It may interest some of my readers to hear that the ancient custom of presenting each of the Sheriffs with three does by the Crown is still kept up. When Sir Moses was told that those intended for him were at Richmond, he sent a person (authorised by the Ecclesiastical Board) to kill the does in accordance with the Jewish custom, and then distribute them among his friends.
He attended the first dinner given by the new Lord Mayor at the Mansion House on the 16th. The next day he dined at the London Tavern with the City Committee for General Purposes, and in the evening was present at a ball for the benefit of the Watch and Clock Makers' Institution. On the 19th, Sir Moses, in his turn, gave a dinner to the Vice-Chancellor, and there were also present, Sir L. Shadwell and Lady Shadwell, the Common Sergeant and his wife, Sir John Conroy and his daughters, Mr J. A. Curtis and his daughters, the Baron and Baroness de Rothschild, Baron Nathaniel and Baroness Louisa de Rothschild, and many other guests of distinction.
The following extracts from the diaries show the nature of Sir Moses' multifarious duties at this time:—
"February 2nd.—Was sworn in as Commissioner of the London Lieutenancy, consisting mostly of the Court of Aldermen and their deputies, the Directors of the Bank of England and of the East India Company.
"February 5th.—Proceeded with my colleague, the City Remembrancer, and Alderman Venables to the House of Commons, to present two petitions; one respecting the night watch, and the other respecting a new street from Farringdon Street.
"February 6th.—Attended the meeting of the sub-committees of the several Synagogues at 7 P.M. It was within a few minutes of twelve when the meeting broke up.
"February 14th.—Attended the Queen's levee. Was presented to Her Majesty by Lord John Russell, and had the honour of kissing hands, after which I drove to my mother, that she might see the state carriage and liveries.
"February 16th.—Present at the Court of Common Council, where they voted the freedom of the City of London to Mr Stephenson, the American Minister, to be presented to him in a gold box of the value of 100 guineas. The following evening I went to Kensington Palace to a soiree given by the Duke of Sussex to the members of the Royal Society. The rooms were crowded. Spoke with a great many persons I knew, Mr Spring-Rice, the Dean of Chester, and others."
February 22nd.—On the occasion of the funeral of a friend which he attended, Sir Moses observes: "It was a funeral such as I much approve. I think no funeral should have more than eight mourning coaches, and the coachmen should wear neither cloaks nor bands; in fact, in my opinion, the less pomp on such an occasion the better." In the evening he dined at the London Orphan Society; "took my own cold beef," he says. The Duke of Cambridge presided. The collection amounted to L1960.
February 27th.—After having been occupied all day with the duties of his office, he went in the evening to a meeting of Conference of all the Synagogues, to consider the subject of the constitution of the new Board of Deputies. "There was a full meeting," he says, "and we remained in debate till after eleven o'clock. The conference was carried on in the most friendly manner; and, with some alterations, the resolutions of the Great Synagogue were agreed to."
I give these entries referring to the Board of Deputies in the interest of those of my readers of the Hebrew community in England who may wish to trace the development and progress of that institution.
The 13th of March is a day which will be remembered with much gratification by the promoters of civil and religious liberty. The occurrence noted in the diary will always remind them of the lesson, never to neglect an opportunity of serving a good cause when it presents itself.
When returning, in company with the Lord Mayor and Sir George Carrol, from the Court of Hustings to the place where the words "Jews' Walk" were written up, Sir Moses mentioned to the Lord Mayor that many persons had complained that, in these enlightened times, the walls of the Guildhall should be disgraced by such a mark of intolerance as the tablet bearing the above inscription. The Lord Mayor very kindly ordered it to be taken down immediately. The same tablet was subsequently given to Sir Moses by the Lord Mayor, and is now preserved in Lady Montefiore's Theological College in Ramsgate as a souvenir of bygone times.
March 16th records an instance of the danger to which, as Sheriff, he was sometimes exposed in the discharge of his official duties, as also his sympathy with others who equally endangered their lives in the service of the Livery. Sir Moses attended on that day a Committee of Criminal Justice, and accompanied them all over the gaol; later he and his colleague had to be present at the inquest on a prisoner who had died of fever. "I am sorry to say," he remarks, "that something like typhoid fever is prevailing in the prison; the matrons and turnkeys are greatly alarmed." On his return home he sent a dozen of port to the keeper of Newgate and a dozen to the matron.
Wishing for a day's repose, he and Lady Montefiore repaired to their favourite spot, Smithambottom. "The appearance of the Red Lion" (the inn in which they usually took up their abode), he says, "we found much altered for the worse. The house, its inmates, and furniture, all wear a decayed look; they have very little custom there. Caroline Paget, daughter of Pearce the landlord, having heard of our arrival, came immediately to see us. She is also much altered; time, poverty, and care have made sad havoc with her appearance. Fourteen years have passed since we were last in Pearce's house, and we viewed the place with mingled feelings of pleasure and pain. In spite of the gloom of the house, I dearly like the place, and shall be most grateful to Providence to be permitted the enjoyment of frequent walks over the Downs. But we must see what we can do for the Pearces."
He assisted both father and daughter by providing for their immediate wants, and, on his return to town, procured, not without great personal exertion, a presentation to the Blue Coat School for Caroline Paget's daughter.
As President of the Jews' Free School, Sir Moses took the chair at a dinner given at the London Tavern in aid of that Institution.
He was supported on his right and left by Sir George Carrol, Mr T. A. Curtis, the Governor of the Bank; Mr M. Attwood, M. P.; Mr David Salamons, Mr Jno. Alteston, Mr Edward Fletcher, Mr T. M. Pearce, Mr Aston Key, Mr Nugent Daniel, Mr F. H. Goldsmid, Mr B. Cohen, Mr Isaac Cohen, Mr Under-Sheriff Wire, and a large company of friends. Some excellent addresses were delivered by Sir Moses and others of the gentlemen present. In the entry he made of the proceedings, he observes, "I did my best, and had the pleasure to find the company was satisfied, for L841 was collected."
It was nearly twelve when he left the London Tavern in company with Sir George Carrol, and went to Hanover Square Rooms, where they met their ladies at the Polish ball.
On the 3rd of April he was summoned to the Guildhall to a Court of Lieutenancy to take the oath and subscribe to the Declaration; but he could not do so, and therefore did not attend.
In the evening he was present at the Conference of the Deputies from all the Synagogues, who, he says, would not agree to reconsider their former resolution.
On April 4th Lady Montefiore had a narrow escape from what might have proved a most serious accident. She had promised to dine with her sister, Mrs Hannah de Rothschild (Sir Moses, owing to his official duties, was unable to accompany her). While driving to Piccadilly the horses took fright, broke the pole and harness, and much injured the carriage. Fortunately no one was hurt.
The next day Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore attended the Queen's Drawing-Room, accompanied by Sir George and Lady Carrol, Mr and Mrs Maynard, and Mr and Mrs Wire, all in their state carriages. The ladies of the party were presented by the Marchioness of Lansdowne. The Queen and the Duchess of Kent were most gracious to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore.
On April 9th he writes: "I was at the Old Bailey at 8.30, and breakfasted at nine; attended the Common-Sergeant into the New Court; at ten I attended the Chief-Justice Tindall to the Old Court. The Common-Sergeant having left the New Court, I accompanied Baron Parke into it. Being the eve of Passover, I had to my regret to leave the Old Bailey at five o'clock. It caused great inconvenience, there being a judge in each Court, and most important trials being on, not likely to be finished before to-morrow evening."
It was the duty of the Sheriffs to attend on the following day, first at the Old Bailey, then on the Lord Mayor in state at the Court of Aldermen, to witness the swearing in of the new Alderman (Magnay), then to accompany him in state to the Mansion House to dine with his Lordship and a large party.
On the following Monday and Tuesday he had again to attend the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress in state to receive the Blue Coat boys at the Mansion House, then to be present at a sermon at the Hospital, and to return and dine with the Lord Mayor, the Aldermen, &c., it being Easter Monday, a public day. They were also expected on the following morning again to breakfast at the Mansion House. Sir Moses, however, observes, "My duty to God, and my respect for our holy religion, are above all other duties, and I must give up my official occupations for these days," a resolve which he acted upon.
After having attended the levee of the Queen, which was held on Wednesday, 2nd May, Sir Moses proceeded to the London Tavern to be present at the anniversary festival of the City of London School for the benefit of the children of the indigent, under the presidency of the Duke of Wellington. There was a very large and representative gathering, and the amount collected and handed to His Grace, including the steward's fines, was L1320.
Thursday, May 3rd.—Sir Moses attended a state dinner, which the Lord Mayor gave the judges, at the Mansion House.
The entries continue as follows:—
Monday, May 7th.—Presided at the dinner of the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew Schools; 120 persons were present, and Mr Samuel Gurney addressed the assembly before the children left.
May 9th.—Attended a meeting at the City of London Tavern for the abolition of slavery, and in the evening joined Sir George Carrol at a dinner of the City Dispensary, given at the same place. The same evening he also went to Lady Cottenham's party.
May 10th.—Dined with the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy. It was a very large assembly, and Sir Moses' donations amounted to L44. Mr Justice Parke introduced him to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who most politely invited him for Tuesday, the 22nd inst.
May 14th.—Gave a grand dinner at Park Lane to the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress, Sir George and Lady Carrol, and the Aldermen. Several friends and relatives were also present at this dinner.
May 15th.—Attended the Court of Hustings, and at Sir Moses' request the Lord Mayor consented to adjourn it over the 29th inst., to enable him to go to Ramsgate for the holy days. He went to the Old Bailey, and in the evening was present at the anniversary dinner in aid of the Magdalen Hospital, Mr Justice Parke being in the chair. He was informed that the Sheriffs had received the "entree" from the Duke of Argyll during their Shrievalty.
Thursday, May 17th.—Sir George and Lady Carrol came in their state carriage to Park Lane, in order to go with Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to the Queen's Drawing-Room. This being the Queen's birthday, the Drawing-Room was very crowded, and the ladies had some difficulty in reaching the palace. It was five o'clock when they returned to Park Lane. Sir Moses then called at Buckingham Palace, where he placed his and Lady Montefiore's name in the Duchess of Kent's visitors' book. In the evening he dined with Lord John Russell, and there met the Lord Chancellor, the Judges, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Morpeth, the City members, the Lord Mayor, and his colleague as Sheriff. Afterwards he attended, with Lady Montefiore, the Marchioness of Lansdowne's party. "Nothing," he observes, "could have been more splendid."
Friday, May 18th.—At five o'clock he went to a dinner at the Mansion House, given by the Lord Mayor to the Bishops. There were sixteen bishops present, besides several aldermen, the sheriffs, and about half-a-dozen ladies. The Bishop of Exeter asked for an introduction to Sir Moses, and was extremely civil to him. After six the company adjourned to the dining-room, but Sir Moses withdrew and returned to Park Lane, it being near the time for the commencement of Sabbath.
Monday, May 21st.—He went in full court dress, in his state carriage, with his servants in full state liveries, to dine at Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury. On his way he called for the Recorder, who went with him. "It is impossible," says Sir Moses, "to describe the magnificence and splendour of the palace, and equally so the great kindness and urbanity shown to me by the Primate. About forty sat down to table, including the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, several Bishops, the Lord Mayor, John Capel, Jno. Alteston, and many Aldermen. The Duke of Sussex told me he would send me an invitation for the 30th inst. After dinner I requested of his Royal Highness a card for my dear wife and Lady Carrol, which he kindly promised me. The Recorder returned home with me, appearing much pleased at the reception he had met with."
ANOTHER PETITION TO PARLIAMENT—SIR MOSES INTERCEDES SUCCESSFULLY FOR THE LIFE OF A CONVICT—DEATH OF LADY MONTEFIORE'S BROTHER.
Wednesday, May 23rd.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore drove to Kensington Palace, and put their names in the visitors' book of the Duke of Sussex; they then called on the Archbishop of Canterbury and left cards there. In the evening Sir Moses attended the anniversary dinner of the North London University Hospital, Lord Brougham in the chair. "I sat next to him on his right," he writes. "There was a large collection, Mr I. L. Goldsmid alone bringing L200."
Thursday, May 24th.—The two Sheriffs proceeded in their state carriages to the Guildhall to attend a meeting of the Common Council. In the afternoon they drove to the House of Commons, and presented two petitions respecting the rebuilding of the Royal Exchange and the registering of voters. At five they sat down to a dinner at Bellamy's, having invited several members, Sir Matthew Wood being in the chair. Sir Moses returned to Park Lane at seven o'clock, and then accompanied Lady Montefiore to an entertainment given by one of their relatives.
Friday, May 25th.—He again went to the House of Commons with his colleague, and presented a petition from the city, returning to Park Lane before the commencement of Sabbath.
May 26th.—In the morning Sir Moses walked to the St Alban's Synagogue, and on his way back called on Mr N. M. de Rothschild. On the evening of the same day he attended the anniversary meeting of the Society for the management and distribution of the Literary Fund, the Marquis of Lansdowne in the chair, supported by the Marquis of Northampton, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and many literary celebrities, including Thomas Moore, Bulwer, and Dickens. The President paid the Sheriffs a handsome compliment in proposing their healths. Messrs Rothschild had requested Sir Moses to give L20 in their names, which, he remarked, was extremely well received.
May 27th.—He went in the forenoon to the Vestry of the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew Community, it being the day appointed for the election of their Deputies. The ballot was to close at three o'clock, and he was subsequently told that he had been elected.
May 28th.—On his way to the city Sir Moses called on his colleague, and gave him an invitation he had received from the Duke of Sussex for himself and Lady Carrol. They then went to the Lord Mayor and invited him to take the chair at their dinner on the 13th June, at the Merchant Taylors' Hall, which he agreed to do. Sir Moses writes: "He had not yet received his invitation from the Duke of Sussex, and seemed rather uneasy about it."
May 30th.—As this was the first day of the Pentecost Festival, Sir Moses walked to the city, and attended service in the Synagogue there. On his return to Park Lane he walked with Lady Montefiore to the King's Arms, Kensington, where they had taken rooms the day before, and where they found a cold collation spread for them. This last, as well as both their court dresses, had been conveyed there from Park Lane on the preceding day.
"From our sitting-room," Sir Moses writes, "we had an excellent view of the company going to the palace, as well as of the Queen and her attendants in three royal carriages, escorted by a troop of Horse Guards. After ten o'clock dear Judith went to the palace in a sedan chair, and I walked there. There were many hundred carriages, and thousands of persons. The appearance of the rooms, galleries, and company was magnificent beyond description. The Duke of Sussex received the company, and spoke very kindly to Judith and myself. In the second chamber Lady Cecilia Underwood was at the door, and greeted us most kindly. The Queen was also in this room, and near to her the Duchess of Kent and the other members of the Royal Family. On our making our bow to the Queen, she smiled most graciously, and the Duchess left her side, came out of the circle, and spoke to us. She said she was pleased to see us, and enquired whether we had lately been to Ramsgate. This was a most distinguished honour, and we were highly gratified with the same. We remained at the palace till one o'clock, then returned in same way as we came to the hotel. We changed our dresses and walked home, where we arrived dreadfully fatigued, but highly delighted with our reception."
Wednesday, June 6th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to Richmond, where they met the Duke of Cambridge whilst walking in the gardens. He came up and spoke to them, and was extremely polite. The Duke was walking with the Bishop of Winchester, who had come to Richmond to preside at some charitable meeting. Sir Moses only learned after he and Lady Montefiore had left the gardens the purpose for which the Bishop was there, so he returned and begged to be allowed to contribute his mite, giving at the same time L10, with which they seemed greatly pleased.
On Thursday, June 7th, he had to be present in his official robes at St Paul's Cathedral; Lady Montefiore was with him. "We witnessed," he says, "the most splendid of sights: nearly six thousand charity children, and double that number of poor men and women. The Duke of Cambridge, Lord Eldon, the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, and many others were present. Later in the day Sir George Carrol and I attended the anniversary dinner of the Society of Patrons of Charity Schools. The Lord Mayor was in the chair, and the Bishop of Rochester on his right, the latter being extremely civil to me and speaking in the most friendly manner. Sir Frederick Pollock, who was on my left, made a beautiful speech: he said he had been educated at St Paul's School and sent thence to college, after leaving which he had been obliged to work hard, his talents being the only patrimony he possessed."
Friday, June 8th.—Sir Moses attended the Queen's levee. "Her Majesty," he writes, "appeared in very good spirits; nearly all the company wore stars, orders, or ribbons."
June 11th.—He dined at the Merchant Taylors' Hall. There were present the Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Bishop of Exeter, Lord Londonderry, and many other noblemen—in all, about two hundred. Several ladies were in the gallery, Lady Montefiore among the number.
June 13th.—Sir Moses attended a meeting at the City of London Tavern, for the benefit of the London Fever Hospital; Lord Devon in the chair. It was not well attended, but the collection was good. He was afterwards present at a dinner given by the Sheriffs to the Judges. Justice Allan Parke sat next to him, and the Vice-Chancellor next to Sir George Carrol, who was in the chair.
Friday, June 15th.—Sir Moses left home at twelve o'clock in his state carriage, the servants in full livery, and himself in black court dress, sword and chain. He called on the Recorder, who accompanied him to the Mansion House, where a luncheon was prepared. At one o'clock the Lord Mayor in his half-state carriage with four horses and outriders, the Sheriffs in their state carriages, and some of the Aldermen in theirs, set out in procession for the Swan Tavern, Stratford. They held there a Court of Conservancy for the county of Essex, after which they proceeded to Blackwall, and crossed the water in the city state barge, which was decorated in grand style with banners and flags. At four they held a Court for the county of Kent, at the Crown and Sceptre, and dined there.
June 19th.—Sir Moses accompanied the Common Sergeant to the Court at the Old Bailey, after which he attended the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House, and proceeded in state to the Borough Town Hall, where a Court of Conservancy was held for the county of Surrey. Thence the procession moved on towards the Swan Hotel, near Westminster Bridge, where a Court was held for the county of Middlesex. "Afterwards," says Sir Moses, "we drove to the city, and I left the Recorder at the Old Bailey. Then I joined the Lord Mayor and Sir George Carrol, and held a Court of Hustings."
Thursday, June 21st.—After spending the morning at the Old Bailey, he went with Lady Montefiore to the Queen's Drawing-Room, Sir George and Lady Carrol accompanying them in their state carriage.
On June 22nd Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to Ramsgate for a few days, where they celebrated the anniversary of the dedication of their Synagogue, and that of their wedding day, returning three days later to London. The time having arrived for the election of Sheriffs for the ensuing year, Sir Moses went in his state carriage to the Mansion House, thence in procession with the Lord Mayor in his state carriage (drawn by six horses with six footmen walking before him) and Sir George Carrol in his state equipage, to the Guildhall. "About six hundred of the Livery were present," he says, "and the show of hands was in favour of Josiah Wilson and A. Moore, but a poll was demanded for Alderman Johnson and Thomas Ward."
Tuesday, June 26th.—The Recorder passed the sentences at the Old Bailey, and "Thanks to heaven!" Sir Moses exclaims, "the Sessions ended at one o'clock." The numbers at the close of the poll for sheriffs that day were: Ward, 450; Wilson, 479; Johnson, 479; and Moore, 429. In the evening Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore dined with the Vice-Chancellor and Lady Shadwell, where they met Lady and Miss Denman, Baron and Baroness Bolland, and Justice Coleridge.
June 27th.—Sir Moses attended a meeting of the Common Council, where it was resolved to invite the foreign Ministers to a dinner at the Guildhall. On returning home in the evening he found the park sparkling with lamps from booths and tents, erected in preparation for the coronation festival. He at once gave orders to have the balcony of his house propped and got ready for the illumination. "The park," he writes, "was all life and bustle, brilliantly illuminated, and the booths thronged with people. I understand that dancing was carried on in most of the booths, and that refreshments of all kinds and qualities were to be had."
June 30th.—Lord John Russell gave a grand dinner on this day to the Lord Chancellor, the judges, the members for the city of London, and the Sheriffs. Being Sabbath, Sir Moses did not accept the invitation, but called there and left his card. During the day, he and Lady Montefiore walked in the park, and were much amused by the fair. Afterwards they watched the scene from their drawing-room window. Thousands of people took part in the amusements, and as soon as it was dark, the whole park was again brilliantly illuminated.
On the 13th Sir Moses had to attend an entertainment at the Guildhall, given by the Corporation to distinguished foreigners, and representatives of sovereigns at the coronation. The Duke of Sussex and many others of the highest nobility were present, but Sir Moses only remained there until they were seated at dinner, and then left in his state carriage.
July 17th.—Accompanied by his Under-Sheriff, Mr Wire, and Mr Maynard, he went to the Home Office to intercede on behalf of a prisoner named Rickie. The man was a soldier, who had always borne an excellent character, but, in a state of drunkenness, had fired at an officer and killed him. Rickie had been condemned and sentenced to death. Sir Moses and his friends were soon admitted to an audience with Lord John Russell, to whom they fully explained the subject. His Lordship said he would like to see them again.
Wednesday, July 18th.—Sir Moses went in full state to the Queen's levee, calling on his way at Cavendish Square for Sir George Carrol. "It was very splendid," he writes. "The Queen looked very happy and beautiful; she was most gracious, as was also the Duke of Sussex." On his return home he went with Lady Montefiore to a splendid fete at Gunnersbury Park, the seat of the Baroness Rothschild. About five hundred persons were present, including foreign Princes of distinction, the Ambassadors, the Duke of Sussex, Prince George of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Dukes of Wellington and Somerset, and most of the highest nobility of the land. The proceedings commenced with a concert, at which several great artistes, including Grisi, Lablache, Tamburini, and Rubini performed. This was succeeded by a dejeuner, and in the evening a grand ball was given in a magnificent tent erected for the purpose. The gardens were illuminated with six thousand variegated lamps. The company remained until near midnight, all the guests complimenting the Rothschild family most highly on their taste and hospitality.
Saturday, July 21st.—Sir Moses went by appointment to the Home Office, and had an interview with Lord John Russell and Mr Phillips, Sir George Carrol, Mr Maynard, and Mr Clark being also present. His Lordship informed them that he had "consulted the legal advisers of the Crown, and they had decided that Rickie's sentence could not be commuted. The Sheriffs must therefore fix the day for his execution."
Monday, July 23d.—The Prince and Princess of Schwarzenberg invited Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to a breakfast at Richmond, which Sir Moses describes as a magnificent fete. "On our arrival at the Castle," he says, "Prince Esterhazy, at Lady Montefiore's request, very kindly introduced us to the Princess of Schwarzenberg, our beautiful hostess. I never witnessed a more splendid party. In the evening seven hundred sat down to dinner, and there was every luxury that could be imagined. The Princess walked round the rooms to see that all her guests were seated comfortably before she would take her own seat. The Duke of Sussex, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Mary of Cambridge, all the foreign Princes in London, and great part of the English nobility were present. The gardens were beautifully illuminated, and a grand display of fireworks concluded the entertainment. It was near midnight when we left, but the place was so crowded that we had great difficulty in reaching the hotel where we had taken rooms."
Tuesday, July 24th.—After the enjoyment of the previous day's fete came a day of great sorrow for them, Lady Montefiore sustaining a severe loss in the death of her brother, Mr Joseph Cohen. This occurrence caused the deepest grief to herself and every member of the family. On the same day Sir Moses was obliged to attend at Newgate to speak with Rickie, a reprieve having, after all, been sent to him by Lord John Russell.
Thursday, July 26th.—Sir Moses went to the funeral of his brother-in-law, while Lady Montefiore remained with the ladies of the family. The funeral was largely attended by friends and relatives, Mr Cohen having been highly esteemed by all who knew him. Sir Moses had then to interview 142 prisoners at Newgate, which occupied him three hours. Having fulfilled this duty, he returned to the house of the mourners, where he was present at evening prayers. He remained there with Lady Montefiore till ten o'clock.
Monday, July 30th.—Sir Moses accompanied Mr Pearce to the House of Lords, and was present at the Committee on the Royal Exchange Bill; the clause affecting the Alliance was not inserted in the Bill.
Tuesday, July 31st.—This being a fast-day, in memory of the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem, he attended the service held in Prescot Street at the residence of the late Mr Cohen. He remained there till twelve o'clock, when prayers were concluded. He then walked to the Guildhall, and attended the Court of Hustings with the Lord Mayor and Sir George Carrol, this being the last that these two Sheriffs would hold. Subsequently he attended the Court of Aldermen, the Irish Bank, and the Alliance Marine Office. At seven o'clock he again repaired to Prescot Street, where he joined the mourners and a large congregation in the recital of evening prayers, after which they all broke the fast, and enjoyed a good breakfast. The reader will no doubt feel surprised at the amount of work Sir Moses was able to accomplish on a fast-day, when for twenty-four hours neither a crumb of bread nor a drop of water passed his lips; but we shall yet have many other instances of his extraordinary powers of endurance.
The next day, August 1st, we find him at a public gathering which took place at the London Tavern. The meeting was called to consider the erection of a public monument as a memorial of the achievements of Lord Nelson. The Duke of Wellington was in the chair, and the great room was crowded to overflowing. The amount collected was about L300, of which Sir Moses gave L15, 15s., in addition to L5 which he had given previously.
Friday, August 3rd.—He visited Whitecross Street Prison and Newgate. He there met Lady Harriet de Blanquiere of Hampton Court Palace. She had seen Rickie, and expressed a hope that his sentence might be commuted to transportation.
The 4th of August of this year was an important day for Sir Moses, as the prospect of a speedy release from his official duties as Sheriff enabled him to make the following entry in his diary. "Now," he writes, "with the blessing of the Almighty we will commence preparations for revisiting the Holy Land."
Sunday, August 12th.—The first meeting of the new Board of Deputies of British Jews taking place on this day, Sir Moses attended as President. He appears to have apprehended some difficulty in managing the new Board.
Wednesday, August 29th.—At eight o'clock in the morning he left home for the Old Bailey. He and his colleague accompanied the Recorder and Alderman Sir C. Marshall into Court at nine, when sentence was pronounced on several prisoners. "A most solemn and affecting scene," Sir Moses remarks. "Sir J. Carrol and I went into the prison, and spoke with most of them afterwards. We then went to the Alliance, and from there to 4 Canonbury Place, to intercede with two ladies who had prosecuted their servant for robbery, but they gave her such a bad character that we could not further interfere."
BARTHOLOMEW FAIR—SIR MOSES EARNS THE THANKS OF THE CITY—PREPARATIONS FOR A SECOND JOURNEY TO THE HOLY LAND—THE JOURNEY—ADVENTURES ON ROAD AND RIVER IN FRANCE.
On Monday, September 3rd, Sir Moses went in full state to join his colleague, and proceeded with him to the Mansion House. The Lord Mayor, in his state coach, drawn by six horses, and preceded by a body of police, went with the Sheriffs, and the City Marshal on horseback, to Smithfield, and proclaimed "Bartholomew Fair." Sir Moses observes, "There were not so many booths and shows as in former years, but all were crowded to excess."
Thursday, September 13th.—He attended the dedication of the new Synagogue at Great St Helens. "It is," he says, "a most splendid edifice, and does the greatest credit to all concerned in the building. The music and psalms on the occasion were very similar to those used at the dedication of my own Synagogue at Ramsgate."
The following day he and Lady Montefiore went to spend a couple of days at Gunnersbury with their sister, Mrs N. M. de Rothschild. In the entry he makes of the Sabbath, Sir Moses writes: "We all assembled in the library, where Louise Rothschild read the Sabbath morning service aloud exceedingly well. At three o'clock we lunched, and then walked in the garden, after which we re-entered the house and recited the afternoon prayers. About eight we were seated at dinner. There were twenty-four at table, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and the Princess Mary, two foreign princes with a lady, and Col. Jones, who accompanied them. There were also present Sir C. Bagot, Lord and Lady Cawdor, and Miss Wellesley, Baron Bulow, Monsieur Didel, and Lady Maryborough. The entertainment, or rather the Banquet, was magnificent, and the guests did not leave till after eleven. Wester on the guitar, and Benedict on the piano, amused the company at the conclusion of the dinner, and Louise sang one song beautifully. We left about twelve and returned home."
Tuesday, September 18th.—"My dear Judith," he writes, "with the Baronesses Charlotte, Anselm, and Lionel de Rothschild, came to the Session House at three o'clock, and sat on the bench till near five, but no trial of interest took place. A few minutes later I joined the dinner in the hall, as it was the last time I should have to visit the Old Bailey in my capacity as Sheriff of London and Middlesex. There were present: Alderman Lawson, in the chair; Common-Sergeant S. Arabin, Ed. Blount, John Masterman, Henry Alexander, Matthias Attwood, H. de Castro, G. H. Mine, Mr Maynard, Mr Wire, Sir George Carrol, and two or three others. It was a most pleasant party; a kind of leave-taking dinner, and the Sheriffs had the gratification of hearing that their conduct during their year of office had given general satisfaction. It was impossible to leave the room without a feeling of regret at parting from very pleasant acquaintances whom we were so little likely to see again. Very quickly has the year flown away, with its pleasures and fatigues, leaving only the satisfaction of having accomplished our arduous duties to the best of our abilities."
Wednesday, September 19th.—He went early to the Old Bailey, and breakfasted there, as he had generally done during the year when his attendance was required. "These early repasts," he observes, "have been, without exception, most comfortable; although they preceded long days of confinement in a hot and close court, they have left pleasing remembrances of the many marks of attention and kindness shown to me by the city Judges who used to join these early meals." After this, his last breakfast there, he accompanied Lady Carrol, her daughters, and some other visitors round the prison and cells. He then left some money for the prisoners, and conducted the Judges and a large party into the dining-room, after which he bade adieu to the Old Bailey, "I expect," he says, "for ever." He then returned home and prepared for the Holy days which were to commence the same evening.
On Monday, October 1st, the following official notice appeared:—
"Cowen, Mayor.—In a meeting or assembly of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Liverymen of the several Companies of the city of London, in Common Council assembled, at the Guildhall of the said city, on Saturday, the 29th day of September 1838. Resolved unanimously, that the thanks of this Common Hall are eminently due, and are hereby given, to Sir George Carrol and Sir Moses Montefiore, Knights, Sheriffs of this City, and Sheriffs of the County of Middlesex, for the past year, for the splendour with which they have maintained the dignity of that high office; for their hospitality; for the punctuality, zeal, and judgment with which they have executed their various official duties; for their munificent and constant support of the charities which adorn the metropolis; for their humanity to the prisoners entrusted to their care; for their various efforts to preserve, unimpaired, the privileges of this city; and for their universal courtesy to all their fellow-citizens.
The particulars of that meeting are thus given:—"Mr Timothy Curtis, the Governor of the Bank of England, came forward to move a vote of thanks to the late Sheriffs, Sir George Carrol and Sir Moses Montefiore, for the dignity, splendour, humanity, and hospitality with which they had distinguished themselves in the high situation to which they had been chosen by the unanimous voice of their fellow-citizens. Mr Gurney, in seconding the motion of thanks, said he rejoiced that the day had arrived when the citizens could be served by any one, whatever his religious opinions might be."
Mr T. Curtis then read the following letter—a letter of thanks to the Livery—from Sir Moses Montefiore, in the course of which he said:—
"I need not tell you that many of the duties of office myself and colleague have just passed through are of a painful nature. We have often been called upon to witness scenes of agony occasioned by want and crime. Some of this distress, however painful, we could not alleviate; but we have endeavoured to mitigate the sufferings of the prisoners, and to open to them better and happier courses of life, as far as public justice and the necessarily strict rules of a prison would permit.
"If, on the one hand, there have been scenes of distress to witness, on the other I have found many sources of unmingled gratification. I have had opportunities of forming friendships with the members of the Corporation, and of cementing a friendship of long standing with my excellent colleague—friendships which I am sure, as regards my own wishes, will still remain, and cause me to look back on the past year as one of the happiest of my life."
Whilst these proceedings took place at the Guildhall, Sir Moses was fasting and reciting prayers with his community in the ancient and venerable Synagogue called "The Gate of Heaven," as the day on which the meeting took place happened to be the Day of Atonement, appointed in the Bible as a day of repentance and prayer for the forgiveness of sins. The fast does not seem to have affected Sir Moses' health or spirits in the least, as we find him attending service again in the House of Prayer at twenty minutes before seven the next morning. His devotions concluded, he takes an early opportunity of visiting his friends and enquiring how they have passed the previous day. The same evening he dined with his mother, who, he writes, "was, thanks to Heaven, pretty well after her fast."
Monday, October 1st.—He called on Mr Curtis, the Governor of the Bank of England, to thank him for proposing the vote of thanks to the Sheriffs; also on Mr Gurney, who seconded the vote. Later in the day he accompanied Sir George Carrol to Westminster, and at three o'clock the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, the Recorder, and Sheriffs elect came there to receive Her Majesty's approval of the newly elected Sheriffs. The Recorder in his address to the Bench again highly complimented Sir George and Sir Moses on the efficient manner in which they discharged their duties. Sir Moses then returned in great haste to the city, having summoned a meeting at the Alliance Office at four, for the election of a solicitor to the Board of Deputies. At five o'clock he had to attend the new Sheriffs' inauguration dinner at the London Tavern. "There were 150 persons present," he says, "the Lord Mayor in the chair. We had the foremost places, next to the new Sheriffs, and our health was drunk in a most complimentary manner."
Wednesday, October 3rd.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to Ramsgate, where they spent the Tabernacle holidays very happily, surrounded by relatives and friends whom they had invited for the occasion.
On the 19th they returned again to London. Here they had the satisfaction of finding letters of introduction from Lord Palmerston to Her Majesty's Ambassadors and Consuls in Paris, Florence, Rome, Naples, Malta, Alexandria, and Constantinople, as also to the Admiral on the Mediterranean Station, which Sir Moses had asked for through Mr Spring-Rice.
Monday, October 22nd.—At a meeting of the Deputies of the British Jews, Sir Moses resigned the Presidency on account of his going abroad. The next day he called at the Foreign Office to thank Lord Palmerston for the letters of introduction he had so kindly sent; he also called on Mr Spring-Rice, who was very friendly, and promised him a letter to the Governor of Malta, at the same time requesting Sir Moses to write to him from the East. A few days later he received several letters from Baron Lionel de Rothschild, which Baron Anthony, at the request of Baron Anselm de Rothschild, had procured for him from the French Ministry, to the French Admiral on the Mediterranean Station, and to their Ministers and Consuls.
Before leaving England Sir Moses sent for his solicitor to read over the will he had prepared, and which he signed in his presence, and in the presence of another gentleman whom he had brought as witness.
I notice this item in the entries of his diary to show the completeness of all his arrangements.
There is a book entitled "Notes from a Private Journal of a Visit to Egypt and Palestine by way of Italy and the Mediterranean," written by Lady Montefiore, and printed in the year 1844: a second edition was printed shortly before the death of Sir Moses. Both, having only been intended for private circulation among friends, are unpublished. The account of the journey which I give here is taken partly from Sir Moses' and Lady Montefiore's diaries, and partly from my own, which I kept when travelling with them, with a view of supplying the reader with information on subjects which they have omitted to write down.
Thursday, November 1st.—"We have finished," Sir Moses writes, "all the preparations for our journey, and have taken leave of all our dear relatives. I have left to Benjamin Cohen the key of a box in which there are 1300 Portuguese Bonds which I have destined for the poor of the Holy Land; if necessary he is to sell them for me. After that we set out from Park Lane in our travelling carriage with four post horses, attended by our servants. May the blessing of the Almighty accompany us. We stopped a short time at Kennington for the blessing of our dear mother, whom I pray God to protect, that we may have the happiness to find her in health on our return, and then proceeded as far as Sittingbourne, where we remained overnight."
Travelling via Strasburg and Avignon they reached Lyons, where they rested for Sabbath. Thus far their way had been through the most lovely scenery, but their enjoyment was marred by the inclemency of the weather, and the difficulty of the roads, which lay for the most part at the sides or on the top of high steep mountains, close to immense precipices or rushing rivers, which were swollen by the torrents of water streaming down the sides of the mountains from the melting snow. "My dear Judith," says Sir Moses, "was often so frightened that she persisted in getting out of the carriage, although the snow was deep on the ground. Our courier and the postillions had to walk a great part of the way, and to lead the horses, as the ice had made the roads so slippery. I certainly would not recommend this season for travelling."
From Lyons they took the steamboat to Avignon, thinking this mode of travelling would be an improvement on the roads, but they were mistaken. The boat was to start at six o'clock in the morning. The moon still shone brightly, but the gale was so strong that for some time the captain was doubtful whether he should start. After much consideration he decided to venture. The boat went at a good speed until they came to the first bridge, where it was found that the river was so swollen that it did not seem possible to pass under. The vessel was moored to the bank by the side of the bridge, and the captain proceeded in a small boat to measure the height of the arch. It was pronounced to be just sufficient; the funnel was lowered nearly flat. Sir Moses says he was certain there was not six inches between the top of the funnel and the bridge; the smallest wave might have dashed their boat against it, and they might have been drowned. Twice more they had to undergo this anxiety; all the passengers were panic stricken. "I must confess," says Sir Moses, "I would rather be in the open sea in a hurricane." The second day's journey was not so bad, as during the night the river had fallen a foot, and they reached Avignon in safety. "But I am mortified," he writes, "to find that, though there are many Jews in this place, there is no Synagogue. No meat, prepared according to Jewish law, can be procured. We could manage with fish and vegetables, but I exceedingly regret not being able to join public worship on Sabbath. Tomorrow will be the first time we have omitted so doing since we left London, and shall be happy if it is the last."
Leaving Avignon, they proceeded, via Marseilles, Toulon, and Cannes, to Nice. Writing from here, Sir Moses says: "We find the climate here very different to that of England, the sun even now, at the end of December, being almost too powerful to be pleasant. Notwithstanding all the advantages Nice may afford, nothing would induce me to live here. I was shocked and grieved to hear that our brethren are treated in the most intolerant manner, not being allowed even to educate their children for any profession. I was told that when the King and Queen of Sardinia visited Nice in 1826, all classes of the inhabitants, Jews among the number, tried to show their loyalty, by sending deputations to present addresses, but the King refused to receive the deputation from the Jews. They then addressed him through the Minister of State, and solicited permission to erect an obelisk in commemoration of the Royal visit, and the joy they felt, in common with their fellow-subjects, at seeing their King and Queen. After some time this humble petition was granted, and the column stands now in the city, bearing a Hebrew and Italian inscription."
Amongst the many friends and acquaintances they had met at this place, there was one of some historical importance, Isaak Samuel Avigdor, who, on account of his knowledge of the French and Italian languages, acted as one of the secretaries to the French Synhedrion under Napoleon I., in the year 1806. At the last session of that assembly he had moved a resolution to the effect that "the Jews in France, Germany, and Italy do now forget all the misfortunes (i.e., persecution) which befell them, and only engrave in their hearts the kind acts which have been done towards them, and that they acknowledge with deep gratitude the kind reception which the Popes and other representatives of the Catholic Church had given them at a time when barbarity, prejudice, and ignorance had persecuted and expelled them from society." The resolution was unanimously adopted, and entered in the minutes of the proceedings.
Unfortunately, Pius VII., the Pope who declared that he represented Aaron, the Prophet of God, cannot be numbered among those who protected the Jews. Immediately after the restoration of the Bourbons, in the year 1814, as soon as he was able to resume the government of the Papal States, he re-established the Inquisition.
Monsieur Avigdor had the mortification of witnessing the distressing consequences of the Pope's new edicts. The Jews in Rome were obliged to quit the houses which, under the French Government, they had been permitted to own in all parts of the city, and return to the Ghetto. They had to give up counting-houses and other places of business which they had in the Corso. In vain did they offer large sums of money to induce the Minister of State to withdraw his order. The applications made by numerous deputations from Jewish communitiesin various towns likewise proved fruitless. They were even forced to attend sermons preached in the churches for the purpose of their conversion, heavy fines being imposed upon all those who absented themselves; and those who were detected either asleep, or not paying sufficient attention to the sermon, were unceremoniously aroused by one of the priests.
I noticed during my stay in Rome a Hebrew inscription over the entrance of one of these churches (Chiesa della divina pieta), which runs as follows: "I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts, a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face." (Isaiah lxv., 3 and 4)
Mr Avigdor often spoke on the above subject to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. He related some interesting incidents in connection with the Synhedrion, how the members were put to much inconvenience on the first day of the opening of their Sessions, the day fixed by the Emperor being their Sabbath.
Mr Avigdor pressed Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to prolong their stay in Nice, but they were anxious to proceed, without unnecessary delay, on their projected pilgrimage, and they left on the 31st of December.
GENOA, CARRARA, LEGHORN, AND ROME—DISQUIETING RUMOURS—QUARANTINE PRECAUTIONS—ARRIVAL AT ALEXANDRIA—TRAVEL IN THE HOLY LAND.
They reached Genoa on January 2nd, 1839, and after a few days' rest, continued their journey to Carrara.
On the following day, the Dottore A. Passani, an advocate of Carrara, called, and brought Sir Moses several of his father's letters, some dated as far back as 1790; they were all in Italian, and beautifully written. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were much pleased at the sight of the handwriting of their father, and would have been glad if the gentleman had been willing to part with them, but it appears he desired to preserve them himself as souvenirs of the late Mr Montefiore.
On their way to Rome they visited Leghorn, a period of eleven years having elapsed since their last sojourn in that place, and made special arrangements there for having the graves of their kind god-parents, Moses and Esther Racah, kept in proper order.
"I was desirous," writes Sir Moses, "once more to offer up prayers in the Synagogue so near to the house in which I was born; we therefore drove to Synagogue, where my dear Judith and I humbly thanked the Almighty for all His great goodness to us. We left Leghorn on the 16th January; it was a beautiful day, the sun smiling on us, and returned to Carrara, where we wished to purchase some more souvenirs of Italy, and also gave orders to Vincenzo Bonami for our coat-of-arms to be executed in marble for East Cliff Lodge."
On the 18th January we find them at Florence, where they remained until the 2nd February. It appears that the climate there did not agree with either Lady Montefiore or Sir Moses. They had to take medical advice, and Dr Usiglio strongly dissuaded them from going to Jerusalem, advising them on the contrary to return to England before the hot season. But they were reluctant to give up their cherished object, and, trusting in God, who had always protected them, they started for Rome, where they arrived on the 6th February.
"I am informed," observes Sir Moses, "that there are 3500 Jews here, two-thirds poor. Four times a year, 200 are obliged to attend a sermon preached in church for their conversion. Leo XII. had deprived them of their privilege of keeping shops and warehouses out of the Ghetto. But the present most excellent Pontiff, Gregory XVI., has permitted them to have warehouses in the city. He frequently sends them money from his own purse, and is always willing to give an audience to their deputies and to attend to their requests.
"Yesterday we were shown some very rich and splendid silk Damask, embroidered in silver and gold, for hangings for the Synagogue, Holy Ark, and pulpit. There are many silver bells, crowns, and chains, enriched with precious stones, for the scrolls of the Holy Law, and in the Synagogue there are beautiful marbles, mosaics, and columns."
Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore did not prolong their stay in Rome. On the 13th February they quitted the city for Naples, remaining there till March 22nd, when they again returned to Rome, apartments having been previously taken for them at 54 Via della Fontanella di Borghese.
It was now nearly four years since I had first the pleasure of meeting Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore in London. I had since that time been travelling in Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, Syria, and the Holy Land, and had during these travels the gratification to receive some letters from Sir Moses. It was therefore a very pleasant surprise for me to meet them in Rome and to visit with them the museums, picture galleries, and most places of importance. They spoke to me of their intended pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and invited me to accompany them. Having had many opportunities when in Eyn Zetoon, Upper Galilee, during the revolt of the Druses, to become fully acquainted with the character and peculiarities of the various classes of inhabitants of the land, I felt a great interest in all measures that could be devised for the improvement of their condition; and, anticipating good results from Sir Moses' visit to the Holy Land, I gladly accepted the invitation.
On the 28th March they received a letter from the Baroness James de Rothschild, in which she informed them that intelligence had been received from the Austrian Consul of great military preparations being made in Alexandria, and that war would not long be delayed between the Pasha of Egypt and the Sultan. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, nothing daunted by the news, determined not to relinquish their plans.
They were frequently visited by the Abbate Farrari and Monsignor Bruti, two ecclesiastics of liberal ideas and agreeable manners, who kept them au fait of all interesting ceremonies and festivals in the church, presenting them with tickets for the best places on all important occasions.
Signor Pietro Rittig, of Coblenz, having called their attention to one of his pictures in the museum of modern painters, entitled "Students in the Academy of Painting," they bought it, together with several others, namely, "A Greek Girl," by Isidore; "A Buffalo," by Linden; "A Mandolino," by Cavalleri; "Two Peasants," by Pelletti, and others.
Signor Salvadore Taglicozzo recommended an eminent scribe, to whom Sir Moses gave the order to write a Pentateuch scroll for him, also to procure a richly embroidered mantle for it.
During the Passover festival they attended Synagogue, which was very crowded and splendidly decorated. They were much struck by the presence of several gendarmes and soldiers. Two, with fixed bayonets, were placed opposite the Ark containing the sacred scrolls of law; each time one of the latter was removed or returned, they presented arms as a mark of respect. Sir Moses remembered having seen something similar in the Great Synagogue of Leghorn, yet it had always appeared strange to him that in a building bearing the appellation, "Temple of Peace," the representatives of war should be on duty, carrying with them implements of destruction: the Altar of the Lord being considered according to an injunction of Holy Writ, as desecrated by the mere touch of a sword.
Friday, April 12th.—We left Rome, embarking on the following Sunday in the Sesostris for Malta, where we arrived on the 17th.
Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, requiring some rest after the voyage, resolved to remain there a few days. He called on the Governor, Sir Henry Bouverie, to present to him his letter of introduction from Mr Spring-Rice, also on Admiral Sir Robert Stopford, and on many friends whose acquaintance they had made on a former visit to Malta. He had not long returned to the hotel when an invitation came from the Governor for Sir Moses, Lady Montefiore, and myself to dine at the Palace on the following Saturday.
To spend her time usefully and agreeably, Lady Montefiore applied herself with much diligence to the study of Arabic, and both she and Sir Moses read daily three Psalms in Hebrew, which they requested me to translate into English, and explain.
The old agent of the Silk Company called on them, and also Captain Austen of the Bellerophon, with his wife and daughter. The representatives of the Hebrew community in the Island came to pay their respects, and report on the affairs of the Synagogue.
April 20th.—They attended divine service, after which they paid a few visits, and returned to their hotel, where they remained till the evening, when they proceeded to the Palace. The Sabbath not being yet terminated, Lady Montefiore went in a sedan-chair, while Sir Moses and I walked. The Governor was in full uniform, wearing all his orders. About twenty-four sat down to table, amongst whom were the Duke of Devonshire (just out of quarantine, on his return from Constantinople), Admiral Sir Robert Stopford and his family, Captain Hyde Parker, Sir Hector Gray, Secretary of Government, Lady Stopford's sister with her daughter, the Duke's physician, and many military officers. Admiral Stopford took Lady Montefiore down to dinner, and promised to do all in his power to obtain a steamboat to take them to Jaffa. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were much pleased with their reception at the Palace.
Monday 22nd.—Sir Moses and I dined with Sir Hector Grey; it was a gentleman's party. The Governor, the Admiral and his son, the Duke of Devonshire, Sir John Lewis, Mr Frere (uncle of the late Sir Bartle Frere), Mr Bourchier (who was private secretary to Sir Frederick C. Ponsonby, Governor of the Island in 1824), Captain Best, Captain Goulbourne, and two other gentlemen were present.
On Wednesday we all dined with the Admiral, and met there Sir John and Lady Mackenzie, Captain Cosnier, Captain Fisher, and several other naval officers of distinction. Lady Stopford held a reception afterwards, which was well attended.
Sunday, April 28th.—The French Consul sent us the Journal de Smyrne, in which it was stated that accounts had been received that the plague had broken out in Jerusalem, and that the mortality in that city had already reached from forty to fifty per day. In another number of the same paper information was given to the effect that letters had been received from Cairo that hostilities had commenced in Syria.
Though very little credit was attached to these articles they gave us all some uneasiness, and in consequence of a renewed report of the plague, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to the quarantine harbour, where they saw the captain of the Blazer, lately arrived from Beyrout. He informed them that Mr and Mrs Freemantle were in Fort Manuel, after returning from the Holy Land. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore then called on Mr and Mrs Freemantle, who informed them that while they were in Jerusalem the plague was raging there, and they had to perform eighteen days quarantine before entering Beyrout, but they believed the city to be now healthy, although Sir Moses would probably find Jerusalem shut up, as the warm weather would bring back the plague. They gave a most distressing account of the Jews under the present government. All were more or less ill-treated, many being actually in slavery. Mr Freemantle said that the Jews were looking most anxiously for the arrival of Sir Moses.
Friday, May 3rd.—Sir Moses took leave of the Admiral, and then went to the Palace, and there met H.R.H. Prince George of Cambridge, who received him most kindly, and they had a friendly conversation.
Soon after twelve, having taken leave of his remaining friends, Sir Moses went with Lady Montefiore to the quarantine harbour, thence in a boat to the Megara, a steam vessel. Captain Goldsmith, the commander, received them on board, and at two o'clock we left the harbour for Alexandria.
Wednesday, May 8th.—This morning, soon after six, land was discovered, the masts of the ships in the harbour being the first objects caught sight of. A pilot came on board about eight. As we entered the port the French steamer for Marseilles left, so that we just missed the opportunity of sending letters by her. We were much amused at the great precautions taken by the people who came alongside in the boat belonging to the Board of Health. They received our Bill of Health, which we had brought from Malta, with a pair of tongs, every one alarmed lest he should touch it; it was opened with the aid of the tongs and a thin iron rod; but as soon as they saw that it was a clean bill, certifying that at the date of our leaving Malta was free from plague and every other contagious distemper, the officers came on board with Colonel Campbell's janissary.
Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore now landed, proceeding to an hotel, where they remained overnight; and the next morning we all rode off to the Custom House, opposite to which we found the Megara's boat, which Captain Goldsmith had politely sent to take us on board.
Sir Moses took particular note of the Pasha's troops. There were on the quay about a thousand soldiers; they all appeared to him to be quite little boys, scarce able to carry a musket; he did not believe any were above fourteen years old, while some seemed not more than nine. "If the troops are all like these," he said, "Heaven help Mohhammad Ali!"
Saturday, May 11th.—At an early hour the anchor was cast in the Bay of Beyrout, but we remained on board ship till the evening, when the commander conducted us on shore in his boat. As the boat left the ship all the company on board, comprising officers and men, saluted Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore with many huzzas.
We repaired to the house selected for us by Mr Niven Moore, the British Consul, and in the morning Sir Moses paid his respects to the Governor, Mohamed Bey, who received him most politely. He asked him for letters of introduction to the governors of several towns which it was probable we should visit, also his assistance to procure horses for us, all of which he promised. We then went to the English Consul, who sent in the course of the day his janissary to attend Sir Moses while we continued in Beyrout.
Several representatives of the Hebrew community called to welcome them, and many letters from Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and Tiberias were handed to them by special messenger. They have all been anxiously looking forward to their arrival in the Holy Land, "but our visit," Sir Moses observed, "is not the most timely for our comfort, pleasure, or safety; the political state of the country is most unsatisfactory and uncertain; a single day may bring about a complete change in the government of Syria and Palestine. The forces of the Sultan have certainly crossed the frontier, and Ibrahim Pasha will positively resist any further advance. Mohhammad Ali has sent his son every man he had at his disposal."
Monday, 13th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore rode on horseback to the Synagogue, which was very full in honour of their visit. We were told that there were sixty Jewish families in Beyrout, none of them rich. During the day they received visits from the Rev. Mr and Mrs Thompson of the American Mission, and also from many ladies and gentlemen of the Jewish community. Mr Ed. Kilbee, of the firm of Kilbee, Haugh & Co., Bankers, came to inform Sir Moses that he could find no one to take charge of the money for Jerusalem. Sir Moses immediately wrote to the Governor to request that he would provide him with messengers to carry the money to Safed, Tiberias, and Jerusalem. The Governor wrote a very civil answer, but regretted he could not comply with this request. He then addressed himself to the British Consul, but no answer reached him that day.
The next morning the Consul's dragoman came with a message that he had been with the Governor, who was extremely sorry not to be able to provide us with an escort, but the roads were not so unsafe as reported, and he hoped a large party, well armed like ours, would travel with safety. Sir Moses was much troubled in making the arrangements, to divide the money into smaller parcels, putting these into bags and baskets, altogether eleven. This we were obliged to do ourselves. Mr Kilbee passed some time with us, giving us much encouragement, though he was unable to find any person who would risk taking the money, either to Safed, Tiberias, Jerusalem, or Hebron, in spite of the most tempting offers. Sir Moses imploring the protection of the Almighty, we set forward on our pilgrimage at 4 P.M.
The way was over sand and through stony lanes, which opened on a sandy plain; we rested at Beer Hassan, till our luggage came up. There were fourteen mules and three horses, besides several donkeys for the moukeries. Having taken some coffee we proceeded on our way. The scenery was beautiful, especially the mountains of Lebanon, many of the highest being covered with snow. At eight we reached Khan Khaldah, the "Mutatio Heldua," according to Pococke, in the Jerusalem Itinerary.
"Thanks to Heaven," says Sir Moses, "we rested well in our tent, and set forward on our journey the next day, May 15th, at five. We rode on till one, then reposed till three o'clock under a mulberry tree; they were cutting off the young boughs and gathering the leaves. The road ran on the sands and rocks close to the sea. At three we sent off our tents and baggage to Nahr el Kasmiyah, said to be three hours' distance, and we followed. Before reaching Sidon, we were met by many Jews, the representatives of congregations; they said they had been waiting three hours for us. They accompanied us to the tomb of Zebulon, where we recited prayers. We then took leave of our brethren and continued riding till seven o'clock, when I was so fatigued I could go no further. A mat was spread in a garden near the water, and I gladly threw myself upon it. We sent a man to order our tents to be brought back. In about an hour great screams were heard; we sent to see what was the matter, when it was ascertained that the cries proceeded from our messenger who had gone for the tent. He said he had been attacked, severely beaten, and his donkey almost killed. This intelligence alarmed Dr Loewe very much for the safety of our lives, to say nothing of our luggage. He remained walking round our mats during the night, with his loaded pistols, Judith and I having ours under our heads. About midnight we with difficulty persuaded two men to ride after our luggage to see what had become of it; they returned at three in the morning with the news of its being all safe. Our road after passing Sidon was like going through a beautiful garden. At a short distance on our right we had a view of the sea, on our left mountains; they were pretty well cultivated—wheat, barley, figs and mulberries; but few can imagine the anxiety we suffered during the night, when we were exposed to the winds of heaven."
Thursday, May 16th.—We started at 6 A.M., and rode till nine, after which we reposed for some time. We met three persons sent from Safed with letters from the Spiritual Head of the community to welcome us; he was at Tiberias, and prevented by indisposition from coming to meet us. We rested in a beautiful valley, noticing much cattle, small cows, calves, and a number of goats. We then crossed the Nahr el Kasmiyah, a river which divides the lot of Asher from that of Dan.
There was a heavy dew in the night. Sir Moses was much fatigued, and still felt the bad effects of having slept exposed to the night air on the previous day. The next morning was cloudy; we started at five o'clock, riding over mountains and through fertile valleys till ten. While resting, we received a letter by a private messenger from the three representatives of the Hebrew Congregation at Safed, where each had prepared his own house for our use, and was waiting to receive us. About two hours later we caught the first glimpse of Safed. The town looked very beautiful, being situate on the summit of the mountain, which was crowned with beautiful olive trees of immense growth and great age.
RECEPTION AT SAFED—SAD CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE—SIR MOSES' PROJECT FOR THE CULTIVATION OF THE LAND IN PALESTINE BY THE JEWS—DEATH OF THE CHIEF RABBI OF THE GERMAN CONGREGATION IN JERUSALEM—TIBERIAS.
After four hours' ride we met two of the chiefs of the Portuguese community, sent to escort us as a guard of honour. On reaching half-way up the mountain, the ecclesiastical chief of the German Hebrew community, accompanied by many of his congregation, came to welcome us. He is an old man of benevolent countenance. I dismounted, giving the chief my horse to ride. This special mark of respect I showed to him in commemoration of the holy resignation manifested by the venerable chief only a year before on the occasion of the revolt of the Druses against Mohhammad Ali. These marauders, having pillaged and maltreated the whole community, wished to enforce from them an additional sum of five hundred Turkish purses or L2500, a sum which of course the Hebrews could not produce. The Druses thereupon bound the aged chief hand and foot, and laying the edge of a naked sword upon his neck, threatened to instantly sever his head if the demanded sum were not handed over without delay. The good man did not ask them to spare his life, which he would willingly sacrifice to save his community; all he requested of them was to allow a little clean water to be poured over his hands, that he might recite a prayer and acknowledge the justice of God in all His ways. At this a heartrending cry burst from all present, and even the Druses themselves appear to have been touched. They withdrew the sword and entered upon some arrangements with the community, who had to borrow the required amount from some of the convents. I had been to see him the day after this occurrence, and found him reciting his morning prayers as calmly as if nothing had happened.
Sir Moses in his description of the journey continues—"As we were descending the mountain a man, who had been placed there to give notice to the inhabitants of our approach, fired a musket, and the salute was answered by our party, who discharged their guns and pistols. Our firing had a cheerful effect, as the echo was taken up by the distant hills. We were soon met by Signor Mirrachi (ecclesiastical chief of the Portuguese community) with a great number of his congregation. He expressed his regret that I would not accept the house he had prepared for us. The scene became most interesting. Men, women, and children covered the sides and top of the hill as well as the roofs of all houses; but I was nearly dead with fatigue."
As soon as Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore reached their apartments, preparations were made for the Sabbath, but Sir Moses had not the strength to walk to Synagogue. He had for some time expressed uneasiness lest we should not reach the town before sunset, yet he had the happiness of seeing the sun above the horizon, after we had entered our house.
By special invitation ten gentlemen were soon with him in his room, and the evening service was commenced, but he could scarcely stand, and as soon as prayers were ended he retired. The following day Sir Moses being still too unwell to leave his bed, numbers of visitors called to enquire after his health, all expressing their regret at his indisposition.
During the next two days, on which the festival of Pentecost was celebrated, Sir Moses recovered sufficiently to accompany Lady Montefiore to the Portuguese Synagogue, where a sacred scroll of great antiquity is preserved. On Sir Moses being called to the rostrum to pronounce the blessing, the portion of the day was read to him out of the above scroll.
On the following day, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received visits from the governor, judge, and all other dignitaries of the place. Some of the Druses also intimated their desire to come and pay their respects, but upon my suggestion this was declined, it being considered undesirable to encourage their presence in Safed.
Having been amongst the sufferers at the time of their invasion of this place the year before, I surmised the object they had in view, in seeking to come with their friends to see the English pilgrims.
Tuesday, May 21st.—Sir Moses now occupied himself in obtaining information as to the actual state of the Jews in this city, as well as the probable prospect of success for his project, viz., to encourage the Jews and enable them to gain a livelihood by the cultivation of the land. They had frequent interviews with T. and N. Drucker, two clever and enterprising men, father and son, who had come originally from Poland, and had possessed a handsome fortune. They had brought with them a printing press, and had printed prayer-books. They had also begun to print a Bible, when the Druses came, destroyed their press, robbed them of all their property, and beat them most unmercifully, breaking the father's thigh, so that he barely escaped with his life.
Wednesday, May 22nd.—All the afternoon was spent both by Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore in seeing people, in listening to their complaints and sorrows, and also in obtaining information respecting the cultivation of land. The German and Portuguese Chief Rabbis came, and after some conversation, Sir Moses decided to distribute personally the money he had brought for the relief of the sufferers by the earthquake, according to the number of souls. A Spanish dollar was given to every man, woman, and child over thirteen, while two dollars were given to the blind, and no distinction was made between Portuguese and German. The money sent from London soon after the earthquake had been distributed by the Portuguese, who gave the greatest part to those learned in our Holy Law, leaving but little for all the other sufferers, which Sir Moses considered unjust. The spiritual head of the German congregation, the Rev. A. Dob, said that the money was divided amongst their congregation according to the amount of loss sustained by each individual. Nor did the German committee ever retain one penny more for themselves than for the other members of the congregation. "This," said Sir Moses, "appears to me the most honest way of acting."
The Portuguese gentlemen, however, in justification of their own course of action in this matter, explained that those who are engaged in imparting religious instruction to the community, taking charge of all their institutions, devoting their time to the interest of the rising generation, having no business or occupation that would adequately secure their maintenance, ought naturally to have some additional share in the offerings of their wealthier brethren abroad, offerings intended not only for the relief of distress, but also for the preservation of a religious community. The same, they said, would be done in Europe, where the teachers in schools and colleges, or the managers of communal institutions, happen to be without income or salary for their maintenance.
Sir Moses having inspected the new buildings, regretted to find that most of them were but poor miserable hovels, built over the ruins of the old ones, high up the hill, close to the edge of the mountain, so that the slightest shock of earthquake would bury the inhabitants one above the other without hope of escape. The houses were built on the side of the mountain, row above row. On inquiring the reason of this, he was informed that by building over the old houses they were saved the expense of making excavations, these being already there; they had no fear of earthquakes, all they dreaded being the Mooslemin inhabitants and the visits of the Druses.
Thursday, May 23rd.—At ten we rode to Djermek, a village two hours distant, to the farm of Israel Drucker, one of his tenants having a son who was to be received that day into the covenant of Abraham. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore had been invited to act as god-parents to the child.
On reaching the house Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were most respectfully saluted, and the ceremony was immediately performed. We then sat down for a short time to partake of some refreshment; and, having offered presents and congratulations to the parents of the infant, we descended the mountain, to visit the tomb of R. Simeon ben Yokhai, in Miroon. There we were met by the principal inhabitants of Safed.
We then visited the tomb of Hillel, celebrated in Jewish history for his great learning and for his noble character and humility. "One of the most interesting sights," says Sir Moses, "I have seen in the Holy Land. There is one cave within the other, a spring of the clearest water flowing through both; it appears to spring from the spot where the mortal remains of Hillel repose. In the vicinity of the tomb we saw a splendid marble portal of a Synagogue now in ruins; the marble was handsomely carved, and many of the stones adjoining the portal were still standing, all of them being of great size."
Friday, May 24th.—Sir Moses was again engaged from nine to six with the distribution of the money. He also gave special donations to the heads of schools and colleges, and endeavoured to alleviate the distress among the poor of all non-Israelitish communities. Sir Moses found his brethren most anxious to be employed and to earn their own bread. They appeared to prefer the cultivation of land as the most likely means to raise them from their present destitute condition. There were a few Jews who had some interest with Mussulmans in cultivating some small farms about three or four hours from Safed, but their means were so limited that they could ill afford to keep a pair of oxen to till the ground. There was no lack of spirit, and Sir Moses thought that some trifling assistance from the proper persons in Europe would speedily restore health and plenty, should such be the will of Heaven.
On the same day we received the sad tidings of the death of the Rev. Israel, Chief Rabbi of the German congregation in Jerusalem, which had taken place at Tiberias on the 22nd inst. It had been his intention to come to Sir Moses to welcome him and Lady Montefiore on their entry into the Holy Land. He was renowned for his great learning and noble character, which he had so often manifested in the performance of his official duties, as spiritual guide of the community; and being a disciple of the celebrated Rabbi Eliahu Wilna, he was held in high esteem by all the congregations in the four holy cities. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were much affected by the mournful event, and lost no time in considering what steps should be taken to evince their sympathy with the bereaved family.
The following day being Sabbath, they attended divine service, afterwards receiving numerous visits from the inhabitants of the place. One gentleman from Tiberias gave a most melancholy account of the state of the country; he assured them that the roads to Jerusalem were very unsafe, and the plague actually in the city. Only a few days before the holidays the son-in-law of the late Rev. Israel, and his servant, had died of it.
The visits they received from the Druses caused us much uneasiness, as we apprehended an attack from their body to plunder not only us, but all Jews in the town; and we should have proceeded early the next morning to Tiberias had we not feared such a course would give the appearance of flight.
The heads of the Portuguese and German congregations came to pay their respects to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. Two of these gentlemen, the Rev. Abraham Shoshana and Samuel Aboo, were land owners in a neighbouring village, and gave their opinion on the subject of agriculture. Sir Moses, referring in his diary, to their conversation, says:
"From all information I have been able to gather, the land in this neighbourhood appears to be particularly favourable for agricultural speculation. There are groves of olive trees, I should think, more than five hundred years old, vineyards, much pasture, plenty of wells and abundance of excellent water; also fig trees, walnuts, almonds, mulberries, &c., and rich fields of wheat, barley, and lentils; in fact it is a land that would produce almost everything in abundance, with very little skill and labour. I am sure if the plan I have in contemplation should succeed, it will be the means of introducing happiness and plenty into the Holy Land. In the first instance, I shall apply to Mohhammad Ali for a grant of land for fifty years; some one or two hundred villages; giving him an increased rent of from ten to twenty per cent., and paying the whole in money annually at Alexandria, but the land and villages to be free, during the whole term, from every tax or rate either of Pasha or governor of the several districts; and liberty being accorded to dispose of the produce in any quarter of the globe. This grant obtained, I shall, please Heaven, on my return to England, form a company for the cultivation of the land and the encouragement of our brethren in Europe to return to Palestine. Many Jews now emigrate to New South Wales, Canada, &c.; but in the Holy Land they would find a greater certainty of success; here they will find wells already dug, olives and vines already planted, and a land so rich as to require little manure. By degrees I hope to induce the return of thousands of our brethren to the Land of Israel. I am sure they would be happy in the enjoyment of the observance of our holy religion, in a manner which is impossible in Europe."
The scene we witnessed yesterday amply repaid us for the fatigues of the journey. We saw nearly every individual inhabitant of Safed. Sir Moses gave to each at least one Spanish dollar, and some fathers of families received eight or ten dollars. To those persons who came to meet him and Lady Montefiore at Nahr el Rasmiyah, fifteen hours' journey from Safed, and who, when invited to sleep in the tent, preferred, from their intense love to the country, to sleep in the open air of the Holy Land, he made handsome presents. "I hope," said Sir Moses in the course of conversation, "that the money I have had the pleasure of distributing yesterday, will produce some comfort and give assistance to the Jews in Safed, especially in their present forlorn situation. Their sufferings during the last five years must have been truly deplorable. First the plundering of the inhabitants, then the earthquake, and finally the attack by the Druses, to fill the cup of their misfortune. At the present moment the ruins of the town present an awful spectacle of destruction; the few miserable hovels they have erected are for the most part little better than caves, more fit for the beast of the field than for human beings. Many are merely four mud walls, with a mat for a roof. I think the poverty of the Jews in Safed to be great beyond anything that can be imagined either in England or on the Continent of Europe; it must be seen to be credited. I am informed, and do believe, that many are actually starving, and that great numbers died last year of hunger. Nearly all are stamped with want and wretchedness, though many of them are tall men and have handsome features. The women are very pretty; they have large black eyes, are of refined manners, and exhibit much intelligence in their conversation. I have found all the men anxious to be employed in agriculture."
Monday, May 27th.—We repaired early in the morning to the house of the spiritual head of the German congregation, where we attended divine service. His wife, who had prepared quite a treat for us, consisting of coffee, sweetmeats, wine and cakes, gave us a most hearty welcome. In the presence of the reverend gentleman Sir Moses engaged one of the scribes to write a scroll of the Pentateuch for his Synagogue at Ramsgate. The first sheet of the parchment was at once prepared, and he had the happiness of writing the first three words. Sir Moses on his return affixed his signature to an Arabic letter, which he had requested me to prepare at the urgent entreaties of all the inhabitants, praying the Governor of St Jean d'Acre to send them some soldiers for their protection.