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 via 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 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 L400, 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 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 L50.
"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 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. Haham 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 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. Haham 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 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 Hafiz Mohhammad Rashid 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 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 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."
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 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."
MR AND MRS MONTEFIORE LEAVE ALEXANDRIA—A SEA VOYAGE SIXTY YEARS AGO.
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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."
ARRIVAL IN ENGLAND—ILLNESS OF MR MONTEFIORE-THE STRUGGLE FOR JEWISH EMANCIPATION.
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 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 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 L2600 consols from a certain person. The interest of that stock having been bequeathed to the said college by two 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 L500 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 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 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 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 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.
LADY HESTER STANHOPE—HER ECCENTRICITIES—PARLIAMENT AND THE JEWS.
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, 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 L1000, 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 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.
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.
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 entree, 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 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.
MR MONTEFIORE PRESENTED TO THE KING—SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE JEWS IN LONDON IN 1829.
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 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 fe," 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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, 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."
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.
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 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.
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 "Athenaeum."
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 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. 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.
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 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.