pleasure of receiving a visit from Captain Lewis Davies of the Rose, the hero of Navarino; they had met him before at the houses of Mr Barker and the late Mr Salt in Alexandria. He remained with them a full hour, giving a most interesting description of the battle.

After so long an absence abroad, Mr Montefiore, one might have thought, would have been longing to be back in England to take a rest, but he has no such idea; on the contrary, he is already planning another tour in connection with business. On Sunday, December 9th, he writes, "I much wish it may be in my power, after our return to England, to see Vienna, and visit our Gas Establishments at Berlin, Hanover, Rotterdam, and Ghent. I shall strive to do so, provided I succeed in reaching[Pg 49] London by the end of February. As soon as we get pratique, we shall endeavour to procure a vessel for Palermo, remain there a couple of days, thence to Naples, where I hope to get letters from our dear mother and friends."

In the course of this narrative we shall have frequent opportunities of witnessing a peculiar characteristic of his. When he had achieved some great work, and was yet engaged in affixing his signature to a report on the same, whilst all his fellow-workers were exhausted with fatigue, his restless activity would impel him to begin a fresh scheme for the alleviation of distress or for the cause of humanity, notwithstanding his own exertions, and in spite of many nights of anxiety which may have attended his former enterprise.

Thursday, December 13th.—This being the 1966th anniversary of the victory of the Maccabees, Mr and Mrs Montefiore celebrated it by special prayers and thanksgivings, an additional number of lights being burnt in honour of the occasion. A Russian officer, who happened to be their neighbour in the Lazaretto, spoke in glowing terms of the bravery of Jewish soldiers in Russia, and of their wonderful endurance in the days of want and distress so often experienced during the war.

When Mr (then Sir Moses) Montefiore appeared before the Emperor Nicholas in the year 1846 to plead the cause of his brethren, he had the satisfaction of hearing similar remarks from His Majesty's lips.

Friday, 14th December.—Lady Stoddart and her son paid them a visit; Captain and Mrs Copeland also came to see them. The Captain said there was great probability of war, adding that the Franks had escaped from Constantinople, and that the Ambassadors were expected to leave immediately.

Monday, December 17th.—They visited every part of the Lazaretto, and found the hospital clean, and in excellent order, but untenanted. They also went to see the English cemetery, where those who die whilst in quarantine or on board ship in the harbour are buried. About a dozen graves are always kept ready for immediate use. Describing the process of fumigating letters and papers, which they saw that day, Mr Montefiore says: "The letters are opened and placed in an iron closet, or on an iron grid; a saucepan containing burning bran and sulphur is then placed on the ground beneath them, and the closet is shut[Pg 50] for fifteen minutes. They are then taken out again, and the process is complete."

Tuesday, December 18th.—Several vessels came into the quarantine harbour, and Mr Montefiore had an interesting conversation with Mr de Wimmer, a "Lieutenant au Corps de Chasseurs d'Ordonnance de S.M. l'Empereur de toutes les Russies," who had been with the Emperor Alexander at the time of his death. They also received a letter from Monsieur Peynado Correa, informing them that the Governor had confirmed the constitution given to the Jews by Sir Thomas Maitland.

Wednesday, December 19th.—A ship arrived from Constantinople, having performed the journey in twelve days. It brought the news that the Ambassadors had left the same day, and that all ships of the Allied Powers were put under embargo. While at dinner Mr Montefiore received a polite note from Mr Greig, containing the welcome intelligence that they should have pratique on the next day. "This indulgence," Mr Montefiore observes, "is extremely kind on the part of the Governor, although we have been very comfortable, and had not one irksome hour during the whole time we have been confined in the Lazaretto."

Thursday, December 20th.—They left the Lazaretto.

Saturday, December 22nd.—Mr Montefiore, accompanied by Sir John Stoddart, called on Admiral Codrington. He had a very polite reception both from the Admiral and Lady Codrington. The Admiral said he had been very much interested in the account which Mr Montefiore sent him of the manner in which the Pasha received the news of the battle of Navarino, and took much pains to explain his motives for commencing hostilities. He said the ministers did not seem aware of all the instructions he had received from Stratford Canning. In reply to Mr Montefiore's enquiry, the Admiral said that if the Turks would not listen to his speaking-trumpet, he would have to make use of the cannon. He had on several occasions made signal for battle before the 20th of October, but his good star had attended him, and he had been prevented; the first time by adverse winds, and on the second occasion the French fleet came up in time to over-awe the Turks, and they returned. The Pasha had expressed his intention of throwing off his allegiance to the Porte, and professed great friendship for the[Pg 51] French Admiral, commanding his son, Ibrahim Pasha, to follow his directions; he also wished to write to the English himself afterwards. Admiral Codrington did not give the Pasha credit for much sincerity. He then spoke about the Greek pirates and Greek Government, and promised Mr Montefiore a passage to Naples, after which the latter took his leave.

Sunday, December 23rd.—They took a walk over the Silk Company's estate, which they had visited early in the autumn. Since that time about 3000 young trees had been transplanted, new walls had been erected, ditches cut, and ground prepared for the reception of French and Neapolitan shrubs. They were disappointed to learn that the sale of the garden produce scarcely brought enough to cover the expense of sending it to market, fruit and vegetables being so plentiful and cheap. The orange trees were almost breaking down under their load of fruit, which scarcely paid for the gathering. The "nopal" or prickly pears have been rooted up, as well as most of the vines and figs. A few young nopals have been planted, and some preparation made for experiments in cochineal. Mr Montefiore writes: "The ditches discovered on the south side of the valley have evidently been ancient tombs. Those on the hill, round and near the palace, were no doubt planted with trees, and there is every reason to believe that they may be found running in every direction on the estate."

Sir Edward Codrington offered them a convoy for the next day, but Mr Montefiore requested him to permit the Mastiff, Captain Copeland, to take them to Naples, which request was kindly granted.

Sunday, December 30th.—In the evening the Admiral sent his Secretary to Mr Montefiore with the letters, requesting that he would deliver them personally—one to Lord Burghersh at Florence, and another to the Duke of Clarence.

Monday, December 31st.—"A very tempestuous day," he writes; "the wind is so high that it is impossible for any vessel to get out of the harbour. We must have patience, and wait a little longer. I feel rather better," he adds, "but my neck still continues troublesome." This being the last day of the civil year, a feeling of deep thankfulness prompts him to end his diary with a prayer similar to the one he uttered on the conclusion of the Jewish year.[Pg 52]

The homeward journey was not marked by any incidents which call for special description. Wherever the travellers halted they followed the daily itinerary, which, once settled, was never departed from, and it was as follows:—First they repaired to Synagogue, then they went to the principal Jewish communal schools and institutions, and in the course of the afternoon exchanged visits with friends or with those to whom they had letters of introduction, whilst the local sights were by no means forgotten.

Friday, January 11th, 1828.—The Mastiff, having left Malta on the 2nd of January, was towed into the harbour of Naples, where they anchored. Mr and Mrs Montefiore proceeded at once to the hotel, where they met Baron and Baroness Amschel Rothschild, their handsome son, Baron Charles Rothschild, and Baroness Charlotte Rothschild.

A few days later they visited Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Wednesday, January 16th.—Mrs Montefiore dined at Baron Charles', but Mr Montefiore was not well enough to accompany her. It was a large dinner party, and the guests included the Austrian Ambassador with his wife, the Duke and Duchess D'Ascoli, the Duke and Duchess Theodore, Sir Henry and Lady Lushington, and others.

Thursday, January 17th.—Mr Montefiore was still obliged to keep his room the whole day. Captain Copeland gave an entertainment on board the Mastiff to Baroness Charlotte Rothschild, Mrs Montefiore, and Barons Charles and Anselm Rothschild, who afterwards dined with Mr Montefiore. In the evening Mrs Montefiore accompanied Baroness Charlotte to a ball at the Sardinian Embassy, to which both she and Mr Montefiore had been invited by the Marquis and Marchioness di S. Saturius. Mrs Montefiore said there were about five hundred of the nobility present, who had been invited in honour of the Princess Salerno, a daughter of the Emperor of Austria, whom she saw there enjoying a waltz.

Friday, January 18th.—The Duke and Duchess D'Ascoli paid Mrs Montefiore a long visit. The Duchess appeared to take great interest in the Holy Land, making many enquiries on subjects connected with Sacred Scripture. When she had obtained all the information Mrs Montefiore could give her, she asked to see the curiosities which the latter had brought with[Pg 53] her. Mrs Montefiore produced the whole of her collection. The Duchess seemed especially pleased with a shell engraved with historical subjects by a Bethlehem artist. Mrs Montefiore requested her acceptance of it, and the Duchess appeared much gratified.

Sunday, January 20th.—Mr Montefiore called on the Secretary of the British Legation, with whom he left the Admiral's letter for Lord Burghersh.

Thursday, January 24th.—We find them at Rome, visiting some of the principal studios of the sculptors, Albertus Thorwaldsen, Canova, his successor Cincinnato Baruzzi, and others. At the studio of Guiseppe Pacetti in the Via Sisterno they saw an ancient statue of a negress with flowers, for which Mr Montefiore intended to make an offer.

Friday, January 25th.—They visited the Vatican, and all the museums, galleries, and places of interest.

Sunday, January 27th.—In the course of the day they received a deputation from the community, who informed them that there were in Rome 3500 of their brethren, of whom the majority were poor, and Mr Montefiore requested their acceptance of his and Mrs Montefiore's offerings to alleviate the distress. He purchased the female figure, in black marble, representing Abundance, which he had seen on the previous Thursday in the Via Sisterno, with the intention of placing it in the hall of his house at Park Lane. The next day they left Rome.

Friday, February 1st.—They reached Leghorn safely, where Mr Montefiore at once offered up the following prayer:—

"Praise and most humble and sincere thanks to the Giver of all Good, the Creator of heaven and earth, for all His manifold mercies towards me, for having preserved me from so many perils and brought me safe to the city of my birth, and in the enjoyment of one of the greatest blessings Providence has bestowed on me, the company of my dear Judith, the companion and sharer of all my danger."

Saturday, February 2nd.—They visited the Synagogue. It was crowded. The state of Mr Montefiore's health not being as satisfactory as he could have wished, he sent for a physician.

Sunday, February 3rd.—They remained in the hotel, Mr Montefiore not feeling well. "Were it not," he writes, "for the[Pg 54] extreme anxiety I feel to see my dear mother, I should, without the slightest hesitation, resolve upon remaining in Italy for six months at the Baths of Casciana, about twenty miles from here. I find my complaint gets worse every day. God help me!"

Monday, February 4th.—They visit the schools. A deputation from the Institution "Or Tora," consisting of Messrs Joseph Uzielli, Abram Pardo, Michael Buznah, and Salomoni Mortara, received them. "I was much delighted," says Mr Montefiore, "with the appearance and behaviour of the boys, who have made great progress in their studies. Most of the seniors, although not more than fourteen, are perfect masters of the Hebrew language, and can write in the same on any subject of their studies that may be given them. They receive a most liberal education, even music and drawing. There are about sixty boys; some few pay six francs a month. After the portion of the Pentateuch is read on Sabbath in the Synagogue, the boys draw lots which one should read the portion from the Prophets. All must therefore be well prepared." Mr Montefiore next went to a school open to all children of poor Jews who are in Leghorn. There were about 150 boys present. They are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic on the Lancastrian principle. They then proceeded to the girls' schools, where, in addition to the above subjects, children are taught needlework and straw-plaiting for bonnets. Some of the girls, not more than eight or nine years old, translated the Hebrew prayers. Mr and Mrs Montefiore, in token of the satisfaction they had felt at the inspection of the schools, left generous presents for the pupils.

They then journeyed through La Spezia, Chiavari, Genoa, Novi, Turin, Suza, Lanslebourg, Maltaveme, Sava, Les Echelles, Lyons, La Palisse, and Neuville, in their own carriage, then on to Paris and Calais, where they arrived on Wednesday.

"I am still," Mr Montefiore says, "very unwell indeed. I feel that some disorder is making daily and rapid strides; am most anxious to reach home for the benefit of rest and quiet. The newspapers appear very warlike, and I think there can be but little doubt as to the truth of their reports. I hope I shall not be induced to enter into any large speculation; never having been endowed with courage in my younger days, it would now be nothing less than downright folly. May heaven guard me from my friends as well as from my enemies."[Pg 55]




Thursday, February 28th.—They arrived safely in Dover harbour, and had the pleasure of seeing some of their near relatives who had come down to welcome them.

They proceeded next day to their home in London, where they immediately paid a visit to Mr Montefiore's mother.

Having discharged this pleasing duty, they repaired to the Admiralty, to leave the letters which had been entrusted by Admiral Codrington to Mr Montefiore for delivery. They reached their home at five o'clock, again to enjoy their Sabbath, a day of hallowed peace and rest, at Park Lane.

The following morning they attended Synagogue to offer up prayers for their safe return, and were received by the ecclesiastical authorities and representatives of the community with manifestations of pleasure at their reappearance among them. Later in the day Mr Montefiore waited on the Duke of Clarence to deliver into his hands the letter from the Admiral. Mr Montefiore returned much pleased with the audience he had had with His Royal Highness.

The great object which Mr and Mrs Montefiore had in view, when setting out for the Holy Land, had so far been accomplished, that they had made a sojourn of three days in the City of Jerusalem, a gratification, however, which they had been permitted to enjoy only in return for unusually great sacrifices.

Mr Montefiore now placed himself under the care of an eminent physician, who for a long time visited him almost daily. As his doctor did not, however, forbid Mr Montefiore's leaving the house or following his usual pursuits, he went regularly, except on the Sabbath and Festivals, to the city, attending the Boards of the Alliance Marine and Alliance Life and Fire[Pg 56] Offices, the Imperial Continental Gas Association, the Silk Company, and those of all his various communal and charitable institutions. His physician would often accompany him on his way to the city.

In accordance with the injunction in Deut. xxiii. 23, "That which has gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform," he endeavoured to fulfil the promises he had made in Egypt, Jaffa, and Malta. He spoke to Sir Robert Farquhar in favour of Mr Barker's appointment as Consul General in Egypt in place of the late Mr Salt. He gave Signor Damiani's letter to Mr George Canning, first Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, soliciting him to appoint young Damiana British Consul at Jaffa, in succession to his father. Finally, he called on Dr Lee of Doctors' Commons, leaving the manuscript, "The Story of Gaiffa," which the author had requested him, when at Malta, to take there.

He had the satisfaction of hearing afterwards that his friendly intercession on behalf of the applicants had been partially successful.

He was now called upon to fulfil a promise of a mournful nature, which, previously to his setting out for the Holy Land, he had made at the request of the Ecclesiastical Chief of his community.

19th Sivan 5588 a.m.—"It was Sunday morning, the 1st of June 1828, when the Rev. Hazan de Sola informed me that it had pleased heaven to call to eternal glory our most worthy Haham Meldola, this morning suddenly, and that he had appointed me his executor conjointly with two other gentlemen.

"Tuesday has been a very fatiguing day. At half-past eight I was at Mansell Street attending as Lavador. I took care to see that all the Rev. Haham's requests were strictly complied with. At twelve the funeral cortege proceeded to Bevis Marks. The Rev. Dr Hirschel preached an excellent discourse over the coffin at the old burial ground. The body was carried by all the representatives of the congregation. I assisted in lowering it into the grave. I subsequently returned to the house of the mourners, there joining the assembly at vesper prayers. It was seven o'clock when I left."

Mr Montefiore frequently called at the house of the bereaved[Pg 57] relatives, conveying to them his sympathy and making friendly offers of his services.

Always feeling an interest in objects connected with the Holy Land, he went to look at the drawings and sketches made by Mr Thomas Wyse, jun. (son-in-law of Lucien Bonaparte), during his stay in that part of the world. Some of them he found beautiful and faithful representations of views in and about Jerusalem. But what engages his mind most now is the desirability of procuring the necessary means for the support of educational institutions in the Holy Land.

The spread of education and the establishment of schools and colleges have justly been regarded by all enlightened nations as a barometer of civilisation, a sign of the pulsation of life in the heart of a people, and the gladdening light and comforting joy for both rich and poor. But all who are acquainted with the history of the Jews, both ancient and modern, will readily admit that no other nation or class of people have ever shown their appreciation of it under more unfavourable circumstances and at a greater sacrifice. They never relaxed their exertions to benefit by education, notwithstanding the numerous and painful checks from which their progress has often suffered. As the grain of seed under the rough and stony surface, trodden down by the heavy steps of the wanderer, only after turning and twisting in many directions, finally sends forth its tender blade into the pure atmosphere and reviving light of the sun, so the seed of intellect in the brain of the Jew had to pass through many trials and troubles before its first shoot was permitted to show itself and to thrive in the beneficent rays of liberty.

An opportunity presented itself to Mr Montefiore to assist the good cause of education by the arrival of a special messenger from Jerusalem, sent to draw his attention to an important case referring to a legacy bequeathed to a theological college in the Holy City.

This messenger, the Rev. A. J., who was a member of the college in question belonging to the Spanish and Portuguese community in Jerusalem, said that he was sent by the representatives of that institution to make their case known to the head of the Spanish and Portuguese community in London, and to receive £2600 consols from a certain person. The interest of that stock having been bequeathed to the said college by two[Pg 58] friends of Zion residing in England, the representatives should have received the same in regular remittances. The person mentioned, however, being the only surviving trustee, had sold the stock, and had for some years discontinued the remittance of dividends. Mr Montefiore gave the messenger a most polite and friendly reception, and called on two gentlemen who, he knew, would take an interest in the case, asking them to associate themselves with him in furtherance of the above object.

A few days later he gave an entertainment at Park Lane, inviting most of the leading and influential members of the community to meet the messenger from Jerusalem, who, it was here suggested, should be asked to deliver a discourse in the Portuguese Synagogue. The Rev. A. J. consented to do so, and gave an interesting address to the community in pure Biblical Hebrew.

Mr Montefiore went with his friends to the solicitor to hear the trustee's answer to the Bill filed in Chancery, and he promised to give them his opinion on the subject in a few days.

Whilst awaiting the solicitor's opinion, the Rev. A. J. was taken seriously ill, and was received into the hospital of the Spanish and Portuguese community, where at Mr Montefiore's expense he was visited by the most eminent physicians. Eventually he recovered.

Ten days later the Rev. A. J. sent for J. M. B., a particular friend of the trustee, to whom he made the following proposition:—"That the trustee should pay him (the Rev. A. J.) his expenses and all law charges, and also £500 down, the balance to be invested in the names of trustees, and the present trustee to enjoy the interest during his lifetime, the capital at his decease reverting to Jerusalem." J. M. B. promised to communicate the offer to his friend. The solicitor informed Mr Montefiore that this gentleman's attorney had returned to England, and would lose no time in giving an answer to the messenger's Amendment Bill in the Court of Chancery. Some time afterwards Mr Montefiore met by appointment with two other friends at the house of the messenger, leaving him the power of attorney, to act for the recovery of the funds.

Three months later, however, he and two friends had to undertake the very unpleasant task of informing the rev. gentleman[Pg 59] that, in their opinion, he would not be able to obtain any money from the trustee, and a sum of money had to be given him to enable him to return to Jerusalem.

With a sorrowful heart at the result of his mission he left England. "But never," he writes in a letter addressed to Mr Montefiore from Jerusalem, "will the recollection of the great kindness, sympathy, and attention which I have met from yourself and my many friends be effaced from my memory."

This misappropriation of trust funds intended for poor students in the Holy City roused the utmost indignation in the community. It was deemed a sacrilege, and the strongest terms of reprobation were expressed against the individual who had thus outraged the feelings of humanity.

"There can be no doubt," said Mr Montefiore many years later, speaking on the same subject, "that trusts connected with charitable or strictly religious institutions are more liable than others to be, if not strictly speaking misappropriated, at least misdirected, though it may probably be unintentional, more especially when the religious views of the trustees differ from those of the testator. The trust in this particular instance being connected with the study of a language held in esteem by all religious denominations, the act becomes much aggravated, nay, unpardonable."

The fervent attachment which Mr Montefiore evinced to the Holy Land did not in any way interfere with his devotion to England.

I have already pointed out to the reader the great zeal which he manifested for the defence of his country when serving as a volunteer, and on all occasions he continued to declare that he was ever ready to fulfil his duties by going on active service.

In common with his brethren in all parts of the world, he felt it most painfully that, in a country like England, where so many well-meaning citizens evinced their sympathy with the sufferers from oppression, he as a Jew should still be debarred from many of those rights and privileges to which every loyal subject is fully entitled.

The sacrifices which the Jews all over Europe had made during the war of 1815, by shedding their blood in defence of the country in which they lived, and by their liberal contributions to the funds for the relief of the wounded, and the support of[Pg 60] the soldiers' widows and orphans, had been acknowledged and appreciated.

In Holland and France the Jews were fully emancipated, filling high municipal offices in their respective districts, whereas in England the Jews who, since the year 1753, when the Ministry was compelled to withdraw the Naturalisation Act, after it had passed the House of Lords, had been in vain endeavouring to secure their civil rights, thought that the time had now arrived when they might hope to be more successful in the just demands they made upon an enlightened assembly of legislators in both Houses of Parliament.

On June 26th Mr Montefiore went with Mr I. L. Goldsmid to the Duke of Norfolk to meet various committees of Dissenters and Catholics, for the purpose of consulting as to the best mode of obtaining privileges for the Jews. They there met Messrs Blount, C. Butler (Catholics), Foa, Bowany, and Aspenhill (Dissenters), and interchanged views on the subject of obtaining relief from all religious disabilities. Similar meetings were held in other localities which were attended by several members of the community, the result being, as is well known, the repeal of the Test and Corporation Act.

Greatly encouraged by the result of these meetings, Mr Montefiore, conjointly with Mr N. M. Rothschild, Mr I. L. Goldsmid, and others, pursued with great energy the object in view.

In the month of August, Mr and Mrs Montefiore set out for a little excursion to Exeter, Bath, and other places, for the purpose of giving Mr Montefiore a short respite from the fatigue entailed upon him by his onerous duties.

We find them again at Park Lane about the end of that month.

The diary of 1829 continues to record the great exertions made by Mr Montefiore and other members of his community to attain their civil rights. He attends besides to all his various duties, and has headed the volume by the three following lessons for his own guidance:—

"Be content with what God has allotted you, and you are rich." "To learn, listen. To be safe, be silent." "No man can be happy who does not devote at least five or six hours daily to some useful employment."

On Sunday, 22nd February, he writes: "Mr Isaac L. Goldsmid[Pg 61] paid me a long visit, consulting as to the best mode of procuring general toleration for the Jews. Judith and self took a ride to see Hannah Rothschild and her husband. We had a long conversation on the subject of liberty for the Jews. He said he would shortly go to the Lord Chancellor and consult him on the matter. Hannah said if he did not, she would.

"The spirit manifested here by Mrs Rothschild, and the brief but impressive language she used, reminded me most strikingly of her sister, Mrs Montefiore."

Mr Montefiore called the next day on Mr I. L. Goldsmid and Mr Moses Mocatta, and conversed with them on the present state of the Jews.

Subsequently he went with Mr N. M. Rothschild to Sir James Mackintosh, to request him to bring a Bill into Parliament to allow aliens (Jews) to hold freehold land and to vote for members of Parliament.

In the cause of emancipation friendly dinners and entertainments were occasionally given for the purpose of affording friends of religious and civil liberty an opportunity of exchanging their views on the subject. To many of these, given by N. M. Rothschild at Piccadilly, Mr and Mrs Montefiore were invited. At one of them they met the Duke and Duchess of St Albans, Lady Louisa Beauclerk, the Hon. Shaw Stewart, Lord and Lady Kinnwell, Sir William and Lady Rowly, the Spanish Ambassador and his wife, the Brazilian Ambassador, Sir Charles Beresford, Sir William Abdy, Mr George Harrison, Mr Kelly Addenston. "Twenty-three," says Mr Montefiore, "sat down to table. Moschelles came in the evening, played on the piano, and accompanied Miss Rothschild. It was near twelve before the party broke up." Mr Montefiore was highly gratified with the result of the conversations he had with several influential noblemen on the subject he had so much at heart.

On a similar occasion at the house of Mr John Pearce, St Swithin's Lane, he met a number of gentlemen interested in the emancipation of the Jews. He there spoke to Daniel O'Connell and his son, to the O'Gorman Mahon, I. L. Goldsmid, young Attwood, Samuel Gurney and his son, Fowell Buxton, Charles Pearce, Pearce Mahony, and Dr Hume. O'Connell and the O'Gorman were very chatty.

On the 17th of March, Mr and Mrs Montefiore called on Mr[Pg 62] N. M. Rothschild. They read there the petition of the Jews to both Houses of Parliament prepared by Mr Tooke, and "both Hannah and Rothschild," he observes, "approve of it."

On the evening of the same day he attended a meeting of deputies from the several London Synagogues held at the Mocattas', in Russell Square. Mr Mocatta was elected Chairman, and Joseph Cohen Honorary Secretary. There were also present Dr Joshua Van Oven, Lyon Samuel, Levy Solomon, Hart Micholls, David Brandon, Moses Montefiore, jun. Mr Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, who had written a letter to the Chairman, was sent for. He came in shortly afterwards, and laid before the meeting a statement of the favourable prospect of obtaining the removal of the Jewish disabilities. "It was half-past ten," says Mr Montefiore, "before we separated, first passing a vote of thanks to Mr I. L. Goldsmid and to our Chairman."

A few days later Mr I. L. Goldsmid informed him of what had passed between Mr N. M. Rothschild and the Lord Chancellor on Tuesday, 17th March. He went to the House of Lords with Mr Rothschild. The Chancellor was very polite, and regretted that he had not time that day to go into the business, but requested him to come the following Wednesday at half-past four.[Pg 63]




On his return to Park Lane from the House of Lords he found that Mr Pope (Upper Marylebone) had brought letters from the Holy City for him and Lord Stanhope, the purport of which was to endeavour to recover a debt against Lady Hester Stanhope, of Djouni, or "The Tower of Lebanon," as it is generally called, near Zidon in the Holy Land.

I had the privilege of spending several very pleasant days with Lady Hester Stanhope in that Tower. My visit to her has been mentioned in a book entitled "The Memoirs of Lady Hester Stanhope, as related by herself in conversation with her Physician, &c.," pp. 233 and 238.

I may therefore be justified in expressing an opinion on the merits of her case.

Lady Hester Stanhope, the niece of Mr Pitt, Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1782, undertook the self-imposed and benevolent task of educating the Maronite, Druze, and Mahommedan children. It was her pleasing endeavour to help, according to her means, every distressed person requiring relief, to disseminate feelings of humanity among husbands, who in the East treated their wives like slaves, and even to expostulate with Emirs and Pachas if they happened to disregard the laws of justice in the performance of their duties. She reprimanded Abdallah Pasha for his cruel treatment of his household, and particularly for having caused one of his wives to be brutally disfigured for some wrong which he thought she had done him.

For these her good qualities she was held in high regard by all classes of society, not only in Syria, but also among all the nomadic tribes of the desert. Any traveller wishing to proceed to Palmyra unmolested by the marauding Bedouins of the desert,[Pg 64] had only to provide himself with a tezkeree (kind of passport) from Lady Hester Stanhope, and he was not only at liberty to move about safely in any direction he pleased, but was welcomed with the utmost cordiality by every chief on the road.

Lady Hester was very fond of Biblical studies, and of entering into discussions on these matters, although very few of those who visited her were competent to guide her in these studies. In consequence of this she imbibed some strange notions, among others, the belief that there existed only three correct Bible manuscripts in the world; unfortunately of the three she believed in, one is of doubtful authenticity, and one contains only the New Testament. She was greatly astonished when I told her that many correct Bible manuscripts exist, and on hearing my description of the celebrated Farkhi Bible manuscript at Damascus, which has been valued at £1000, she became quite excited, and declared her intention of going as soon as possible to Damascus to inspect this treasure. When conversing with her on religious subjects, her ideas at first appeared peculiar, but on hearing the reasons she gave for them, one could not but appreciate her noble intentions. She abhorred the idea of cruelty to any dumb creature. Having convinced herself that the Jewish mode of slaughtering animals for consumption is less cruel than any other, and that the examination of the meat prescribed by the Jewish law is most beneficial from a sanitary point of view, she adopted both, and kept for the purpose a person at Djouni, competent to perform these duties in her household.

One day she invited me to accompany her to her stables; here two beautiful horses, one grey, and the other chestnut, came towards her, and laid their heads on her shoulder. She called my attention to the peculiar formation of their backs, which showed a tendency to rise in two places at a slight distance from each other, leaving room for the rider to sit between them as in a Turkish saddle. According to the certificate she held from the person who sold them, they were descended from a famous sire in a stud belonging to one of the Kaleefahs. "One of these," she said, "might well be suitable for such a man (referring to the much hoped for emissary of peace) when entering the city known by the name of the 'City of Peace,' on his mission of humanity, and the other for myself, when co-operating[Pg 65] with him in the work of establishing tranquillity and happiness among the inhabitants of Syria."

She complained of her words being often misinterpreted by strangers who came to visit her, hence her great reluctance to admit travellers into her presence.

Mr Montefiore, Mr Hope, and Lord Stanhope would have done all in their power to satisfy the party who sent the letters to England, as well as to co-operate with Lady Hester Stanhope in all her benevolent exertions, but it had been suggested to them to communicate first with the Consul at Beyrout, before taking any decisive steps in the matter, and the letters from the Holy Land had to be laid aside for a time.

Returning again to Mr Montefiore's exertions for emancipation, it should be mentioned that he went to a dinner given by Mr I. L. Goldsmid to meet Lords Lansdowne, Suffield, and Auckland, the Dutch Minister, the American Minister, Daniel O'Connell and his son, P. Mahony, the O'Gorman Mahon, Thos. Wyse, Tooke, Fowell Buxton, &c. He spoke to all of them on the subject he had so much at heart. The O'Gorman was very sociable; he wished to see the Portuguese Synagogue, also to have the opportunity of presenting the Jews' petition to Parliament.

On the 1st of April, Mr Montefiore accompanied Mr N. M. Rothschild to the House of Lords. On their entry they were informed that the Lord Chancellor had just sent word that he would not come down to the House that day. Lowdham however promised them to make an appointment for the following Monday. On his return from the House Mr Montefiore repaired to the city, to attend the anniversary dinner of the Jews' Hospital at the City of London Tavern. Mr Bing, the Member for Middlesex, took the chair. J. Alexander, T. A. Curtis, and J. M. Pearce were present, and made excellent speeches in favour of civil and religious liberty.

A few days later he went again with Mr N. M. Rothschild to the House of Lords to see Lord Lyndhurst, but it being five o'clock, his Lordship was obliged to go into the House immediately, promising however, to see them on the following Wednesday.

They saw the Duke of Wellington, who said he wished to see Mr Rothschild on Wednesday, on his own private affairs.[Pg 66]

On the appointed day they again went to the House of Lords to see the Lord Chancellor. He said they were at the time so occupied with the Catholic business, they could attend to nothing else. He advised them to remain quiet till this was settled, but if they thought it more to their own interest to bring the matter forward immediately, to set Lord Holland to do so, and he would support him, as he considered it right that the Jews should be relieved from their present disabilities; at the same time they must be guided by public opinion. They assured the Lord Chancellor they would be entirely guided by his advice, and would do nothing for the present. He said he would consult the Duke of Wellington, and would write to Mr Rothschild what had best be done.

On leaving the House, Mr Montefiore called on Mr I. L. Goldsmid to tell him what had passed.

The 13th of April was one of those days which he spent in attending to his Companies and Associations. He then called on Messrs Garry & Curtis to solicit a presentation to Christ's Hospital for Captain Anderson's boy. Attended the Irish Bank, and in the evening was present, together with Mrs Montefiore, at a dinner given by Mr Fairlie of York Terrace. They found there "a most splendid party and elegant entertainment." They met Lord Fife, Sir Herbert and Lady Taylor, Sir Thomas Clark, Sir John Ogleby, Mr Towncan, Mr P. and his wife, Mr J. Pearce, bank director, Colonel Blackburn and his wife, Sir James Shaw, and Sir Thomas, an Indian General, who had been confined in irons for three years and four months at Seringapatam. They had the opportunity of hearing the opinion of most of the party on the subject of civil and religious liberty, and it proved in every case highly satisfactory.

What occupied Mr Montefiore's mind this day more than other subjects was his intended presentation to the King at the approaching levee.

Mr Edward Blount said he believed it would be sufficient if the Duke of Norfolk merely sent his card with Mr Montefiore's to the Lord Chancellor's office, but he would enquire further of the Duke. Mr Montefiore, however, differed from him, and did not wish to be introduced at the levee in that way, unless Mr Blount was so convinced of its propriety as to be introduced in the same way with him.[Pg 67]

The next day Mr Blount showed him a note he had received from Sir George Naylor of the Herald's office, who said that any gentleman introduced at the levee by a peer who has the privilege of the entrée, has his name announced by the Lord-in-Waiting in the usual manner, the peer standing at the same time near the King. In this way Mr Blount was to be introduced, and Mr Montefiore was to accompany him. The Duke of Norfolk, Mr Blount said, would send Mr Montefiore's card with his own to the Lord Chamberlain's office.

There is an incident of a touching nature recorded in his diary about this time. "On the 15th April I called on Mrs Zaccaria Laurence at Bury Court, and gave her the receipt for the further share of the residue of the estate of my much respected grandmother, Esther Hannah Montefiore. With gratitude I recall to my mind her words to me on her deathbed. She lamented not having left me more in her will, and added, 'God bless you, and God will bless you.' Peace be to her memory. O that I may follow her excellent and most exemplary conduct, and may my deathbed be as happy as it pleased Providence to make hers. Amen."

On April 16th, accompanied by Mr N. M. Rothschild, he attended a meeting of the Deputies at Mr M. Samuels' house, 19 Leman Street. There were present Messrs Moses Mocatta, Joseph Cohen, Michells, Van-Oven, Goodman, Levy Salamon, David and Joseph Brandon, Moses Montefiore, I. L. Goldsmid, S. Samuel, and John M. Pearce.

After a long debate it was resolved that Pearce should prepare a petition, and that they should then meet again. A few days later he called with Mr Moses Mocatta on Mr Pearce, to read and make alterations in the proposed petition of the Jews to Parliament.

The Feast of the Passover was now approaching. Those who know the distance from Park Lane to Bevis Marks in the city, will appreciate Mr and Mrs Montefiore's zeal which led them to walk from their own home in all weather to the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Bevis Marks. As they always desired to be in their places even before the prayers commenced, they were obliged to leave home at a very early hour of the morning. After the conclusion of the service, which lasted about two hours and a half, they breakfasted with one of the officers of[Pg 68] the Synagogue, and then proceeded to pay visits to all their friends in the vicinity. It was often nearly four o'clock when they again walked back to Park Lane, where in the evening they entertained the members of their family and several friends at dinner.

The second day of the Festival was passed in the same manner. Few would now willingly undergo such fatigue, but Mr and Mrs Montefiore's religious fervour and warm attachment to their friends would not allow them to plead weariness as an excuse either for not joining their community in the House of Prayer, or for neglecting their friends. They continued this practice until their advanced age and uncertain state of health no longer permitted it.[Pg 69]




Immediately after the Passover Festival Mr Montefiore was present at an important meeting, convened by the elders of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation, to consider the propriety of introducing the English language for the delivery of sermons and addresses in the synagogues and colleges. The debate was very long and stormy, as many members of the congregation were greatly attached to the Spanish tongue, in which their ancestors in many cases had made their names famous. This is scarcely to be wondered at, when we consider that the Jews at one time were highly esteemed in Spain. From the works of Abbot Bartolocci de Cellens, we learn that they were regarded among the learned as scholars, and among financiers as honorable, intelligent, and enterprising men; and that they filled high offices in colleges and universities, as well as in the councils of kings and assemblies of merchants and bankers. We must, therefore, not be surprised that they still clung to that language in spite of the terrible persecutions which drove them from the Spanish peninsula, but which do not seem to have weakened the affection they felt for their native land. The language of the country must always constitute the strongest bond of union between that country and its people, although intelligent men emigrating to a land where all are treated with justice and humanity, must consider it their first duty to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with its language. In a land where justice and humanity are unknown, however, or hidden under the dark shadows of prejudice, ignorance, and fanaticism; where some of the children of the land would scarcely dare to speak of it as "my fatherland" or "my mother country," because it disowns those who would designate it by these terms; in such[Pg 70] a land the language is often disliked by its oppressed children themselves, who long for some other country where they may learn to forget the injustice they have encountered there.

Yet, as it may appear, this was not the case with the Spanish Jews. Although the many years of prosperity which they had enjoyed in Spain had terminated in persecutions, almost unparalleled in history; although thousands of them perished under the terrible reign of the Inquisition, in the awful tortures of the "Auto da fé," and the rest were finally banished in the year 1492, yet, as their continued use of the Spanish language seems to prove, they only remembered their days of happiness in that land. Even those who settled in Turkey, Morocco, Algiers, Egypt, Palestine, Austria, or Holland, still used the Spanish language in their prayer-books, Bibles, and codes of communal laws. Such was also the case with the Jews who settled in England. Though they had all gladly adopted the language of the land which they had made their home under the sway of a just and enlightened monarch, they still clung to the Spanish tongue as that of their fatherland, and were loth to banish its use entirely. But in all the schools and colleges in England so much time was in those days devoted to the various branches of English study, that little was left for the acquirement of what was now to them a foreign language. The rising Jewish generation was, therefore, not well acquainted with the language into which the prayers had been translated, and hence the desire of several members of the community to replace it by the English tongue.

The struggle between the two parties—those advanced in years, who naturally wished to adhere to the old ways, and the young and energetic members, who desired to adopt the innovation—proved long and hard. Finally, a resolution was carried by eighteen votes to eleven, "To have all religious discourses delivered in the synagogues in English, and also henceforth to have all proclamations made in the same tongue."

The meeting, which opened its deliberations at 11 a.m., did not adjourn until half-past four.

On Tuesday, April 28th, Mr Montefiore called at the Lord Chamberlain's office and left his card, on which he had written, "To be presented by the Duke of Norfolk." After communicating with Mr N. M. Rothschild, he went, accompanied by[Pg 71] Messrs I. L. Goldsmid and Moses Mocatta, to Mr Pearce to consider some points in connection with the petition, and subsequently resolved to consult Lord Brougham and Dr Lushington on the matter. Later in the day he went with Mr N. M. Rothschild and I. L. Goldsmid to see the Lord Chancellor, who recommended their presenting the petition either through Lord Bexley or Lord Holland; he preferred the former, as the latter, he thought, would make some sensation. When presented, he said, they would see how it was received; if quietly, they could immediately bring in a Bill. In the event of its occasioning any unpleasant feeling, they would not attempt to advance farther that session, more particularly as the public, and even the King himself, were not yet reconciled to the measure in favour of the Catholics.

Mr Montefiore and Mr Rothschild afterwards spoke with Lord Bexley, and explained their wishes to him. He appeared to be doubtful of their obtaining all the privileges that year, but said he would speak to the Chancellor, and see them again the following Thursday.

Mr Montefiore dined that day with Mrs Rothschild, at whose house he met several political friends, as well as Mr I. L. Goldsmid, who told him that Lord Auckland had requested the Marquis of Lansdowne to introduce him (Mr Goldsmid) at the levee.

Wednesday, April 29th.—He gives the following particulars of his first presentation to the King:—

"At 1 p.m. Mr G. Blount, with his son and his nephew Sir Edward Blount, Bart., came for me. I accompanied them to the levee. Our carriage fell into the rank about the middle of Bond Street. It was twenty minutes past two when we reached St James Palace. We entered the first room, and gave a card to the page-in-waiting—'Mr Montefiore, presented by the Duke of Norfolk.' There appeared to be four or five hundred persons in the waiting-room, mostly naval and military officers in full uniform, also many bishops, clergymen, and barristers. The crush was most fatiguing and annoying. It was four o'clock when we reached the second room. Here, as only a few were admitted at a time, we were much more at our ease. In the third room the King was seated about ten paces from the entrance, surrounded by, or rather having on each side of him, his grand[Pg 72] officers. Six or seven persons entered at a time; those who had been introduced before merely gave their cards to the lord-in-waiting, made their bow, and passed on. When I reached His Majesty, I gave my card to the lord-in-waiting, who was standing on his right hand, and who announced in a distinct voice, 'Mr Montefiore, presented to your Majesty by the Duke of Norfolk.' I thereupon bent my left knee to the ground. The King very graciously smiled, and held out his right hand to me, which I kissed. I then rose, and made my bow, and passed on. We passed the King from left to right, and not as I expected from right to left. We were only permitted to remain a few minutes in the audience room.

"Colonel French was standing a few paces from his Majesty, on the right; he spoke with me in a very friendly manner. I was much pleased with the gracious reception I met with. It was twenty-five minutes past four when we left the audience room. We then had to get through a great crowd before we could reach the doors of the palace."

On the following day Mr Montefiore, together with Messrs Rothschild and Goldsmid, went to Lord Bexley, and gave him their petition to read. He read it over, and said he would speak to Lord Eldon and the Bishops, and would see them the next day. He recommended that Mr Thomas Baring should bring the Bill into the Commons.

In the course of the afternoon he called at New Court, and there heard the report of the Duke of Wellington's going out of office, also of the funding of eight millions of Exchequer bills, important topics for consideration to the financiers of the day. Mr Montefiore, however, did not allow this news to disturb his peace of mind, for we find him the same evening accompanying his wife to a grand fancy dress ball given by Mr Goldsmid on the occasion of the coming of age of his eldest son.

On returning home after the ball, a little incident occurred as a consequence of the rumours of a change of Ministry. Their coachman, considering himself somewhat of a politician, took the opportunity, while they were at the ball, of entering one of the neighbouring taverns, where the reported change in the Ministry was being discussed in a lively manner by a large number of his friends. It appears that during the excitement of the debate he had indulged too much in "the cup that cheers," but, unfortunately,[Pg 73] does inebriate, although whether from joy or grief at the anticipated change does not transpire; anyhow, the result was that on attempting to drive Mr and Mrs Montefiore back from the ball he was found totally incapable of guiding the horses, and, notwithstanding the efforts made by the footman to come to his assistance, they had to leave the carriage before arriving at their destination, and complete the journey on foot.

The next morning Mr Montefiore proceeded, in company with Messrs Goldsmid and Rothschild, to the House of Lords, where they spoke to Lord Bexley. He had not yet had an opportunity of conversing with Lord Eldon or the Bishops on the subject of the Jews' petition, but said he would endeavour to do so before Tuesday, on which day he agreed to meet them again. He had conferred with the Chancellor, who said the Duke would not make it a government measure, but expressed himself in favour of it.

The arrival of the Baroness Anselm de Rothschild and her brother Lionel from Paris took Mr and Mrs Montefiore to Piccadilly. But Mr Montefiore allowed himself no relaxation in the furtherance of the great cause he had at heart. On Sunday, 13th of May, he attended in the morning a meeting of the Elders, which lasted from eleven o'clock till a quarter to five. In the evening he was present at a meeting of the Deputies of several Synagogues at Mr Mocatta's residence in Russell Square, where after considerable discussion the petition was finally agreed to, and was to be signed the next day.

Mr Montefiore, in his diary, gives a further account of the matter. "I accompanied Mr Rothschild," he says, "to the House of Lords. Lord Bexley had already left, so we proceeded to his own house. He said he had spoken with Lord Eldon and several of the Bishops, and ascertained that they had no objection to a Bill to omit the words, 'On the true faith of a Christian,' introduced into the Dissenters' Act last session. What would be its effect in law he could not state; he would, however, confer with Lord Brougham and Dr Lushington. He suggested some slight alteration in the wording of the petition. We are to bring it back to him signed on Thursday, and he has promised to present it. He again recommended that Sir Thos. Baring should present it the Commons."

At the meeting of the Deputies they at first objected to the[Pg 74] petition as altered by Lord Bexley, but finally agreed to sign it. Mr Montefiore then went, with Messrs Rothschild and Goldsmid, to Lord Bexley with the petition. The latter thought that everything would be granted to the Jews except seats in Parliament. Before he could present it, he said, he must confer once more with the Lord Chancellor and the Duke of Wellington. Lord Bexley further said, that he would have to see Dr Lushington the next day, but as that would be Saturday, Mr Montefiore declined attending. A few days later Lord Bexley stated distinctly that the Duke of Wellington would decidedly oppose any application the Jews might make this year in Parliament, but would not pledge himself as to next session. Dr Lushington and Lords Bexley and Holland strongly advised a delay till next year.

Mr Montefiore, in his diary, gives some account of a dinner at which he and Mrs Montefiore were present, given by Mr N. M. Rothschild to Mr Mahoney, in payment of a wager which he had lost to that gentleman, on the subject of the agitation for the removal of the Jewish disabilities.

He says: "The party included many important personages. Many of the nobility with whom we conversed on the subject expressed themselves much in favour of the Bill. The Lords Darnley, Lauderdale, and Glenelg, Sir Robert Farquhar, and Messrs Spring-Rice, Jennings, Otway, Cave, and Horace Twiss, whom we met there, were most zealous for the success of the cause. Admiral Sir Ed. Codrington and a Russian Prince, who were among the guests, discussed the subject with great warmth until a late hour."

It was the month of June, and Mr Montefiore required relief, even if only for a short time, from this incessant mental work, accompanied as it often was by the anxiety which falls to the lot of most prominent men in the financial world. He therefore gladly accepted for Mrs Montefiore and himself an invitation to make a tour in the Isle of Wight with the Baron and Baroness Anselm de Rothschild, and Messrs Nathaniel and Meyer de Rothschild.

The genial atmosphere of the island, and the cheerful conversation of their friends and relatives, coupled with the polite attention he received from Sir John Campbell, the Governor, and his officers, soon made Mr Montefiore forget for a while[Pg 75] Banks, Insurance Offices, Stock Exchanges, and Gas Associations, whether in England, France, or Germany.

The time for resuming his usual business pursuits now arrived, and his own words show how well every hour of his day was employed.

"11 a.m. At St James' Palace to thank Colonel Boten for the General Post book he left for me. 11.15. At Alliance and Marine. 12. Attended Committee of Irish Bank till 2. 2.15. Signed policies at Marine. Called on Mr Rothschild at New Court; solicited him to speak with Wertheimer the printer to take N. N.'s son as apprentice. 2.30. Attended Board of Gas till nearly 5. A special meeting of Directors summoned for next Thursday to receive the report of the special committee."

At the close of the year Mr Montefiore was invited by a friend to go to Paris, to be present at the bidding for a new French loan, but he thought proper to decline, remaining firm in his resolution not to further extend his financial operations.

He deemed it important to enter that year in his diary a kind of census of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews in London—another proof of the great desire he felt to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the affairs of his community. I bring it under the notice of the reader whom it may interest, to enable him to compare it with the census of that community at the present day.

Privileged members and their families,               About     750
Unprivileged members and their families,               "         550
Persons receiving relief from the Synagogues,        "       1200
Total,    2500

In consequence of unsuccessful speculations in connection with political changes in England, France, and Spain, there was a general panic in the financial world at the beginning of 1830, but Mr Montefiore, by cautious foresight and firm resolution, had withstood all temptations and remained unaffected by it.

Referring to this panic, he says, on finding several persons very depressed: "I have a thousand times given them my[Pg 76] opinion on that subject, and can only regret that they have not benefited by it. I am most uneasy and unhappy about them; God only knows what the result of this state of things will be." After entering into further details, he concludes by observing, "At all events I stand relieved from reproach, having so repeatedly cautioned them against what appeared to me a desperate situation."

There are several entries, important as historical records, concerning the steps taken in the Jewish emancipation movement. On the 27th January he consulted M. Mocatta and I. L. Goldsmid respecting the application to Parliament in favour of removing the disabilities of the Jews.

On the 31st January he attended a meeting of the deputies of the Synagogues at the house of Moses Mocatta; there were twelve present, besides Mr I. L. Goldsmid and Mr Thomas M. Pearce. They read the opinions of Dr Lushington and Mr Humphries on the present state of the civil disabilities of the Jews. It was resolved to petition Parliament for the removal of the said disabilities, and to request Messrs N. M. Rothschild, I. L. Goldsmid, and Moses Montefiore to see the Duke of Wellington on the subject.

The following day Mr Montefiore received a note from Mr I. L. Goldsmid, requesting that he would endeavour to see Mr N. M. Rothschild, and persuade him to go that day at twelve to the Duke of Wellington.

Accordingly he went out in his carriage with the intention of proceeding to Stamford Hill.

Mr Montefiore here introduces a little incident which may perhaps please some of my readers, and I give it in his own words—

"On reaching Newington, I met N. M. Rothschild in his carriage. Lionel and Anthony were with him; the two latter got into my chariot, and I drove with the former to Prince Esterhazy, whither he was proceeding with the intention of conferring with him on the subject of emancipation in Austria.

"On our arrival I remained for some time with Anthony in the prince's dining-room. An elderly gentleman, who had the appearance of a Catholic priest, was taking his lunch there. When he had finished his repast, he moved to one of the windows,[Pg 77] and kneeling down, continued in that position for about ten minutes, apparently deeply engaged in his devotions. He then rose, and bowing to us, left the room." "I fear," observes Mr Montefiore, "that some of my brethren would have hesitated to have even put their hats on to say the blessing after their meal, instead of acting as this good man did."[Pg 78]




Resuming the thread of our narrative, we find that Mr N. M. Rothschild promised to see the Duke of Wellington. On the 7th of February this interview with the Duke took place. Mr N. M. Rothschild, having addressed him on financial subjects connected with the affairs of Government, said to him, "God has given your grace power to do good—I would entreat you to do something for the Jews," to which the Duke replied, that God bestowed benefits moderately, but that he would read over the petition that day, and Mr N. M. Rothschild might call any morning for his answer. Mr Rothschild then began to speak of Prince Polignac, the minister of Charles X. (who, a few months later, had to fly from the country with all the other members of the ministry, in consequence of the conflicts in Paris between the populace and the army), but the Duke instantly stopped him, saying he did not wish to know anything of foreign politics.

"The next day," writes Mr Montefiore, "Charles Grant declined to present the petition in favour of the Jews, and Mr N. M. Rothschild thought it would be better to defer calling on the Duke for his answer, as, he was much plagued by the unsettled state of parties in the House of Commons. This determination, however," observes Mr Montefiore, "is greatly against the wishes of I. L. Goldsmid and those whom he has consulted on the subject."

February 12th.—Mr Montefiore went with Messrs N. M. Rothschild, I. L. Goldsmid, and Lionel Rothschild to the Duke, who told them that he would not commit the Government on[Pg 79] the question of the Jews, and advised them to defer their application to Parliament, or, if they did not, he said, it must be at their own risk, and he would make no promise. Mr Montefiore thought the answer on the whole favourable, that is, that the Duke had no determined prejudice against the removal of the civil disabilities of the Jews, but would, nevertheless, take no active steps in their favour. Should the Commons suffer it to pass quietly, Mr Montefiore had no doubt the Duke would take no part against them.

The 19th of the same month Mr Montefiore says: "Robert Grant gave notice last night in the House of Commons that he would on Monday next present a petition in favour of the Jews." It was accordingly presented on February 22nd. It was tolerably well received, W. Ward and D. O'Connell speaking in its favour, Sir R. Inglis against it.

A few months later Mr Grant desired to be informed whether the Jews insisted on obtaining the privilege of sitting in Parliament, and if they would refuse all other privileges if this was not obtained. It was Mr Montefiore's opinion that they should take what they could get.

April 14th.—Mr N. M. Rothschild and his son Lionel came to report that they had seen Mr Herries, who informed them that the Government had determined to consult Dr Lushington and R. Grant on the following morning. I. L. Goldsmid, they said, had declared he should prefer losing all, than to give up Parliament. "I," observed Mr Montefiore in return, "decidedly differ with him; we should accept all we can get."

Two days later he writes: "I returned from the House of Commons delighted with the speeches of Robert Grant, Mr Macaulay, Sir James Mackintosh, Lord Morpeth, and Mr W. Smith, in our favour. Sir Robert Inglis, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Solicitor-General (Sugden) were against us. The numbers were—For, 115; against, 97,—majority, 18. We called to congratulate N. M. Rothschild and Hannah on the result of last night's debate."

On the 21st, at a dinner given by Mr I. L. Goldsmid, he met Lord Holland, Sir Robert Wilson, A. J. Robarts, —— Tooke, John Abel Smith, Macaulay, Easthope, Robinson (the member for Worcester), Dr Lushington, and Lord Nugent, all of them most friendly to the cause.[Pg 80]

On a previous occasion, at a meeting held at the house of Mr Moses Mocatta, Mr Montefiore, I. L. Goldsmid, D. Brandon, J. M. Pearce, and others being present, it was resolved to advertise that petitions to both Houses in favour of the Jews were lying for signature at several places as named.

For his own community, the Spanish and Portuguese, and for the German Jewish congregation, he worked with equal zeal. On the 14th we find him, together with several other members of a Committee appointed for that purpose, visiting the houses of all the Jewish poor. "We were," he says, "from soon after 10 in the morning till 5 p.m. about Petticoat Lane and the alleys, courts, &c. We there visited the rooms of about 112 persons. To 108 we gave cards to obtain relief from the General Committee on Thursday. We witnessed many very distressing scenes: parents surrounded by children, frequently six or seven, seldom less than two or three, with little or no fire or food, and scarcely a rag to cover them; without bed or blanket, but merely a sack or rug for the night, a bed being almost out of the question. Few had more than one room, however large the family. The rent was from 1s. 6d. to 3s. per week. Of those who had two rooms, the upper one was most miserable, scarcely an article of furniture. In fact, the distress and suffering appeared so great, that although we had agreed, according to a resolution of the General Committee, only to give cards, we could not refrain from giving what money we had in our pockets. We only met with six or eight cases of sickness, which is really surprising, considering their destitute condition."

He attends a meeting of the Elders, where he strongly supports a resolution for the delivery of a moral discourse every alternate Saturday afternoon in the Synagogue; he is also present at a meeting of the Society for the cultivation of the Hebrew language and its literature, where he offers encouragement to those who excel in literary work.

Mr Montefiore seeks the society of learned and distinguished men of all classes, and is elected on the 3rd of July a member of the "Athenæum."

In the month of July he sets out, in company with his wife, on a tour through France, Holland, Belgium, and Germany.

In September we find them again in England, and Mr[Pg 81] Montefiore is presented by the Duke of Norfolk to the King at the levee, "on his return from the Continent."

It was in this year that Mr and Mrs Montefiore first visited East Cliff Lodge, which was about to be sold by auction. They felt a great desire to purchase it, although much out of repair. After discussing with his wife the probable price it would fetch, he said, "If, please God, I should be the purchaser, it is my intention to go but seldom to London, and after two or three years to reside entirely at Ramsgate. I would build a small but handsome Synagogue, and engage a good and clever man as reader." Leaving the limit of his offer with an agent in Broadstairs, Mr and Mrs Montefiore left Ramsgate and proceeded on a journey to the Continent.

Whilst in Berlin they received information that the estate had been bought by the Duchess of St Albans. "It fetched so much more," he says, "than I had anticipated, that I can only regret it was thought so valuable." He, however, soon recovered from his disappointment, and took a suite of rooms for business purposes in the new house of the Alliance Marine Assurance.

Politics again caused considerable uneasiness in the financial world. Dr Hume informed Mr Montefiore that the Duke of Wellington and all the ministers had resigned, and that the Duke would communicate the fact to the Lords on that day at four o'clock, the King having accepted their resignation. Mr Montefiore, notwithstanding, did not for a moment cease in his exertions on behalf of the Emancipation, and on November 18th, he and Mr Mocatta signed the Jews' petition to both Houses, it being the same petition as that of last year.

Serious disturbances having taken place, he left London, at the request of his wife, without entering into any speculations, and proceeded to Hastings, where they remained till the end of December. We find an entry at the conclusion of his diary for that year, to the effect that he had resolved to persuade a few of his friends, as well as two gentlemen well versed in the Law of Moses and Hebrew and theological literature, to dine with them regularly every week, for the purpose of conversing on those subjects.

The year 1831 (5591-5592 a.m.) presents the reader with a record of events equally stirring and important in their career.[Pg 82] Political, financial, or communal matters follow each other rapidly, continually occupying the thoughts of Mr and Mrs Montefiore, until the day when they succeeded in becoming the owners of East Cliff Lodge, the much wished for estate in Ramsgate, after which they devoted for several months the greater portion of their time to settling and arranging all matters connected with their new property.

Early in the year is the following entry: "The Irish Bank is under considerable alarm owing to a letter published by Daniel O'Connell, threatening, in the event of the press being assailed, to cause a run on the banks, so that in a week's time there shall not be a single bank-note in circulation."

This exciting entry is followed by one referring to the Holy Land. "The Rev. Enoch Sundel of Jerusalem brought letters of introduction to enable him to proceed to the West Indies and America, in the interests of the Holy Land; a noble cause, which the Rev. Dr Hirschel, who accompanied him to Park Lane, strongly advocates."

A little later comes a report that the Duke of Wellington will be appointed Commander-in-Chief; the French will have war: Prince Esterhazy said, "France had offered to disarm if the other Powers would do the same."

Mr Montefiore then turns from the apprehensions of war abroad to enter into the struggle for emancipation at home.

"Robert Grant, Lord Holland, the Lord Chancellor, and others of the Administration," he says, "all advise us to put off the 'Jewish Relief Bill' till next session, the Ministers having so much important business now on hand. At all events, Robert Grant is desirous of seeing the same gentlemen who were with him last year on Monday next." Mr Montefiore then went to Mr Mocatta, who had called a meeting of the Committee of Deputies for next day, and proceeded with Mr I.L. Goldsmid, by appointment, to Dr Lushington.

East Cliff Lodge, Ramsgate. See Vol. I., page 83.

Dr Lushington advised that the same Bill should be brought forward again, that the Jews should not accept less than all privileges, and that no application for an audience should be made to Earl Grey, lest he should recommend deferring the measure. Mr Montefiore informed Dr Lushington that he was sure the Deputies, if asked, would gladly accept anything [Pg 83]the Government might offer, however short of the repeal of all their disabilities. Lord Holland, who was afterwards consulted by Mr I.L. Goldsmid, concurred in opinion with Dr Lushington. Mr Montefiore here observes that Mr I.L. Goldsmid was greatly displeased with the Deputies, saying that he did not care about the measure, and would establish a new Synagogue with the assistance of the young men; he would alter the present form of prayer to that in use in the Synagogue at Hamburg.

Thus it often happens that two parties, both with the best intentions, will, according to certain impressions made on their minds, differ more or less in their mode of obtaining an object dear alike to the hearts of both; and unless some equally zealous, yet impartial, friend steps in to remove or lessen the cause of their dissension, grave consequences, to the disadvantage of both, commonly follow.

"Ireland," says Mr Montefiore, "is in a very disturbed state, and the Continent ripe for war." Under these circumstances he thought he could not do better than leave London, the seat of financial struggles, and go to Ramsgate. There he completed the purchase of East Cliff Lodge, with twenty-four acres of land belonging to the estate, henceforth his marine residence to the day of his death.

So much interest being centred in this spot, I give many entries made on the subject. "I met John Cumming; he signed the conveyance of East Cliff to me. I paid him" (the purchase money and the value of the furniture), "after he had executed all the deeds. I also paid Messrs Dawes and Chatfield for the conveyance, &c., £124, 4s. 4d. May the Almighty bless and preserve my dear Judith and myself to enjoy the possession of it for many years, that we may also have the happiness of seeing our intended Synagogue completed, and always have a large congregation."

They engaged Mr A. D. Mocatta as architect; he submitted drawings for the Synagogue, which were at once put into the hands of the builders. The architect estimated the cost for erecting the Synagogue at between £1500 and £1600, exclusive of the interior, which was to cost £300 or £400.

The work was commenced, and on the 29th of July the excavations for the foundation walls were complete. "Please heaven," said Mr Montefiore to his wife as they walked round[Pg 84] the adjoining field, "to-morrow night, after Sabbath, we shall have the happiness of placing the two first bricks preparatory to our laying the foundation stone on the eve of the new moon of Tamooz," 5691 a.m. (9th August 1831).

In accordance with this arrangement, they proceeded to Hereson the next evening at nine o'clock, accompanied by Mrs Justina Cohen, her daughter Lucy, and Mr Benjamin Gomperz. On the ground they were met by Cresford the builder, with his nephew, also Grundy with his son, and Craven his partner. Everything having been properly prepared, Mr Montefiore covered the part on which the wall near the Holy Ark for the reception of the sacred scrolls of the Pentateuch was to be built, with Terra Santa, which they had brought with them from Jerusalem. Upon this Mr Montefiore, having spread some mortar, fixed four bricks. Mrs Montefiore, Mrs Cohen, Miss Lucy Cohen, and Mr Gomperz each spread some Terra Santa, and fixed two bricks, praying the Almighty to prosper the undertaking and bless them.

The following is the account given by Mr Montefiore of the ceremony of laying the foundation stone.

"Tuesday, 9th August.—New moon of Tamooz. After reading my prayers and reciting the Psalms cxiii. and cxviii., I called at seven a.m. on David Mocatta, the architect, and informed him that we should lay the first stone at eight o'clock. We walked to Hereson, and with the blessing of the Almighty, we laid the first stone of a Holy Synagogue, assisted by our dear and honoured mother, by Abby Gompertz, her daughter Juliana, Solomon and Sarah Sebag, Rebecca Salomons, Justina Cohen, and her daughter Lucy, Louis Cohen, Floretta, his wife, and their son Henry, Nathaniel Lindo, David Mocatta, my dear Judith, and myself. The builders were also present. After the stone was placed, we deposited in a hole, made in it for that purpose, a glass bottle containing the inscription, signed by myself and my dear Judith; a large stone was then placed above it, they were then firmly riveted together with iron bolts and boiling lead. Louis Cohen, Solomon Sebag, Rebecca, and I went afterwards into the cottage, and read the Psalms known by the Hebrew name of Hallel (special praise). They all breakfasted with us at the Albion Hotel, where we were joined by[Pg 85] Adelaide Israel, whose delicate state of health would not permit her to witness the ceremony."

Mr Montefiore gives the following: "This day, 20th August, five and twenty years ago, in 1806, J. E. D. robbed me of all I possessed in the world, and left me deeply in debt; but it pleased the Almighty in His great mercy to enable me in the course of a few years to pay everyone who had been a sufferer through me to the full extent of their loss."[Pg 86]




On his return to London he called on Mr Wood at the Earl Marshal's office, and paid him £32, 17s. 6d., the fees on the grant for having the word Jerusalem in Hebrew characters in his crest.

In October 1831 his friends brought him the account of the Reform Bill having been thrown out at its second reading by the Lords—majority, 41. Mr Montefiore, on hearing that Lord-Chancellor Brougham had spoken in a very illiberal spirit of the Jews, observed, "So much for Whig friends." Still he did not despair, and entertained the belief that their just cause would ultimately meet with better success.

A month later he attended an important meeting of the Board of Representatives of the Spanish and Portuguese Community, established to watch over the general sanitary condition of the poor of the congregation. He generously contributed to the funds to enable the Board to purchase warm clothing, blankets, &c., for the poor.

In the same year he completed the purchase, and took possession of, a cottage and garden near the site on which his Synagogue was being erected.

The Rev. Dr Hirschel having submitted for his approval a number of circular letters addressed to the Hebrew communities in America, wherein he reminds them of their duty to support their indigent brethren in the Holy Land, Mr Montefiore affixes his name to each letter as requested by the Chief Rabbi, in token of his appreciation of the good cause.[Pg 87]

Among the entries referring again to financial matters is the following interesting record:—

"On the 31st of January 1815 I was admitted a sworn broker of the city of London. This day, 16th May 1831, I signed over my medal to my brother Horatio, free; it cost me £1625. May heaven prosper his endeavours with it."

On the 25th of the same month he gave £100 to be handed to the Lord Mayor for the transfer of the said medal.

Happily in our days it is less difficult for a Jew to become a sworn broker. A gentle breeze of justice for all human beings alike has begun to disperse the dark clouds of prejudice and oppression, and the more the light of wisdom and truth illumines the world, the greater will be the happiness and loyalty of those who have hitherto been deprived of the rights of ordinary citizens.

On Wednesday evening, the 27th of June 1832 (5592-3 a.m.), corresponding this year to the Hebrew date of the anniversary of their wedding day, they took possession of East Cliff Lodge, Mr Montefiore having, in accordance with an injunction of the Sacred Scriptures (Deuteronomy vi. 9), previously affixed mezuzas (phylacteries) to all the doors.

Mr and Mrs Montefiore had intended to have an inscription placed over the entrance to the Synagogue. It appears, however, that the idea was finally abandoned, though there is a square moulding over the door, and a parallelogram on the northern wall of the Synagogue purposely made for it. I once asked him the reason of this omission, and from his reply I gathered that he did not wish the building to unduly attract the attention of strangers. The modest appearance of the Synagogue as it now stands, having neither steeple nor turret, windows in the walls nor arches over the door, evidently confirms this idea.

Mr H. Lehren, of Amsterdam, a gentleman well known for the interest he took in promoting the welfare of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, had appealed to him this year for his intercession in a lawsuit which brought him to England, and Mr Montefiore gladly helped him by his personal exertions to accomplish his object. Mr Lehren, thus encouraged, asked of Mr Montefiore yet another favour, which was to permit his name to be enlisted in the ranks of the "Friends of Zion." Mr Montefiore, in[Pg 88] answer, assured Mr Lehren that his heart had ever been filled with a love for Jerusalem, and that he had been a staunch supporter of a resolution, recently adopted at a Committee consisting of members of his congregation, to the effect that £60 should be sent annually to the Holy Land as a contribution to the fund intended for the support of the poor. Mr Lehren expressed great satisfaction at what he had heard, and enquired in what proportion the above amount would be distributed among the four Holy Cities. Mr Montefiore informed him that the Committee had divided the sum into thirty shares, of which they gave twelve to Jerusalem, seven to Safed, six to Hebron, and five to Tiberias.

To complete the number of Sacred Scrolls which Mr Montefiore wished to deposit in his Synagogue, he made a purchase of one particularly recommended to him, and also procured prayer-books for the members of the congregation.

In this year, 1833, Mr and Mrs Montefiore had the happiness of seeing their heartfelt wish realised in the completion of the Synagogue at Hereson.

Invitations were sent out on the 23rd of May to the ecclesiastical chiefs of both the Spanish and Portuguese and the German congregations; to the readers, wardens, and other officers of the Synagogue; to presidents and representatives of all important institutions, and to more than two hundred private friends and acquaintances, requesting the honour of their company at the dedication of the Synagogue at Ramsgate on Sunday, the 16th of June, at 5 o'clock, and at dinner after the ceremony at East Cliff Lodge. Bands of music and first-class singers were engaged, 4000 lamps for the illumination of the gardens were ordered, fireworks and balloons tastefully prepared, and a large temporary room erected, occupying the whole quadrangle of the court at East Cliff Lodge. Handsome chandeliers and large tablets beautifully inscribed with the prayer for the Royal Family were ordered for the Synagogue.

View of Interior of Ramsgate Synagogue, taken from the Ladies' Gallery. See Vol. I., page 89.

The morning of the 16th was ushered in by a deluge of rain and a heavy gale of wind, much to the mortification of the visitors. Mr Montefiore and his brother Horatio, who had brought a silver cup and spice-box as a present for the Synagogue, went together to Ramsgate, and engaged all the sedan chairs in the town to take the ladies from the public road to the [Pg 89]Synagogue, and ordered several loads of sand to cover the walk. About two o'clock the Rev. Dr Hirschel arrived. The rain was actually falling in torrents at the moment, but he consoled Mr and Mrs Montefiore, saying, "All things must not go as we wish, since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem." He had, however, scarcely been in the house ten minutes when the clouds dispersed and the sun appeared. At ten o'clock, when they had a rehearsal in the Synagogue, all were much out of spirits at the deplorable appearance of the weather; but by three the rain had ceased, and the evening proved delightful.

The dedication commenced at six o'clock. The founder and his friends brought the Sacred Scrolls of the Law to the door of the Synagogue, where, standing, they chanted: "Open unto us the gates of righteousness, we will enter them and praise the Lord." "This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous shall enter therein." The doors being then opened, they said on entering: "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob! thy tabernacle, O Israel! O Lord, I have ever loved the habitation of Thy house and the dwelling-place of Thy glory. We will come unto Thy Tabernacle and worship at Thy footstool." They then advanced, and the readers and choristers sang, "Blessed be he who cometh in the name of the Lord: we will bless ye from the House of the Lord," and other verses from the Sacred Scriptures bearing on the same subject.

The procession then went round the almember in the Synagogue seven times, during each circuit one of the seven Psalms—xclxi., xxx., xxiv., lxxxiv., cxxii., cxxx., c.—being chanted, after which Mr Montefiore ascended the pulpit and offered up a Hebrew prayer, of which the following is a translation:—

"Almighty God! whose eyes are upon all the ways of the sons of men, and by whose will their paths are established; wherewith shall I come before Thee, how shall I acknowledge the kindness Thou hast shown me from my youth? How great the goodness Thou hast vouchsafed unto me, in granting the fulfilment of the ardent desire Thou didst awaken in my heart and in that of the companion of my life, to visit the inheritance of our forefathers, to traverse the sea and behold the Holy Land, a land which is under Thy special providence. Thou hast protected us on our departure and aided our return: our steps failed not, we have passed through the Land, our feet have[Pg 90] stood within thy gates, O Jerusalem! From the sight of our own eyes are we conscious of the refulgent light that once shone brightly on our country, and which yet faintly glimmers, though she has become desolate. Thou hast inspired us with a contrite spirit to perceive and declare Thy Almighty power over all the inhabitants of the world, therefore has Thy servant found in his heart to offer this public thanksgiving for Thy past bounties, and earnestly to implore Thy future protection in this humble sanctuary. Out of Thine own gifts I dedicated it to Thee as a freewill offering and a lasting testimony to show forth Thy loving-kindness in the morning and Thy faithfulness every night. O Lord God of Israel! incline Thine ear to the prayer of Thy servant. Bless, I beseech Thee, my revered and honoured mother, grant her length of days in the fulness of joy, and happiness with me, my beloved wife, my brothers and sisters, and with all their descendants, even unto the third and fourth generation. Strengthen our hearts to observe Thy precepts at all times. Truly nothing has failed of that of which Thou hast forewarned us through Moses Thy servant, for we have broken Thy covenant and not observed Thy Commandments; so are we surely convinced that we shall receive from Thee the promised good, and our days will be renewed as of old; Thou wilt fulfil Thy words unto Ezekiel Thy prophet, that 'The nations shall know that I the Lord rebuild the ruined places and plant that which was desolate; I the Lord have spoken it; I will do it.' Let our prayer and supplication, which we offer towards Thy chosen city, ascend to heaven, Thy dwelling-place. Gather together our dispersed in our days and in the lifetime of the whole House of Israel, that all nations, even from the ends of the earth, shall approach Thee, to call, all of them, on the name of the Lord, and the Lord shall be King over all the earth. Then the Lord alone shall be acknowledged, and His name be one. Amen."

Mr Montefiore, having concluded the prayer, descended from the pulpit, and the congregation chanted several Hebrew hymns. The prayer for the Royal Family was then said, and the service concluded with Psalm cl.

"At eight o'clock," writes Mr Montefiore, "the dedication finished, all delighted with the ceremony as well as with the music. May Heaven's blessing attend it."[Pg 91]

At nine about eighty-two sat down to dinner. The gardens were beautifully illuminated, and during dessert a band played in the tent.

The next morning Mr Montefiore accompanied Dr Herschel to the Synagogue, followed by all their friends and visitors. After prayers they returned to East Cliff Lodge, where the time was spent in receiving the congratulations of their friends. The day was brought to a close by a most agreeable entertainment, a description of which I give in his own words.

"Soon after nine in the evening our company began to assemble, consisting of all our neighbours as well as our own party. The wind had been exceedingly high, almost too much for the lamps to keep alight. Providence kindly allayed it, and the night was beautifully calm. Our garden was splendidly illuminated; we had a band of twenty-four performers on the lawn and another in the dining-room. All our rooms were filled, many visitors strolling about the grounds to witness the illumination. Before eleven the fireworks were displayed, and exceeded our most sanguine expectations; the company was delighted. This over, the tent-room was opened for supper; it made a splendid appearance. All seemed happy and gratified; dancing was kept up till about two o'clock. The gardens looked magnificent, nothing could have added to the grandeur of the scene. I glory in the occasion, and that the Almighty has most bountifully provided us with the means. To my dear and much-valued wife I am indebted for the success of the entertainment. We can never forget the two last days."

The next day his mother and the greater number of relatives and friends left Ramsgate, and in the month of July we find Mr and Mrs Montefiore again in London, Mr Montefiore following his usual vocations, though only for a short time; for on the 13th of the same month there is an entry in his diary dated East Cliff, which gives striking evidence of the love and veneration he felt for the sacred edifice he had raised to the honour and glory of God.

"We had the happiness," he writes, "of attending our Synagogue morning, afternoon, and evening. Thanks to Heaven for a very happy day. Our Synagogue looked like Paradise. I pointed out to my dear Judith the spot, not more than ten or fifteen steps from the Synagogue, in which I should like my[Pg 92] mortal remains to rest when it shall please the Almighty to take my soul to Eternal Glory, should I depart this world at or near East Cliff." His wife consented. Their love was great, and they did not wish even in death to be parted.

Mr Montefiore's attention having now been drawn to the urgency of continued exertions in the furtherance of the Emancipation Bill, he requested Mr G. R. Dawson to intercede with his brother-in-law, Sir Robert Peel, to withdraw his opposition to the Bill, and also took other steps in the interest of the cause.

A Bill was again brought before the Committee of the whole House of Commons, "That it is expedient to remove all civil disabilities affecting Her Majesty's subjects of the Jewish religion with the like exceptions as are provided by the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, with reference to Her Majesty's subjects professing the Roman Catholic religion."

The second reading was carried by a majority of 137; it was also read a third time, but in the Upper House, where the Duke of Sussex presented a petition signed by 7000 inhabitants of Westminster in favour of the Jews, the Bill was thrown out by a majority of 50.

Mr Montefiore continued to take the greatest interest in all important meetings of various committees, especially in those of his own community. Referring to one of the latter charged with the appointment of a lecturer, Mr Montefiore says: "The committee recommended a salary of £35 a year, but afterwards reduced it to £30. The resolution, however, was amended, and only £20 was granted." The particulars of this salary are interesting when compared with a salary to which a competent lecturer of the present day may consider himself fully entitled. It sounds strange to hear of fixing the salary for the services of a gentleman who has completed a University education, combined with special studies of theology, much lower than that which is generally offered to an upper servant in a gentleman's house. It can only be explained by the supposition that the candidate may have been simultaneously filling another and more lucrative office, which did not interfere with his duties as lecturer.[Pg 93]




In the year 1834 much anxiety was felt for Mr Montefiore by his friends in consequence of a severe illness by which he was attacked. For several months he was under the treatment of eminent surgeons, and on his recovery his strength was so low, that a journey to the South of France was deemed necessary.

He accordingly left England, accompanied by his devoted wife, who had during his whole illness tended him with loving care. Mr Ashton Rey, one of his medical advisers, in a letter he once wrote to Mr Montefiore, observed that Mrs Montefiore was one of the best wives he had ever seen, never moving from her husband's bedside day or night except to snatch a few hours' necessary repose.

They remained abroad till August, the change of air having had the desired effect upon him, and on his arrival at East Cliff he was again in the enjoyment of his usual health.

They were both much disappointed on their return to hear the result of the Jewish Disabilities Bill, which, after having been passed in the Lower House, had been sent to the Upper House, where it was lost by 130 votes against 38. But still they did not lose courage, and hoped for the ultimate victory of the good cause.

There is only one entry after this referring to political matters. It is to the effect that Mr N. M. Rothschild had been with the Duke of Wellington and advised him to form a Liberal Government, and to consent to some reforms; saying to His[Pg 94] Grace that he must go with the world, for the world would not go with him.

On the last page of the diary he writes: "This night (31st December) brings me to the end of my book as well as to that of the year 1834. When I reflect on the situation I was in during a long period of this year, languishing on a bed of sickness, in severe pain and affliction, on the eve of undergoing a dangerous operation, how can I be sufficiently thankful to the Almighty for manifold blessings I now enjoy, saved by His great mercy from the grave."

Praying for a continuation of former mercies, he concludes with a copy of the 85th Psalm.

The year 1835 will ever be noted in the history of civilisation as one in which the dawning light of liberty began to inspire comfort in the hearts of the unwearied strugglers for equal rights for the Jews.

On May the 7th Mr Montefiore writes: "I called at Downing Street on the Right Hon. Spring-Rice, Chancellor of the Exchequer. I was immediately admitted, and received by him in the most friendly manner. I thanked him for having at my request appointed Jacob Montefiore one of Her Majesty's Commissioners for the Colonisation of South Australia. The Chancellor spoke of the many new schemes now afloat of companies with small capital, and said he would always be glad to see me."

A month later he went to the Guildhall, and heard David Salomons proposed to the Livery as one of the Sheriffs for London and Middlesex. Sir John Campbell having introduced a measure, the Sheriffs Declaration Bill, which by the repeal of the Test and Corporation Act in 1828 enabled a Jew to enter into the office without violating his own religious convictions, Mr David Salomons was elected without opposition and "made a very good speech," Mr Montefiore observes, "in returning thanks."

The arrival in Ramsgate of the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria (Her present Majesty) is described by Mr Montefiore as follows:—

"This (September 29th) is a very busy day. At ten I was at the Town Hall; at 11 the committee and many of the inhabitants, both on horse and on foot, went to the extremity of the parish to receive their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and[Pg 95] Princess Victoria. The Deputy of the Town and myself headed the procession; we walked by the side of the Royal carriage bareheaded all the way to Albion House. Thousands of people were in the streets, the houses all gaily ornamented with flags and boughs of trees. The Duchess, on entering the house, sent Sir George Conroy to request that the gentlemen of the committee would come in to receive her thanks for their attention. I went in among the number, and was introduced. She expressed herself delighted; the Princess was also much pleased. They had appointed to-morrow at eleven o'clock to receive the address. About four I again joined the committee at the head of the pier. Sir William Curtis was most polite. The Belgian Ambassador, with whom I had dined at N. M. Rothschild's, was also there, and introduced me to Sir John Conroy. Soon after five one of the King's steamers entered the harbour with the King and Queen of the Belgians. Several members of the committee went on board to welcome them on their arrival, I among the number. They had had a very rough passage from Calais. The King appeared greatly altered, looking very old, the Queen is young and pleasant looking. They proceeded on foot to the Albion Hotel. The town was handsomely decorated and the principal streets illuminated, but the wind was so high as to put out most of the lamps."

The next morning at half-past ten Mr Montefiore went to the Town Hall, and accompanied Sir William Curtis, Mr Warren, Mr Tomson (the Deputy), Colonel Clarke, and about a dozen more to Albion House, to present to the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria the address from the inhabitants and visitors of Ramsgate and its vicinity. They were all introduced, and were most kindly received by the Royal party. The Duchess honoured the committee with a gracious reply, which she read.

The committee then returned to the Town Hall, and prepared an address to the King and Queen of the Belgians, and at one o'clock walked to the Albion Hotel. They were introduced and very graciously received, the King speaking to Mr Montefiore and several other members of the committee. The King read a reply to the Address, and after a few minutes the Committee withdrew, much gratified with their reception.

Subsequently Mr and Mrs Montefiore attended a ball given by the Master of the Ceremonies at the Albion Hotel, where they[Pg 96] met many acquaintances. Sir John Conroy was particularly polite to them. Mr Montefiore offered him the use of the key of his grounds for the Duchess, which he accepted with pleasure. Accordingly both Mr and Mrs Montefiore called the next day on the Duchess, and left a key there for the use of Her Royal Highness, Sir John Conroy and his family.

On Wednesday, October 21st. the Duchess, accompanied by one of her ladies of honour, and attended by a footman, made use of the key, and walked through their grounds.

Sir John Conroy, meeting Mr Montefiore next day at Burgess' Library, said that the Duchess regretted that his gardener had suddenly disappeared yesterday, which had prevented her sending to inform Mrs Montefiore that she was in the grounds as she had wished to have done.

Her Royal Highness having repeated her visits to his grounds, Mr Montefiore ordered an opening to be made in the field on the side next to Broadstairs for the convenience of the Duchess. In recognition of this attention he received the following note from Sir John Conroy:—

"Sir John Conroy presents his compliments, and in obedience to a command he has just received from the Duchess of Kent, hastens to acquaint Mr Montefiore that Her Royal Highness is exceedingly gratified and obliged by his attention in making a new access to his charming grounds from Broadstairs for her convenience, but Her Royal Highness fears she has given a great deal of trouble.

"Ramsgate, 24th October 1835.

There were several incidents which afforded them much gratification this year.

Mrs Montefiore was invited to name a new steamer. "This morning," writes Mr Montefiore on July 9, "we embarked from the Custom House stairs on board the Harlequin, to witness the launch of a new steamship built by Fletcher & Fearnaly. On reaching the dockyard near Limehouse, Mr Woolverly Attwood and Judith went on shore; I followed with Horatio at half-past one. My dear wife named the ship by throwing a bottle of wine against the side of the vessel at the moment she left the stocks and plunged into the water. 'May every success,' she[Pg 97] said, 'attend the Britannia.' We then went on board the Royal Sovereign. There was a large party; about a hundred sat down to dinner. Several members of Parliament with their ladies were present, G. R. Dawson, Medley, T. M. Pearce, Pepys, and Col. Lawrence. Many speeches, all drinking my dear wife's health."

Another entry refers to his having been admitted to the freedom of the Merchant Taylors Company. Mr Montefiore received a letter from Mr Matthias Attwood, informing him that he had proposed his name at the Court of the above Company for admission to the freedom and livery of the same. The proposition, said Mr Attwood, was carried unanimously, many of the members expressing the high respect they entertained for Mr Montefiore's personal character.

On the 4th of November he was accordingly admitted and sworn a freeman of the said Company. "Matthias Attwood," says Mr Montefiore, "has acted with the greatest kindness in procuring me this honour, I being the first Jew admitted to their Company. At the next meeting of the Court I am to be made one of the livery."

A printed slip of a newspaper is affixed to one of the leaves of the diary, referring to a loan raised under the authority of the Act 3 and 4 of William IV., cap. 73, for the compensation to owners of slaves; it reads as follows:—

"The parties to the contract for the £15,000,000 loan are N. M. Rothschild and Moses Montefiore on the one part, and Lord Melbourne, Mr F. Spring-Rice, Lord Seymour, and Messrs W. H. Old, R. Steward, and R. More, on the other; witnesses, Messrs James Pattison, Governor, and T. A. Curtis, Deputy-Governor of the Bank of England."

There is another slip attached to it, showing the interest on this loan to have been lower than several preceding ones.

The interest on the loan of 1812 was £3, 5s. 7d., and of 1813, £5, 10s.

Second loan of 1813, £5, 6s. 2d.; 1814, £4, 12s. 1d.; 1815, £5, 12s. 4d.; 1819, £4, 5s. 9d.; 1820, £4, 3s. 3d.; and on the present loan, £3, 7s. 6d.

The particulars of that loan are given in the Money Market and City Intelligence, dated Monday evening, 3rd August 1835:

"The bidding for the West Indian loan took place this[Pg 98] morning. Mr Rothschild and his friends waited upon Lord Melbourne and the Chancellor at ten o'clock. Mr Rothschild's tender, the only one prepared, the other lists having been withdrawn, was then opened, when that gentleman's bidding was found to be 14s. 11d. in long annuities. The offer having been declined, the sealed minimum of ministers, as previously arranged, was opened, and it appeared they were not willing to give more than 13s. 7d. of annuities in addition to £75 consols and £25 redeemed 3 per cents, for every £100 in money subscribed. It was for Mr Rothschild, therefore, either to agree to those terms or to abandon the contract. That gentleman and his friends retired for a short time to consult on the subject, and finally agreed to accept them. An important concession was, however, obtained in regard to the discount for paying up the instalments, which is to be at the rate of 4 per cent. on the payment, as in all former contracts for loans, and gives a bonus of £1, 19s. 10d. in favour of the contractors. The subscribers to the loan have now an inducement which did not exist under the arrangement at first proposed, for completing the instalments and turning their omnium into stock. Though it is an advantage, therefore, to them, it is considered somewhat against the present price of consols, as a large supply may at any time be thrown upon the market. The Chancellor of the Exchequer assured the gentlemen who attended the bidding, that all means would be taken on his part to bring back into circulation the money that might come into his hands beyond the amount called for to meet the West Indian claims. On the subject of debentures (they are not named in the contract specially) against which, as a security not yet created, there were many objections, it is agreed that they shall be at all times made receivable to the instalments of the loan. When the terms were first made known, the scrip bore a premium of 2-3/4 to 3 per cent., but they produced a decline in consols, which went back to 89, a fall of nearly 1 per cent. at the highest price of the morning. A large amount of business was done both in the stock and in the scrip; the fluctuations in them were not, however, very considerable afterwards. The following are the concluding quotations:—

"Consols for the account, 89-3/4 to ——; omnium 2-3/4, 3 premium; Exchequer bills, 18s. to 20s. premium."

On the same day he makes the following entry in his journal:[Pg 99] "I accompanied N. M. R. Pattison and J. A. Curtis to the City; called at the Alliance, Irish Bank, &c.; at six we dined, and took our fast, &c., this being the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem."

Few financiers, perhaps would feel inclined, after all the excitement incidental to the successful contracting of a loan for £15,000,000, to comply with so exacting a religious observance as a fast of twenty-four hours duration. With a mind pre-occupied with business details, the rise and fall of the public funds, and other matters, such an observance must be more than ordinarily trying. Nevertheless Mr Montefiore would not, on this occasion any more than any other, allow worldly interests to prevail over religious duties.

The loan for the abolition of slavery reminded him of the words of the Prophet Isaiah (ch. lii., v. 3) to Israel: "Ye have sold yourselves for nought, and ye shall be redeemed without money," and attuned his mind to reflection on the former glory of Zion and its present state of sorrow.

On the 2nd of November we find a record of his having paid £400 to the Blue Coat School to constitute him one of the governors. The manner in which he was led to take this step is noteworthy. A young man who was a complete stranger to them, wrote and implored Mr and Mrs Montefiore to take his wife and child under their protection. He acknowledged that, as a stranger and one professing a different religion, he had no claim whatever to make such a request, but he had heard so much of their kind-heartedness that he felt sure they would not refuse to accede to the dying prayer of one who was driven by unmerited misfortunes to despair and suicide. Sir Moses enquired into the case, and finding that the poor man had really deserved a better fate, he assisted the widow in her distressing position, and bought the governorship, as recorded, for the express purpose of being able to provide for the boy.

There is another entry of his having attended a meeting of the Committee of the Cock Court Alm's Houses, which he had erected and presented to the Spanish and Portuguese community. His object in attending was to remind the Elders to rebuild some of the houses on one side of the court, at an expense not exceeding £900, the funds in hand being £1400.

Turning to politics, he mentions a dinner party at Sir Robert[Pg 100] Campbell's, where Mr and Mrs Montefiore met the Duke and Duchess of Cleveland, Lord and Lady Darlington, Lady Augusta Powlett, Colonel Lushington, and other friends of emancipation.

The reader having seen Mr and Mrs Montefiore in the circle of royalty and high nobility, I will ask him to accompany me into the circle of their own family and friends.

On November 27th I was invited to a dinner party given by one of his relatives in London, the late Mr Louis Cohen. It was here that I met Mr and Mrs Montefiore for the first time. During the course of the evening I had many opportunities of conversing with them, and before parting, they invited me to spend a week with them at East Cliff Lodge, Ramsgate.

A few days later I was informed that a place had been taken for me to Ramsgate, at the Spread Eagle, Gracechurch Street, in the name of Mr Montefiore.

There is a special entry of this little journey, which I copy.

Thursday, 3rd December 1835.—"Walked with Judith to Gracechurch Street. We met Louis and Florette (the late Mr Louis Cohen, of 5 South Street, Finsbury, their nephew, and his wife) and Dr Loewe. We all went with the Tally-Ho at three o'clock; they having the whole inside, and I riding outside on the box seat. We took tea at Sittingbourne, and proceeded from Canterbury about ten o'clock by the night stage coach with post horses to East Cliff.

"I found it extremely cold; it was near one when we arrived at East Cliff, thanks to Heaven, in safety, and found all well. Our library looked delightfully comfortable, with a good fire and lamps. I was almost perishing with cold. We took tea, &c., and when our visitors retired to their chambers it was near two o'clock."

The inconvenient mode of travelling at that time did not prevent his making such journeys whenever required, and however much he may have suffered by taking his seat outside the coach (which he evidently always did from politeness to his visitors), his comfortable home soon made him forget the unpleasantness of a long cold ride.

During my stay in East Cliff, the time of the party was generally devoted either to little excursions in the neighbourhood, or to conversations on literary subjects. Sometimes Mr[Pg 101] and Mrs Montefiore entertained us by giving their reminiscences of travels in Italy, France, and Egypt.

There was a kind of charm which the visitor felt in their company; a very short time after his arrival a delightful sensation of comfort overcame him, and soon made him feel at home. The amiability of both the hostess and host made the days pass agreeably and rapidly, and they were always loth to retire when the midnight hour was announced.

Mrs Montefiore showed us all the curiosities she brought with her from Egypt, and told us how much she had been entertained in that country by the number of languages spoken around her. There was an amusing incident that day, which particularly induced her to speak on the study of languages. Mr Montefiore had laid a wager with her to the effect that if, at a stated time, she would be able to pass an examination by him in Italian grammar, he would give her a cheque for £100. She was fortunate enough to acquit herself most creditably in our presence, and received the amount in question.

Mr Montefiore was delighted at the perseverance and ability displayed by his wife, and she was truly happy to have again succeeded (as she always did) in obtaining the approbation of her husband.

The conversation of the visitors being frequently in French and German, many an hour was spent in reading letters and poems addressed to Mr and Mrs Montefiore in these languages. Mrs Montefiore, however, was not content with the study of modern languages, and expressed a wish to acquire also a knowledge of Eastern languages, especially of Turkish and Arabic.

To give her an idea of the grammatical construction of the latter, I used to write out lessons for her, and she at once commenced to learn them. The following morning she surprised the whole party by saying by heart every Turkish and Arabic word that I had written out.

It was amusing to all of us, and to Mr Montefiore a cause of great delight, to notice the zeal with which she took up the subject.

One day she produced from her cabinet a scarabæus and a little Egyptian clay figure, which had been given to her by Mr Salt, the English Consul in Egypt.[Pg 102]

Both the scarabæus and the little figure had hieroglyphical inscriptions, and she requested me to give her a translation of the same.

In compliance with her request I explained the inscriptions, and gave her a short account of the Rosetta stone and the works of Young and Champollion and other Egyptologists.

I concluded my visit to East Cliff Lodge on the 13th of December. Mr Montefiore requested me to draw up a plan for some future travels in the Holy Land; I promised to comply with his wish, and then took leave. There is an entry of this date in the diary, in which he says:

"If my dear Judith consents to our again visiting the Holy Land, I should be glad to obtain the company of the Doctor on our pilgrimage."

A few days later I sent him the plan for the journey, also a second copy of the translation which I had made of the hieroglyphical inscription on the Osiris or sepulchral figure. He acknowledged the receipt of the same in two letters, one written in Mrs Montefiore's handwriting, the other in his own. Mr Montefiore subsequently told me that his wife now commenced to take a special interest in antiquities, enriching her cabinet with curiosities whenever an opportunity presented itself. The year 1835 is also noted for the particular interest which Mr Montefiore took in the affairs of his own community. He was elected President of the London Committee of Deputies of British Jews, his predecessor, Mr Moses Mocatta, having resigned the office.

Hand-written letter

[Pg 103]




In the Diary for 1836, the first entry is on the 17th July, which is accounted for by its being the second journal for that year, the one containing his entries for the early months having been lost. On the date mentioned he records his grief at the death of an aunt to whom he was much attached, and for whom he entertained a sincere respect. About this time he was also much affected by the illness of Mr N. M. Rothschild, and on the 19th we find him busily engaged in making preparations for a journey to Frankfort-on-the-Main, on purpose to visit this "kind friend." Only ten months ago they had together signed the contract for the loan of £15,000,000, and now they were to see each other for the last time. Mr Montefiore writes: "We arrived there in time to see him alive, but death was fast approaching. At four o'clock on the same day (28th July) his brother, Anselm, asked him to say prayers, which he did, and all present joined him; he then kissed his wife and said 'good night' quite distinctly. At five he breathed his last, and passed away without the slightest struggle. I was with him the whole time, and remained in the room an hour after all the others had left it. I had thus the melancholy satisfaction of paying the last respect to his remains. Oh! may this mournful sight remind me of the nothingness of this world's grandeur, and may I daily become more prepared for a blessed Eternity! He was a good friend to me and my dear Judith in our early life. Peace to his memory. Hannah (his wife) did not leave him for a moment during his illness, and remained in the room for some time after his death, returning there again the same evening."[Pg 104]

On the day of the funeral, which took place in London, Mr Montefiore writes: "I remained at the burial ground above an hour after the mourners had left, and saw the grave of my kind and truly lamented friend arched over, filled up, and a large slab of Yorkshire stone placed upon it. Thus have I witnessed all that was mortal of my dear friend consigned to the earth; his spirit the Almighty, in His great mercy, has taken to a better world, there to enjoy in glorious eternity the reward of his charitable actions."

We will now, however, turn to more cheerful matters.

On October 8th he writes: "I had the honour of receiving a card of invitation to dine with Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent on Tuesday next;" then, true to his motto, which bids him "think and thank," he adds, "Praised be He from whom all honour and distinction flows."

Tuesday, the 11th. The words of his entry are as follows:—"I attended Synagogue, and a little before seven went in our chariot to West Cliff, where I had the honour of dining with their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria. The other guests were, Sir John Conroy, the Dean of Chester, Mr Justice Gaselee, the Rector of St Lawrence, the Hon. Col. Stopford and his wife, the Ladies Jane and Charlotte Seymour, and one other lady and gentleman. I took down the Colonel's wife and sat opposite to the Princess. There were thirteen at table, and it was impossible for it to have been more agreeable. I never felt myself more at ease at any dinner party within my recollection. The behaviour of the Duchess was most kind and condescending, and all the party were extremely amiable and chatty. The entertainment was truly Royal, and after dinner, when the gentlemen had joined the ladies in the drawing-room, where tea and coffee were served, the Duchess again spoke to each of us. The Princess Sophia Matilda was also present. I returned home quite enraptured with the very kind and obliging manner in which I had been distinguished by her Royal Highness."

In the same year Mr and Mrs Montefiore received the congratulations of their friends on a providential escape from the horrors of shipwreck. They had left Margate in the Magnet at nine o'clock in the morning of the 17th October. The weather was foggy, but they thought it would soon clear up. They had only proceeded a short distance, however, when they got on to[Pg 105] a sandbank, where they were obliged to remain for two hours, feeling the gravest anxiety all the time. At last the tide floated them off again, and they endeavoured to grope their way through the fog, passing several vessels, which were only visible when quite close upon them. Mr Montefiore was standing near the bow of the ship, when suddenly a steamer was seen to be quite close to them, and before it was possible to avoid her, she struck their bow with a dreadful crash. Mr Montefiore threw himself on deck to escape injury. The screams of the people on board both boats were terrible. It was soon seen that the Red Rover, the vessel they had encountered, was sinking fast. Her passengers and crew lost no time in getting on board the Magnet, and in five minutes the Red Rover was engulfed in the sea, which was immediately covered with spars, boxes, and other wreckage. The alarm was dreadful. The Magnet, having sustained serious damage, her situation was most critical. She was making a great deal of water, and the pumps were instantly set to work, while the vessel made for the shore. Happily they were boarded by a fishing smack and taken to Sheerness, where they landed, but where, unfortunately, their troubles did not end. No sort of conveyance was to be found in Sheerness, and they were obliged to go by boat to Chatham, and thence in a post-chaise to town. It was nearly 1 p.m. when the Marine Office was reached. "My poor dear wife," writes Mr Montefiore, "conducted herself with her usual admirable courage. We were, in all probability, never in our lives in more imminent danger. God be praised for His great mercy for granting us His protection."

At seven o'clock the next morning Mr Montefiore proceeds to the Synagogue, where he renders thanks to the Almighty. At the same time he gives £600 in charity—£50 for the Portuguese and £50 for the German poor in London, and £500 for the poor of Jerusalem.

The journal of this year contains but few entries relating to politics.

In the session of 1836 the Ministry, in their attempt to carry several important measures of reform, were defeated in the House of Lords, but succeeded in passing an Act enabling Dissenters to be married otherwise than by the Established clergy. Bills were also passed for commuting tithes into a[Pg 106] corn-rent charge payable in money, and for a general registry of births, deaths, and marriages. The second reading of the Bill for the removal of civil disabilities from His Majesty's Jewish subjects was postponed in the House of Lords. The Jews were, however, satisfied with the progress their cause had hitherto made, and they considered themselves justified in hoping for a speedy and complete emancipation. The election of Mr David Salomons as Sheriff of London and Middlesex, and Alderman for the ward of Aldgate, took place about this time.

The particulars I shall give of the next few years will show the progress of good feeling between the Jews and their fellow-citizens, and, in particular, the esteem in which Mr Montefiore was held by men of all sects.

On the 1st of January 1837 we meet Mr Montefiore in Dublin, whither he had gone with a deputation from the Provincial Bank of Ireland (in London). "My companions, Messrs Th. Masterman and James Marshall," he writes, "accompanied me to the new house of our agency, and we were present at the commencement of business. We remained there till five o'clock, and found that all was conducted comfortably." He then called with the Directors on Lord Morpeth and other influential persons, in the interests of their business. Whilst in Ireland he gave handsome donations to various charitable institutions, including £100 to the Dublin Bluecoat School. He also visited the Synagogue, where he made generous offerings.

On the 13th he is again in London, receiving the thanks of the Board of Directors of the Irish Bank for the valuable services he and his colleagues had rendered by their visit to Ireland.

On the 23rd February, at the Royal Society, he is introduced to the vice-president, the Earl of Burlington, by Mr W. H. Pepys, Mr Montefiore being the only Jewish member as yet admitted. Writing in his journal on the subject, he says: "I think I may be proud of the honour of enrolling my name in the same book which has already been signed by several of the kings of England."

In March Mr Montefiore had a deed of gift prepared by T. M. Pearce, conferring the "Upper French Farm" on his brother Horatio and his children. He also returns £500 to a friend who had repaid that sum which he had borrowed from him in[Pg 107] the year 1819 to commence business with; Mr Montefiore observing that he was more than repaid in witnessing his friend's success.

On the 20th of the same month I find the first entry referring to an offer of the Shrievalty of London and Middlesex. Mr A. H. Thornborough called on Mr Montefiore, saying he was deputed by some of the most influential members of the Corporation of London to offer him the Shrievalty at the ensuing election, if he would accept the office. Mr Montefiore candidly stated that he was not desirous of the honour, but if he were elected, he wished to be free either to accept or decline it; he also stated that he could not attend church, but had no objection to send his money, and at all the city feasts he must be allowed to have his own meat, dishes, &c. To all of which Mr Thornborough said there could be no possible objection. It was nearly twelve o'clock before he left. "I suppose," writes Mr Montefiore, "I shall hear nothing more of the business, but whatever is, is for the best. Praise be to God alone."

Till the 2nd of June there is no entry of any importance in the diary, but on that day the death of the King of England (William IV.) is recorded, and a further reference is made to the subject of the Shrievalty. Mr Montefiore says, "This morning at 2 a.m. it pleased the Almighty to call to a better world our beloved King William IV. Oaths of allegiance were taken to-day by the members of both Houses of Parliament to the Queen Alexandrina Victoria. May her reign be long, glorious, and happy. Amen."

After entering various particulars relating to his financial transactions, and to some visits which he paid to different friends and relations, he writes:

"Mr Lucas, one of the aldermen, having written to me yesterday to ascertain my intention respecting the proposal made to me some time ago to be Sheriff next year, I requested he would inform the parties that I did not give my consent to my being proposed to the Livery, and in the event of its being done, and of my being elected, I most distinctly stated that I considered myself perfectly free either to accept or decline the honour."

On the 22nd of June he wrote a note to L. Lucas, begging him to inform Mr Thornborough that his state of health would[Pg 108] not allow him to accept the office of Sheriff if the citizens of London did him the honour to elect him. He also acquainted T. M. Pearce with his intention of declining the Shrievalty in the event of its being conferred on him. It appears, however, that many friends and relatives spoke to him on the subject, and prevailed on him to accept the office if elected.

On the 24th June Mr Huffam called to bring the news that Mr Montefiore had been unanimously elected Sheriff of London and Middlesex. He had been proposed by Mr T. A. Curtis, Governor of the Bank of England, the resolution being seconded by Mr Samuel Gurney. Mr Huffam said that both gentlemen had spoken most highly of him, and that there were over four hundred persons present.

In the evening, Mr Montefiore, accompanied by his good wife, paid a visit to his mother, to tell her of the honour he had received from the Livery of London, and to ask and receive her blessing on his undertaking. He then prayed for the blessing of heaven, so to guide his conduct that he might discharge the duties of the office to the satisfaction of his own conscience, to the gratification of the citizens, and to the honour of the Jews.

He received congratulations from numerous friends and relatives, which seemed however to give him but little satisfaction. The following extract from his diary will show why this was so:—"I shall have the greatest difficulties to contend with," he writes, "in the execution of my duty; difficulties which I shall meet with at the very outset. The day I enter on my office is the commencement of our New Year. I shall therefore have to walk to Westminster instead of going in my state carriage, nor, I fear, shall I be able to dine with my friends at the inauguration dinner which, from time immemorial, is given on the 30th of September. I shall, however, endeavour to persuade my colleague to change the day to the 5th of October.

Some of our readers will perhaps smile at his difficulties, but when his friends observed how differently other persons would act in a similar position, he used to say: "Very well, I will not deviate from the injunctions of my religion; let them call me a bigot if they like; it is immaterial to me what others do or think in this respect. God has given man the free will to act as he may think proper. He has set before him life and death, blessing and curse (Deut. ch. xxx, v. 15). I follow the advice[Pg 109] given in Holy Writ, and choose that which is considered life, which is accounted a blessing."

His first visit in the city was to Messrs T. A. Curtis and Samuel Gurney, to thank the former for having proposed the resolution for his election, and the latter for having seconded it. He then received congratulations from Messrs Pearce, Thornborough, and Wire at the Alliance Office, and appointed Mr Wire as his under-sheriff. On the same day he addressed a formal letter of thanks to "The worthy and independent Livery of London."

The next day Messrs Thornborough, Lucas, and Carrol called, and it was agreed to have the Sheriffs' inauguration dinner on the 5th October instead of the 30th September. Sir James Duke, one of the outgoing Sheriffs, also came, and was most friendly. He offered Mr Montefiore every assistance, and invited him to dine at the Old Bailey on Thursday, the 4th July. Two days later he attended with his colleague, Mr George Carrol, a meeting of the subscribers to the Sheriffs' Fund, at the City of London Coffee House, Ludgate Hill, where he was introduced to Mr Sheriff Johnson, who was in the chair. There he also met Sir James Duke, Mr Wire, Mr Anderson, the Governor of Bridewell, and other gentlemen, and a committee was appointed to prepare a plan for a more extensive employment of the funds of the above-named Charity. Both Sheriffs were most polite to Messrs Carrol and Montefiore, and invited them to be present on all occasions at the Sessions in the Old Bailey, when they were also to breakfast and dine with them.

July the 4th.—Mr T. A. Curtis kindly accompanied Mr Montefiore to the Court of Aldermen, where both he and Mr George Carrol signed bonds engaging to take upon themselves the office of Sheriff, under penalty of £1000 fine. "The Lord Mayor," writes Mr Montefiore, "and every Alderman present shook hands with me, each paid me some neat compliment, and every attention was shown to my religious feelings."

At a meeting of the Livery, where a resolution to send an address to the Queen was proposed by Mr David Salomons and carried unanimously, twelve of the Livery were appointed to present the same, amongst whom, besides the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen, were Messrs David Salomons, G. Carrol, and M. Montefiore.[Pg 110]

July 6th.—Mr Montefiore went to the Old Bailey at half-past eight, and breakfasted with the Under Sheriff, Mr G. Carrol, and other gentlemen. The Sheriffs and Aldermen came in a little before ten, at which time Baron Vaughan, Baron Alderson, and the Lord Mayor also came. He was introduced, and received by all in a very friendly manner, and then went with them into Court. At eleven he went with Sheriff Johnson and Mr George Carrol over every part of Newgate. "It was half-past one before we had finished our tour of inspection. I find my new post will give me very serious occupation, and much more trouble than I had expected, but I hope the blessing of Heaven will attend my endeavours to fulfil its various duties to the satisfaction of my fellow-citizens." This did, however, not prevent him from turning his mind, when necessary, also to the affairs of his own community. He accompanied T. M. Pearce to Downing Street, and had an interview with Mr Lister, the Registrar-General. "We agreed," he says, "that it would not be safe for Jews to marry by licence under the present Marriage Bill, and that they must give twenty-one days' notice to the Registrar."

On the same day he dined at five with the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and other distinguished persons at the Old Bailey. "A capital dinner," he observes, "dessert and wine; I had part of a fowl which had been sent from home." Every one was most attentive to him. The Judges and the Lord Mayor left at seven, but the Sheriffs stayed till eight o'clock.[Pg 111]




On July 7th he called on the Chief Rabbi to discuss the marriage laws, a subject which was causing much uneasiness in the community. He was detained there so long that it became too late for him to attend the committee meeting at the Irish Bank. He wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Dublin on the subject of the Jews' Marriage Bill, requesting him to take charge of it in the House of Lords. In the course of the day he received a card of invitation to a dinner of the Merchant Taylors Company from J. Allison, the new Master, with a most friendly note, requesting him to name the dishes he would wish to have placed before him.

On July 9th Mr Montefiore went with a member of the Board of Deputies to consult T. M. Pearce on the subject of the Jews' Marriage Bill, and in the evening attended a meeting of the Deputies, at which it was resolved to petition the House of Lords in favour of the measure. He writes: "I am most firmly resolved not to give up the smallest part of our religious forms and privileges to obtain civil rights." One of the members of the board also gave notice of a motion for "a more popular election of the Deputies."

On July 10th Mr Montefiore met T. M. Pearce at the House of Lords. Mr Blake, the legal adviser of the Archbishop of Dublin, made several important alterations in the Bill, which, in Mr Montefiore's opinion, greatly improved it. He then called at Downing Street to see Mr Spring-Rice, but that gentleman had just left town for Cambridge. Mr Montefiore immediately resolved to go and see him there.

At 5 p.m. he again met Pearce, also Mr Buxton, at the[Pg 112] House of Lords. The Archbishop of Dublin and several other Lords had declined to propose the second reading of the Marriage Act Bill. Mr Buxton exerted himself greatly, and spoke to several Peers in his presence without success. At last he prevailed on Lord Glenelg to promise that he would speak with Lord Duncannon, and would give notice the next day.

In accordance with his resolution, Mr Montefiore went the same day by the "Cambridge Mail" to see Mr Spring-Rice. On his return he went to the House of Lords with Pearce and saw Lord Glenelg. "But," writes Mr Montefiore, "he would have nothing to do with the Bill, and Pearce could get no Peer to move the second reading, consequently, the Bill will be lost, and with it all the expenses, £400."

Wednesday, July 19.—He attended the Queen's first levee at St James' Palace; it was very crowded. He was one of the Deputation of the Livery of London, by whom an address of congratulation was to be presented to Her Majesty. The Lord Mayor introduced them. Mr Montefiore was afterwards presented a second time. On his card was written, "Mr Montefiore, presented by the Duke of Norfolk." "The Queen," he observes, "looked very pretty and most interesting." "May she be happy!" is his prayer to heaven. It was after four o'clock when he left the Palace. He had spoken to a great number of acquaintances there. The next day he went with Mrs Montefiore to St James' Palace to attend the Queen's drawing-room. Mrs Montefiore was presented to Her Majesty by the Countess of Albemarle, and was most graciously received. "I followed her," writes Mr Montefiore. "The Queen smiled good-humouredly at me, and the Duchess of Kent said she was pleased to see us. No reception at a drawing-room could have been more flattering."

At five o'clock he went to dine at the Merchant Taylors Hall. Mr Alliston, the Master, was most civil and kind to him, and to Mr George Carrol. It was a most splendid banquet, about one hundred and twenty sat down to table. The entertainment was given by the Merchant Taylors to the Skinners Company, in accordance with an old custom, which owed its origin to the following occurrence. A difference having arisen between the two companies, it was referred to the Lord Mayor, who decided that "they were both wrong and both right," and[Pg 113] decreed that each company should annually entertain the other at a dinner. This has been kept up, without a single exception, ever since the Lord Mayor gave his verdict, which was more than three hundred years ago. "Nothing," says Mr Montefiore, "could have been more magnificent than the entertainment. I sat next to Mr Charles Culling Smith, the Duke of Wellington's brother-in-law, and my health and that of Mr George Carrol was drunk."

Mr Montefiore now wished to go to Ramsgate for a few days' rest, but before leaving town he sent a letter to the Master, Wardens, and Assistants of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, requesting the use of their hall for the inauguration dinner in October.

In August we find him again in London, attending a dinner of the Skinners' Company, where he meets Mr Attwood and his colleague Mr George Carrol, also several friends belonging to the Merchant Taylors' Company. His health is proposed, and he returns thanks. One of the party, Dr Knox, the Master of the Skinners' Company's school at Tonbridge, expressed himself in very flattering terms to Mr Montefiore after the entertainment, but observed that he ought not to be one of the Court Assistants, as the latter had to protect their church. Mr Montefiore, in reply, assured him that he would never ask anything of the Company that they might not be willing to grant. Dr Knox appeared fully satisfied with what he heard, and continued the conversation in a friendly spirit.

On the 20th of August there is a very affectionate entry, dated from Tonbridge, and referring to his brother, Horatio Montefiore.

"Horatio," he writes, "joined us this morning at breakfast; he left Ramsgate and his family last evening, and travelled all night. At eleven o'clock my dear Judith, Horatio, Mr Ridge, and myself went in the britzka to Tinley Lodge, Upper French Farm. The houses, barns, stables, and outhouses had all been put in the most substantial and complete repair, and looked extremely well, as did the land. With the full and willing consent of my dear wife, I informed Horatio that I made him a present of the estate, and after him to his children, strictly entailing it on the eldest son from generation to generation, and recommended him to grant Shetfield, the present tenant, a lease[Pg 114] at a moderate rent for fourteen years, say at £70. Horatio appeared well pleased with the gift."

This entry is followed by another equally pleasing. He dined with his sister-in-law, Mrs Hannah Rothschild, and met there, among others, the Count and Countess Ludolf. In the course of conversation, the Count said that several English physicians had offered to go to Naples, where the cholera was then raging, and assist in relieving the sufferers, but, unfortunately, they had no funds. Mr Montefiore, upon hearing this, immediately promised £200 for the purpose, and of course kept his word.

In the following record of a visit paid by Mr and Mrs Montefiore to H.R.H. the Princess Sophia Matilda during her stay at Ramsgate, we find one of the many gratifying instances of the esteem in which they were both held by the highest in the land.

On September the 12th he writes:—"At three we went in our britzka with post horses, through a torrent of rain, to West Cliff House, by appointment, to visit H.R.H. the Princess Sophia Matilda. She received us most kindly, and was very chatty. She spoke on many different subjects, including the slave trade and the prevailing epidemics; also of her proposed visit to Brighton, which she hoped would agree with her. We then spoke of the Queen and the Duchess of Kent. Judith said she hoped the Queen would build a palace at Ramsgate. Her Royal Highness replied, she could not recommend the expense, as it would be talked of a hundred years after; it was all very well just at first. We remained more than half-an-hour, and on our taking leave, Her Royal Highness shook hands with Judith most kindly, and said she was happy in having made her acquaintance. During our visit she also spoke of her brother, the late King, and on each occasion the tears came into her eyes. She appeared in very good health, and fond of retirement."

On the 24th of September Mr Montefiore writes:—"Her Royal Highness the Princess Sophia Matilda paid Judith a visit yesterday, and remained with her an hour and a half. She had first appointed to come on Friday if I had been at home, then on Monday or Tuesday, but Judith wrote that we were going to London in the middle of the week, and would be[Pg 115] happy to see Her Royal Highness on Saturday. She was most gracious and agreeable."

Wednesday, September 27th.—Mr Montefiore called at the Mansion House and saw the Lord Mayor and Mr Croft, who accepted the new Sheriffs' invitation for Wednesday, the 11th October. According to an ancient custom Mr Montefiore, as Sheriff, should have dined with the Lord Mayor on Friday, the 29th, but he apologized for his inability to do so on account of the Sabbath commencing in the evening.

Thursday, the 28th.—"I cannot," he says, "but reflect with gratitude on the Almighty's goodness to me: may He bless my endeavours to be useful." He then gives the following account of the day's proceedings:—"At ten I entered our state carriage, Mr Wire having come for me in his, and we drove to Cavendish Square, where Mr George Carrol in his state carriage took the lead, he being the senior Sheriff, on account of his having been proposed to the Livery by the Lord Mayor. We proceeded to the Merchant Taylors' Hall, where we found sixteen of their members, and sixteen of the Spectacle makers, besides some few friends of Mr George Carrol. The following gentlemen were also present:—Barons Lionel, Nathaniel, and Anthony de Rothschild, Messrs T. A. Curtis, Benjamin Cohen, Isaac Cohen, Solomon Cohen, S. M. Samuel, John Helbert, and M. Davidson, the six last named being the brothers and brothers-in-law of my dear wife. At one o'clock we went in grand procession to the Guildhall, accompanied by a band of music. At two we were sworn into office, and about three I returned to Park Lane. I changed my official costume for plain clothes, and went at half-past five to Cavendish Square. Mr George Carrol then accompanied me to the London Tavern, and we dined with Sir James Duke and Mr Sheriff Johnson."

Monday, 2nd October.—Mr Montefiore and his colleague went to Newgate. In the afternoon they proceeded to Windsor, and inscribed their names in the Duchess of Kent's visitors' book. The next day Mr Montefiore called on the Lord Mayor, who introduced him to Alderman Cowan, the Lord Mayor elect; he also attended the Hustings at the Guildhall in his violet gown, the Lord Mayor and Mr George Carrol being present. He afterwards settled, with Messrs Maynard, Carrol, and Wire, the toasts and the grace before dinner, and proceeded with[Pg 116] these gentlemen to the Lord Mayor to submit them for his approval. This having been obtained, he went to the Merchant Taylors' Hall to see that the arrangement of the tables was satisfactory.

The inauguration dinner of the new Sheriffs took place at the Merchant Taylors' Hall in Threadneedle Street. The number of guests who sat down to dinner was not less than four hundred; and the Lord Mayor presided. After the cloth was removed, the usual toasts were proposed by the Lord Mayor, and the two Sheriffs returned thanks, each in a separate speech.

Mr Sheriff Montefiore said: "My Lord Mayor, my Lords and gentlemen, if I consulted my own feelings of diffidence on this occasion, I confess I should have remained silent, and have allowed my friend and colleague to return our united thanks for the honour conferred on us by the distinguished company. But as custom demands that I should say a few words, I rise to express briefly, and I fear imperfectly, my feelings of gratitude for the flattering manner in which my health has been proposed, and the warm and affectionate greeting with which it has been received. New to the high and important office I have been called upon by the kind wishes of my fellow-citizens to fill, it will readily be conceived that I cannot be acquainted with all its various duties. But I can assure you it shall be my study to understand their nature, and my earnest endeavour to fulfil them in such a manner as to justify my fellow-citizens in the choice they have made. Although I cannot pretend to say that I will do what your late Sheriffs have done, still less to surpass them in their efforts to be useful, yet I hope, so far, to imitate their example as to show my anxiety to transmit to my successors the functions of my office unimpaired in their usefulness, and its privileges undiminished in their value. Believing that it is not a political office, and yet that it has duties both to the Queen and to the public, I hope, in the execution of those duties, to swerve neither to the right nor the left, but on the one hand to uphold the rightful prerogatives of the Crown, and on the other to support the just liberties of the people. Called upon by the free, intelligent, and wealthy citizens of this great city to fill so important an office, I trust that I shall never be found wanting in any efforts to prove that the great privilege of electing their own Sheriffs may be safely entrusted to the people. May I add[Pg 117] that in choosing the humble individual before you to fill so important an office, they have shown that private character, when based on integrity, will secure public honour and respect? Nor is it less gratifying to find that, though professing a different faith from the major it of my fellow-citizens, yet this has presented no barrier to my desire of being useful to them in a situation to which my forefathers would in vain have aspired; and I hail this as a proof that those prejudices are passing away, and will pass away, which prevent our feelings from being as widely social, as just, as comprehensive in their effect as the most amiable and best-instructed mind can desire. Nor can I forget, while alluding to kindly feelings, how much I am indebted to those friends who, unasked and unsolicited, proposed and elected me to the office which now gives me the opportunity of addressing you. To them, to you, to the Livery at large, I again tender my thanks, and I beg to assure you that, whatever may be necessary to enhance the high, respectability of my office, to support its splendour, to maintain its rights, to add to its honour, and to make it more useful to my fellow-citizens—if it can be made more useful—I will attempt, and with your countenance and support, I trust, accomplish. Thus acting, I shall hope to receive the only reward I seek—the thanks of my fellow-citizens, and the approbation of my own conscience."

The Attorney-General in replying to the toast, "The health of Her Majesty's Ministers," given by the Lord Mayor, alluded to Mr Montefiore in the following words:—"There could be no more honourable or important office than that of Sheriff, and although Mr Montefiore differed in faith from the established religion, there could be no doubt that he would discharge the duties which devolved on him with equal credit to himself and advantage to the city. He (the Attorney-General) was one of those who thought that the only qualification which should exist for such offices was that the holder should be a good citizen; and he recollected with no small degree of satisfaction, that it was he who had brought in the Bill, a measure that passed through the Legislature by, he might say, the unanimous vote of both Houses of Parliament, which entitled Mr Montefiore to occupy the position he then held. He was happy to say that the ancient prejudices, founded on difference of religious belief, were fast wearing away, and he only hoped the time was at hand when objections[Pg 118] on such grounds would altogether cease to operate. It was the desire of Her Majesty's Government to promote such a state of things by all the means in their power; and for his own part, his opinion was that, so far from injuring the Constitution, it would tend materially to uphold and strengthen it."

Mr and Mrs Montefiore returned to Park Lane at two o'clock from the inauguration dinner, much pleased with the reception they had met with from their fellow-citizens.[Pg 119]




We may now consider Mr Montefiore as almost entirely occupied with the discharge of the duties of his office as Sheriff. We shall give here the entries he made referring to the subject, some of which are particularly interesting.

From the following entry one can form an idea of the way in which he spent his days during his year of office:—

"8.30 a.m., left Park Lane; 9 o'clock, breakfasted at the Old Bailey; 10, attended the Recorder into the Court, was present at a meeting of the subscribers to the Sheriffs' Fund, met the Lord Mayor at the Guildhall, and attended the Hustings. At 12.30 went back to the Old Bailey, had lunch there, re-entered Court, and remained there till near five, then returned to Park Lane. Accompanied by my wife, proceeded at 6.30 to the Mansion House, where we dined with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, and a very large and elegant party; had music, and singing and dancing; returned home at one o'clock."

On the 11th of October Mr Montefiore in his turn gave a dinner to the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, the Sheriffs and Aldermen and their ladies, after which Mrs Montefiore held a reception, which was followed by a concert.

The next day he went to Newgate, and saw the prisoners who had just been received. He went through the male and female wards, and spoke to many of the prisoners. He then proceeded to Whitecross Prison, and gave Mr Barrett, the governor, a cheque for £20 for distribution among such cases of distress as he thought most deserving.

There are entries in the diary which show that on many[Pg 120] occasions Mr Montefiore did not leave the Old Bailey before nine o'clock in the evening. "Sometimes," he remarks, "the duties of Shrievalty cause me much trouble." But however numerous or onerous his duties may have been, they never prevented his leaving the Old Bailey in time to attend Synagogue, on the eve of the Sabbath and festivals, the Judges in Court always, in the most kind manner, giving him permission to do so.

About that time one of his near relatives happening to be dangerously ill, he more than once, after having performed the daily duties of his office, and been present at an entertainment which lasted till midnight or later, instead of returning home, proceeded to the house of sickness, where he watched at the bedside of the patient till morning.

On Monday, November 6th, his uncle died. "I have always," Mr Montefiore said, "regarded him as a second father, but I must not grieve at his being taken from us, for he is gone to receive the reward of a well-spent life in a better world; very many of his relatives will miss his kind liberality." Mr Montefiore remained with the family that day for a considerable time, but had afterwards to leave them to attend to the necessary preparations for the important day of the 9th of November.

If the many thousands of spectators who fill the streets and occupy the balconies and windows on Lord Mayor's day, and witness the glorious institutions of the Livery of the largest and most wealthy city of the world, and to gaze at the magnificent cavalcade preceding the state carriage of the Lord Mayor, think that the Aldermen, Sheriffs, and under-Sheriffs have but to mount their chargers, and be comfortably seated in the saddle, to receive the shouts of approbation from the multitude, they are in error. As the glorious entry of a victorious army on its return from the field of battle requires previous organisation, so as to ensure the perfect regularity of the marching and evolution of each respective battalion, even thus does the entry into the metropolis of the assembly of citizens, almost equal in number to a powerful army, require much previous organisation.

Mr Montefiore, in order to prepare himself for the duties he would have to perform at the forthcoming procession, went to Davis' riding school, where he met the Lord Mayor and the Lord Mayor elect, as also most of the Aldermen, Sheriffs, and[Pg 121] Court of Common Council. They each had a horse appointed for their use. A troop of artillerymen, with their horses, headed by Colonel Jones, were also present. After trying the horses they went through the plan of the procession, and it was five o'clock before they returned home.

On November 7th he called at the Mansion House, attended the Court of Hustings in the Guildhall, went with the Lord Mayor, the Lord Mayor elect, and Mr George Carrol to the Entertainment Committee, and then to Downing Street to see the Lord Chancellor. On finding him absent he went to his house, where he met with a most friendly reception.

In the evening he went to the house of his late uncle. While the Lavadores were performing their mournful duties, he and his wife read, in an adjoining room, the prayers which his lamented uncle had selected during his extreme illness. Greatly fatigued, they both returned to Park Lane, with the intention of retiring to rest. They had scarcely been home an hour when Mr Montefiore's colleague, Mr George Carrol, called. The cause of his coming at so late an hour, that gentleman said, was his desire to be the first to inform him that Lord John Russell had that day acquainted the City Remembrancer with his intention of recommending Her Majesty to bestow a baronetcy on the Lord Mayor, and to confer the honour of knighthood on the Sheriffs. "It was very kind," Mr Montefiore said, "of Carrol to come, and to acquaint me with the pleasing news, for which I am very grateful to the Almighty."

On Wednesday, the 8th November, he left home soon after eight in the morning, and was at the Mansion House at nine. It was half-past when the Lord Mayor elect made his appearance; there was a large party assembled. At ten they set out in procession for the Guildhall, where Alderman Cowan was sworn into office; the hall was very full. Mr Montefiore introduced Chevalier Benthausen and two Russian noblemen to the Lord Mayor, and then left the hall. He then went to the Alliance Marine, attended the Board of the Alliance Life and Fire Assurance Company, returned to the Guildhall, and thence repaired again to the house of mourning, to attend the funeral of his late uncle. At six he was again at the Mansion House, to be present at the farewell dinner of the retiring Lord Mayor. Many Aldermen, he says, were present; also the companies of[Pg 122] the two Lord Mayors. At half-past nine he went for the third time to the mourners to read prayers with them, and afterwards he and his wife took up their quarters for the night at their chambers at the Marine Office in the city. "A very fatiguing day," he says, "and one in which I have seen the last of a dear and near relative. I hope I may imitate his virtues."

Thursday, 9th of November.—"With unspeakable but heartfelt gratitude to the Almighty God," he writes, "I note the occurrences of the day, a day that can never be forgotten by me; it is a proud one: with the exception of the day I had the happiness of dedicating our Synagogue at Ramsgate, and the day of my wedding, the proudest day of my life. I trust the honour conferred by our most gracious Queen on myself and my dear Judith may prove the harbinger of future good to the Jews generally, and though I am sensible of my unworthiness, yet I pray the Almighty to lead and guide me in the proper path, that I may observe and keep His Holy Law.

"At half-past eight I went to the Mansion House, at nine set off in grand procession to London Bridge; there I embarked with the Lord Mayor, &c., for Westminster. The new Lord Mayor was presented to the Judges in several Courts. We then returned the same way to the Mansion House. I went to the Marine. My dear Judith was beautifully dressed, but very unwell. We went to the Mansion House, and soon left there in procession. Our state carriage being in advance, I got out at Temple Bar, and the carriage went on with Judith to the Guildhall. I mounted on horseback, with my brother Sheriffs, some Aldermen, and Members of the Common Council. After many of the Royal carriages had passed, we set forward two and two before the Queen. On her arrival in the hall she reposed herself for some time. The Recorder then read the address, to which she replied. The Lord Mayor was introduced, and made a Baronet; the Aldermen were introduced, and then the Sheriffs were knighted, first George Carrol. On my kneeling to the Queen, she placed a sword on my left shoulder and said, 'Rise, Sir Moses.' I cannot express all I felt on this occasion. I had, besides, the pleasure of seeing my banner with 'Jerusalem' floating proudly in the hall. I hope my dear mother will be pleased. The entertainment was most magnificent, but my poor wife dreadfully ill."[Pg 123]

Friday, November 10th.—The new knight, now Sir Moses, proceeded to Buckingham Palace to enter his name in the Duchess of Kent's visiting-book. On his return he received numerous visits of congratulation. He then went to the house of the mourners in the city, and also visited his mother.

Saturday, November 11th.—Although Sir Moses might have gone on that day to a place of worship near Park Lane, he preferred walking to the city on the first Sabbath after the honour of knighthood had been conferred upon him, to return thanks to the Almighty in the ancient Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Bevis Marks, a structure which commemorates the first step towards religious liberty in England, and which had from his earliest days been an object of love and veneration to him. He started from home early in the morning, and joined the congregation before nine o'clock.

After service he attended an entertainment given by one of his friends on the occasion of his son attaining his thirteenth year (the age which constitutes religious majority). The remainder of the day he passed in visiting his relatives, and again attending the Synagogue to join in prayers with the mourners.

On Sunday, November 12th, he went to Newgate, where he found all well; his colleagues had already been there three hours. He then went to the residences of the Duke of Cambridge, the Princess Sophia Matilda, the Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Sussex, the Princess Sophia, and Princess Augusta, and entered his and Lady Montefiore's names in their visitors' books. On his return to Park Lane he dined with his wife, and spent a pleasant evening in reading and writing. "One of our old-fashioned happy East Cliff evenings," he says.

On Monday, November 13th, he attended the general meetings of some of his companies, and in the evening dined with the directors of the Imperial Continental Gas Association. The next day he was actively engaged in performing the duties of his office, attending the Lord Mayor at the Court of Hustings, and afterwards making arrangements with his under-Sheriff respecting the invitations for the dinner on the 16th inst. Having sent fifty invitations, and received but twenty-eight tickets, "I passed the whole day," he says, "in a state of much anxiety as to the best mode of acting. At last I have determined to seat the ladies, and send the gentlemen tickets for the Council[Pg 124] Chamber, should they be unable to find seats in the hall. I most sincerely hope I may give no offence, as I am sure none was intended; my desire to oblige the family has brought me into this dilemma."

On Thursday, the 16th of November, Sir Moses walked to the city in the morning, called at the Alliance, Guildhall, and Mansion House, returning home at two o'clock. A few minutes before four, he and Lady Montefiore started in their state carriage, with the servants in full livery, for the Guildhall. "We called," he says, "at Cavendish Square, and followed Sir George and Lady Carrol in their state carriage to the Guildhall. At five the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress made their appearance long after many of Her Majesty's Ministers had arrived. We sat down to dinner soon after six. The hall presented a splendid appearance; there were between eleven and twelve hundred present, including nearly all the Ambassadors, Ministers, and Judges."

The health of the Sheriffs was not drunk till long after the ladies had left the table. Each of them returned thanks, Sir Moses doing so in the following words:—

"My excellent friend and colleague has so fully expressed my sentiments and feelings, that I ought, perhaps, to apologise for trespassing on your attention, but as this is the first time I have had the honour of addressing so large an assembly of distinguished guests and of my fellow-citizens, I cannot resist the temptation of offering you my congratulations on the auspicious event which has distinguished the commencement of our year of office. The recent visit of our most gracious Queen to this ancient hall, the kindness which induced Her Majesty to present herself, at the earliest possible period, to her faithful subjects of this great and opulent city, must have made a deep impression on every heart, must have strongly rooted the feelings of loyalty with which Britons naturally regard their sovereign; and, if I may judge of others by myself, must have awed all emotions save those of fervent hope and prayer, that the reign of our now youthful Queen may be long and peaceful, and that her greatest glories may be connected with the universal education of her subjects, the diffusion of the most comprehensive principles of benevolence, charity, and love—principles which shall unite all in a desire to accomplish the proud wish that[Pg 125] England may possess and exercise the great prerogative of teaching other nations how to live. What we have seen is a proof, in my opinion, that we are fairly on our way to the full completion of the wish: for do not the recent events demonstrate to us, and will they not demonstrate far beyond the precincts of our city, that the purest freedom, and the warmest attachment to religion, may co-exist, and may safely co-exist, with the forms of monarchy and with feelings of affection to the sovereign, especially when that sovereign evinces the dispositions which we all recognise in our amiable, youthful, and illustrious Queen? Let, then, other countries boast of natural advantages, denied perhaps to ours, let our pride be in our civil advantages, in the security of our person and property, under a system of law and government which, whatever be its defects—and what is perfect on earth?—is at least as near to perfection as any government that has existed, or does now exist. But I am carried away by my feelings from the main object I had in view in rising to address you. That object was to tender you my thanks, warm from the heart, for the honour you have conferred on myself and colleague. I can sincerely say that the kindness of our fellow-citizens is a full reward for the performance of our duties, and will be a full inducement to devote ourselves cheerfully to the service of those who, unasked, have placed us in a position of so much trust and honour. We feel satisfied that in the performance of our duties we shall not betray the trust reposed in us, nor tarnish the honour of the Corporation. No; it will be our pride and pleasure to enhance the dignity of our office, in order that the distinction it confers may be more and more an object of laudable ambition to the most worthy and opulent of our fellow-citizens. Connected with the Corporation by high office, I feel a deep interest in its prosperity; and I pray that it may long exist to prove that popular corporate institutions are a bulwark to the throne, while they offer to the people a security for the preservation of their laws, and pure administration of justice."

Sir Moses was much pleased with the manifest approbation of the sentiments he expressed. "Lord Glenelg," he says, "spoke in a very friendly manner with me, as did the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The Vice-Chancellor also made a very complimentary speech, saying he hoped to see me enjoy high city honours."[Pg 126]

Most of the time of Sir Moses was now occupied in the discharge of the duties imposed on him by his office, which included his attendance at numerous meetings, dinners, and balls. Some of them are recorded in the diary. In making an entry of the Polish ball, which took place on the 21st of November, he says: "We left home at nine o'clock, and got to the Guildhall with great care between eleven and twelve. The hall was crowded, and presented a splendid appearance. There were above 2500 people present, including the Lord Mayor, the Duke and Duchess of Somerset, Miss Burdett-Coutts, Mr P. M. Stewart, Lord Dudley Coutts Stewart, &c. All were most friendly. In consequence of the absence of the Lady Mayoress, Lady Carrol and my wife did the honours. It was quite a fairy scene; I never saw anything like it before, and I daresay it will be some time before we again witness so brilliant an assembly. Before the hall became crowded, I was much pleased with the effect of my crest and arms, which had been chalked in colours on the floor, the crest with the word 'Jerusalem' in Hebrew being nearest the throne."

From the hall of splendour our attention is directed to the home of misery. We find him next visiting the Whitecross Street Prison. "I went," he says, "over the whole building, and found 428 unfortunate individuals confined within its walls. The men's wards were very unclean, but the women's extremely clean; there were only twenty-four females. The day rooms of the male prisoners were crowded with visitors. The prisoners were in good health, not more than seventeen in the infirmary, and all only slight cases of cold."

On Monday, the 27th of November, he went at half-past eight in his state carriage to the Mansion House, and at 9.30 he and his colleague accompanied the Lord Mayor, in grand state, to open the first session in his Lordship's mayoralty at the Old Bailey.

On the 29th he attended a meeting of the Deputies of British Jews, and a sub-committee was appointed to endeavour to get Mr Baines—the originator of a Bill for the purpose of altering the declaration contained in the Act 9 George IV., cap. 17, to be made by persons on their admission to municipal offices—to obtain an extension of its provisions to the Jews. The Bill, as it then stood, limited the indulgence to Quakers and Moravians.[Pg 127]

When, on the following day, the Lord Mayor, accompanied by the Sheriffs, attended the meeting of the first Common Council, Mr David Salamons presented a petition, calling on the Court to petition both the Houses of Parliament to amend Mr Baines' Bill. "Charles Pearson," Sir Moses says, "proposed the motion, which was carried unanimously."

On the 3rd of December, Sir Moses was particularly requested by Mr David Salamons, to go with him to H.R.H. the Duke of Sussex, to inform him of their intentions respecting Mr Baines' Bill; but His Royal Highness was not well enough to see them. On the same day, Barons Lionel and Nathaniel Rothschild called on Sir Moses, to say that Sir Robert Peel had appointed the following Monday to see a deputation of the Jews.

In accordance with that appointment they called, with Mr David Salamons, on Sir Moses, the next day at the Old Bailey, and requested him to go with them to Sir Robert Peel; but, as it was expected that the Recorder would pass the sentences at twelve, he could not leave the Courts. The Recorder, however, did not make his appearance till three o'clock, and then made great difficulty before permitting him and Sir George Carrol to go to the House of Commons with the petition, positively refusing to allow their under-Sheriffs to accompany them, under the penalty of a fine. At about five o'clock Sir Moses and Sir George Carrol proceeded in their state carriages with their servants to the Guildhall for the Remembrancer, who went with them to the House of Commons with the three petitions.

On entering the House, led by the Sergeant-at-Arms with the Mace, the Speaker said: "Sir George Carrol and Sir Moses Montefiore, what have you there?" "A petition from the Lord Mayor and Common Council to the Honourable House," replied Sir George. "You may withdraw," returned the Speaker. They then withdrew in the same manner as they had advanced, bowing three times. They took their seats under the gallery, and listened to the debate on Mr Baines' Bill. "I very much regret," Sir Moses says, "that we, the Jews, allowed the House to divide."

A week later, on December 10th, after having gone over every part of Newgate Prison, and spoken with the prisoners, both male and female, he called, on his way back to Park Lane, on[Pg 128] Dr Sims at Cavendish Square, to inform him that Lord John Russell would see that the Jews were relieved from the effect of the resolution passed by the London University, as to the examination of candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, &c. He then accompanied Messrs Isaac Cohen and David Salamons to Kensington.

The Duke of Sussex saw them immediately, and was most kind. He approved of the Jews getting a Bill into the House of Commons to relieve them from the declaration on taking municipal offices, but not before the Bill relieving the Quakers had passed the Lords.

On Sunday, 17th December, he wrote a letter to Lord Melbourne to solicit the honour of an interview, previously to the Municipal Corporation Declaration Bill going into Committee. In the course of an hour his Lordship sent him a note in his own handwriting, saying he would be glad to see him the next day at half-past three, at Downing Street. Sir Moses immediately communicated with Messrs David Salamons and I. L. Goldsmid, and requested them to accompany him there on the following day.

Agreeably to this intimation they were at the appointed time in Downing Street. Lord Melbourne received them at once, the Marquis of Lansdowne being with him. Both of them, Sir Moses says, were very polite, but gave them to understand that they could not include the Jews in the present Bill, as they would not be able to carry it through the Lords.

On the same day he was officially informed of his having been elected President for the year of the Jews' Free School, but the duties of the Shrievalty prevented his accepting the honour. After calling at Newgate and Whitecross Street Prison, and speaking to all the prisoners, he attended at Doctors Commons to administer the will of his late uncle.

On December 19th he wrote a letter to Mr Alteston, Master of the Merchant Taylors' Company, offering to give £50 as a prize to the best Hebrew scholar in the Company's schools, as a token of his appreciation of the benevolence of the Company.

The diary of the year 1837 concludes with an entry referring to a banquet given at the London Coffee House by the Commercial Travellers' Society, under the presidency of Sir Chapman Marshall, at which Sir Moses was present. Two hundred persons[Pg 129] sat down to table, among whom £1200 was collected for the benefit of the institution. This entry is followed by an account of a narrow escape of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. "We have been much alarmed," he writes, "by some person firing a pistol at us, near Welling, on the road from Rochester to London; happily it missed both horses and carriage; the postboy was much frightened."[Pg 130]




The diary of 1838, like that of the preceding year, abounds in descriptions of Sir Moses' official duties, as well as records of events.

January 11th.—Early in the morning, before he was dressed, Sir Moses was informed that the Royal Exchange had been burnt down in the night. He at once rode to the Alliance, and found the news true; only the walls of the Exchange were still standing. "I called at the Mansion House," he says, "and accompanied a deputation of the Gresham Company to see the ruins; the loss of books, papers, and securities is said to be immense. In the evening I repaired again to the Mansion House to attend a Court of Aldermen, which sat till after ten. It was a full meeting; the Town Clerk and all the Law Officers of the city were present. There were long and grave discussions respecting the making of a new city seal, the old one, as it was thought, having been destroyed in the fire at the Royal Exchange."

On January 14th he was present at a meeting of the Elders of his community at Bevis Marks. The resignation of the Deputies was received, and a resolution passed, that "for the future Deputies be elected by the Elders and seat-holders, generally known by the appellation of 'Yehidim,' and out of either body." After the meeting he called at Newgate, and went over the female wards and the infirmary.

It may interest some of my readers to hear that the ancient custom of presenting each of the Sheriffs with three does by the Crown is still kept up. When Sir Moses was told that those intended for him were at Richmond, he sent a person (authorised by the Ecclesiastical Board) to kill the does in accordance[Pg 131] with the Jewish custom, and then distribute them among his friends.

He attended the first dinner given by the new Lord Mayor at the Mansion House on the 16th. The next day he dined at the London Tavern with the City Committee for General Purposes, and in the evening was present at a ball for the benefit of the Watch and Clock Makers' Institution. On the 19th, Sir Moses, in his turn, gave a dinner to the Vice-Chancellor, and there were also present, Sir L. Shadwell and Lady Shadwell, the Common Sergeant and his wife, Sir John Conroy and his daughters, Mr J. A. Curtis and his daughters, the Baron and Baroness de Rothschild, Baron Nathaniel and Baroness Louisa de Rothschild, and many other guests of distinction.

The following extracts from the diaries show the nature of Sir Moses' multifarious duties at this time:—

"February 2nd.—Was sworn in as Commissioner of the London Lieutenancy, consisting mostly of the Court of Aldermen and their deputies, the Directors of the Bank of England and of the East India Company.

"February 5th.—Proceeded with my colleague, the City Remembrancer, and Alderman Venables to the House of Commons, to present two petitions; one respecting the night watch, and the other respecting a new street from Farringdon Street.

"February 6th.—Attended the meeting of the sub-committees of the several Synagogues at 7 p.m. It was within a few minutes of twelve when the meeting broke up.

"February 14th.—Attended the Queen's levee. Was presented to Her Majesty by Lord John Russell, and had the honour of kissing hands, after which I drove to my mother, that she might see the state carriage and liveries.

"February 16th.—Present at the Court of Common Council, where they voted the freedom of the City of London to Mr Stephenson, the American Minister, to be presented to him in a gold box of the value of 100 guineas. The following evening I went to Kensington Palace to a soiree given by the Duke of Sussex to the members of the Royal Society. The rooms were crowded. Spoke with a great many persons I knew, Mr Spring-Rice, the Dean of Chester, and others."

February 22nd.—On the occasion of the funeral of a friend which he attended, Sir Moses observes: "It was a funeral such[Pg 132] as I much approve. I think no funeral should have more than eight mourning coaches, and the coachmen should wear neither cloaks nor bands; in fact, in my opinion, the less pomp on such an occasion the better." In the evening he dined at the London Orphan Society; "took my own cold beef," he says. The Duke of Cambridge presided. The collection amounted to £1960.

February 27th.—After having been occupied all day with the duties of his office, he went in the evening to a meeting of Conference of all the Synagogues, to consider the subject of the constitution of the new Board of Deputies. "There was a full meeting," he says, "and we remained in debate till after eleven o'clock. The conference was carried on in the most friendly manner; and, with some alterations, the resolutions of the Great Synagogue were agreed to."

I give these entries referring to the Board of Deputies in the interest of those of my readers of the Hebrew community in England who may wish to trace the development and progress of that institution.

The 13th of March is a day which will be remembered with much gratification by the promoters of civil and religious liberty. The occurrence noted in the diary will always remind them of the lesson, never to neglect an opportunity of serving a good cause when it presents itself.

When returning, in company with the Lord Mayor and Sir George Carrol, from the Court of Hustings to the place where the words "Jews' Walk" were written up, Sir Moses mentioned to the Lord Mayor that many persons had complained that, in these enlightened times, the walls of the Guildhall should be disgraced by such a mark of intolerance as the tablet bearing the above inscription. The Lord Mayor very kindly ordered it to be taken down immediately. The same tablet was subsequently given to Sir Moses by the Lord Mayor, and is now preserved in Lady Montefiore's Theological College in Ramsgate as a souvenir of bygone times.

March 16th records an instance of the danger to which, as Sheriff, he was sometimes exposed in the discharge of his official duties, as also his sympathy with others who equally endangered their lives in the service of the Livery. Sir Moses attended on that day a Committee of Criminal Justice, and accompanied them all over the gaol; later he and his colleague had to be[Pg 133] present at the inquest on a prisoner who had died of fever. "I am sorry to say," he remarks, "that something like typhoid fever is prevailing in the prison; the matrons and turnkeys are greatly alarmed." On his return home he sent a dozen of port to the keeper of Newgate and a dozen to the matron.

Wishing for a day's repose, he and Lady Montefiore repaired to their favourite spot, Smithambottom. "The appearance of the Red Lion" (the inn in which they usually took up their abode), he says, "we found much altered for the worse. The house, its inmates, and furniture, all wear a decayed look; they have very little custom there. Caroline Paget, daughter of Pearce the landlord, having heard of our arrival, came immediately to see us. She is also much altered; time, poverty, and care have made sad havoc with her appearance. Fourteen years have passed since we were last in Pearce's house, and we viewed the place with mingled feelings of pleasure and pain. In spite of the gloom of the house, I dearly like the place, and shall be most grateful to Providence to be permitted the enjoyment of frequent walks over the Downs. But we must see what we can do for the Pearces."

He assisted both father and daughter by providing for their immediate wants, and, on his return to town, procured, not without great personal exertion, a presentation to the Blue Coat School for Caroline Paget's daughter.

As President of the Jews' Free School, Sir Moses took the chair at a dinner given at the London Tavern in aid of that Institution.

He was supported on his right and left by Sir George Carrol, Mr T. A. Curtis, the Governor of the Bank; Mr M. Attwood, M. P.; Mr David Salamons, Mr Jno. Alteston, Mr Edward Fletcher, Mr T. M. Pearce, Mr Aston Key, Mr Nugent Daniel, Mr F. H. Goldsmid, Mr B. Cohen, Mr Isaac Cohen, Mr Under-Sheriff Wire, and a large company of friends. Some excellent addresses were delivered by Sir Moses and others of the gentlemen present. In the entry he made of the proceedings, he observes, "I did my best, and had the pleasure to find the company was satisfied, for £841 was collected."

It was nearly twelve when he left the London Tavern in company with Sir George Carrol, and went to Hanover Square Rooms, where they met their ladies at the Polish ball.[Pg 134]

On the 3rd of April he was summoned to the Guildhall to a Court of Lieutenancy to take the oath and subscribe to the Declaration; but he could not do so, and therefore did not attend.

In the evening he was present at the Conference of the Deputies from all the Synagogues, who, he says, would not agree to reconsider their former resolution.

On April 4th Lady Montefiore had a narrow escape from what might have proved a most serious accident. She had promised to dine with her sister, Mrs Hannah de Rothschild (Sir Moses, owing to his official duties, was unable to accompany her). While driving to Piccadilly the horses took fright, broke the pole and harness, and much injured the carriage. Fortunately no one was hurt.

The next day Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore attended the Queen's Drawing-Room, accompanied by Sir George and Lady Carrol, Mr and Mrs Maynard, and Mr and Mrs Wire, all in their state carriages. The ladies of the party were presented by the Marchioness of Lansdowne. The Queen and the Duchess of Kent were most gracious to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore.

On April 9th he writes: "I was at the Old Bailey at 8.30, and breakfasted at nine; attended the Common-Sergeant into the New Court; at ten I attended the Chief-Justice Tindall to the Old Court. The Common-Sergeant having left the New Court, I accompanied Baron Parke into it. Being the eve of Passover, I had to my regret to leave the Old Bailey at five o'clock. It caused great inconvenience, there being a judge in each Court, and most important trials being on, not likely to be finished before to-morrow evening."

It was the duty of the Sheriffs to attend on the following day, first at the Old Bailey, then on the Lord Mayor in state at the Court of Aldermen, to witness the swearing in of the new Alderman (Magnay), then to accompany him in state to the Mansion House to dine with his Lordship and a large party.

On the following Monday and Tuesday he had again to attend the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress in state to receive the Blue Coat boys at the Mansion House, then to be present at a sermon at the Hospital, and to return and dine with the Lord Mayor, the Aldermen, &c., it being Easter Monday, a public day. They were also expected on the following morning again to breakfast at the Mansion House. Sir Moses, however, observes,[Pg 135] "My duty to God, and my respect for our holy religion, are above all other duties, and I must give up my official occupations for these days," a resolve which he acted upon.

After having attended the levee of the Queen, which was held on Wednesday, 2nd May, Sir Moses proceeded to the London Tavern to be present at the anniversary festival of the City of London School for the benefit of the children of the indigent, under the presidency of the Duke of Wellington. There was a very large and representative gathering, and the amount collected and handed to His Grace, including the steward's fines, was £1320.

Thursday, May 3rd.—Sir Moses attended a state dinner, which the Lord Mayor gave the judges, at the Mansion House.

The entries continue as follows:—

Monday, May 7th.—Presided at the dinner of the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew Schools; 120 persons were present, and Mr Samuel Gurney addressed the assembly before the children left.

May 9th.—Attended a meeting at the City of London Tavern for the abolition of slavery, and in the evening joined Sir George Carrol at a dinner of the City Dispensary, given at the same place. The same evening he also went to Lady Cottenham's party.

May 10th.—Dined with the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy. It was a very large assembly, and Sir Moses' donations amounted to £44. Mr Justice Parke introduced him to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who most politely invited him for Tuesday, the 22nd inst.

May 14th.—Gave a grand dinner at Park Lane to the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress, Sir George and Lady Carrol, and the Aldermen. Several friends and relatives were also present at this dinner.

May 15th.—Attended the Court of Hustings, and at Sir Moses' request the Lord Mayor consented to adjourn it over the 29th inst., to enable him to go to Ramsgate for the holy days. He went to the Old Bailey, and in the evening was present at the anniversary dinner in aid of the Magdalen Hospital, Mr Justice Parke being in the chair. He was informed that the Sheriffs had received the "entrée" from the Duke of Argyll during their Shrievalty.[Pg 136]

Thursday, May 17th.—Sir George and Lady Carrol came in their state carriage to Park Lane, in order to go with Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to the Queen's Drawing-Room. This being the Queen's birthday, the Drawing-Room was very crowded, and the ladies had some difficulty in reaching the palace. It was five o'clock when they returned to Park Lane. Sir Moses then called at Buckingham Palace, where he placed his and Lady Montefiore's name in the Duchess of Kent's visitors' book. In the evening he dined with Lord John Russell, and there met the Lord Chancellor, the Judges, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Morpeth, the City members, the Lord Mayor, and his colleague as Sheriff. Afterwards he attended, with Lady Montefiore, the Marchioness of Lansdowne's party. "Nothing," he observes, "could have been more splendid."

Friday, May 18th.—At five o'clock he went to a dinner at the Mansion House, given by the Lord Mayor to the Bishops. There were sixteen bishops present, besides several aldermen, the sheriffs, and about half-a-dozen ladies. The Bishop of Exeter asked for an introduction to Sir Moses, and was extremely civil to him. After six the company adjourned to the dining-room, but Sir Moses withdrew and returned to Park Lane, it being near the time for the commencement of Sabbath.

Monday, May 21st.—He went in full court dress, in his state carriage, with his servants in full state liveries, to dine at Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury. On his way he called for the Recorder, who went with him. "It is impossible," says Sir Moses, "to describe the magnificence and splendour of the palace, and equally so the great kindness and urbanity shown to me by the Primate. About forty sat down to table, including the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, several Bishops, the Lord Mayor, John Capel, Jno. Alteston, and many Aldermen. The Duke of Sussex told me he would send me an invitation for the 30th inst. After dinner I requested of his Royal Highness a card for my dear wife and Lady Carrol, which he kindly promised me. The Recorder returned home with me, appearing much pleased at the reception he had met with.[Pg 137]"




Wednesday, May 23rd.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore drove to Kensington Palace, and put their names in the visitors' book of the Duke of Sussex; they then called on the Archbishop of Canterbury and left cards there. In the evening Sir Moses attended the anniversary dinner of the North London University Hospital, Lord Brougham in the chair. "I sat next to him on his right," he writes. "There was a large collection, Mr I. L. Goldsmid alone bringing £200."

Thursday, May 24th.—The two Sheriffs proceeded in their state carriages to the Guildhall to attend a meeting of the Common Council. In the afternoon they drove to the House of Commons, and presented two petitions respecting the rebuilding of the Royal Exchange and the registering of voters. At five they sat down to a dinner at Bellamy's, having invited several members, Sir Matthew Wood being in the chair. Sir Moses returned to Park Lane at seven o'clock, and then accompanied Lady Montefiore to an entertainment given by one of their relatives.

Friday, May 25th.—He again went to the House of Commons with his colleague, and presented a petition from the city, returning to Park Lane before the commencement of Sabbath.

May 26th.—In the morning Sir Moses walked to the St Alban's Synagogue, and on his way back called on Mr N. M. de Rothschild. On the evening of the same day he attended the anniversary meeting of the Society for the management and distribution of the Literary Fund, the Marquis of Lansdowne in the chair, supported by the Marquis of Northampton, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and many literary celebrities,[Pg 138] including Thomas Moore, Bulwer, and Dickens. The President paid the Sheriffs a handsome compliment in proposing their healths. Messrs Rothschild had requested Sir Moses to give £20 in their names, which, he remarked, was extremely well received.

May 27th.—He went in the forenoon to the Vestry of the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew Community, it being the day appointed for the election of their Deputies. The ballot was to close at three o'clock, and he was subsequently told that he had been elected.

May 28th.—On his way to the city Sir Moses called on his colleague, and gave him an invitation he had received from the Duke of Sussex for himself and Lady Carrol. They then went to the Lord Mayor and invited him to take the chair at their dinner on the 13th June, at the Merchant Taylors' Hall, which he agreed to do. Sir Moses writes: "He had not yet received his invitation from the Duke of Sussex, and seemed rather uneasy about it."

May 30th.—As this was the first day of the Pentecost Festival, Sir Moses walked to the city, and attended service in the Synagogue there. On his return to Park Lane he walked with Lady Montefiore to the King's Arms, Kensington, where they had taken rooms the day before, and where they found a cold collation spread for them. This last, as well as both their court dresses, had been conveyed there from Park Lane on the preceding day.

"From our sitting-room," Sir Moses writes, "we had an excellent view of the company going to the palace, as well as of the Queen and her attendants in three royal carriages, escorted by a troop of Horse Guards. After ten o'clock dear Judith went to the palace in a sedan chair, and I walked there. There were many hundred carriages, and thousands of persons. The appearance of the rooms, galleries, and company was magnificent beyond description. The Duke of Sussex received the company, and spoke very kindly to Judith and myself. In the second chamber Lady Cecilia Underwood was at the door, and greeted us most kindly. The Queen was also in this room, and near to her the Duchess of Kent and the other members of the Royal Family. On our making our bow to the Queen, she smiled most graciously, and the Duchess left[Pg 139] her side, came out of the circle, and spoke to us. She said she was pleased to see us, and enquired whether we had lately been to Ramsgate. This was a most distinguished honour, and we were highly gratified with the same. We remained at the palace till one o'clock, then returned in same way as we came to the hotel. We changed our dresses and walked home, where we arrived dreadfully fatigued, but highly delighted with our reception."

Wednesday, June 6th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to Richmond, where they met the Duke of Cambridge whilst walking in the gardens. He came up and spoke to them, and was extremely polite. The Duke was walking with the Bishop of Winchester, who had come to Richmond to preside at some charitable meeting. Sir Moses only learned after he and Lady Montefiore had left the gardens the purpose for which the Bishop was there, so he returned and begged to be allowed to contribute his mite, giving at the same time £10, with which they seemed greatly pleased.

On Thursday, June 7th, he had to be present in his official robes at St Paul's Cathedral; Lady Montefiore was with him. "We witnessed," he says, "the most splendid of sights: nearly six thousand charity children, and double that number of poor men and women. The Duke of Cambridge, Lord Eldon, the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, and many others were present. Later in the day Sir George Carrol and I attended the anniversary dinner of the Society of Patrons of Charity Schools. The Lord Mayor was in the chair, and the Bishop of Rochester on his right, the latter being extremely civil to me and speaking in the most friendly manner. Sir Frederick Pollock, who was on my left, made a beautiful speech: he said he had been educated at St Paul's School and sent thence to college, after leaving which he had been obliged to work hard, his talents being the only patrimony he possessed."

Friday, June 8th.—Sir Moses attended the Queen's levee. "Her Majesty," he writes, "appeared in very good spirits; nearly all the company wore stars, orders, or ribbons."

June 11th.—He dined at the Merchant Taylors' Hall. There were present the Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Bishop of Exeter, Lord Londonderry, and many other noblemen—in all, about two hundred. Several[Pg 140] ladies were in the gallery, Lady Montefiore among the number.

June 13th.—Sir Moses attended a meeting at the City of London Tavern, for the benefit of the London Fever Hospital; Lord Devon in the chair. It was not well attended, but the collection was good. He was afterwards present at a dinner given by the Sheriffs to the Judges. Justice Allan Parke sat next to him, and the Vice-Chancellor next to Sir George Carrol, who was in the chair.

Friday, June 15th.—Sir Moses left home at twelve o'clock in his state carriage, the servants in full livery, and himself in black court dress, sword and chain. He called on the Recorder, who accompanied him to the Mansion House, where a luncheon was prepared. At one o'clock the Lord Mayor in his half-state carriage with four horses and outriders, the Sheriffs in their state carriages, and some of the Aldermen in theirs, set out in procession for the Swan Tavern, Stratford. They held there a Court of Conservancy for the county of Essex, after which they proceeded to Blackwall, and crossed the water in the city state barge, which was decorated in grand style with banners and flags. At four they held a Court for the county of Kent, at the Crown and Sceptre, and dined there.

June 19th.—Sir Moses accompanied the Common Sergeant to the Court at the Old Bailey, after which he attended the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House, and proceeded in state to the Borough Town Hall, where a Court of Conservancy was held for the county of Surrey. Thence the procession moved on towards the Swan Hotel, near Westminster Bridge, where a Court was held for the county of Middlesex. "Afterwards," says Sir Moses, "we drove to the city, and I left the Recorder at the Old Bailey. Then I joined the Lord Mayor and Sir George Carrol, and held a Court of Hustings."

Thursday, June 21st.—After spending the morning at the Old Bailey, he went with Lady Montefiore to the Queen's Drawing-Room, Sir George and Lady Carrol accompanying them in their state carriage.

On June 22nd Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to Ramsgate for a few days, where they celebrated the anniversary of the dedication of their Synagogue, and that of their wedding day, returning three days later to London. The time having arrived[Pg 141] for the election of Sheriffs for the ensuing year, Sir Moses went in his state carriage to the Mansion House, thence in procession with the Lord Mayor in his state carriage (drawn by six horses with six footmen walking before him) and Sir George Carrol in his state equipage, to the Guildhall. "About six hundred of the Livery were present," he says, "and the show of hands was in favour of Josiah Wilson and A. Moore, but a poll was demanded for Alderman Johnson and Thomas Ward."

Tuesday, June 26th.—The Recorder passed the sentences at the Old Bailey, and "Thanks to heaven!" Sir Moses exclaims, "the Sessions ended at one o'clock." The numbers at the close of the poll for sheriffs that day were: Ward, 450; Wilson, 479; Johnson, 479; and Moore, 429. In the evening Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore dined with the Vice-Chancellor and Lady Shadwell, where they met Lady and Miss Denman, Baron and Baroness Bolland, and Justice Coleridge.

June 27th.—Sir Moses attended a meeting of the Common Council, where it was resolved to invite the foreign Ministers to a dinner at the Guildhall. On returning home in the evening he found the park sparkling with lamps from booths and tents, erected in preparation for the coronation festival. He at once gave orders to have the balcony of his house propped and got ready for the illumination. "The park," he writes, "was all life and bustle, brilliantly illuminated, and the booths thronged with people. I understand that dancing was carried on in most of the booths, and that refreshments of all kinds and qualities were to be had."

June 30th.—Lord John Russell gave a grand dinner on this day to the Lord Chancellor, the judges, the members for the city of London, and the Sheriffs. Being Sabbath, Sir Moses did not accept the invitation, but called there and left his card. During the day, he and Lady Montefiore walked in the park, and were much amused by the fair. Afterwards they watched the scene from their drawing-room window. Thousands of people took part in the amusements, and as soon as it was dark, the whole park was again brilliantly illuminated.

On the 13th Sir Moses had to attend an entertainment at the Guildhall, given by the Corporation to distinguished foreigners, and representatives of sovereigns at the coronation. The Duke of Sussex and many others of the highest nobility were present,[Pg 142] but Sir Moses only remained there until they were seated at dinner, and then left in his state carriage.

July 17th.—Accompanied by his Under-Sheriff, Mr Wire, and Mr Maynard, he went to the Home Office to intercede on behalf of a prisoner named Rickie. The man was a soldier, who had always borne an excellent character, but, in a state of drunkenness, had fired at an officer and killed him. Rickie had been condemned and sentenced to death. Sir Moses and his friends were soon admitted to an audience with Lord John Russell, to whom they fully explained the subject. His Lordship said he would like to see them again.

Wednesday, July 18th.—Sir Moses went in full state to the Queen's levee, calling on his way at Cavendish Square for Sir George Carrol. "It was very splendid," he writes. "The Queen looked very happy and beautiful; she was most gracious, as was also the Duke of Sussex." On his return home he went with Lady Montefiore to a splendid fête at Gunnersbury Park, the seat of the Baroness Rothschild. About five hundred persons were present, including foreign Princes of distinction, the Ambassadors, the Duke of Sussex, Prince George of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Dukes of Wellington and Somerset, and most of the highest nobility of the land. The proceedings commenced with a concert, at which several great artistes, including Grisi, Lablache, Tamburini, and Rubini performed. This was succeeded by a déjeuner, and in the evening a grand ball was given in a magnificent tent erected for the purpose. The gardens were illuminated with six thousand variegated lamps. The company remained until near midnight, all the guests complimenting the Rothschild family most highly on their taste and hospitality.

Saturday, July 21st.—Sir Moses went by appointment to the Home Office, and had an interview with Lord John Russell and Mr Phillips, Sir George Carrol, Mr Maynard, and Mr Clark being also present. His Lordship informed them that he had "consulted the legal advisers of the Crown, and they had decided that Rickie's sentence could not be commuted. The Sheriffs must therefore fix the day for his execution."

Monday, July 23d.—The Prince and Princess of Schwarzenberg invited Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to a breakfast at Richmond, which Sir Moses describes as a magnificent fête. "On our arrival at the Castle," he says, "Prince Esterhazy, at[Pg 143] Lady Montefiore's request, very kindly introduced us to the Princess of Schwarzenberg, our beautiful hostess. I never witnessed a more splendid party. In the evening seven hundred sat down to dinner, and there was every luxury that could be imagined. The Princess walked round the rooms to see that all her guests were seated comfortably before she would take her own seat. The Duke of Sussex, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Mary of Cambridge, all the foreign Princes in London, and great part of the English nobility were present. The gardens were beautifully illuminated, and a grand display of fireworks concluded the entertainment. It was near midnight when we left, but the place was so crowded that we had great difficulty in reaching the hotel where we had taken rooms."

Tuesday, July 24th.—After the enjoyment of the previous day's fête came a day of great sorrow for them, Lady Montefiore sustaining a severe loss in the death of her brother, Mr Joseph Cohen. This occurrence caused the deepest grief to herself and every member of the family. On the same day Sir Moses was obliged to attend at Newgate to speak with Rickie, a reprieve having, after all, been sent to him by Lord John Russell.

Thursday, July 26th.—Sir Moses went to the funeral of his brother-in-law, while Lady Montefiore remained with the ladies of the family. The funeral was largely attended by friends and relatives, Mr Cohen having been highly esteemed by all who knew him. Sir Moses had then to interview 142 prisoners at Newgate, which occupied him three hours. Having fulfilled this duty, he returned to the house of the mourners, where he was present at evening prayers. He remained there with Lady Montefiore till ten o'clock.

Monday, July 30th.—Sir Moses accompanied Mr Pearce to the House of Lords, and was present at the Committee on the Royal Exchange Bill; the clause affecting the Alliance was not inserted in the Bill.

Tuesday, July 31st.—This being a fast-day, in memory of the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem, he attended the service held in Prescot Street at the residence of the late Mr Cohen. He remained there till twelve o'clock, when prayers were concluded. He then walked to the Guildhall, and attended the Court of Hustings with the Lord Mayor and Sir George Carrol, this being the last that these two Sheriffs would hold. Subsequently[Pg 144] he attended the Court of Aldermen, the Irish Bank, and the Alliance Marine Office. At seven o'clock he again repaired to Prescot Street, where he joined the mourners and a large congregation in the recital of evening prayers, after which they all broke the fast, and enjoyed a good breakfast. The reader will no doubt feel surprised at the amount of work Sir Moses was able to accomplish on a fast-day, when for twenty-four hours neither a crumb of bread nor a drop of water passed his lips; but we shall yet have many other instances of his extraordinary powers of endurance.

The next day, August 1st, we find him at a public gathering which took place at the London Tavern. The meeting was called to consider the erection of a public monument as a memorial of the achievements of Lord Nelson. The Duke of Wellington was in the chair, and the great room was crowded to overflowing. The amount collected was about £300, of which Sir Moses gave £15, 15s., in addition to £5 which he had given previously.

Friday, August 3rd.—He visited Whitecross Street Prison and Newgate. He there met Lady Harriet de Blanquiere of Hampton Court Palace. She had seen Rickie, and expressed a hope that his sentence might be commuted to transportation.

The 4th of August of this year was an important day for Sir Moses, as the prospect of a speedy release from his official duties as Sheriff enabled him to make the following entry in his diary. "Now," he writes, "with the blessing of the Almighty we will commence preparations for revisiting the Holy Land."

Sunday, August 12th.—The first meeting of the new Board of Deputies of British Jews taking place on this day, Sir Moses attended as President. He appears to have apprehended some difficulty in managing the new Board.

Wednesday, August 29th.—At eight o'clock in the morning he left home for the Old Bailey. He and his colleague accompanied the Recorder and Alderman Sir C. Marshall into Court at nine, when sentence was pronounced on several prisoners. "A most solemn and affecting scene," Sir Moses remarks. "Sir J. Carrol and I went into the prison, and spoke with most of them afterwards. We then went to the Alliance, and from there to 4 Canonbury Place, to intercede with two ladies who had prosecuted their servant for robbery, but they gave her such a bad character that we could not further interfere."[Pg 145]




On Monday, September 3rd, Sir Moses went in full state to join his colleague, and proceeded with him to the Mansion House. The Lord Mayor, in his state coach, drawn by six horses, and preceded by a body of police, went with the Sheriffs, and the City Marshal on horseback, to Smithfield, and proclaimed "Bartholomew Fair." Sir Moses observes, "There were not so many booths and shows as in former years, but all were crowded to excess."

Thursday, September 13th.—He attended the dedication of the new Synagogue at Great St Helens. "It is," he says, "a most splendid edifice, and does the greatest credit to all concerned in the building. The music and psalms on the occasion were very similar to those used at the dedication of my own Synagogue at Ramsgate."

The following day he and Lady Montefiore went to spend a couple of days at Gunnersbury with their sister, Mrs N. M. de Rothschild. In the entry he makes of the Sabbath, Sir Moses writes: "We all assembled in the library, where Louise Rothschild read the Sabbath morning service aloud exceedingly well. At three o'clock we lunched, and then walked in the garden, after which we re-entered the house and recited the afternoon prayers. About eight we were seated at dinner. There were twenty-four at table, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and the Princess Mary, two foreign princes with a lady, and Col. Jones, who accompanied them. There were also present Sir C. Bagot, Lord and Lady Cawdor,[Pg 146] and Miss Wellesley, Baron Bulow, Monsieur Didel, and Lady Maryborough. The entertainment, or rather the Banquet, was magnificent, and the guests did not leave till after eleven. Wester on the guitar, and Benedict on the piano, amused the company at the conclusion of the dinner, and Louise sang one song beautifully. We left about twelve and returned home."

Tuesday, September 18th.—"My dear Judith," he writes, "with the Baronesses Charlotte, Anselm, and Lionel de Rothschild, came to the Session House at three o'clock, and sat on the bench till near five, but no trial of interest took place. A few minutes later I joined the dinner in the hall, as it was the last time I should have to visit the Old Bailey in my capacity as Sheriff of London and Middlesex. There were present: Alderman Lawson, in the chair; Common-Sergeant S. Arabin, Ed. Blount, John Masterman, Henry Alexander, Matthias Attwood, H. de Castro, G. H. Mine, Mr Maynard, Mr Wire, Sir George Carrol, and two or three others. It was a most pleasant party; a kind of leave-taking dinner, and the Sheriffs had the gratification of hearing that their conduct during their year of office had given general satisfaction. It was impossible to leave the room without a feeling of regret at parting from very pleasant acquaintances whom we were so little likely to see again. Very quickly has the year flown away, with its pleasures and fatigues, leaving only the satisfaction of having accomplished our arduous duties to the best of our abilities."

Wednesday, September 19th.—He went early to the Old Bailey, and breakfasted there, as he had generally done during the year when his attendance was required. "These early repasts," he observes, "have been, without exception, most comfortable; although they preceded long days of confinement in a hot and close court, they have left pleasing remembrances of the many marks of attention and kindness shown to me by the city Judges who used to join these early meals." After this, his last breakfast there, he accompanied Lady Carrol, her daughters, and some other visitors round the prison and cells. He then left some money for the prisoners, and conducted the Judges and a large party into the dining-room, after which he bade adieu to the Old Bailey, "I expect," he says, "for ever." He then returned home and prepared for the Holy days which were to commence the same evening.[Pg 147]

On Monday, October 1st, the following official notice appeared:—

"Cowen, Mayor.—In a meeting or assembly of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Liverymen of the several Companies of the city of London, in Common Council assembled, at the Guildhall of the said city, on Saturday, the 29th day of September 1838. Resolved unanimously, that the thanks of this Common Hall are eminently due, and are hereby given, to Sir George Carrol and Sir Moses Montefiore, Knights, Sheriffs of this City, and Sheriffs of the County of Middlesex, for the past year, for the splendour with which they have maintained the dignity of that high office; for their hospitality; for the punctuality, zeal, and judgment with which they have executed their various official duties; for their munificent and constant support of the charities which adorn the metropolis; for their humanity to the prisoners entrusted to their care; for their various efforts to preserve, unimpaired, the privileges of this city; and for their universal courtesy to all their fellow-citizens.


The particulars of that meeting are thus given:—"Mr Timothy Curtis, the Governor of the Bank of England, came forward to move a vote of thanks to the late Sheriffs, Sir George Carrol and Sir Moses Montefiore, for the dignity, splendour, humanity, and hospitality with which they had distinguished themselves in the high situation to which they had been chosen by the unanimous voice of their fellow-citizens. Mr Gurney, in seconding the motion of thanks, said he rejoiced that the day had arrived when the citizens could be served by any one, whatever his religious opinions might be."

Mr T. Curtis then read the following letter—a letter of thanks to the Livery—from Sir Moses Montefiore, in the course of which he said:—

"I need not tell you that many of the duties of office myself and colleague have just passed through are of a painful nature. We have often been called upon to witness scenes of agony occasioned by want and crime. Some of this distress, however painful, we could not alleviate; but we have endeavoured to mitigate the sufferings of the prisoners, and to open to them better and happier courses of life, as far as public justice and the necessarily strict rules of a prison would permit.[Pg 148]

"If, on the one hand, there have been scenes of distress to witness, on the other I have found many sources of unmingled gratification. I have had opportunities of forming friendships with the members of the Corporation, and of cementing a friendship of long standing with my excellent colleague—friendships which I am sure, as regards my own wishes, will still remain, and cause me to look back on the past year as one of the happiest of my life."

Whilst these proceedings took place at the Guildhall, Sir Moses was fasting and reciting prayers with his community in the ancient and venerable Synagogue called "The Gate of Heaven," as the day on which the meeting took place happened to be the Day of Atonement, appointed in the Bible as a day of repentance and prayer for the forgiveness of sins. The fast does not seem to have affected Sir Moses' health or spirits in the least, as we find him attending service again in the House of Prayer at twenty minutes before seven the next morning. His devotions concluded, he takes an early opportunity of visiting his friends and enquiring how they have passed the previous day. The same evening he dined with his mother, who, he writes, "was, thanks to Heaven, pretty well after her fast."

Monday, October 1st.—He called on Mr Curtis, the Governor of the Bank of England, to thank him for proposing the vote of thanks to the Sheriffs; also on Mr Gurney, who seconded the vote. Later in the day he accompanied Sir George Carrol to Westminster, and at three o'clock the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, the Recorder, and Sheriffs elect came there to receive Her Majesty's approval of the newly elected Sheriffs. The Recorder in his address to the Bench again highly complimented Sir George and Sir Moses on the efficient manner in which they discharged their duties. Sir Moses then returned in great haste to the city, having summoned a meeting at the Alliance Office at four, for the election of a solicitor to the Board of Deputies. At five o'clock he had to attend the new Sheriffs' inauguration dinner at the London Tavern. "There were 150 persons present," he says, "the Lord Mayor in the chair. We had the foremost places, next to the new Sheriffs, and our health was drunk in a most complimentary manner."

Wednesday, October 3rd.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to Ramsgate, where they spent the Tabernacle holidays[Pg 149] very happily, surrounded by relatives and friends whom they had invited for the occasion.

On the 19th they returned again to London. Here they had the satisfaction of finding letters of introduction from Lord Palmerston to Her Majesty's Ambassadors and Consuls in Paris, Florence, Rome, Naples, Malta, Alexandria, and Constantinople, as also to the Admiral on the Mediterranean Station, which Sir Moses had asked for through Mr Spring-Rice.

Monday, October 22nd.—At a meeting of the Deputies of the British Jews, Sir Moses resigned the Presidency on account of his going abroad. The next day he called at the Foreign Office to thank Lord Palmerston for the letters of introduction he had so kindly sent; he also called on Mr Spring-Rice, who was very friendly, and promised him a letter to the Governor of Malta, at the same time requesting Sir Moses to write to him from the East. A few days later he received several letters from Baron Lionel de Rothschild, which Baron Anthony, at the request of Baron Anselm de Rothschild, had procured for him from the French Ministry, to the French Admiral on the Mediterranean Station, and to their Ministers and Consuls.

Before leaving England Sir Moses sent for his solicitor to read over the will he had prepared, and which he signed in his presence, and in the presence of another gentleman whom he had brought as witness.

I notice this item in the entries of his diary to show the completeness of all his arrangements.

There is a book entitled "Notes from a Private Journal of a Visit to Egypt and Palestine by way of Italy and the Mediterranean," written by Lady Montefiore, and printed in the year 1844: a second edition was printed shortly before the death of Sir Moses. Both, having only been intended for private circulation among friends, are unpublished. The account of the journey which I give here is taken partly from Sir Moses' and Lady Montefiore's diaries, and partly from my own, which I kept when travelling with them, with a view of supplying the reader with information on subjects which they have omitted to write down.

Thursday, November 1st.—"We have finished," Sir Moses writes, "all the preparations for our journey, and have taken leave of all our dear relatives. I have left to Benjamin Cohen the key[Pg 150] of a box in which there are 1300 Portuguese Bonds which I have destined for the poor of the Holy Land; if necessary he is to sell them for me. After that we set out from Park Lane in our travelling carriage with four post horses, attended by our servants. May the blessing of the Almighty accompany us. We stopped a short time at Kennington for the blessing of our dear mother, whom I pray God to protect, that we may have the happiness to find her in health on our return, and then proceeded as far as Sittingbourne, where we remained overnight."

Travelling viâ Strasburg and Avignon they reached Lyons, where they rested for Sabbath. Thus far their way had been through the most lovely scenery, but their enjoyment was marred by the inclemency of the weather, and the difficulty of the roads, which lay for the most part at the sides or on the top of high steep mountains, close to immense precipices or rushing rivers, which were swollen by the torrents of water streaming down the sides of the mountains from the melting snow. "My dear Judith," says Sir Moses, "was often so frightened that she persisted in getting out of the carriage, although the snow was deep on the ground. Our courier and the postillions had to walk a great part of the way, and to lead the horses, as the ice had made the roads so slippery. I certainly would not recommend this season for travelling."

From Lyons they took the steamboat to Avignon, thinking this mode of travelling would be an improvement on the roads, but they were mistaken. The boat was to start at six o'clock in the morning. The moon still shone brightly, but the gale was so strong that for some time the captain was doubtful whether he should start. After much consideration he decided to venture. The boat went at a good speed until they came to the first bridge, where it was found that the river was so swollen that it did not seem possible to pass under. The vessel was moored to the bank by the side of the bridge, and the captain proceeded in a small boat to measure the height of the arch. It was pronounced to be just sufficient; the funnel was lowered nearly flat. Sir Moses says he was certain there was not six inches between the top of the funnel and the bridge; the smallest wave might have dashed their boat against it, and they might have been drowned. Twice more they had to undergo this anxiety; all the passengers were panic stricken. "I must confess,"[Pg 151] says Sir Moses, "I would rather be in the open sea in a hurricane." The second day's journey was not so bad, as during the night the river had fallen a foot, and they reached Avignon in safety. "But I am mortified," he writes, "to find that, though there are many Jews in this place, there is no Synagogue. No meat, prepared according to Jewish law, can be procured. We could manage with fish and vegetables, but I exceedingly regret not being able to join public worship on Sabbath. Tomorrow will be the first time we have omitted so doing since we left London, and shall be happy if it is the last."

Leaving Avignon, they proceeded, viâ Marseilles, Toulon, and Cannes, to Nice. Writing from here, Sir Moses says: "We find the climate here very different to that of England, the sun even now, at the end of December, being almost too powerful to be pleasant. Notwithstanding all the advantages Nice may afford, nothing would induce me to live here. I was shocked and grieved to hear that our brethren are treated in the most intolerant manner, not being allowed even to educate their children for any profession. I was told that when the King and Queen of Sardinia visited Nice in 1826, all classes of the inhabitants, Jews among the number, tried to show their loyalty, by sending deputations to present addresses, but the King refused to receive the deputation from the Jews. They then addressed him through the Minister of State, and solicited permission to erect an obelisk in commemoration of the Royal visit, and the joy they felt, in common with their fellow-subjects, at seeing their King and Queen. After some time this humble petition was granted, and the column stands now in the city, bearing a Hebrew and Italian inscription."

Amongst the many friends and acquaintances they had met at this place, there was one of some historical importance, Isaak Samuel Avigdor, who, on account of his knowledge of the French and Italian languages, acted as one of the secretaries to the French Synhedrion under Napoleon I., in the year 1806. At the last session of that assembly he had moved a resolution to the effect that "the Jews in France, Germany, and Italy do now forget all the misfortunes (i.e., persecution) which befell them, and only engrave in their hearts the kind acts which have been done towards them, and that they acknowledge with deep gratitude the kind reception which the Popes and other representatives[Pg 152] of the Catholic Church had given them at a time when barbarity, prejudice, and ignorance had persecuted and expelled them from society." The resolution was unanimously adopted, and entered in the minutes of the proceedings.

Unfortunately, Pius VII., the Pope who declared that he represented Aaron, the Prophet of God, cannot be numbered among those who protected the Jews. Immediately after the restoration of the Bourbons, in the year 1814, as soon as he was able to resume the government of the Papal States, he re-established the Inquisition.

Monsieur Avigdor had the mortification of witnessing the distressing consequences of the Pope's new edicts. The Jews in Rome were obliged to quit the houses which, under the French Government, they had been permitted to own in all parts of the city, and return to the Ghetto. They had to give up counting-houses and other places of business which they had in the Corso. In vain did they offer large sums of money to induce the Minister of State to withdraw his order. The applications made by numerous deputations from Jewish communitiesin various towns likewise proved fruitless. They were even forced to attend sermons preached in the churches for the purpose of their conversion, heavy fines being imposed upon all those who absented themselves; and those who were detected either asleep, or not paying sufficient attention to the sermon, were unceremoniously aroused by one of the priests.

I noticed during my stay in Rome a Hebrew inscription over the entrance of one of these churches (Chiesa della divina pietà), which runs as follows: "I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts, a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face." (Isaiah lxv., 3 and 4)

Mr Avigdor often spoke on the above subject to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. He related some interesting incidents in connection with the Synhedrion, how the members were put to much inconvenience on the first day of the opening of their Sessions, the day fixed by the Emperor being their Sabbath.

Mr Avigdor pressed Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to prolong their stay in Nice, but they were anxious to proceed, without unnecessary delay, on their projected pilgrimage, and they left on the 31st of December.[Pg 153]




They reached Genoa on January 2nd, 1839, and after a few days' rest, continued their journey to Carrara.

On the following day, the Dottore A. Passani, an advocate of Carrara, called, and brought Sir Moses several of his father's letters, some dated as far back as 1790; they were all in Italian, and beautifully written. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were much pleased at the sight of the handwriting of their father, and would have been glad if the gentleman had been willing to part with them, but it appears he desired to preserve them himself as souvenirs of the late Mr Montefiore.

On their way to Rome they visited Leghorn, a period of eleven years having elapsed since their last sojourn in that place, and made special arrangements there for having the graves of their kind god-parents, Moses and Esther Racah, kept in proper order.

"I was desirous," writes Sir Moses, "once more to offer up prayers in the Synagogue so near to the house in which I was born; we therefore drove to Synagogue, where my dear Judith and I humbly thanked the Almighty for all His great goodness to us. We left Leghorn on the 16th January; it was a beautiful day, the sun smiling on us, and returned to Carrara, where we wished to purchase some more souvenirs of Italy, and also gave orders to Vincenzo Bonami for our coat-of-arms to be executed in marble for East Cliff Lodge."

On the 18th January we find them at Florence, where they remained until the 2nd February. It appears that the climate there did not agree with either Lady Montefiore or Sir Moses. They had to take medical advice, and Dr Usiglio strongly dissuaded[Pg 154] them from going to Jerusalem, advising them on the contrary to return to England before the hot season. But they were reluctant to give up their cherished object, and, trusting in God, who had always protected them, they started for Rome, where they arrived on the 6th February.

"I am informed," observes Sir Moses, "that there are 3500 Jews here, two-thirds poor. Four times a year, 200 are obliged to attend a sermon preached in church for their conversion. Leo XII. had deprived them of their privilege of keeping shops and warehouses out of the Ghetto. But the present most excellent Pontiff, Gregory XVI., has permitted them to have warehouses in the city. He frequently sends them money from his own purse, and is always willing to give an audience to their deputies and to attend to their requests.

"Yesterday we were shown some very rich and splendid silk Damask, embroidered in silver and gold, for hangings for the Synagogue, Holy Ark, and pulpit. There are many silver bells, crowns, and chains, enriched with precious stones, for the scrolls of the Holy Law, and in the Synagogue there are beautiful marbles, mosaics, and columns."

Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore did not prolong their stay in Rome. On the 13th February they quitted the city for Naples, remaining there till March 22nd, when they again returned to Rome, apartments having been previously taken for them at 54 Via della Fontanella di Borghese.

It was now nearly four years since I had first the pleasure of meeting Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore in London. I had since that time been travelling in Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, Syria, and the Holy Land, and had during these travels the gratification to receive some letters from Sir Moses. It was therefore a very pleasant surprise for me to meet them in Rome and to visit with them the museums, picture galleries, and most places of importance. They spoke to me of their intended pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and invited me to accompany them. Having had many opportunities when in Eyn Zetoon, Upper Galilee, during the revolt of the Druses, to become fully acquainted with the character and peculiarities of the various classes of inhabitants of the land, I felt a great interest in all measures that could be devised for the improvement of their condition; and, anticipating good results from Sir Moses' visit to the Holy Land, I gladly accepted the invitation.[Pg 155]

On the 28th March they received a letter from the Baroness James de Rothschild, in which she informed them that intelligence had been received from the Austrian Consul of great military preparations being made in Alexandria, and that war would not long be delayed between the Pasha of Egypt and the Sultan. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, nothing daunted by the news, determined not to relinquish their plans.

They were frequently visited by the Abbate Farrari and Monsignor Bruti, two ecclesiastics of liberal ideas and agreeable manners, who kept them au fait of all interesting ceremonies and festivals in the church, presenting them with tickets for the best places on all important occasions.

Signor Pietro Rittig, of Coblenz, having called their attention to one of his pictures in the museum of modern painters, entitled "Students in the Academy of Painting," they bought it, together with several others, namely, "A Greek Girl," by Isidore; "A Buffalo," by Linden; "A Mandolino," by Cavalleri; "Two Peasants," by Pelletti, and others.

Signor Salvadore Taglicozzo recommended an eminent scribe, to whom Sir Moses gave the order to write a Pentateuch scroll for him, also to procure a richly embroidered mantle for it.

During the Passover festival they attended Synagogue, which was very crowded and splendidly decorated. They were much struck by the presence of several gendarmes and soldiers. Two, with fixed bayonets, were placed opposite the Ark containing the sacred scrolls of law; each time one of the latter was removed or returned, they presented arms as a mark of respect. Sir Moses remembered having seen something similar in the Great Synagogue of Leghorn, yet it had always appeared strange to him that in a building bearing the appellation, "Temple of Peace," the representatives of war should be on duty, carrying with them implements of destruction: the Altar of the Lord being considered according to an injunction of Holy Writ, as desecrated by the mere touch of a sword.

Friday, April 12th.—We left Rome, embarking on the following Sunday in the Sesostris for Malta, where we arrived on the 17th.

Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, requiring some rest after the voyage, resolved to remain there a few days. He called on the[Pg 156] Governor, Sir Henry Bouverie, to present to him his letter of introduction from Mr Spring-Rice, also on Admiral Sir Robert Stopford, and on many friends whose acquaintance they had made on a former visit to Malta. He had not long returned to the hotel when an invitation came from the Governor for Sir Moses, Lady Montefiore, and myself to dine at the Palace on the following Saturday.

To spend her time usefully and agreeably, Lady Montefiore applied herself with much diligence to the study of Arabic, and both she and Sir Moses read daily three Psalms in Hebrew, which they requested me to translate into English, and explain.

The old agent of the Silk Company called on them, and also Captain Austen of the Bellerophon, with his wife and daughter. The representatives of the Hebrew community in the Island came to pay their respects, and report on the affairs of the Synagogue.

April 20th.—They attended divine service, after which they paid a few visits, and returned to their hotel, where they remained till the evening, when they proceeded to the Palace. The Sabbath not being yet terminated, Lady Montefiore went in a sedan-chair, while Sir Moses and I walked. The Governor was in full uniform, wearing all his orders. About twenty-four sat down to table, amongst whom were the Duke of Devonshire (just out of quarantine, on his return from Constantinople), Admiral Sir Robert Stopford and his family, Captain Hyde Parker, Sir Hector Gray, Secretary of Government, Lady Stopford's sister with her daughter, the Duke's physician, and many military officers. Admiral Stopford took Lady Montefiore down to dinner, and promised to do all in his power to obtain a steamboat to take them to Jaffa. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were much pleased with their reception at the Palace.

Monday 22nd.—Sir Moses and I dined with Sir Hector Grey; it was a gentleman's party. The Governor, the Admiral and his son, the Duke of Devonshire, Sir John Lewis, Mr Frere (uncle of the late Sir Bartle Frere), Mr Bourchier (who was private secretary to Sir Frederick C. Ponsonby, Governor of the Island in 1824), Captain Best, Captain Goulbourne, and two other gentlemen were present.

On Wednesday we all dined with the Admiral, and met there Sir John and Lady Mackenzie, Captain Cosnier, Captain[Pg 157] Fisher, and several other naval officers of distinction. Lady Stopford held a reception afterwards, which was well attended.

Sunday, April 28th.—The French Consul sent us the Journal de Smyrne, in which it was stated that accounts had been received that the plague had broken out in Jerusalem, and that the mortality in that city had already reached from forty to fifty per day. In another number of the same paper information was given to the effect that letters had been received from Cairo that hostilities had commenced in Syria.

Though very little credit was attached to these articles they gave us all some uneasiness, and in consequence of a renewed report of the plague, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to the quarantine harbour, where they saw the captain of the Blazer, lately arrived from Beyrout. He informed them that Mr and Mrs Freemantle were in Fort Manuel, after returning from the Holy Land. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore then called on Mr and Mrs Freemantle, who informed them that while they were in Jerusalem the plague was raging there, and they had to perform eighteen days quarantine before entering Beyrout, but they believed the city to be now healthy, although Sir Moses would probably find Jerusalem shut up, as the warm weather would bring back the plague. They gave a most distressing account of the Jews under the present government. All were more or less ill-treated, many being actually in slavery. Mr Freemantle said that the Jews were looking most anxiously for the arrival of Sir Moses.

Friday, May 3rd.—Sir Moses took leave of the Admiral, and then went to the Palace, and there met H.R.H. Prince George of Cambridge, who received him most kindly, and they had a friendly conversation.

Soon after twelve, having taken leave of his remaining friends, Sir Moses went with Lady Montefiore to the quarantine harbour, thence in a boat to the Megara, a steam vessel. Captain Goldsmith, the commander, received them on board, and at two o'clock we left the harbour for Alexandria.

Wednesday, May 8th.—This morning, soon after six, land was discovered, the masts of the ships in the harbour being the first objects caught sight of. A pilot came on board about eight. As we entered the port the French steamer for Marseilles left, so that we just missed the opportunity of sending[Pg 158] letters by her. We were much amused at the great precautions taken by the people who came alongside in the boat belonging to the Board of Health. They received our Bill of Health, which we had brought from Malta, with a pair of tongs, every one alarmed lest he should touch it; it was opened with the aid of the tongs and a thin iron rod; but as soon as they saw that it was a clean bill, certifying that at the date of our leaving Malta was free from plague and every other contagious distemper, the officers came on board with Colonel Campbell's janissary.

Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore now landed, proceeding to an hotel, where they remained overnight; and the next morning we all rode off to the Custom House, opposite to which we found the Megara's boat, which Captain Goldsmith had politely sent to take us on board.

Sir Moses took particular note of the Pasha's troops. There were on the quay about a thousand soldiers; they all appeared to him to be quite little boys, scarce able to carry a musket; he did not believe any were above fourteen years old, while some seemed not more than nine. "If the troops are all like these," he said, "Heaven help Mohhammad Ali!"

Saturday, May 11th.—At an early hour the anchor was cast in the Bay of Beyrout, but we remained on board ship till the evening, when the commander conducted us on shore in his boat. As the boat left the ship all the company on board, comprising officers and men, saluted Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore with many huzzas.

We repaired to the house selected for us by Mr Niven Moore, the British Consul, and in the morning Sir Moses paid his respects to the Governor, Mohamed Bey, who received him most politely. He asked him for letters of introduction to the governors of several towns which it was probable we should visit, also his assistance to procure horses for us, all of which he promised. We then went to the English Consul, who sent in the course of the day his janissary to attend Sir Moses while we continued in Beyrout.

Several representatives of the Hebrew community called to welcome them, and many letters from Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and Tiberias were handed to them by special messenger. They have all been anxiously looking forward to their arrival[Pg 159] in the Holy Land, "but our visit," Sir Moses observed, "is not the most timely for our comfort, pleasure, or safety; the political state of the country is most unsatisfactory and uncertain; a single day may bring about a complete change in the government of Syria and Palestine. The forces of the Sultan have certainly crossed the frontier, and Ibrahim Pasha will positively resist any further advance. Mohhammad Ali has sent his son every man he had at his disposal."

Monday, 13th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore rode on horseback to the Synagogue, which was very full in honour of their visit. We were told that there were sixty Jewish families in Beyrout, none of them rich. During the day they received visits from the Rev. Mr and Mrs Thompson of the American Mission, and also from many ladies and gentlemen of the Jewish community. Mr Ed. Kilbee, of the firm of Kilbee, Haugh & Co., Bankers, came to inform Sir Moses that he could find no one to take charge of the money for Jerusalem. Sir Moses immediately wrote to the Governor to request that he would provide him with messengers to carry the money to Safed, Tiberias, and Jerusalem. The Governor wrote a very civil answer, but regretted he could not comply with this request. He then addressed himself to the British Consul, but no answer reached him that day.

The next morning the Consul's dragoman came with a message that he had been with the Governor, who was extremely sorry not to be able to provide us with an escort, but the roads were not so unsafe as reported, and he hoped a large party, well armed like ours, would travel with safety. Sir Moses was much troubled in making the arrangements, to divide the money into smaller parcels, putting these into bags and baskets, altogether eleven. This we were obliged to do ourselves. Mr Kilbee passed some time with us, giving us much encouragement, though he was unable to find any person who would risk taking the money, either to Safed, Tiberias, Jerusalem, or Hebron, in spite of the most tempting offers. Sir Moses imploring the protection of the Almighty, we set forward on our pilgrimage at 4 p.m.

The way was over sand and through stony lanes, which opened on a sandy plain; we rested at Beer Hássán, till our luggage came up. There were fourteen mules and three horses,[Pg 160] besides several donkeys for the moukeries. Having taken some coffee we proceeded on our way. The scenery was beautiful, especially the mountains of Lebanon, many of the highest being covered with snow. At eight we reached Khán Kháldáh, the "Mutatio Heldua," according to Pococke, in the Jerusalem Itinerary.

"Thanks to Heaven," says Sir Moses, "we rested well in our tent, and set forward on our journey the next day, May 15th, at five. We rode on till one, then reposed till three o'clock under a mulberry tree; they were cutting off the young boughs and gathering the leaves. The road ran on the sands and rocks close to the sea. At three we sent off our tents and baggage to Náhr el Kasmiyah, said to be three hours' distance, and we followed. Before reaching Sidon, we were met by many Jews, the representatives of congregations; they said they had been waiting three hours for us. They accompanied us to the tomb of Zebulon, where we recited prayers. We then took leave of our brethren and continued riding till seven o'clock, when I was so fatigued I could go no further. A mat was spread in a garden near the water, and I gladly threw myself upon it. We sent a man to order our tents to be brought back. In about an hour great screams were heard; we sent to see what was the matter, when it was ascertained that the cries proceeded from our messenger who had gone for the tent. He said he had been attacked, severely beaten, and his donkey almost killed. This intelligence alarmed Dr Loewe very much for the safety of our lives, to say nothing of our luggage. He remained walking round our mats during the night, with his loaded pistols, Judith and I having ours under our heads. About midnight we with difficulty persuaded two men to ride after our luggage to see what had become of it; they returned at three in the morning with the news of its being all safe. Our road after passing Sidon was like going through a beautiful garden. At a short distance on our right we had a view of the sea, on our left mountains; they were pretty well cultivated—wheat, barley, figs and mulberries; but few can imagine the anxiety we suffered during the night, when we were exposed to the winds of heaven."

Thursday, May 16th.—We started at 6 a.m., and rode till nine, after which we reposed for some time. We met three[Pg 161] persons sent from Safed with letters from the Spiritual Head of the community to welcome us; he was at Tiberias, and prevented by indisposition from coming to meet us. We rested in a beautiful valley, noticing much cattle, small cows, calves, and a number of goats. We then crossed the Náhr el Kasmiyah, a river which divides the lot of Asher from that of Dan.

There was a heavy dew in the night. Sir Moses was much fatigued, and still felt the bad effects of having slept exposed to the night air on the previous day. The next morning was cloudy; we started at five o'clock, riding over mountains and through fertile valleys till ten. While resting, we received a letter by a private messenger from the three representatives of the Hebrew Congregation at Safed, where each had prepared his own house for our use, and was waiting to receive us. About two hours later we caught the first glimpse of Safed. The town looked very beautiful, being situate on the summit of the mountain, which was crowned with beautiful olive trees of immense growth and great age.[Pg 162]




After four hours' ride we met two of the chiefs of the Portuguese community, sent to escort us as a guard of honour. On reaching half-way up the mountain, the ecclesiastical chief of the German Hebrew community, accompanied by many of his congregation, came to welcome us. He is an old man of benevolent countenance. I dismounted, giving the chief my horse to ride. This special mark of respect I showed to him in commemoration of the holy resignation manifested by the venerable chief only a year before on the occasion of the revolt of the Druses against Mohhammad Ali. These marauders, having pillaged and maltreated the whole community, wished to enforce from them an additional sum of five hundred Turkish purses or £2500, a sum which of course the Hebrews could not produce. The Druses thereupon bound the aged chief hand and foot, and laying the edge of a naked sword upon his neck, threatened to instantly sever his head if the demanded sum were not handed over without delay. The good man did not ask them to spare his life, which he would willingly sacrifice to save his community; all he requested of them was to allow a little clean water to be poured over his hands, that he might recite a prayer and acknowledge the justice of God in all His ways. At this a heartrending cry burst from all present, and even the Druses themselves appear to have been touched. They withdrew the sword and entered upon some arrangements with the community, who had to borrow the required amount from some of the convents. I had been to see him the day[Pg 163] after this occurrence, and found him reciting his morning prayers as calmly as if nothing had happened.

Sir Moses in his description of the journey continues—"As we were descending the mountain a man, who had been placed there to give notice to the inhabitants of our approach, fired a musket, and the salute was answered by our party, who discharged their guns and pistols. Our firing had a cheerful effect, as the echo was taken up by the distant hills. We were soon met by Signor Mirrachi (ecclesiastical chief of the Portuguese community) with a great number of his congregation. He expressed his regret that I would not accept the house he had prepared for us. The scene became most interesting. Men, women, and children covered the sides and top of the hill as well as the roofs of all houses; but I was nearly dead with fatigue."

As soon as Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore reached their apartments, preparations were made for the Sabbath, but Sir Moses had not the strength to walk to Synagogue. He had for some time expressed uneasiness lest we should not reach the town before sunset, yet he had the happiness of seeing the sun above the horizon, after we had entered our house.

By special invitation ten gentlemen were soon with him in his room, and the evening service was commenced, but he could scarcely stand, and as soon as prayers were ended he retired. The following day Sir Moses being still too unwell to leave his bed, numbers of visitors called to enquire after his health, all expressing their regret at his indisposition.

During the next two days, on which the festival of Pentecost was celebrated, Sir Moses recovered sufficiently to accompany Lady Montefiore to the Portuguese Synagogue, where a sacred scroll of great antiquity is preserved. On Sir Moses being called to the rostrum to pronounce the blessing, the portion of the day was read to him out of the above scroll.

On the following day, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received visits from the governor, judge, and all other dignitaries of the place. Some of the Druses also intimated their desire to come and pay their respects, but upon my suggestion this was declined, it being considered undesirable to encourage their presence in Safed.

Having been amongst the sufferers at the time of their[Pg 164] invasion of this place the year before, I surmised the object they had in view, in seeking to come with their friends to see the English pilgrims.

Tuesday, May 21st.—Sir Moses now occupied himself in obtaining information as to the actual state of the Jews in this city, as well as the probable prospect of success for his project, viz., to encourage the Jews and enable them to gain a livelihood by the cultivation of the land. They had frequent interviews with T. and N. Drucker, two clever and enterprising men, father and son, who had come originally from Poland, and had possessed a handsome fortune. They had brought with them a printing press, and had printed prayer-books. They had also begun to print a Bible, when the Druses came, destroyed their press, robbed them of all their property, and beat them most unmercifully, breaking the father's thigh, so that he barely escaped with his life.

Wednesday, May 22nd.—All the afternoon was spent both by Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore in seeing people, in listening to their complaints and sorrows, and also in obtaining information respecting the cultivation of land. The German and Portuguese Chief Rabbis came, and after some conversation, Sir Moses decided to distribute personally the money he had brought for the relief of the sufferers by the earthquake, according to the number of souls. A Spanish dollar was given to every man, woman, and child over thirteen, while two dollars were given to the blind, and no distinction was made between Portuguese and German. The money sent from London soon after the earthquake had been distributed by the Portuguese, who gave the greatest part to those learned in our Holy Law, leaving but little for all the other sufferers, which Sir Moses considered unjust. The spiritual head of the German congregation, the Rev. A. Dob, said that the money was divided amongst their congregation according to the amount of loss sustained by each individual. Nor did the German committee ever retain one penny more for themselves than for the other members of the congregation. "This," said Sir Moses, "appears to me the most honest way of acting."

The Portuguese gentlemen, however, in justification of their own course of action in this matter, explained that those who are engaged in imparting religious instruction to the community,[Pg 165] taking charge of all their institutions, devoting their time to the interest of the rising generation, having no business or occupation that would adequately secure their maintenance, ought naturally to have some additional share in the offerings of their wealthier brethren abroad, offerings intended not only for the relief of distress, but also for the preservation of a religious community. The same, they said, would be done in Europe, where the teachers in schools and colleges, or the managers of communal institutions, happen to be without income or salary for their maintenance.

Sir Moses having inspected the new buildings, regretted to find that most of them were but poor miserable hovels, built over the ruins of the old ones, high up the hill, close to the edge of the mountain, so that the slightest shock of earthquake would bury the inhabitants one above the other without hope of escape. The houses were built on the side of the mountain, row above row. On inquiring the reason of this, he was informed that by building over the old houses they were saved the expense of making excavations, these being already there; they had no fear of earthquakes, all they dreaded being the Mooslemin inhabitants and the visits of the Druses.

Thursday, May 23rd.—At ten we rode to Djermek, a village two hours distant, to the farm of Israel Drucker, one of his tenants having a son who was to be received that day into the covenant of Abraham. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore had been invited to act as god-parents to the child.

On reaching the house Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were most respectfully saluted, and the ceremony was immediately performed. We then sat down for a short time to partake of some refreshment; and, having offered presents and congratulations to the parents of the infant, we descended the mountain, to visit the tomb of R. Simeon ben Yókháï, in Miroon. There we were met by the principal inhabitants of Safed.

We then visited the tomb of Hillel, celebrated in Jewish history for his great learning and for his noble character and humility. "One of the most interesting sights," says Sir Moses, "I have seen in the Holy Land. There is one cave within the other, a spring of the clearest water flowing through both; it appears to spring from the spot where the mortal remains of Hillel repose. In the vicinity of the tomb we saw a splendid[Pg 166] marble portal of a Synagogue now in ruins; the marble was handsomely carved, and many of the stones adjoining the portal were still standing, all of them being of great size."

Friday, May 24th.—Sir Moses was again engaged from nine to six with the distribution of the money. He also gave special donations to the heads of schools and colleges, and endeavoured to alleviate the distress among the poor of all non-Israelitish communities. Sir Moses found his brethren most anxious to be employed and to earn their own bread. They appeared to prefer the cultivation of land as the most likely means to raise them from their present destitute condition. There were a few Jews who had some interest with Mussulmans in cultivating some small farms about three or four hours from Safed, but their means were so limited that they could ill afford to keep a pair of oxen to till the ground. There was no lack of spirit, and Sir Moses thought that some trifling assistance from the proper persons in Europe would speedily restore health and plenty, should such be the will of Heaven.

On the same day we received the sad tidings of the death of the Rev. Israel, Chief Rabbi of the German congregation in Jerusalem, which had taken place at Tiberias on the 22nd inst. It had been his intention to come to Sir Moses to welcome him and Lady Montefiore on their entry into the Holy Land. He was renowned for his great learning and noble character, which he had so often manifested in the performance of his official duties, as spiritual guide of the community; and being a disciple of the celebrated Rabbi Eliahu Wilna, he was held in high esteem by all the congregations in the four holy cities. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were much affected by the mournful event, and lost no time in considering what steps should be taken to evince their sympathy with the bereaved family.

The following day being Sabbath, they attended divine service, afterwards receiving numerous visits from the inhabitants of the place. One gentleman from Tiberias gave a most melancholy account of the state of the country; he assured them that the roads to Jerusalem were very unsafe, and the plague actually in the city. Only a few days before the holidays the son-in-law of the late Rev. Israel, and his servant, had died of it.

The visits they received from the Druses caused us much uneasiness, as we apprehended an attack from their body to plunder[Pg 167] not only us, but all Jews in the town; and we should have proceeded early the next morning to Tiberias had we not feared such a course would give the appearance of flight.

The heads of the Portuguese and German congregations came to pay their respects to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. Two of these gentlemen, the Rev. Abraham Shoshana and Samuel Aboo, were land owners in a neighbouring village, and gave their opinion on the subject of agriculture. Sir Moses, referring in his diary, to their conversation, says:

"From all information I have been able to gather, the land in this neighbourhood appears to be particularly favourable for agricultural speculation. There are groves of olive trees, I should think, more than five hundred years old, vineyards, much pasture, plenty of wells and abundance of excellent water; also fig trees, walnuts, almonds, mulberries, &c., and rich fields of wheat, barley, and lentils; in fact it is a land that would produce almost everything in abundance, with very little skill and labour. I am sure if the plan I have in contemplation should succeed, it will be the means of introducing happiness and plenty into the Holy Land. In the first instance, I shall apply to Mohhammad Ali for a grant of land for fifty years; some one or two hundred villages; giving him an increased rent of from ten to twenty per cent., and paying the whole in money annually at Alexandria, but the land and villages to be free, during the whole term, from every tax or rate either of Pasha or governor of the several districts; and liberty being accorded to dispose of the produce in any quarter of the globe. This grant obtained, I shall, please Heaven, on my return to England, form a company for the cultivation of the land and the encouragement of our brethren in Europe to return to Palestine. Many Jews now emigrate to New South Wales, Canada, &c.; but in the Holy Land they would find a greater certainty of success; here they will find wells already dug, olives and vines already planted, and a land so rich as to require little manure. By degrees I hope to induce the return of thousands of our brethren to the Land of Israel. I am sure they would be happy in the enjoyment of the observance of our holy religion, in a manner which is impossible in Europe."

The scene we witnessed yesterday amply repaid us for the fatigues of the journey. We saw nearly every individual inhabitant of Safed. Sir Moses gave to each at least one Spanish[Pg 168] dollar, and some fathers of families received eight or ten dollars. To those persons who came to meet him and Lady Montefiore at Náhr el Rasmiyah, fifteen hours' journey from Safed, and who, when invited to sleep in the tent, preferred, from their intense love to the country, to sleep in the open air of the Holy Land, he made handsome presents. "I hope," said Sir Moses in the course of conversation, "that the money I have had the pleasure of distributing yesterday, will produce some comfort and give assistance to the Jews in Safed, especially in their present forlorn situation. Their sufferings during the last five years must have been truly deplorable. First the plundering of the inhabitants, then the earthquake, and finally the attack by the Druses, to fill the cup of their misfortune. At the present moment the ruins of the town present an awful spectacle of destruction; the few miserable hovels they have erected are for the most part little better than caves, more fit for the beast of the field than for human beings. Many are merely four mud walls, with a mat for a roof. I think the poverty of the Jews in Safed to be great beyond anything that can be imagined either in England or on the Continent of Europe; it must be seen to be credited. I am informed, and do believe, that many are actually starving, and that great numbers died last year of hunger. Nearly all are stamped with want and wretchedness, though many of them are tall men and have handsome features. The women are very pretty; they have large black eyes, are of refined manners, and exhibit much intelligence in their conversation. I have found all the men anxious to be employed in agriculture."

Monday, May 27th.—We repaired early in the morning to the house of the spiritual head of the German congregation, where we attended divine service. His wife, who had prepared quite a treat for us, consisting of coffee, sweetmeats, wine and cakes, gave us a most hearty welcome. In the presence of the reverend gentleman Sir Moses engaged one of the scribes to write a scroll of the Pentateuch for his Synagogue at Ramsgate. The first sheet of the parchment was at once prepared, and he had the happiness of writing the first three words. Sir Moses on his return affixed his signature to an Arabic letter, which he had requested me to prepare at the urgent entreaties of all the inhabitants, praying the Governor of St Jean d'Acre to send them some soldiers for their protection.[Pg 169]

On the same day at half-past twelve we set out on our way to Tiberias. In spite of Sir Moses' entreaties for them to return, we were accompanied for about half-an-hour by the principal authorities and most of the people of the town, who, in taking leave, called down upon Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore all the blessings of heaven.

We passed through a beautiful country, a very long descent, winding round hills covered with olives, figs, and pomegranates. In the plain we saw the richest land imaginable, though but a very small part of it was under cultivation, large fields being covered with thistles five and six feet high. The path was rocky and difficult. After riding three hours we reached the plain, and dismounting near a stream of water reposed for an hour. Our road then lay near the foot of the mountains; it was one continual ascent and descent. When we were about two hours' ride from Tiberias, while saying the afternoon prayers, we heard the sound of the dárábuca (Turkish drum), with shouts of joy, and soon beheld a large party coming to meet us, dancing and singing. They joined us in prayer, and when we had finished, the head of the German congregation bade us welcome in glowing terms. We then proceeded on our way, the people dancing and running before us, playing on the drum and fife, and singing in Hebrew in a general chorus. The spiritual heads of both German and Portuguese communities and the principal representatives of all scholastic and charitable institutions of the town now joined our cavalcade. They were all singing in Arabic and Hebrew, to express their delight at our visit to their city. We had gone but a short distance when we were met by the Mooselim or Governor, well mounted and armed, and attended by about a dozen officers and servants. He told Sir Moses he came to offer him his services and to do him honour, and that in this Holy Land he respected persons of all religions. He directed his soldiers to skirmish up and down the sides of the mountain, charging and retreating for our amusement. The Cadi (Judge) and his son also joined our party, paying Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore many compliments.

"The evening," says Lady Montefiore, "was beautiful, and the gaiety of the scene beyond my feeble powers of description; the music, singing, and dancing of the people, the firing of guns, the horsemen at full gallop up and down the steep sides of the[Pg 170] mountain, discharging their pistols, throwing the jareed, stopping their horses when at full speed, and then riding round our party; and now, as we approached the town, the moon shone brightly on the lake; it was a complete fairy scene. At a short distance from the town we were met by a great concourse of people, men, women, and children, many bearing large torches. They formed, as it were, a lane on either side for us to pass through, the same merriment, music, singing, and dancing continuing. We found the whole town illuminated, it was as light as in the day; we were saluted on all sides with expressions of joy and heartfelt wishes. Not only were the streets crowded, but even the roofs of houses were covered with gaily-attired females. All cheered us as we passed, joining in the chorus, 'They are come, they are come, our happiness is come.' Never will the scene be effaced from our memory."

We proceeded to the house of Rev. H. N. Abu-el-afia, which he had prepared for our reception. Here the Governor and good people took their leave, thinking we must need repose after so much fatigue. All appeared greatly pleased, Mussulmans as well as Jews. The house looked very clean and comfortable, with good sized rooms neatly furnished in the Turkish style. Mrs Abu-el-afia, a pretty and clever woman, made us partake of some coffee and sherbet, which was soon followed by a good supper.[Pg 171]




Tuesday, May 28th.—The heat was very great. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore did not leave the house till nine o'clock, when they went for a little while to the shore of the lake. Sir Moses received letters from the heads of the Portuguese congregation at Jerusalem, dated ten days back, informing him that they had prepared a house for him, but were sorry they could not come out of the town to receive him, as there was a cordon round the city. They did not mention one word as to the state of the city, but in two other letters brought by the same messenger, we learned that many Jews, whose names they gave, had died of the plague, all the individuals in four houses being stricken with it. In conversation with the messenger, the latter informed Sir Moses that the plague was in Jerusalem and in all the villages surrounding it; also at Gaza and Jaffa, adding that Sir Moses might cut off his head if he had not spoken the truth.

Sir Moses determined to despatch a messenger to Mr W. T. Young, the British Consul at Jerusalem. On applying to the Governor of Tiberias to let him have a messenger with a good horse, he immediately sent us a fine, handsome fellow, armed with pistols, sabre, &c. Sir Moses gave him the letters, and he started instantly, at three o'clock in the afternoon.

The Governor sent early in the morning to say that he wished to come and pay his respects; at the same time he sent a small, very beautiful gazelle for Lady Montefiore, which was there considered a valuable present. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, having appointed twelve o'clock for the interview,[Pg 172] he came punctually at that hour, accompanied by the Judge of the town and some half dozen of their officers. Pipes, coffee, and sherbet were handed round. The Governor was most friendly. He said he had made that day a holiday in the town in honour of their visit, which had given joy and peace to all the inhabitants, and that Sir Moses might command his services in any way he pleased. Houses, servants, horses, &c., all were at his disposal. He much regretted being obliged to leave the town himself with some soldiers he had collected, who had to join Ibrahim Pasha. He would be away about twenty days, but had desired his secretary to attend to any request Sir Moses might make in his absence. He added a hope that Sir Moses would come and settle in that part of the world, as the Jews were in great need of a chief or leader; they could then take land and engage in agriculture. Soon after he left, Lady Montefiore received an invitation from the Governor's wives to come and dine with them, saying that they had had a lamb killed and prepared for the occasion by a person specially sent by the Jewish authorities of the place. Lady Montefiore was anxious to accept the invitation that she might see the interior of the harem, but it was thought she had better not go, and an apology was sent, she pleading fatigue from the journey.

The Jews all agree in acknowledging that the present Governor is an excellent friend to them. The Judge is not friendly to them, but the Governor prevents him from doing them any mischief.

The representatives of the German and Portuguese congregations, each attended by about twenty of their members, paid them visits, remaining for about an hour in earnest conversation. They promised to have ready, by the next day, statistical accounts of their communities, which Sir Moses desired to have for his special guidance in the distribution of the money he had brought for them.

Wednesday, May 29th.—The heat during the night was most oppressive. Most of the inhabitants placed their mattresses either on the roofs of their houses or in the yards, and slept in the open air. In the morning, before five, we rode on horseback to the hot baths, about half-an-hour's distance from the town. These are natural hot springs. Sir Moses did not find them sulphurous, but rather salt. They are situated close to[Pg 173] the lake, but the hot spring has its source in the mountains. Ibrahim Pasha had erected a handsome building, with some rooms for the use of bathers. The large bath, which is circular, would accommodate one hundred persons. There are also two chambers with handsome marble baths. There is a room, commanding a beautiful view of the lake and distant mountains, where, after having taken the bath, one can enjoy an hour's rest, and partake of coffee and sherbet prepared by the attendants there.

On their return from the bath they visited the tombs of some distinguished teachers in Israel, whose resting-places were pointed out by the gentlemen who accompanied them.

In the course of the day the Governor's wives sent to say they wished to have the pleasure of paying Lady Montefiore a visit. They also sent for her acceptance a fine large sheep.

Lady Montefiore, in her diary, gives full particulars of the visit. The Governor, she was told, had four wives, but only three of them came. They were attended by a black girl, and by a man as their guard, as well as by the mother of the Governor's youngest wife. The first wife, who is considered to be, and is also called, "The Great Lady," was a pleasing and intelligent woman; the other two were somewhat younger, but equally good-looking, the age of the youngest being about eighteen, and the eldest thirty. All of them were exceedingly good-tempered. When Sir Moses asked them if they could read, the eldest one replied in the negative, "but," said she, "the Agha intends marrying another lady, so that she may teach us to do so; we shall all be pleased if he does."

They became very chatty, and were most desirous that Lady Montefiore should visit them, and go on the water with them to the bath. "The great lady" smoked a chibouk, but did not offer it to the others. Lady Montefiore made each of them a present of a neat gold ring set with mosaics, with which they were much pleased. They said it was the first visit they had ever paid; they were not even allowed to visit their own brothers, but the Agha was so pleased with Lady Montefiore, that he wished his wives to see her. The ladies remained two hours, and I had to act as interpreter. About fifty members of the Portuguese community came to see us, and we had a long conversation with them on the subject of the cultivation of land[Pg 174] in the vicinity of the town. Many members of the German congregation arrived at the same time to pay their respects to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and also joined our conversation on the subject. The early marriages, which are customary in the East amongst all classes of society, were warmly discussed by all present. To Europeans the custom appears strange, and a great drawback to the promotion of happiness among the contracting parties, as well as to society in general. Orientals, on the contrary, think it most desirable to preserve a custom which they consider beneficial, and conducive to the happiness of families.

Thursday, May 30th.—On this day the distribution of money took place. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore themselves put their gifts into the hand of every man, woman, and child of the Hebrew, as well as of the Mussulman and Christian congregations. Their labour was not finished before ten in the evening, the trouble and fatigue of the distribution being exceptionally great, in consequence of the lists containing the names and descriptions of the recipients not having been correctly prepared. Of the sheep brought to Lady Montefiore by the Governor's wives, Sir Moses distributed to the descendants of Aaron those parts which, according to an injunction of Holy Writ, belong to them, a proceeding which afforded much gratification both to donor and the recipients.

Friday, May 31st.—Another visit was paid to the different localities in which the tombs of the renowned teachers in Israel had been pointed out to them. In the afternoon they attended the Portuguese Synagogue, and in the evening, after the Sabbath repast, hundreds of members of the community sat down in the spacious courtyard in order to enjoy a full view of the honoured pilgrims, who were singing Psalms and Sabbath hymns. The evening was beautiful; the whole place was illuminated with variegated lamps, and the Oriental holiday attire of the many ladies who surrounded the fountain of cool and refreshing water, made the scene charming and picturesque in the extreme.

The next day they attended divine service in the German Synagogue, and were present at the naming of a child, the son of a distinguished member of the community, to whom they had been requested to act as god-parents. In the afternoon, having attended service in the Russian place of worship, they visited the[Pg 175] heads of that congregation, and spent the evening at home in receiving the numerous friends who called on them.

Sunday, June 2nd.—At half-past 5 p.m. we left Tiberias. Hundreds of persons came to see us off, and followed us. The officers of the Governor (he having gone with some troops to Damascus), with about a dozen soldiers and some attendants, also accompanied us for nearly half-an-hour. We rode for two hours and a half over the hills. Towards the west the land was very rich, and sown with wheat, barley, and oats, but not well cultivated. We pitched our tents at Eyn Louba. The effect of the numerous glowworms and fireflies in the darkness of the night was extremely beautiful. Late in the evening a messenger arrived from Caiffa, bringing Sir Moses a letter from Beyrout. There had been no battle, but both parties were in daily expectation of hostilities. The plague, it was reported, had broken out in Damascus, and the country, both around that city and Beyrout, had begun to be in a very disturbed state. Several travellers had been robbed, but the post still passed. All vessels from Alexandria had to perform quarantine; most of the villages in Palestine were infected with the plague.

Monday, June 3rd.—We started at five and halted at 6.40 for the mules with our luggage. We were not travelling the usual way, as we wished to avoid the villages as much as possible. We were then near the highest point of Mount Tabor; we had crossed some of the richest land imaginable, and seen many fig and almond trees, pomegranates, prickly pears, &c. We reposed under an almond tree till our luggage came up. The servants had mistaken the way, and one of the janissaries was obliged to go in search of them. We set forward again at eight, and rode till 1.30 p.m. We then rested near a rivulet, in the shade of a small cavern in the front of the mountain, commanding an extensive view of the rich plain, nearly the whole of which was in a state of cultivation. Almost all the crops were cut. On the mountain above us, Jacob and Laban made their league together, and called it Gál-éd. We started again at 4 p.m., and rode till seven, when we pitched our tents in a very pretty orchard of fig-trees and pomegranates, the latter covered with blossoms.

Tuesday, June 4th.—After taking a cup of coffee, we set off at five in the morning from Djouni, riding through a lovely country of mountains, hills, dales, valleys, and plains, all truly[Pg 176] splendid, and in the highest state of cultivation (wheat, barley, oats, &c.). We passed many towns and villages, but did not enter them. This part of the country appeared well populated. The inhabitants were good farmers, and possessed horses, cows, oxen, sheep, and goats in great abundance. There were also olive and mulberry trees of very great age, apparently many centuries old, and there was more skill displayed in their cutting than we had hitherto noticed in the Holy Land. It was a complete garden. "I have never seen," Sir Moses observed, "any country so rich and beautiful. We rested under a grove of fig-trees, in a garden surrounded by the most magnificent scenery; the spot might well have been termed, 'a garden of Eden, a very Paradise.'" We amused ourselves by discussing the writings of Hillel the elder, and reading extracts from the works of Maimonides.

At two we proceeded on our journey till six. The road was very rocky, and the ride, especially the descent to Nablous, the ancient city of Shéchém, exceedingly difficult. We encamped close to the well of Jacob. Many of our brethren came from the city to welcome us, and brought with them some fine poultry and fruit, which they requested Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to accept. They did not enter our tents, as we were fearful of contagion.

Sir Moses had, eight or ten days previously, sent them a number of printed forms, for the purpose of inserting under particular headings any statistical information they could give respecting their own community. These he now requested them to let him have, as he desired to distribute some money among those who stood in need of assistance. Fortunately they had already prepared the papers required, and it did not take long to send a messenger to the Synagogue, who brought them without delay.

Wednesday, June 5th.—We visited the tomb of Joseph, and copied the inscription on the wall. We said our prayers there, and proceeded to the village of Awarta, where we copied the Samaritan and Arabic inscriptions on the tombs of Phineas, Eleazar, and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron the High Priest. We also visited the tombs said to be those of the seventy elders, and then continued our way to Jerusalem. At twelve o'clock we rejoined our attendants, who had already prepared various[Pg 177] refreshments for us in a tent pitched for our accommodation, near a well called "Eyn" or Khán Lebbán. We were much fatigued, and the heat was excessive. While we were partaking of our repast, many persons, travellers and others, came to water their beasts. Some of the Mussulmans, after performing their ablutions at the well, said their prayers, and a number of young women, with pitchers on their heads, came from the neighbourhood to fetch the cool water from the inexhaustible spring of Laban.

At four o'clock we left this pleasing scene, and ascended a high mountain by a desperately stoney road, on the edge of precipices. On the summit we were surprised at finding a very lovely plain, well cultivated, and with many gardens, containing fig, olive, and almond trees, as well as vines. We erected our tents at six o'clock in the corner of a field near the village of Snidgil. Both on that and the previous day we met many families, Jews, Christians, and Mussulmans, flying from Jerusalem to escape the plague; the accounts which they gave us were extremely alarming.

Thursday, June 6th.—We were on horseback at half-past four in the morning. The day was cool and pleasant. Our road lay between the mountains, in a narrow pass, formed by the dry bed of a torrent, with gardens on each side. The mountains were cultivated in terraces, and planted to the summit with vines and olives—"a lovely scene," Sir Moses observed. Indeed it would have been impossible to travel through a richer or more beautiful country.

We stopped to rest and take some refreshments, and started again, ascending an extremely barren mountain, and at two o'clock reached Shabia, or Gibeah, the commencement of the scene of destruction.

We dismounted, and read some of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, then continued our journey till three o'clock, when we had the first view of Jerusalem. Dismounting once again, we recited the usual prayers.

Hearing that the plague was yet in the city, Sir Moses deemed it prudent not to enter. We therefore passed the walls and went up the Mount of Olives, where we pitched our tents on a spot commanding a magnificent view of the Holy City and Mosque of Omar, near the tomb of "Huldah" the prophetess.[Pg 178]

For two hours before reaching Jerusalem, the road by which we travelled was stoney and deserted. Not a blade of grass or a tree was visible. "Most fervently do I pray," Sir Moses remarked, "that the wilderness of Zion may again be like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord."

Friday, June 7th.—Before Sir Moses was up, the Governor of the city came to pay him his respects, and waited till he was ready to receive him, which he did under one of the olive trees, as we had declared ourselves in quarantine. The Governor was exceedingly friendly, and offered to accompany Sir Moses to the Jordan, Dead Sea, and Hebron, and to do him any service in his power; he also sent a present of five sheep. All the representatives of the Portuguese and German congregations, accompanied by crowds of their members, came up to give a heartfelt welcome to their future champion and his excellent wife, bringing with them numerous presents of choice wines, fruit, and cakes, besides articles of rich embroidery.

Saturday, June 8th.—We recited our prayers under the shade of an olive tree, directly opposite the spot where stood the Temple of Solomon. Our situation commanded a splendid view of every part of the city and the surrounding mountains. Our happy moments were unfortunately disturbed by the wailing of the Mohammedan mourning women who followed no less than four funerals. In the course of the day all the leading members of the community came to visit us. When Sir Moses spoke to them on the desirability of procuring work for the poor, the majority of those present expressed themselves in favour of agriculture. In the evening, while sitting in our tent, a jackal stole noiselessly in. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were a little alarmed at the incident, which recalled to their minds the words of the prophet, "For this our heart is faint, for these things our eyes are dim, because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes (jackals) walk upon it" (Lamentations v. 17, 18).

In the course of conversation with Mr Young, the English Consul, the latter expressed his approval of the Jews being employed in agriculture. He advised beginning in a small way, so as not to excite the suspicions of Mohhammad Ali. Mrs Young gave Lady Montefiore some distressing accounts of the poverty of the people, and pointed out the necessity of at once finding them some means of earning a livelihood. Money, the Consul[Pg 179] said, was very scarce in Jerusalem; he had lost by every bill he had cashed for travellers. Five weeks previously he had sent his servant to Beyrout for £300, and he was fearful he had either been robbed of the money, or else had run away with it.

Sunday, June 9th.—More than three hundred visitors came to see Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. The Governor also called again to say that he was very anxious they should enter the city, that the people might have an opportunity of showing their esteem for them. Sir Moses, in reply, said that he and Lady Montefiore would visit the city on the following Wednesday. The Governor then arranged that he would come himself with some soldiers to conduct them, that they might run no risk, and begged Sir Moses would ride his horse.

Monday, June 10th.—We rose early and rode round the walls of the city, and through the valley of Jehoshaphat. Having descended Mount Zion, we passed the Pool of Siloam, and crossing the bridge over the Brook Kidron, visited all the important tombs and monuments in the valley. We then read our Psalms, and returned to our tents for breakfast. Again hundreds of visitors arrived, amongst whom were four Scotch clergymen, who were making a tour in the Holy Land to enquire into the state of the Jews there; they intended going through Poland for the same purpose.

The following day, being the anniversary of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore's wedding, they gave a special feast to all their attendants, which prompted the janissaries, guides, and moukaries to sing praises of the devout pilgrims, and invoke heavenly blessings on their benefactors.[Pg 180]




Tuesday, June 11th.—We rode before breakfast through the valley of Jehoshaphat, then to the tomb of King David. The keeper of the place produced an order from Ibrahim Pasha, which prohibited the entrance of Europeans to the tomb. We addressed a letter to the Governor, informing him that the keeper would not admit us. A short time afterwards the Governor arrived. He approved of the conduct of the keeper, but thought, nevertheless, that the Pasha's order did not refer to a gentleman who, like Sir Moses, was the bearer of letters of introduction from the highest authorities in the land, and, leading the way, he invited us all to follow him to the tomb. It was a spacious vaulted chamber, supported in the centre by a column. At the further end we saw a trellised window, on the right of which was an arched folding door. Being led to the spot, we beheld through the lattice the tomb, covered with richly embroidered carpets. In the centre was an Arabic inscription, "This is the tomb of our Lord David," on either side of which were the double triangles known by the name of "the shield of David." On one corner of the tomb hung a rich silk sash and a pistol, the offerings of Ibrahim Pasha. The Governor, addressing Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, said, "I will now leave you to your religious devotions," and then left the place. We recited several psalms, and went away much gratified with the opportunity which we had had of visiting the sacred spot.

On our return we visited the cave of Jeremiah and the tombs of the Kings. In the evening a number of people came up to pass the night on the Mount of Olives, so as to be ready[Pg 181] in the morning to join the procession which had been arranged for our entry into the city. Many of our brethren from Hebron, including the spiritual heads and representatives of their congregations, came to offer us their congratulations, and to accompany us the next day to the Synagogue. In the evening a large number of friends, and students from the colleges, assembled round our tents, to recite the evening prayers in front of the place formerly occupied by Solomon's temple.

Wednesday, 12th.—We rose before four o'clock. The Governor offered to attend us at daybreak, but Sir Moses said he would let him know when we were ready. At six o'clock Sir Moses sent for the Governor, who came attended by the representatives of the several congregations, a number of soldiers, and many of his officers and servants. They took coffee, pipes, etc., and after sitting down some time we set out at eight o'clock in procession. Sir Moses rode a beautiful white Arabian horse, which the Governor had sent him the day before; Lady Montefiore rode her own. We entered the city by the Gate of the Tribes, and passed through most of the streets, which were crowded with men, women, and children, the Governor having made it a holiday. We proceeded to the Portuguese Synagogue, where the Governor left us. His officers and men remained with us till we again reached the Mount of Olives. The Synagogue was beautifully decorated, and attended by as many of the congregation as space would permit. Special prayers were offered up by the Ecclesiastical Chief, who invoked the blessings of Heaven on the pious pilgrims. At the conclusion of the service we received a hearty welcome to the Holy City from all present.

We then went to the German Synagogue, where a similar service was held, addresses delivered, and prayers offered up for the friends of Zion, after which we proceeded to the Western Wall, and recited there the usual prayers in the presence of a large assembly. Having thanked the representatives of the several communities, we repaired to the house of the Governor, Lady Montefiore awaiting our return in the Synagogue of the late Mr Lehren.

Sir Moses then rejoined Lady Montefiore, and paid a visit to Mr and Mrs Young and some other friends, returning to the Mount of Olives about four o'clock p.m.[Pg 182]

The record of this day in his diary concludes with the following words, expressive of the grateful sentiments which filled his heart:—

"The Lord God of Israel be praised and thanked for permitting our feet to stand a second time within thy gates, O Jerusalem, may the city soon be rebuilt, in our days. Amen." "I believe," he continues, "the whole population was looking at us, and bestowing blessings on us."

Thursday, 13th.—We were engaged all day in speaking to persons who came with petitions. Some of Sir Moses' friends, fearing the ravages of the plague, informed him of their intention to accompany him to Hebron. A man to whom we had spoken, only a few days previously, had since died of the plague, so that their apprehensions of serious danger seemed to be fully justified. Sir Moses distributed the money he had brought with him from England, and made arrangements for the further distribution of £500, which he promised to send either from Beyrout or Alexandria.

Friday, 14th.—With feelings of deep regret we left the Mount of Olives for Hebron, and after three hours' journey reached Rachel's Tomb. Seeing that it was greatly out of repair and going fast to ruin, Lady Montefiore gave directions for an estimate for its restoration to be made. Half way to Hebron we rested for an hour near a fortress and a great reservoir. Our route lay through a mountainous country, little cultivated. On the summit of a mountain at some distance we saw the tombs of Nathan the prophet and Gad the seer.

About an hour's ride from Hebron we were met by the representatives of the Hebrew community, accompanied by hundreds of their members, many of whom danced and sang psalms to manifest their delight. They preceded us to the place where we pitched our tents, in an olive grove near the town. The vicinity of the town was beautiful, very mountainous, but covered with vines, olives, and pomegranates. We attended the Portuguese Synagogue, and then returned to our tent.

Saturday, 15th.—Early in the morning, the representatives of the community came to accompany us to Synagogue, where both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were received with the highest respect. At the conclusion of the service the same[Pg 183] gentlemen accompanied us back to our encampment. Whilst at breakfast the Governor was announced; he brought with him a present of four sheep. As we kept ourselves in quarantine, and our place of encampment was surrounded by a cordon, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore could not receive him in the tent. After having finished their repast, however, they went out to him, although they did not consider it advisable to accept his present, as he had not paid the pilgrims the attention due to them on their arrival. The Governor, feeling that he had not acted as he should have done, offered profound apologies, but blamed the community for not having given him due notice of their arrival. In consideration of his polite excuses, his present was accepted. When he offered his services, Sir Moses asked whether he could take us to the Cave of Machpelah, but he could not give a favourable reply. We had visitors the whole day.

Sunday, 16th.—There were assembled in front of our tents no fewer than two hundred people, men, women, and children, including all the representatives of the congregation, together with their wives and children. They presented us with certificates entitling us to free seats in their several Synagogues, both Portuguese and German. They also requested Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to accept the presidency of their charities and schools. The Governor also paid them another visit, as a special mark of respect, repeating his apologies for not having come to meet them, and volunteering his services during our visits to the holy places. After he left, the whole congregation united in prayers for the evening service. The scene was most interesting. Numerous presents had again been sent by various members of the community; also a jar of fresh butter and another of honey, by the Sheik of the place. After the prayers, the four sheep which the Governor had sent were prepared for the repast. The parts appropriated to the descendants of Aaron, the High Priest, were given to them, the hind quarters were presented to the Mussulman and Druse attendants and moukaries, and the forequarters to poor Jewish families. All present appeared happy. Singing, playing, dancing, and performances with sword and gun, afforded amusement to old and young, to Druse, Mussulman, Christian, and Jew.

Monday, June 17th.—The Governor and Sheik having, on the previous day, promised to accompany us to the Cave of Machpelah,[Pg 184] they came this morning before nine o'clock, together with their attendants. After having partaken of coffee and sherbet, with the usual accompaniment of a chibouk, we set out for the tombs of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Many members of the Hebrew community followed us. On reaching the steps of the Mosque, even before we had dismounted, there was a great cry against us entering. We nevertheless ascended the steps, and entered the passage leading to the interior of the Mosque. It was filled with people, all screaming and threatening us with sticks. But the situation soon became much more serious. The Mussulmans began to beat back those of the Jews who had followed us, and the screams were truly frightful. The soldiers of the Governor of Beyrout and the janissary from Mr Moore, the English Consul, behaved admirably; they struck right and left with all their might, and the entrance gate was soon closed. We remained inside, and following the Governor, attempted to enter the Mosque, but we were for some time prevented by the cries of the people, which were greatly increased by a dervish, who threw himself before the door, shrieking in a most frightful manner, and calling on the people not to allow us to enter. Sir Moses, however, drew Lady Montefiore along past him, and we made good our entrance; but, perceiving that we were in great danger, the Mosque being filled with at least five hundred persons, many of whom were armed with sticks, Sir Moses did not deem it prudent to remain. We therefore immediately passed through the opposite door, and left the Mosque by a different gate to the one through which we had entered. The only objects we saw in the passage deserving notice were two large stones in the wall; they were similar to those in the Western Wall at Jerusalem, at least nine yards long and one yard broad. We also saw an iron gate which, we thought, might perhaps lead to the cave, but Sir Moses felt certain that they were determined we should not enter to see any part of it. The Governor appeared in great alarm, and had not the least influence with the people. "To say the truth," Sir Moses remarked, "I did not see him make any exertions for our safety." He accompanied us to our tents, making many apologies for the unhappy result of our visit; but Sir Moses would not speak to him, as he (the Governor) was bound in honour and duty not to have subjected us to such an insult.[Pg 185]

We were scarcely in our tents before many people came running to us from the Jews' quarter, saying that the Mussulmans were beating them most unmercifully, and they were fearful of being murdered. Sir Moses received letters from the representatives of the community, one of whom had been so severely beaten that he was obliged to write from his bed. Several others called who had also been very much ill-used. We feared that perhaps we should also be attacked as soon as it was dark, although Sir Moses felt no serious apprehension, should such an event take place, as we had seventeen people with us, many of them well armed. Nevertheless, as we strongly recommended it, he wrote a letter to the Governor of Jerusalem, acquainting him with what had occurred, and requesting him to send a few men as a guard.

Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore then attended both the German and Portuguese Synagogues, and distributed their benevolent gifts to the men, women, and children in the same way as at Safed and Tiberias. We then returned to our tents, took our dinner, and afterwards received many visitors. Having looked to our arms and said our prayers, we retired to rest, "confiding," Sir Moses observed, "in the protection of Heaven."

Tuesday, June 18th.—Our tents and luggage having been placed on our mules, we left the olive ground, followed by the heads of the community and many of our brethren. A few minutes later we were joined by the Governor of the town and the Sheik, with his officers. They again made many apologies for the occurrences of the previous day, and accompanied us on our road for half-an-hour. The Jews also followed us, singing psalms. Sir Moses entreated them to leave us, which they did, after bestowing thousands of blessings on him and on Lady Montefiore.

In less than a quarter of an hour we met the janissary whom Sir Moses had sent to the Governor of Jerusalem. He came at full gallop, and had several horsemen with him. He brought Sir Moses an answer from the Governor, who had sent him twenty brave fellows, all well mounted and armed. We waited a few moments till they all came up. They were commanded by an Agha, who promised to defend us with his blood and that of his men.

Sir Moses then requested our co-religionists to return to the[Pg 186] town, giving them numerous tokens of his love for the Holy City of Abraham "the beloved." (This latter attribute the Mussulmans always attach to the name of Abraham.) They departed with many blessings for their devoted friends and protectors. The soldiers, janissaries, moukaries, and our own attendants continued feasting and firing their muskets the whole night, and making so desperate a noise as to render sleep impossible.

Sir Moses afterwards learned that the Governor of Hebron had already commenced showing his authority, much to the advantage of the Jews. Having heard that one of them had been ill-treated by a Mussulman, the Governor immediately caused the offender to be severely punished in his presence as a caution to the Mussulmans against again committing a similar offence.

Wednesday, June 19th.—We left our encampment at seven, reaching the tombs of Nathan the Prophet and Gad the Seer at half-past nine. Our guards amused us on the way with a complete sham fight with lance, sabre, musket, and pistol, advancing and retreating at full gallop. They were all capital horsemen, and it was a most pleasing and lively sight. We read our prayers at the tombs, which are situated near the village of Halhool. Our road lay between the mountains, a continuous desert, until we reached the plain. Sir Moses there discharged our escort, made presents to the Agha and every one of his soldiers, and sent a letter of thanks to the Governor of Jerusalem, accompanied by a valuable telescope. We encamped for the night near the village of Zaccariah, and started again the next morning at six.

Thursday, 20th.—We proceeded viâ Nayani to Beth Dagon, near Ashdod, and reached Jaffa the next day. We encamped on the sands close to the sea. The British and Russian Consuls soon after called, bringing with them the sad intelligence that the plague was in the town and neighbourhood.

The superintendent of the Quarantine then came to see Sir Moses, and gave him a certificate which, we thought, would enable us to proceed to Beyrout without performing quarantine. The Cadi and the Governor of the town also called to pay their respects. The latter, being the brother of the Governor of[Pg 187] Jerusalem, was particularly attentive, and sent presents of sheep and various kinds of fruit.

We left Jaffa on Sunday, reached the village of Emkhalet in the evening, and encamped in a large and beautiful plain near Mount Carmel. The next day we started at two o'clock in the morning, and at seven arrived at Cæsarea, where once stood the proud city of Herod. It must have been a place of great magnificence, to judge from the splendid remains of the granite columns; there is also every appearance of its having had a fine harbour, most beautifully situated. It is now, with the exception of some portions of the wall which formerly surrounded the city, little more than an immense pile of ruins. We had a very pleasant ride nearly the whole way, on the sands close to the sea.

We left Emkhalet early in the morning. It was very dark, and we ran great risk of serious accident, having to pass many deep holes, like wells, in which the corn is laid up for the year. These were at that time being filled in, so that they were left uncovered.

We breakfasted and rested till twelve, when we again set forward and encamped in the evening at Tantura, the ancient city of Dor, of which we read in the first Book of Kings that it was inhabited by the son-in-law of King Solomon. We left our tents a few minutes after one o'clock. We had a pleasant ride, great part of the way through a beautiful plain between Mount Carmel and the sea. We passed not far from some splendid ruins of a castle and town. On proceeding to the spot, we found it to be "Athlit," some of the Arabs called it "Atlik," the Castellum Perigrinorum frequently mentioned by the Crusaders. There are still many arches and vaults to be seen, as well as some granite pillars. The remains of a church also attract the traveller's attention; by the style of its architecture it is supposed to be of Christian origin. There are some stones in the walls round the building as large as, and similar to, those in the Western Wall at Jerusalem.[Pg 188]




At 8 p.m. we reached the quarantine cordon at the foot of Mount Carmel, a narrow pass between the sea and the mountain, about two miles from Haifa, where we had intended to rest, fully relying on our certificate from the superintendent of the quarantine at Jaffa. Having always kept ourselves in quarantine since we left Beyrout, and lodged in our own tents, avoiding all villages, we expected to have been allowed to pass without any detention, but to our great mortification the officer in command informed Sir Moses that, having come to his cordon, he and his party must perform quarantine, but that he might send a messenger to the Governor of Beyrout, under whose orders he acted. This Sir Moses at once did, and having addressed an Arabic letter to him, he charged one of the soldiers of his suite to take it to the Governor with all possible speed. In the meanwhile, the superintendent suggested that we should have all our things dipped twice into the sea, once on that day, and after seven days a second time.

Some members of the Hebrew community came to us and promised to bring us all the provisions we might require during our stay in quarantine, and we became reconciled to our detention. Mr Young, the British Consul in Jerusalem, when forwarding to Sir Moses his letters from England, took the opportunity of adding some information respecting the state of the Holy City, which was far from satisfactory. He also informed Sir Moses that several of his friends had been attacked by serious illness. Mr Kilby, of Beyrout, sent a report, in which he said that war was inevitable, that all the country was in a disturbed state and the roads infested with robbers. Several assassinations[Pg 189] had taken place even at Beyrout, and he recommended us to apply to the Governor of Acre for an escort. "Last week," he wrote, "two Jews left Beyrout with three hundred dollars for Hebron, which had been sent from Amsterdam for the congregations; they were stopped near Kasmia, robbed of the money and dreadfully beaten, one of them being shot in the struggle. Although severely injured, the wounded man contrived to reach Sidon, but died there." "How wonderful are the ways of Heaven!" observed Sir Moses. "The second night after we left Beyrout we thought ourselves most unfortunate in being compelled to sleep in the open air, as we were too fatigued to reach our tents and luggage, which were already at Kasmia. Had we continued our journey and succeeded in reaching that place, we should in all probability have shared the same fate as the other two Jews." A messenger had also been robbed, and had lost several of his fingers by a sword cut.

Signor M. di A. Finzi, the British consular agent at St Jean d'Acre, came to present his respects to Sir Moses, and brought some valuable information respecting agriculture in the environs of Tiberias and Safed. This gentleman had acted most benevolently towards the unfortunate people who had been attacked by Druses. The British Consul of Haifa also came to see Sir Moses, and reported that Ibrahim Pasha had advanced on Aleppo. It was rumoured that there had been some fighting, and all the troops in quarantine had received orders to leave the next day and join Ibrahim Pasha. All the country was in a most disturbed state, and the Jews of Safed were so much alarmed, that they fled from their homes and had reached Haifa in a very distressed condition. The people at Safed had received information that the Druses were coming to pillage the place. The Governor of the town had left it with the few soldiers he had under his command. Every one appeared very uneasy at the unprotected state of the country, as a hundred men from the mountains could, with the greatest facility, have plundered every town and village in Palestine. On the previous evening the Governor of Acre had brought his thirty-five wives to the Carmellite convent as a place of security; he remained there overnight and left in the morning. The convent was just above the spot where the quarantine ground was situated.

Thursday, 27th June.—Even the discomforts of a detention[Pg 190] in quarantine were sometimes varied by pleasing incidents, such as making the acquaintance of distinguished travellers. In this case we had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with several eminent men, including the Rev. Dr Alex. Keith and Dr Black, who happened to be performing their quarantine in the same locality.

These gentlemen called on Sir Moses, and he returned their visit the next day. The time passed so agreeably to all that these visits were frequently renewed.

The superior of the convent on Mount Carmel addressed a very polite letter to Sir Moses, regretting that our being in quarantine prevented his having the pleasure of receiving us in his convent, but making an offer of his services, and sending a present of the best wine of Mount Lebanon.

Saturday, June 29th.—The day was spent in repose, with prayers and reading the Sacred Scriptures. Being so close to Mount Carmel, our thoughts naturally turned to the Prophet Elijah; and in addition to the usual Sabbath prayers, Sir Moses read to us the 18th chapter of 1st Kings in a most solemn manner, and with such fervour that every one present was deeply affected.

In the course of the day the messenger returned, bringing the following reply to Sir Moses' letter:—"The Governor cannot allow a shorter quarantine than seven days."

In the evening, after the conclusion of Sabbath, letters from Mr Kilbee were opened, containing the correspondence from England. There had been disturbances in some of the manufacturing towns at home and in Paris; the Melbourne ministry had resigned, but had again accepted office. This was all the news we received from England, but Mr Kilbee added unsatisfactory intelligence from Beyrout. He wrote that the Druses had plundered Damascus, and the whole country was in a state little short of rebellion, and that poor Lady Hester Stanhope had died on the night of the 21st inst., having been without medical aid or the attendance of any European. Mr Moore, the British Consul, and the Rev. Mr Thomson had been to her house on the 23rd, and they buried her the same night by moonlight.

The accounts which the messenger brought from Beyrout of the disturbed state of the country induced some of our men to beg Sir Moses to discharge them, as they were fearful of continuing[Pg 191] the journey, and all appeared much alarmed. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were undecided by which way they should proceed to Alexandria, as they were unwilling to go by sea, the boats from Haifa to Alexandria being very small; nor did they wish to risk an attack of the Druses by going to Beyrout.

Sunday, June 30th.—We heard heavy firing at Acre, about two hours' ride from here, which caused some uneasiness; but at ten o'clock the guardians informed us that Ibrahim Pasha had defeated the Sultan's army near Aleppo, and had taken many prisoners. The firing of cannon at Acre was in celebration of the victory. Sir Moses feared it was but a proof of hostilities having actually commenced.

Many gifts arrived daily from the Agha of the place, from the Superior of the convent, and from several Sheiks in the neighbourhood; and as Sir Moses invariably returned handsome presents to these parties, as well as to their servants, it is not surprising that, in every town and village which they visited, the gifts they received were so numerous.

The chief of the quarantine visited us with the physician, and requested me to feel the pulses of every one of our party, including Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and to declare on my honour whether they were in good health. They evidently mistook me for a doctor of medicine, and I gladly complied with their request. I felt the pulse of everyone, and reported it to be in a most satisfactory state. During this examination Sir Moses was in a state of great uneasiness, as the least indisposition would have subjected him and the rest of the party to an addition of forty days extra quarantine at the least, which he prayed heaven to avert, as he feared it would make us all seriously ill. The same evening Drs Keith and Black came to our tents and acquainted us with the news they had just received from Haifa. The road to Beyrout by the sea shore was infested with thieves, and the road they had intended to take, through Nablous, was quite impassable; they had therefore determined to proceed by sea, and intended leaving at six o'clock the next morning. Sir Moses, however, relying on the Almighty's protection, decided to go by land with Mr Finzi, the English Consular Agent at Acre, who had offered to accompany us.

Monday, July 1st.—"We left with a grateful heart," writes[Pg 192] Sir Moses, "the place of our encampment in the morning, and were accompanied by the superintendent of the quarantine, the British Consul at Haifa, and Signor Finzi, who rode with us as far as the Synagogue in Haifa. They wished to wait for us there, and then accompany us to Acre, but I thanked them for their intentions and begged them not to do so; they therefore took leave of us with many good wishes."

We entered the Synagogue, which was but a small and mean looking room, and after divine service Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore distributed gifts to the poor to the same amount he had given in the other towns. He expressed his displeasure to the Portuguese community for allowing marriages among such very young people to take place, and begged them to follow the example of their co-religionists in Jerusalem, who allowed no such early marriages as those which must have taken place in Haifa. Of the few German Jewish families whom he saw there he spoke in terms which showed his great satisfaction with them.

Tuesday, July 2nd.—We set off this morning at two. Our road for three hours lay through a well cultivated plain, but after that we had to cross a steep and rugged mountain. At seven o'clock we stopped in a beautifully situated spot to rest. We sat down under a fine tree in a garden which commanded an extensive sea view, but we were informed that snakes had been seen in the garden, so we started again at 2 p.m. Our road led over a mountain pass, one of the most difficult, Sir Moses said, he had ever seen. The pass ran many hundred feet above the sea and close to the edge of a precipice nearly all the way. On descending into the plain we found it well cultivated, being almost covered with white mulberry trees. We noticed several women engaged in stripping them of their foliage, whilst others were winding the silk off the cocoons.

At three o'clock we reached the fountain, "Ain el Gaml," or "Sebeel Iskandrooni," and from there to "Ain el Medfooni;" the road was again very rocky and in some parts precipitous. Lady Montefiore being an excellent rider, galloped along rather heedlessly, and her horse rushed right into the sea. Apprehending danger, I galloped after and succeeded in overtaking her, and in seizing the bridle of her horse. In doing so my own horse stumbled and threw me rather heavily, but fortunately the fall was not attended by any serious consequences. The[Pg 193] waters of the fountain just named bear a great reputation among the natives in that neighbourhood for their healing qualities, and numerous invalids may always be found there, who come for the cure of their various ailments. At six we encamped near the famous fountain known by the name of "Râs el-'ain," where the ruins of its great aqueduct leading to "El Ma'-shûk" (an isolated hill in the plain) and the ancient Tyre were still to be seen. This fountain and those previously named were considered by several writers of the middle ages to be identical with those alluded to by King Solomon in the Song of Songs (iv. 15): "A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon."

July 3rd.—We rose about one o'clock, set off at three, and reached "Nahr el Kasimiyah" at five. When we had crossed the river of that name, we saw a wolf under some rocks, about thirty yards distant. One of our guards fired immediately, but only succeeded in frightening it, and it ran away. The shock of the musket threw the man off his horse! "So much for guards!" exclaimed Sir Moses. "This was one of the three men we took from Acre, on account of the dangerous condition which the roads were reported to be in." Afterwards we saw four beautiful young deer bounding along the sea shore, and the British Consular Agent hurried on in the hope of getting a shot at them; but he was disappointed, much to the satisfaction of the soldier who had been so unsuccessful in attempting to kill the wolf. He slyly observed that he was pleased to find some one equally clever in the party; nevertheless, he continued, "our will was good, even if we failed in the deed." We rested at "El Kantare." During the day we came across quantities of wheat that was being cut and carried, and observed many men in the fields, but they were all Druses. They were the only able-bodied men we had seen engaged in agriculture during the whole of our tour. The crops were everywhere most abundant, and of excellent quality. Indian corn and tobacco covered much land, and had likewise a most promising appearance.

Sir Moses now sent a messenger to Mr Kilbee, of Beyrout, requesting him to engage a house for us. We started at four, and reached Bassatin towards the evening, where we encamped for the night. On the road we met three men, who were recognised as belonging to the sect of the Metouáli by the peculiar[Pg 194] turbans which they wore. Our guides begged them to let us have a little water to drink, but this they refused to do. As it is a most unusual thing in the East not to allow a traveller to quench his thirst, they were ultimately compelled to hand us their jars of water, though not before some unpleasant arguments as to their right of giving or withholding had taken place. Our people, having slaked their thirst, returned the jars to the Metouális, who took them, and immediately dashed them against the stones, where they were shattered to pieces. The strangers assigned as their excuse for doing so, that their religion forbade their using any vessel after it had been touched by a person of a different creed.

July 4th.—We rose soon after midnight, and started at two o'clock. Our road lay for some distance along the sands, close to the sea, and over rocks, from which we obtained fine views of the distant mountains. We reached "Chadi" at eight, and reposed there till 4 p.m., when we again set forward, and proceeded as far as "Bir Khassan," a small tavern on the road side. Here we recited a prayer of thanks for our safe return. A number of our brethren came to meet us, and in their company we continued our journey to Beyrout, which place we reached at eight o'clock. The afternoon's ride had been extremely beautiful, our route taking us through what seemed a succession of gardens. Sir Moses, however, felt very weak, and thought he could not have endured another day's journey. We found a house, which had formerly been inhabited by the Rev. Mr Thomson, comfortably prepared for us.

Friday, July 5th.—Beyrout.—Sir Moses received a visit from the Governor of the town, who said he was happy to see us safely returned, as he had been uneasy on our account. "Indeed," he observed, "you displayed more courage than prudence in attempting such a journey under existing circumstances, and I am delighted to think you met with so little inconvenience." He also gave us the official account he had received of the victory. He said 12,000 prisoners had been captured, besides 140 pieces of cannon, and 25,000 stands of arms, the killed and wounded on both sides being 9000. The victory had been most decisive, and the whole of the Turkish army was annihilated. "Before this battle," the Governor continued, "the country was in a state little short of open rebellion. There being no[Pg 195] troops left to keep the Druses in check, they came down from the mountains, and pillaged the towns at their pleasure. Many of the inhabitants of Damascus and Safed fled to Beyrout and Acre for refuge."

The residence which Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore occupied was so pleasant, that it contributed greatly towards their recovery from the fatigue and excitement of the journey. The house stood very high, in the midst of a beautiful garden. It was about three quarters of an hour's ride from the town, and commanded beautiful views of the sea, the adjacent country, and the mountains of Lebanon. The gardens in the neighbourhood were mostly filled with mulberry trees (white) for the cultivation of silk-worms, and, at a short distance, we noticed several sand hills. These hills move progressively, and destroy the country in their course by burning the land and trees. Of many fig trees only the tops remain visible. In the evening several visitors belonging to the Hebrew community arrived, and joined in divine service for the Sabbath.

July 6th.—The Austrian steamer from Jaffa arrived, bringing reports that Russia had chartered 400 transports to convey 25,000 troops from Odessa to Constantinople.

July 7th.—Many visitors came to offer their congratulations on our safe return from the journey; among others, Mr Moore, the British Consul, who told us that English, French, and Austrian steamers were expected with further information respecting the political state of Egypt, Turkey, and Syria.[Pg 196]




Monday, July 8th.—We sent the greater part of our luggage on board the Acheron, under the command of Captain Kennedy, and prepared to start at a moment's notice. Sir Moses occupied himself with writing letters to Mr Young, the British Consul at Jerusalem, to whom he sent money for distribution among the indigent Christians of the Holy City, as well as for their burial ground. To Mr Joseph Amsaleg he sent £500 for the poor of the Hebrew communities, and to the Rev. Mr Thomson he sent a donation for the Christian poor of Beyrout, as well as a souvenir for himself, in consideration of the accommodation afforded to Sir Moses in his house. To the poor of Safed he gave, through R. Moses Schmerling, 53,500 piastres, and to those of Hebron he gave, through Nissan Drucker, 11,770 piastres, being the amount he had promised for these two Holy Cities.

The following day Sir Moses concluded his arrangements with the representatives of the Hebrew community in Beyrout, respecting the distribution of his gifts for their Synagogue and poor. This being accomplished, his work for the day was over.

"I am now anxious," said Sir Moses, "to have an interview with the Pasha at Alexandria, for the purpose of claiming of his Highness security for the persons and property of the Jews in Palestine, and particularly for those at Safed and Tiberias where they are continually exposed to insult, robbery, and murder. I have also several other requests to make of him, viz., that he will order the walls of Tiberias to be repaired; that he will admit the evidence of Jews in cases brought before the judges or governors of the land; that he will permit land and[Pg 197] villages to be rented on a lease of fifty years, free from all taxes or claims of governors, the rent to be paid at Alexandria; that he will allow me to send people to assist and instruct the Jews in a better mode of cultivating land, the olive, the vine, cotton, and mulberries, as well as the breeding of sheep; finally, that he will give me a firman to open banks in Beyrout, Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Cairo. I sincerely pray," he continued, "that my journey to the Holy Land may prove beneficial to the Jews; not only to those who are already there, but to many others who may come to settle in the Holy Cities, either from love for the Land of Promise, or from a desire to quit countries where persecution prevents their living in peace. I shall then be amply repaid for the fatigue and anxiety of my journey."

July 10th.—Sir Moses had been extremely unwell on Tuesday and confined to his room, but feeling a little better the next morning, he gave orders for our immediate departure, as the English Consul had informed us of the arrival of the Indian Mail Packet, adding that we must embark at once, as the boat would get under weigh about noon. Having taken leave of all our friends, we proceeded to the wharf, where Captain Kennedy's boat took us on board the Acheron. We were under weigh at seven o'clock. The weather was extremely sultry, and a terrible swell, with a head wind, contributed greatly to the discomfort of all on board.

July 12th.—At five o'clock in the morning we had a sight of land off Rosetta, and at half-past nine we passed the Egyptian fleet; fourteen ships under full sail, standing to the east, about twelve miles from Alexandria. They made a very imposing appearance. All had new sails; they kept an equal distance ship from ship, a cable and a half's length apart (900 feet), and formed an excellent line. The second ship, with a flag at the foremast, was the Vice-Admiral's. The Admiral was in the centre of the line, which consisted of eleven line of battleships with three tiers of guns, two large frigates, and one large corvette. The Rear-Admiral's flag was at the mizzen of the last ship. We anchored safely in the harbour of Alexandria at 11 a.m. The men-of-war in the harbour were all dressed with flags, and over the houses of the Consuls floated the flags of their several nations. The captain took us on shore in his boat, and at one o'clock we reached the hotel. The first news we learned on our arrival was[Pg 198] that the Sultan was dead, and that his son and successor had accorded the Dominion of Egypt to Mohhammad Ali and his successors.

Sir Moses called on Colonel Campbell, but he had to wait some time before seeing him, as the Colonel was with the Pasha. The Colonel willingly consented to introduce Sir Moses to Boghoz Bey, and fixed four o'clock for the purpose. Colonel Campbell said he would call for Sir Moses, and bring one of his horses for him.

The Colonel was punctual, and we rode together to the residence of Boghoz Bey. Sir Moses gave him his three requests in writing, and he promised to lay them before Mohhammad Ali and explain them to him. The Bey appeared well inclined to forward his requests, and offered to present him to the Pasha either the same evening or the next morning. Sir Moses fixed nine o'clock the next day, although Colonel Campbell wished it to be the same evening, Sir Moses was, however, desirous that the Pasha should have time to consider and talk over the matter with his minister before the interview, and it being near Sabbath, he knew not how to get there.

July 13th.—We rose at five in the morning; recited the Sabbath morning prayers. About half-past seven we proceeded to the Pasha's palace. The Sardinian Consul kindly lent Sir Moses his sedan chair, the only one to be found in Egypt at that time. We could not ride in a carriage on account of the Sabbath. Sir Moses was in full uniform, and wore his Sheriff's chain. The palace was situated about half-an-hour's distance from the Hotel de l'Europe, and commanded an extensive view of both harbours, as well as the outer roads. The Pasha's fleet was in full sail nearly opposite to his window.

Sir Moses gives the following account of his interview with the Pasha:—

"I had to wait," he writes, "for Colonel Campbell in one of the attendance rooms, being before the time I had appointed to meet him; he came very punctually at nine o'clock. We were immediately admitted to the presence of Mohhammad Ali. He received me standing, then taking his seat on the divan, he motioned me to a seat on his right hand, Dr Loewe next to me, and Colonel Campbell on the left of the Pasha. His Highness gave me a very gracious reception, and spoke on each[Pg 199] of my requests. Referring to the one for renting land of him in Palestine, he said he had no land there, but any contract I might make with the Mussulmans should have his approval, and he would send it to Constantinople for confirmation.

"On repeating that I had been led to believe that his Highness possessed land there, from information I had received when in the country, he replied that if I could point out the parts belonging to him, I could have them.

"He said he would be glad to see the land better cultivated, and I might send proper persons with agricultural implements.

"I then spoke to him on the subject of the Jews being admitted as witnesses at Safed, Tiberias, and Hebron, in the same manner as in Jerusalem. He first said that on account of their religion they could not be permitted to give evidence against Mussulmans, but on my again repeating that they were so permitted in Jerusalem, he replied that Jews and Christians should be treated alike, and there should be no difference between them.

"I then spoke to him as to the rebuilding of the wall round the town of Tiberias, which had been destroyed by the earthquake. I said there were plenty of stones on the spot, and people willing to do the work free of expense, as the inhabitants were at present so much exposed to robbers. At first he misunderstood me, and asked which wall it was that the Jews wished to repair. I explained to him that both Mussulmans and Jews were equally anxious that the city wall should be repaired: both had written and spoken to me on the subject whilst I was at Tiberias, begging me to represent to him the present insecure state of the city; all that was required was his order to have the work done. He said he would order a report to be made immediately to him, and the wall repaired.

"I told him that in the cultivation of land, security was necessary for both land and person, and I hoped they would have it. This he also promised.

"I then spoke of establishing joint stock banks with a capital of £1,000,000 sterling, with power to increase it, if necessary. His eyes sparkled at this; he appeared delighted, and assured me the bank should have his protection, and he should be happy to see it established.[Pg 200]

"I mentioned the branches: Alexandria, Beyrout, Damascus, Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Cairo.

"I said I was happy to see him looking so well; he did not appear to me older than when I had the honour of being presented to him at Cairo in 1827. This is really the fact. I then congratulated him on the fine appearance of his fleet, which I had passed yesterday. He replied, 'At present it is very small.'

"I presented him with a bronze medal of our most gracious queen, struck by the city of London to commemorate Her Majesty's visit to the Guildhall on the 9th of November 1837. He appeared pleased, examined it attentively on both sides, asked me if it was a good likeness of the Queen, then thanked me for it. I took leave, and returned to the hotel the same way I came, being followed the whole way by crowds of curious people.

"Boghoz Bey, the Pasha's Minister of Commerce, had read over and explained my requests to him on, the previous evening, that he might be fully aware of the object of my visit to him. Being anxious to have Mohhammad Ali's answers in writing, which he said Boghoz Bey should give me, as he had been present at our interview, I called on the Bey, but he had not returned from the Palace.

"Between four and five I walked there with Dr Loewe. Boghoz Bey received me most politely, and said as I had not put my signature to the written requests, he could not give me an answer in writing, but he hoped I was perfectly satisfied with what Mohhammad Ali had promised me this morning. He added that as soon as I had made my several requests in writing, and signed them, he would write me the answer, agreeably with the Pasha's words, as he had accorded me all I required.

"I thanked him, and immediately after the conclusion of Sabbath I wrote, and sent the several requests to Boghoz Bey, properly signed in the form of letters."

Numbers of visitors came to pay their respects to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and offered congratulations on their safe return from Palestine. Mr Waghorn (the originator of the short overland route between England and India), read to Sir Moses the letters he had just addressed to Lord Palmerston, Mr Hobhouse, and the Times newspaper on the subject. The heat was intense, and we were so terribly persecuted by insects[Pg 201] that the pleasure of our interesting discussions was greatly marred. Sir Moses indeed observed that he could not live in Egypt, even to be king of the land.

Sunday, July 14th.—A deputation from the Hebrew community, headed by their Ecclesiastical Chief, and the representatives of their schools and charitable institutions, waited on Sir Moses to report on the state of their Synagogues, &c. Sir Moses, with his usual liberality, contributed towards the funds of all their charities. He then requested me to wait on Boghoz Bey to receive the letter which the minister had promised him. Accompanied by Lady Montefiore, Sir Moses afterwards paid some visits, and took leave of all who had called on them; and, this being accomplished, they proceeded to the harbour, where a boat belonging to the Pasha was waiting to take them on board the Acheron. The peculiar phraseology of the conversation I held with Boghoz Bey, partly in Arabic and partly in Turkish, made it desirable to give Sir Moses, on my return, an exact translation of it in writing, but it may be briefly related as follows. After the usual exchange of compliments, I endeavoured to obtain a definite answer to the letter addressed by Sir Moses to the Pasha, but the Bey did not care to express himself on any other subject than that of the proposed bank, and the elaborate manner in which he sought to induce Sir Moses to establish the bank without delay, the enticing promises of protection, patronage, and personal profit which he held out, left no room for doubt as to the interest he took in the scheme. I, on my part, enumerated in detail all the points to which Sir Moses attached so much importance, and the concessions which he asked in favour of religious toleration, justice, and the practice of agriculture and the establishment of colonies. Upon my pressing for an early reply, the Bey again endeavoured to gain time, and for that purpose changed the subject by opening a religious discussion, taking for his theme the interpretation of the prophet's words, "And the Eternal shall be King over all the earth; on that day there shall be one Lord, and His name One." He seemed to be under the impression that this would be an earthly king. I soon succeeded in allaying his fears, and convincing him that the words of the prophet Zachariah referred to the King of kings, the Almighty in Heaven.

Eventually he fixed ten o'clock as the time for receiving my[Pg 202] reply, and after a repetition of the customary Eastern complimentary phrases I withdrew.

It had struck me that the strange question the minister had put to me regarding the expectation of having one King over all the world, had been brought to his mind by the promoters of the colony which he told me intended to settle in Syria. Possibly they might have been informed of Sir Moses' plans, and made some remarks which had come to the ears of the minister. I therefore deemed it right to reassure him on the subject, so that no one should for a moment be led to believe that Sir Moses had any other object in view than that distinctly stated in his letter to the Pasha.

I went once more to Boghoz Bey, but not finding him at home, proceeded at once to the Palace. On my arrival there, I went to the secretary's hall and wrote a few lines, stating that I had come to see His Excellency Boghoz Bey for the promised reply, intending to send it in to him, notwithstanding his being with the Pasha. As I was in the act of handing the note to one of the attendants, the minister came out saying, "Come, my friend, immediately with me to His Highness." After having made my first and second bow, Boghoz Bey said to the Pasha, "This is the very person," alluding probably to the subject of their recent conversation.

The Pasha smiled. Artim Bey then said, "You will hear word for word just as I said to you yesterday."

The Pasha—"I received the letter from Sir Moses just this very moment, that is, the official letter, and I shall send him two letters in reply, one which will reach him when he will be performing quarantine in Malta; acknowledging the receipt of his letter, and informing him that I will take steps to ascertain all particulars respecting the land he wishes to take on lease; but with regard to the protection of the people, the admission of evidence given by Jewish witnesses, and the repair of the wall of Tiberias, I shall immediately give orders. The latter shall be done, whether the stones and materials are to be found there or not, whether people will come forward willing to work or not; all will be done. I shall also write to Sir Moses in the same letter respecting the establishment of banks; all will be satisfactory. The second letter, in which all particulars respecting the contract, and the pointing out of land which belongs to[Pg 203] me, or which I shall have to take for Sir Moses from others, he will receive as soon as we shall have obtained all the required information. Be sure of all I have told you."

I thereupon said: "But perhaps His Highness would be so gracious as to give me even these few words in writing."

Upon this both Boghoz Bey and Artim Bey at once began: "My dear L., yesterday was your Sabbath and to-day is ours; I know you are strict in the observance of your religious tenets, therefore we beg you will not insist on our writing."

The Pasha smiled, so did all present. Boghoz Bey made several observations to the Pasha respecting our conversation of yesterday. Having expressed my thanks to the Pasha, in the name of Sir Moses, I withdrew from his presence.

At 3 p.m. the Acheron left the harbour. Our bill of health from Alexandria stated, "With regard to the health of the place, occasional cases of plague occur in this town." This was signed by John Wingfield Larking, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul. We were naturally all glad to quit the place.[Pg 204]




July 18th.—About ten o'clock at night we entered the quarantine harbour at Malta, where we were ordered to remain till August 7th. To be confined for twenty days, during the hot summer months, with three hundred pilgrims, at Fort Manoel, was already a cause of great discomfort to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, but the circumstances were here made especially painful to them by the loss of a faithful servant, whose death occurred during their stay in the Lazaretto. In addition to this they received news that the Turkish fleet had been delivered up to Mohhammad Ali, in Alexandria, by Kapoudan Pasha; that the Sultan was dead, and 150,000 Russian troops had arrived at Constantinople. This change in the political horizon frustrated almost all Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore's hopes of seeing their schemes for the amelioration of the condition of Syria realised. There was no chance now of receiving letters from Mohhammad Ali.

August 6th.—The captain of the Lazaretto was there before five o'clock in the morning to give us pratique. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to the Synagogue, presented some ornaments for the Ark, and various gifts to the officers. They also called on the Governor, and after paying visits to Sir Hector Grey and their many other friends, went on board our steamer the Lycurgus.

August 7th.—About twelve o'clock the steamer moved out of the harbour, and we all bade farewell to the island. On Saturday we cast anchor in the roads of Leghorn. When leaving[Pg 205] that place, Sir Moses remained looking at the city as long as it continued in sight. "Heaven only knows," he said, "whether I have seen the place of my birth for the last time; the state of my health and my age would lead me to believe that I can scarcely hope to visit it again. May peace, happiness, and prosperity attend my relatives and all its other inhabitants!"

August 11th.—At Marseilles, Sir Moses visited the gas-works, and expressed great pleasure at seeing the new gas holder and coal shed nearly finished. In the evening he invited all the gentlemen connected with the Imperial Continental Gas Association to take tea with him.

August 13th.—We left Marseilles and proceeded viâ Aix, Avignon, Valence, and Lyons to Châlons. Here we had an instance of the great attention which Sir Moses invariably paid to everything he saw. Having noticed a man lighting the street lamps without the aid of a ladder, he sent for the man to come to our hotel, desiring him to bring with him the long stick he had used in lighting the lamps. The man came and showed it to him; it had a small lantern near the top, and was furnished with a hook. In explaining its use the man pointed out that the burners had no taps but valves, which were raised or lowered by the hook. "It appears to me," said Sir Moses, "a very simple and neat contrivance, a saving of time, and consequently expense, both in lighting and extinguishing the flame." He requested me to make an exact drawing of the stick, with the lantern and hook attached to it, and before leaving the hotel, made the man promise to bring him one of the burners to look at.

Thursday, August 22nd.—We reached Paris. Baron Anselm de Rothschild, who had been with the King at Eu, told Sir Moses that the Pasha had refused to give up the Turkish fleet, and the King would not compel him. Sir Moses called on Mr Bulwer, who informed him that the King would probably be in Paris in five or six days, and wished Sir Moses to remain there, so as to be presented to him. Mr Bulwer also promised to take him to an evening party, to be given on September 3rd by Marshal Soult. But Sir Moses was longing to return to England, and would not prolong his stay.

August 30th.—We left the French capital for Beauvais, where we remained over Sabbath. On Sunday we proceeded to Boulogne, and on Thursday, September 5th, we arrived safely at Dover. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore continued[Pg 206] their journey on the same day to Ramsgate, where they arrived in time to be present at the evening service in their Synagogue, and to offer up fervent thanks to the Most High for their safe return after so long an absence and so dangerous an excursion. The next day they left Ramsgate for Richmond, where they were received with most tender affection by their mother, sisters, and brothers, and every member of their family.

On their return their correspondence with the East increased rapidly, and engaged much of their attention. Messengers frequently arrived from Jerusalem to entreat them to do what they possibly could to improve the condition of the Jews there. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore took great pleasure in relieving, as far as in their power, every deserving case.

At the end of December Sir Moses thought he might, without impropriety, remind His Excellency Boghoz Bey, Minister of Finance in Egypt, of the promise the Viceroy had made him, when he was at Alexandria, respecting the purchase of land in Syria, and the establishment of banks there and in Egypt. He addressed a letter to Boghoz Bey, recapitulating all the particulars which he had verbally explained to him and the Pasha.

Weeks and months passed, and no reply came from Egypt. Sir Moses meanwhile occupied himself with other subjects, thinking that perhaps another and more favourable opportunity might present itself for bringing the matter forward again. His duties in connection with his financial companies took up his time till about the month of March, when the report of an outrage in the East roused sorrow and indignation in the heart of every upright man.

In a letter from the Elders of the Hebrew community in Constantinople, addressed to Messrs de Rothschild in London, dated March the 27th, 1840, we read:—

"Independently of the tie which so strongly binds together the whole Jewish community, of which you, gentlemen, are distinguished ornaments, having always been prominent in assisting our distressed brethren, whose appeals to you are not infrequent, your hearts cannot but be greatly moved to sympathise with two Jewish communities (viz., that of Damascus, under the Egyptian jurisdiction, and that of Rhodes, one of the Ottoman States) oppressed by the tyrannies of the Pashas who govern them.

[Pg 207]

"These persecutions originated in calumnies, which the oppressors themselves have invented, and which have been long rankling in their hearts, to the prejudice of the Jewish community. Our brethren are accused of being accomplices in murder, in order to make their Passover cakes with the blood of the murdered men—a thing in itself incredible, as being forbidden in our holy religion. This report has, however, found credence with the governing Pashas of Damascus and Rhodes, and they have oppressed and incarcerated not only several old men and Rabbins, but even a number of children, putting them to tortures, of which it makes men shudder to hear. Such is the afflicting picture drawn in the letters of our persecuted brethren, of which, with deep regret, we hand you copies.

"The community now addressing you, although implored by the sufferers to put an end to these persecutions, and to prevent, if possible, their recurrence, is deeply grieved to find itself incapacitated from affording any relief, in consequence of being subject to a Government not on friendly terms with the Pasha of Egypt.

"There remain, therefore, no means of salvation for the oppressed, except an appeal to your innate goodness and pity. We entreat you to interpose your valuable mediation, in such manner and with such persons as you may deem most desirable, for the safety of our unhappy brethren languishing in chains and in prison, so as to obtain, from the Pasha of Egypt, the liberation of the Jews of Damascus, and a compensation, not only from the governing Pasha of Damascus, commensurate with the excesses committed by him, but also from the Consular Agents at Rhodes, who have oppressed persons not subject to them.

"We, the Rabbins and Elders of this place, impressed with the urgency of the case, and moved by compassion for our brethren, and further induced by the report which is current throughout the world, of the generous and philanthropic sentiments which animate you and fill your hearts, ever open to the miseries of the oppressed, feel persuaded that you will exert yourselves to do all you possibly can, in these distressing circumstances.

"(Signed) I. Camondo.
Salamon Qm. Mco. Fua.
Samuel de N. Treves.
[Pg 208]

"The Jews of Damascus, addressing Messrs Abram Conorte and Aaron Cohen, Elders of the Congregation at Constantinople, after expressing their wishes for their health, say as follows:—

"To our deep regret, we address you these few lines to inform you of the continued state of misery in which our brethren, inhabitants of Damascus, still remain, as communicated to you in my letter of the 17th of Adar (February), forwarded to you by the steam-packet. We had hoped to advise you in this letter that the circumstances of the murder, respecting which the Jewish community were calumniated, had been ascertained, but in this hope we have been sadly disappointed. We will now, therefore, repeat everything in detail, and it is this:—

"On Wednesday, the 1st day of the month of Adar (February) there disappeared from Damascus a priest, who with his servant had dwelt for forty years in the city. He exercised the profession of physician, and visited the houses of Catholics, Jews, and Armenians, for the purpose of vaccination.

"The day following, viz., Thursday, there came people into the Jewish quarter to look for him, saying they had seen both him and his servant in that quarter on the previous day. In order to put into execution their conspiracy they seized a Jewish barber, telling him that he must know all about the matter, and took him to the Governor, who on hearing the accusation, immediately ordered him to receive five hundred stripes. He was also subjected to other cruelties. During the intervals between these inflictions he was urged to accuse all the Jews as accomplices, and he, thinking by this means to relieve himself, accused Messrs David, Isaac, and Aaron Harari, Joseph Legnado, Moses Abulafia, Moses Becar Juda, and Joseph Harari, as accomplices, who had offered him three hundred piastres to murder the above mentioned priest, inasmuch as the Passover holidays were approaching, and they required blood for their cakes. He said that he did not, however, give ear to their instigations, and did not know what had happened to the priest and his servant. Upon this the Pasha caused the persons named to be arrested as instigators, and punished with blows and other torments of the most cruel nature; but as they were innocent they could not confirm as true that which was a calumny, and therefore, in contradiction, they asserted their innocence, appealing[Pg 209] to the sacred writings, which strictly prohibit the Jews from feeding upon any blood, much less that of a fellow-creature, a thing totally repugnant to nature. Nevertheless they were imprisoned with chains round their necks, and had daily inflicted on them the most severe beatings and cruelties, and were compelled to stand upright without food of any kind for fifty hours together.

"Subsequently the Hebrew butchers were cited to appear; they were put in chains together with the Rabbins Jacob Antubi, Salomon Harari, and Asaria Jalfon; and they too were beaten to such an extent that their flesh hung in pieces upon them; and these atrocities were perpetrated in order to induce them to confess that they used blood in making the Passover cakes. They replied that, if such had been the case, many Jewish proselytes would have published the fact. This, however, was not sufficient.

"After this, the same Governor went to the boy's college; he had the boys carried to prison, bound them with chains, and forbade the mothers to visit their imprisoned children, to whom only ten drachms of bread and a cup of water per day were allowed, the Governor expecting that the fathers, for the sake of liberating their children, would confess the truth of the matter.

"Subsequently a Jew, who was still at liberty, presented himself before the Governor, stating that the calumny of our using blood for our Passover cakes had been discussed before all the Powers, who, after consulting their divines, had declared the falsehood of the charge; and he added that either others had killed the priest and his servant, or they had clandestinely absented themselves from the country, and that the barber, in order to save himself from persecution, had stated that which, was not true.

"Upon this the Governor replied that, as he had accused other persons of killing them, he must know who the murderers were; and in order that he should confess, he was beaten to such an extent that he expired under the blows.

"After this, the Governor, with a body of six hundred men, proceeded to demolish the houses of his Jewish subjects, hoping to find the bodies of the dead, but not finding anything, he returned, and again inflicted on his victims further castigations and torments, some of them too cruel and disgusting to be[Pg 210] described. At last, being incapable of bearing further anguish, they said that the charge was true!!!

"The Governor, hearing this statement, asked them where they had secreted the blood of the murdered men, to which one of them replied, that it had been put into a bottle, and delivered to Moses Abulafia, who, however, declared he knew nothing of it. In order to make him confess he received a thousand stripes, but this infliction not extorting any confession from him, he was subjected to other insupportable tortures, which at length compelled him to declare that the bottle was at home in a chest of drawers. Upon this the Governor ordered him to be carried on the shoulders of four men (for he could not walk), that he might open the bureau. This was opened, but nothing was found in it, except a quantity of money which the Governor seized, asking at the same time where the blood was. Whereupon Abulafia replied that he made the statement in order that the Governor should see the money in the bureau, trusting by this means to escape. Upon this the tortures were again repeated, and Abulafia, to save himself, embraced the Mohammedan religion.

"In this manner they treated all the prisoners who have been for one month in this misery. In Beyrout and in Damascus the Jews are not permitted to go out.

"After this an individual came forward, and stated that by means of astrology he had discovered and ascertained that the seven individuals above named assassinated the priest, and that the servant was killed by Raphael Farkhi, Nathan and Aaron Levy, Mordecai Farkhi, and Asher of Lisbon. The two first were immediately arrested, the others, it appears, sought safety in flight.

"You will judge from this—the Elders of Damascus say—what sort of justice is administered by means of astrology, and how such justice is exercised. And there is no one who is moved to compassion in favour of the unfortunate victims. Even Bekhor Negri, the Governor's banker, unable to bear these afflictions, became a Mussulman.

"Read this, dearest friends,—they continue,—to Messrs Camondo, Hatteni, and Carmona, in order that they may co-operate for the safety of our unfortunate and calumniated brethren, with such persons as they may deem most fitting.[Pg 211]

"The Jews of Rhodes describe their state of misery to the elders of the congregation in Constantinople in the following statement:—

"A Greek boy, about ten years old, son of an inhabitant of the country, is said to have been lost, and the Christians have calumniated us by saying that we have killed him. All the European Consuls came forward to demand an elucidation of the affair. They went in a body, with the exception of the Austrian Consul, to the Pasha, and requested that he would entrust to them the conduct of the business, which request the Pasha granted. They then summoned before them two Greek women who dwelt near the city, who stated that on Tuesday some Jews were passing from the villages to the city, and that one of them had a Greek boy with him. The Consuls immediately cited the Jew to appear before them, and questioned him on the subject. He replied that he could prove that during the whole of Tuesday he was in the village, and did not come into the city until Wednesday. He added, moreover, that even if this boy did enter the city by that road, and at the time the Jews were going into it, it ought not therefore to be believed that the Jews had killed him, as the road was the chief and public thoroughfare through which any one might pass.

"These reasons were not admitted by the Consuls, and the unfortunate Jew was immediately put in irons, and tortured in a manner never yet seen or heard of. Having been loaded with chains, many stripes were inflicted on him, red hot wires were run through his nose, burning bones applied to his head, and a heavy stone was laid upon his breast, so that he was reduced to the point of death; all this time his tormentors were accusing him, saying, 'You have stolen the Greek boy, to deliver him up to the Rabbi—confess at once, if you wish to save yourself."

"Their object was to calumniate our Rabbi, and to take vengeance on all the community; and they stated openly that this was done for the purpose of exterminating the Jews in Rhodes, or to compel them to change their religion, so that they might be able to boast in Europe of having converted an entire community.

"Meanwhile the poor Jew cried out in the midst of these torments, praying for death as a relief, to which they replied,[Pg 212] that he must confess to whom he had given the boy, and then he should be immediately set at liberty. The poor Jew, oppressed by tortures beyond endurance, resorted to falsehood in order to save himself. He calumniated first one and then another, but many whom he accused had been absent from the town some time, which clearly proved that his assertions had no other object than to free himself from these tortures. Nevertheless all those who could be found were immediately imprisoned, and subjected to insupportable torments, to extort from them the confession that they had delivered the boy to the Chief Rabbi, or to the elders of the community, and night and day they were tormented, because they would not accuse innocent persons. Meanwhile, goaded by continual tortures, these poor creatures cried out and prayed that they might be killed rather than be subjected to the endurance of such anguish; especially seven of them, who anxiously courted death, and indeed were all but dead in consequence of these tortures. To increase the misery, the Jewish quarter was closed and surrounded by guards, in order that none might go out, or learn what had happened to their unfortunate brethren.

"You must know—they say—that during the day at such times as there is no one in the Jewish quarter, the Christians are going about endeavouring clandestinely to leave the dead body of a Turk or Christian in the court of some Jewish house, for the purpose of having the individual brought before the Governor, in order to give a colouring to their calumny. Such is the misery that weighs upon our hearts and blinds our eyes. We have even been refused the favour of presenting a petition to the Pasha of the city.

"After three days spent in this wretchedness, they refused even to supply us with bread in our quarter, for our families shut up with us; but by dint of entreaty we have obtained, as a favour, the supply at high prices of salt fish and black bread.

"From what we can gather from the Europeans who are about the Pasha, he acts in concert with the Consuls, as he has done from the beginning. We except the Austrian Consul, who at first endeavoured to protect us, but who was at length compelled to join with the multitude."[Pg 213]




These communications, together with all the letters which had been addressed to Sir Moses on the same subject, were submitted to the consideration of the Board of Deputies and others at a meeting held at Grosvenor Gate, Park Lane, the residence of Sir Moses.

There were present—Mr Joseph Gutteres Henriques, President; Baron de Rothschild, Sir Moses Montefiore, Messrs Moses Mocatta, I. L. Goldsmid, Jacob Montefiore, Isaac Cohen, Henry H. Cohen, Samuel Bensusan, Dr Loewe, Messrs Louis Lucas, A. A. Goldsmid, Louis Cohen, H. de Castro, Haim Guedalla, Simon Samuel, Joel Davis, David Salamons, Abraham Levy, Jonas Levy, Laurence Myers, Solomon Cohen, Barnard van Oven, M.D., S. J. Waley, and F. H. Goldsmid.

The following resolutions were unanimously adopted:—

"That this meeting has learned with extreme concern and disgust that there have been lately revived in the East those false and atrocious charges, so frequently brought against the Jews during the middle ages, of committing murders in order to use the blood of the murdered as an ingredient in the food during the religious ceremony of Passover, charges which, in those times, repeatedly served as a pretext for the robbery and massacre of persons of the Jewish faith, but which have long disappeared from this part of the world, with the fierce and furious prejudices that gave them birth.

"That this meeting is anxious to express its horror at finding that, on the ground of these abominable calumnies, numbers of Jews have been seized at Damascus and at Rhodes; that many children have been imprisoned, and almost totally deprived of[Pg 214] food; that of the adults seized, several have been tortured till they died, and others have been sentenced to death, and, it is believed, executed, although the only evidence of their guilt was the pretended confessions wrung by torture from their alleged accomplices.

"That this meeting earnestly request the Governments of England, France, and Austria to remonstrate with those Governments under which these atrocities have taken place, against their continuance.

"That this meeting confidently relies on the sympathy and humanity of the British nation to exert its influence and authority to stay such abominable proceedings, and that the President, Joseph Gutteres Henriques, Esq.; The Baron de Rothschild, Sir Moses Montefiore, and Messrs I. L. Goldsmid, Jacob Montefiore, David Salamons, A. A. Goldsmid, and F. H. Goldsmid do form a deputation to request a conference on the subject with Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

"That these resolutions be advertised in the newspapers."

A letter was read from the Rev. Dr Hirschel, Chief Rabbi, expressive of his regret that his infirmities prevented his attendance at the meeting, and declaring his concern at the revival of such false and calumnious assertions, and his horror at such atrocious cruelties.

The meeting was attended by Monsieur Crémieux, Vice-President of the Consistoire Central des Israelites Français, who addressed the meeting, expressing his concurrence and sympathy in its proceedings.

On April 30th the Committee proceeded to Downing Street, and were most kindly received by Lord Palmerston. He promised to use his influence with Mohhammad Ali and the Turkish Government to put a stop to such atrocities. Sir Moses mentioned on this occasion, when Lord Palmerston was speaking of his visit to Palestine, Mr Young's humanity at Jerusalem, and also the fact that the Jews were desirous of being employed in agricultural pursuits.

On June 15th at a meeting of the Deputies and Representatives of all the Synagogues, including the Rev. Dr Hirschel, Rev. D. Meldola, Monsieur Crémieux, and Rev. D. Bibas, Sir Moses was requested to proceed, with Monsieur Crémieux, to Alexandria and Damascus, to which request he acceded.[Pg 215]

On June 23rd he attended a meeting at the Great Synagogue, where the resolutions adopted at the previous meeting (June 15th) were confirmed, and he declared his readiness to go.

On the 24th of June he went with Baron Lionel de Rothschild to the Foreign Office. Lord Palmerston was most friendly, and read to them the despatches to Colonel Hodges and Lord Ponsonby. That to Colonel Hodges was most strongly worded, calling on him to address Mohhammad Ali in writing to urge him to compensate the sufferers and remove those officers who had misconducted themselves in Damascus. Lord Palmerston further said he would give Sir Moses letters to Colonel Hodges, telling him to afford him every protection and assistance, and desiring him to apply to Mohhammad Ali to give him (Sir Moses) every facility for the investigation of the affair. His Lordship also added that he would give him any other letters he might require.

On Friday, July 3rd, there was a crowded and enthusiastic meeting in the Egyptian Hall at the Mansion House, of bankers, merchants, and many influential and learned British Christians, for the purpose of expressing their sympathy with the Israelites, and their earnest wishes for the success of Sir Moses Montefiore previous to his starting on the mission to the East. Mr Alderman Thompson took the chair. The principal speakers were the Lord Mayor, Sir Chapman Marshall, J. Abel Smith, John Masterman, S. Gurney, Sir Charles Forbes, Dr Bowring, Daniel O'Connell, and the Hon. and Rev. Noel. The result of the meeting was highly satisfactory.

In the interval between these meetings Sir Moses attended the Queen's Drawing-Room, and was most graciously addressed there by Prince George of Cambridge, who said he was glad to see him, and reminded him of his having met him at Malta.

At a meeting of the Board of Deputies on the 26th Sir Moses was unanimously elected their president, on the resignation of Mr J. H. Henriques. He attended the annual festival dinner of the Jews' Hospital, when the Duke of Sussex presided. On the 11th of June he went to the Merchant Taylors' Hall to meet the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George, the latter being made an honorary member of the Company. Taking special interest in the abolition of slavery, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore both attended the grand meeting of the Society for the[Pg 216] Abolition of the Slave Trade, when Prince Albert took the chair and addressed the company. On June 15th he was present at a meeting of the Board of Deputies of the British Jews, and agreed to the addresses of congratulation prepared by the Hon. Secretary, to be sent to Her Majesty, Prince Albert, and the Duchess of Kent, on the occasion of the escape of the Queen from the attempt made on her life in the Park on the 10th of June. The address to Her Majesty was subsequently presented by him, as President of the Board of Deputies, accompanied by four other gentlemen, at St James' Palace; and Sir Moses was then presented to the Queen by the Duke of Norfolk, on his going to the East. The next day Sir Moses and the same four gentlemen presented the address to the Duchess of Kent, who received them most amiably, and enquired particularly after Sir Moses' health. He then proceeded with them to Buckingham Palace, and presented the address to Prince Albert, who also received them very graciously.

Sir Moses, as the representative of the Jews in the British Empire, now commenced making his arrangements for the departure of the Mission, and Monsieur Crémieux, as representative of the Jews in France, took similar steps.

Sir Moses selected for his companions Mr D. W. Wire (his former under-Sheriff and afterwards Lord Mayor of London), Dr Madden, a distinguished author and well-known traveller in the East, and myself.

Monsieur Crémieux engaged as his companion Monsieur Solomon Munk, a distinguished savant of Paris.

Before I proceed to give the account of the present mission, as taken from the entries in Sir Moses' diary and from my own personal observation, I deem it necessary to direct the attention of the reader to the origin of accusations similar to those made at Damascus, which were brought against the Jews in former times; and to point out the reason why, even to this day, they are not without effect in some of the most enlightened countries.

Tertullianus (J. Septimus Florens), one of the Fathers of the Church, who lived in the second century, complains in his work entitled "Apologet. advers. gentes" (chap. 8), of the adherents to the religion to which he himself belonged being accused of sacrificing and eating children. Upon which, Pamelius, in his commentary on the same chapter (which he dedicated to[Pg 217] Philip II. and Pope Gregory VIII.), observes, that the accusation has its origin in the misunderstanding of the sense of all those passages in the New Testament which refer to the Agapes. These verses have been taken by the uninitiated in their literal sense.

The heathens at that time asserted that the Christians used human blood at their Passover. Thus we find the origin of that horrible accusation in the first three centuries of the Christian era; not until the thirteenth century was it brought against the Jews, viz., in the year 1235 in Fulda, 1250 in Spain, 1264 in London, 1283 in Bachrach, Moravia, 1285 in Munich.

If these charges were true, it might be asked, how is it that the Jews, who celebrated the Passover festival fifteen hundred years before the Christian era, had never been accused of such a crime before? The answer to this question is to be found in the history of the thirteenth century.

It was in this century, when fanaticism and hatred of race prevailed, and when persecutions for witchcraft and the burning of heretics and sorcerers were of frequent occurrence, that it appeared opportune to bring against the Jews the same accusation which had been formerly brought against the ancestors of their accusers, viz., the using of Christian blood for the Passover. The wealth of the Jews in several parts of Europe, as well as the high position to which they were raised in Spain by the rulers of the land, had aroused the jealousy of their adversaries. The unfounded nature of the accusation against them was so palpable that the heads of the Church deemed it necessary to defend and protect them. Thus Pope Innocent IV. published a Bull on the 5th of July 1247, addressed to the heads of the Church in France and Germany, officially refuting the demoniacal accusation (S. Baronitas Annales eccles. ad annum 1247, No. 84). I give here a translation of it in order to afford the reader the opportunity of acquainting himself with the contents of that important document:—

"Lyons, 3rd July 1248.

"Pope Innocent, the servant of the servants of God, sends his apostolic greeting and blessing to the right reverend Fathers, Bishops, and Archbishops in Germany.

"We have received from Germany the sad news that in your[Pg 218] towns and dioceses there is a wish to despoil the Jews, in an illegal manner, of their property, and that, for this purpose, malicious counsels and different false accusations are brought against them. Without considering that they were, in a certain way, entrusted with the care of the Christian faith; that the command of Holy Scripture, 'Thou shalt not commit murder,' was given to them; and that, by their law, they are forbidden to touch corpses on the Passover, they are accused of eating in company the heart of a murdered child, and if the dead body of any human being is found, they are believed to be the murderers, although such practices are in direct contradiction to their laws. By such false accusations they are oppressed, and deprived of all their goods, although they have never been brought before any judge and found guilty, in spite of the privileges graciously granted them by the Apostolic Chair. This is against all human and divine law, and brings these said Jews into a worse condition than that of their forefathers under the Pharaohs of Egypt, and forces them, in their misery, to leave the places where their fathers had been settled from time immemorial. In their fear of being exterminated entirely, they have sought the protection of the Apostolic Chair, and we hereby forbid every unjust oppression of the said Jews, whose conversion we trust to the mercy of God, according to the promise of the Prophet, that those of them who remain shall be saved; and we commend them to you, our brethren, through this Apostolic letter, that you may show favour to them, and help them to their right, when they have been unjustly imprisoned; and that you in no case permit them to be oppressed for the said or similar causes. Those who are guilty of molesting them in this way are to be punished by doing penance in the Church, without regard to their station.

"Given at Lyons, on the 3rd of July, in the fifth year of our Pontificate."

In 1275 the Emperor Rudolf of Hapsburgh confirmed this Bull, in a decree, sealed with his great seal, which is still to be seen in the Archives of the Town of Cologne. The title of this decree is, "I, Rudolphus, Rex Rom., do hereby confirm the privileges granted to the Jews by Popes Gregory and Innocent, and declare to be untrue, that which some Christians say,[Pg 219] that they do eat the heart of a dead child on the day of their Passover."

The contents of this decree are a literal translation of the Bull given above. Another Bull issued by Gregory, says, amongst other things:—

"Gregory, &c.... Following the example set us by our predecessors of blessed memory, Calixt, Cugen, Alexander, Cölöstin, Honorius, and Gregory, we agree to the prayer of the Jews, and will hold the shield of our protection over them. We also strictly forbid, that any Christian force them, against their will, to be baptised, as only those can be considered as Christians who, from their own free will, accept baptism. Nor shall any Christian dare, without a judgment from us, to wound or to kill them, to deprive them of their money, or in any way to molest them in the privileges granted to them in the places where they live."

The Emperor concludes his decree with the following words: "We confirm and permit, in our Royal mercy, by this act to the said Jews, all and everything which was granted and given to them by the Roman Popes, so that they may live securely under the shadow of our protection, and that they shall not be condemned, in any case whatever, unless properly judged and found guilty by the righteous testimony of Jews and Christians."

Considering that M. Achille Laurent has published a book, in which he presumes to give what he calls a "Procédure complète dirigée en 1840 contre des Juifs de Damas,"—a book which is replete with outbursts of hatred against the Jews, and has, since its publication, unfortunately served almost as a text-book in the hands of their adversaries,—I think it desirable, in addition to the declaration of the Pope given above, to introduce to the reader the names of some eminent Christian scholars, who have but recently (since the accusations of Kohling and Geza roused the attention of the public) expressed their opinion in the works they have published; some of which were written by the special order of the Courts of Law in Austria, and the Universities of Amsterdam, Leyden, Utrecht, and Copenhagen.

The Right Rev. Bishop Dr Kopp, of Fulda; the Right. Rev. Dr J. H. Reinkens, in Bonn; Professor Dr Franz Delitzsch; Professor Dr A. Dillman; Professor Dr G. Ebers; Professor[Pg 220] Dr H. L. Fleischer, in Leipzig; Professor Dr H. Kalkar, in Copenhagen; Professor Dr Paul de Lagarde, in Göttingen; Professor Dr Merx, in Heidelberg; Dr Alois Muller, in Vienna; Professor Dr Th. Nöldecke, in Straszburg; Professor Dr Riehm, Professor Dr Carl Siegfried of Vienna, Professor Dr B. Stade of Gieszen, Professor Dr Sommer of Königsberg, Professor Dr Strack of Berlin, and Dr August Wunsche of Dresden.

A book entitled, "Christliche Zeugnisse gegen die Blutbeschuldigung der Juden," published by Walther and Apolant, Berlin, 1882, gives a compilation of all the statements on the subject made by these authors, all proving the accusation to be a calumny.

To take possession of the wealth accumulated by the industrious and sober habits of the Jews, and to deprive them of the important positions which they had, by their uprightness and ability, obtained, was the object their adversaries had in view in raising this accusation in the thirteenth century, and the same object can be traced in the persecutions which, in the present century, in some parts of the world, continue to affect individuals, and sometimes even whole communities.

July 7th.—We proceeded to the London Bridge Wharf, where we were met by the members of the Ecclesiastical Courts, both of the German and Portuguese congregations, and many others of our brethren. "I should think," Sir Moses observes in his diary, "there were more than one hundred Jews waiting to see us set off, all giving us their blessing, and wishing us health, success, and a safe return. May the Almighty hearken to their prayers, and grant their petition."

It was blowing very hard when we reached Gravesend, and we determined to land, which was not effected without some difficulty and inconvenience. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were much fatigued, having spent nearly the whole of the previous night in writing letters and arranging various important matters relative to the Mission.

July 8th.—We went on board the Arrow a little before eight, and reached the French coast before eleven o'clock. The weather being squally and the sea rough, we and several others remained on board till the vessel could enter the port. We came to anchor, and continued to roll about till half-past four, when we landed in safety.

[Pg 221]Thursday, July 9th.—Found our carriages, and servants all well at Boulogne, and ready to receive us. Having taken some refreshment, we proceeded to Abbeville, and travelled all night, arriving shortly after mid-day in Paris.

During our stay there we had frequent interviews with the members of the Rothschild family, who took a deep interest in our Mission. A meeting of the Consistoire de France on the subject was held at the house of Baron Anselm de Rothschild, which I attended together with Dr Loewe and Mr Wire. Monsieur Crémieux made a fervent appeal to all present, and the result was very satisfactory. We left Paris on the 13th July, together with Dr Madden, who had come from London to join us. Monsieur and Madame Crémieux joined our party at Avignon, and together we reached Marseilles on the 20th. The Grand Rabbin, with the principal members of the community, immediately came to welcome us; afterwards we went on board the Minos to inspect our cabins.

Tuesday, July 31st.—Repaired early in the morning to the Synagogue, and prayed for the safety and success of our Mission. At 4.30 p.m. we went on board the Minos; Messrs Palmer and Taylor, of the Imperial Continental Gas Association, accompanied us. Mr Moore, the Queen's messenger, and Mr Doyle, of the Chronicle, were fellow passengers. The wind blew very fresh when first we started, but the evening was very fine.[Pg 222]




July 23rd.—Landed at Leghorn, and went at once to the Hotel du Globe. Many visitors called. A deputation from the Synagogue came, and Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore asked to have the evening prayers read in the presence of all their brethren. They accordingly gave notice to the members of the community, who assembled in great numbers. Before the service commenced we all joined them. Subsequently the Ecclesiastical Chief opened the Holy Ark, and offered up a special prayer for the Mission. At the conclusion of the service we returned to our ship, accompanied by the representatives of the community, and at four o'clock we left the harbour.

July 24th.—At ten we dropped anchor at Civita Vecchia. We had been advised in Leghorn not to land in the city, as there had been some little movement against the Israelites, occasioned by the writings of a priest called Meyer, a converted Jew. We were visited by Signor Scala and Signor Samuel Alatri, a deputation from Rome. Their account was very unfavourable as to the opinion of the Papal Government, and murmurs, not loud but deep, were heard in Rome. They strongly recommended our going from Malta in an English steamboat to Egypt. They related an incident which had taken place a few days previously, and caused them much uneasiness. A Hebrew woman was delivered of a daughter by a Christian midwife, who immediately baptized the child, and the authorities refused to restore her to the mother. At Leghorn, just before Passover, a woman had lost a child, and accused the Jews of stealing it, but the Governor put her in prison, saying she should remain there till the child was found. This had the desired effect, and the child was discovered the next day.

We left Civita Vecchia at 3 p.m. and anchored the following[Pg 223] day at 8 a.m. in the harbour of Naples. Baron Charles de Rothschild and his son came on board to see us, and to converse with us respecting the Mission.

It was nine when our captain and his companions returned, and we immediately started.

July 27th.—Entered the harbour of Malta at 5 a.m.; landed, and went to Dunford's Hotel. Subsequently paid our respects to the Governor, at the Palace, also to Sir Hector Grey.

Tuesday, July 28.—Rose at five. Went to Synagogue. Having left cards at the Palace and called on some friends, we went on board the Eurotas at half-past eleven.

The sea was terribly rough and disagreeable. "Those who have the happiness of remaining at home," said Sir Moses, "can have no idea of the miseries of the sea."

July 29th.—Had some heavy squalls. While Lady Montefiore was sitting on deck, a lurch of the vessel threw her backwards with great force. Both she and Sir Moses were much alarmed. The weather continued very rough.

July 31st.—Were close in with Falkner's Island and the Island of Milo to the E.S.E.; every one was delighted with the change in the weather. The appearance of the Islands was barren and monotonous. At five o'clock we cast anchor in the bay, pretty close to Syra. The water here is extremely blue, and so clear that we could see the-bottom at a depth of sixty feet. We had made all preparations for immediately embarking on board the vessel which was to take us to Alexandria, but we learnt, to our regret, that she had not yet arrived from Athens. We were consequently compelled to remain on the Eurotas.

August 1st.—At twelve left the Eurotas and went on board the Tancrede, which had arrived in the night from Athens, having made the voyage in seven and a half hours. We had very few passengers besides our own party,—one a brother of Count Capo D'Istria. He had been imprisoned during eight months, and was being sent out of Greece. A boat with soldiers remained close to the steamer till we left Syra.

August 2nd.—In sight of Candia, near Cape Soloman. The morning was fine, with a pleasant breeze. Lady Montefiore was well and in very good spirits, active and studious as ever.

Tuesday, August 4th.—Dropped anchor in the harbour of Alexandria at a quarter to eight in the morning. The harbour[Pg 224] was filled with ships of war, Turkish and Egyptian. We noticed particularly the Mahmudie, 130 guns, and two vessels of sixty-eight guns.

We immediately went on shore to see the Ecclesiastical Chief of the Hebrew community, and ascertain from him the latest news from Damascus.

Later Sir Moses went to Colonel Hodges, the English Consul General, who received him most politely. The Colonel said he wished to go over the whole business with him. It had assumed, he said, a political character. Sir Moses would find Monsieur Cochelet, the French Consul, very plausible, but very firm; another Consul, he remarked, had been charged with taking bribes. Colonel Hodges recommended Sir Moses to keep clear of all parties, and requested him to call again in two hours. The Colonel had seen, with much satisfaction, Dr Hirschel's letter addressed to Sir Moses previous to his departure from England, which had been translated into the Arabic, Turkish, Armenian, and modern Greek languages, for distribution in the East. He had shown it to Mohhammad Ali.

At twelve Colonel Hodges accompanied Sir Moses to the French Consul, where they met Mons. Crémieux. They afterwards called on Mons. Laurin, the Austrian Consul, with whom they saw the Prussian Consul. They finally called on the Russian Consul, who, however, happened to be asleep.

August 5th.—It was nearly two o'clock this morning before we could retire, having read over and arranged various documents. We rose soon after five, and at eight Colonel Hodges called to accompany us to the Palace. Sir Moses was dressed in uniform, and the gentlemen who went with him wore either their court or official costume. Messrs Crémiere and Munk did not join us, as their appearance before Mohammad Ali on that day was not considered advisable by Monsieur Cochelet, for reasons best known to himself.

Sir Moses, who rode in the carriage with Colonel Hodges, read to him the petition which he had to present to the Pasha. He said he approved of it and hoped it would be granted, but did not appear from his manner to think it would. On our arrival we were immediately ushered into the hall of audience. Mohhammad Ali was seated in the same spot as when last we had seen him. Colonel Hodges presented Sir Moses, saying he[Pg 225] had the pleasure of presenting an old acquaintance of His Highness. The Pasha greeted Sir Moses very graciously, after which we were all introduced. Colonel Hodges then said that Sir Moses desired to present a petition to His Highness on behalf of his Government, to which the Pasha gave a most gracious assent.

Sir Moses addressed His Highness as follows:—

"Your Highness,—We have heard in Europe that false accusations have been brought against the Israelites of Damascus, who are the subjects of your Highness, and that tortures and fearful sufferings have been inflicted upon them, in order to extract evidence against themselves. As it is well known that our religion not only does not approve the crime of which they are accused, but strictly commands us to abhor the use of blood in every form, we have been delegated by our co-religionists in the whole of Europe, to implore your Highness' justice for our brethren. It gives us the highest satisfaction to hear that your Highness, as soon as informed of the tortures, gave orders to suspend them immediately. Being firmly convinced that your Highness, who has already earned such great renown in Europe for bravery in war, wisdom in council, and tolerance towards all your subjects without distinction, will, with your usual benevolence, grant our request, we appear before your Highness. We come, not in anger nor with hatred, but solely with the most earnest desire to have the truth made known. We therefore entreat your Highness to grant us authority to go to Damascus, and there to institute such enquiries as will lead to satisfactory information on the subject of this accusation, which has caused consternation to the Jews of the whole world, and untold sufferings to the Jewish population of Damascus; that the information thus obtained may be officially authenticated by the Governor of Damascus and put before your Highness.

"We further beg that your Highness will cause every facility to be given us for procuring evidence, and will grant absolute protection to the members of this Mission, and perfect security to all who give evidence.

"We entreat your Highness to grant us permission to see and interrogate the accused as often as may be necessary, and that the authority and permission, which your Highness will be pleased to grant us, may be, by a firman, registered in the[Pg 226] Archives, and sent officially to the Governor of Damascus, who shall cause its contents to be proclaimed in the streets of that town.

"In conclusion, we beg to be permitted to state that the eyes of all Europe are fixed on your Highness, and that by your granting our prayer the whole civilised world will be much gratified. It is well understood that the Great Man, who has already earned such a glorious name, must love justice dearly. There cannot be a greater homage rendered to your Highness' genius and benevolence, than this Mission sent to you by the Israelites of the whole world, to appeal for justice. It is the highest tribute paid to your genius, to your love of truth, and to your earnest desire to secure justice to all your subjects, that this Mission addresses itself to your Highness with the greatest confidence, and feels sure that its appeal will not have been in vain."

The Pasha had kept his eyes upon him the whole time. Sir Moses, when he had finished, requested that his interpreter might be permitted to read it to His Highness in Turkish. The Pasha said it was too long; he would have it translated, and would then read it and give an answer. Sir Moses then begged that the heads of the petition might be read to him; he repeated, "It is long, it is long; shall be translated!" Sir Moses then stated that the petition referred to the Jews of Damascus, to which the Pasha replied, "I know it."

Dr Madden then presented an address of thanks on behalf of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery. The Pasha appeared pleased to be able to turn the conversation from the petition, and spoke at considerable length on the subject of slavery. Sir Moses tried, through Colonel Hodges, to bring his business again to the fore. An ineffectual attempt was made several times, when Colonel Hodges said Sir Moses should leave it to him. Before leaving, Sir Moses told His Highness that the English people were looking forward with great anxiety to his answer, for which he would wait on His Highness in two days' time. The Pasha told Sir Moses to come, and he should have it, adding that if it was an affair of justice, and Sir Moses had brought a French advocate with him for that purpose, then this could not be permitted. Upon which Colonel Hodges informed the Pasha that Monsieur Crémieux, though an advocate,[Pg 227] had come solely from motives of humanity, and was himself a Jew. Sir Moses, on his return, remarked that nothing could have been less satisfactory than this interview, very different from the two former occasions, when His Highness was most friendly and chatty.

Sir Moses now heard that Monsieur Cochelet, the French Consul, had been with His Highness for an hour and a half on the previous night.

August 6th.—We had many visitors; the captains of two English war-ships were of the number, and also Captain Lyons. Sir Moses, on receiving a message from Colonel Hodges, informing him that the Pasha was going to the Delta early on the following morning, immediately went to the Consul. The latter read to him the letter he had sent to the Pasha on the subject of the Jews in Damascus; it could not have been stronger. Sir Moses determined upon going to the Pasha. It was nearly nine when he entered the Palace. His reception was most affable and kind, very different from that of the previous day. Sir Moses said he had heard that His Highness was going away. The Pasha replied that he would be back on Friday.

August 7th.—Monsieur Laurin sent a message to the effect that the Pasha had told him that he would grant our request. Colonel Hodges called to confer with Sir Moses on the subject.

August 8th.—The Grand Vizier directed a letter to the Pasha, of which the following is a translation:—

"His Excellency, the Ambassador of Great Britain, to the Sublime Porte, stated in a letter which he presented, that Sir Moses Montefiore, Mr David William Wire, and Dr Madden, English subjects and distinguished members of society, also Mr Adolphe Crémieux and Dr Louis Loewe, form a distinguished deputation to the East, for the purpose of making a thorough investigation respecting the persecutions to which the Jews have been subjected at Damascus and the island of Rhodes. The above-named Ambassador asked that the members of the Deputation should be treated with due respect, and should have every facility afforded them for accomplishing their mission.

"This is the purpose of my writing to your Highness.

"10 Gema-zil-Akhar, 1256. "Reouf."

[Pg 228]

We attended divine service morning and evening, and received visits from the leading members of the community. Colonel Hodges and Monsieur Laurin conferred a long time with us on the subject of the Mission.

Monday, August 10th.—Sir Moses, Monsieur Crémieux, Monsieur Munk, Mr Wire, and I went to Monsieur Laurin, who read to us all the papers and despatches respecting the Damascus affair. We remained with him for more than three hours, making notes of all that appeared likely to serve our cause.

From the following letters subsequently addressed to Sir Moses by the Rev. Joseph Marshall, Chaplain of H.M.S. Castor, Lieutenant Shadwell of the same ship, and the Rev. Schlientz, of Malta, all referring to their visit to Damascus on the 16th August, in the year 1840, the reader will be able to gather important information respecting the accused.[Pg 229]




Copy of a Letter from the Rev. Joseph Marshall, Chaplain of H.M.S. "Castor."

Sir,—In reference to the enquiries you make concerning your brethren in Damascus, I have much pleasure in informing you, that when I visited that city about the middle of last August, I took considerable pains in making myself acquainted with the nature of the charge preferred against them, the evidence on which it rested, the treatment to which they were exposed. The result of my enquiries I will briefly submit to you.

That two men, the Padre Tommaso and his servant, are missing, is beyond dispute. There is not the least reason to believe that the servant is murdered or dead; there is but little evidence that the Padre has been murdered, and not the slightest that he was murdered by Jews; on the contrary, evidence a priori is entirely in their favour, and that extorted by torture, if fairly considered, is equally so. However, as some others who have visited Damascus have expressed a contrary opinion, I think it necessary to state, in a few words, some of the grounds upon which I establish mine.

I need not allude to their ceremonial and moral law; both are equally abhorrent of the act imputed to them; but perhaps they were fanatics influenced by an inward light stronger than their law. Fanaticism is not usually found among such men as Soloman Murad and Meyer Farki, with their compeers, the leading men of a highly respectable and wealthy community, as[Pg 230] was evident from the appearance of their families even in distress. Indeed I was answered by both Moslem and Franks, that the higher order of Jews at Damascus were less to be remarked for enthusiasm than coldness in religion. I have the same authority for believing that worldly competitions and commercial jealousy made it very improbable that they would unite so closely as the commission of such a crime would imply.

What testimony is there then to overcome these probabilities? Confession wrung from mortal agony and unsupported by circumstantial evidence. Their enemies do, to be sure, appeal to certain circumstances, such as the identity of the extorted confession itself: true, I believe it to be so perfectly identical as to lose all character of independence. But there were other circumstances. There were animal remains found twenty-five days after the Friar had disappeared, in a running sewer in closer proximity to a butcher's stall than to David Arari's house. There was said also to be the mark of fire on the white marble pavement of the same gentleman's court. I saw it not, though the stone was pointed out. This mark, which did not exist, was supposed to be caused by the burning of the Padre's clothes, but there were certain stains on a wall which might be blood; I thought they might be anything else rather. Again, with the aforesaid animal remains there was found a piece of cloth such as might identify it with part of the Friar's cap. Is this circumstance consistent with the burning of his apparel, or did they spare that part only, which would most easily lead to detection?

But there was another circumstance much dwelt on, viz., the posting of a notice at the barber's door, at too great a height for the Friar's stature; therefore, evidently the work of a Jew. I can positively say, it was at the natural height for such fixtures, within the reach of any middle-sized person, and with the slightest trouble might be placed there by anyone. But what was the object of the gigantic Jew in posting the advertisement at all? He had taken it, it was supposed, from the Synagogue door, where it was supposed the Friar had posted it. And for the purpose of destroying all trace of the Friar having been in the Jews' quarter, he transferred it to the barber's door, which was actually within the Jews' quarter. He might, to be sure, have destroyed it and all trace of the Padre at once;[Pg 231] but this would have been an expedient too simple for the sagacity of this Hebrew, which appears to have been in an inverse ratio to his bulk.

The dulness of such reasoning defeats its malice. And this is all the evidence for the charge procured by the bastinadoing of one hundred and twenty persons, in several instances to death. I think its meagreness proves the negative, viz., that the poor victims had nothing really to confess; and this in addition to the positive evidence of those who died under the torture, sealing their testimony with their blood.

But might not the accused have brought forward positive evidence in their favour? One person did come forward to prove that he had seen the Friar in another part of the town subsequently to the date of the supposed murder. He was bastinadoed to death—a consummation not likely to encourage other witnesses to come forward; and indeed the Jews assert that Moslems of the first rank in Damascus, if they dared speak, could have established an alibi for them in many cases.

To have anything like an adequate idea of what these unfortunate people suffered, after the heads of their families had been thrown into prison, you must be on the spot to hear, as one of themselves expressed it, "their hearts speaking." Insults of all kinds heaped upon them by the refuse of mankind, their houses broken into and plundered with impunity, jewels torn from the persons of their female relatives, young children imprisoned and tortured with starvation, the son bastinadoed before the mother's eyes to make her betray her husband's place of concealment, the most exorbitant bribes demanded to permit the common necessaries of life to pass the gates of the prison for its bruised and wretched inhabitants. These, sir, were some of their sufferings, and of these I had undoubted evidence.

Surely the correspondent of the Times, to whom you allude, if he had not confined himself while in Damascus to Frank society, and that, too, of a particular caste, would have seen and heard enough to make him hesitate before he declared his belief in the guilt of the Jews, the mildness of their sufferings, and the mercy of their persecutors! Had he gone to the house of David Arari, he would have learned that women had been tortured, and in vain. He might have seen with his own eyes the heroic conduct of the poor negro girl, a Moslem and a slave, whom the[Pg 232] torture could not force to bear false witness against the Jew, her master. He might there also have learned that if Madame Arari had consented to sacrifice her daughter's virtue, she might have preserved her husband's person from violence, his property from plunder, and her people from slander. He might have ascertained the amount of sympathy and mercy which Madame Lagnado received at the hands of a European functionary, when she visited him on behalf of her husband, who died under the torture. Had he visited Signor Merlato, the Austrian Consul, a man whom all Christendom must respect, he might have satisfied his eyes respecting the barbarity of the torture, and that the sufferers had not at that time recovered from its effects. Long after that period I saw men who, after the lapse of five months from the infliction of the bastinado, had their feet and legs swelled to a form as if produced by elephantiasis. The correspondent of the Times, whose very just description of the state of Syria and Palestine lends an undue importance to his opinion on the case of the Jews, would have been persuaded that there were cases in which foreign influence was used with the Pasha to encourage the application of the torture when some old men, too feeble to survive for a moment the infliction of the bastinado, were subjected a second time to the torment of sleeplessness, under the bayonets of the Egyptian soldiers. But it is indeed too unreasonable and unjust to lay on the Pasha of Damascus the whole blame of these proceedings, unequalled in atrocity since the days of the fourth Antiochus. The guilt must be equally shared by those who delivered up an innocent people into his hands; indeed, their share is greater. He may plead that he was obliged to do these things by the nature of his office. The persecutors of the Jews cannot even shelter themselves under such a plea as that. Indeed, if they be blameless, then is the Spanish Inquisition blameless also; the Auto-da-Fé being, in the last result, certainly the result of the civil power. In short, the charges and recommendations of the Jews against their persecutors are of such enormity as to make them, it is to be hoped, if they be conscious of their innocence, anxious that the whole matter should be sifted to the bottom by a process more rational than the bastinado, and before a judge less suspected of foreign influence than Sheriff Pasha. Although I trust you will persevere in your meritorious exertions for the[Pg 233] sake of humanity and truth, yet, as you ask my opinion as to the practicability or prudence of proceeding at once to Damascus, I must say that I do not think it advisable. Though Damascus may have submitted to the Sultan, and the Emir Béshir would be happy to grant you, if necessary, an escort through the mountains, yet I am afraid a short time must elapse before the people of Damascus can be made aware of the important changes in their social condition, when the Hatti Sherif of Gulhane shall be no longer to them a dead letter, when violence shall no longer usurp the place of justice, nor men endanger their lives by bearing witness to the truth. You will be able to return to Syria in a few months under better auspices, and cover the slanderers of your people with confusion.

The example of Rhodes should give you encouragement. I was there last summer when the atrocious charge of the same malignity which was made against the Jews of that place, resulted in like violence, and which, if tried by a similar process, would have led to the same results as at Damascus.

Justice was done to them at Constantinople, and they triumphed. In the same way will you find the cloud clearing away from Damascus. Indeed, there exists not at present the shadow of evidence against them, except you so call a most unnatural and suspicious identity of confession, to be found in all false accusations where torture has been applied, such as in trials for witchcraft. A remarkable instance of this you may have seen recorded in Chambers' Journal a few months ago. It happened in the reign of James I. of England. The accused, if I rightly remember, was the "wise wife of Kent." In the meantime, if this testimony of mine can be of any service in comforting your distressed people, I shall not consider I have visited Damascus in vain.

Accept, Sir, my best wishes and esteem, and believe me to be
your very obedient servant,
Joseph Marshall.

To Sir Moses Montefiore, Bart, &c., &c., &c.

Copy of a Letter addressed to Sir Moses Montefiore by Lieutenant Shadwell of H.M.S. "Castor."

H.M.S. Castor, Malta, December 5th, 1840.

Sir,—In compliance with your request, I beg leave to submit to you some observations relative to the affairs of the Jews at[Pg 234] Damascus, which I was enabled to make in my recent visit to that city, and also to lay before you the general impression on my mind at that time, as to the weight and credibility of the evidence addressed in support of the charges which have been advanced against them.

My visit to Damascus took place in the early part of the month of August of the present year, my fellow-travellers being the Rev. Mr Marshall, Chaplain of H.M.S. Castor, and the Rev. Mr Schlientz, of Malta, and his lady.

On the 10th of August, soon after my arrival at Damascus, accompanied by Mr Marshall, I went to the Jewish quarter of that city, and proceeded in the first instance to the house of David Arari, one of the accused persons, who was then in confinement, and at whose house the Father Tommaso is said to have been murdered. We were shown into an apartment where the atrocious deed is said to have been committed. It is a small room to the left of the Divan, with windows in front looking into the interior court, and high windows behind looking into the street. The latter circumstance is important as tending to throw doubts on the credibility of the accusation, as it is scarcely possible to conceive that any person could submit quietly to the pains of death without uttering cries for assistance, and that, if those cries had been uttered, they should not have been heard in the street outside.

In the corresponding apartment on the other side of the Divan, we were shown a stain of dirt upon the wall, which the zeal of the accusers branded with the imputation of being blood. This room was in a dismantled state, all the furniture having been removed, and the marble flooring torn up in order to search for bones or other remains of the supposed crime.

We afterwards visited the house of Mourad Farki, Mayer Farki, and Solomon Farki. The two former, being accused of participating in the murder, were in confinement. We were shown the room where the murder of Tommaso's servant is said to have been perpetrated, and saw the privy and the sewer in the street where the remains of the two are alleged to have been thrown.

We also went to the house of Halil Said Naivi, one of the accusers, and saw that individual. He is the keeper of a low grog-shop of disreputable character. It must be admitted that[Pg 235] the nature of the man's calling does not afford any guarantee for the credibility of his testimony.

On the following day, August 11, we went to visit the Latin Convent of the Capuchins, of which Father Tommaso was an inmate. In the chapel is a tomb with an inscription to the following effect:—

"Qui reposano le ossa de Pre. Tommaso da Sardegna Missionano Cappuccino assassinato dagli Ebrei il giorno 5 di Febrajo 1840."

I will not be exactly certain whether the above is a literal copy of the inscription, having written it down from memory after my return home, but I can confidently state that it is substantially correct, especially in so far as concerns the use of the obnoxious word "assassinato."

By this it will be seen that these enlightened Capuchins, following the example of popular credulity, assume the murder of their colleague as a fact before it has been proved judicially.

On the same day, in company with Mr and Mrs Schlientz, we repeated our visit to the Jewish quarter, and afterwards, having obtained permission from Sheriff Pasha through the British Consul, Mr Werry, went to the Seraglio to see the Jewish prisoners.

Sixteen individuals were implicated in the charge of murder; of these, two had died under torture, four had absconded. One, Mr Picchioto, being, fortunately for himself, an Austrian subject, was under the protection of the Imperial Consulate, the remaining nine were then in prison, and also a venerable Rabbi.

We were accompanied on our visit by the British Consul's dragoman and a writer in the service of the Pasha. The rooms in which the prisoners were confined were in the second floor of a large exterior building attached to the Pasha's palace, principally used as a barrack.

The apartment opened into a covered corridor or gallery running round the whole length of the building. None of the doors were closed, but sentries were planted at intervals along the gallery. The prisoners were almost all of them elderly men, and seemed very unhappy. Mr Schlientz, who is both an Arabic and a Hebrew scholar, spoke to several of them on the subject of religion, pointing out to them, in their affliction, the[Pg 236] consolations of Scriptures, which appeared greatly to excite the mirth of our attendants and other bystanders.

The prisoners confined here were either six or seven in number, the remainder, amongst whom was the Rabbi, were in custody in another part of the Seraglio, in apartments on the ground floor.

The chambers in which the prisoners were lodged were tolerably comfortable, and spacious enough to afford them the means of taking partial exercise. An obvious desire existed on the part of our attendants to represent matters in the most favourable light, and to convince us that the prisoners, in their confinement, were treated with the greatest leniency.

I have been particular, at the risk of being thought tedious, in giving a circumstantial detail of our various visits, as it will impress upon this statement the stamp of authenticity, and at least serve to show that we were anxious by all the means in our power to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

In the course of these visits we had a great deal of conversation with the families and friends of the accused, persons who, far from appearing desirous of concealing anything, seemed on the contrary anxious to have everything fairly enquired into, and submitted to the most ample investigation. We saw several people who had been subjected to torture, amongst whom was one woman, a female servant of David Arari; we saw their wounds yet unhealed, and heard from their own lips the description of the sufferings they had endured. The tortures to which they had been subjected were of the most cruel and disgraceful nature, and some of them even too disgusting to be mentioned with propriety. We also had, during our stay at Damascus, many opportunities of discussing the question with various people with various shades of opinion, and of canvassing the evidence adduced in support of the charges.

My own opinion, in which I may, I believe, also safely state my fellow-travellers fully concur, is that the Jews of Damascus are NOT GUILTY of the atrocious charges which have been preferred against them.

My grounds for this opinion are simply this, that there is no admissible evidence to support the charge.

I at once reject in limine, as repulsive to every principle of reason and equity, and as unworthy to be considered as legal[Pg 237] evidence, all the admissions and confessions of the witnesses and accused persons which were extorted by torture or the fear of torture, however plausible they may seem, or however compatible with one another they may appear, particularly when I find them at variance with conflicting testimony on the one hand, and inconsistent with the general probabilities on the other.

Any absurdities, as the annals of witchcraft fully show, might be proved by the agency of torture. It was through fear of the application of this beauteous engine for the elucidation of the truth, that the Inquisition extorted from Galileo the admission that the doctrine of the earth's motion was heretical; yet, notwithstanding this confession, as that illustrious man observed on rising from his knees, "e pur si muove." So also might the unhappy Jews of Damascus, whilst yielding to bodily suffering and confessing their guilt, exclaim the moment afterwards, "but yet we are innocent."

The whole of the pretended evidence against the prisoners was obtained either by torture or fear of torture, and the alleged agreement between the statements of the different witnesses, on which great stress has been laid, may easily be accounted for when it is considered how impossible it would be for people writhing under agonies of intense bodily suffering to give their evidence in a clear and connected manner, and how absolutely necessary it would be to extract their confession from them word by word, affirmatively or negatively—yes or no—through the agency of leading questions.

On the other hand, the only two witnesses who appeared in favour of the Jews were conveniently disposed of by being bastinadoed to death. These were a young man, who deposed to having spoken to Tommaso and his servant on the evening of the alleged murder as they were proceeding from the Jewish quarter, and the porter of the gate near the house of David Arari, who stated that he had heard or seen nothing of the priest's remains being thrown into the sewer.

The evidence was awkward, and not at all suited to the wishes of the prosecutors; and it proved fatal to the witnesses who gave it.

But, exclaim those who argue in favour of the guilt of the Jews, even although there is not sufficient legal evidence to convict them of the crimes laid to their charge, surely you must admit that, morally speaking, there can be no doubt that they[Pg 238] are actually guilty. Far from it. Every reasonable consideration appears to my mind to throw discredit on the statements of their accusers, while the whole of the evidence teems with obvious and palpable improbabilities.

For instance, to say nothing of the absence of any rational assignable motive which could induce frontier merchants—men of rank and influence among their own people—men of wealth and consideration among their neighbours—with everything to lose and nothing to gain, to conspire together to commit two such atrocious murders, is it likely for one moment, even if they did so, that they should be so utterly devoid of all common prudence, and so grossly infatuated, as to place themselves in the power of two such inferior persons as a barber and a servant as accomplices?

And again, even on the hypothesis that they had been actuated by some such fanatical motive as has been imputed to them, is it at all probable that they would have selected for their victim an individual so certain to be missed as the Father Tommaso? From his long residence at Damascus, and the nature of his calling, his absence was sure to be noticed. Why not have selected for their victim some more obscure individual, on whom their barbarous fanaticism might have exercised their impious rites with impunity? Bah! why waste time by pursuing the ridiculous absurdities of these suppositions any further?

Then, again, all the accusers, with Halil Said Naivi at their head, were persons of low degree and disreputable character, whose testimony on any ordinary occasion would have been received with extreme caution; while the recollection of the pillaging and extortions to which the Jewish families have been subjected, affords a clue to the motives which have instigated the persecutors.

Considerable importance has been attached to the finding of the bones, but it should be remembered that they were not discovered till twenty-five days after the disappearance of Father Tomasso; that the sewer where the bones were found was the common receptacle of all the filth and offal of the neighbourhood, and that considerable difference of opinion existed among the medical men by whom they were examined as to the fact of their being human bones at all; while there are strong grounds for believing in the existence of the most fraudulent collusion with reference to their discovery.[Pg 239]

In conclusion, to the reiteration of my already expressed opinion, I can merely add that I conceive the whole charge to be a base and odious calumny, unsupported by any credible testimony; a mere renewal of those disgusting persecutions which disgraced the annals of the dark ages, and one which would not for one moment be tolerated in the present day among a civilised and enlightened people.

It is much to be regretted that the disturbed condition of the East at the period of your Mission to Alexandria prevented Mohhammad Ali from ordering a full and fair judicial enquiry into the whole of the proceedings of the Damascus affair, as there is no doubt that the enemies of the Jews will not be slow to represent the edict which Mohhammad Ali has accorded to your requests, as granted more through pressure of external political embarrassments than freely given as a mere matter of justice and righteous dealing; more as a political compromise of a difficult and troublesome question than as the solemn act of the Government of the country, vindicating the Jews from the aspersions which had been foully cast upon them, and branding with the stamp of official disapprobation those who had dared to utter them.

You have, however, done all that circumstances permitted you to accomplish. In the present excited condition of these countries, your attempting to reach Damascus would be highly dangerous, if not altogether impracticable; and even if you got there, I do not see how you could accomplish any good while the Government is yet unsettled, and in the absence of any constituted authority to aid your efforts with the influence of the British Government.

"Magna est veritas et prævalebit." Go on and prosper in your righteous endeavours to protect the cause of innocence and truth. Let us hope for better times, when the advancing tide of knowledge and civilisation will sweep away the last remains of ignorance and fanaticism, and the vindictive spirit of persecution flee at the scowl of the genius of truth.

Trusting you will excuse my having so long trespassed on your attention, I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,

Charles F. A. Shadwell.

The evidence of two such witnesses, given in an English Court of Justice, would surely have been considered decisive.[Pg 240]




Tuesday, August 11th.—We called on Colonel Hodges, who informed us of the arrival of a Turkish steamer from Constantinople. He said it must have brought the Ultimatum of the four great Powers to the Pasha; that the door of negotiation was now not only shut, but locked, and the Pasha must give an immediate answer. Colonel Hodges advised Sir Moses to act in the same way as he should do; if he (Colonel Hodges) left Alexandria, Sir Moses should do the same, and also go to the same place as he did. He said he expected every hour some ships belonging to the English fleet, but did not wish Sir Moses to mention this fact. Sir Moses said this interview and conversation reminded him forcibly of those he had had in 1827 with the late Mr Salt, English Consul General in Cairo, but he felt even less uneasy than he did at that time, as he did not apprehend war, though things looked serious.

Wednesday, August 12th.—A French war steamer arrived from Toulon, and returned the same afternoon to Smyrna; the reports were all very black. We called on Colonel Hodges, but seeing he was occupied on important business, we left him.

Mr Thorburn called, and told us that Mr Larkin had summoned a meeting of all the British residents at his house at one o'clock, to inform them that the four great Powers had sent their Ultimatum to Mohhammad Ali. Colonel Hodges warned them to limit their credits as much as possible, and to prepare for the worst. The meeting occasioned much alarm.

In the afternoon Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, with their friends, visited the Turkish line of battleship Mahmudie, under Colonel Reale Bey, who received them most politely, and[Pg 241] showed them over his ship. On their return they found that one of their party had been taken ill.

August 13th.—Mr and Mrs Tibaldi called, and Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore accompanied them to a small palace near the Pasha's, where they were introduced to Sa'eed Bey, Mohhammad Ali's son, a very chatty and good-tempered young man about eighteen years of age. He understood English and spoke French well. He conversed about his studies, his horses, &c., and had his favourite grey led under the window where the party were assembled. Mr Thurburn was present. They afterwards went over the Pasha's palace, were much pleased with the building, and admired the elegance with which it was furnished. In the evening Monsieur and Madame Laurin, Monsieur and Madame Crémieux, Captain Lyons, Captain Austin, and Mr Thurburn dined with us. They told Sir Moses that the Count de Walewski, a natural son of Napoleon, had arrived from France, and it was confidently stated that he brought offers of men, money, and ships from the King of the French to the Pasha. The news was credited in the town, and it was therefore supposed that the Pasha would not accept the Ultimatum of the Powers, and a general war in Europe as well as in the East would be the consequence. Sir Moses did not believe that this would be the case, but thought the affair would be arranged satisfactorily. The Pasha had ten days to consider his answer, and by that time Sir Moses hoped to be at Damascus.

August 14th.—Sir Moses called on Colonel Hodges, who gave him Mr Werry's reply to the enquiries respecting the unfortunate Jews at Damascus; the Colonel also showed him a letter from Beyrout, dated the 8th inst., from which it appeared that the insurrection in Syria had not been entirely put down; and he advised Sir Moses not to venture just then to Damascus, as our situation there might be very perilous, in the event of the Pasha's not agreeing to the Ultimatum of the Powers.

In the evening we attended the European Synagogue, which was beautifully illuminated, while the floor was thickly strewn with flowers. The building was crowded, and the utmost decorum prevailed during the service. Subsequently the representatives of the community were invited to join our dinner party, on which occasion many excellent speeches, in various Oriental and[Pg 242] European languages, were made, referring principally to the object of our Mission.

August 15th.—We selected the Synagogue of the natives for attending divine service on this day. The heat there was very great and oppressive, but the devotion of the congregation and the mode of chanting the prayers afforded us much satisfaction.

Between two and three Sir Moses called on Colonel Hodges to express his extreme regret that Mr Werry had done so little towards improving the condition of the unhappy men at Damascus, and to request him to write to the Consul, which the Colonel promised to do. The Sabbath did not prevent Sir Moses from attending to the object of his Mission, as in a case like this, where life and death are at stake, exertion and work are considered permissible. Colonel Hodges said that the Pasha would give us no answer till the political question was settled. Monsieur de Wagner, the Prussian Consul-General, was present and confirmed this. Both advised Sir Moses not to venture on a journey to Damascus while affairs were in such a serious state. Syria was in open rebellion, and in Damascus he would only be looked upon as a Jew coming to screen the guilt of his brethren, while the fanaticism of the Christian populace of that place was so great, that he would certainly be murdered. Both Colonel Hodges and the Prussian Consul said that the Pasha would refuse the Ultimatum, and war was inevitable.

Sir Moses returned home, very unhappy on account of the nine unfortunate prisoners at Damascus, but determined to do everything in his power, and to go to the Palace after Sabbath.

At seven he proceeded to the Pasha's residence, accompanied by Monsieur Crémieux and the members of the Mission. His Highness received us kindly, but said he was so much engaged with affairs of high importance, that he could not give us an answer then. Sir Moses urged him strongly, in the cause of humanity, to give his decision, as there were nine prisoners; he replied that he had given orders for their being well treated, and he would send a letter to Sir Moses next day to the same effect. Sir Moses then asked pardon for the trouble he had given him, but the Pasha said, on the contrary he ought rather to apologise to Sir Moses. Mr S. Briggs, who was present at the audience, very frequently added kind words, which appeared to influence the Pasha. We took leave much dispirited; but scarcely had we returned to our hotel, when Mr Briggs came, and informed Sir[Pg 243] Moses that the Pasha had given him more than half a promise that he would liberate all the prisoners, declaring at the same time his entire belief in their innocence of the murder, and of the other charges made against them.

August 16th.—Having prepared with great care the document proposed by Mr Briggs for the approval and signature of the Pasha, Sir Moses took it to Mr Briggs. The petition had been drawn up in strict accordance with what Mr Briggs said His Highness would agree to. On his return he sent for Monsieur Crémieux, so that his signature might also be attached to it. Mr and Mrs Briggs then called, and Sir Moses gave them the document for the Pasha.

In the evening Mr Briggs called again, and informed us that he had seen the Pasha, to whom the paper had been explained, but he had declined to grant the request it contained, saying that there was so much excitement on the subject that he could not determine; he appeared, however, willing to allow the prisoners their freedom, and so end the matter. Mr Briggs had afterwards spoken with the Secretary, who took the paper, said he would alter it, and show it him the next day. "The fact is," said Sir Moses, "they wish the atrocious transaction to be hushed up, but I will never consent to that."

In the morning we went to the Austrian Consul to obtain from him the names of all the prisoners, as well as a list of those who had already fallen victims to the outrageous tyranny of Sheriff Pasha and of the French Consul Rattimenton. Monsieur Laurin informed us that the four ambassadors had arrived from Constantinople with the Ultimatum, and would visit the Pasha.

Monday, August 17th.—Sir Moses called on Mr Briggs, and gave him copies of several Bulls of the Pope, with some letters and Smyrna papers; also a list of merchants at Damascus, with their supposed amount of capital. Mr Briggs promised he would see the Pasha in the evening, but his manner of speaking was much less sanguine of success.

On the same day Dr Madden and Mr Wire left us for a trip to Cairo and the Pyramids. Sir Moses writes: "I would gladly have accompanied them with my dear wife and Dr Loewe, as I am sure it would have been most beneficial to our health, but it did not appear to me right to leave my post, even for an hour."

August 18th.—Mr Briggs went in the morning to the Pasha. Colonel Hodges informed Sir Moses (confidentially) that three[Pg 244] of his Highness' transport ships, with provisions and arms, had left the harbour for Syria, and that he (Colonel Hodges) had sent the Gorgon to bring them back. They were not to be allowed to land on the coast; if they refused they were to be compelled to return, and if force was used they were to be sent to Malta. When this was accomplished, notice would be given to the Pasha that none of his war-ships would be allowed to leave the harbour. Nothing could be more warlike than the momentary aspect of affairs. The Pasha sent Mr Briggs and one of his Secretaries to Sir Moses with a copy of a despatch he had received from Sheriff Pasha, of Damascus, giving an account of the manner in which prisoners were treated by him. Of course it was stated to be most lenient, and it was denied that tortures had been used. Monsieur Cochelet made the following proposal to Monsieur Crémieux for the solution of the Damascus difficulty:—

That the Pasha was to declare that the Jews who had died had committed the murder from motives of private vengeance, but that the nine Jews still in prison were innocent, and were to be set at liberty. The Pasha would also publish his opinion that there was nothing in the Jewish religion or writings that in any way sanctioned the shedding of blood for the Passover.

Sir Moses told Monsieur Crémieux that it was impossible for him to consent to such an arrangement. He never would allow that any Jew committed the murder of Father Tommaso and his servant, either from vengeance or any other motive; were he base enough to admit such a thing, its effect would be most mischievous, for in every part of the world it would be said that the Jews were guilty, and the same awful charges would be brought against them over and over again.

This proposal of Monsieur Cochelet caused a most painful sensation in the heart of every member of the Mission; but, from a man whose official position compelled him to justify the proceedings of Rattimenton, a different suggestion could scarcely have been anticipated.

August 19th.—All this anxiety preyed so much on the minds of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore that their health was greatly affected by it, and Lady Montefiore became so ill that the immediate attendance of a physician was required. The weather, also, was extremely close and oppressive, which greatly aggravated the discomfort of both. Monsieur Crémieux[Pg 245] called, and brought the news that the British fleet, with Albanian troops which they intended landing, was off Beyrout. He requested Sir Moses not to go to the Pasha, as Monsieur Cochelet did not deem it prudent; but Sir Moses did not feel justified in making a promise to that effect, and explained to Monsieur Crémieux, as his reason, that it would not be advisable to adopt any suggestion made to the latter by Monsieur Cochelet.

The town had been in a state of great consternation all day, and most warlike reports were spreading everywhere. Nevertheless Sir Moses would not agree to the proposal which had been made by Monsieur Cochelet.

August 20th.—Lady Montefiore felt somewhat better, and the doctor entertained hopes of her speedy recovery. Early in the morning Sir Moses called on Colonel Hodges, and remained with him fully two hours. Captains Napier and Walker were off the coast of Syria with six thousand Albanians, and had summoned Beyrout. A serious occurrence took place in the forenoon, which added greatly to the already troubled state of the town. The Dutch Vice-Consul, whose horse had accidentally kicked one of the National Guards, was immediately set upon by the mob and grossly ill-treated. It was with great difficulty that some of the officers rescued him from being murdered.

Two large Austrian frigates anchored near the Bellerophon, and the Cyclops took soundings outside the harbour.

Mr Briggs called to inform Sir Moses that he was going to England in three days. He brought a paper which he had drawn up, similar to that which Sir Moses had given him for the Pasha's signature, but not couched in such strong terms. He wished Sir Moses to see it, and he would then take it to the Pasha, and endeavour to procure his consent to it. Sir Moses sent for Monsieur Crémieux to approve it, and then returned it to Mr Briggs, who promised to speak to the Pasha either the same evening or the next evening.

August 21st.—Lady Montefiore continued poorly, and Dr Laidlow advised our removing to the Nile. Sir Moses was also unwell, and the uncertain state of politics did not afford any consolation; every person we saw had alarm depicted on his countenance. Monsieur Crémieux spoke of leaving on the following Tuesday for Athens or Constantinople in the French steamer. Sir Moses wrote to Mr Wire and Doctor Madden, begging them[Pg 246] to hasten their return. Mr Briggs called to say that he feared the Pasha would do nothing against the wishes of Monsieur Cochelet. Mr Galloway and Mr Tibaldi also paid us a visit, both much out of spirits. Sir Moses said he would not move till Dr Madden and Mr Wire returned, unless Colonel Hodges left, in which case he almost feared he would be compelled to do so. The weather was dreadfully oppressive; the sickly season had commenced, and fever was prevalent.

We attended divine service in the evening, and afterwards Monsieur and Madame Crémieux dined with us. Monsieur Crémieux told Sir Moses that Clot Bey had introduced him to the Pasha in the garden, and that he (Monsieur Crémieux) had made a speech to the Pasha, wishing him success with Egypt and Syria, but had not referred to the Mission.

Saturday, August 22nd.—Lady Montefiore continued ill, and too weak to leave the house. At seven o'clock in the morning we repaired to the Synagogue where we attended service. A large and devout congregation was assembled. On our return Mr Larkins, the English Consul, called. He had just left the Pasha, with whom he had been conversing for more than an hour on the subject of our Mission. He had read to His Highness the letters he had received from England from Colonel Campbell, Mr Thurburn, and Dr Bowring, all entreating him, in his own interest, to grant our request, that he might stand well in the opinion of Europe. They also assured him that the affair had caused a great sensation in England; but Mr Larkins said that the Pasha remained firm, and declared it was impossible for him to do anything in the business just then. Mr Briggs also spoke to the Pasha, but without success. He gave the papers we had prepared for the Pasha's signature to Khosrev, the principal interpreter at the Palace, so that he should be fully acquainted with the contents. Mr Larkins told the Pasha that Sir Moses intended coming for his answer in the evening. In reply to his application for a simple "firman" to go to Damascus, the Pasha said that Syria was in too disturbed a state to permit of his travelling there with security.

In the evening, after the conclusion of Sabbath, as we were setting out for the Palace, Sir Moses received a note from Mr Briggs, enclosing one from Khosrev, requesting Sir Moses to defer the visit to His Highness, as it was a most unfavourable moment.[Pg 247]

Affairs appeared decidedly alarming, and the English fleet was expected every moment with Admiral Stopford. Captain Austen of the Bellerophon and Captain Austen of the Cyclops both called on Sir Moses, and most kindly offered to receive us on board their ships in the event of our being obliged to leave Alexandria for safety. The Pasha was making great preparations for war, including new batteries and arrangements for the better armament of the fleet. It was rumoured that he intended leaving Alexandria in a few days.

August 23rd.—Lady Montefiore passed a very bad night, and her illness caused Sir Moses much anxiety. The doctor came twice during the day. In the evening he found her less feverish, and reported more favourably upon her state of health generally. He advised her to change her bedroom, which appeared damp, and might have caused the fever.

Madame Crémieux came to tell us that she intended spending the day in the country, and talked of visiting Cairo as soon as the French boat arrived. Colonel Hodges, Mr Bell, Mr and Mrs Briggs, and Mr Stephens also called. The latter informed us that it was generally believed that the Pasha had agreed to leave the settlement of the whole question to the King of the French. It was also stated that Monsieur Guizot was to have an audience with His Majesty on the 12th inst., and the result would be known in Alexandria on the following Tuesday. It was thought that the troops in Syria would probably be influenced by the Sultan's money, as they had not received any pay for the last eleven months. The English Admiral with the fleet was expected to arrive on the following day.

Monsieur Crémieux called, and we agreed to send a letter to the Pasha, soliciting him to set at liberty the unfortunate Jews at Damascus. Monsieur Laurin, the Austrian Consul, promised to call upon all the other Consuls, and, if possible, prevail on them to sign a recommendation to the Pasha to grant our request. Sir Moses did not think he would succeed with Monsieur Cochelet or the Sardinian Consul. Mr Briggs announced his intention of going to the former with the original document that we prepared for the Pasha, and of using his influence to remove Monsieur Cochelet's hostility.

August 24th.—Dr Laidlaw found Lady Montefiore rather better and tolerably free from fever.[Pg 248]




The French steamer from Marseilles arrived; our letters from London gave confident hopes of peace being preserved. The Ministry was stronger than ever, being supported by both Whigs and Tories. There would be no half measures, and the Pasha would be obliged to submit. Baron Charles de Rothschild wrote from Naples, that Lord Palmerston had made a pacific speech on the 7th, and amicable relations would be preserved with France. Baron Charles enclosed a letter of introduction to the Neapolitan Consul for Sir Moses.

We immediately went there to present the same, and had a very long conversation with him. He knew all about the Damascus affair, and the painful reports of Sheriff Pasha. He told us that the latter was an adopted son of Mohhammad Ali, who had had him educated with his own children. Sheriff Pasha's own father had been an officer, and was killed in battle when he (Sheriff) was only four months old. The Consul observed that the trial of the Jews had been conducted according to Turkish law, and any interference would be improper. He had sent all the accounts to his Government. He considered the business had been badly managed by the Consuls, but he could not sign any paper, as it would do no good with the Pasha.

On the same day we received a letter from Constantinople, enclosing a firman from the Sublime Porte in favour of the deputation of the Jews; from the Grand Vizier to Mohhammad Ali, and to the Governor of the Island of Rhodes.

We called on Colonel Hodges and Monsieur Laurin, who had both signed the petition which Sir Moses and Monsieur Crémieux[Pg 249] had prepared on the preceding evening. The Consuls of the four Powers signed it very readily, but Monsieur de Wagner called on Sir Moses and recommended his not presenting it to the Pasha, as it would do no good unless signed by Monsieur Cochelet. It is impossible to describe the distress of Sir Moses as he became more and more convinced that, with a few exceptions, every one in the place, great and small, was opposed to the object of his Mission. Dr Madden and Mr Wire returned from Cairo, and Admiral Stopford arrived with part of the fleet. Sir Moses thought we should be obliged to leave very shortly.

August 25th.—Lady Montefiore continued to mend, but was not sufficiently recovered to venture out. Sir Moses went at an early hour to Monsieur Crémieux, and requested him not to part with the petition bearing both their signatures. The rest of the day we were engaged in preparing letters and reports for the London Committee. Mr Charles Allison called and reported that the aspect of affairs was less warlike, but there appeared no doubt of the Pasha's refusal. We were only to have a military blockade of the Port and the Coast of Syria, and all merchants would be allowed to pass freely. This sort of blockade would cause but little annoyance, and the Pasha would no doubt laugh at the English and their allies. At eight o'clock the following morning the Consuls of the four Powers were to wait on Mohhammad Ali for his answer.

August 26th.—Lady Montefiore was much better and able to leave her room. While we were at breakfast, Mr Briggs called and took leave of us. He expressed great regret that his endeavours with the Pasha on behalf of the Damascus prisoners had failed. Afterwards Sir Moses visited the slave-market, accompanied by Dr Madden, as he was desirous of learning how far the present state of the market corresponded to the humane act of the Pasha in abolishing slavery. During the first interview which Sir Moses had had with Mohhammad Ali, the latter had spoken for a considerable time on the subject, and appeared much pleased with the address of thanks presented to him by Dr Madden from the London Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The conversation led Sir Moses to hope that a heart which could be thus moved by humane sentiments, would surely not sanction such tortures and sufferings as the Damascus prisoners had been made to endure.[Pg 250]

At the slave-market, Sir Moses found about one hundred slaves, mostly girls and boys; he noticed a few women among them, but no men. The price of the girls was 1000 piastres (£10), and of the boys, 600 or £6. There were two Albanian women for whom they asked 1500 or 2000 piastres (£15 to £20). The girls appeared to be well treated and contented with their situation, but not so the boys. He observed two boys weeping most bitterly, and on enquiring the cause, he heard that the children had been brought from Nubia together, that they were most likely brothers, much attached to each other, and one had just been sold. He spoke to the man who had purchased the youth, and he said he had paid 600 piastres. The master took the lad away, and in all probability the boys never saw each other again.

"Oh! the horrors of slavery!" exclaimed Sir Moses, and added, "Perhaps Mohhammad Ali may not be aware of what we have seen, else he could not conscientiously have spoken as he did, and evinced such pleasure in the vote of thanks which the London Society would certainly not have sent had they known the true state of affairs."

Sir Moses returned home much depressed by what he had witnessed.

There was nothing new in politics, but two English men-of-war had left for the East.

August 28th.—About nine o'clock in the morning Sir Moses received a letter from Monsieur Crémieux, informing him that he had started for Cairo. Sir Moses, who felt himself in duty bound not to quit his post for fear of injuring his cause, determined, notwithstanding the disheartening state of politics, to go to the Pasha and ask for an answer to the petition that he had presented on the day after his arrival.

At two o'clock we went to the Palace. We were shown into the audience hall, and a beautiful pipe was handed to Sir Moses. About twenty minutes afterwards we heard that the Pasha was leaving his room for the hall of audience. On Sir Moses going to the door, the Pasha smiled and beckoned him to follow him. Sir Moses did so, and the Pasha motioned him to be seated. Sir Moses then informed His Highness that he came for an answer to the paper which he had presented at his first interview. Mohhammad Ali replied that he would release all the[Pg 251] prisoners, upon which, Sir Moses said his desire was to have the guilty punished, and requested therefore a "firman" to go to Damascus. The Pasha said he had better not go there, as that place was in a very excited condition; the country was disturbed and politics unsettled. Sir Moses agreed to postpone his journey for a short time, but begged for the firman, that he might proceed there as soon as things changed, and the Pasha then promised to give it him. Sir Moses further petitioned for permission for the Jews who had fled to return to Damascus, and the Pasha granted his request. Finally Sir Moses requested Mohhammad Ali to give him a copy of his letter to the Governor of Damascus. His Highness promised to send it to him with the firman, and desired him to write to his co-religionists at Damascus, and he (the Pasha) would send the letter by his post, by which means they would receive it in five days.

"Thanks to Heaven," Sir Moses said, "the Mission has gained something; the lives of nine innocent persons are thus preserved."

Sir Moses wrote immediately to Monsieur Crémieux, and Mr Galloway sent a man off with it to Cairo. He also sent for Messrs Sonino, Valencen, and Toria, and the Spiritual Head of the Hebrew community, to acquaint them with the good news, enjoining them at the same time to keep it secret till the papers arrived from the Pasha.

Sir Moses then prepared for Sabbath, and attended divine service in the European Synagogue. Subsequently went to the Palace for a copy of the letter to the Governor of Damascus, but we had to wait there several hours, as the Ambassador from Constantinople and the Consuls of the four great Powers were with the Pasha. They remained with him some time, and on their withdrawal, the Capudan Basha had an interview with His Highness, lasting fully two hours; then the French Consul came and also stopped a couple of hours, so that it became very late. On our enquiring whether we should still wait, Monsieur Boufort told me to come the following morning, when I should be able to take with me the firman enabling us to go to Damascus, and a copy of the order for the Governor at that place. It was after ten o'clock when we returned to our hotel, at which hour Monsieur Crémieux also came.

August 29th.—In the morning we attended divine service.[Pg 252] Seeing Monsieur Crémieux and Monsieur Munk there, Sir Moses desired me to invite the latter to accompany me to the Palace. On our arrival there we went to the room of Negib Effendi (one of the chief secretaries of the Pasha), to order several copies of the firman and the letter to the Governor of Damascus. On perusing a copy of the original, we noticed the word "Afoo" (pardon), and pointed it out to Negib Effendi. I told him that Sir Moses would never be satisfied with such an expression, as the Jews could not for one moment be considered guilty, according to the proceedings which had taken place at Damascus. Negib Effendi and another secretary, who happened to be present at the time, entered into an argument with me on the subject, maintaining their idea that the word in question might be used and understood without absolutely conveying the meaning of "pardon." Nevertheless, I insisted on the necessity of removing that word altogether. As I could not leave the Palace, I requested Monsieur Munk, who had with him an Arabic translation of the Turkish order, to go and inform Sir Moses and Monsieur Crémieux that it was desirable they should immediately tell the Pasha that they could not sanction the introduction of a word so grossly misrepresenting the truth, and request him to substitute a word which would correctly convey his sentiments. Monsieur Munk went at once to Monsieur Crémieux, but apparently forgot to call on Sir Moses. Monsieur Crémieux, being probably anxious to see the misleading word removed as soon as possible, came at once to the Palace, without informing Sir Moses of what had occurred. The Pasha, without the least hesitation, immediately ordered that the word "Afoo" should be taken out, and the words "itlak ve Tervîhh," signifying "an honourable liberation," substituted (literally an order for their liberation, and for procuring them peace).

On my return from the Palace I acquainted Sir Moses with what had taken place, and he expressed much regret at not having being informed of it in time. He said, "Had I known it, I should have been most indignant with the Pasha for inserting the word, it being in complete opposition to my request, as I would never, for an instant, admit any guilt, either of the living or the dead." He went again to the Pasha, and His Highness told him that he had given the order to remove the objectionable word. The Neapolitan Consul and his wife, and Monsieur Laurin came to offer their congratulations.[Pg 253]

August 30th.—We hastily sent despatches to London and other places, and on the following day a letter of thanks to His Highness the Pasha was signed by Sir Moses and Monsieur Crémieux.

Wishing to do all the good in their power, they added to the letter a petition in which they entreated him to abolish the use of torture in his dominions.

In the morning, Admiral Sir Robert Stopford came on shore, and went immediately to Colonel Hodges. Sir Moses went to see the Admiral, who gave him a very kind reception. About three o'clock the Pasha sent a strong body of horse guards in full uniform, accompanied by a capital military band, to attend the Admiral. It was a handsome compliment on the part of Mohhammad Ali, but the Admiral declined it, and they soon returned.

About four o'clock Sir Robert Stopford and his suite, the Austrian Admiral and his suite, with the English and Austrian Consuls, proceeded to the Palace to pay their respects to the Pasha. The Pasha's carriage with four horses had been placed at their service, as well as Boghoz Bey's carriage and that of Mr Anastasia. They were preceded by sixteen janissaries, the two Captains Austen, and many others on horseback. They were absent about an hour.

Admiral Rifaat Bey gave the "Four Combined Powers," and Colonel Hodges, the "Five Powers," meaning that he included the Sublime Porte. After dinner, Admiral Stopford inquired whether Sir Moses intended going to Damascus, and said he would send a brig with us. Sir Moses replied that he wished to wait till Thursday, when he would inform Sir Robert of his plan of action. The two Admirals and the English and Austrian Consuls were to dine with the Pasha on the following day.

Sir Moses, accompanied by Mr Alison, then paid visits to Rifaat Bey, Sáeed Bey, and Colonel Hodges. On his return he found that the Austrian Admiral (Contre-Amiral Baron Baudiera), the Austrian Consul, and Mr Andrew Doyle, had called. Mr Galloway informed Sir Moses that Sáeed Bey had obtained the permission of his father, Mohhammad Ali, to dine with him any day he liked. Sir Moses thereupon invited him for Thursday, September 3rd, and also sent invitations to Admiral Stopford, the Austrian Admiral, and others.[Pg 254]

The day's reports led Sir Moses to believe that the Pasha would refuse to give an answer to the four Powers on Saturday. The Admiral would do nothing without further orders from home, and it was Sir Moses' opinion that the Pasha would laugh at them all, and most probably succeed at last, or involve Europe in war.

September 2nd.—During the morning we were occupied in examining numerous papers and documents referring to the Mission, while Lady Montefiore amused herself by taking daguerreotype views of Cleopatra's Needle.

September 3rd.—Sir Moses went this morning on board the Turkish steamer, Bird-of-the-Sea, Rifaat Bey having invited him to a déjeuner he was giving to Admiral Stopford and Sáeed Bey on board that vessel. The guests included Captains Fisher and Austin, Colonel Hodges, Count Medem, Monsieur de Wagner, Monsieur Laurin, Mr Alison, Mr Stoddard, and others. The wind was so high that the Admiral could scarcely get to the ship. While they were at breakfast Sáeed Bey invited Admiral Stopford and Sir Moses to go over his corvette. The latter, with Captains Fisher and Austin and Colonel Hodges, accompanied the Admiral in his boat after they had taken leave of Rifaat Bey, and all went on board the corvette. Sáeed Bey received the party in a distinguished manner; he took them over the vessel, and made his men go through their exercises with great guns and small arms. Sir Moses then landed with the Admiral, and drove him to Colonel Hodges.

September 4th.—The French papers continued very warlike, and great demonstrations had been made in France.

Sir Moses and Monsieur Crémieux decided that we should go next evening to present the letter they had prepared to the Pasha. Should the English Consul leave Egypt, Sir Moses thought that it would be useless for us to remain there any longer. Dr Madden informed Sir Moses that he would be obliged to leave us on the following Monday.

September 5th.—We called on Colonel Hodges, and saw Admiral Stopford; the latter supposed our going to Damascus was out of the question. Sir Moses told him that he should remain a short time longer at Alexandria, unless the British Consul left, in which case we should leave also.

Rifaat Bey (Conseilleur d'Etat au département de l'intérieur)[Pg 255] paid us a visit previous to his departure; also Mr Charles Alison, Attaché to Her Britannic Majesty's Embassy at Constantinople; also Captain Austen and Lieutenant Ralph, R.N.

Mr Alison had been present at the interview with the Pasha's Minister. The Pasha being ill, could not see the four Ministers, but had sent his answer. "He accepted the Sovereignty of Egypt, and would petition the Sultan for Syria."

This was virtually a refusal, but the Consuls did not intend striking their flags.

The Admiral went on board this morning. At five we walked in the square and met Colonel Hodges. From his conversation he expected the Pasha would order them to quit Egypt in about a week. He told Sir Moses the Admiral had left him the Cyclops, and that he was going in her, on the following Monday, to Beyrout.

September 6th.—We called on Colonel Hodges. Sir Moses told him that he had determined to leave as soon as the Colonel should do so. Colonel Hodges said he was going on the following day for a few days to Beyrout, but assured Sir Moses he need be under no apprehensions; there would be no hostilities till the Admiral received orders from England, which he did not expect for another fortnight; and that if he (Colonel Hodges) should be obliged to leave, he would give Sir Moses timely notice, and both he and Lady Montefiore should go with him in his vessel. From his manner of speaking, we gathered that he expected an outbreak in Syria, but no direct attack on the part of the English; Admiral Stopford had told him that we were by no means prepared; the ministers had been much deceived.

The letter to the Pasha could not be presented that day.

September 7th.—We met Colonel Hodges; he told us that the Pasha had seized £6000 in bullion, British property, and if it was not given up to-morrow morning, he would strike his flag and go on board ship. He told Sir Moses that he must be prepared to leave at a moment's notice, and that he had spoken to Captain Fisher of the Asia, who had kindly promised to take us in his ships in the event of our being obliged to leave.[Pg 256]




We arranged with Monsieur Crémieux to go to-morrow to the Pasha and present our letter.

September 8th.—We drove this morning to Mohharem Bey's garden, where the Pasha is staying. We found him in the garden, with his Admiral, also Anastasi, the Turkish Consul, and Mr Tibaldi. He desired us to be seated. Sir Moses then said to him, "We come to offer to your Highness our thanks," and presented to him the letter, to which we had added the request to abolish the use of torture. There was a Turkish translation affixed to the letter. The Pasha gave the letter to one of his officers, who put it in his pocket; but on Sir Moses expressing a desire that the Pasha should have it read, he took it himself and appeared to read several lines, when one of his secretaries came and read the whole to him. We remained some moments in silence. Mr Tibaldi then told Sir Moses that the Pasha had been pleased to give him a granite column from the ancient temple of Serapis in Alexandria. Sir Moses thanked His Highness in suitable terms.

After waiting some time in silence, the Pasha having twice looked at his watch, we took our leave without having uttered a single sentence on the principal subject of our visit. Sir Moses was much out of spirits. On our return we went to Colonel Hodges, who said that Boghoz Bey had refused to give up the bullion seized on the previous day, but added that he should go himself to the Pasha, and if it was not restored in twenty-four hours, he would strike his flag and go on board the Asia, and would take Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore with him. Sir Moses hoped the Pasha would not hasten his ruin by his rashness. Colonel Hodges replied that he was already ruined; he had been[Pg 257] declared a rebel by the Sultan; another Pasha had been appointed for Egypt and one for Syria; and the Russian fleet with the Russian troops was already moving. This news the Colonel had received from Constantinople. Sir Moses begged him, should any vessel be going to that city, to procure a passage for us; this he promised to do.

Sir Moses was now anxious to leave Egypt, thinking he could do no more good there.

September 9th.—Monsieur Crémieux came in the morning to ascertain Sir Moses' intentions, as he wished to go on the following Monday to Cairo, and should Sir Moses decide to remain in Egypt, he would go to Thebes. Sir Moses suggested taking three days' time for consideration.

September 10th.—We called on Colonel Hodges. The Pasha had not yet given up the bullion; the Colonel said he should write to him the same evening at five, and send at eight the next day for an answer, and should tell him that unless he received satisfaction he should strike his flag and embark, leaving the English under the protection of the Dutch Consul. Colonel Hodges had already sent on board several camel-loads of books, papers, &c. Sir Moses felt confident that the Colonel would soon follow, whether the Pasha gave up the money or not, and believed the best thing for us to do would be to go by the next French packet, which would leave Alexandria on the 16th, pass the quarantine at Syra, and afterwards proceed to Constantinople, thank the Sultan for all he had done in the affair of Rhodes, and then, should the state of Syra permit, go to Damascus, and failing this, to return viâ Vienna to England.

September 11th.—Again visited Colonel Hodges. He still talked of embarking, but advised us to wait for the French steamers, and if it should still be our intention to visit Damascus before leaving the East, he would recommend our making quarantine at Syra, thence to proceed to Constantinople, and await events. "It would be madness," he added, "to go now to Damascus. I will hold myself responsible for the advice I now give."

Saturday, September 12th.—Attended divine service, afterwards called on the Spiritual Head of the congregation, who showed us his large and valuable library. Later in the day Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received many visitors: two[Pg 258] gentlemen from Salonica especially interested them in their accounts of communal matters in that city. They informed us that there were about five thousand Jewish families, and they possessed thirty-six Synagogues, and fifty-six colleges for the study of Hebrew and theological literature, and over one thousand gentlemen were distinguished for their knowledge of Hebrew. They had suffered greatly by the fire which had broken out (in the previous year) in their city, and had destroyed over two thousand houses belonging to the Jews.

Our dinner party on that day included Colonel Hodges, Monsieur Laurin, Captain and Mrs Lyons, Mr Paton, Mr Stoddart, Mr Drummond Hay, and Monsieur and Madame Crémieux. Colonel Hodges said he had given the Pasha time till Monday at twelve o'clock for his reply, failing to receive which he would strike his flag. Sir Moses informed Monsieur Crémieux that he felt convinced of the impossibility of obtaining anything more from the Pasha, owing to the present serious state of politics. The Consuls, he said, were making every preparation for leaving Alexandria, and as our proceeding to Damascus at that time was considered to be not only a most rash and unwarrantable act, but almost an impossibility, he was of opinion that we should proceed to Constantinople, and there await a favourable change in politics. Should Damascus hereafter belong to the Sultan, then to request from him the same justice for the Jews of that city as he had afforded to those of Rhodes, but if Damascus continued under the Pasha, then we should be forced to return to Egypt and thence to Damascus, and should then, if politics still continued unsettled, return to Europe.

Monsieur Crémieux agreed with Sir Moses, and said he would go to Constantinople, but first to Cairo. He then proposed to Sir Moses to build an hospital for the Jews in Cairo, as he (Monsieur Crémieux) intended building a house there for school purposes, having in hand one thousand ducats from the Baroness de Rothschild in Paris for that purpose. Sir Moses, however, did not feel justified in spending large sums in Egypt. "Were it for the Holy Land," he said, "I should be delighted to establish both hospital and school."

September 14th.—It was reported that St Jean d'Acre was being bombarded by the English fleet; everything looked most threatening. We met Colonel Hodges, who was hourly expecting[Pg 259] to receive orders from Constantinople to quit Egypt. A Russian and an Austrian ship of war had arrived. The French steamer due that morning had not arrived; they said it had been detained at Syra for the mail from Constantinople.

September 15th.—We were caused much anxiety by the absence of any account from Damascus, and by hearing that Mohhammad Ali had had a despatch from Sherif Pasha, stating that he had received His Highness' orders for the liberation of the Jews, but without further notice of it. Monsieur Cochelet, we were told, had had a letter from Rattimenton, violently exclaiming against the Viceroy's order, by which he had been compromised, adding that he had warmly protested to Sherif Pasha against his complying with His Highness' order. But soon after this, writes Sir Moses, "Thanks to Heaven, this day has happily put an end to our fears for the delay of the execution of the Pasha's firman. We have received letters that all the Jews were liberated on the 5th inst, in the most gracious manner, by Sherif Pasha, to the great joy, not only of the Jews of Damascus, but also of all the Mussulmans of that city. The unfortunate men were accompanied by bands of music, and thousands of persons, Jews and Moslems. They first went to Synagogue to return thanks for their delivery, and then to their respective dwellings. All the distinguished Mussulman merchants paid them visits of congratulation, expressing their firm belief in their innocence. The Christians maintained silence, denoting thereby their dissatisfaction at the justice of the Pasha. The blood of the four unhappy men who have died under torture has not been sufficient to satisfy these people. The suffering of the Jews appears to have been unbounded, as is their gratitude to God for their deliverance."

The copy of the Pasha's order, which we sent by a courier with our letters to the prisoners, had not arrived on the 7th when the mail left. We were all anxious for news from the unfortunate men themselves, but as we knew that all were at liberty, Sir Moses considered that no further good could be achieved by remaining in Egypt. Syria was in a state of revolt, and the post between Beyrout and Damascus closed. The British Consul, with all the other European Consuls, excepting the French, had left Beyrout, and were on board the ships of war. Commodore Napier had given notice that he should bombard the town on[Pg 260] the following day. Monsieur Cochelet, we were told, had heard accounts of several thousand men having been landed from the fleet between Beyrout and Sidon; no action had, however, as yet taken place. Sulieman Pasha had declared he would destroy Beyrout, though he should be compelled to withdraw his troops.

September 16th.—Sir Moses writes in his diary: "I sent to Monsieur Crémieux, but he and Madame Crémieux, with Monsieur Munk and Signor Morpurgo, had already left for Cairo. Mr Wire, Dr Loewe, and I went to Mohhammad Bey's palace. He is the son-in-law of Mohhammad Ali. We entered the garden. As soon as the Pasha saw us he beckoned me to approach him. He was seated in a kiosk. Boufort, the interpreter, was translating to him one of Galignani's papers. On our entering the kiosk, he motioned me to be seated. I took my seat opposite him, Dr Loewe next to me, and Mr Wire next to the doctor. I informed the Pasha that we had received letters from Damascus, and that, agreeably to his orders, the Jews had been honourably liberated by Sherif Pasha on Saturday, September 5th. The Mussulman population had expressed much joy on the occasion. They had accompanied the unfortunate men, when liberated, to the Synagogue, and the Jews had thrown themselves on the ground before the Holy Ark, blessing the God of Israel for their deliverance from the hands of their persecutors, and praying for the happiness of His Highness, whose justice and humanity had restored them with honour to liberty. I also told the Pasha how they had been visited and congratulated by all the Mussulmans of Damascus, who confidently believed in their innocence. Mohhammad Ali replied he was glad to hear it, and informed me that he had received letters from Sherif Pasha with the same intelligence, and also that that Jews who had fled from the city had returned. This we did not know. I expressed much gratitude to His Highness for his humanity, and entreated him to protect my brethren in his dominion. I also said that as it was impossible for me to go to Damascus at present, I intended returning to Europe, and therefore begged to take leave of His Highness; but before doing so I hoped he would allow me to speak a few words in favour of the poor Jews who had suffered by pillage at Safed, and that he would graciously make them compensation. He replied he would see; he would[Pg 261] do it. I again repeated my thanks, and rose to leave, but he motioned me to remain. In a few moments he beckoned me to come quite close to him, which I did. He then said that he frequently gave orders for ships, guns, and other things to be sent from England, that six months elapsed before they were ready to be shipped, and that as I was going there he would like to make some arrangement with me to guarantee the parties, and said that I should always have the money before the things were shipped. He repeated several times that he did not desire that I should ever be in advance, as he would always send the money beforehand. He did not wish the arrangement to take place immediately, but as soon as affairs were settled. I told His Highness that I would consult with my friends in England, and would write to him as soon as I got back to London; he expressed his satisfaction, and we retired.

"I have omitted to notice that I gave Mohhammad Ali a copy of Dr Hirschel's letter to me, respecting the charge brought against the Jews of using blood in their religious ceremonies. I gave him copies of the same in Turkish and French; he looked at them, and promised to read them.

"We then went to the Palace of Sáeed Bey. Mr Thurburn was with him. 'Excellency,' I said, 'I have come to take leave of you previous to my return to Europe,' and repeated to him all the accounts we had from Damascus. He was very civil to us, and invited us to take wine and coffee, but, being much pressed for time, we declined. I said I hoped to see him in London. He replied that as soon as affairs were settled he should travel, and would certainly pay us a visit. We then took leave of Count Medem, the Russian Consul. He congratulated me on the success of our Mission, having attained all that was possible in the present unfortunate state of affairs. I told him I was most anxious to visit Damascus, to trace the whole transaction respecting the charges against the Jews. He said it was quite impossible to go just now, the country was in revolt; Beyrout was threatened with bombardment, and all accommodation for travellers stopped.

"We next went to Monsieur de Wagner, the Prussian Consul (who expressed the same opinion), and to Colonel Hodges and Monsieur Laurin, expressing to both our sincere thanks for what they had done in favour of the Jews in Damascus, Safed, and the Holy Land in general."[Pg 262]

September 17th.—We embarked in one of the Pasha's large boats, being escorted to the water side by three janissaries, and were safely on board the Leonidas at 3 p.m.

September 18th.—We are detained in the harbour for despatches.

Mr Reinlin, the Dutch Vice Consul, came on board with letters. He went with me into our berth, and informed me that news had been received last night from Beyrout; the English had entirely destroyed that town, and had landed two thousand English and four thousand Turks. The French Consul had taken a house in a garden about a mile out of town, with the French flag flying on it, nevertheless four cannon balls had struck the house. Ibrahim Pasha was at Beyrout, and Suleiman Pasha was in the neighbourhood.

At 10 a.m., the anchor being weighed, we started, and were soon safely out of the port. "Then," Sir Moses writes in his Diary, "we sang the 'Song of Moses,' and with joy and thanks, left the land of Egypt."

September 21st.—After eighty hours at sea, with a strong north wind, we arrived at five in the morning at Syra. The captain and the surgeon went on shore with letters and despatches; they soon returned. When a boat with the health officers came alongside, we learned to our great dismay that we had a man dangerously ill on board. The officers insisted on seeing him. The poor man was carried on deck with much difficulty; they asked him many questions, but he was so weak that he could scarcely answer. The officers then left us, to make their report to their superior; they did not know whether we should be allowed to go that night into the Lazaretto. This was a serious matter, as the Leonidas was to start at twelve for Alexandria. Our ship was soon surrounded with boats, occupied by Turks, male and female, with their luggage, who had secured their berths for Alexandria. The captain would not allow them or their luggage to be received on board till he had got rid of those he had brought with him. The noise and confusion that arose in consequence were dreadful. It was nearly nine o'clock when permission arrived for our leaving the ship for the Lazaretto; the captain put us in his long boat. It was blowing hard, the sea was rough, and the night very dark.

Sir Moses was dreadfully uneasy, but there was no choice.[Pg 263] We all went in the same boat, which was long and narrow. It was half-an-hour before we reached the landing place, and it was not without great difficulty that we scrambled up the rocks in the dark.

On getting into the Lazaretto we found that the guardian and officers had left for the night, and there were but two miserably dark rooms for the whole party. We were told to make the best we could of them for the night. All our luggage had been left at the water's edge, and there was not a soul to assist in bringing it to the Lazaretto. After much time and trouble, our servants got one bedstead and mattress for Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and a few mattresses for the rest of our party.

In our small room, more than nine of us, including a Greek lady, her servant and one child, had to remain the whole night; the servants and all other passengers were obliged to manage as they could in the other room.

After a night passed with little or no sleep, we rose from our weary couches. Mr Ralli, the son-in-law of Mr Wilkinson, called. He had procured us an order from the Superintendent of the Lazaretto, giving us the apartments set aside for noblemen. We were soon admitted to them. They were very comfortable rooms, beautifully situated, commanding a fine view of the town and port. They were quite empty, but our servants soon brought up our bedsteads and camp-stools, and we hired two or three tables, which was all we required. Being informed that we might shorten our confinement by five days, if we and our servants took a bath and changed all our clothes, and had all our luggage fumigated, we readily consented. By two o'clock, all our boxes having been opened, and the contents spread over the room and hung up on lines, dishes with pots of burning sulphur were placed in each room, and the doors kept closed for half-an-hour. In the meantime we took a bath and changed every article of dress.

Sir Moses put the whole quarantine into confusion, and compelled a repetition of the fumigating ceremony, by inadvertently putting his finger on the wrapper which contained Lady Montefiore's dress. This caused much vexation to all the "guardiani" and ourselves. However, the fumigation was performed[Pg 264] once more, and by four o'clock the whole ceremony was ended.

September 28th being the first day of the Jewish New Year, we all met early in the morning, and read the service appointed for the day. It was nearly twelve before we breakfasted. The afternoon we spent in reading subjects connected with Hebrew literature. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore spent a most happy day, and said they had only felt the want of their Synagogue and of the society of their relatives.

The physician paid us a visit on the same day, and said we might, if we pleased, go out of quarantine on the morrow. He enquired if we were all well, then desired us to strike our fists under each arm and other parts of the body. Having seen this ceremony performed, he made his tour round the Lazaretto. We were much amused at seeing him go through the same ceremony with more than one hundred persons, who were to leave the next day.

The following day, being the ninth day of our quarantine, and having performed the "Spoglio" the morning after our arrival, we could have received pratique this morning; but as we were most comfortable, Sir Moses requested to be allowed to remain till Thursday. We received the greatest kindness from all the officers of the quarantine, who came frequently to enquire if they could do anything to promote the comfort of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. We all quitted the Lazaretto on the 1st of October, grateful to the Almighty for permitting us to pass the ten days we spent there so pleasantly. We walked to the town, which was built round the bay, nearly opposite the Lazaretto. The road was very rough, and Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were extremely fatigued by the walk.

Syra was very gay; the town was thronged with well-dressed people, as the King and Queen were expected that day from Athens. On the wharf, which was strewn with laurel, there were some four hundred little boys and girls dressed in white with blue ribbons, some of them carrying branches of laurel, and others the Greek flag. It was four o'clock when the first cannon announced the arrival of the steamboat with the King and Queen on board. From Terenzio House, where we were accommodated, we had a good view of them as they landed.[Pg 265] The King was dressed in a Greek uniform, and the Queen in Western costume. To our great disappointment, the steamer which was to take us to Constantinople had not arrived, and at Syra we could not even find a room to pass the night, so that we were compelled to return to the Lazaretto. Lady Montefiore was most fatigued and poorly, and quite happy when she could throw herself on the ground with the luxury of a mattress.

We received an invitation from the Governor of the town to a grand ball, to be given to the King and Queen. The next morning at five o'clock we were informed that the Mentor had not yet arrived, but about two hours later we ascertained that she had come into port in the night. We lost no time in preparing to embark, and before eight again took leave of the Lazaretto, very thankful for the accommodation it had afforded us. At eight we were on board, but it was nearly twelve before we started. We expected to reach Smyrna towards noon on the following day, but not to be able to land, as it would be our Sabbath.

We entered the harbour of Smyrna on the 3rd October. Sir Moses received immediately a large number of letters and visits from the heads of the congregation and principal inhabitants, all offering their services. The Dutch Consul spoke much of the sad state of the Jews at Smyrna, and requested Sir Moses' intercession on their behalf.[Pg 266]




From Smyrna we went to Constantinople. Of our arrival in that place Sir Moses gives the following account:—

"Constantinople, October 5th.—The appearance of the city was most beautiful from the steamboat; we anchored at half-past eleven. Many persons came on board to welcome us, including Monsieur Commundo, who had prepared one of his houses for us. Lady Montefiore and Mr Wire went there immediately. Dr Loewe and I, accompanied by Mr Nugent, a Queen's messenger, who had special despatches for Lord Ponsonby, started for Terapia, and were allowed to leave the vessel at once. It took two hours to row there, the current being very strong. On reaching Terapia we went to Lord Ponsonby's, and found that he was out. Mr Nugent remained, but we returned. There was a strong wind blowing against the current, which made a heavy sea. I passed two hours in the utmost anxiety, and would gladly have landed and walked back, but it was impossible; we should not have found our way. At last we landed safely, but our troubles were not over. We had the greatest difficulty in finding Monsieur Commundo's house. We found two Germans in a little tailor's shop, and they became our guides. I found my dear Judith in a state of great anxiety on our account. It being between seven and eight before we arrived, they had sent in every direction after us; however, we sat down to a good supper, and soon forgot our troubles."

The day after our arrival the Spiritual Heads of the Hebrew communities, accompanied by several of their members, came to pay their respects to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and to invite them to attend divine service in one of their Synagogues[Pg 267] on the Day of Atonement, which commenced the same evening, an invitation which was accepted.

During the whole of the following day (the Day of Atonement) Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore remained in Synagogue, returning in the evening at the conclusion of the service, accompanied by many members of the congregation. They were preceded by two men bearing two large wax candles, which had been lighted in the Synagogue the evening before. They received a hearty welcome from their host, Monsieur Commundo, and, having broken their fast, soon retired to rest.

October 8th.—Signor Commundo, with his wife, two sons, and a daughter, paid us a visit in the morning. The little girl, a lovely child about seven years of age, was already engaged, as well as the two boys, aged nine and ten respectively, both handsome, intelligent lads. It reminded Sir Moses of what he had once found fault with when at Haifa. Certain allowances, however, must be made for the peculiarities of the East. Turkey would certainly not yield in this respect to any remonstrances. We called on the British Consul General, and in the evening Sir Moses received a deputation from the European Hebrew community; they spoke much of the necessity for an hospital and schools.

October 9th.—We set off to the Porte to-day, as soon as our visitors had left, with the intention of going later on to Terapia to see Lord Ponsonby. After rowing nearly two hours and a half, we found that it would take us a full hour longer to reach our destination, and that, wind and current being both against us, we should not be able to get back before the Sabbath. Sir Moses, therefore, gave orders to return home.

Saturday, October 10th.—We attended divine service in a very large Synagogue; all the worshippers appeared to be natives of Turkey. At the conclusion of the service we accompanied the Chief Rabbi to his house. He was preceded by three soldiers and six attendants; on passing the guard-house we found the officer with his men in front. They saluted him with every token of respect, as did all the people in the densely-crowded streets. His house was full of people. We partook of some refreshment, and took leave. As we appeared again in the street we noticed a guard of honour walking before us, and an officer with two soldiers following in the rear. Sir Moses wished them to return after going a few paces, but they insisted[Pg 268] on accompanying us to the end of the street, an honour Sir Moses was but little desirous of receiving.

Sunday, October 11th.—We afterwards went into three large and handsome Synagogues in the same quarter; adjoining one of these we observed three school-rooms, occupied by about 250 boys. We entered the school, and found the boys divided into three classes, their ages varying from three to twelve. At the request of Sir Moses I examined two boys. They read the Talmud and translated it into Spanish very fluently. Sir Moses was much pleased. The children all appeared to belong to the poorest classes. We had much difficulty in escaping the importunities of the people; many seemed to be in very distressed circumstances. In one room, scarcely six feet square, we saw a mother and five children.

October 4th.—An Austrian steamer arrived in the afternoon from Smyrna, with an English messenger from Syria. It was reported that Commodore Napier had concluded a treaty with the Emir Besheer, by which the latter had engaged to join his forces to the Sultan's. Napier had landed with his marines, and, assisted by the Turks and the troops of the Emir, was in pursuit of Ibrahim Pasha. Many of the Pasha's soldiers had joined the Sultan's party.

October 15th.—Sir Moses went to Lord Ponsonby. Having thanked him for his great assistance in the affair of the Jews at Rhodes and Damascus, he informed him that he wished to have an audience with the Sultan, to thank him for his justice to the Jews, to claim his special protection for them in all his dominions, and to obtain from him a declaration similar to that made by Selim the Second.

Lord Ponsonby said he would give Sir Moses a letter of introduction to Rechid Pasha, who would perhaps be able to forward his wishes. Lord and Lady Ponsonby then begged him to fix a day to dine with them, and Sir Moses returned, much pleased with the interview.

The next five days were spent by Sir Moses in making himself acquainted with the communal affairs of various congregations. Being very anxious to assist them in their endeavours to introduce improvements in their method of education, he had frequent communications with their teachers and school committees. In support of his exertions, at the special request of[Pg 269] the ecclesiastical chief and representatives of the congregation, I delivered an address in one of their large Synagogues at Galata, on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the aim of which was to exhort the audience to give more attention than hitherto to the acquisition of a liberal education.

October 22nd.—Mr George Samuel, Mr Pisani, Mr Wire, and myself accompanied Sir Moses to an interview with Rechid Pasha, who received us most kindly. Sir Moses informed His Excellency that he had come to express his thanks, and those of all his co-religionists in Europe, for the humanity and justice which His Excellency and the Sultan had shown in respect to the affair at Rhodes. The Pasha said he was sorry they had not been able to do the same at Damascus. Sir Moses hoped that His Excellency would do him and the gentlemen who accompanied him the honour of introducing them to the Sultan, to which he replied that he thought it might be done. Sir Moses then said that formerly Sultan Selim had issued a Hatti-Sherif, declaring his conviction of the innocence of the Jews of the charge brought against them, and it would be a great satisfaction if the present Sultan would do the same. Sir Moses had prepared a paper, which he requested His Excellency to hear read. Mr Pisani read it to him in French; he thought it very good, and said it might be done. Having had pipes and coffee, we returned home, being engaged to dine with Lord Ponsonby. We had great difficulty in procuring a carriage to take us, and at last agreed with a man to take Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and fetch them back, for the sum of £6 sterling. It was a miserable four-horse concern. Mr Wire and I preferred riding on horseback.

It was a most agreeable party, and we met there several of our acquaintances. His Lordship spoke with Sir Moses on the subject of a bank for Constantinople, and said he wished him and another gentleman, whom he named, to speak with Rechid Pasha about it, and he would be present at the interview. Sir Moses said he would do so, but could not say anything before he returned to England. On the following day the Rev. Dr Samuel Bennet, the Chaplain of the Embassy, lunched with us. He had just delivered an excellent sermon in favour of the Jews in the Damascus affair.

October 26th.—As no appointment had been made, and that[Pg 270] evening was the commencement of the Rámázan, during which month the Turks attend to no business, Sir Moses determined to call on Mr Pisani to inquire if he had heard from Rechid Pasha. We went accordingly, and Mr Pisani informed him that he had just received a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, acquainting him that the Sublime Porte would receive a deputation headed by Sir Moses Montefiore on Wednesday evening, three hours after sunset, at the Palace of Beshik Tash. "How great and good," exclaimed Sir Moses, "is the Almighty! At the moment when I most despaired of success, He has granted our petition." Mr Pisani said he had no doubt he should get the Hatti Sherif, but he could not say when. Before we reached home it was six o'clock, and we found by the brilliant illumination of the minarets and mosques that the Rámázan had been declared.

Tuesday, October 27th.—In the course of the day the Háhám Bashi, Signor M. H. Fresco, came to Sir Moses by appointment, together with several leading members of the community and the secretary of the congregation. Sir Moses recommended him to issue an order that every school should have a well-qualified master, to teach the children to read and write the Turkish language. Sir Moses offered to pay the first expenses they would have to incur. The Háhám readily consented.

An order to that effect had been drawn up in the Turkish, Spanish, and Hebrew languages, and promulgated all over the country.

The Háhám Bashi is the head of all the Jews in the Turkish Empire, and his decrees are law. Sir Moses promised him to speak on the subject to Rechid Pasha before leaving Constantinople.

The following is the account, as given in Sir Moses' diary, of his audience with the Sultan:—

"Wednesday, October 28th.—Sir David Wilkie, Mr Pisani, and George Samuel dined with us, and at seven afterwards we set out. Our cavalcade consisted of one carriage with four horses, and one with two horses, six kávásses or police officers, eight men carrying large wax torches, two horsemen with each coach, a sedan chair with each coach, and three men to close the procession. As the carriages could not drive up to our door I was carried in a sedan chair to the foot of the hill, the other[Pg 271] gentlemen walked, and I went in the first carriage with Mr Pisani, the British Dragoman; George Samuel, Mr Wire, and Dr Loewe in the second. I wore my full uniform. The streets were crowded; many of the Jews had illuminated their houses. We reached the Palace in rather less than an hour. On descending from the carriages we found in the courtyard a large guard of honour, who presented arms. We were shown into a handsome drawing-room, furnished in the European style. Two magnificent silver candlesticks with large wax candles stood on the ground in the centre of a richly embroidered velvet carpet. We had not been seated two minutes when Rechid Pasha entered; he was most friendly in his manner. We were soon joined by Rizá Pasha, and all were served with coffee and pipes, the mouthpieces and bowls of the latter being richly embellished with diamonds.

"Rechid Pasha asked me how long I remained at Alexandria, how often I had seen Mohhammad Ali, and how he looked? In a few moments it was announced that the Sultan was ready to receive us. The two Pashas walked first, I next, and the rest of our party followed, a large throng of officers bringing up the rear.

"We crossed a garden about sixty yards in length, and entered a handsome marble hall; having descended a grand staircase, likewise of marble, we entered into the presence chamber.

"The Sultan was seated on a sofa, clad in his cloak of state, which was fastened at the neck with two large clasps of the finest diamonds. The cloak itself was of a violet colour, similar in cut to our own. He was a good-looking young man, and appeared about twenty-six years of age, though in reality but nineteen. The two Pashas took their station on his left, I and my party on his right. After having received some courteous signs of welcome from him, I delivered the speech I had intended to have read to him, but instead of reading it, I spoke it, as I knew it well by heart, and there was not sufficient light to read it without spectacles. I said as follows:—

"'May it please your Imperial Majesty,—In the name of my brethren, who have deputed me, I come to lay at the foot of your Imperial Throne the grateful homage of their respect.

"'England, my country, and other enlightened nations of the[Pg 272] earth, heard the cries of the suffering and persecuted Jews at Damascus and at Rhodes, and they hastened to offer to the sufferers their sympathy and affection. But the Lord God, who ruleth over all, prevented the necessity of their aid at Rhodes, and inspired your Imperial Majesty with wisdom, justice, and the love of truth. Under your righteous direction the oppressor was laid low, the designs of the wicked made known, and the innocent delivered. I therefore crave permission to offer to your Imperial Majesty the profound gratitude of the hearts of our people, and to utter our prayers that the merciful God may bless your Imperial Majesty with length of days, with wisdom, honour, and riches, and so direct all your actions, that your name may be inscribed in golden characters for ever, and the memory of your deeds smell as sweet as a garden of roses.

"'In ancient times the Lord God brought our people out of Egypt, and for ages they dwelt in Palestine; to them were committed the oracles of God, and though now dispersed among the nations of the earth, they are numbered with the most peaceful and loyal subjects, and by their industry they have augmented the riches and prosperity of the countries in which they live.

"'They look with love and veneration upon that land where their forefathers dwelt; they pray that all who live therein may enjoy the shadow of your sublime protection, and in peace be permitted to worship the God of their fathers.

"'Their prayers ascend to Him whose wisdom is absolute, whose decrees are fixed and immutable, whom none can withstand, imploring that he will make your enemies eat the dust, that they may vanish as the morning dew, and flee away as chaff before the wind; that your throne may endure for ever, and that all who live under your sceptre may have peace, sitting under their own vine and their own fig-tree, none daring or wishing to make them afraid.'

"The Sultan listened with great attention, and as soon as I had finished, Mr Pisani repeated it in Turkish. The Sultan smiled whilst he was reading, and showed that he well understood the address and was pleased with it. As soon as Mr Pisani had concluded, the Sultan fixed his eyes on me, and spoke in a mild and pleasing voice. 'I am perfectly satisfied,' he said, 'with the communication made and the sentiments expressed by the deputation.[Pg 273]

"'I have been affected by the events which have taken place in Damascus, but I have endeavoured to offer some satisfaction to the Israelitish nation, by giving orders that justice should be done in the affair of Rhodes.

"'The Israelitish nation shall always have, from me, the same protection and enjoy the same advantages as all other subjects of my Empire.

"'I will grant the deputation the firman they have asked.

"'I know, gentlemen, how to appreciate the pure philanthropy which has led you to this capital.'

"Having given his reply, the Sultan requested me to come nearer. Rechid Pasha again presented me by name. The Sultan smiled most graciously, and said, 'Present your friends to me.' I first presented George Samuels, my relative, then Mr Wire of the City of London, and Dr Loewe. When Mr Pisani repeated the last name and the Doctor made a bow, Mr Pisani informed the Sultan that the Doctor had presented to the late Sultan a translation of the hieroglyphical inscription on the Obelisk in the Hippodrome. The Sultan spoke with Rechid Pasha to explain it, and then said he remembered seeing it, and seemed much pleased, and said the Doctor must be a learned man.

"The Sultan could not have given us a more flattering reception; it was at the same time most dignified. The room in which he received us was well proportioned, and neatly furnished in European style. The curtains were of rich yellow satin and embroidered damask and velvet, most probably of French manufacture; the carpet was English; there were two large wax torches standing in elegantly carved candelabras. We descended a flight of marble stairs, and were shown into a large and handsome room, splendidly furnished, and more brilliantly illuminated than the other room. We chatted with Rechid and Riza Pashas, expressed our thanks to them for their great kindness in procuring for us at so unusual a time an audience with His Imperial Majesty, and our gratitude to His Majesty for his gracious reception and reply. I asked Rechid Pasha when I might hope to receive the firman which the Sultan had promised me, as I was most desirous of returning to England the moment I got it. He replied that he supposed I should not go before the next steamer left (on the 7th of November), and that I should have it by that time; but as it was the Rámázan, there[Pg 274] was some difficulty in preparing it. We returned in state as we came, the guard of honour saluting us as we passed them in the court of the palace. We were again served, after the audience, in the lower room of the palace with sherbet in elegant glasses, and we had splendidly embroidered table napkins. A military band played during the greater part of the time we were at the Palace. We found the streets still more crowded than when we went; not a window in the whole street through which we passed but was filled with female faces. As we approached the Jewish street we experienced even more difficulty in passing. At the end of the same street Signor Commundo, with the ecclesiastical chief of Galata and about twenty of our acquaintances, insisted on walking with us to our house. I was delighted to see my dear Judith, and to acquaint her with our happy reception and the complete success of our Mission, for which we return our grateful thanks to Heaven."[Pg 275]




On the 30th of October all the representatives of the Hebrew congregations called to express their thanks to Sir Moses for introducing the study of the Turkish language and its literature in their schools. The letter on the subject, addressed by the Háhám Bashi to all the congregations, had been printed, and was to be read publicly on the following day in all the Synagogues in Constantinople.

On Saturday we had the happiness of receiving from Mr Pisani the answer of His Imperial Majesty, which he had delivered to Sir Moses in reply to his address on Wednesday evening, which His Majesty promised should be delivered in writing. Rechid Pasha sent it by Mr Pisani, saying that he was preparing the firman which Sir Moses had requested from the Sultan. The same day the letter of the Háhám Bashi was read in all the Synagogues, and caused great satisfaction to all present, as they considered that the introduction of the Turkish language in the Jewish schools would raise the Jews in the estimation of both Moslems and Greeks. We had again many visitors, and received a deputation from Salonica, where there were 5000 Jewish families. Much distress, they said, prevailed there, in consequence of a fire which had destroyed 20,000 houses, of which 2000 belonged to Jews. They had presented a petition to the Sultan for assistance to rebuild the houses, as he had sent money for that purpose to the other inhabitants, but not to the Jews. They also complained that they were forced to pay the Governor large sums of money before he would allow them to bury any one. Sir Moses asked them if persons of other religions were also charged for the privilege[Pg 276] of burying their dead; they replied in the affirmative, but said the sum that others paid was very trifling as compared to the charges made to the Jews.

Mr Isaac Picciotto, who had just arrived from Damascus, paid us a visit. He was one of the unfortunate persons accused there, and had only been saved from torture by the protection of the Austrian Consul, he being an Austrian subject. He was kept seven months in the Consul's house, and had only had courage to leave it that week, after the other persons had returned to their homes. He expressed great gratitude for our exertions on their behalf, and shed tears on seeing us.

November 1st.—Mr Alison called, with a request from Rifaat Bey to Sir Moses to fix a day to dine with him, and he would invite Colonel Hodges to meet him. Sir Moses accepted the invitation for the following Wednesday. The intervening days were spent in receiving deputations and friends, and visiting various charitable institutions, where he distributed generous gifts.

November 7th.—Having seen much poverty at Kháskoey, Sir Moses went there, accompanied by Lady Montefiore and myself, to attend prayers at the Synagogue "Major."

On leaving the Synagogue, Sir Moses, according to previous arrangements, commenced distributing among the poor the money he had brought with him. But he was overpowered by the crowd, and had he not been rescued by the guard (two officers and six men) who attended him as a mark of honour, he would not have been able to pass. It required all their force to keep back the crowd till we had reached our abode. Sir Moses was obliged to leave the money with the wardens of the Synagogue to be distributed by them, observing that he had never in any other place witnessed so much poverty and distress.

Poor, however, as the people of Kháskoey were, they devoted a great part of their humble earnings to education, and not only to the education of their children, but also to that of grown-up members of their community; nor did they neglect to contribute to the support of their Synagogues.

My attention was here called to a rather amusing notice affixed to the portals of the Synagogue, containing strict orders and regulations, issued by the heads of the congregation, regarding the best mode of effecting economy in the affairs of the[Pg 277] community, collectively and individually. The members and their families were interdicted from wearing costly furs, dresses and head-dresses embroidered with gold or silver. Expensive shawls, gold and silver fringes on the costume, and similar luxuries are likewise prohibited. The women are not to bring their jewellery to the hamám (public bath), where they were in the habit of spending hours chatting with their friends and exhibiting their wealth. Similar restrictions were placed on festivities at weddings and at the naming of boys. Even at funerals the use of costly shawls on the biers of females was not permitted.

The poor of Galata were considered the following day, and we repaired to the Synagogue, there to distribute Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore's gifts.

In the course of the day Mr Pisani called, informing Sir Moses that he would receive a decoration from the Sultan.

Subsequently Sir Moses called on Lord Ponsonby, who promised to do what he could to relieve the distress in Rhodes.

Being pressed for time we soon returned, and proceeded to Rifáat Bey's. "It was already late," says Sir Moses, "when we came there, and found waiting there Lords Canning and Louvain, Colonel Hodges, Captain Gordon, Dr M'Carthy, Mr C. Alison, Rifáat Bey, and several Turkish gentlemen."

The conversation on the events in Syria was very interesting.

About nine o'clock we left the party, much pleased with the novelty of the scene.

November 6th.—We went first to the Austrian Ambassador and then to Rechid Pasha. The latter, who received us in a very friendly manner, said that the Hatti-Sherif was ready, but had not yet been signed by the Sultan. Sir Moses expressed his anxiety to have it as soon as possible, as he was desirous of leaving the next day. The Pasha said that if Mr Pisani came at ten o'clock the same evening to the Porte, he should have it, as he himself would go to Riza Pasha about it, and appointed twelve o'clock the next day to see Sir Moses.

Saturday evening, November 7th.—Sir Moses writes in his diary: "I sat up last night till after twelve, awaiting with great anxiety the return of Mr Wire, who had gone to Mr Pisani's house to fetch the firman for me as soon as Mr Pisani should return from the Porte, where Rechid Pasha had appointed him[Pg 278] to be at ten o'clock. I had just fallen asleep when Mr Wire knocked at my door, and showed me the firman which the Sultan had signed. It was beautifully written on thick parchment, and was enclosed in a coloured satin bag. I sent it to Dr Loewe, who had also retired, begging of him to read it and let me know if it was all we could desire for the satisfaction of our brethren. In a little while Mr Wire returned it to me, saying that Dr Loewe had read it, and had assured him it was written in the strongest possible terms as to the innocence of the Jews, as well as for their future protection.

"I then blessed the Lord God for His great goodness, placed the firman under my pillow, and fell asleep."

The next day I walked with Dr Loewe to Rechid Pasha's residence. I took the firman with me, as it had to be deposited in the Archives of the Ottoman Empire, and the Pasha had only sent it to me that I might be convinced of its authenticity. An official copy was, by order of the Sultan, forwarded to the Háhám Bashi. His Excellency, Rechid Pasha, received us immediately, and said he hoped I was satisfied with what the Sultan had done for us. Mr Pisani then handed me an official copy of the firman, and I gave the original to the Pasha. I had first begged to be allowed to keep it, but His Excellency said it was impossible, and my copy of it was in every respect accurate.

The following is an exact translation of the firman Hatti-Sherif (addressed to the Chief Judge at Constantinople), at the head of which His Imperial Majesty the Sultan Abd-ool-medjid wrote with his own hand the following words: "Let that be executed which is prescribed in this Firman:"—

"An ancient prejudice prevailed against the Jews. The ignorant believed that the Jews were accustomed to sacrifice a human being to make use of his blood at their feast of Passover.

"In consequence of this opinion, the Jews of Damascus and Rhodes (who are subjects of our Empire) have been persecuted by other nations. The calumnies which have been uttered against the Jews, and the vexations to which they have been subjected, have at last reached our Imperial Throne.

"But a short time has elapsed since some Jews dwelling in the Island of Rhodes have been brought from thence to Constantinople, where they have been tried and judged according to[Pg 279] the new regulations, and their innocence of the accusations made against them fully proved. That, therefore, which justice and equity required has been done on their behalf.

"Besides which the religious books of the Hebrews have been examined by learned men, well versed in their theological literature, the result of which examination is, that it is found that the Jews are strongly prohibited, not only from using human blood, but even that of animals. It therefore follows that the charges made against them and their religion are nothing but pure calumny.

"For this reason, and for the love we bear to our subjects, we cannot permit the Jewish nation (whose innocence of the crime alleged against them is evident) to be vexed and tormented upon accusations which have not the least foundation in truth, but in conformity to the Hatti-Sherif which has been proclaimed at Gulhani, the Jewish nation shall possess the same advantages and enjoy the same privileges as are granted to the numerous other nations who submit to our authority.

"The Jewish nation shall be protected and defended.

"To accomplish this object, we have given the most positive orders that the Jewish nation, dwelling in all parts of our empire, shall be perfectly protected, as well as all other subjects of the sublime Porte, and that no person shall molest them in any manner whatever (except for a just cause), neither in the free exercise of their religion, nor in that which concerns their safety and tranquillity. In consequence, the present firman, which is ornamented at the head with our 'Hoomaioon' (sign-manual), and emanates from our Imperial Chancellerie, has been delivered to the Israelitish nation.

"Thus you, the above-mentioned judge, when you know the contents of this firman, will endeavour to act with great care in the manner therein prescribed. And in order that nothing may be done in opposition to this firman, at any time hereafter, you will register it in the Archives of the Tribunal; you will afterwards deliver it to the Israelitish nation, and you will take great care to execute our orders, and this our sovereign will.

"Given at Constantinople, 12th Rámázan, 1256 (November 6th, 1840)."

I gave Rechid Pasha the order issued by the Háhám Bashi respecting the instruction henceforth to be given in all the Hebrew public schools in the Turkish language. He read the paper carefully, and said he was much pleased; he also made[Pg 280] the following remark: "If you had done nothing else in Constantinople than that, you ought to consider yourself amply compensated for the trouble and fatigue you have undergone, by the consciousness of having been instrumental in affording your brethren the opportunity of raising their position, by a knowledge of the Turkish language." He then told me of his having written to the Pasha of Rhodes to take special care that the Jews were always under proper protection, so that, if they wished to leave the town, they might do so without fear of molestation.

On our return home we found a great many visitors who had come to bid us farewell. Towards evening the representatives of all the congregations called, and prayers were recited at the conclusion of the Sabbath. Soon after dark, Monsieur Le Goff, who had promised to call for us when it would be time to embark, came, and we all went on board. Hundreds of people pressed round us as we embarked, offering prayers and good wishes for our safe return to England.

On the 9th November we landed at Smyrna, where Sir Moses left Greek translations of the firman, as well as many charitable gifts for distribution. Six days later we arrived at Malta, where we learned that St Jean d'Acre had been taken, after three hours' fight, but with very little loss.

This, Sir Moses thought, would settle the affair of Syria, and he had some hope that Egypt itself would soon return to the Sultan. The officer of the Lazaretto came, and advised us to remain on board that day and the next. He told us we should have excellent apartments in Fort Manoel, as the Emir Besheer and his attendants, about 120 persons, would then leave the Lazaretto. Sir Moses agreed to this, and the next day the commandant, Monsieur Le Goff, took us in his boat to Fort-Manoel. The Emir Besheer and his suite only left at nine o'clock. We saw them going in two boats on their way to St Antonio. The Emir Besheer was in the Governor's boat with some of the attendants; the ladies, about twelve of them, were in another boat. The Emir was a noble-looking old man, with a long white beard; the ladies were all dressed in white, and had their faces veiled. I once had the opportunity of seeing the Emir in his mountains at Ebtedeen. His proper name was Emir Sa'ad ed-deen Esh-shehâbi. His political movements, as well as his general course of life, from a religious point of view, could not stand the test of a[Pg 281] strict investigation. He spoke on one occasion, in the presence of French officers, disrespectfully of the Queen, and also of the Sultan. The British Consul at Damascus, now Sir Richard Wood, escorted him to Constantinople, where he received a serious reprimand from the English Ambassador and the Turkish authorities.

We found that our apartments were not ready for immediate occupation, and we therefore had to remain a long time in the open air, until they had undergone a process of fumigation and ventilation.

November 19th.—A French war steamer arrived in the morning from Alexandria, reporting the recall of Ibrahim Pasha from Syria, and the countermanding of troops under orders for Syria, and of the levy of Bedáwees. We also learned that the Pasha had given up the Turkish fleet, and contented himself, with the vice-regal power in Egypt; and that all this had been approved by a council. Sir Moses remarked, "that all this might be true, but if the Sultan allowed Mohhammad Ali to retain Egypt, he would not suffer Syria to remain quiet for twelve months, but would excite insurrections. The English government," he said, "had the game in their own hands, and he hoped they would not throw it away; Syria would never be safe while Mohhammad Ali ruled in Egypt."

September 23rd.—Sir Hector Grey sent the welcome tidings that our imprisonment would be reduced to fifteen days instead of twenty. A few days later, Captain H. M. Austin, of Her Majesty's steam frigate Cyclops, arrived from Beyrout, and gave us a most interesting account of all that had been passing in Syria. He expected that Ibrahim Pasha would be taken, and that Mohhammad Ali would retain Egypt, as our ministers, he said, wished it.

Friday, September 27th.—We had many visitors at Fort Manoel Lazaretto (Malta) this day: Lady Stopford and her daughter, Captain and Mrs Copeland, and the Greek Consul; also Captain Le Goff of the Minos. All of them gave accounts of the state of politics. The French steamer brought us letters from Signor Communda, in which he informed Sir Moses, that Rechid Pasha had sent his chief secretary, accompanied by many officers, to the Jews with the Hatti-Sherif. It was publicly read amidst the universal joy of the people, and prayers were offered up for the Sultan, also for Sir Moses.[Pg 282]




November 30th.—Sir Hector Grey called, bringing news (in confirmation of previous reports) to the effect that Commodore Napier had made a convention with Mohhammad Ali: the latter was to give up Syria, recall Ibrahim Pasha, and restore the Turkish fleet, on being guaranteed by the four Powers in his authority over Egypt.

Having accepted an invitation from the Governor to dine with him, we repaired to the Palace, and met a very pleasant party of twenty-four persons. The Governor repeatedly expressed, to Sir Moses his satisfaction with the result of his Mission.

December 2nd.—Major Churchill called, bringing with him Colonel Hugh Rose and Colonel Golquhoun; all offered to take letters and parcels for us to Damascus. Sir Moses availed himself of their kindness, and entrusted Major Churchill with a box containing letters, newspapers, and copies of the Sultan's Hatti-Sherif for transmission to the representatives of the Hebrew community at Damascus.

At ten in the evening we went, by invitation from Colonel Winchester and officers of the 92nd Highlanders, to a splendid ball. All the élite of the island were present, the Governor, the Admiral, &c. Sir Moses was introduced to General Mitchel and all the officers then going to Syra. They offered him every assistance he might desire, and promised to protect the Jews.

Lady Lewis called to invite Lady Montefiore to go with her to see the Emir Besheer's lady, Báheeyát Eddoonyá (the beauty of the world), and Sir Moses and party to accompany them, and call on the Emir. The invitation was gladly accepted. We[Pg 283] were detained there a long time, the Emir having a great deal to say to Sir Moses respecting his own affairs, as he wished him to intercede on his behalf with the English government.

Saturday, December 5th.—Attended divine service early in the morning, and received in the course of the day the representatives of the Hebrew community. They came to thank Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore for what they had done for them, and wished us a safe voyage home.

The Emir Besheer sent his Bishop to Sir Moses, and begged he would speak with Lord Palmerston. He had written himself to the Queen, praying Her Majesty for his return to the mountains. He wished him to say that his family had ruled there two hundred years, and himself fifty.

Sir Moses promised the Emir to comply with his request, and Lady Montefiore returned compliments and good wishes to the Princess Báheeyát Eddoonyá.

December 6th.—Early in the morning we went on board the French steamer Dante at Malta, and after a two days' pleasant sea voyage, dropped anchor in the Bay of Naples.

December 8th.—Sir Moses was very anxious to prepare here for the important work he would have to do at Rome regarding the removal of a scandal that might, at some future period, become a source of great vexation and misery to thousands of innocent Jews.

I allude to the libellous epitaph which the Capuchins at Damascus had inscribed on the stone erected over an opening in which some bones of animals had been put.

The inscription, which had been copied by two monks, was in the Italian and Arabic language, as follows:—

"D. O. M.

"Qui riposano le ossa del P^re Tomaso da Sardegna Miss^o Cappuccino assassinato dagli Ebrei il giorno 5 de Febraro l'anno 1840."

Translation of Italian Inscription.

"Here rest the bones of Father Tomaso of Sardinia, a Capuchin missionary, murdered by the Hebrews on the 5th of February 1840."[Pg 284]

Translation of Arabic Inscription.

"The outward appearance of the tomb of Father Tomaso the Capuchin, and its place of wailing. He zealously discharged the duties of his calling as one of the missionaries in Damascus—the Jews slaughtered him—his goodness did not save him.

"The laying down of his bones took place on the 5th of February 1840."

The Baron and the Baroness Charles de Rothschild called soon after our arrival. They considered with us what was best to be done to facilitate the intended proceedings at Rome, and agreed to seek an interview with the Pope's Nuncio. Permission was obtained the same day from the Minister of Police to have the Hatti Sherif printed and published in Italian papers. His Excellency had them printed for Sir Moses, and forwarded him several hundred copies for distribution among friends.

Mr Briggs paid them a visit, and having discussed all that had taken place in Alexandria, expressed much pleasure at the result of the Mission.

Naples, December 10th.—Sir Moses went with Baron Charles to the Pope's Nuncio, who received them most kindly. He complimented Sir Moses, saying that he was an excellent ambassador, as was proved by his success.

On acquainting him with the object of his visit, and asking for his advice as to the best mode of proceeding when at Rome to procure the removal of the stone in the Latin Convent of the Capuchins at Damascus, the Nuncio said that the business must be hinted with much delicacy at Rome; he was going there on the 13th January, and would do it himself if Sir Moses would remain at Naples. Sir Moses, however, could not remain so long, and the Nuncio promised to prepare a letter, to a friend at Rome and send it to him.

In the evening we all dined with the Baron and Baroness de Rothschild. The entertainment was given in honour of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore; twenty-four at table—Princes and Princesses, Dukes and Duchesses, the élite of the Neapolitan nobility, as well as Admiral Gowley and other distinguished officers in the navy. We were also invited to a ball, but Sir Moses was not sufficiently well to go, and Lady Montefiore would not go without him.[Pg 285]

December 16th.—A visit was paid to the Austrian Ambassador, Count de Lebselter. Both Sir Moses and Baron de Rothschild were much pleased with his remarks on the recent events in the East.

December 19th.—Sir Moses and Baron Charles went to the French Ambassador, who received them most kindly.

Sir Moses recounted to him Count Ratti-Menton's conduct in the affair of Damascus, with the full particulars. He also told him what he had effected in Constantinople, and he had the happiness of hearing the Ambassador state that it had been his opinion from the first that the Jews were innocent of the crime imputed to them. He several times congratulated Sir Moses on his success; said that he was glad the latter intended going to Paris, and that he should make the government acquainted with the conduct of Ratti-Menton, but without publishing it to the world. The Duke was the first Frenchman that Sir Moses had heard express in so decided a manner his conviction of the innocence of the Jews.

It was reported that the Sultan had refused to ratify Commodore Napier's convention, at the request of the Ambassadors of the four Powers. They would not consent to the Pasha having Candia.

Naples, December 20th.—"We entered our good old carriage this morning," Sir Moses writes in his diary, "at eight; the weather was mild and pleasant. We had four horses to our carriage, and only a pair to the carriage for Mr Wire and Dr Loewe, though I was obliged to pay for three, as we do not intend travelling at night, and are anxious to get on as fast as we can. We hope to save much time and obtain better accommodation on the road by having a courier."

December 22nd.—Through the carelessness of the postilions, Sir Moses' carriage was driven against a cart, the pole of the former being broken. Our carriage also met with an accident, but we nevertheless all reached Rome safely. Soon after entering the gates of the city we were greeted by a deputation of our brethren, who followed us to our hotel, and expressed their pleasure at seeing us return in good health. We then proceeded to the Synagogue, which had been most brilliantly illuminated in our honour.

The people of Rome were delighted with our success at Constantinople;[Pg 286] the firman, they considered, gave some reparation for the past and security for the future.

December 23rd.—Sir Moses presented his letter of introduction to Prince Alexander Torlonia, who likewise congratulated him on the success of the Mission.

Another deputation from the Jews of Rome came to express their thanks to Sir Moses for his exertions on behalf of his co-religionists, regretting that it was not in their power to prove their gratitude by something more than words.

Rome, December 24th.—We then called on Baron de Binder, the Attaché to the Austrian Embassy. Sir Moses intimated his desire to be introduced to the Austrian Ambassador, in order to thank him for the lively interest he had taken in favour of the Jews of Damascus.

The Baron said he should be happy to introduce him, but as the following day was Christmas day, and the New Year holidays were so near, he feared some few days must elapse before he would be able to get an appointment.

Sir Moses informed the Baron of his earnest desire to be presented to the Pope, to express his gratitude to him for not having permitted the public press of Rome to insert the charges made against the Jews at Rhodes and Damascus, also to present His Holiness with a copy of the firman granted by the Sultan, and to intimate the great act of kindness it would be on his part to advise the removal of the inscription from the stone in the convent at Damascus, over some bones said to be those of Father Tommaso. The Sultan would doubtless, if applied to, order the removal of the stone, as soon as his Governor was in the city; but Sir Moses, well knowing His Holiness' love of truth and peace, felt confident that, if made known to him, he would not permit such a libel to remain.

December 25th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, while visiting one of the public institutions, met the Princess Augusta of Cambridge, who spoke to them most kindly. Prince A. Torlonia sent them the key of his box at the opera. They availed themselves of this kindness in company with several friends. "Being the first representation of the season," writes Sir Moses, "the house was filled to overflowing in every part. The Queen of Spain, the Duchess of Cambridge and her daughter were present, as well as every person of note in Rome. It is customary for[Pg 287] the Governor of the city, on the first night of the season, to offer to the audience in the second and third tiers of boxes, ices, cakes, &c., twice during the evening, between the acts. Simultaneously, as if by magic, two waiters entered into each of the sixty-two boxes, one bearing wax candles in silver candlesticks and the other trays with the choicest refreshments. We had one of the best and largest boxes in the house, and remained till nearly twelve."

The following day Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received a beautiful address from the Consistoire Israélite of France, offering congratulations and deep gratitude for their noble exertions.

December 29th.—Sir Moses went with Baron Binder to Count Lebselter, the Austrian Minister. The Count expressed himself most handsomely, saying that he was perfectly convinced of the innocence of the Jews, and that he knew the people well, having been Ambassador at Constantinople for four years. He said he had frequently spoken with the Cardinals on the subject of the Damascus affair, but he did not succeed in converting them to his opinion. He recommended Sir Moses to see Mr Aubin, who then acted as agent for the British Government, and to request Mr Aubin to present him to Signor Capuccini, Under Secretary of State, and explain to him his wishes.

December 30th.—Sir Moses had a long conversation with Mr Aubin, who consented to speak to Signor Capuccini and acquaint him with Sir Moses' desire to be introduced to the Pope. Mr Aubin said, as to the presentation he feared he should not succeed, but thought perhaps he might with the request referring to the firman.

At four o'clock Sir Moses saw Mr Aubin again. He had been with Signor Capuccini, but could not succeed in any way, and was, indeed, most anxious that Sir Moses should not even call upon him. Mr Aubin said that all the people about the Pope were persuaded that the Jews had murdered Father Tommaso, and even if all the witnesses in the world were brought before the Pope to prove the contrary, neither he nor his people would be convinced, and he could do nothing more.

Sir Moses, on hearing this, determined at once to leave his card, together with his letters of introduction, with Signor Capuccini and the Cardinal Tosti, which he did, also leaving cards on Monsignor Bruti and the Abbé Ferrari, and was informed[Pg 288] two days later that the Secretary of State had appointed eleven on the following day to receive him.

Sir Moses called on Torlonia, and spoke to him respecting his introduction to the Pope, to solicit his directions for the removal of the stone. The Prince promised to consult his brother, the Duke, and see what could be done; personally he thought it should be done through the Propaganda. Sir Moses left him a translation of Mr Shadwell's letter on the subject.

It was again reported that the Sultan would not ratify Commodore Napier's convention with Mohhammad Ali, but that Lord Palmerston would insist upon the ratification.

We then visited the Ghetto, where we were met by a deputation of our brethren, who took us to see the workshops. We saw many Jewish children at work, some weaving, others making shoes. Sir Moses gave to each child a Spanish dollar, and two Napoleons to each teacher. We next went to the four schools. Sir Moses gave to each boy half a dollar, and fourteen dollars to the students, for the study of the Holy Law.

On our return, Sir Moses found that cards had been left by the Abbé Ferrari; Monsignor Bruti, private chamberlain to the Pope; and Baron de Binder Kriegelstein.

Great anxiety was felt by Sir Moses as to the result of his endeavours to get an audience with the Pope. His petition was already prepared, and he hoped by some means to get it into the Pope's hands. If this could be effected, he thought some good might be done. "Heaven only knows," he said, "my fears are much greater than my hopes; neither the Austrian Minister nor Baron de Binder will do anything."

The Hanoverian Minister had expressed to Baron de Binder his total inability to assist Sir Moses in obtaining an audience with His Holiness. Mr Aubin said he had done all he could, but ineffectually, and Signer Capuccini entreated that Sir Moses would not insist upon seeing the Pope, as the Cardinal Tosti had taken no notice of either Sir Moses' letter or card. "This is the last night of the year 1840," Sir Moses said. "It has been a year of much anxiety, fatigue, and danger to Lady Montefiore and myself, but thanks to the God of our Fathers, we trust its fruits will be productive of much good to His children, not only in the East, but in the West as well."[Pg 289]




At Rome, 1st January 1841, Sir Moses writes: "Monsignor Bruti called on us, and I asked his advice as to the best means of obtaining the removal of the stone, &c. He advised my first trying the head of the Capuchins here, also of the Propaganda, before I went to the Secretary of State, and offered, if I would postpone my visit to the Secretary of State, which I had arranged with Mr Kolb for to-morrow, to make enquiries in some influential quarters, and see me again to-morrow to acquaint me with the best mode of proceeding. He spoke in a liberal manner, and appeared to think I might succeed. In consequence of this, Mr Wire wrote to Mr Kolb to postpone the appointment.

"January 2nd.—Monsignor Bruti came in. He said he had spoken to several influential persons, but the one he particularly wished to see was out of town; if he did not return in a few days, he would go to him. Monsignor Bruti thought the petition I had prepared for the Pope very likely to meet with success, if I first gained the concurrence of some of the Capuchins, and he advised my making some presents of money. I instantly stopped him, and assured him that, in the execution of my Mission, I had not given a single dollar, nor would I do so in Rome, even if I was sure to obtain by it the object I had so much at heart. This information had a great effect on his manner of speaking, and he left us in two minutes. I daresay we shall see little more of him."

January 4th.—Mr Kolb went with us to the Monastery to endeavour to see Cardinal Riverola, the head of the Capuchins; he was unwell, but appointed to see us the next day at twelve.[Pg 290] Monsignor Bruti called; he seemed very desirous to know how Sir Moses was going on; the latter, however, did not think Monsignor Bruti could assist him.

January 5th.—"I received a letter," Sir Moses writes in his diary, "from Prince Torlonia, expressing his regret that he had not succeeded in his application for me, and enclosing a letter he received from the Chamberlain of His Holiness, stating that at present His Holiness did not give any audiences. At twelve, I and Dr Loewe went to Monsieur C. de Kolb; he joined us, and we went to the Monastery. We were admitted immediately to his Eminence, Cardinal Agostino Riverola. Mr Kolb introduced me. I acquainted the Cardinal with the object of my visit to him, as he was the chief of the Capuchins. I urged the injustice of allowing such a libel to exist in the Convent at Damascus, pointing out that the inscription stated that Padre Tommaso was assassinated by the Hebrews. I said that both Mohhammad Ali and the Sultan were satisfied as to the innocence of the accused, and they had both given me firmans confirming their opinion. The Cardinal said the firman was most important, and he would at once sanction the removal of the stone, whether the firman had been obtained by Rothschild's fortune or by other means. I instantly stopped the Cardinal, and assured him that I had not given a dollar for the firman, nor would I have attempted to obtain justice by bribery. He said that was immaterial, he would not enter into the subject; the firman was of great importance. The inscription, he said, was most improper, as it charged all the Israelites with the murder. What would be said if a Florentine committed a crime, and all Florentines were charged with it? I assured the Cardinal that Padre Tommaso had not been murdered by a Jew, but he did not seem to credit my assurance. I said I thought it possible that the Padre might still be living in one of the Monasteries of Lebanon. The Cardinal laughed, and turning to Mr Kolb, said, perhaps Cardinal Fesch was still living. It was his opinion, however, that the stone should be removed, and he would confer with the general of the Capuchins on the subject, as he could not give instructions for its removal without his concurrence. I asked if he would see him to-day, but he replied, 'Look at the weather; it is impossible, but I will in a day or two.' I enquired when I might call again; he said, 'whenever I pleased.' I gave the[Pg 291] Cardinal two copies of the firman, also translations of the letters sent me by Mr Shadwell and the Rev. J. Marshall. The result of my interview leads me to hope that with patience and perseverance I may succeed in getting the inscription removed.

"January 6th.—Signer Scala paid us a visit, and advised me to forward the petition I had prepared for His Holiness to the Cardinal. I and Dr Loewe then went to the Cardinal's house; we sent in the petition, enclosed in one to himself. We then had an interview with him in his library. He told us that he had read the petition, but that it was not his department to present petitions to His Holiness. I asked him kindly to inform me in whose department it was. He replied, the Cardinal's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I gave him two of my pamphlets with the firman, and we took our leave. We returned to our hotel, and I immediately wrote to Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. We took the letter to his house, but he was at dinner, and the servant informed us he must not be disturbed. We could leave the paper, and it would be given to the Cardinal. If we returned at six o'clock we should have an answer. We left the papers. At six, Dr Loewe went to Cardinal Lambruschini. His servant said the Cardinal had read the papers, but he had nothing to do with them; that the application had been made before, and that he returned them. Thus, it appears, all doors are closed against my petition finding its way to His Holiness.

"Mr Kolb said I must be prepared to hear bad news to-morrow from the Cardinal Riverola, as the Cardinal felt great surprise at my boldness in replying to him respecting the Rothschilds having purchased the firman with their fortunes, and also about the Jews not having murdered Father Tommaso. I believe it is not of much consequence, but, at all events, I would not suffer any one to suppose for a moment that I had been base enough to bribe any one for the purpose of freeing the Jews from false and base accusations. At twelve I went with Dr Loewe and Mr Wire to Mr Kolb. He joined us, and we proceeded to the Convent of the Frati di St Marcello to Cardinal Riverola, the protector of the Capuchins. We were all presented to him. I took my seat next to him by his desire. He informed me that he would write to advise the removal of the stone from the Convent of the Capuchins at Damascus;[Pg 292] that he could not order the removal of the stone, but would advise it; that the Convent was under the protection of the French authority, who had caused it to be erected; that all the monks belonging to that Convent, except one, had died, and that several monks would be sent there as soon as Syria became more tranquil. The Cardinal was most friendly in his manner. Before I left he returned me the copies of the letters of Mr Shadwell, &c., I gave him to read at my last interview, but he kept the copy of the firman, as well as the copy of the firman of Mohhammad Ali which I gave Mr Kolb for him. Cardinal Riverola had consulted with the Chief of the Capuchins at Rome. It was this person who assured the Cardinal that he had not the power to remove the stone, but if he advised it, the advice would certainly be followed. I must see when I get to Paris what can be done with the French Minister."

Sir Moses then called on Baron Binder and Prince Torlonia, and informed them of what he had done. In the course of the day Signor Scala came to inform him that the Pope had appointed the next day at eleven o'clock to receive the deputation of the Jews of Rome who annually paid their homage to him at that season.

January 8th.—We called on Mr Aubin to ask his advice respecting the petition to His Holiness. He was of opinion that Sir Moses had better not present it unless Cardinal Riverola advised it. We afterwards called on Mr Kolb. He said he was satisfied the Cardinal would keep his promise, and Sir Moses would only do mischief if he attempted to petition the Pope. Signor Scala and the deputation that accompanied him were received by the Pope, who said he was well satisfied with his Hebrew subjects, and would grant them all the privileges his religion permitted.

We quitted Rome on Monday evening (January 11th), and travelling viâ Viterbo and Sienna, reached Leghorn on the 14th January.

"Most grateful do I feel," said Sir Moses, "to the Almighty for having conducted me and my dear Judith in safety and peace to this my native city."

Saturday, January 16th.—About one o'clock the Chancellor of the Congregation came, saying that he had received an intimation from the Governor of the town that the latter wished[Pg 293] to make the acquaintance of Sir Moses, but that etiquette prevented his calling on him, and he had therefore sent his card by his aide-de-camp. In consequence of this we all went to His Excellency, accompanied by the Chancellor, Signer Basevi. He received us most politely, and paid Sir Moses a great many compliments. He said, among other things, that every friend of humanity owed him a debt of gratitude. He was delighted to have made his personal acquaintance, and hoped to see him again.

January 17th.—Accompanied by Signor Basevi, we went to the old burial-ground, where we met seventeen old men who knew Signor R. H. Racah, Sir Moses' uncle and godfather. Sir Moses distributed money among them, and proceeded to the new burial-ground, where, on seeing the grave of one of his relations without a tombstone, he gave the order to have one made at his expense.

19th January.—We left Leghorn at 1 p.m., Sir Moses being obliged to leave by a side door to escape the great numbers of people who were waiting in front of the hotel to pay their respects to the Champion of Israel. About two o'clock we were all much alarmed by Lady Montefiore being suddenly taken seriously ill, with a numbness of her hand and arm, and a dizziness and great pain in the head, which almost deprived her of speech and motion. She was just able to ask for the Prayer Book. Gradually she recovered from the attack, which Sir Moses hoped was only spasmodic, though she remained weak and very unwell.

From Genoa we made our way to Savona, but in consequence of a serious carriage accident, in which Buck, one of the servants, was badly hurt, we immediately returned to Genoa to obtain medical assistance. By some misunderstanding which had arisen between our couriers and the postillions of another carriage on the road, that of the Prince and Princess Marc de Beauvaix, in changing horses, ours took fright and went off down a hill. On the one side there was a deep precipice, of at least a hundred feet, into the sea; on the other a deep ditch. The carriage was thrown into the ditch, and fell on the side of the hill, which prevented it from being entirely overturned. Sir Moses, on getting Lady Montefiore out of the carriage, found she had lost all power to help herself, and placed her on the side of the road,[Pg 294] while he endeavoured to restore her. As soon as the carriages were ready again, the invalids were carefully placed in them, and we all returned to the Hotel Croce di Malta, our old quarters, where we found everything prepared for us, all having been ordered by the young couple who were the innocent cause of our misfortune. We soon had Robert carried to bed, and Dr Bennett, an English surgeon and a very clever man, very carefully examined the patient, and did all that was necessary for his comfort and recovery. He said the wound in his leg would be of no consequence, but if it had been extended the hundredth part of an inch it would have cut the artery, and he would have bled to death before we could have even placed him in the carriage.

Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were much fatigued and agitated, but full of deep gratitude to Heaven for the mercy shown to them and to their faithful servant, Robert, whom they would not leave; and they remained at Genoa till he was sufficiently recovered to travel.

January 26th.—Mr Yates Brown, the British Consul, called with the compliments of the Governor of Genoa, who desired to make Sir Moses' acquaintance. The latter agreed to accompany him the next day to His Excellency.

January 27th.—I accompanied Sir Moses to His Excellency the Marchese Paulucca, the Governor of Genoa, who received him most kindly, enquired as to the result of his voyage to the East, and was happy to hear of its success. "He had never," he said, "for a moment believed the charges against the Israelites; he had been Governor of Georgia, where there were many of that nation, and he had never heard of such a thing; he had known many Jews for eighteen years, and respected them. He had allowed a contradiction of the charge to appear in the Genoa Gazette, for which he said he had been reprimanded by the Government; nevertheless, he was glad he had done it. Sir Moses gave His Excellency two copies of the firman, with which he seemed much pleased. The Rev. E. Bondi subsequently related to Sir Moses an anecdote concerning the Marchese. About three months previously an Englishman, a Protestant, with a large family, had given much trouble to the British Government respecting a claim he had on the Sardinian Government, but not having succeeded in gaining his object, in a fit of spleen he embraced the Catholic religion with all his family. The ceremony[Pg 295] took place in the great church at Genoa, in the presence of the King, the Royal family, and the great officers. On the following day the King inquired of the Marchese Paulucca if he was not delighted with the beautiful ceremony (supposing him to have been present), but the latter informed His Majesty that he was not in the church at the time. The King expressed his surprise, and inquired the reason. The Marchese replied that he disliked hypocrisy of all kinds. The King was silent, but did not speak to him for three days."

Monsieur Blaurie, the Consul General of France, sent us the key of his box at the opera, and begged we would go there in the evening, but Sir Moses declined the favour.

Friday, January 29th.—Mr Wire left us to-day to proceed by sea to Marseilles and thence to England, accompanied by a French courier whom Sir Moses engaged to attend him. The Gazette of Genoa (a paper which contained many articles unfavourable to the Jews) now published the firman, and other journals followed the example. The representatives of the Hebrew community requested to be favoured with some copies, to be distributed among their acquaintances, not only in this city, but in every town where there were Israelites, as they had all suffered more or less by the infamous calumny. In Genoa a song had been printed and sung about the streets, relating the particulars of the supposed murder of Padre Tommaso, and the confessions of the persons accused of the crime.

February 1st.—Lord and Lady Roden and Lady Stratford Canning came to see Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. They spoke much on the subject of our Mission. His lordship told Sir Moses that the upper classes even of that place were ignorant and fanatic. An Italian lady only three days before told him at a large party that a young woman was missing in the city, and she believed the Jews had taken her, with the intention of keeping her for a time to see if her blood was pure, and then to kill her to use the blood in the Passover cakes. His lordship asked her the name of the person who gave her the information, and on what authority they did so, but she could not answer that question.

February 9th.—We travelled by Marseilles and Avignon, and reached Lyons the next day.

February 17th.—Reached Auxerre. During the last three[Pg 296] days we had noticed some reports in the papers to the effect that Sherif Pasha, the late Governor of Damascus, had incurred the displeasure of Ibrahim Pasha, the latter having threatened to have him tried by court martial. His troubles were therefore beginning, and he would perhaps regret the injustice he committed when enjoying the favour of his Highness.

February 18th.—On our arrival at Paris, Mr S. Almosnino, the Secretary of the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew congregation of London, came expressly to Sir Moses to deliver some letters to him from the representatives of that body. Sir Moses was much pleased to see this worthy and faithful officer of his community, and gave him a hearty welcome. After paying visits to the Barons James and Solomon de Rothschild, to report to them on the result of the Mission, Sir Moses left his card at Lord Granville's.

Friday, February 19th.—Sir Moses called on Lord Granville, and told his lordship that he was anxious to present to His Majesty the King a copy of the firman Hatti-Sherif granted by the Sultan to the Israelites in his dominions. His Lordship said, as Monsieur Thiers had taken a prominent part in the affair of Damascus, it was probable the King might not wish to receive the firman. Sir Moses replied that he thought His Majesty too great a lover of justice to refuse his request. His Lordship then asked him whether he would publish the refusal, in case the King's reply should be unfavourable. Sir Moses immediately replied in the negative; that his object was to promote peace, and not to create animosity. Upon which his Lordship said he would consult Monsieur Guizot, and let him know the result. The next day Sir Moses received a note from Lord Granville, informing him that His Majesty had notified his willingness to receive him at the Tuileries the same evening.

Saturday, February 20th.—At half-past eight his Lordship also informed him in a second note that he would be at the Palace to present him.

The following is an account of the interview with the King in Sir Moses' own words:—

"I was so fatigued that I could eat no dinner, but dressed myself in my uniform, and at half-past eight I went to the Palace, accompanied by Dr Loewe. A minute or two afterwards Lord Granville came in, and we were immediately conducted into the presence of the King and the Royal family. There were a number of officers in the room. His Majesty came up the[Pg 297] moment we entered. Lord Granville presented me. I then offered to the King the translation of the Hatti-Sherif; he accepted it of me in a most gracious manner, said he was happy to receive it, and enquired if I had been at Damascus. I informed him that the disturbed state of the country had prevented me, but His Majesty would perceive by the firman I had the honour of placing in his hands, that there was no longer any occasion for my going, as the Sultan had expressed his entire conviction that the accusations against the Jews at Damascus were calumnies. His Majesty said he was happy it was so. He said he feared he had put me to some inconvenience by the very short notification he had given me, but as to-morrow was Sunday, he was fearful it would be detaining me longer at Paris than I wished. He then turned to Lord Granville, and said he also feared he had occasioned him some inconvenience. Dr Loewe was then presented, and Lord Granville took me to the Queen, and afterwards to the King's sister; both were very gracious, and spoke to us in French for a long time.

"There was a Member of the Chamber who appeared to know me, and spoke to me about the Damascus affair. He began to rail against Monsieur Thiers, but I stopped him, saying that the result of my Mission had been so completely successful, I was desirous of having everything of an unpleasant nature forgotten."

Sir Moses expressed himself to all his friends as being greatly pleased with his reception by the King.

Numerous visitors called and left cards. Some of them came expressly from England, so as to be able to offer their hearty welcome to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore a few days sooner than they could have done by awaiting their arrival at home.

February 22nd.—Sir Moses went to Monsieur Guizot, who was very civil, and spoke much on the Mission. He requested Sir Moses to give him copies of the letters he had received from the Rev. Joseph Marshall, Lieutenant Shadwell, and the Rev. E. Schlientz.

On his return to the hotel the members of the Consistoire Israélite, the spiritual chiefs of the community, and deputations from all the charitable institutions called, and presented to him and Lady Montefiore addresses of congratulation.

February 24th.—We left Paris, and reached Dover on Friday, where we rested over the Sabbath.[Pg 298]




February 28th.—In the evening we arrived at Park Lane, London, where Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received a hearty welcome from their relatives and friends.

The next morning, and for many days afterwards, visitors called in great numbers. Deputations from various communal institutions, literary societies, and financial companies arrived and presented addresses.

In most of the Synagogues special services were held, and the exertions of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore in the cause of suffering humanity, and in the vindication of the purity of the religious tenets of Israel, were warmly acknowledged by all present.

The Hebrew communities of Paris, Hamburg, Frankfort-on-the-Main, and Magdeburg, together with those established in Italy, the United States of America, the Barbary States, Egypt, and Turkey, all sent testimonials, which are now preserved in Judith, Lady Montefiore's Theological College at Ramsgate.

March 3rd.—Sir Moses went to Lord Palmerston to thank him for his great kindness and assistance in his Mission, and to give him an account of all that had occurred at Alexandria and Constantinople. He also spoke to him of the Emir Béshir, having promised the latter when at Malta to intercede in his behalf with the British Government. Sir Moses asked his Lordship whether he might present the Queen with a copy of the firman Hatti-Sherif, to which Lord Palmerston[Pg 299] replied that he had no doubt Her Majesty would be happy to receive it.

In accordance with his Lordship's permission, Sir Moses presented the copy of the firman to the Queen on Wednesday, the 24th of March.

The following is a copy of his entry in the diary referring to the subject:—"Attended the Marine Board at 11.30; the Alliance Board at 12; at 12.45 returned home and dressed in my uniform. Mr H. de Castro, Mr Waley, Mr H. H. Cohen, Mr Wire, and Dr Loewe came, and we proceeded to St James' Palace to attend the levee. I had the honour to present the Queen with the firman. The following is the copy of the card that was read to Her Majesty:—'Sir Moses Montefiore, F.R.S., presented by the Right Honourable Viscount Palmerston on his return from the East, to present a facsimile and translation of the firman granted by the Sultan to His Imperial Majesty's subjects professing the Jewish religion.' Mr Wire and Dr Loewe were presented by me to the Queen. I had a most gracious reception, and kissed hands."

As a token of royal approbation, Sir Moses had the satisfaction of being informed, three months later, that Lord Normanby would have great satisfaction in recommending the grant of supporters to his armorial bearings. "The supporters I wish for," Sir Moses writes in his diary, "are to exalt our holy religion by displaying 'Jerusalem' in a more distinguished manner than I could otherwise have done."

My readers may perhaps care to have the opportunity of perusing the material portions of this document, which are as follows:—

"Victoria R.

"Victoria, by the grace of God, &c.—Whereas it has been represented unto us, that our trusty and well-beloved Sir Moses Montefiore, &c., &c., in consequence of information having been received from the East, that a number of Jews had been imprisoned and tortured at Damascus and at Rhodes, and that he had, in conformity to a voluntary offer, made at a General Meeting of the London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews and others, held on the 15th of June last, proceeded (accompanied by Lady Montefiore) to Alexandria, with the view of proving the falsity of the accusation, and of advocating the cause of his unfortunate and persecuted brethren."

[Here follows an account of what Sir Moses had accomplished in the East.][Pg 300]

"We, taking the premises into our Royal consideration, and being desirous of giving an especial mark of our Royal favour to the said Sir Moses Montefiore, in commemoration of these his unceasing exertions on behalf of his injured and persecuted brethren in the East, and the Jewish nation at large, have been graciously pleased to allow him to bear Supporters to his Arms, although the privilege of bearing Supporters be limited to the Peers of our Realm, the Knights of our Orders, and the Proxies of Princes of our Blood, at Installations, except in such cases wherein, under particular circumstances, We have been pleased to grant our Licence for the use thereof."

The document proceeds to describe the supporters as follows:—

"On the Dexter side, Lion guardant, and on the Sinister side, a Stag, each supporting a Flagstaff, therefrom flowing a Banner to the dexter, inscribed 'Jerusalem' in Hebrew characters."

During his stay at Alexandria, and on his return to London, Sir Moses addressed letters to the Jews at Damascus, advising them to endeavour to conciliate the Christians in that city, as well as those who were known to be their most violent enemies. In connection with these letters, Raphael Farkhi, the principal representative of the Damascus community, now forwarded to him the following important communication, wherein he satisfactorily refuted certain calumnies, which, according to the Times newspaper, had been renewed against the Jews in Damascus.

"In addition to what I have already stated," Signor Farkhi writes, "I have already mentioned to Sir Moses, in a former letter, that as soon as the Pashas of His Majesty the Sultan arrived at Damascus, they reinstated me in my former office, the duties of which are to assist in the magistrates' department in managing the affairs of the city; this honour was conferred on me in accordance with a direction in the Sultan's firman. When the English Consul (Mr Wherry) and the detractors whom I have spoken of, heard of this distinction, so auspicious to our people, they were moved with the same mortification as that which they had exhibited when the arrival of Sir Moses at Alexandria destroyed their plans and rescued us from the cruel fate to which they had destined us; and the English Consul immediately repaired to the Governor of the city, and recommended him to dismiss me and put a non-Israelite in my place, under whom I might act as servant or deputy. But, by the blessing of the Almighty, this attempt against my interest utterly failed; for the Governor declined to adopt the plan thus suggested to him. In consequence of their envious scheme being thus defeated, they are seeking other means to inflict injury on us, by making a false charge against the Israelites of having insulted their religion, which they communicated to his Excellency the Governor Ali Pasha, and to the three Consuls, in order that the charge might be circulated in other and distant countries, and a universal prejudice created against the Israelites.

"As a further proof that the Israelites are innocent of the crime imputed to them, I have to mention that His Excellency Ali Pasha sent for me one day, and after having received an assurance from myself that such a deed would be contemplated with abhorrence by all our nation, he made many rigid enquiries amongst various honourable and respectable gentlemen concerning[Pg 301] what had been disseminated by our enemies, the result of which was, that he declared himself convinced of the utter groundlessness of the foul report; and he replied to the heads of the Christians in the city that henceforth they ought to treat us with justice and equity; and he then commanded me that I should take upon myself to see that my people should behave themselves as might best become them, which commands I have been mindful to fulfil.

"Our enemies endeavoured to engage the Russian Consul at Beyrout on their side, but he was not disposed to give any credit to their statement, and therefore despatched his faithful interpreter to Damascus, to make proper inquiries; and the result of his interpreter's labours was an opinion which to us was most flattering. The Most Reverend the Patriarch of the Greek Church has also recorded his testimony, with the Russian Consul at Beyrout, that the accusation was utterly false, and could only have emanated from a malicious spirit.

"Every member of our community behaves with the greatest courtesy to every Christian, whether rich or poor, and often with marked humility. We seek not to gratify any revengeful feeling for what has passed, but yet all our endeavours have hitherto proved ineffectual. There can be no other reason for that than the anger and jealousy of the men, for they wished and intended to kill us, and since Moses, our brother, rescued us from their hands, destroyed their plans, and frustrated their intentions, this jealousy has rankled in their hearts, and they seek to bring more accusations against us, although we are not guilty of any wrong."

Sir Moses sent a letter on the subject, with a translation of the original, to the Morning Chronicle, which was inserted on the 5th July 1841.

His attention after this time was directed to matters of a business character.

On the 7th of May Mr Hananel de Castro, who rendered most efficient services in connection with the Mission to Damascus, informed Sir Moses that he had been elected President of the London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews. On the 16th of that month he attended an important meeting of the Elders of his Synagogue, at which a motion was brought forward respecting a reform movement in the community. Four days later he presided over a meeting of the Board of Deputies held at his own house for the same purpose, at which every member of the Board, with only one exception, attended. The debate was warm, but not personal. Sir Moses, nevertheless, apprehended great agitation in the community, and felt much anxiety as to the result. He entertained the most liberal principles in matters of religion; although himself a staunch supporter of the time-honoured usages of his religion, he did not interfere with the opinions or acts of those who differed from him unless compelled to do so by actual duty. But when, as President of the[Pg 302] Board of Deputies, or of any other institution, he had to give his opinion on religious matters, he invariably referred to the Spiritual Head of the community for guidance; he regarded a word from him as decisive, and obeyed its injunctions at whatever cost to himself.

There was never any doubt in his mind as to the spirit which should prevail in their deliberations on the intended reform in the community; and he maintained that the religious tenets of Israel, as revealed in the Code of Sinai, would invariably stand the test of reason.

"They are," he would add in the words of Scripture, "to show our wisdom and understanding in the sight of nations;" and he did not consider that he would be acting in accordance with the dictates of truth and justice if he were to accept laymen, however learned they might be, as authorities on religious subjects for the guidance of the whole community.

Some of his colleagues at the Board, however, did not acknowledge the authority of the Ecclesiastical Chief of the community, and relying entirely on their own judgment, would not accept the dictates of the ancient teachers by whose decisions and interpretations of the sacred text Hebrew communities had been guided for thousands of years. The result was that the debates at their meetings became very heated, and bore evidence of the fervour displayed in a cause they had so deeply at heart, thus foreshadowing a struggle which threatened to extend beyond the confines of the Board.

May 21st.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore attended the Queen's Drawing-Room, and met with a most gracious reception. The Duchess of Kent and the Princess Sophia Matilda expressed pleasure at seeing them. The Duke of Cambridge shook Sir Moses by the hand in a very friendly manner, and said he was glad to see him safe back, that his efforts had done him great honour, and that he deserved much praise.

May 23rd.—He presented an address to Mr H. de Castro, voted to him by the Deputies, in appreciation of his services in connection with the Mission of Damascus. On this occasion all the Deputies were entertained by Sir Moses at his house in Park Lane.

A week later he attended a meeting to consider the means for establishing a branch Synagogue in the West End, which,[Pg 303] when opened to the community, would afford a practical proof that the statutes of their ancient community hitherto prohibiting divine service to be held in any other building than that at Bevis Marks, had been reconsidered.

The events of the year continued to bring with them much anxiety, owing to the agitated state of the community in connection with the reform movement. In the month of August the Ecclesiastical Chief took what he considered necessary measures to express his opinion publicly for the guidance of those who adhered to his rule, which naturally raised the excitement of the contending parties, and not unfrequently disturbed the peace of many a family circle.

The death of the mother of Sir Moses, a most virtuous daughter of Israel, spread a deep gloom over the whole family, and more especially over her beloved son Moses, and Judith his wife.

His brethren in the East appealed to Sir Moses to intercede with the English Government to take them under their protection. They complained of being compelled by local governors to pay heavier taxes than any of the non-Israelite inhabitants. Both Lord Palmerston and his successor, Lord Aberdeen, listened with great kindness to the statements made to them on that subject by Sir Moses. Lord Palmerston, in reply to his representations, said the Christians had suffered more than the Jews from the Governor being a fanatic, and added that he (Sir Moses) had his authority to write to the Jews in the East that if they had any serious complaints to make, the English Consuls would attend to them, and forward them to the Ambassador at Constantinople, who would represent them to the Ministers of the Porte. Sir Moses took the opportunity of speaking to his Lordship respecting Smyrna, Safed, and Damascus, and he had the satisfaction of hearing from him that the Governor of the latter city would be changed in consequence of the reports which had been made.

Lord Aberdeen, with whom he subsequently had an interview on the same subject, said that he saw no objection to the British Consul receiving the statements of grievances made by the Jews, and transmitting such statements to the British Ambassador at Constantinople, who would be directed to confer thereon with the Ministers of the Porte, with a view to the redress of the grievances complained of.[Pg 304]

On Sir Moses pressing the desire of the Jews in the East to be brought under British protection, his Lordship replied that he did not see how it could be accomplished. All the European Powers were extremely jealous of any interference on the part of England. His Lordship added, however, that he would consider the best means to afford the Jews protection for the sake of humanity and justice.

On the 7th of November, Sir Stratford Canning, previous to leaving for Constantinople, called on Sir Moses, and afterwards sent him a note, appointing to see him on the following day at twelve o'clock. Sir Moses accordingly went to him. The purport of this interview was to solicit protection for the Israelites in the East. Sir Moses informed him of the directions given by Lord Palmerston, and Sir Stratford said he should be happy to do all that his duty permitted, and to hear from Sir Moses whenever he pleased. They had a long and interesting conversation respecting the Jews and the Holy Land, and Sir Moses was exceedingly gratified by Sir Stratford's kindness.

Amongst the numerous letters received by Sir Moses on this matter was one from Messrs Grindlay, Christian & Matthews, East India Agency, containing an extract from a letter from Commodore Brucks, of the Indian navy, which showed that the great esteem in which both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were held by the people in the far East sometimes proved detrimental to the interest of their admirers. "A Jew," it stated, "and his wife had been passing themselves off for Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. Under this supposition the Government Agent at Muscat, a Jew of the highest respectability, received them, and did all in his power to make them comfortable. They eventually left, telling him they would pay when they came back, leaving him more than a thousand dollars out of pocket."

On reading this, Sir Moses at once expressed a desire to ascertain the name of the victim of the fraud, in order that he should not suffer any loss on his account.[Pg 305]




The entries of the next five years in the diaries refer to numerous important events, interspersed with appeals from communities to Sir Moses to plead the cause of their brethren before the Emperor of Russia.

The Hamburg Jews, who were among the first to support their British friends in the mission to Damascus, had a gold medal struck, which was presented to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore by Mr H. de Castro. The complimentary address which accompanied it, in speaking of the Queen, says:—

"God bless Her Majesty, and prosper her, whose enlightenment knows how to appreciate and reward such exertions as are performed for the benefit of us and ours."

The obverse of the medal bears a representation of the arms of Sir Moses Montefiore. The margin has a verse in Hebrew, taken from Psalm cxxii. 8: [Hebrew] "LEMANN AKHAI VEREAI ADABERA NA SHALOM BEKHA" ("For the sake of my brethren and companions I will declare peace unto thee"); and a chronogram in Hebrew: [Hebrew] "SHNAT GAON ISREAL LEP'AK" signifying, "The year of the pride of Israel," the numerical value of the dotted lines representing the date of the Damascus Mission, viz.: 5601.

The reverse has a German inscription, which, rendered in English, is: "Dedicated to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, after their return from Egypt, in the year 1841, by their co-religionists of Hamburg." My esteemed friend, the late Mr M. Haarbleicher, exerted himself greatly in this matter.

Unfortunately, one night burglars got into the drawing-room of Sir Moses' house at Park Lane, and took the medal, together[Pg 306] with many other valuable articles. There is only a facsimile of the medal in bronze now left in my cabinet, which the Committee in Hamburg kindly presented to me.

January 31st.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received an invitation from the Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Inverness to lunch with them on the first of February, as His Majesty the King of Prussia had intimated to them his intention of honouring them with his company. Sir Moses went early in the morning of the following day to Somerset House to see the King of Prussia admitted as fellow of the Royal Society, together with Baron Alexander von Humboldt; and before two o'clock he and Lady Montefiore were at Kensington Palace.

The Duke and Duchess received them very kindly, and the Duke promised to introduce them to his Royal visitor. He said he was anxious that his invitation should be forwarded in time, as he was desirous of introducing Sir Moses to the King of Prussia, which he did almost as soon as the King entered; informing His Majesty, at the same time, of the journey of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to the East. The King, Sir Moses says, was very gracious; but remarked (speaking of Padre Tommaso), "but the poor man is dead;" upon which Sir Moses ventured to point out to His Majesty, that it was by no means certain that the man was dead. "It was a truly Royal banquet," Sir Moses writes, "about sixty persons being present. The Duke made a liberal and excellent speech about religions in general, but the King did not notice it in his reply." They were delighted with the kindness of their Royal Highnesses, and of those they knew. Lord Lansdowne hoped they had not forgotten him. Lord Palmerston enquired what reports he had from the East, and whether the English Consuls were behaving better.

On the following day, Mr Attwood, one of the Directors of the Imperial Continental Gas Association, expressed a wish that Sir Moses should accompany him to see the King of Prussia, who had consented to receive a deputation from the Association; and in compliance with this wish he went with them. He met Sir J. L. Goldsmid at the office, and they proceeded to Buckingham Palace. "There were," Sir Moses observes, "many persons waiting." He saw there Lord Roxley, Sir Robert Inglis, Sir Robert Adair, and many noblemen and clergymen.

They were soon admitted to the King's presence, and were[Pg 307] very graciously received. Mr Attwood read the address, and the King spoke a few words to each of them. He recognised Sir Moses, observing that he had spoken to him on the previous day, and enquired whether he was settled in England; the King thought he lived in Italy. He spoke to Mr Attwood about Parliament and the new buildings, and laughingly said, he supposed that the Association would light them.

February 5th.—About this time Sir Moses pointed out the spot at Ramsgate where it was his wish, when it should please the Almighty to call him, that his earthly remains might repose, with those of his beloved wife. The spot was marked out by four hurdles, which he assisted in placing there. Possibly the illness of his brother's wife, which, a few days after, terminated in her death, cast a gloom over his mind, which made him consider it advisable to prepare himself for such an event.

He was much grieved by this family affliction, and remained in the house for several days; owing to which he was unable to present an address of congratulation to the Queen on the birth of the Prince of Wales. Mr De Castro and two other Deputies of the London Committee of the Board had to present it instead; as also an address to Prince Albert, and later on, one to the Duchess of Kent. They were most graciously received, and Her Royal Highness desired them to express her great regret at Sir Moses' absence, and at the cause of it. Colonel Cooper, the next day, by desire of the Duchess, wrote him a letter, to assure him of her sympathy on this melancholy occasion.

In the same month he made a donation of £200 for the repair of the ancient Synagogue of the Spanish and Portuguese community, as it was greatly needed, and thereby induced others to follow his example. He also took steps to have the Synagogue included in the clause of exemption from property tax, in which he succeeded, by the kindness of Mr John Masterman, who wrote a letter to Mr Goulbourn on the subject.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer promised that he would so alter the wording of the Income-Tax Bill as to meet Sir Moses' wishes. Sir Robert Peel also wrote to him a letter to the same effect.

May 31st.—There is an entry referring to an attempt on the Queen's life. "Last evening," he writes, "an attempt was made on the life of our gracious Sovereign, which, through the protection[Pg 308] of Almighty God, was happily preserved. It is most difficult to believe that any mortal in his senses could attempt such a thing. May the God of Israel shield the Queen from all harm, and bless her with every happiness and long life. I convened a meeting of Deputies to forward letters of congratulation to the Queen, Prince Albert, and the Duchess of Kent, on the providential escape of the Queen, and went with Lady Montefiore and Dr Loewe to Kensington Palace to enter our names in the visitors' books of the Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Inverness; afterwards to Buckingham Palace, in Prince Albert's book; and Clarence House, to the Duchess of Kent."

July 2nd.—Attended a meeting at the Thatched House Tavern, St James Street, for the purpose of selecting an artist to carry out the resolution agreed to at a previous meeting for the erection of a statue to Sir David Wilkie.

Sir R. Peel, who took the chair, proposed that a sub-committee should be appointed, consisting (in addition to the officers already appointed) of the Duke of Sutherland, the Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Mahon, Sir Francis Clark, Sir Thomas Mahon, Sir Martin Archer Shee, Sir William Newton, Mr Phillips, Sir Moses Montefiore, Mr Burnett, Mr Rogers, and Mr Henry Labouchere, M.P.

Sir Moses was also one of the Committee appointed to watch the progress of the statue. He had entertained a high regard for Sir David since making his acquaintance at Constantinople, and was glad to have the opportunity of showing it on this occasion.

July 24th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were honoured by a visit from Viscount and Viscountess Ponsonby. His Lordship, who had shown them much kindness and attention during their sojourn in the Turkish Capital, spoke of the benefit which the people of the East would derive from the encouragement of industry among them. This reminded Sir Moses of a promise which he had made to a very industrious person in the Holy Land, and on the same day he sent a printing press and fount of type to the value of £105 to Israel Drucker in Jerusalem, whose acquaintance he had made at Safed, during his second journey to the Holy Land. It was this same printing press which the recipient, out of gratitude to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, called "Massat Moshe Ve Yehoodit" (a gift of[Pg 309] Moses and Judith), that, forty-three years later, caused Professor Röhling of Prague to accuse Sir Moses of having printed a book which he (Professor Röhling) said was intended to prove the use of blood for Jewish ritual purposes. The printing press which Sir Moses sent was accompanied by a beautifully written Scroll of the Pentateuch.

August 2nd.—Sir Moses received a deputation from the representatives of the New Synagogue at Liverpool, requesting his mediation in a communal dispute. He strongly advised their reunion with the old Synagogue, and promised to see the deputation again.

A few days later he and Lady Montefiore left England for Paris, to be present at the wedding of the daughter of Baron James de Rothschild.

He describes that event in the following words:—

"Paris, Hotel Windsor, Wednesday, August 17th.—The great day has at length arrived, and, happily, our presents also: they were sent last night to the Bois de Boulogne. Ours was similar to that we gave to Baron Charles and Louisa de Rothschild; a large and handsomely-carved ewer and basin, worth £180. We left Paris before twelve o'clock, and on reaching the Bois de Boulogne, found the party already assembled, all the ladies most elegantly dressed. A procession was formed by a number of choristers, led by the ministre officiant, and preceded by the Grand Rabbin. Then followed the bridegroom with his brother, Baron Lionel de Rothschild, as best man, and on his left Baron James; afterwards, Barons Salamon, Anthony, and the other relatives and friends present. We proceeded to a magnificent canopy of white satin and gold embroidery, erected in the garden: the ground was covered with velvet carpets. The path leading to the canopy was covered with crimson cloth strewn with roses. The choir was singing Hebrew hymns all the time. Then followed the bride, led by her mother and Mrs de Rothschild, the other ladies following. Under the canopy stood the bride and bridegroom, their parents, Barons Anselm, Lionel, and myself. The marriage ceremony was performed by the Grand Rabbin, who delivered an excellent discourse in French. After the ceremony the whole party walked to the Swiss cottage in the garden, where a sumptuous breakfast was laid. No toasts or healths were drunk, but grace was said. Afterwards the gentlemen went back to Paris to dress, the ladies being accommodated in the house. We were back again by four o'clock, and now found the ladies most magnificently attired. At seven we entered the banquetting room. It was in a perfect blaze of light: only once, at the Archbishop of Canterbury's, have I seen such splendour. The repast consisted of all the luxuries the world produces. The gardens were brilliantly illuminated. The host and hostess were most attentive. It was past eleven when we left."

On the day after the wedding he called on Rechid Pasha, the Turkish Ambassador, and writes in his Diary:—

"The Pasha received me instantly, and told me how pleased he was to meet me in Paris, and how happy it made him that[Pg 310] he was able to assist me in Constantinople to further the cause of justice and humanity. He said he hoped to see me again in Turkey. He asked me whether I had seen Lord Ponsonby, and what I thought of the disturbances in Manchester and the manufacturing districts. I assured him that they were of no consequence. He asked me to be permitted to introduce his sons to me: three very fine boys, the eldest about sixteen, the others ten and eight years old. The youngest was very fair, and appeared to be the favourite. The Ambassador told me that the note he had sent me yesterday was written by the youngest. After chatting a little longer I took my leave, the Pasha begging of me to preserve him my friendship. I gave him Dr Loewe's Circassian-Turkish and English Dictionary, with which he seemed much pleased, and asked me to thank Dr Loewe in his name for it. Later we paid our farewell visits to all the Barons de Rothschild and their families, and prepared for our departure."

September 15th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received at Park Lane, through the Baroness Lionel de Rothschild, a beautiful silver gilt cup made from a design by Professor Oppenheim, and sent to them as a present by the Hebrew community of Frankfurt-on-Main, accompanied by an address signed by all the members. He also received a splendid album from Magdeburg, the covers of which were ornamented with two beautiful paintings, also executed by Professor Oppenheim, one representing Moses installing Joshua in his office as leader of Israel, and the other a copy of Benda's picture "By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion" (Psalm cxxxvii.), copied by the same artist, and signed by Dr Philipson, the Spiritual Head of the Hebrew congregation of Magdeburg, and near 1500 other persons, many of them non-Israelites belonging to the clergy and nobility.

These two testimonials are now, with many others, preserved in the Lecture Hall of the College in Ramsgate.

October 11th.—Colonel C. H. Churchill paid them a visit at Ramsgate previous to his leaving England for the East. The Colonel having married a young widow at Damascus was very anxious to return to her at Beyrout, where he intends residing, having adopted Syria as his country. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore requested him to take with him some contributions[Pg 311] towards the support of the poor Jews in the East, which he gladly promised to do for them, expressing his high regard for the character and industrious habits of the Jews.

October 17th.—A petition was received from the Hebrew congregation of Riga, imploring Sir Moses to intercede on their behalf with the Emperor of Russia. Many others, from various places, on the same subject followed. Most of the principal communities in Germany, France, Italy, and America entreated him to accede to the petitions of their brethren in Russia and Poland; and Sir Moses now began seriously to consider the desirability of serving the cause of humanity anew.

In the same month he and the Hebrew communities in England sustained a severe loss by the death of their Ecclesiastical Chief, the Rev. Dr Solomon Hirschell.

"I was at Bury Street at twelve o'clock," he writes in his diary, "on October 31st, and found our esteemed Chief Rabbi apparently in a state of insensibility; his chamber was filled with his friends, and his bed closely surrounded by the members of the Ecclesiastical Court, and other persons. They were saying prayers; he was very calm, and at 12.25 his spirit fled from its earthly tenement to receive that reward which his righteousness in this world secured to him; eternal happiness and peace to his memory!"

Sir Moses was entirely guided by him in all matters concerning religion, and felt the loss of such a friend and counsellor acutely.

He appears to have been roused by that sorrowful event to fresh acts of benevolence, and believing it possible to render some service to the Jews in Russia, he thought it necessary now to make himself fully acquainted with all the recent publications referring to that country and its inhabitants, and obtained information from German and English travellers who had just returned from visiting Warsaw, St Petersburg, Moscow, and other important cities in the Czar's vast empire.

November 5th.—The entry in his diary contains the following lines:—"Extremely cold morning; nevertheless dear Judith and I left Park Lane before eight o'clock to walk to Synagogue. It was very well attended, and prayers were offered up for the late lamented Chief Rabbi. We remained in the city, and attended afternoon and evening prayers at our own (the Portuguese)[Pg 312] Synagogue. Afterwards we rode home to Park Lane. Dr Loewe accompanied us, and agreed to go with us to Russia and Poland whenever that should seem necessary."

November 15th, 19th, and 27th.—The number of petitions to go to Russia increased considerably, especially entreating Sir Moses to accept an invitation from Count Ouvaroff, the Minister of Public Instruction, who wished him to be present at the deliberation of the government referring to the improvement of the method of education among the Hebrews in the Russian Empire. The following entries refer to the subject:—

"December 8th.—Went to Chevalier Benkhausen, the Russian Consul-General, and spoke with him respecting a letter I had received from Dr Lilienthal of St Petersburg, referring to an invitation from Count Ouvaroff to proceed to the Russian metropolis, and he recommended my seeing the Russian Ambassador.

"Accordingly I wrote to the latter, requesting the honour of an interview with him, and received his reply that he would receive me the next day.

"December 9th.—Had an audience of the Russian Ambassador, Baron Brunnow, and spoke to him regarding our intended journey. He entered into all particulars with me, and promised to make all necessary enquiries.

"The next day we dined at Mrs de Rothschild's, and met Baron and Baroness Brunnow, the Austrian Ambassador and his wife, Lady Pellew and her daughter Lady Walpole, and many other distinguished persons. Baron Brunnow spoke to me about Dr Lilienthal's letter, and said he would write to Count Ouvaroff, and would ascertain for him the authenticity of Dr Lilienthal's communication. The Baron advised me, if I went to Russia, to proceed in the first instance to St Petersburg, and speak with the Emperor himself, and not to go, as I had intended, to the several cities in Poland previously to my going to St Petersburg."

December 25th.—Notwithstanding the multiplicity of matters referring to the North which now filled his mind, he did not for a moment neglect the interest of the East. He made an agreement with a physician, Dr S. Frankel, to allow him a salary for three years, to furnish the requisite medicines, and to pay his expenses to Jerusalem, on condition that he should attend the poor of the Holy Land gratuitously.[Pg 313]




January 26th, 1843.—Sir Moses ordered from the Apothecaries' Hall drugs, surgical instruments, and fittings for a dispensary in Jerusalem, and saw them packed and forwarded to the Holy City.

February 27th.—A large number of his Jewish brethren in the United Kingdom, Jamaica, Barbadoes, and Gibraltar, presented him with a testimonial of respect and gratitude in commemoration of the many personal sacrifices made, and the philanthropy displayed by him and Lady Montefiore during his Mission to the East, Anno Mundi 5600 (1840).

It was designed by Sir George Hayter, modelled by E. Bailey, R.A., and executed by Messrs Mortimer & Hunt, and is an exquisite piece of workmanship, both as regards the design and execution. It is exclusively ornamental, adapted for no special purpose, and is, as it were, a kind of miniature monument. It is three and a half feet high, weighs 1319 ounces of silver, and has a large base. The most prominent figure, which surmounts the whole work, represents David conquering the lion and rescuing the lamb (as in First Book of Samuel xvii. 34 and 35), and is emblematical of the victory over oppressive force, and the delivery of innocence effected by the Mission. This is the chef d'œuvre of the work, which is full of fine allegorical details.

Immediately under this figure are four bas-reliefs, representing respectively, (1) the landing of Sir Moses and his party at Alexandria; (2) the audience with the Sultan at Constantinople[Pg 314] on the granting of the firman; (3) the liberation of the prisoners at Damascus; and (4) the public thanksgiving on the return of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to London. On the four corners of the base are exquisite figures in frosted silver, two representing Moses and Ezra, the great deliverers of their people in ancient times, and the other two some of the accused Jews of Damascus, one in chains, bowed down by grief, the other in an attitude of thanksgiving, with the fetters lying broken at his feet.

The chairman (Mr H. de Castro), accompanied by the Committee, prefaced the presentation by reading an address, engrossed on vellum. A vellum scroll was also added, containing the series of resolutions adopted at the public meeting in 1840, and the name of every contributor to the testimonal, copied from the lists furnished to the Committee, and arranged according to residence.

The following is a copy of the address:—

"Esteemed Sir,—We have long looked forward to the present as a moment of high and honourable gratification, when we should come forward on behalf of the Jewish community to present to you this manifestation of their gratitude and esteem. The services which, at a period of excitement, you rendered, in a foreign clime, to religion and humanity, were such as are rarely called into requisition. The alacrity, spirit, and zeal with which you embarked into the cause, were only equalled by the liberality, judgment, and decision you evinced in the accomplishment of the end you had in view. The restoration of the oppressed to liberty, and a full refutation of the vile calumnies brought against our faith—both these great objects, by the aid of Gracious Providence, have been attained. The grateful thanksgivings of the liberated prisoners pronounce you their deliverer. The firman of the Sultan, denies these calumnies, of which they had been the unfortunate victims.

"It may be truly said of you, Sir, and of your amiable Lady—the companion of your anxieties and dangers—that your services were 'the labours of the heart,' works of all others most deserving of distinction and reward.

"May you ever be the 'harbinger of glad tidings to Zion,' and long live to continue your watchful care to all who need your solace and support. How will your suffering brethren in Jerusalem hail your late acts of munificence—the founding a dispensary for the poor of our community, now dwelling in the land of our fathers.

"In the name of the Jewish people we present to you this testimonial of your great and successful labours, with the hope that the blessing of our Heavenly Father may vouchsafe, to you and Lady Montefiore, many, many happy years to contemplate and enjoy it.—On behalf of the Committee,

"Hananel de Castro, Chairman." "27 Adar 5603—27th February 1843."

Testimonial of respect and gratitude, presented to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore by their Jewesh Brethen in the United Kingdom and the Colonies. See Vol. I., page 314.

To this address. Sir Moses made the following reply:—

"Mr De Castro and Gentlemen,—I receive with unfeigned satisfaction, and, I trust, with humility, the address which you have offered to me. I [Pg 315]accepted with fear and trembling the responsible yet honourable task confided to me by my brethren, not trusting in my own strength or wisdom, but relying upon the saving strength of the Lord our God. I felt that I should be sustained by the prayers and sympathies of my brethren, and of the enlightened friends of humanity throughout the world. Aided by these prayers and sympathies, and supported by the Government of our country, your Mission was permitted by Divine providence, while in Egypt, to become the instruments of giving liberty to the captive, of opening the prison to them that were bound, of restoring to their wives and families those who, by unjust persecution, had been compelled to abandon their homes. We have everywhere asserted their innocence of the atrocious crime laid to their charge, and in the face of all men have vindicated the purity and divinity of our holy religion.

"At Constantinople our success was complete. There we had the satisfaction of obtaining from the Sultan a Haiti Sherif, which asserts the innocence of our brethren after a full examination of the witnesses against them, and of their religious writings, and declares that the accusations against our religion were based in falsehood, and entertained only by the prejudiced and the ignorant. That noble writing has also laid the foundation for improving the civil condition of our brethren in the Turkish Dominions. To that, as well as to the documents which have been transmitted to the committee, I refer with exultation, as proofs that the rulers of the East have imbibed more liberal notions, have set themselves against the use of torture, have secured to our brethren an equality of civil rights, and thus given them a deeper interest in the prosperity of the countries in which they reside. That you approve of these acts, and testify your approbation of the whole proceedings of the Mission, and believe that I have, to the best of my ability, fulfilled its objects, will be to me a source of continual satisfaction through life, and when I am about to quit this earthly scene will cheer the last moments of my existence.

"You are pleased to speak of the dangers and perils to which I have been exposed. I assure you that I count them as nothing when I consider the noble object of the Mission, and the entire success with which it has pleased God to crown our labours. Without, however, your continual advice and support, I might not have been able to accomplish that which has been done, because, when all around appeared gloomy and dark, and I thought that amidst the contending struggles of nations for power the rights of humanity would be sacrificed and the liberties of our brethren utterly destroyed, I was cheered and sustained by the recollection of your prayers and support, and, relying upon the God of our fathers, I persevered until I was satisfied that the objects of the Mission had been fully accomplished. Nor is it one of the least consequences attending our labours, that, in accomplishing such objects, we have been enabled to dissipate prejudice and to remove ignorance, so that now our persecutors are compelled to look with respect upon our nation. May I not, therefore, assert that a new and brighter era is dawning upon those who have for ages been the subjects of calumny and oppression.

"In prosecuting the labours of your Mission I received most valuable assistance from our friends the family de Rothschild, from each of its members at London, Paris, Naples, Frankfort, and Vienna, both by introductions to their extensive connections in the East, as well as by their unremitted personal exertions in Europe; nor can I forget my friend Mr George Samuel, who was ever ready to lend his aid at Constantinople. I should also be doing great injustice to my own feelings were I to let this opportunity pass without referring to the valuable assistance of my friends, Mr Wire and Dr Loewe, who accompanied me throughout the whole of my long[Pg 316] journey, and whom I shall ever esteem as men devoted to the interests of humanity.

"I cannot conclude this short and imperfect reply to your congratulations without referring to the kind expressions in which you speak of my beloved wife, whom you truly characterise as the participator in all my toils and anxieties. She has, indeed, shared my toils but diminished my anxieties, and aided me in the prosecution of my labours.

"Gentlemen, to you, to your excellent president, but, above all, to the God of our fathers, I offer thanks that I have been permitted to fulfil the objects of your Mission, and with devout gratitude I resign into your hands the trust committed to my care, praying that peace, prosperity, truth, and union may ever prevail in Israel."

The death of the Duke of Sussex took place at this time, and Sir Moses deeply lamented the loss sustained by his demise.

The Lord Chamberlain sent him a command to attend the funeral on the 4th of May, and Lord Dinorben wrote a letter to inform him that a card of invitation had been sent, and that he would be permitted to follow in his own carriage.

Sir Moses, describing the funeral, says:—

"I left home after six in the morning, and was at Kensington Palace a quarter before seven. The company began to assemble between seven and eight: I suppose there were more than one hundred and fifty persons. The procession commenced at half-past eight; the roads were lined with people, every window filled, also many scaffoldings. The chapel at Kensal Green was solemn and grand, being filled with the grand officers of state, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, &c., &c. We saw none of the Tories or Royal Family at the palace, but in the chapel there were the Duke of Cambridge, chief mourner; Prince Albert, &c. The ceremony was over at twelve. I reached home at a quarter to one, and after breakfast proceeded at once with Lady Montefiore to the city to attend the funeral service in the Portuguese Synagogue, where Dr Loewe (who filled the office of oriental linguist and Hebrew lecturer to his late Royal Highness) delivered a discourse, at the conclusion of which we repaired to the great Synagogue of the German community. There was a funeral service, but no discourse." "The Jews," Sir Moses says, "have lost an excellent friend: may he be rewarded with eternal bliss for his kindness to suffering humanity."

On May 30th the Earl of Thanet informed Sir Moses that Lord Lyndhurst had given directions for the insertion of his name in the commission of the peace for the County of Kent.

On July 13th the first step was made for the repeal of the Deportation Ukase in Russia.

"I called at Baron Brunnow's," he writes. "He was just stepping into his carriage, dressed in full uniform, going to celebrate a mass on some public occasion; but he very kindly insisted on my going into his library, and returned with me. I gave him the letter I had received from Königsberg, which he read, also the Ukase. He said he believed the Minister of Justice thought it was an act of mercy to remove the Jews from the temptation of[Pg 317] smuggling, of which crime many had been guilty, and, no doubt, the Emperor was of that opinion, which was the cause of the order. 'It was possible,' he continued, 'if I were to be at St Petersburg, by speaking with one and another, my influence might cause its revocation;' but he advised me to write to Count Ouvaroff, and, if I showed him the letter, he would suggest such alterations as he thought would be advisable. He recommended that no public steps should be taken in the way of petition to the Emperor, as there were two years still before the Ukase would take effect; he thought it a bad measure."

This statement corroborated what some of the letters from Russia previously addressed to him on the subject had already stated.

A few days later Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were present at an entertainment given by Mrs Rothschild to the King of Hanover, and met the Duke of Cambridge, the Duchess of Gloucester, and most of the nobility, besides all the Ambassadors. They were introduced to the Marchioness of Ely at her own request, and she complimented them on the result of the Damascus Mission. Several of the Ambassadors spoke to him on the recent reports respecting the state of the Jews in Russia.

June 1st, 1844.—The Emperor of Russia arrived in London.

June 6th.—The entry states:—"I have been looking with deep anxiety from morning till evening for a letter from Baron Brunnow. I wrote this week to Lord Aberdeen, soliciting an interview to-morrow. I will do everything I possibly can to approach the Emperor, and pray for our brethren in his dominions. I also wrote to Mr Dawson on the same subject; it engrosses all my thoughts."

June 8th.—"Baron Lionel de Rothschild accompanied me to see Lord Aberdeen. He said Baron Brunnow had intimated to him the impossibility of His Imperial Majesty receiving any deputation. I showed his Lordship the Address from the London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews, and asked his advice about sending it to Baron Brunnow, for him to present it on our behalf, and whether he thought there was anything in it that could do harm. His Lordship thought there was not: the Emperor, he said, was very firm when he had once made up his mind on a subject.

"Lionel and I then walked to Sir Robert Peel's. He was just going to mount his horse, on his way to the Queen. He heard all we had to say respecting the address, and said he had[Pg 318] heard it whispered that the Emperor would see Sir Moses Montefiore, but the Emperor's stay was so short that he could not tell whether he would be able to do so."

The address was subsequently given by Sir Moses to Baron Brunnow, who promised to send it to St Petersburg. In the following month, on July 29th, an entry states that the Emperor received the address graciously, but his visit to this country would be so short that it was impossible for him to receive the deputation.

On August 9th Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore proceeded to Birmingham, in company with several of their relatives and friends, Sir Moses having been invited by the Hebrew congregation of that town to lay the first stone of a Hebrew National School, a task which he performed amid the cheers of many hundreds of persons of various religious denominations.

September 1st.—The cause of two poor Poles who had been imprisoned for hawking without a licence attracted Sir Moses' attention. The men having excellent characters, he determined on going to Chelmsford, to see them there in the Springfield Gaol, where they were then confined under sentence for three months, and to endeavour, if possible, to obtain their release. They had only been six or seven weeks in England, and could speak but a few words of English.

Next morning he went to Springfield Gaol and saw the Governor, who had the two men brought to him. One had been a dyer, and the other had kept a hardware shop near Warsaw. Both men lived whilst in prison on bread and water, refusing to eat either the soup or meat allowed to the prisoners. The Governor recommended him a man to draw up a petition for them. Sir Moses immediately sent for him, and instructed him as to the matter of the petition. The Governor kindly sent a man to wait till it was written, and Sir Moses then forwarded the petition to the prison, where the Governor had it signed by the two prisoners, and returned to Sir Moses, who was just able to take the last train back.

September 3rd.—He called at Somerset House, and left the petition from Springfield Gaol, and three days later had the gratification of receiving a letter from the Secretary of Stamps and Taxes to say that the Board had been pleased to remit the Crown's share of the penalties against the two prisoners.[Pg 319]

October 24th.—Sir Moses is present at the opening of the New Royal Exchange by the Queen; he had a seat in the subscribers' room, where the Royal banquet was given. The Queen, Prince Albert, the Duke of Cambridge, &c., presided at the head table: about two hundred persons dined there.

October 28th.—The Baroness Brunnow invited him to meet the Grand Duke of Russia; and Sir Moses, entertaining the hope of finding there the opportunity to serve the cause of his brethren, gladly accepted the invitation.

November 12th.—He was nominated Sheriff of Kent, and on the 17th inst. his friends and most of his neighbours congratulated him on being elected to that high office. His mind, however, was not joyfully attuned to the occasion. His thoughts at one moment were wandering away from happy England to the burning sands of the African deserts, and at another, to the frozen rivers and the snow-covered forests of the north of Russia. This was owing to a visit which he had received from Mr Erith, a Mogador merchant, who gave him a very cheering prospect of the success which might be expected if he were to appeal to the Emperor of Morocco for a firman, to place the Jews in the same position as his other subjects; and to some letters he received from several trustworthy sources, giving disheartening accounts of the state of the Jews in Russia, to the following effect:—

"The Ukase ordering the Jews to remove from the frontier provinces to the interior is now being carried into effect. This measure affects nearly one hundred thousand persons. The families receive passports, delivered by the Magistrates, indicating the place to which they are to go, and only a few days after they have received the passport, they must sell all their property and convert it into money."[Pg 320]




The first few months of the year 1844 appeared, according to a statement in the Königsberg Gazette, to give some hope for an improvement in the condition of Sir Moses' co-religionists in Russia.

The paper says:—

"The famous Ukase against the Jews, of the 20th April 1844 (2nd May), seems to be adjourned. The Emperor himself has given orders to the Minister of the Interior to present him with a minute report on the situation and property of the Jews in the villages and frontier towns, before the terrible Ukase is put into execution. This sudden change has produced so much the more joy among the unfortunate Jews, as rigorous measures had already been taken for the execution of the Ukase, as well as the decree of the Senate, dated January 10 (22) 1884. It is to Sir Moses Montefiore and the interference of many members of the nobility that thirty thousand Jews perhaps owe the entire revocation of this law."

As for Morocco, where, during the bombardment of Mogador, the Jews, together with other inhabitants, had been great sufferers, Sir Moses wrote a letter to the editor of the Times, directing his attention to the fact, and showing that the committee in London had correctly estimated the number of the sufferers. Consignments of money, food, and clothing, had, he observed, already been transmitted to Mogador to trustworthy agents, for immediate distribution among the sufferers. The subscriptions to the day he wrote exceeded £2500.

Sir Moses also attended a meeting of the Mogador Committee, at which they agreed to send a letter to the Emperor of Morocco, and to request the Earl of Aberdeen to instruct Mr E. W. Drummond Hay, H.B. Majesty's Consul-General at Tangiers, to forward it to the Emperor.[Pg 321]

By desire of Sir Moses I wrote an Arabic letter to the Emperor, which Sir Moses signed and despatched to his Lordship, for transmission to His Majesty.

February 10th.—Sir Moses proceeded to the Judges' Chambers, Chancery Lane, accompanied by Mr D. W. Wire, and then went before Baron Parke, and was sworn into office (as Sheriff of the County of Kent). The Baron very kindly wished him a pleasant year, and hoped to have the pleasure of coming down and seeing him at the Assizes. Mr Wire was also sworn as his Under-Sheriff.

February 18th.—The fees due for his Shrievalty, £2, 6s. 8d., had already been offered to him, but on seeing Mr Temple, he requested him to send them to his Under-Sheriff. Notwithstanding the duties his new office imposed on him, he endeavoured scrupulously to discharge those of his Presidency of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Agreeably to a resolution adopted at a previous meeting of that body, held for the consideration of a petition to Parliament for the removal of all civil disabilities, he and the other members of the Board waited the next day on Sir Robert Peel.

The subject being of interest to friends of civil and religious liberty, I here give the words of Sir Moses, and those of Sir Robert Peel's reply.

Sir Moses, addressing Sir Robert, said: "We have the honour of waiting on you as a deputation from the Metropolitan and Provincial Congregations of British Jews, to ascertain whether Her Majesty's Government be favourably disposed to meet their wishes for the removal of the civil disabilities under which they labour, and, from the advancement of liberal feeling in all classes where religious questions are concerned, they are led to believe the present moment most fitting for them to be placed on an equal footing with their fellow-subjects."

Sir Robert replied that he had been considering some measure on the subject to propose to his colleagues, when he received a letter from Sir J. L. Goldsmid, which stated that the Jews would not be satisfied with any measure less than the whole. Seeing there was some difference he would not proceed. However, after some consideration, he said he would see Sir J. L. Goldsmid, and would write to them to come to him within a fortnight, adding that he was fully aware that they would feel[Pg 322] as well satisfied with a part, and that they should not thereby be precluded from hereafter getting more.

March 3rd.—As High Sheriff of the County of Kent, Sir Moses opened the Court at Canterbury for the election of a member of Parliament in the room of Sir E. Knatchbull. After delivering an appropriate address to the electors, the meeting was proceeded with, and eventually Mr William Deedes was returned.

The meeting was conducted in a most orderly manner. Mr William Deedes of Sandling Park was elected to represent them in Parliament, and thanks were voted to the High Sheriff.

March 5th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore attended the levee, where Sir Moses was presented to the Queen by Sir James Graham, and had the honour to kiss hands on his appointment as Sheriff of the County of Kent.

Sir Robert Peel, who was standing within three or four paces of the Queen, came out of the circle as Sir Moses came up, and spoke to him. He said the suggestion made the previous day respecting the removal of civil disabilities seemed good; and he requested Sir Moses to be so good as to communicate with Baron Rothschild and Sir David Salomons.

March 10th.—At Maidstone Sir Moses went in state to meet Lord Denman. About a mile from town his Lordship got out of his own carriage and entered that of Sir Moses, the Rev. G. W. Sicklemore being with the latter. They proceeded to the Sessions House, and opened the Commission; then went to the Judge's lodgings, where Lord Denman robed, and received the Mayor and Corporation. They left to go before the Judge to church. Lord Denman said to him that he was ready to go, but Sir Moses might do as he pleased. The latter therefore only conducted him to his carriage, and returned to his lodgings to wait there for him instead of accompanying him and the Rev. G. W. Sicklemore to church. They went there in Sir Moses' carriage. Baron Alderson arrived a few minutes after they had left, and remained with Sir Moses till Lord Denman returned, when Sir Moses took his leave and went home. At seven he and Rev. G. W. Sicklemore went to fetch the Judges, and dined with Lord and Lady Romney.

March 14th.—At nine Sir Moses went, as usual, to fetch the Judges—the Lord Denman and Sir Edward Hall Alderson.[Pg 323] On their way to the Court they called for Mr Serjeant Dowling. As they were going there Sir Moses requested their Lordships' permission to be absent the next day, as it was his Sabbath, to which they very kindly consented. Sir Moses sat for some time in each Court. Lord Denman told him he had received a letter from the Bishop of Durham, expressing his desire to vote for the Jews' Relief Bill, and sent his proxy for the purpose; but Lord Denman said there would be no occasion for it, as their Lordships would not divide. At five, on his asking Baron Alderson's consent to his leaving, the latter most kindly said to him, "I know; six o'clock," and shook him warmly and kindly by the hand. Sir Moses then took leave, and returned to his lodgings.

Friday 28th.—"I received a letter," the entry in his diary reads, "from Mr Addington, forwarding another to me by desire of the English Ambassador in Morocco. Dr Loewe read to me his translation of the same. It is from Ben Idrees, the Wazeer of the Emperor of Morocco, written to me by order of His Majesty, in reply to the petition of the Mogador Committee. It states that the Hebrew nation enjoys throughout the empire the same privileges as the Mooslimeen, and the Hebrew nation is highly regarded by him."

May 19th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore attended Her Majesty's State Ball at Buckingham Palace. Sir Moses was dressed in his uniform, and Lady Montefiore wore a dress of superb tissue "d'or et cerise," elegantly trimmed with gold lace and ribbons, and a profusion of diamonds. They left Park Lane at nine, and it was ten when the long string of carriages allowed them to reach the Palace. "During the evening," Sir Moses wrote, "1500 persons were there; the rooms were magnificently decorated; the dancing was in two rooms; supper at two o'clock. Nothing could have been more splendid. The Queen, God bless her, looked very beautiful, and in good health and spirits. We left much delighted and pleased with the honour we had enjoyed."

After witnessing the splendour of the State Ball we find him actively engaged at Birmingham and Preston, visiting most of the humble dwelling-houses of the working classes. Being desirous of having three persons from Jerusalem taught the art of weaving, he went to see a man in Preston, who had been recommended to him as an intelligent and clever workman, and[Pg 324] made an agreement with him for the above purpose. "I wish," Sir Moses said, "to help our brethren in the Holy Land in all their efforts to get bread by their own industry, and pray to Heaven they may succeed."

July 1st.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to welcome the Rev. Dr N. M. Adler, Chief Rabbi elect of the German Hebrew Congregations in the British Empire, on his arrival at Dover, and were present the next day at his installation in the Great Synagogue in London. The Synagogue was handsomely decorated, and crowded with the élite of all the Jewish congregations. A most appropriate and solemn service was performed, and our Gentile brethren showed their interest in the event, by causing the bells of the neighbouring churches to be rung.

November 16th.—A special delegate arrived from Poland to entreat Sir Moses, in the name of many thousands of his brethren, to intercede in their behalf with the Russian Government, and to proceed at once to St Petersburg to make known their cause to the Emperor himself.

The subject at that time greatly engrossed his mind; he had no rest, either by day or by night, on account of his anxiety to hasten to their succour, and determined to set out on his journey as soon as his year of Shrievalty expired. Meanwhile he called on Baron Brunnow, who promised to give him letters of introduction to his friends, and to several ministers at St Petersburg, if he went there. He thought the Emperor would ask him to visit his co religionists in his Empire. His going to St Petersburg could do no harm, or he would not give him letters. Sir Moses, Baron Brunnow remarked, had received an invitation from the Minister of Public Instruction, two years previously, to go there, as he wished to have the benefit of his counsel respecting the establishment of Hebrew schools, and he thought this constituted a claim on Sir Moses to go. Baron Brunnow also recommended Sir Moses to obtain permission to act as he thought best, with reference to the address of the Board of Deputies of the British Jews to the Emperor; and advised his going as an English gentleman, his character being so well known, remarking that the cause would not be benefited by his acting as representative of the Board of Deputies.

The year 1846 begins with a sad occurrence in the family. Mr Isaac Cohen, the brother of Lady Montefiore, a man highly[Pg 325] esteemed for his excellent character and benevolent disposition, died suddenly. Though this was a cause of much grief to both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, they did not consider themselves in any way justified in delaying the necessary preparations for their self-imposed Mission to Russia.

Sir Moses called again on Baron Brunnow, who said that he could neither advise him to go or to stay, but said he might be assured that the Emperor's object was not that of conversion, but rather to render the Jews more useful subjects. He advised him not to go till Count Nesselrode returned from Rome to St Petersburg. Soon after this interview, Sir Moses again saw the Ambassador at which the latter recommended him not to go to Russia, and held out very little hope of the object of his journey being accomplished. Nevertheless, Sir Moses resolved on going, saying that as he had been invited to discuss the subject of schools, and was then out of office, he should go. Baron Brunnow then advised its being kept as quiet as possible. He promised to give him a letter to Count Nesselrode, and suggested that he should go direct, and as quickly as possible. Subsequently he advised him to see Lord Aberdeen, and get a letter of introduction to Lord Bloomfield, the British Ambassador at St Petersburg; also, to see Sir Roderick Murchison, who could give him useful advice, and to endeavour to obtain an introduction to Prince Michael.

February 18th.—Sir Moses called on Lord Aberdeen, who received him kindly, and promised to give him letters to the British Ministers at St Petersburg and Berlin.

February 27th.—A solemn prayer was offered by the united congregations of the British Empire for the success of his philanthropic mission to Russia.

March 1st.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to Dover, and arrived safely the same day at Ostend; and on the following Sunday I met them in Berlin, according to our previous arrangement, to accompany them to St Petersburg.

March 10th.—Sir Moses called on the Earl of Westmoreland to present to him his letter of introduction from the Earl of Aberdeen. Having acquainted him with the object of his journey to St Petersburg, and mentioned Baron Brunnow's suggestion to facilitate our journey, his Lordship replied that the Russian Ambassador was absent, but that he would give him a[Pg 326] letter to Monsieur Fonton, his representative. His Lordship hoped to see him on his return. We then went to the Russian Embassy, and delivered to Monsieur Fonton his Lordship's letter. That gentleman said he would give Sir Moses a letter to the officer at the frontier, but he had chosen a very unfavourable time for his journey, and had better remain five or six days longer at Berlin. The waters were out, it would be impossible to pass, and he would be detained on the road. There was a gentleman present in the office who told us he had arrived on the previous night from St Petersburg, but had experienced the greatest difficulty, and was the only person who had succeeded in getting through, as it was quite out of the question for a carriage to pass, and we should be compelled to remain on the road.

This information was very distressing, but Sir Moses was determined to go on, and only stop when we should find it too dangerous to go forward.

The same day we left Berlin, and proceeded viâ Königsberg and Tilsid to Mitau.

Friday, the 20th March.—A deputation of the Hebrew community came to welcome Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore at the Post House, at St Olia, the last stage before Mitau, to express their gratitude to them for what they had effected in the Damascus Mission, and to beg they would accept their hospitality during their sojourn at Mitau. Sir Moses thanked them for their kindness in coming so many miles to meet us, but declined accepting their offer, as he wished to travel as privately as possible. As we entered the town, hundreds of persons ran by the side of the carriage to the hotel. We had splendid apartments there, and were grateful for our safety, as we had suffered very much from cold, heavy snows, and horrible roads, and had frequently been obliged to travel all night.

Not wishing to attract any notice (in compliance with the suggestion of Baron Brunnow), we refrained from leaving the house for the whole day, and from attending Synagogue, which was a painful deprivation to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. Many persons called, but Sir Moses was under the necessity of refusing to see anyone. We had excellent dinners—a dozen dishes, served on silver; but when, in the evening, we sent for the bill, wishing to pay for our dinners of that and the previous[Pg 327] day, we found that they had been prepared at the house of Madame Johanna Davidoff, a lady of this town, and she would not allow us to pay for anything.

Sir Moses wanted to give her a costly present, but she declined accepting it. "I am," she said, "amply repaid by the great happiness afforded me to prepare a humble meal for those who come from a distant land, and brave the inclemency of a Russian winter, to serve the cause of humanity. May all the Heavenly blessings alight on them!"

We left Mitau in the evening. In front of the hotel hundreds of persons were waiting to see us set off. When we reached Obay, on the south side of the Dwina, opposite Riga, at 10.35, we found the river still covered with ice, but in a weak and dangerous condition. Our carriages were deemed too heavy to be passed over; but after considerable hesitation, they were allowed to be conveyed across, though at a great expense and at our own risk. The wheels were taken off, as well as all the luggage, and they were then placed on sledges and drawn by men to the opposite side of the river. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore and their attendants were waiting at the inn till 1.30 p.m., when we all walked across. We had great difficulty in walking; the ice was wet and slippery, with numerous dangerous holes. Not two minutes before we passed, a man fell into one of these holes, and was drowned. A similar accident nearly awaited one of our party: the ice broke under him, and one leg went through, but his body falling across the ice, he was soon extricated from his perilous position. It was impossible, Sir Moses said, "to express the alarm we felt in crossing." It took us twenty minutes to accomplish.

We walked to the hotel, and were followed by hundreds of people. Shortly afterwards a deputation of the Hebrew community, and many others, came to welcome us, but Sir Moses declined seeing them, for the reasons already stated. He requested me to see them, and explain to them his object in depriving himself of the pleasure of expressing personally to them his thanks for their civilities and attention.

We only remained at Riga a short time, to recover a little, and to dry our clothes, and then proceeded on our journey.

March 26th.—We arrived at Narva, where we remained over Sabbath. The weather was most dismal.[Pg 328]




March 29th.—Snow had again fallen heavily, and on arriving at Jamburg we found the ice in such a bad state that grave fears were entertained as to the possibility of crossing the River Lugu. The officer in charge repeatedly refused to allow us to cross.

Neither bedsteads nor bedding being obtainable, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore had a kind of bed prepared on the floor in a very small and low room, and I had a bundle of straw, in another room, for my couch; it was, however, so warm there, and the air so very oppressive, that I was obliged to get up in the middle of the night, and take a walk outside the house.

Jamburg, March 30th.—At seven in the morning I crossed the Lugu; there was not much ice on the river. The officer told me he would have three boats lashed together to take the carriages over. I returned to Sir Moses to bring him the good news, and to prepare for our departure. I had scarcely been at home an hour when the ice came down the river in great quantities. Sir Moses accompanied me to look at it, and decided not to cross, as we should have incurred a great risk by doing so. At last towards evening the officer came and told us that he would employ soldiers to launch the great barge, and would come for us when he was ready. We continued in painful suspense awaiting his arrival till a few minutes before seven, when he came and said "All was ready." Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went in their carriage. I and the rest of the party walked down to the water side. The carriages were safely put on a large barge, and soon launched into the stream, but when[Pg 329] in the middle it struck on some large stones, and they were in the greatest peril. The barge remained for nearly an hour fixed to one spot. Happily, after great exertions on the part of the soldiers, it was got off.

The officer then conducted us into his own boat, in which, besides Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, were also two servants, the officer, and a gentleman with despatches from the Russian Government, and we were towed across, though not without some danger from the ice which was driving down the current in great masses, and which our boatman found great difficulty in avoiding. Had they struck it must have proved fatal, but Heaven guarded us, and we landed in safety. We were one hour in crossing from the house on the west bank to the Post House at Jamburg, and had more than a hundred men to assist us. The officer was most civil and attentive, and refused to accept any present.

March 31st.—We left Jamburg last night with the intention of travelling through the night, but we found the road so dreadfully bad, in many places covered with snow and ice and full of ruts, that Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore deemed it most prudent to stop at Opolje, which was reached at one in the morning. We found warm and excellent accommodation at the station, and instantly threw ourselves on the sofas in our clothes, and slept soundly. We started again after six. The roads were so extremely bad that we were at last compelled to leave our carriages, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, as well as myself and the rest of our party, having to walk through the snow, between six and seven versts, and arrived dreadfully fatigued at Ischerkowitz, where we remained three hours for rest and refreshment. We then had a pleasant drive in a little open carriage placed on a sledge and drawn by two horses, but it was very cold. We reached Kaskowa one hour before our own carriages.

April 1st.—We left Kaskowa, passed through Kipeen, and a stage later arrived at Stretna. From this place to St Petersburg is seventeen and a half versts. The road is here well macadamised; on either side of it are the country seats of the nobility. Up to this place we had had as many as eight, ten, or twelve, and sometimes even a greater number of horses put to the carriage, now the number was limited to three, we were told, by order of the Government. The driver remained standing all the time (while[Pg 330] driving furiously) on a small piece of iron, which served as a step to get up to the coachman's seat. At about three o'clock we arrived at St Petersburg. After our passports had undergone the necessary examination, we drove to the place where apartments had been taken for us, but found them unsuitable, and had to search some time before we succeeded in engaging rooms at the Hotel de Prusse.

St Petersburg, April 2nd.—We went to His Excellency the Hon. T. A. D. Bloomfield, who received us immediately. Sir Moses gave him his letters of introduction, and acquainted him with the object of his visit to the Russian metropolis. He also showed him the letters of introduction to Count Nesselrode which he had received from Sir Robert Peel and Baron Brunnow.

His Excellency received Sir Moses very kindly, wrote to Count Nesselrode, enclosing Sir Moses' letters to him, and eventually obtained an appointment for Sir Moses for the following Sunday.

April 4th.—Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore found the climate very trying. Visitors who called on them reported that there was not a house in the city that had not three or four of its inmates confined by illness (an epidemic catarrh, generally called in Russia and Germany, "Grippe"), which had greatly increased the mortality of the city.

April 5th.—At one o'clock Sir Moses visited Count Nesselrode. We were at once received by him in a very friendly manner. He said he had already spoken to the Emperor about Sir Moses. The latter informed the Count of the two purposes for which he came to St Petersburg, viz., the establishment of Jewish schools, and the repeal of the two Ukases for the removal of the Jews from the frontiers. This, the Count said, was not in his department, but the Government was at present engaged on the amendment of those Ukases, and that he should be happy to render Sir Moses all the assistance in his power in furtherance of his objects. Sir Moses then spoke to him respecting the cultivation of land, and the Count said that his views were in strict accordance with those of the Government; that he wished to raise the Jews, and make them more useful members of society; that the cream of the Jews were in England, France, and Germany, but that those in the ancient provinces of the Russian Empire and Poland were engaged in low traffic and contraband pursuits.[Pg 331]

Sir Moses expressed his deep regret to hear the Minister's opinion, for which he was not prepared. He then said to his Excellency that he should be happy to be presented to the Emperor; the Count told him he would ask His Majesty, and requested Sir Moses to call on Count Ouvaroff, the Minister of Public Instruction, at one o'clock on the following day. He again repeated his desire to render him every assistance.

In the course of the day Sir Moses left his card and letters of introduction at Count Orloff's.

April 6th.—We called to-day on Count Ouvaroff, with whom we remained an hour and a half in conversation. He assured Sir Moses, for himself and on the part of his colleagues, that the measures of the Government for the organisation of the Jewish schools were designed for their improvement and happiness, and not with the slightest intention of conversion to another religion, but to make them more useful members of society, and to fit them for advancement. He also assured Sir Moses that the Government had some plans for a more liberal treatment, but that the Jews must first prepare themselves.

"The Jews of Russia," he said, "were different from the Jews in other parts of the world; they were orthodox, and believed in the Talmud," which he considered false. "They were ignorant of their own religion; and he was obliged to force them to study Hebrew, their own language." Sir Moses defended the principles of those who strictly adhere to the doctrines of their religion. As to the Talmud, he pointed out to the Minister the great esteem in which that work is held by pious and learned Christians.

In support of this view, I reminded His Excellency of what Buxtorf said on the subject in his "Abbreviations,"[A] and in the preface to his great Chaldaic and Talmudical Lexicon:—

"The Talmud," that Christian Divine states, "is a learned work, or a large corpus of erudition; it contains manifold learning in all sciences; it teaches the most explicit and most complete, civil and canonical law of the Jews, so that the whole nation, as well as their Synagogue, might live thereby in a state of happiness,—in the most desirable way.

"It is the most luminous commentary of the Scriptural law as well as its supplement and support.

"It contains much excellent teaching on jurisprudence, medicine, natural philosophy, ethics, politics, astronomy, and other branches of science, which make one think highly of the history of that nation and of the time in which the work was written."

[A] De abreviat. hebr. (auct. Joh. Buxt. I.), p. 1.[Pg 332]

I mentioned to His Excellency the names of Buxtorf the younger, Dr Johannus Reuchlin, Johannes Meyer, Selden, Joh. Morinus, Sebastian Munster, Surenhusius, and quoted most of their statements on the subject.

With reference to the Russian Jews' knowledge of Hebrew and of their own religion, I called His Excellency's attention to the numerous works they had produced on all subjects connected with Hebrew literature and poetry.

The Minister, however, resumed his arguments, saying they should first be educated before full facilities to gain a living should be given them; although he allowed that, to a certain degree, persecution had made them what they are. He further said that the Government were now adopting a new plan, and were treating the Jews with toleration, liberality, and love, but it would take a long time, he remarked—perhaps a century—before any difference would be perceptible. He did not consider the present generation, and only thought of the future. He concluded by observing the Jews were loyal subjects, and immediately complied with every order of the Government.

Sir Moses pressed repeatedly upon His Excellency the necessity of relieving them from the anxiety and suffering to which they were subjected in respect to the Ukases for their removal from the frontiers and villages; upon which the Minister observed, "They were not executed, and were very different in effect to what they appeared on paper, and that the Government were engaged on their consideration;" and he several times repeated that the Government were desirous of raising the Jews and removing the prejudices which still exist against them, but it required time, and the Jews must assist by their improvement and attendance at the schools. Sir Moses assured him that the fear of attempts at conversion was the only cause of their hesitation to conform to his wishes. The interview then terminated, His Excellency having throughout been most friendly and polite.

On our return home Mr and Mrs Bloomfield paid a long visit to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and spoke principally on the subject connected with our visit to St Petersburg.

He gave Sir Moses a letter just received from Count Nesselrode, stating that the Emperor would receive him on the following day at one o'clock. Sir Moses showed him the address[Pg 333] which he wished to deliver to His Majesty. His Excellency thought it would do very well. Sir Moses then said he was anxious that Count Nesselrode should see it. Mr Bloomfield thought he might call on him to-morrow morning. Sir Moses, however, was of opinion that it would be better to go there at once, and take his chance of seeing him.

Immediately after the British Ambassador and his wife had left us we went to Count Nesselrode, who received us, read the paper over, and suggested some alterations.

In the evening we dined with the British Ambassador. Mr Bloomfield being unwell, could not join the company at table. There were present Count Nesselrode's daughter and her husband, the Saxon Ambassador, the Austrian Ambassador, Mr and Mrs Buchanan, and several other gentlemen.

Wednesday, April 8th.—Sir Moses, in order to be ready to attend His Majesty, had just put on his uniform when he received a message from Count Nesselrode, saying that the Emperor would see him on the morrow instead of on that day.

April 9th.—The entry of this day in the diary records the audience with His Majesty the Emperor:—"Praised be the God of our fathers. At one o'clock this day I had the honour of an interview with His Imperial Majesty the Emperor. I made the strongest appeal in my power for the general alteration of all laws and edicts that pressed heavily on the Jews under His Majesty's sway."

The following is a copy of the address to the Emperor:—

"May it please your Imperial Majesty. With deep veneration for your Majesty's person and government, and with fervent prayers to the Most High, that your Majesty may continue to be for many, many years the happy and exalted ruler of a powerful, virtuous, and prosperous people, I crave your Majesty's permission to offer my humble thanks for the honour conferred upon me by your Majesty's government, by the intimation that my presence in your Imperial metropolis might become beneficial to my brethren of the Hebrew nation in the organisation of schools for the education of their youths; a measure which emanated from your Majesty's watchful and paternal care for the improvement of their situation and the promotion of their happiness. May I be permitted to embrace this favourable moment to express my earnest prayer that your Majesty may deign to give your most humane consideration to the condition of my co-religionists under your Majesty's sway, and that your Majesty may exert that power which God has placed in your august hands, to alleviate, to the utmost extent, which your Majesty's justice and wisdom may think fit, all such laws and edicts as may be proved to press heavily upon the Israelites. I implore your Majesty, therefore, to bend an eye of merciful consideration upon them, and thus, by the revival of their hopes, they may be restored to their proper standing among their[Pg 334] fellowmen, and have the opportunity of proving themselves most loyal and faithful subjects, as well as useful and honourable citizens, true to the Eternal God, to whom their prayers daily ascend, that your Majesty's throne may endure to the latest generations, and that your Majesty may long live to secure and to witness the happiness and the prosperity of a great and mighty nation."

The entry in the diary continues:—

"His Imperial Majesty said that I should have the satisfaction of receiving his assurance, as well as that of his Ministers, that they were most desirous for the improvement of their situation in every way possible. His Majesty spoke for about twenty minutes. He said I should go and see them; and referring to the army, that he had put Jews in his guards. I expressed a hope that he would promote them if found as deserving as his other soldiers, to which he assented. I repeatedly said that the Jews were faithful, loyal subjects, industrious and honourable citizens. He said, 'S'ils vous ressemblent' ('If they are like you'). His Majesty heartily shook hands with me as I entered and on my retiring. It is a happiness to me to hear from every person, from the very highest to the lowest classes, that my visit to this country will raise the Jews in the estimation of the people, and that His Majesty's reception of me will be of the utmost importance."

April 10th.—Several persons left their cards, among which we noticed those of Count Orloff, Lieutenant-General Doubett, Chief of the Secret Police, the Chevalier Russi di Castilevala. In the course of the day we went to the office of the Secret Police; they were very civil. We were given to understand that it was customary for visitors to St Petersburg to pay a visit to that office. At two o'clock we called, by appointment, on Count Kisseleff, the Minister in whose charge Jewish affairs are placed. He received Sir Moses most politely, and we were with him more than an hour. Sir Moses went over all the particulars referring to the alleviation of the unfortunate position of the Jews. The Minister (like Count Nesselrode and Count Ouvaroff) said they were great fanatics, and he complained of the Talmud being the cause of their degraded position. Again Sir Moses and myself defended the Talmud, giving the names of Christian divines who have spoken in high praise of that ancient work.

Count Kisseleff wished the Jews to cultivate the land, to establish manufactories, to undertake more laborious work than that to which they had hitherto been accustomed; and, respecting the removal from the frontiers, he said they might go fifty versts on either side. He did not wish to keep them, five or six hundred thousand might leave altogether. Sir Moses might, if he liked, take ten thousand or more to Palestine or elsewhere. He[Pg 335] shewed him a Ukase about to be published, which gave them some privileges, but compelled them, within a certain number of years, to adopt some occupation of an active nature, or to be punished as vagrants. He said many Jews had gone to settle in Siberia, but the Governor had taken steps to prevent more of them going there. The Count further said that the Jews were fanatics, praying for the coming of the Messiah and their return to the Holy Land, and that they starved themselves all the week in order to have candles and fish for the Sabbath. Sir Moses having explained to His Excellency the groundlessness of these charges, the Minister then said he should always be pleased to see us, that his doors would be open to Sir Moses every day, and requested he would call again.

April 11th.—At about twelve o'clock an officer came from the Minister of War to inform Sir Moses that the Emperor, having been informed of his wish to assist at the service in the soldier's Synagogue at the barracks, had desired him to escort Sir Moses, and to say that the service was held at seven in the evening, and from eight till twelve in the morning.

At 6.30 we walked through the rain to the barracks, a very long distance from our hotel. The Synagogue was a large room, well fitted up, with the Ark, containing the sacred Scrolls of the Pentateuch, and the pulpit and reading desk. The prayer for the ruling Sovereign and the Royal Family was painted on a tablet affixed to the wall, as in other places of worship among Hebrew communities. The prayers were read by one of the soldiers, who officiated as precentor to a congregation of three hundred of his companions. They all appeared very devout, and joined loudly in the prayers. Sir Moses was so much fatigued that it was with the greatest difficulty and pain that he walked to the Synagogue and back through mud and rain. The barracks were near the English quay, at least two miles distant.[Pg 336]




April 15th.—We went to see Count Kisseleff. His Excellency told Sir Moses that the Emperor had inquired what he thought of the Synagogue. The Count assured him they had determined to adopt a new plan with the Jews, more mild and conciliatory. The Emperor wished them to amalgamate with their fellow subjects, and to cultivate the land. But he would not force them; they would be left to their own free will, and less under the control of the police than they had been, and all who wished to leave the Empire might do so. The Count said he would write to Sir Moses to that effect, and would give him the list of towns to be visited, but the roads, he observed, were dreadfully bad. Sir Moses expressed a strong desire to see Wilna, to which the Minister acceded, giving him introductions to the different places, and writing to the postmasters for horses.

When Sir Moses spoke of religion, Count Kisseleff said he did not care what was between man and his God, but he wished the Jews to become useful citizens, and that they had as many privileges as those in England. He spoke much of their poverty and distress. Sir Moses was pleased to observe that his manner of speaking of the Jews was more friendly. Count Kisseleff said that Jewish artisans and mechanics might come and work at St Petersburg, but that they might not bring their wives and children. He promised to give Sir Moses copies of the Ukase relating to their removal from the villages, and he showed him the Journal des Débats, which stated that Mr Gilbert had put a question to Sir Robert Peel on the subject.

"I am satisfied," Sir Moses records in his diary, "that the Jews will be better off in consequence of our visit to this city. Praise be to God alone!"[Pg 337]

April 17th.—We attended service in the soldiers' Synagogue. Two of the superior officers accompanied Sir Moses to the gate of the barracks, and expressed a hope that he was satisfied with the arrangements. The soldiers told us that the coming of Sir Moses had been of the utmost benefit to them, and that their officers treated them much better since his arrival.

April 20th.—We proceeded to Count Ouvaroff, and remained with him one hour. He offered Sir Moses a letter of introduction to the Inspector of Public Instruction at Wilna, and promised to attend to any suggestion that he might send to him after his tour.

We then called and took leave of Count Kisseleff, who assured Sir Moses that his report and suggestions should have his best consideration, that he would put his letter into the hands of the Emperor, and that he would send Sir Moses an answer. He could not have been more friendly. Count Ouvaroff was equally amiable. Orders were sent to all the postmasters along the route to have horses ready for us.

At one o'clock we visited Count Nesselrode, and were equally well received. His Excellency said that he would send Sir Moses a letter of introduction to the Governor of Wilna, and promised to give every consideration to any suggestion he might send him for the improvement of the condition of his co-religionists.

Sir Moses again received the assurances of all the Ministers that their measures for the better education of the Jews was in no way actuated by a desire for their conversion, and that this might be depended upon.

Count Kisseleff told him, in reply to his inquiry, that the Jews did not serve as long in the army as others. He spoke much in favour of the establishment of manufactories, and said that the Government would grant them privileges.

Returning to the hotel Sir Moses, accompanied by Lady Montefiore, went to take leave of Mr and Mrs Bloomfield, from whom they had received the kindest attention and assistance. His Excellency said that if Sir Moses wanted anything at St Petersburg he should recollect he was there, and would always be happy to render his best assistance. He gave him a letter of introduction to the British Consul at Warsaw.

This was a memorable day here. The Emperor inspected[Pg 338] the Guards, and gave each soldier one and a half silver roubles. The Isaac Square was thronged with holiday folks, enjoying the national sports. Count Kisseleff told Sir Moses that four hundred recruits had just arrived from a place near Wilna without a single man having fallen sick or deserted. The Emperor had seen them, was pleased with them, and gave them money.

Sir Moses spoke with several of the Jews who had served from ten to fifteen years. They said that after twenty years they were free, if they served in the Guards; but if they were attendants, or served in the hospitals, or as mechanics, then their service was extended to twenty-five years. As far as Sir Moses could judge, they did not appear to be discontented with their situation, and observed their religion. They were together in barracks, with their wives and children.

Among the visitors who called during the day was Sheikh Mouhhammad Ayyád Ettántáwy, Professor of the Arabic Language and Literature in the Asiatic Institution (who had been my Arabic master during my stay at Cairo). The Sheikh expressed great admiration for the character of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and their noble exertions to ameliorate the condition of their brethren; and he composed two poems in commemoration of their visit to St Petersburg, which he himself copied in the Arabic language in their diaries. He had been sent to St Petersburg at the instance of Count Medem, the Russian Consul General in Alexandria. Owing to his great learning the Mooslim professor had already received two decorations—the Orders of St Anne and of St Stanislas—from the Emperor Nicholas, and had become a great favourite with all the students who attended his lectures.

The Hebrew soldiers brought the books from the charitable institutions and schools which they had established among themselves.

Various authors and poets sent their literary compositions in honour to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore's arrival, hospitals, schools, and institutions of all kinds sent their representatives to enlist their sympathies for a good cause, and the latter endeavoured, as much as possible, to satisfy all deserving applicants.

The number of visitors from the nobility, since Sir Moses had been received by the Emperor, greatly increased; but there[Pg 339] was no time for him to return their visits or accept their invitations, as he was anxious to proceed without further delay to visit the places pointed out to him by the Government. A great many Israelites from different parts of the empire came and gave us their blessings; nearly all were soldiers. One of them had two distinguished orders for his bravery in Poland; he had been in the army eighteen years.

Count Nesselrode sent a letter of introduction to the Governor of Warsaw, and Count Kisseleff one to the Postmaster of Wilcomir, that we might find no difficulty in proceeding from that place to Wilna. All arrangements for our departure being now completed, Sir Moses gave the order to start.

For the first two days of our journey the weather was beautiful and the roads excellent, as smooth as a bowling green; but just before entering Ostroff we encountered terribly rough weather and desperately bad roads, full of ruts and holes. We were ferried over several rivers before reaching Roubelove, where we resolved on remaining for the night.

Regiza, Friday, April 24th.—"We find," as the entry in the diary says, "the post stations get worse as we proceed, both in respect to cleanliness and comfort. Last night there was no bread, no beer, wine, or spirits, and very bad water, and beds out of the question. We have slept on sofas since we left St Petersburg, with the greater part of our clothes on, being covered with our cloaks. It is indeed roughing it. We have travelled 418-1/4 posts. This is the first town from St Petersburg inhabited by Israelites, and poor indeed they appear. My dear Judith has a very bad cough, but bears the fatigue and deprivation of all comfort most admirably; she is cheerful and content. We noticed the land ready to be cultivated, and observed many ploughs at work, but with only one horse to each. We continue to pass through large forests of firs, birch, &c.; the ground being very sandy and marshy, very poor for cultivation."

The Sabbath enabled us to enjoy the repose we so much required.

Sunday, April 26th.—We proceeded to Düneberg, thence to Wilcomir, where, on our arrival, a deputation from Wilna came to bid us welcome.

April 29th.—We continued our journey to Wilna. This town may be described as the most important centre of Hebrew[Pg 340] literature in Russia, and numbers among its inhabitants very many distinguished Hebrew authors and poets. The works written by them on all subjects connected with the elucidation of the Sacred Scriptures may be counted by hundreds. They also excel in works of industry of every description, and are the principal artisans in the place. In their commercial transactions they show great ability, and are often, for their sound judgment, consulted by their non-Israelite neighbours on subjects which require special consideration.

The Jewish settlement in Wilna dates from long before 1326. According to a statement given in the Otsherki Wilenskoi Gubernii (Wilna, 1852), they had at that time (in the year 1326) already in their community a special Chamber of Commerce, which they could only have established there after a long residence in the country.

Cardinal Commendoni, the Nuncio of the Pope at the Court of King Sigismund-Auguste in the year 1561, though he reproached the Poles for having granted too many privileges to the infidels, nevertheless expressed himself favourably when speaking of the Jews in Lithuania, of which Wilna is the capital.

The following is the substance of his remarks on the subject, as given in the book entitled "Rosprawa O Zydach, Czackiego," p. 93:—There are still a great many Jews in these provinces, including Lithuania, who are not, as in many other places, regarded with disrespect; they do not maintain themselves miserably by base profits; they are landed proprietors, are engaged in commerce, and even devote themselves to the study of literature, and more especially to medicine and astrology. They hold almost everywhere the commission of levying the customs duties; they are classed among the most honest people; they wear no outward mark to distinguish them from Christians, and are permitted to carry a sword and walk about with their arms; in a word, they enjoy the same privileges as other citizens.

The Jews of Wilna determined to give a most hearty welcome to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore.

The Spiritual Head of the community, all the members of his Ecclesiastical Court, the representatives of all the educational, industrial and charitable institutions, and all the officers connected with them, came to meet Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore[Pg 341] at a place called Krisanke (Krigeanki), seventeen versts from Wilna. A deputation from among them proceeded five versts further. On meeting us they presented Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore with a poem written in the purest Biblical Hebrew, which was gratefully acknowledged by Sir Moses. They then left in great haste to apprise their colleagues of our approach.

On our arrival at Krisanke we found all the members of the Committee of Welcome drawn up in a line. As the carriage stopped, the Spiritual Head of the community, accompanied by the representatives of the various institutions, approached Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and delivered an address to them, which Sir Moses answered in his own name and that of Lady Montefiore. They were then requested to alight and enter a room, most tastefully decorated for the occasion, and where an excellent breakfast awaited them.

We left Krisanke and directed our course towards Wilna. For the whole distance of seventeen versts the fields to the right and left of the road were crowded by people, who shouted in Hebrew, "Blessed be those who come in the name of the Lord;" and when, on approaching the carriage of Sir Moses, they beheld the Hebrew word "Jerusalem" on the banner attached to the supporters of his coat of arms, joy filled their hearts, and they showered innumerable blessings on the heads of its occupants.

We arrived safely at the house of Mr Isaac A. L. Setil, which had been specially prepared for our reception, and there met three gentlemen of the Hebrew community waiting to receive Sir Moses' orders.

A comfortable night's rest made both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore soon forget the discomforts which they had to endure on the road from St Petersburg.

I now give Sir Moses' own words, as entered in the diary.

"Wilna, April 30th.—I took my letter of introduction to the Governor, and he received me instantly. Dr Loewe accompanied me. The Governor was extremely polite, and spoke much of the Jews. He attributed their present unhappy state to great poverty, but could not suggest any other remedy than colonisation; the want of capital will render this measure very slow. He did not think the Jews could be removed from the villages till the autumn, when some arrangement would be adopted for their employment. The Jews might have land near to Christians, and he thought it desirable that they should be more together. I am of opinion that the Jewish population has increased more rapidly than the others, and consequently their means of obtaining a livelihood by barter is more difficult. We were introduced[Pg 342] to the Governor's wife, a very handsome and agreeable lady, and extremely well informed. She expressed the kindest sentiments towards the Jews. I called with Monsieur Ouvaroff's letter on His Excellency Monsieur E. Gruber, Councillor of State. He was much in favour of the Jews. At five I received those persons who formed the deputation and came twenty versts to see me. Dr Loewe addressed them in German, related all that had passed at St Petersburg, and read them the papers I had received. They will write me their observations."

The reader will probably remember the charges which the Ministers brought against the Jews; also the special reports referring to the unsuccessful endeavours to raise their status, with which the Russian Government provided Sir Moses, to enable him to ascertain the exact state of the Hebrew communities. It was therefore necessary, however painful it must have been to him, to make fully known to the deputation all the wrong-doings of which they stood accused before the Government, and to afford them the opportunity of clearing their character.

I addressed them in the name of Sir Moses, saying that "this fatiguing journey over land and sea had been exclusively undertaken by him for their sakes. The guiding hand of the Eternal God, which always accompanied him on his travels, had not forsaken him on the present occasion, and made him arrive at an opportune time at St Petersburg, when His Majesty the Emperor had just returned from a journey to Moscow. He was fortunate enough to be received by His Imperial Majesty in a private audience, where His Majesty deigned to receive him most kindly, and afterwards sent him to his three Imperial Ministers, Count Nesselrode, Minister of State; Count Ouvaroff, Minister of Public Instruction; and Count Kisseleff, Minister of the Crown Lands, to receive from them their reports. His Majesty had promised Sir Moses that he would treat the Jews paternally, and with forbearance. But to Sir Moses' great sorrow, he had also heard complaints against them. He therefore entreated the deputation to give him all the information they could on all the subjects to which he had drawn their attention."

Having listened, with tears in their eyes, to the accusations brought against them, the deputation promised to provide him, with a statement in which all the questions brought to his notice would be treated seriatim, and containing many historically interesting notices on the civil condition of the Russian Jews, also many letters from Jewish families that had, at that time, been expelled from villages and taverns.[Pg 343]

"The Civil Governor of the town," Sir Moses enters in his diary, "sent the chief officer of police to say he should be happy to accompany me at any time I might fix, to the several public institutions. We cannot move a step without being surrounded by hundreds of people, all giving us their blessing."

Wilna, May 1st.—Sir Moses went to the Civil Governor, and was with him an hour. The Governor repeated all that the other Ministers had said, and told him that the Jews were not obliged to leave the villages, but only to discontinue selling brandy. This, at least, was something gained.

During our absence, Monsieur E. Gruber left his card. The Military Governor paid us a visit, and invited Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to a ball on Sunday, the 17th inst. Sir Moses, not expecting to be present at a ball in Wilna, had left his uniform at Wilcomir, and intended for this reason to decline accepting the invitation; but the Governor at once observed that a special messenger would bring his uniform from Wilcomir in due time, and hoped to see him at the ball. Many members of the aristocracy called, among whom was Count Wittgenstein.[Pg 344]




On the following morning, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore offered up prayers amidst thousands of their brethren, and many visitors, who "from curiosity," as they said, "came to see the English philanthropist." The rest of the day was devoted to the reception of the members of the community, their wives and children, so as to have the opportunity of becoming acquainted with their manners and mode of conversation.

It being customary in that place to send wine and sweetmeats of every description to a person of distinction on the first Sabbath of his arrival, many hundreds of bottles of the best wine, with cakes and sweetmeats from the most skilful confectioners, were sent to us, and these were several times handed round by Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore themselves. The amiability with which they received every new comer induced the visitors to speak without restraint on all subjects.

In the evening a scribe of great ability was summoned before Sir Moses, to prepare a scroll of parchment, upon which the latter was desirous to commence writing the first line of the Pentateuch for Synagogual purposes. The scribe soon made his appearance, and Sir Moses, in the presence of the Chief Rabbi and the principal lecturer of the community, performed the task assigned to him.

Wilna, May 3rd.—Sir Moses paid a visit to the Governor, where he met most of the nobility of the place, and representatives of various communities, who came to pay their respects on the occasion of the birthday of the Czarewitch. Among those present we also noticed the Ecclesiastical Chief of the Hebrew community.

On our return from the Governor, we proceeded to inspect[Pg 345] the various colleges and schools, where we examined the pupils, and conversed with the teachers and directors regarding the subjects to which Sir Moses' attention had been called at St Petersburg. From each of these establishments full accounts were given to us, of which Sir Moses made the best use in his report to the Czar.

In the evening, by special invitation from the Governor, Sir Moses visited the theatre, and subsequently, he, Lady Montefiore, and myself attended the ball at His Excellency's. We were received by all present with every possible attention and courtesy, and the appearance of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore made a most favourable impression.

On our return from the entertainment we found some beautiful embroidery, poems, drawings, &c., sent to Lady Montefiore by the pupils of some of the girls' schools of the place. We had had an opportunity, in the morning, of inspecting the schools. In some of them the pupils acquitted themselves satisfactorily in the French, Russian, German, and Hebrew languages; their handwriting was beautiful, and in arithmetic they were far advanced.

Monday, May 4th.—We went to-day to see the printing office of the Brothers Rom, Rundsinsky, Königsberg, and Torkin. Sir Moses was accompanied by His Excellency the Civil Governor Terebzow. They presented us with a number of valuable works, each of which was adorned with a poem written by the gifted poet A. B. Lebensohn. We then proceeded to the Jewish Hospital, the Infant School, under the patronage of the wife of the Military Governor, the Orphan Asylum of Mr Chiya Danzig, and many schools and colleges, everywhere exhorting the pupils to study the Russian language and literature, and everywhere leaving charitable gifts. Sir Moses took every means to make himself thoroughly acquainted with all the matters on which he had been asked to report to the Emperor, and invited ten of the most prominent men of the community to attend morning and evening prayers at his hotel, and afterwards to report and discuss matters generally.

May 5th.—With a view of showing his respect for the Chief Rabbi and the representatives of the community, and, at the same time, of forming an idea of the domestic arrangements for the comfort of their families, Sir Moses devoted many hours to calling on those persons. He had the satisfaction of seeing among them many well-educated wives, sons, and daughters;[Pg 346] their dwellings were scrupulously clean, the furniture plain, but suitable for the purpose, and the appearance of the family healthy. Some of them were very good looking.

The number of letters from Jews and Christians hourly increased; whole nights were often devoted to reading them, and making extracts from those which required special and immediate attention.

May 6th.—We were indoors all this day, engaged from morning till evening in conversation with numerous persons on the subject of our journey.

His Excellency, Monsieur Gruber, came just when the room was filled with visitors, including the Chief Rabbi, the principal lecturer of the Synagogue, and many of the leading members of the community. Taking advantage of the opportunity, these gentlemen spoke of the state of the Jews in Russia, and stated to him that the Government would not permit them to have land, nor would they employ them as labourers; adding that they could bring to His Excellency, within a few minutes, if he desired it, five thousand men, women, and children who would be ready to do any work, however laborious, merely for a piece of bread a day. They had frequently petitioned the Government, they said, for liberty to take land, but had never received the required permission.

The conversation was carried on with great spirit. Subsequently a large deputation was introduced, who requested Sir Moses to remain till after Sabbath. The Burgomaster of Wilna being present, joined in the request, and Sir Moses at last consented, especially as the deputation observed that they could not sooner get their papers ready for him.

Friday, May 8th.—The representatives of the Hebrew congregation of this town, together with those of other Hebrew congregations from some of the principal towns in Russia, under the presidency of the Chief Rabbi, held a meeting for the purpose of examining the papers which had been prepared for presentation to Sir Moses, in reply to the charges brought against them at St Petersburg. It was arranged to request Sir Moses to appoint the following day, in the evening, after the termination of the Sabbath, for their reception, and to invite the writer of these lines to address the congregation on the following morning in the principal Synagogue of the town, so as to afford to thousands of their brethren and visitors the opportunity of[Pg 347] becoming acquainted with any suggestion which it might be deemed desirable to communicate to them relative to the Mission of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore.

With this view a deputation waited on Sir Moses, and he agreed to receive them at the appointed time. The same deputation also brought me the invitation to deliver an address in their Synagogue, which I willingly accepted.

Saturday, May 9th.—Divine service was held in the apartments of Sir Moses early in the morning. In the afternoon, at about two o'clock, he and Lady Montefiore proceeded to the Synagogue, where I delivered the address in the presence of a very large assembly of members of various communities and visitors. In the evening all the representatives of Wilna, and those of the principal towns in Russia, together with the gentlemen who wrote the reports in the Hebrew, French, and Russian languages, and others of high standing in the community, headed by their Ecclesiastical Chief, presented the papers which Sir Moses was so anxiously expecting.

It is often a grave and exciting moment for those present in a court of justice, when the accused, however humble his station in life may be, pleads his cause and vindicates his innocence against a vigorous prosecutor; graver, however, and considerably more exciting was the scene which I now witnessed, when not merely a private individual, but the representatives of three millions of loyal subjects of the Emperor of Russia, pleaded their cause and vindicated their innocence against the most serious charges brought against them and their religious tenets by the Ministers of the Empire. I repeatedly noticed tears rolling down the cheeks of the venerable elders of the community. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore themselves could hardly suppress their emotion.

Every word contained in the written statements had been translated by me into English, and the whole was read aloud to the assembly. Sir Moses addressed questions to the representatives of the various communities, and elicited numerous replies; but the more voluminous ones had to be taken away with us, to be read next day by Sir Moses on the road.

Thus many hours of the night passed; it was two o'clock in the morning when the conference terminated. Refreshments were handed round. Sir Moses drank to "better times, and to the health and prosperity of his brethren in Russia." The[Pg 348] Chief Rabbi, the representatives of the community, and all present shed tears at the contemplation of our departure.

Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore left many souvenirs to those who had so kindly attended them during their stay in Wilna, and sent hundreds of bottles of the best wine, and many kinds of meat, and cakes of every description to the hospitals. All the charitable institutions and all deserving cases were remembered by most generous gifts, and nothing more was left for him to do.

The favourable impression which the people of Wilna made on Sir Moses prompted him to say to those present, as he stepped into his carriage: "I leave you, but my heart will ever remain with you. When my brethren suffer, I feel it painfully; when they have reason to weep, my eyes shed tears."

At four o'clock in the morning, when no one in the town expected our departure, we left Wilna for Wilcomir. The recent rains had made the roads very bad; heavy sand and numerous ruts prevented our proceeding at the average rate of travelling. In one spot our conveyance stuck fast in a deep hole, and we were detained for fully half-an-hour. This unpleasant circumstance was much aggravated by the hundreds of poor Russian men, women, and children following the carriage for miles on the road. The more they had given to them, the more they appeared to want.

After a ride of seventy-six and a half versts we reached Wilcomir, where a deputation from the Hebrew community brought us wine and cake. The account which they gave of their brethren was but sorrowful. Of five hundred families, they said, one-fourth died last year from destitution.

We visited the school and charitable institutions, and next day continued our journey to Kowno.

Hundreds of persons, with lighted candles in their hands, greeted us on our arrival at Kowno. We found an elegant house prepared for us, all the rooms and passages brilliantly lighted with wax candles. The host and hostess, Mr and Mrs Kadisohn, attended on Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore themselves. "We have not had," Lady Montefiore said, "such beds or accommodation since leaving England."

Sir Moses had an important interview with the Governor of the town respecting the employment of Jews to repair the high roads, they being willing to work for twenty kopeks a day,[Pg 349] while labourers of other denominations receive thirty. We here received information regarding the Jews, in general, living in that district; and the representatives of the community, headed by their Chief Rabbi, supplemented this by numerous statements made to Sir Moses in writing.

May 12th.—We left Kowno early in the morning, were ferried over the river, and detained two hours on the frontier of the former kingdom of Poland. Proceeded through Calvarie, Souvalky, Stavesey. In each of these places we had interviews with the authorities, and elders of the Hebrew community, and visited their schools and charitable institutions.

May 13th.—Our arrival at Warsaw was announced to thousands of the Hebrew community who were anxious to see Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore.

Mr Blumberg, one of the leading merchants, came to request Sir Moses' acceptance of his house during our stay at Warsaw; but Sir Moses, while thanking him for his hospitality, thought it desirable to live at an hotel, in preference to a private house.

The first visit paid by Sir Moses was to Colonel du Plat, the British Consul for Poland; he was absent from home, but sent in the course of the day, a message to Sir Moses that he would be pleased to see him on the following day.

The Chief Rabbi and the representatives of the Hebrew community came to congratulate us on our safe arrival. They said it had been their wish to have made a more public display of their gratitude to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, but they were prevented from doing so. They had asked the Governor if they might go out of the city to meet us, and received the reply that he could say neither "Yes" nor "No." The accounts which Sir Moses continued to receive from the Jews, of their position in this country, were most distressing.

Warsaw, May 17th.—"This morning," Sir Moses writes in his diary, "I called on Colonel du Plat with Dr Loewe. He proposed to accompany me immediately to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of the Interior, and the Military Governor of the city. We accordingly visited each of them, and I was received with much politeness. The two former Ministers conversed with me for a considerable time about the condition of the Jews. The Minister of Foreign Affairs is to ask His Highness the Viceroy for an audience for me. I have heard repeated the same complaints, that the Jews will not[Pg 350] cultivate the land, and from the Jews themselves that they cannot get permission to purchase land. This afternoon I received a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that His Highness will be happy to see me to-morrow at twelve. I received a deputation, consisting of the principal Jews of this city, headed by the Chief Rabbi. They give a deplorable account of the present position of the Jews in this kingdom.

"May 15th.—Colonel du Plat came and accompanied me and Dr Loewe to the Palace. We were received by Prince Paskiewitch (who is the Viceroy of the kingdom) with much politeness. I was in full uniform. We were one hour and a half in conversation respecting the Jews. He expressed the same sentiments as those we heard in St Petersburg; also said that the Jews would not cultivate the land, though the law allowed them to purchase it. I said that hundreds of Jews had expressed to me their ardent desire to obtain land, and that I feared there existed some difficulty in the requisite formalities. The Prince does not wish for further education, and is by no means disposed to give any privilege to them. His Highness invited me and the Consul to dine with him at six. It was a very pleasant and chatty party. I sat on the right of the Prince, but took nothing except asparagus, salad, ices, and dessert. The Princess was most agreeable, and conversed freely with me; indeed, all were most friendly.

"The Countess Rzewuska, née Princess Lubomirska; M. de Hilferilling, Conseiller d'Etat-actuel, Head of the Chancellerie Diplomatique of the Prince; the Minister of the Interior, General L. Se ater Storozenko; the Postmaster-General, Prince Galitzin; the Head of the Police, General Abramowicz; and the Governor-General of Warsaw, General Okouneff, were also present on that occasion.

"Warsaw, May 16th.—A deputation, consisting of at least twenty gentlemen from all the charitable institutions belonging to the Jews, presented my dear wife and myself with a beautiful address and a very elegant silver cup, as a mark of their gratitude for our exertions on their behalf. The house has been surrounded from morning till night by hundreds of our co-religionists, anxious to get a glimpse of us. Two gendarmes and a police officer have had great difficulty in keeping the people out of the house. We had the honour of a long visit to-day from the Military Governor."[Pg 351]




"Sunday, May 17th.—My dear wife, Dr Loewe, and myself paid a visit to the Princess Paskiewitch, the wife of the Viceroy. She was very kind in her manner, and spoke for a considerable time with us. We afterwards accompanied Mr Epstein to the Jewish Hospital, where we found the directors and most of the governors and their ladies waiting to receive us."

In order to show how desirous the Jews here are, under the most unfavourable circumstances, to promote the welfare of their poorer brethren, Sir Moses gives a long description of the hospital, containing 355 beds, baths, kitchens, a dispensary, laundry, and Synagogue; and of Mr Matthias Rosen's Aged Needy Asylum, and speaks in terms of the highest praise of all the arrangements. He also alludes to the important fact that the poor children are taught and apprenticed to various trades.

After inspecting the whole establishment, we were conducted to the Committee room. Sir Moses was here presented with a beautiful little statue of Moses, a copy in bronze of the statue by Michael Angelo, the President delivering a most suitable address. It is now in the Lecture Hall of Judith, Lady Montefiore's Theological College in Ramsgate, and is an object of great interest to visitors.

They were there met by the governor and directors, with their ladies. The way was covered with green baize, and about a dozen children walked before them strewing flowers.

"On our return home," Sir Moses continues in his diary, "I found Colonel du Plat waiting to accompany me to Monsieur Hilferilling, Head of the Chancellerie Diplomatique of the Prince. I thanked him for the paper he sent me yesterday, and[Pg 352] also for the Ukase published last evening, allowing the Jews to retain their present costume for three months, till after the 1st of July. This will be a great relief to the poor, though I am happy to find that there will be no difficulty made by the Jews in complying with the wishes of the Government."

The dress worn by the Jews in Poland is that which was formerly worn in that country by Christians as well as by Jews. In the course of time the Jews became so used to it that the change for the European dress appeared to them almost a transgression of some religious injunction.

The appearance of Sir Moses, dressed in European costume, while rigidly observing the injunctions of his religion, contributed greatly to their conviction that a change of dress need not involve any serious consequences.

Turning again to the entry of the diary, Sir Moses says: "I then informed His Excellency that I should be very happy if it were possible to have an audience of the Emperor, as His Majesty is every moment expected to arrive; that I did not ask for it, but I should be glad if it could be made known to His Majesty that I was in the city. His Excellency said he would speak with Count Orloff to-morrow morning."

May 18th.—This morning Sir Moses received a note from Colonel du Plat, stating that His Majesty was going to the Greek Cathedral, and recommending him to put on his uniform, and to be there, as it would most likely obtain for him an earlier intimation of His Majesty's wishes; but Sir Moses thought it advisable not to avail himself of the opportunity in a place of public worship.

The stream of visitors continued all day long, some even remaining in the house as a "guard of honour." Our rooms were comfortable, and the attentions of our friends unceasing, and yet there was a great drawback, inasmuch as we could not even converse with friends without the subject being immediately made known to others.

I remember an instance of this. On one occasion Sir Moses received a letter in the evening relative to an appointment with a gentleman at six o'clock the next morning. I entered his room to confer with him on the subject, and before the appointed hour, a letter arrived from that gentleman, repeating almost word for word what Sir Moses had said to me, concerning him[Pg 353] and the appointment. We could not explain to ourselves how it was possible for him thus to have received information of what we thought no one had heard. But on looking round in the room, we noticed, not far from the sofa, a large portrait, the eyes of which had round holes instead of pupils. We at once went into the corridor, and, to our great surprise, we found we could hear every word spoken within by Lady Montefiore and others.

May 19th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received a deputation from Praga, who presented them with a very small, beautifully written scroll of the Pentateuch, with a costly silver crown thereon, ornamented with precious stones; also with a silver pointer for the use of the reader, all being deposited in a beautiful little Ark.

The deputation invited them to visit their elementary schools and Rabbinical colleges.

At the appointed hour Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore proceeded to the house of Mr Blumberg, where they met a very considerable number of students.

In compliance with a request from the college and school committees, and from Sir Moses, I examined the Rabbinical students for nearly three hours. The result being most satisfactory, Sir Moses consented to become the patron of the college.

On our return from Praga, a deputation from the Hebrew congregation of Krakau was introduced. They had important communications to make, relating to questions in connection with the state of education among Jews in Poland; and several hours passed in conversation with them.

May 20th.—Sir Moses being apprehensive that his continued stay in this city might not be agreeable to the Government, as there were always hundreds of people near his hotel, and many more following him about in the streets, he called on the British Consul, Colonel du Plat, and informed him of his feelings on the subject; adding that he thought he had better leave on the morrow. The Consul said he would first see the Minister, and acquaint him with Sir Moses' sentiments, and he would let him know the Minister's reply.

The United Committee of the Elementary Schools and the New Synagogue presented to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore a beautifully written scroll of the Pentateuch, somewhat larger[Pg 354] than that they had previously received, with a silver crown, accompanied by an Ark for its reception. Like other souvenirs, it is now preserved in the Lecture Hall of the College in Ramsgate.

Colonel du Plat paid us a long visit, and discussed the object of Sir Moses' Mission to Russia, and subsequently we went to the garden of the "Little Palace," in which the Emperor resided. We saw His Majesty there, in an open carriage, and met the Viceroy, all the Cabinet Ministers, their ladies, and the élite of the city.

The Princess Paskiewitch and the Ministers spoke to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and appeared most friendly in their conversation.

May 22nd.—"I received to-day," the entry in the diary records, "two or three deputations from congregations, distant from thirty to three hundred miles, with addresses, and called at one o'clock on Colonel du Plat. He had just returned from a review, where Count Orloff told him 'he had received my card; that he was much pleased with the whole of my conduct; it had given general satisfaction; that I was a man comme il faut, and that my visit would be very useful.'

"Dr Loewe and I rode to the Prince Marshal to take leave, unless His Highness had any commands for me. Dr Loewe got out of the carriage to enquire if he was at home, and, at the instant, His Highness was leaving the house to attend the Council. He regretted he could not stop to speak with me, but requested I would come to him to-morrow at six. As I could not walk as far as the Palace (the sanctity of the Sabbath not permitting me to ride in a carriage), I requested Dr Loewe to call on the Minister of Diplomacy, and to beg of him to arrange with the Prince for paying my respects on Sunday instead of to-morrow, which he promised to do, and to acquaint me with the result."

The same day a deputation of that pre-eminently conservative class of the Hebrew community, known by the appellation of "Khasseedim," paid us a visit. They wore hats, according to European fashion, instead of the Polish "czapka," or the "mycka," which is similar to that of the Circassian's. They were headed by Mr Posener, a gentleman who had done much for the promotion of industry in Poland, and his son; and he[Pg 355] informed Sir Moses that he would, though an old man, comply with the desire of the Government, and change the Polish for the German costume. Being a man held in high esteem by the Jews, and well spoken of by the Prince, his example would have a most favourable effect upon others.

Warsaw, Saturday Evening, May 23rd.—Divine service was held in our apartments in the morning, afternoon, and evening. We had intended going to the New Synagogue, but were deterred from doing so by the great difficulties which we had encountered last evening in going to and returning from the Great Synagogue. Thousands of persons had followed us nearly the whole way, and the gallery of the Synagogue was so dreadfully crowded with ladies, that serious apprehensions were entertained lest it might fall, when hundreds must have been killed. A strong body of police had secured our retreat.

At least five hundred ladies, the wives and daughters of our co-religionists, called on Lady Montefiore.

A girl twelve years old sang several Hebrew melodies; she had a fine voice. In the evening we had with us, for the second time, a little boy, eight years old, who played exquisitely on the violin. He also recited the portion of the Pentateuch selected for the Sabbath reading in the Synagogue, with several of the commentaries on the same, by heart; a very handsome child. By his extraordinary talent he supports his parents and family—in all ten persons. Sir Moses made him a present of a sum of money to enable him to pay for a master.

We again noticed that the walls of our room were admirably arranged, so that every word we speak could be distinctly overheard outside in a dark passage.

Warsaw, Sunday, May 24th.—Colonel du Plat called, having been requested by Sir Moses to accompany him to the Palace. Going there, we met the Prince as he was descending from his carriage; he was most polite, and begged us to come into the Palace. He was very sorry he could not see Sir Moses on Friday. Sir Moses told His Highness that he had come to take leave of him, and to inquire if he had any commands for him. The Prince said he was very sorry that he had been prevented from showing him more attention, but since the arrival of the Emperor his presence was required every quarter of an hour. Sir Moses spoke of the great desire of the Jews to be allowed to[Pg 356] purchase land, and to cultivate it themselves; he also told the Prince that Mr Posener had promised to change his dress, which pleased him greatly, and his example would, he said, have great effect, and he had no doubt that Sir Moses' visit would produce much good.

They then had some conversation respecting the repeal of the Corn Laws in England, the Bill having passed by a majority of ninety-three. They also spoke of the death of an English Admiral, and our victories in India. Their parting was most friendly.

Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore then left cards on the Princess, all the Ministers, the Spiritual Head of the Hebrew community, and the representatives of the several institutions they had visited; and orders were given for their departure at three o'clock in the morning.

In the course of the day, Colonel du Plat called to bid us farewell. A great number of persons came in the evening for a similar purpose, and remained till one o'clock in the morning. Sir Moses then entrusted some of the gentlemen with his generous donations for the poor of all denominations, also for schools, hospitals, and charitable institutions; and, with the most favourable impressions of the good intentions of his brethren in Poland, we left Warsaw at the appointed hour.

On the same day, May 25th, we arrived at Posen. Wherever we had stopped on the road, even at the post-houses, where we could only remain for a few minutes to change horses, deputations with addresses awaited our arrival.

Early in the morning of Tuesday, a deputation from the Old Synagogue came to conduct Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to divine service. The venerable edifice, which is very ancient, large, and of handsome proportions, was lighted up, and the paths leading to the seats strewn with flowers.

At eleven o'clock the Rev. S. Eger, Chief Rabbi of the community; the Rev. S. Plessner, Chief Lecturer; the officers, of the Synagogue, and the representatives of all the Hebrew charities, in all about sixty gentlemen, waited upon them with an address.

The streets were crowded, and on reaching the Synagogue, all the passages were filled with ladies and gentlemen, with lighted wax candles in their hands, a number of young and beautiful girls strewing roses and other fragrant flowers before us.[Pg 357]

The Synagogue was one blaze of light, from hundreds of wax candles, ornamented with flowers. Sir Moses was placed in the body of the Synagogue, and Lady Montefiore in the ladies' gallery, under beautiful canopies with rich drapery and flowers.

The Rev. S. Plessner presented a beautiful poem, in which he expressed a hearty welcome and the deep gratitude of his community; others, equally zealous in conveying their appreciation of Sir Moses' and Lady Montefiore's services, presented addresses in German or French; and we found it necessary to have special cases made to contain them.

We left Posen in the evening, travelled the whole night, and reached Berlin next day at ten o'clock in the evening, taking up our quarters at the Hotel de St Petersbourg.

Berlin, Friday, May 29th.—Called at the British Embassy, but learned that Lord and Lady Westmoreland were in England. Sir Moses saw Sir George B. Hamilton (who was acting for him), and expressed his desire to be presented to His Majesty, the King of Prussia; but His Majesty, Sir George said, was at Torgau, and would not return before the 6th of June. Sir Moses then left his card on Monsieur Fonton, at the Russian Embassy.

Mr Bleichroder, father of the present Consul General for England, called, also the Chief Rabbi, and three gentlemen from Krakau, to present an address to Sir Moses, requesting him to speak to the King of Prussia in favour of the Jews of that place.

The following three days, being the Sabbath and Pentecost festival, most of the time was taken up by attending divine service and receiving visitors.

June 2nd.—We went to take leave of Sir George Hamilton. Sir Moses expressed regret at not being able to have the honour of being presented to His Majesty, as he had hoped to have the opportunity of praying for his gracious efforts to cause the Jews of Cracow to be placed in the same position as their brethren in His Majesty's other dominions. Sir George said that if Sir Moses wrote him a letter to that effect, he would place it in the King's hands.

In the course of conversation, Sir George told Sir Moses that he had received an express from Lord Aberdeen, desiring him to repair to Florence, as things were in so uncertain a state in[Pg 358] London (alluding to the Corn Bill); he could not tell how soon a change might take place; but Lord Brougham and Lady Westmoreland, he said, had written, that they thought Sir Robert Peel would weather the storm.

Berlin, June 3rd.—Soon after six, an elegant carriage sent by the deputies of the Hebrew community of the city, stopped at our door to convey Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to the railway station. There were also thirty other carriages with a deputation, and the ladies of their families, to accompany us; but as Sir Moses had not yet received the memorial from the Cracow deputation, which Sir George Hamilton so kindly promised to put into His Majesty's hands for him, we could not leave until half-past twelve. At eleven o'clock, when the memorial was brought, we at once proceeded to Sir George, and gave it to him. Sir Moses stated all the particulars of the degraded and oppressed state of the Jews, and Sir George repeated the promise he had made, adding that he should be most happy to render every service in his power for their relief; and he would call upon Sir Moses at Park Lane when in London. On our arrival at the station, we found all the principal Jewish families waiting to bid us farewell.

June 8th.—At Frankfort-on-the-Main a brilliant reception awaited them. The Rothschild family and all the principal Jewish inhabitants of the city, together with the Spiritual Heads of the community, vied with each other in evincing their appreciation of the noble work that Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore had done in the cause of humanity. Between eleven and twelve o'clock in the night they were serenaded by a band of Jewish musicians (permission having been previously obtained from the Governor). The streets were crowded, and numbers of coloured lamps gave animation to the scene. When Sir Moses appeared on the balcony, bowing his warm acknowledgments, hearty cheers re-echoed from all sides.

Among the numerous persons who called was Professor Oppenheim, of whose works of art there are three fine specimens in Lady Montefiore's Theological College.

June 16th.—They left Calais and arrived safely at Dover, on their way to Ramsgate; but on hearing a report that an epidemic of scarlet fever had broken out near East Cliff, they altered their route and proceeded direct to London.[Pg 359]




In London, as at Dover, numerous friends were waiting to welcome them, but Sir Moses did not remain long in their company; he deemed it his duty, before entering his house at Park Lane, to call on Sir Robert Peel, Lord Aberdeen, and Baron Brunnow, and leave his cards.

The next day he called again on the latter, and remained with him for an hour; also on Sir Robert Peel, and on Lord Aberdeen at the Foreign Office. His Lordship said he should be most happy at all times to do what he could. Sir Moses also called on Sir Roderick Murchison, and left his card, with the letter from Colonel de Helmerson of St Petersburg; thence he went to the Palace, to enter his name in Prince Albert's visitors' book, and also called on Lord Bloomfield.

Saturday, June 20th.—Prayers and thanksgivings were offered up in all the Synagogues for the safe return of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore from Russia; and, during the week following, numerous addresses from all the Hebrew congregations in England, as well as from those in other parts of the world, were presented. All these are now preserved in the Lecture Hall of the College at Ramsgate.

Notwithstanding his natural desire for rest, after the labours of his recent missions, Sir Moses felt that the greatest and most important part of his work yet remained to be done. He had to make a report to the Emperor of Russia. He had to show His Majesty the groundlessness of the accusations brought against his brethren, and to place before the Emperor their[Pg 360] humble petition for the removal of all those causes which prevented them from attaining that degree of prosperity which His Majesty so graciously desired that they, in common with his other faithful subjects, should enjoy.

He also had to report on the state of their education, with a view to removing from the minds of His Majesty's Ministers the unfavourable impressions which incorrect representations had made on them.

Sir Moses having made the subject in question his principal study, was enabled, after mature consideration, to draw up and forward to the Ministers, to be placed in the Emperor's hands, three reports—one, on the state of the Jews in Russia; another, on that of the Jews in Poland; and the third, on the state of their education in Russia and Poland.

Sir Moses, however, being mindful of the condescension shown to and confidence reposed in him by his late Imperial Majesty the Emperor Nicholas, considered the reports as private and confidential communications, and would not publish them during His Majesty's lifetime. Now that both the Emperor and Sir Moses are no more in the land of the living, history demands the publication of what Sir Moses communicated to His Majesty.

I therefore place before the reader in the following pages exact copies of the reports in question, the full particulars of which he has undoubtedly, in the interests of humanity, the right to know.

I shall also give the Ministers' reply, made by command of the Emperor, showing that His Majesty was fully informed of all the communications which Sir Moses made to him, and had given orders for the formation of a committee to examine the statements therein made to him, with a view to improve the condition of his Jewish subjects.

The first and second of Sir Moses' reports are addressed to Count Kisseleff, and the third to Count Ouvaroff.

"To His Excellency, le Comte de Kisseleff, Ministre du domaine de l'Empire, de sa Majesté l'Empereur de Russie, &c., &c., &c.

"May it please your Excellency,—In addressing your Excellency after my return from Russia to this country, I deem it an imperative duty to express again to your Excellency the deep sense of gratitude I feel for the distinguished honour which has been conferred upon me by His Imperial[Pg 361] Majesty, in granting me so gracious a reception, and to assure your Excellency that the kind promises which I have received from that most exalted and magnanimous Monarch, and his enlightened Ministers, to promote the welfare of my co-religionists dwelling in His Majesty's vast empire, have not only been a source of great delight to the Israelites in Russia, and to their brethren in England, but have very extensively afforded great satisfaction to the friends of humanity throughout Europe.

"The perusal of the very important documents which your Excellency was pleased to place in my hands previously to my departure from Saint Petersburg, gave me an additional proof of the paternal principle entertained by His Imperial Majesty towards his Hebrew subjects; and when that august Monarch graciously intimated to me that I should go and see the state of my brethren, I hailed the opportunity which was thus afforded to me to communicate to them the good intentions of the Government, and to persuade them cheerfully to conform to the benevolent intentions of their wise and powerful Monarch.

"It is now my momentous task in compliance with your Excellency's benign suggestion, to report to your Excellency the result of my visit to His Majesty's Hebrew subjects, and I feel confident that your Excellency will deign to regard my communication with the indulgent attention and consideration which the cause of philanthropy has ever received from your Excellency, the more so as I have the gratifying promise of your Excellency to place my representation in the hands of His Majesty, whose great object it has ever been to adopt every suitable measure for securing the moral and physical welfare of every subject under His Imperial sway.

"From the information which I gathered during my sojourn among the various Hebrew congregations in Russia, confirmed by my own personal observation, I am enabled to affirm that my brethren in His Majesty's empire are fully sensible of the good intentions of His Majesty's Government, that they speak with enthusiasm of the magnanimity of their mighty Sovereign; and declare their readiness at all times and under all circumstances to serve their country to their latest breath.

"It did not, however, escape my notice that there exist some obstacles which prevent the benign rays of His Majesty's mercy from imparting to His Hebrew subjects the full measure of comfort to which the wise and just general laws of the Russian Government would entitle them; I therefore, with your Excellency's permission, will now briefly repeat the advantages granted to them by their excellent Monarch, and venture to describe briefly to what extent and by what measures they are administered to the Israelites. I shall, at the same time, not withhold from your Excellency some observations upon the charges preferred against them, which I will leave to the wise and profound judgment and candid and indulgent consideration of your Excellency.

"In the document your Excellency was pleased to hand me it is stated to the effect—That the union of the Polish Provinces with Russia was for the Israelites a new epoch; that the Imperial Government not only allowed them, like its other subjects, to partake of all civil rights, and granted them permission to be received in the corporation of the body of town merchants, but also accorded them the privilege of taking part in the elections, and of being themselves eligible to become members of common councils, and to fill other local offices. Besides this, they were permitted to acquire immoveable property, and to settle as agriculturists, either on their own estates or on the lands of the crown, in which latter case Government also granted them support and freedom from all taxes, the Israelites also enjoying the right of settling in seventeen Governments (a superficies of 17,000 square miles) among a population of twenty millions of inhabitants, in countries where, by[Pg 362] means of the harbours of the Black Sea (and in part through those of the Baltic), a lively commercial intercourse is kept up both in Russia and with foreign countries, have had, it is stated, all possible means in their hands of turning their activity to useful objects, and of establishing their prosperity upon a safe basis.

"The knowledge that such privileges have been accorded cannot but excite a deep and universal gratitude towards His Imperial Majesty for the paternal care which has thus been taken of his Hebrew subjects. But on a careful examination into the condition of the Israelites in some places situated within the above named 17,000 square miles, causes appear to prevail owing to which they do not actually derive from these enlightened measures the advantages they were intended to confer.

"I would respectfully invite your Excellency's attention to the circumstance that in the entire Government of Livonia there is only the city of Riga in which the Israelites are permitted to dwell, and there only to the number of about one hundred families. In Courland only those Israelites who were present in the year 1799 and their families are permitted to remain, but even those who have acquired the rights of citizenship are greatly restricted in their respective trades, for a Ukase, dated in April 1835, declares the Israelites in Mitau, in consequence of a privilege granted to the Christians of that city in the year 1785, disqualified to be received into the Christian corporations of the body of tradesmen or mechanics. The result of such a restriction is that the Israelite is never regarded as a master tradesman, and therefore cannot employ in his service either a journeyman professing the Christian religion or one who adheres to the principles of his own religion. He is likewise prohibited from keeping apprentices even of his own creed. Thus the Israelite is prevented from following any trade that requires particular assistants; he cannot with any prospect of success become a joiner, locksmith, blacksmith, or bricklayer, nor can he do the work of any mechanic where the aid of other persons is absolutely requisite. The disadvantages which he must labour under are indeed numerous. Where there is a large family, and the children are of tender ages, it becomes scarcely possible for the parent to maintain them, and it must be evident that when men become enfeebled by old age, or afflicted by bodily infirmity, they can no longer exert personally the labour which their business requires, and thus they become utterly destitute; and when a parent dies his children, if not sufficiently advanced in years to have acquired from him a knowledge of his trade (to which he dared not apprentice them), must relinquish it altogether.

"Your Excellency may perhaps think me wrong in this assertion, the former Governor General, the Marquis Paulucci, having in the year 1820 interceded in the Israelites' behalf, and obtained permission that they should in future enjoy the privilege of teaching their children their respective trades. This privilege has, however, again been taken away from them. In the course of time most of the operative class thus naturally became poor, to such a frightful degree that the community is obliged to furnish them with the necessaries of life. It may be said that Israelites who cannot follow the trade of their parents need not become a burthen on the congregation; an imperial Ukase having been issued in April 1835 to the effect that the Israelites in Courland should enjoy the right of keeping, either by rent or obrok, farms, inns, or baiting stables; but your Excellency will please to remember that this privilege was soon recalled. And, moreover, for some cause the Hebrews were ordered to quit the frontiers of Courland, as well as all the other places situated near the sea shores; and to withdraw fifty wersts into the interior of the country, which latter decree deprives them of the right to inhabit nearly one-third of that Gubernium. In the same province the Israelites are not only prohibited from settling with their families, but are prevented by the[Pg 363] law from becoming contractors to the Crown and undertaking the erection of any government building, even though they might be merchants of the first or second guild. Neither are they suffered to sell goods by wholesale under their own firm.

"Your Excellency will give me leave also to advert to the expulsion of my brethren from the city of Kiew, where they are at present not allowed to remain even a single night; from the city of Nicolaiew, in the Gubernium of Kherson; the city of Swart-opol, in the Gubernium of Ekat-erinaslow; and all the villages situated in the Gubernium of Whitebsk, Moghilew, Tchornigow, and Voltawa, as well as all the other villages of those Guberniums situated within fifty wersts along the frontiers.

"If in consequence of the last Ukases the Israelites are also to be removed from all the towns and villages situate within fifty wersts of the Austrian and Prussian frontiers, and must quit every house where the sale of spirituous liquors is offered to the peasant, the number of exiles would surely equal the number of those who are already settled in the interior, and their fate cannot be any other than epidemic, disease, destitution, and starvation. This, as I had the honour of hearing personally from your Excellency, is not and never can be the intention of that great and most benevolent Monarch whose anxiety for the welfare of all his faithful subjects is so well known to all the world.

"With respect to commerce, the above-named space of land of seventeen thousand square miles, if available to the Israelites, as was originally intended, would, in the opinion of most of them, afford sufficient scope for securing a flourishing state of commerce amongst them. There are, however, some disadvantages against which the Hebrew merchants have daily to contend, and unless these be removed, the mere extent of land constituting the field for their exertions would not insure to them those advantages which they might have expected to realise from the benevolent intentions of their illustrious monarch. Merchants professing any other faith, either purchase their stock in the interior of Russia, or proceed to foreign countries and import it from them. But the Hebrew merchants have no permission to travel into the interior of Russia, with the exception only of those of the first and second guilds, whose privilege is restricted to making one journey for goods in the course of the year to Moscow; their sojourn in that city being limited—as respects the former to six months, and the latter to three months. Were they permitted to visit Moscow and other places at such times as their business might require, they would thus have sufficient opportunity for the necessary replenishment of their warehouses with the newest fashions in proper season during the year, which they cannot do if they are bound to lay in at once a stock for the whole year; and it is often the case that the purchases they have made in Moscow by the time they arrive at their destination are out of fashion. The Hebrew merchant is obliged to appear personally at Moscow, and dares not send his agent there to transact his business.

"Your Excellency will be pleased to consider the great expenses he must incur before he has the opportunity of offering his goods for sale, and the impossibility of his becoming prosperous in business whilst he is obliged to repair to Moscow for such goods as his Christian neighbour can import from the nearest factory in the interior of the land.

"The imperial city of Saint Petersburg the Israelite must never visit on commercial business; he is only allowed to appear there in connection with a law suit, or in some other particular occasion, of very rare occurrence. The Hebrew merchant thus has to contend with numerous difficulties in being obliged to import his goods from foreign countries, for the duty he has to pay on them is exceedingly high, therefore making it impossible for him to compete with his Christian neighbour. These disadvantages have reduced the commerce[Pg 364] of the Israelites to a deplorably low ebb, and are banishing prosperity from amongst them. And it is a fact that in one of the principal cities where formerly there were thirty Hebrew Moscow merchants, there are at present only two, and these can only preserve their commercial standing by extreme exertion.

"Your Excellency will further condescend to take into consideration that there are various other disadvantages which the Israelites have to contend with, and which I shall merely mention in a few words for fear of encroaching upon your Excellency's most valuable time. His Majesty's Hebrew subjects are deprived of their congregational unions known by the Hebrew term Kahal, and are thus debarred from the advantage of any great measure for their common relief, which might otherwise be effected through the community. The Kahal served as a central point in which every individual had an interest, and there were able to do something for the amelioration of their own town in particular cases, which cannot be done now. It is true their financial affairs are generally under the best care, being administered by the members of the Town Hall (Dume), where according to His Majesty's gracious Ukase, Israelites are entitled to be admitted; yet it appears they are excluded from the enjoyment of this privilege in some important cities where they were first refused admission as members of the magistracy, and subsequently excluded from participating in the administration in the Town Hall. The Israelites, under these circumstances, greatly suffer from the dissolution of their congregational unions. A Hebrew is not allowed to engage the assistance of any Christian servant, neither is he permitted to settle as an agriculturist within four or five wersts from the habitation of a Christian. He is not permitted to keep posting establishments. He is further prohibited from keeping brewhouses either in towns or villages. A Hebrew, when serving in the army or navy of His Majesty, can never rise even to become a subaltern. The Israelite suffers from all the above-named restrictions, notwithstanding the distinct desire of His Imperial Majesty that he should be allowed to partake of all civil rights like all the other subjects of His Imperial Majesty. I have thus endeavoured to present to your Excellency a brief view of some of the causes which operate to deprive my brethren of the full enjoyment of those privileges intended for them by their illustrious and most humane Sovereign.

"There are, however, other causes which I fear also tend to this unhappy result. I refer more particularly to certain charges made against the Israelites, too important to be passed over unnoticed, and which, entreating your Excellency's kind attention, I will now proceed to enumerate and comment upon.

"I have ascertained on enquiry that the following charges are preferred against the Israelites, viz.:

"That they are inclined to an idle course of life, and prefer petty commerce to agriculture; hence the prohibition not to live in Old Russia.

"That they impose upon the peasant, and in return for a small quantity of spirit, deprive him of all his property (hence the removal from all the villages in the Guberniums of Whitebsk and Moghelew).

"That all of them living near the frontiers have the reputation of dealing in contraband goods; hence the removal from all the towns and villages within the fifty wersts.

"In answer to the above accusations in general, your Excellency will permit me to say that I am far from being inclined to aver that an Israelite of a bad disposition is less capable of doing wrong than any other individual of bad principles belonging to any other creed, but I feel confident that a wise and just Government, like that of His Imperial Majesty, will not deem it right to punish many thousands of its Hebrew subjects for the transgressions of a few.[Pg 365] Let him who offends against the law of the country, or violates the rights of his fellow creatures, be punished, but let all the rest enjoy the comfort designed for them by their magnanimous Monarch. I entreat your Excellency to consider that the number of Hebrews who maintain themselves by commercial enterprises is but a small portion of the whole, for, as I had the opportunity of seeing, most of them are either mechanics or common labourers; they do not appear to be of idle disposition; on the contrary, they seek work as far as they are permitted to extend their movements. In all those Guberniums where Israelites have the privilege of settling, there are some of them who are tailors, shoemakers, farriers, glaziers, &c., &c., others who employ themselves with a more laborious occupation, as that of a blacksmith, locksmith, bricklayer, carpenter, &c. There is a class which may be reckoned amongst the artizans, such as watchmakers and goldsmiths, and another, which may be considered as a most numerous one, is that which consists of people who break stones on the chaussees, cut wood for fuel, or dig the ground and carry water, or remove heavy loads from one place to another. Your Excellency will, I believe, bear me out in this statement, for the Israelites to this very day remember with gratitude when your Excellency, in the spring of 1845, feelingly expressed your approbation to General Bulmering of his having allowed the Israelites to break stones on the road. There is also another instance which speaks favourably for the Israelites in this respect. I allude to two of the finest houses at Wilna, the one belonging to Count Teschkewetz, and the other to the nobleman Wilgatzke, but inhabited by the present civil Governor, both of which were entirely constructed by the Israelites. This, I venture to say, is a satisfactory proof of their being most anxious to work, and if the fact of their being seen walking about the streets without any occupation be urged against my assertion, I may be permitted to answer in their defence that want of work (within the boundary of those places where they are authorised to live) may be assigned as the cause of it; for the Israelite cannot, like his Christian neighbour, quit one Gubernium and repair to another, where he may be sure to find occupation.

"Indeed there are often a great many Christian labourers to be seen in the Jewish Guberniums, in consequence of their business being slack in their own district.

"Your Excellency will now permit me to state my humble opinion with regard to the accusation of the Israelites feeling disinclined to cultivate the land. The great facilities which His Majesty's benevolent Government afforded me for the purpose of having the necessary intercourse with my brethren, enabled me to learn that they were always desirous, and are at present most anxious to devote themselves to agriculture. I shall adduce the following statement in support of this assertion:—In the year 1835, when His Imperial Majesty most graciously declared that the Israelites should cultivate the land, a great many of them shewed their willingness to desert their homes and move even to the remotest parts of the country. Unfortunately after several hundreds of Israelites had sold all their moveable and immoveable property to repair to Tobolsk and Omsk, in Siberia (these two places having been assigned to them), and actually succeeded, though not without great sufferings on the road, in reaching, with their wives and children, the above-named colonies, it was intimated to them that the land was not to be cultivated by the Israelites. In the year 1840, a great many families went to Kherson for the same purpose, but a considerable number of them on their arrival found their plans frustrated. They were most kindly treated, it is true, by His Excellency the Governor of Wilna. Every adult received forty-eight copecks banco assignations, and every child half that sum. They were also provided with the necessary vehicles for their conveyance, one being assigned to each family; but as they proceeded thence into the other Guberniums the[Pg 366] adults received only twenty-four copecks banco and the children twelve copecks banco each, and the number of vehicles was reduced to one for every two families. The emigrants had to wait several days before the vehicles were ready for their use, during which time they were not provided with the necessary diet money. They were further furnished with boats for the purpose of performing part of the journey on the river Berezina and Dnieper. The money requisite to pay the hire of these boats was deducted from the amount allotted for their diet. The Israelites were assured that it would take them only a fortnight's time to make the passage on the rivers, and for this reason only received money to defray the expenses of their diet during that period; but the passage occupied seven weeks, and they had to sustain themselves out of their own means. Many of them were great sufferers from severe cold and hunger, and a considerable number who had not even the smallest coin beyond that which they received from Government, being left without food, whilst they had to endure the inclemency of the season, necessarily perished.

"The survivors, on arriving at the places of their destination, found that they could not obtain possession of the houses, agricultural implements, and cattle assigned for them in the month of May in accordance with the decree of His Majesty's Government, but had to wait for them until the month of August, and for the articles furnished to them which were of a very bad description, they were subject to a charge considerably exceeding their value.

"The rye seed which the Israelites ought to have received in the month of August, was not given to them before the month of October; the consequence was, that the crops of the first year did not prosper, and they were obliged to take provision from the Government for the next year also. The seed for the summer crops which ought to have been given them in the month of March, they did not receive before the month of May; thus they were obliged to put the seed into the ground very late in the season, and heavy rains which followed again caused the crops to fail. The habitations assigned for their occupation being of very bad materials, and badly constructed, most of them soon fell to the ground.

"Then followed an epidemic disease among the cattle, and the Israelites suffered a considerable loss. In consequence of this misfortune the Government benevolently ordered passports to be granted in order that they might repair to other places for the purpose of gaining their daily bread; but instead of paying for a passport valid for a year, according to the law of the country, they had sometimes to pay most exorbitantly.

"In addition to this and other similar hardships, I may mention the fact of the Poll Tax being demanded from the old settlers who are not liable to it.

"In the year 1844, when an Imperial Ukase appeared again inviting the Hebrews to agriculture, with a grant of support out of the Korabka, His Majesty's Hebrew subjects, desirous to avail themselves of this Ukase, not only forwarded their humble petitions on the subject to the Governors of their respective towns and villages, but even made voluntary offers to defray the necessary expenses from their own means. Your Excellency has full evidence of this fact in the numerous applications addressed to your illustrious person, and I feel convinced that your Excellency will be surprised to hear that difficulties are thrown in the way on occasions like the following.

"Some Crown land situate in the vicinity of Wilna and Kowno was offered to the public by auction, and Israelites were prohibited from being amongst the applicants, although many of them distinctly declared their willingness to cultivate the land in question personally. All this, I trust, will be sufficient to satisfy your Excellency that the Israelites are not averse to agricultural pursuits, and that there is no foundation for the charge brought against them in this respect.[Pg 367]

"Having thus, I trust, convinced your Excellency that there is no just ground for the accusation that my brethren are disinclined to work laboriously and cultivate the land, I now humbly request your Excellency to consider with your wonted justice the two other charges brought against them, viz.:—

"That they impose upon the peasant and deal in contraband goods, these vices being traceable to a disposition to idleness. I trust, however, I have succeeded in proving that idleness is unjustly charged against them, and in further refutation of these two imputations against the Israelites generally, I may also be justified in observing that a man, however inclined he may be to accumulate riches, will not readily give up an occupation which insures him bread in comfort, and respectability for a business that is attended with little profit and great risk of life. I have already stated to your Excellency that only the fourth part of the Hebrew population in each town or village is engaged in commercial pursuits, and supposing even for a moment, that all the merchants in any one town might be liable to transgress the law of excise and customs (which case, I think, almost impossible, as the Hebrew law distinctly forbids such transgressions), surely so wise and benevolent a Government will not cause the removal of the entire Hebrew population from the Austrian and Prussian frontiers, because a few among them may have acted in opposition to the law? For these delinquents I do not intercede, His Majesty's wise and paternal Government will treat them like similar offenders in the Imperial cities of Saint Petersburg and Moscow, where I believe it will appear from the records preserved by His Majesty's Minister of Finance, there exists a great number of them notwithstanding the entire absence of Israelites. I implore only the extension of its merciful protection to the rest of the Hebrew inhabitants.

"The presence of the Israelites in the various villages throughout the Empire is said to be pernicious to the peasants. From the information I received, your Excellency will perceive that this cannot be the case. My informants assured me that since the Israelites were obliged to leave the Guberniums of White Russia and Little Prussia, the peasants have found themselves in a most deplorable state, and are very often in such an unfortunate condition that they are even without the seeds necessary for the future crops, which never happened whilst the Israelites were amongst them.

"There is also another striking proof which your Excellency, I am confident, will agree with me to be in their favour. If the Israelites had indeed imposed upon the peasants and impoverished them, the former, as they were obliged to quit the villages and join their brethren in the towns, would undoubtedly have carried some property with them, but their utter destitution was apparent from almost all of them becoming immediately a heavy burthen on the congregation, and many of them actually perished from want before they could reach the town fixed upon for their future abode.

"Your Excellency will also be pleased to reflect that the proprietors of the various establishments let on rent to the Israelites being themselves good and charitable Christians, and naturally most benevolently inclined towards their brethren in faith, would not have suffered their Hebrew tenants to impose upon them, and had the Israelites in reality been guilty of the crime, the proprietors would of themselves have driven them away.

"The circumstances, explanations of which I have now had the honour of submitting to your Excellency, have, however, in consequence perhaps of similar endeavours not having been made previously to the present moment, produced an unfavourable impression on the mind of His Majesty's Government; so much so, that His Majesty the Emperor, in his august solicitude for the welfare of the Hebrew population resident in his dominions, appointed a special committee to investigate the causes of the unsatisfactory state in[Pg 368] which the population remains to this day, and to deliberate on the means fittest to be applied as remedies. The result of these enquiries was that the Israelites were represented to the Committee in very erroneous and unfavourable colours. Those who were characterised as rebellious and disobedient were therefore subjected to coercive measures as idlers who prove a burthen to the society of which they are members, and in order to be able to institute a just discrimination between such Israelites as have sought to make themselves useful, and such as do not yet carry on a trade or some other legal occupation, His Majesty's Government calls upon the latter to enrol themselves in one of the four following classes: 1st, one of the three guilds of merchants; 2nd, the burgess of a town by the purchase of a piece of land or a house; 3rd, a corporation of artizans, after having given the proof of ability required by the law; or 4th, the grand body of agriculturists, whether on their own property or under a proprietor. And such Israelites as shall not have placed themselves by the appointed time (the 1st January 1850) in one of the four classes are to be subject to such restrictive measures as the Government shall think it right to employ.

"Believing that in consequence of such classification more than four-fifths of the Hebrew population will necessarily have to be enlisted amongst those who, according to the above declaration, will be regarded as a burthen on society at large, I feel it a duty humbly and earnestly to make a few observations to your Excellency, and beg at the same time that your Excellency will be pleased to give credit to my assurance that in this instance I am regarding the Israelites not with the sympathy natural to a brother in faith, but with the impartiality of a perfect stranger; the sentiments which I now shall have the honour to express to your Excellency being those only of a friend to humanity.

"There cannot exist a doubt that the above imperial decree will be a most beneficial incentive to a large number of the Hebrew communities to enrol themselves in some one of the four classes in question; and his most gracious Majesty will now have the high gratification of knowing that in future those amongst his Hebrew subjects can, under no pretence whatever, be accused of idleness, the nature of their occupation being registered in the archives of the respective Guberniums they inhabit. I, however, humbly venture to suggest the addition of two other classes to the four already specified, as a proceeding in accordance with the enlightened views of His Majesty's Government. I allude, first, to labourers of every description, domestic servants, clerks, commercial agents, brokers and employees, water-carriers, porters, waggoners and carmen, provision dealers, cutters of wood for fuel, and persons engaged in similar occupations. The nature of their pursuits does not qualify them to be enrolled in any of the four classes, yet they are a body of people who, as your Excellency will admit, deserve to be looked upon with an eye of mercy for two reasons. First, because they are continually exerting themselves by their incessant labours to maintain themselves and their families in an honest and respectable way; and, secondly, because the existence of such individuals is most essential to the promotion of the welfare and comfort of His Majesty's Hebrew subjects belonging to any of the four classes. For if the latter were obliged to devote their time and attention to all the work originally intended to be executed by their inferiors, what would become of their business? Would it then not appear quite natural that in the course of time their situation would become precarious to such a degree that they would have to give up their avocations altogether. Another class of people which I am particularly anxious to introduce to the consideration of His Majesty's Government is that which comprises the spiritual leaders of the congregations, assessors of the Hebrew ecclesiastical courts, scribes qualified to write the sacred scrolls of the Pentateuch,[Pg 369] and other religious documents, persons qualified to slay animals for food in conformity with the Jewish law, readers of prayers in the Synagogue, readers of the Pentateuch to the congregation, operators of circumcision, students who devote themselves to the study of Hebrew theology, and teachers of religion. The body of people just mentioned, your Excellency will give me leave to say, I regard as the very soul of the congregation, for it is religion alone that makes a man true and faithful to his fellow creatures, and sincere and loyal to the Government under which he lives.

"His Imperial Majesty being sensible of this sacred truth, in his great mercy and paternal love to all his subjects without reference to their religious creeds, granted permission to his Hebrew subjects, the soldiers at St Petersburg, to have Synagogues of their own, and I assure your Excellency that I cherish with feelings of the deepest gratitude to His Majesty, the memory of those days when, by his gracious permisssion, I was enabled to join my brethren in prayer. This event alone is a sufficient assurance to me that His Majesty's Government will in its wisdom add all those individuals to the classes of those who are considered as subjects useful to society. There are also individuals, though they cannot be brought under any of these various classes, to whom the Government will, I dare hope, extend its mercy. I mean persons advanced in age, or in an infirm state of health, and others who have no choice but to cultivate the soil, but have not the means to purchase land and agricultural implements. In short, these observations are merely to show that an immense number of people still exist who may be in every respect useful, honest, industrious, learned, and distinguished in various branches without finding a place in any of the four classes. A wise and humane Government then will surely not suffer them to be regarded as a burthen to the congregations, and cause them to be subjected to coercive measures.

"I have now shown (I trust clearly) to your Excellency that the reasons advanced for not extending to the Israelites the mercy of their most illustrious and benevolent Monarch are unfounded incorrect representations, a circumstance which, of course, I am far from attributing to the most honourable and distinguished Committee appointed for the purpose, but to parties for unaccountable reasons inimically inclined towards the Israelites. I have further proved to your Excellency that the Israelites in general are not of an idle disposition; that, moreover, most of them are anxious to cultivate the land, and even pray for such occupation; that the majority of the Israelites dwelling near the Austrian and Prussian frontiers are so circumstanced that an accusation of transgressing the laws of excise and customs cannot in justice be preferred against them. I have also represented to your Excellency that the numerous restrictions under which the Israelites of all classes suffer are a cause that their commerce can have no chance whatever of prospering, but that, on the contrary, they must from day to day sink into deeper distress; and, further, that the last measure adopted for the amelioration of their condition would tend to a contrary effect, unless the number of classes be increased. It is an unquestionable fact that the great body of the Israelites in His Majesty's empire are in a state of extreme misery. I do not venture to discuss again the causes of these evils, but only speak of the reality and depth of their existence. His Majesty himself has seen them, the Special Commission has verified the fact, and I myself having had His Majesty's most gracious permission to visit my brethren, have been a sorrowful witness of it. This, then, being so, I am convinced His Majesty and his Government will bear with me while, with heartfelt gratitude for the goodness which His Majesty has already extended to the House of Israel in his solicitude to be made acquainted with their real condition, I venture to submit to your Excellency my own very humble but earnest belief of the principles[Pg 370] of policy which, if brought into action, would surely remedy most extensively the evils already described, and bring the work of investigation which His Majesty and his Government have begun to a most happy, glorious, and honourable consummation.

"I venture to hold my own views on this subject with confidence and decision, only because I know most intimately the feelings of my brethren. I have observed them closely in different parts of the world; have watched over them through a long life with very anxious attention; and could now, if it would benefit them, lay down that life for what I know to be their true character.

"Their natural disposition as a body, your Excellency, is not what it may have appeared to be. Expelled long ago with fearful slaughter from their ancient country, and dispersed in every land under heaven, the oppression of ages may have given them, in the eyes of His Majesty's Government, the semblance of a character which is not their own. That which they may appear to have may be artificial and superficial, forced upon them by long existing, most extraordinary, and peculiar circumstances. For these evils His Majesty the Emperor holds the full and most efficacious remedy in his own most gracious heart and most powerful hands, under the blessing of Almighty God, which would surely rest upon him in the prosecution of such an unspeakably benign object.

"Will His Majesty deign to hear my most humble and most earnest petition, and graciously put this remedy into application?

"I beseech indulgent consideration while, confiding in the nobleness of His Majesty's mind, and in the high wisdom of His Majesty's Ministers, I proceed to describe it.

"It consists primarily in nothing more than the full and real accordance to Israelites of the boon which His Majesty's Ministers have informed me has been already designed for them by the Imperial Government—videlicit, "Equal rights with all other subjects of the empire." This great favour bestowed by His Majesty publicly, immediately, and without reserve would, I am deeply persuaded, produce the most beneficial results. It would cancel at once the heavy despondency produced by the degradation of ages; it would call forth the ardent gratitude which I assure your Excellency abounds in the hearts of my brethren, and it would present to His Majesty's other subjects, and to the world at large, a most distinguished proof of His Majesty's paternal mercy, wisdom, condescension, and high magnanimity.

"I would not argue that this favour, if it had been granted without limit at other times, and under other circumstances, would have been productive of the same advantages. I would only humbly urge that now at this moment, when the minds of my brethren and of other men have been so powerfully drawn to observe His Majesty's attention to their condition, such a measure must be followed by most happy consequences.

"Entering with the deepest respect into the details of this subject, I would most earnestly solicit and supplicate—

"1st. That my brethren should enjoy without reserve the fullest and completest right of settling at their own choice in any part of the Russian territory comprised within seventeen governments or provinces, a surface occupying 17,000 square miles, and that to this end His Majesty the Emperor would be most graciously pleased to cancel all laws and customs which prevent them from settling in any towns and villages of the Guberniums of Livonia and Courland, in the cities of Kiew (formerly a most considerable Hebrew congregation), Nicolaiew, and Swatopol, and in the villages situated in the Guberniums of Whitebsk, Mogilew, Tschornigow, and Poltawa, and that His Majesty would further graciously and mercifully deign to cancel entirely the Ukases which order the removal of all Israelites for [Pg 371]fifty wersts from the frontiers and sea shores, leaving to summary individual punishment any evil disposed persons who might participate in offences against the revenue, and by His Majesty's great kindness exciting the good and loyal to combine amongst themselves to put down all such nefarious practices, as I faithfully believe that moved by His Majesty's high policy and favour they would do.

"2nd. That they should be allowed to live in every town or village situated within the already mentioned space of 17,000 square miles without being confined to any particular street or restricted locality, and to establish manufactories. It should be borne in mind that the Hebrew population has greatly increased since the period (December 9, 1804) when they were first confined to the above-named space. From my own observation I can affirm that in many places the Hebrew people live crowded together to such a degree, that four or five families have no more room to occupy than that which would barely suffice for one family in any other Gubernium inhabited by His Majesty's subjects of another creed.

"3rd. The suspension of the Ukase respecting the removal from the inns in the villages, and permission to the Hebrew inhabitants of the Gubernium of Courland to keep farms, inns, and baiting stables agreeably to an Imperial Ukase of the 13th April 1835-64.

"4th. The admission of the Hebrew mechanics, artizans, and tradesmen inhabiting Courland into the Christian corporations of their respective trades, or to substitute the privilege of forming their own corporations so that the Israelite might have the advantage of being allowed to keep his journeymen, apprentices, or other assistants to his trade belonging to his own creed or to any other, and thus avert inevitable distress.

"5th. Permission to Hebrew merchants throughout Russia belonging to any one of the three guilds to travel into the interior of Russia for commercial purposes, and to visit Moscow and St Petersburg with the same freedom as the merchants of other creeds, and the extension of this permission to their agents, and also to mechanics of every description, and to carmen, waggoners, and labourers for the more successful prosecution of their business; of course upon the condition of their being provided with the customary passports. Respecting those individuals who do not belong to any of the four classes, my humble petition to His Majesty's Government would be to permit them to go into the neighbouring Guberniums for the purpose of their making purchases of the produce of the land and necessary provisions. Such privileges to Hebrew merchants and others, instead of being a disadvantage to commercial persons of other creeds, would, I think, operate to their great benefit, for competition and activity are the mainsprings of prosperous commerce, and these elements would become increased universally amongst the trading classes by this act of favour.

"6th. Permission to re-establish the congregational unions called Kahals, which serve them as their natural point of centralization; and to leave all congregational offices in the hands of Israelites, so that their finances, their charitable institutions, and their minor duties may be under their own administration. This boon would, I am sure, be particularly satisfactory to my brethren, and would especially call forth at the same time their confidence and affection towards His Majesty's person and his Government, and that proper feeling of self-respect without which they cannot be expected to rise from their present condition of despondent degradation.

"7th. Permission to Israelites to avail themselves of the assistance of Christians in the various occupations of life—a measure which would tend strongly to soften down those feelings of difference which now exist between these two classes of His Majesty's subjects, and to obliterate that line of demarcation which His Majesty and his Government justly regard with so much regret.[Pg 372]

"8th. Permission to the Israelites to live as agriculturists in the vicinity of their Christian neighbours.

"9th. The right of keeping brewhouses.

"10th. Promotion from the ranks of Hebrew soldiers or sailors who distinguish themselves in the Imperial army or navy.

"11th. And, in fine, the removal from the Israelites of all such taxes and restrictions as at present they are made to bear in a greater number and to a greater extent than other classes of His Majesty's subjects, and in particular that of the Sabbath Light, which presses so heavily on the poor.

"Such are the general details of the request that I most respectfully solicit your Excellency to lay before His Majesty the Emperor. I most humbly and earnestly pray, that in the great opportunity which Divine Providence has opened to His Majesty, he will raise the fallen, relieve the oppressed, cheer the desolate, and by a high and magnanimous measure of policy set an example which the whole world, and especially my brethren, will never cease to remember with gratitude and admiration.

"Your Excellency will observe that what I here entreat in the name of my brethren, as well as in that of every friend of humanity, amounts in fact to nothing more than that which your Excellency's most enlightened and benevolent Sovereign has already accorded to His Hebrew subjects, by the declaration contained in the document with which your Excellency obligingly furnished me.

"Under existing circumstances, deprived as they are of the means adverted to in that declaration, of turning their activity to useful objects, and of establishing their prosperity upon a safe basis, poverty, distress, and the annihilation of all hope must be the fate of His Imperial Majesty's most faithful and loyal Hebrew subjects, and indeed they appear already reduced to the lowest depth of distress.

"I therefore most humbly approach His Majesty's philanthropic Government with my fervent prayer, that it will be pleased to carry out without delay the good and humane intentions of His Most Gracious Majesty the Emperor, manifested in his decrees.

"With respect to the real disposition of my brethren, I feel it right to mention that from communications which I held with the Russian authorities during my permitted visit to the Israelites in His Majesty's dominions, I have reason to think that my co-religionists have been generally exempt from the commission of capital crimes, and that even in regard to ordinary morality and the greater proportion of minor offences, their conduct is of a very exemplary kind. I sincerely hope that this statement will accord with the reports in the possession of His Majesty's Government. I feel confident that His Majesty's Government will reflect upon another pleasing fact of which I was also informed, that the Israelites have never been connected with the formation of any plot or scheme against those in authority, but on the contrary have endeavoured on all occasions to serve their country with earnest zeal, and with most unanimous sacrifices of life and property. As an instance, I shall only mention their exertions in favour of the Empire which they have the happiness to inhabit, during the presence of the French in Russia, in the year 1812, and more particularly in the revolt of the year 1830. On the latter occasion the Israelites were highly gratified by a proclamation, which their magnanimous Monarch caused to be issued in his name, by the Adjutant General Prince Nikolai Andrewitz Dolgarukow, in which His Majesty condescended to express his great satisfaction with my brethren, and, moreover, renewed his assurance to them that they should find in Russia, under the glorious sceptre of their exalted Monarch, a fatherland and security of their property and privileges.

"I am happy to repeat my statement to your Excellency that the same [Pg 373]loyal sentiments towards His Majesty's Government, which they have invariably cherished, still animate their hearts, and that they embrace with avidity every opportunity to accede to the wishes of the Government.

"The following fact will, I trust, bear me out in my assertion. On His Majesty's desiring that the Israelites should change their costume, for which, as having been peculiar to themselves and their ancestors, they had a natural predilection, they have shown their obedience to this desire, though this was not done without considerable pecuniary sacrifice and ruinous loss to many whose warehouses were well provided with furs and silks.

"I beg to assure your Excellency they are ready to cultivate the land; they are prepared to undertake any work however laborious; they wish to establish manufactories of every description; they are desirous to cultivate their minds to the best of their power by the study of modern science and literature. Be assured that poverty, restriction, and disproportioned taxation have alone heretofore prevented them from effecting these objects. But it is in the power of His Majesty's Government to raise and revive them all, by simply decreeing the removal of existing impediments to their full enjoyment of all the privileges which their most humane and paternal Emperor has granted them.

"I beg to assure your Excellency that I well know how to appreciate the great confidence which His Majesty's Government has placed in me, in granting the privilege of personally witnessing the state of my brethren in Russia. The influence which I flatter myself that I have with them, I have exercised for the purpose of strengthening them in their continual efforts to meet the wishes of His Majesty's Government.

"With your Excellency's kind permission I shall have the honour from time to time to address your Excellency on the important matter which forms the subject of my present communication, and to which His Majesty's enlightened Government has devoted itself with so much zeal and humanity.

"I shall ever gratefully remember the kindness and attention which your Excellency was always pleased to evince towards me during my stay in the Imperial city, and your Excellency will give me leave to say that my visit to Russia will ever be remembered with heartfelt gratitude for the greatest condescension and humanity of the most illustrious and magnanimous Emperor Nicholas, from whose royal lips I heard that I should have the satisfaction of taking with me his assurances and the assurances of his Ministers that he was desirous to improve the condition of my co-religionists.

"In most fervent prayers I unite with two millions of His Majesty's faithful Hebrew subjects, supplicating the most High to grant long life and everlasting glory to their beneficent Sovereign, who we further pray may behold the fruition of his desire to ensure the happiness of every class in his dominions, and thus reap the sincerest gratitude of every humane and philanthropic heart.

"It may be proper to observe that, mindful of the condescension and confidence reposed in me by His Imperial Majesty, I consider this report, together with the two reports by which it is accompanied, a private and confidential communication.

"In conclusion, I entreat your Excellency's indulgence to pardon the length at which I have ventured to intrude on your Excellency's attention, and with feelings of the most profound respect, I have the honour to be your Excellency's most faithful and devoted humble servant,

(Signed) "Moses Montefiore."

[Pg 374]




The report to Count Ouvaroff, Minister of Public Instruction at St Petersburg, was as follows:—

"To His Excellency, le Comte Ouvaroff, Ministre de l'Instruction publique de sa Majesté l'Empereur de Russie, &c., &c., &c.

"May it please your Excellency,—The zealous and untiring energy which your Excellency evinces in continual efforts to promote education, and to diffuse amongst all classes of His Imperial Majesty's subjects that important blessing, Knowledge, will, I feel assured, induce you to pardon me if I venture to lay before your Excellency such observations on the present condition of my brethren in Russia, with respect to their educational establishments, as by your Excellency's favour I have been enabled to make.

"Previously to my doing so, I beg leave to present my warmest acknowledgments for the very kind and condescending manner in which your Excellency was pleased to convey to me the sentiments of His Imperial Majesty's Government. I shall ever remember with gratitude the assurances your Excellency gave me, that the Russian Government was anxious to promote only such education as is based upon pure religion; that it did not entertain sentiments inimical to the Jewish faith; that on the contrary the Government was anxious to institute with respect to the Israelites such measures as would tend to prove to them the paternal kindness of His Majesty; and that for this reason the Government had called together a Committee of Chief Rabbis, eminent for their piety, in order to gain the perfect confidence of all their brethren.

"These assurances enabled me with pleasure to undertake the task, the result of which I now have the honour to submit to your Excellency, feeling convinced that your Excellency's noble and enlightened sentiments will induce you to give a due consideration to a subject of such infinite importance.

"It must be to your Excellency a source of the highest gratification to hear that His Imperial Majesty's Hebrew subjects are far from depreciating the advantages which the human mind in general derives from education. Wherever and whenever I had an opportunity of addressing them on that subject, they assured me that they were ever ready most zealously to assist in the promotion of their mental and social improvement, and they joyfully hailed every opportunity presented to them of enriching their minds by pure and wholesome knowledge. 'An Israelite,' they said, 'cannot underrate the value of knowledge. Every page in our history proves the reverse. Our [Pg 375]ancestors, from the earliest period of that history, have been remarkable for their zeal to uphold science and literature as the greatest and holiest acquisitions. We refer the enquirer to the works of Bartholocci, Wolf, De Rossi, Rodriguez de Castro, by which it will be at once ascertained that Israelites have always kept pace in useful learning with their neighbours, and that all circumstances considered, they possess in most instances fully as much general knowledge as falls to the share of their non-Israelite fellow-subjects in a corresponding grade of society.' And in corroboration of this statement, I beg to inform your Excellency that many of the Israelites in His Imperial Majesty's dominions have distinguished themselves by their writings in Hebrew theology and literature, and that their works are very highly appreciated by the learned in Germany. 'To improve the mind and promote every kind of useful and sound information which tends to elevate a man before God and his fellow-creatures, they deem to be an important injunction of the sacred law.' I therefore had no difficulty whatever in persuading them of the good intentions which His Majesty's Government entertained with respect to the organisation of schools for their benefit. They overwhelmed me with quotations from the sacred writings, tending to show that with the Israelite it is an imperative duty to give the best effect to such benevolence.

"Their notions of religion in general, and of the sacred books which treat thereon, are not less correct, and I had opportunities of hearing them frequently elucidate many Scriptural texts, in a manner which proved to me that they were possessed with the true spirit of their religion, and that they derive from the perusal of the Oral Law such beneficial instruction as must tend to make them faithful to their God, loyal to the Government of the country in which they live, and good men to all their fellow creatures.

"Their arguments on this subject, and the excellent quotations which they advanced in support of them, appeared to me to be of so much importance that I cannot forbear submitting them to your Excellency's kind consideration, bearing particularly in mind that the adherents to the Oral Law, as the sacred and only authorized commentary to the holy Scripture, have been represented to your Excellency in a light certainly not calculated to throw much lustre on Israel at large.

"The Talmud distinctly forbids us appropriating unlawfully from our neighbour, whether he be Israelite or non-Israelite, any object whatever, even of the smallest value. ('Khoshen Mishpat, Hálákhot Génébah,' ch. ccclxxviii., secs. 1, 2.) Every kind of deception is interdicted without respect to the person subject thereto being Israelite or non-Israelite. (Maimonides, 'Hálákhot Déot,' ch. ii., sec. 6.) By the same authority we are bound to act with equal fairness in the sale of any article, be the purchaser Israelite or the follower of any other faith. ('Khoshen Mishpat,' ch. ccxxviii.; Maimonides, 'Hálákhot Makhiva,' ch. xviii., sec. 1.) That every temptation to do wrong may be avoided, an Israelite is enjoined not to keep under his roof any bad coin, unless he deface it so that it cannot be used as current coin in dealing with any person, whatever be his religious faith. ('Peroosh Hamishnayot tehárámbam Tract Kelim,' ch. xii., Mishna 7.) The prohibition of such practices is understood in the sacred text in Deuteronomy, ch. xxv., v. 16: 'For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.'

"Principles like these must surely tend to create good feeling between all Israelites and their neighbours of every faith.

"Sincere attachment and perfect obedience, the strictest loyalty we are enjoined to evince towards the Government of the country in which we live, and this is a truth, my brethren rightly aver, prominently taught in our sacred writings. Therefore, in the first place, we look upon the monarch, [Pg 376]though of another faith and nation, as the anointed of the Lord (Isaiah ch. xlv., v. 1), and consider his Government as a resplendence of the heavenly Government ('Tract Berakhot,' p. 58). We are enjoined to fear the Eternal Being and the King, and not to confederate with those who are given to change (Proverbs xxiv., v. 21). The prophets, in speaking of a non-Israelite ruler, say: 'Serve the King of Babylon, and ye shall live;' and they also command us to 'seek the peace of the city whither the Almighty has caused us to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it' (Jer. xxix., v. 7). The reverence we are enjoined to testify towards our earthly sovereign is further shown in our glorifying the Almighty Power for conferring a similitude of His boundless Majesty upon a mortal. We are enjoined not to swear against the King even in thought (Kohelit ch. x., v. 20), and to regard the decrees of the Monarch as inviolable ('Tract Baba Kama,' p. 112). We are distinctly ordered not to act in opposition to the King's laws relating to the customs and excise, even though the Israelite be the most heavily taxed ('Baba Kama,' 112; 'Pesakhim,' cxii. p. 2; Maimonides, 'Hálákhot Melakhim,' ch. iv., sec. 1; 'Khoshen Mishpat,' ch. ccclxix., sec. 6); and from the same authority it is incumbent on us to show the same veneration to those who are representatives of the monarch as to himself ('Tract Shébuot,' xlvii. p. 2).

"The high esteem in which the Israelite holds every human being who is distinguished by moral and mental qualities, is clearly stated in Maimonides, 'Hálákhot Shemita Weyóbel,' ch. xiii., sec. 13, and of this the most striking confirmation is found in the words of our Talmud ('Baba Kama,' xxxviii. p. 1), where we are told that a Gentile who applies himself to the study of the sacred law is to be held in equal esteem with the High Priest, which is likewise declared in the book 'Tana debé Eliyahoo,' in the beginning of the ninth chapter.

"I had another most gratifying instance of the sound and clear perceptions which they have of the pure doctrines of our religion and the traditional commentary to the sacred Scripture, in the sublime elucidation which they gave to that most important point in our creed which refers to the Messiah.

"'We are praying for a time,' said they, 'when the ideas of mankind at large are to be noble and sublime; for a time when, as the prophet describes, Gentiles will come to the light of Zion and kings to the brightness of her rising (Isaiah lx., v. 3); when nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth His glory (Psalms ch. cii., v. 10; Daniel ch. vii., v. 27).

"Our sentiments are more distinctly stated by the immortal Maimonides in the following words ('Hálákhot Melakhim,' ch. xii, secs. 4, 5): 'The wise men and the prophets did not desire the advent of the Messiah, that they might attain the power of any terrestrial government, that they should be elevated in worldly rank by the nations, or enjoy every terrestrial comfort. No! this was not the object of their fervent prayer; their object was, in that glorious period, to be enabled to devote themselves wholly and in perfect freedom to the study of the holy law and its sacred literature, through which they might, at the end of their worldly career, attain the bliss of immortality. That period is expected to be full of peace; no war, no disturbance, no hatred; no jealousy between men will then exist; happiness will be the lot of every creature, and the whole world will only be anxious to acquire the knowledge of the law. Then will Israel be enlightened by the Word of God, for the world is to be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, even as the waters cover the sea.'

"A most remarkable feature in the purity of that particular article of our creed is, that whilst the prayer for the Messiah regards the welfare of the whole human race, it also strongly inculcates a sentiment that no kind of coercive measures ought to be used by any person for the purpose of hastening [Pg 377]the advent of that blissful period. Our Talmud declares that the Omnipotent enjoined the Israelites not to press events to bring on that promised season of peace, nor ever to oppose the nations ('Tract Ketubot," 1. cx. p. 1).

"Having made these preliminary remarks, I shall now proceed to describe to your Excellency the state of the schools which I visited in the course of my journey through Russia and Poland.

"Being anxious to convince myself of the real condition of my brethren, I often took them by surprise, and I am happy to say, although they had not teachers of profane sciences, still most of the pupils in some schools knew how to write and to read in the Russian, Hebrew, and German languages. In Wilna I found the schools organised agreeably to the command of His Imperial Majesty's Government; they were well provided with competent masters, and the pupils answered most satisfactorily questions in the various branches of tuition—in Latin, Russian, and German grammars, geography, arithmetic, and history.

"In Hebrew, however, they could only obtain instruction during three hours each week. The pupils who frequent the gymnasium also attended whilst I was there the schools thus organised, and I had an opportunity of ascertaining that a considerable number of them were well versed in various branches of science and secular education. The girls' schools are in a most flourishing state, and your Excellency will be pleased to hear that the pupils excel in the knowledge of the Russian, Polish, French, Hebrew, and German languages, in addition to their knowledge of geography, Russian history, and arithmetic. With respect to the Talmud Tora schools (your Excellency having expressed so zealous a desire to advance the study of the Hebrew language and its literature), I feel much pleasure in assuring your Excellency that I examined a great number of pupils, and their knowledge of Hebrew was surprising. Sometimes they were addressed in that language, and they translated it into German, or vice versâ; on various occasions they continued to recite any sacred text in the Bible after the first word of the chapter or verse was given to them. At Warsaw also I found the schools organised upon the principles laid down by His Imperial Majesty's Government in a flourishing state. The pupils are well versed in the Russian, Polish, French, Hebrew, and German languages, independently of their knowledge of geography, history, arithmetic, and composition. I was equally satisfied in inspecting the girls' school. Like those at Wilna, these schools may be regarded as models, for they are upon an equality with similar establishments in my own country. The school of industry I also found to be a most excellent establishment, which, in the course of time, will confer great benefits upon the rising generation. With respect to the Talmud Tora schools, in which a knowledge of Hebrew language and its literature is exclusively taught, I beg leave to assert that there is not any school in the most distinguished Hebrew congregation in Europe that deserves to rank higher than those established in Warsaw and Wilna. Of the various Hebrew schools which I visited in the smaller towns on my route, I was frequently surprised in a most agreeable manner. At those where I expected it the least the pupils were well acquainted with the Hebrew language and its literature, and on many occasions wrote in my presence various sentences in the Russian, Hebrew, and German languages.

"I particularly inquired the reason why the Talmud Tora schools had no professors appointed for the Russian language and other branches of secular science and literature, this deficiency having struck me the more after having heard such powerful arguments in favour of studying these, showing that a knowledge of worldly science and literature, when combined with that of Hebrew and the observance of pure religion, was well adapted to improve an Israelite. The answer to my inquiry was, that they had not the means to [Pg 378]procure such professors; that to have a master of that description would have given them the highest pleasure, but that having themselves to contend with innumerable difficulties in obtaining the ordinary and most urgent necessaries of life, they deemed it their first duty morally and religiously to procure, with the limited means they had, such instruction for their children as is essential for the enjoyment of their religion, leaving other kinds of learning for more favourable opportunities. Of their real feeling on this head the following incident is an example. I offered the means of procuring masters for the Russian language, geography, history, writing, and arithmetic in several schools, and my offer was most eagerly accepted, and the following day masters were engaged.

"With respect to the inclination of the Israelites to frequent public schools, I found that a considerable number of the Jewish youth do attend these institutions, and many more would do so were it not that a most difficult question arises to their parents, who say, 'We thoroughly appreciate the great advantages derivable from additional acquirements, but what is to become of our children after their minds shall have been so instructed in the higher branches of knowledge and their sensibilities thereby necessarily refined? or how are we to provide them with proper habiliments and books required for the purpose if we can hardly afford to satisfy them with bread?' Very many Israelites are also much afraid that the mode of instruction at some public schools, and at some established for the Israelites exclusively, may induce their children to abjure the Jewish faith, which of course is dear to Israelites, and which they are ready to defend with their lives. For there are schools where persons, who are apostates from the Hebrew religion, are allowed to instruct the pupils, a course of tuition which must give rise to the most painful anxiety in the minds of those by whom that religion is still cherished.

"I beg leave now to state, with the most profound respect for your Excellency's judgment on this important subject, that I have given it most serious consideration, and knowing from ample evidence that my brethren in the Russian empire are most anxious to advance their mental and social improvement, I humbly submit to your Excellency that they are in a fit condition for receiving the benefits which their most benevolent and merciful monarch intended to bestow upon them.

"My humble petition to your Excellency is, that by your humane and kind intercession supplications may be brought effectually before His Imperial Majesty's Government.

"Those supplications I will thus set forth. In the first place, that they may be permitted to have the management themselves of their Hebrew theological schools. This is essential to their dearest sympathies and interests, as no other persons could promote the study of Hebrew literature more effectually. In all regions where civilisation has made any marked progress, wherever its blessings are really experienced, Hebrew literature is regarded as its most precious feature, and all nations ardently cultivate its study and render homage to its worth. May it therefore please the Imperial Government to allow the Israelites themselves, the people by whose agency this boon has been given to mankind, to have the direction of those establishments in which they are to be trained in the true knowledge of their own inalienable inheritance. For the acquirement of knowledge in secular science and literature they should also have the appointment of their own teachers, such whose competency may be approved of by His Majesty's Minister of Public Instruction, or should be allowed to avail themselves of the public educational establishments, subject, of course, to such periodical examinations as may be deemed necessary to test the progress of the pupil.

"Secondly, they consider it a just regulation that, in those schools which [Pg 379]His Majesty's Government has originated solely for their benefit, no convert from Judaism be appointed a teacher. Particular allusion is here made to the Rabbinical school at Warsaw, where a person who was tutor, whilst belonging to that faith, continues to hold that situation even after having abjured it and embraced another. No permanent satisfaction can result from such an anomaly, which will surely deter sincere Israelites from sending their children to institutions placed in similar circumstances, as they will naturally suppose that His Imperial Majesty's Government encourages conversion, but which I am assured, by a statement from your Excellency, it does not desire. Such appointments of instructors should be made as would remove all misconception on this vitally important subject.

"Thirdly, I submit to your Excellency that it is just that the Ukase issued on the 24th November 1836, declaring that all such Hebrew books as are pronounced by the Chief Rabbi not to contain inimicable sentiments to the government of the country, be permitted to remain with the Israelites, do continue in full force, because unfortunately during the last eleven months, the Hebrew libraries of private individuals have been in the hands of the police, and many books which they were authorized to keep by the Chief Rabbi, having thereon his seal and signature, were taken away from them, and even those books on which the Committee of Censors would find nothing wrong, are still kept back by the Committee. May it therefore please your Excellency to order that the books be returned to the owners.

"Finally, I have to petition your Excellency to take seriously into consideration all that I have here advanced on my suffering brethren's behalf. Your Excellency, I am aware, entertains the most philanthropic views, and when your Excellency reflects on the earnest desire of my brethren in His Imperial Majesty's dominions to benefit by education in the most comprehensive and useful sense of the word, and the restrictions which as Israelites impede a beneficial progress therein, I am sure that your Excellency's enlightened judgment will accord them your powerful advocacy with His Imperial Majesty's Government.

"Your Excellency may indeed believe that I assert as my solemn conviction, that when they shall fully enjoy those privileges and opportunities which their paternal and beneficent Sovereign has designed for them, the result will be surprising to those who have underrated their talents and inclinations, and most gratifying to all who like your Excellency have evinced a sincere desire to promote their welfare, equally with that of the other numerous people over whom His Imperial Majesty reigns.—I have the honour to be, with the highest consideration and the most profound respect, your Excellency's most faithful servant.

(Signed) "Moses Montefiore."

[Pg 380]




The last of the three important reports made by Sir Moses Montefiore to the Ministers of the Emperor of Russia was to Count Kisseleff, and ran as follows:—

"To his Excellency Le Comte de Kisseleff, Ministre du domaine de l'Empire de sa Majesté l'Empereur de Russie, &c., &c., &c.

"May it please your Excellency,—My first and principal report had reference, as your Excellency will have seen, to the condition and wants of my brethren in Russia. In obedience, however, to the permission which His Majesty the Emperor most graciously gave me, and to your Excellency's most benevolent desire, it is incumbent on me to make some remarks (which for the sake of clearness I prefer submitting in a distinct paper) in regard to those who are inhabitants of the kingdom of Poland. In so doing, I would humbly beseech His Majesty the Emperor, your Excellency, and His Majesty's Government at large, so far as it may be made acquainted with the subject, to receive such remarks, and any requests that may stand connected with them, with great and indulgent consideration.

"Humble as is my position in life, when compared with the most exalted stations of the high persons to whom I venture to address myself, I nevertheless have laid upon me by the high benevolence itself which I have experienced, a heavy responsibility to Almighty God, to His Majesty the Emperor and his Government, to my brethren, and I believe to the whole civilized world.

"I most sincerely believe that the human race at large would experience solid and lasting benefit, if His Majesty would deign to carry out fully and completely his gracious expressions of desire for the welfare of his Hebrew subjects. With these views I would most humbly and earnestly supplicate that the great and sublime course of proceeding already commenced by His Majesty, which I have ventured to solicit for the Israelites in Russia, should be extended as fully to those of my brethren who are resident in Poland. I supplicate the powerful Russian Government to prove to the whole civilized world that the amelioration of the condition of the Hebrew race, for which it is so graciously desirous, can be produced with completeness and effect, by measures that would appeal to the gratitude and love of a loyal and warm-hearted people.

"Permit me in the first place to direct your Excellency's attention to two paragraphs, the fifth and seventh of the Organization Statute of Poland promulgated [Pg 381]in the year 1832, and which are immediately connected with the subject in question.

"Therein His Majesty the Emperor and King of Poland declares that 'the difference from the Christian modes of worship cannot be regarded as a cause of exclusion to any person whatever from the rights and privileges granted to all other inhabitants professing the Christian religion.

"'The protection of the law equally extends to all the inhabitants of the kingdom without any distinction of rank or social condition.'

"With the profoundest respect I will now proceed to lay before your Excellency the following brief enumeration of serious restrictions under which my brethren in Poland are weighed down.

"1st. Concerning their confined habitations.

"(a) There are towns in Poland in which Israelites are never allowed to reside.

"(b) In these towns or marts where they have permission to live it extends only to a few streets.

"(c) From every habitation situated near the high roads they are entirely excluded.

"(d) They are prohibited from settling within three geographical miles of the frontier, which, in a country of the dimensions of Poland, excludes them from a considerable tract of territory.

"2nd. Regarding mechanics (trade).

"(a) An Israelite following any trade or mechanical operation is not allowed to keep apprentices, neither can he declare such as journeymen. This naturally involves the Hebrew mechanic in innumerable difficulties, for he is entirely dependent upon his own personal exertions, and can never avail himself of the assistance of his fellow-mechanics.

"(b) He is prohibited from working with a Christian master, and in consequence of his not being acknowledged as a master among the corporations, he is always considered as a person who injures the trade.

"3rd. With respect to agriculture, crown lands, or ecclesiastical property.

"The Israelite is prohibited from taking on lease, nor is he ever allowed to be the proprietor of any lands, however small in extent; for even the property of private individuals he can only rent by paying heavy taxes for the patent, and then even is not allowed to employ Christian assistants.

"4th. Additional taxes.

"(a) An Israelite has to pay a tax of three kopecs, besides the usual tax, upon each pound of beef or veal lawfully prepared for his use; fifteen kopecs silver for a turkey, five kopecs silver for a fowl, eight kopecs silver for a duck, and nine kopecs silver for a goose.

"(b) A Hebrew labourer living in the vicinity of Warsaw cannot enjoy the advantage of bringing his goods or the produce of his land into the capital, there being a law that every Israelite from the provinces who comes to town should pay, daily, ten silver kopecs for permission to stay, and seven and a-half silver kopecs for the duty on the stamp.

"(c) An Israelite dealing in spirituous liquors lies exclusively under taxes for such a privilege. Thus an individual having a brewhouse and brandy distillery has to pay 25 dollars to the City Exchequer, 66-2/3 dollars to the finances of the State, 66-2/3 for the distillery, 66-2/3 for the brewery, amounting to 291-2/3 dollars annually; and although he pays for such a privilege dearly, he cannot bequeath it to his child, for only those are allowed to enjoy it who obtained permission in the year 1809.

"5th. Other restrictions.

"(a) An Israelite is not allowed to appear as a witness in a case of lawsuit against a Christian, for his evidence is not considered valid. The great injury he must sustain from such a law or practice is incalculable.[Pg 382]

"(b) As soldiers, although they may distinguish themselves in the army or navy, they are not permitted to rise in rank. The mode of enrolling recruits is also most painful; for, notwithstanding a distinct decree having been issued by His Majesty's Government in the year 1843, that recruits should be given up to the authorities by the community, without the interference of any officer, still great wrongs are committed by some of the petty officers, which cause the ruin of numerous families.

"(c) They have not the advantage, like other subjects of His Majesty, of renting the local revenues derived from the sale of spirits. Not, however, that I would consider this restriction a hardship, excepting so far as it is a distinctive mark upon the Israelites in Poland.

"(d) They are excluded from the great advantages derivable from the acquirement of science and literature, by being prohibited from following the professions of chemists, architects, lawyers, and several other similar avocations.

"Like their brethren in Russia, the Israelites of Poland are accused of great aversion to every kind of manual labour, preferring to gain a livelihood by devotion to petty commerce. It is alleged also, that they are disinclined to agriculture, avoid every mechanical pursuit, and defraud the Government of the excise and customs; that they distinguish themselves from the rest of the inhabitants by their particular costume; and finally, that the precepts of their religion, to which they most scrupulously adhere, are of antisocial tendency.

"I entreat your Excellency's kind consideration of the few observations which I deem it essential to offer, in reference to the foregoing imputations. The statistical accounts of Poland shew that, in proportion to the number of Hebrew inhabitants, there are more mechanics amongst them than amongst any other class of His Majesty's Polish subjects; they devote themselves to the most laborious occupations, and it may be easily ascertained that there is not only a great number of Hebrew brickmakers, blacksmiths, paviors, and carpenters, but there may be found two thousand Israelites who break stones on the chaussees. As a most striking instance, I shall name to your Excellency a small town of the name of Kalnary, where there exist no less than 486 families following mechanical pursuits, amongst a Hebrew population of 1500 families, as I believe may be proved by the official accounts of the police.

"Your Excellency, I am confident, will be of opinion that it may be justly inferred, if, under the restrictions against which the Hebrew mechanic has daily to contend, he still perseveres in his pursuits with honesty, and remains spotless in his character, this class of persons would be greatly augmented if all those obstacles were to be removed which now press so heavily on industrial exertion.

"With respect to agriculture, permit me to mention that in the year 1823, when the decree was issued, under his late Majesty, the Emperor Alexander of blessed memory, that the Polish Jews should cultivate the land, though they were denied the privilege of becoming proprietors, and though they had to contend with various other restrictions connected with agriculture, under the hand of an Israelite, to which I have already alluded in the preceding pages, nevertheless a considerable number of them offered themselves to cultivate the land, but, unfortunately, could not succeed in their applications. The local authorities always replied to the petitioners that the land in question was not qualified for them as Israelites, that they should look out for some other piece of ground which the Government could dispose of to them. In consequence of these answers, the applicants petitioned for a list of all the land which might be accessible to Israelites, yet I regret to say that twenty-three years have since passed without any reply having been given to this [Pg 383]humble request. Thus circumstanced, they petitioned to the effect that the wealthier classes amongst them might be permitted to purchase land from private individuals, either to cultivate the same in person, or to let it out in small portions to the poor, yet under the condition that the space of land should not extend to more than would be sufficient for five or ten farmers to cultivate. Moreover, the proposed purchasers declared their willingness to relinquish any right and privilege any other (non-Israelite) proprietor of land might be entitled to. They went still further, for in their anxious desire to secure the honest object of their petition, they offered the forfeiture of the land in case any of the parties connected with its agriculture were to be found withdrawing from personally cultivating it, or were to be proved guilty of calling in Christian peasants, however few, for the assistance of the new agriculturists.

"I have no doubt that, equally with their Russian brethren, the Israelites of Poland are most desirous to adopt agricultural pursuits.

"It has been charged against the Israelites of Poland, that they do not render any personal service to the country in which they live. This charge might not have been without foundation eighteen or twenty years ago, when they paid an annual tribute of many hundred thousand dollars for the privilege of being exempted from personal military service, but not so at present, for many thousand Israelites have evinced their devotion to the cause of their native land, by sacrificing their lives on numerous occasions, and their services in the army and in the navy have already been appreciated by their exalted Monarch himself.

"With respect to the peculiar costume which most of the Israelites have been accustomed to wear for many centuries, from what I had an opportunity of seeing I can assure your Excellency that most of them have already adopted the European habit, and I have not the least doubt that, in the course of time, the ancient dress will have entirely disappeared. It is erroneous to suppose that the ancient costume is enjoined by, or has any foundation in religion. Such is not the fact. It originated from a decree of the Government in existence three hundred years ago, when the Israelites were commanded under a most severe punishment to assume this garb to distinguish them as members of the Jewish faith. The truth of this statement may be ascertained by referring to 'Vol. Leg. Polon. Sub. Anno 1538,' Vol. I., p. 254.

"Having now, as I trust to the satisfaction of your Excellency, refuted all the arguments which have hitherto been held of sufficient moment to deprive many hundred thousands of Israelites of the rights and privileges which, as faithful subjects, they, in accordance with His Imperial Majesty's humane intention, ought to enjoy, I most humbly implore His Majesty's Government in its great wisdom to remove from His Majesty's Hebrew subjects all restrictions which may prove obstacles to their honest pursuits in life, and in particular those restrictions which I have previously alluded to, and which I have endeavoured to classify.

"Possibly your Excellency, though animated with the noblest feelings of humanity, may, in the fulfilment of the duty your high position imposes, deem it necessary to call my attention to the existence of certain restrictions which, on account of the pecuniary advantages the State derives from them, cannot easily be removed; such, for instance, as the meat tax, which annually amounts, to 300,000 silver roubles. But in answer to this, permit me to observe that in conformity to His Majesty's most gracious decree issued in the year 1817, the Israelites were, on entering the army or navy, to be free from paying the exemption money, and in addition to this were to enjoy the same privileges in every respect as all the other inhabitants of the country.[Pg 384]

"The Israelites are now acting to the very letter of the Imperial Ukase, for they serve personally in the army and navy, and are acknowledged to be good, brave, and faithful. I submit, therefore, that they are now entitled to the same privileges as are granted to all other inhabitants, and as a matter of course, to be free from the payment of exemption money. Considerations of economy will not, I feel persuaded, be permitted to overrule the just and humane intentions of His Imperial Majesty.

"I entreat your Excellency distinctly to understand that I have not written with this comparative brevity on the subject of the Israelites in Poland, because I think their position less deserving the attention of the Imperial Government than that of the Russian brethren. On the contrary, in Poland affliction and degradation are the more severe; and what stronger fact can be offered in support of the urgency of the claim of the Israelites of the last named country on the justice and humanity of His Imperial Majesty than this, that these persons constitute one fourth of the whole population.

"I have written less fully concerning my Polish brethren, only because I am most unwilling to trespass more than my absolute duty requires upon the gracious consideration which I supplicate; and I would further observe, that my report as to my brethren in Russia has been drawn up with the intention that those who are resident in Poland should be included in its general arguments.

"It would be to me a source of the deepest regret, if from any observations made in this or the preceding letter the impressions were produced on the mind of His Majesty that I had responded to his most gracious conduct towards me by a tone of unsuitable complaint in regard to the state of my brethren. Such a course, I earnestly assure your Excellency, I have been most desirous to avoid. I have given the most anxious care to the investigation of the facts to which I have adverted, and I have made no representation of the truth of which I have not received very strong evidence.

"I have endeavoured to elucidate the causes which tend to produce the evils to which I have directed the attention of your Excellency, and if I have commented on them with frankness, I trust it will be conceded that this was my duty, and that in so doing I have best fulfilled the wishes of His Imperial Majesty, who, by experience, I know to be as condescending as he is powerful.

"I therefore call upon the unbounded justice of His Majesty's Government; I pray, in the name of suffering humanity, to that most exalted and mighty Monarch, whose noble heart is filled with love and deep affection towards his faithful subjects, to consider the case of my brethren, and show mercy to the many hundred thousands of them who daily send up to the Eternal Ruler of myriads of worlds their most devout and fervent prayers to prolong the glorious life of His Majesty, their Emperor and King. I feel myself in sacred duty bound to impress upon your Excellency's noble mind that the benign words I had the honour of hearing from your illustrious person, to promote the welfare of Israel, was one of the principal causes which emboldened me to lay the case of my brethren so close at your heart. I therefore entreat your Excellency's powerful influence with His Majesty's Government on behalf of those who look up for help with the greatest anxiety to their benevolent and magnanimous Sovereign.

"Everlasting blessings will be showered down from Him in whose hand the welfare of every creature lies upon the exalted throne of His Imperial Majesty. Generation to generation will proclaim his glory and righteousness; every mouth will sing praise to the Lord, and every heart will bear gratitude for being permitted to live under the benign rays of the merciful sceptre of Russia.—I have the honour to be, with the highest consideration and the most profound respect, your Excellency's most faithful servant,

(Signed) "Moses Montefiore."

[Pg 385]




The reports given in the foregoing chapters were forwarded to Lord Bloomfield, the British Ambassador at St Petersburg, who in letter dated January 3rd, 1847, informed Sir Moses that he had forwarded them to their respective addresses. Lord Bloomfield, having read the reports, adds: "I need scarcely assure you that I have perused them with great interest, and have gleaned much useful information from this result of your labours."

Count Kisseleff prefaces his reply to Sir Moses, dated November 5th, 1847, with the following words:—

"Monsieur,—J'ai en l'honneur de recevoir les deux memoires que vous avez bien voulu m'adresser en date du 10 Novembre dernier (1846) sur la situation des Israélites de l'Empire et du Royaume de Pologne. L'une et l'autre de ces pieces out été placées sous les yeux de l'Empereur, et Sa Majésté Impériale, appréciant les sentimens de philantropie qui les out dictées, a daigné a cette occasion exprimer une fois de plus tout l'intérêt qu' Elle porte à Ses sujets Israélites, dont le bien-être et l'avancement moral ne cesseront d'être l'objet de sa constante sollicitude.

"Vos deux mémoires seront portés, par ordre de l'Empereur, à la connaissance du Comité, et serviront à appeler son attention sur différens détails. Cette disposition vous prouvera, combien Sa Majésté Impériale s'est plue à rendre justice aux intentions qui ont dicté votre travail et à l'esprit dans lequel il est conçu.

"Agréez, Monsieur, l'assurance de ma considération distinguée,

"Le Cte. de Kisseleff."


"Sir,—I have had the honour to receive the two memorials which you addressed to me on the 10th of November last (1846) respecting the situation of the Israelites in the Empire and in the Kingdom of Poland.

"Both documents have been placed before the Emperor, and His Imperial Majesty, appreciating the feelings of humanity which have dictated them, has been pleased to express once more the interest which he takes in [Pg 386]his Israelite subjects, whose welfare and moral advancement will not cease to be the object of his constant solicitude.

"Your two memorials will be brought to the knowledge of the Committee, by order of the Emperor, and they will serve to direct its attention to various details. This proceeding will show you how much His Imperial Majesty has been pleased to do justice to the intentions which have dictated your labour, and to the spirit in which it has been conceived.—I have the honour to be, &c.,

"Count Kisseleff."

Count Ouvaroff, the Minister of Public Instruction, acknowledged the receipt of the report addressed to him as follows:—

"Monsieur,—J'ai reçu la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'adresser en date du 10 Novembre 1846. Vos observations, sur l'état, de nos écoles Israélites, m'ont vivement intéressé, et je vous sais gré de les juger favorablement car ce ne sont que les premiers commencements, d'une ère nouvelle dans l'éducation de vos corréligionaires en Russie. Il est cependant permis d'espérer que l'organisation des fonds, spécialement destinés à cet effet, nous applanira la voie des améliorations désirées.

"Quant à votre sollicitude sur l'éducation réligieuse des Israélites, vous connaissez, Monsieur, mes sentiments à cet égard et vous avez pu apprécier vous-même le soin, avec lequel on évite dans nos reglements scolaires tout ce qui pourvait choquer, leurs moeurs on exciter leur susceptibilité réligieuse.

"Agréez, Monsieur, l'assurance de ma considération distinguée.

"Le Cte. Ouvaroff."

"St Petersbourg,
"ce 26 Février
"10 Mars 1847."


"Sir,—I have received the letter which you did me the honour to address to me under date of November 10th, 1846.

"Your observations on the state of our Israelite schools have greatly interested me, and I thank you for expressing a favourable opinion of them, as they are only the first beginning of a new era in the education of your co-religionists in Russia. But we may be permitted to hope that the organisation of the funds specially intended for this purpose will smooth the way to the desired improvements.

"With regard to your solicitude about the religious education of the Israelites, you know my feeling with regard to this matter, and you were able to judge for yourself of the care we take to avoid in our school regulation all that could give offence to their observances or awaken their religious susceptibilities."

(Signed) "Count Ouvaroff."

Sir Moses, with a view of both conveying his gratitude to the Ministers for their very courteous communications and of making an additional effort to impress on their minds the object of his visit to Russia, addressed each of them again in a special letter. To Count Kisseleff he wrote (1848):—

"May it please your Excellency,—I have had the honour to receive, through the kindness of Baron Brunnow, your Excellency's esteemed favour[Pg 387] of the 5th November last, the contents of which were highly gratifying to me.

"I was delighted to learn that the reports (in which, by His Imperial Majesty's gracious permission, I was enabled to represent the condition of the Russian and Polish subjects of His Imperial Majesty professing the Jewish faith) had come under the personal notice of the Emperor, that on that occasion His Imperial Majesty was pleased to reiterate his anxious desire to promote the welfare of his Jewish subjects, and that by His Imperial Majesty's directions, these reports would be submitted to the consideration of the Committee specially appointed to investigate the state of the Jews in the vast Empire of His Imperial Majesty, so that the attention of the Committee might be called to the several details contained in such reports. These evidences of His Imperial Majesty's paternal solicitude have made a deep impression on my heart, and cannot fail to be gratefully appreciated by every friend of humanity.

"The sentiments which your Excellency has been pleased to express in the name of the Emperor, fully confirm the high opinion of His Majesty's exalted principles, entertained by myself in common with all who have had the good fortune to visit the numerous nations living under His Majesty's benignant sway.

"I notice with sincerest satisfaction that the honourable committee in question have at present under consideration a measure to facilitate the presence of my co-religionists, for commercial purposes, in the capitals of Russia, and also the allowance of the privilege to cultivate land in the vicinity of Christian settlements.

"These acts of His Majesty's high favour cannot fail to elevate the commercial standing of His Majesty's Jewish subjects, and by affording them still greater encouragement, to the maintenance of social intercourse with their fellow countrymen of other religious denominations, must necessarily lead to the improvement of all as citizens of one great Empire.

"I am confidently convinced that my brethren in Russia and Poland understand and appreciate the benevolent intentions of His Imperial Majesty; that they feel assured that the Emperor's sole object is to improve their condition, and that they are impressed with the conviction that their truest wisdom will be to acquiesce cheerfully in the measures designed for their welfare by their powerful and enlightened Sovereign, and to adopt with alacrity the course which, in his paternal care, His Majesty may direct.

"The gracious reception which His Imperial Majesty has already given to my reports, emboldens me to hope that the existing restrictions calculated to impede the well-being of my Russian brethren will be speedily removed. By this means I feel assured will not only their happiness and prosperity be promoted, but their character as good, useful, and most loyal subjects will be abundantly testified.

"I trust that the documents to which I have referred will satisfy the Committee that the Israelites of His Majesty's Empire are not of an idle disposition, but, on the contrary, most of them are anxious to cultivate land, and even pray for such occupation, and that under the fostering protection of His Imperial Majesty they will gladly apply themselves to industrial pursuits.

"On the whole, my heart is filled with hope that the honourable and distinguished Committee will take into consideration, the circumstances of extreme misery in which the great body of Israelites in His Majesty's Empire is placed, and that the Committee will kindly and speedily proceed to the arduous, but noble and sacred, task of carrying out the intentions of His Imperial Majesty to a most happy and glorious conclusion.

"In fine I beg to express to your Excellency my sincerest acknowledgments for the kind and condescending manner in which your Excellency was[Pg 388] pleased to convey to me your very gratifying communication; and with fervent prayers that your Excellency may soon find the happy opportunity of signifying to me some good tidings of the progress which may have been made in the further extension of His Imperial Majesty's favour to my brethren, I have the honour to remain, with the most profound respect, your Excellency's humble servant,

(Signed) "Moses Montefiore."

We now return to the diary of 1846, in the entries of which, from June 20th to the end of the year, we find a succession of pleasing evidences of the motives which prompted him and Lady Montefiore to undertake the journey to Russia.

In an interview which he had with Sir Robert Peel, the latter told him that he would be happy to do everything, either privately or publicly, to forward his benevolent objects; that he would write to Count Nesselrode to say that he had seen the favourable impression made on the public mind by Sir Moses' report of the promises made to him; and that, if His Excellency rightly valued its effect, those promises would in the result be confirmed by their strict fulfilment.

June 28th.—Sir Robert conveyed to Sir Moses, in a letter dated from Osborne, Isle of Wight, the gratifying news that Her Majesty had conferred on him the dignity of Baronet of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

"I have the satisfaction of acquainting you," he writes, "that the Queen has been graciously pleased to confer on you the dignity of a baronet. This mark of Royal favour is bestowed upon you in consideration of your high character and eminent position in the ranks of a loyal and estimable class of Her Majesty's subjects agreeing with you in religious profession, and in the hope that it may aid your truly benevolent efforts to improve the social condition of the Jews in other countries by temperate appeals to the justice and humanity of their rulers."

The honour thereby conferred on Sir Moses by Her Majesty was not only a cause of great happiness to himself, individually, but also a source of the highest gratification to all his brethren in the British Empire and on the continent, inasmuch as it undoubtedly manifested Her Majesty's solicitude for the welfare of all the Jews in other parts of the world.

A deputation from the elders of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews Synagogue, headed by their President, Mr Hananel de Castro, waited on Sir Moses to request, in the name of their[Pg 389] co-religionists, that he would sit for his portrait, to be placed in the Vestry-room, to which he consented.

Sir George Hamilton, whom he had requested, when at Berlin, to present a petition to the King of Prussia in favour of the Jews at Krakau, informs him (June 12th) that, when dining with his Majesty at Sans Souci, he had an opportunity of speaking to him on the subject which Sir Moses had entreated him to explain to His Majesty. "The King," he wrote, "was very gracious on the occasion;" and he sent to His Majesty the petition prepared by Sir Moses. The King regretted very much not to have seen him at Berlin, and wished Sir Moses could have remained there until his return.

The good offices rendered by Sir George in engaging His Majesty's favourable consideration on the subject became a cause of much happiness to Sir Moses.

July 11th.—He attended the Lord Mayor's grand entertainment given to His Highness Ibrahim Pasha. His Lordship introduced him to the latter before dinner, and proposed his health to the company, which was extremely well received.

Sir Moses concludes his diary for the year with expressions of deep gratitude to Heaven for all mercies bestowed on him and his affectionate consort.


Transcriber's Notes:

Some Hebrew text has been transliterated into Latin characters if one was not already provided. These passages are marked with [Hebrew] where they occur.

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