"Thanks to Heaven," Sir Moses said, "the Mission has gained something; the lives of nine innocent persons are thus preserved."
Sir Moses wrote immediately to Monsieur Cremieux, and Mr Galloway sent a man off with it to Cairo. He also sent for Messrs Sonino, Valencen, and Toria, and the Spiritual Head of the Hebrew community, to acquaint them with the good news, enjoining them at the same time to keep it secret till the papers arrived from the Pasha.
Sir Moses then prepared for Sabbath, and attended divine service in the European Synagogue. Subsequently went to the Palace for a copy of the letter to the Governor of Damascus, but we had to wait there several hours, as the Ambassador from Constantinople and the Consuls of the four great Powers were with the Pasha. They remained with him some time, and on their withdrawal, the Capudan Basha had an interview with His Highness, lasting fully two hours; then the French Consul came and also stopped a couple of hours, so that it became very late. On our enquiring whether we should still wait, Monsieur Boufort told me to come the following morning, when I should be able to take with me the firman enabling us to go to Damascus, and a copy of the order for the Governor at that place. It was after ten o'clock when we returned to our hotel, at which hour Monsieur Cremieux also came.
August 29th.—In the morning we attended divine service. Seeing Monsieur Cremieux and Monsieur Munk there, Sir Moses desired me to invite the latter to accompany me to the Palace. On our arrival there we went to the room of Negib Effendi (one of the chief secretaries of the Pasha), to order several copies of the firman and the letter to the Governor of Damascus. On perusing a copy of the original, we noticed the word "Afoo" (pardon), and pointed it out to Negib Effendi. I told him that Sir Moses would never be satisfied with such an expression, as the Jews could not for one moment be considered guilty, according to the proceedings which had taken place at Damascus. Negib Effendi and another secretary, who happened to be present at the time, entered into an argument with me on the subject, maintaining their idea that the word in question might be used and understood without absolutely conveying the meaning of "pardon." Nevertheless, I insisted on the necessity of removing that word altogether. As I could not leave the Palace, I requested Monsieur Munk, who had with him an Arabic translation of the Turkish order, to go and inform Sir Moses and Monsieur Cremieux that it was desirable they should immediately tell the Pasha that they could not sanction the introduction of a word so grossly misrepresenting the truth, and request him to substitute a word which would correctly convey his sentiments. Monsieur Munk went at once to Monsieur Cremieux, but apparently forgot to call on Sir Moses. Monsieur Cremieux, being probably anxious to see the misleading word removed as soon as possible, came at once to the Palace, without informing Sir Moses of what had occurred. The Pasha, without the least hesitation, immediately ordered that the word "Afoo" should be taken out, and the words "itlak ve Tervihh," signifying "an honourable liberation," substituted (literally an order for their liberation, and for procuring them peace).
On my return from the Palace I acquainted Sir Moses with what had taken place, and he expressed much regret at not having being informed of it in time. He said, "Had I known it, I should have been most indignant with the Pasha for inserting the word, it being in complete opposition to my request, as I would never, for an instant, admit any guilt, either of the living or the dead." He went again to the Pasha, and His Highness told him that he had given the order to remove the objectionable word. The Neapolitan Consul and his wife, and Monsieur Laurin came to offer their congratulations.
August 30th.—We hastily sent despatches to London and other places, and on the following day a letter of thanks to His Highness the Pasha was signed by Sir Moses and Monsieur Cremieux.
Wishing to do all the good in their power, they added to the letter a petition in which they entreated him to abolish the use of torture in his dominions.
In the morning, Admiral Sir Robert Stopford came on shore, and went immediately to Colonel Hodges. Sir Moses went to see the Admiral, who gave him a very kind reception. About three o'clock the Pasha sent a strong body of horse guards in full uniform, accompanied by a capital military band, to attend the Admiral. It was a handsome compliment on the part of Mohhammad Ali, but the Admiral declined it, and they soon returned.
About four o'clock Sir Robert Stopford and his suite, the Austrian Admiral and his suite, with the English and Austrian Consuls, proceeded to the Palace to pay their respects to the Pasha. The Pasha's carriage with four horses had been placed at their service, as well as Boghoz Bey's carriage and that of Mr Anastasia. They were preceded by sixteen janissaries, the two Captains Austen, and many others on horseback. They were absent about an hour.
Admiral Rifaat Bey gave the "Four Combined Powers," and Colonel Hodges, the "Five Powers," meaning that he included the Sublime Porte. After dinner, Admiral Stopford inquired whether Sir Moses intended going to Damascus, and said he would send a brig with us. Sir Moses replied that he wished to wait till Thursday, when he would inform Sir Robert of his plan of action. The two Admirals and the English and Austrian Consuls were to dine with the Pasha on the following day.
Sir Moses, accompanied by Mr Alison, then paid visits to Rifaat Bey, Saeed Bey, and Colonel Hodges. On his return he found that the Austrian Admiral (Contre-Amiral Baron Baudiera), the Austrian Consul, and Mr Andrew Doyle, had called. Mr Galloway informed Sir Moses that Saeed Bey had obtained the permission of his father, Mohhammad Ali, to dine with him any day he liked. Sir Moses thereupon invited him for Thursday, September 3rd, and also sent invitations to Admiral Stopford, the Austrian Admiral, and others.
The day's reports led Sir Moses to believe that the Pasha would refuse to give an answer to the four Powers on Saturday. The Admiral would do nothing without further orders from home, and it was Sir Moses' opinion that the Pasha would laugh at them all, and most probably succeed at last, or involve Europe in war.
September 2nd.—During the morning we were occupied in examining numerous papers and documents referring to the Mission, while Lady Montefiore amused herself by taking daguerreotype views of Cleopatra's Needle.
September 3rd.—Sir Moses went this morning on board the Turkish steamer, Bird-of-the-Sea, Rifaat Bey having invited him to a dejeuner he was giving to Admiral Stopford and Saeed Bey on board that vessel. The guests included Captains Fisher and Austin, Colonel Hodges, Count Medem, Monsieur de Wagner, Monsieur Laurin, Mr Alison, Mr Stoddard, and others. The wind was so high that the Admiral could scarcely get to the ship. While they were at breakfast Saeed Bey invited Admiral Stopford and Sir Moses to go over his corvette. The latter, with Captains Fisher and Austin and Colonel Hodges, accompanied the Admiral in his boat after they had taken leave of Rifaat Bey, and all went on board the corvette. Saeed Bey received the party in a distinguished manner; he took them over the vessel, and made his men go through their exercises with great guns and small arms. Sir Moses then landed with the Admiral, and drove him to Colonel Hodges.
September 4th.—The French papers continued very warlike, and great demonstrations had been made in France.
Sir Moses and Monsieur Cremieux decided that we should go next evening to present the letter they had prepared to the Pasha. Should the English Consul leave Egypt, Sir Moses thought that it would be useless for us to remain there any longer. Dr Madden informed Sir Moses that he would be obliged to leave us on the following Monday.
September 5th.—We called on Colonel Hodges, and saw Admiral Stopford; the latter supposed our going to Damascus was out of the question. Sir Moses told him that he should remain a short time longer at Alexandria, unless the British Consul left, in which case we should leave also.
Rifaat Bey (Conseilleur d'Etat au departement de l'interieur) paid us a visit previous to his departure; also Mr Charles Alison, Attache to Her Britannic Majesty's Embassy at Constantinople; also Captain Austen and Lieutenant Ralph, R.N.
Mr Alison had been present at the interview with the Pasha's Minister. The Pasha being ill, could not see the four Ministers, but had sent his answer. "He accepted the Sovereignty of Egypt, and would petition the Sultan for Syria."
This was virtually a refusal, but the Consuls did not intend striking their flags.
The Admiral went on board this morning. At five we walked in the square and met Colonel Hodges. From his conversation he expected the Pasha would order them to quit Egypt in about a week. He told Sir Moses the Admiral had left him the Cyclops, and that he was going in her, on the following Monday, to Beyrout.
September 6th.—We called on Colonel Hodges. Sir Moses told him that he had determined to leave as soon as the Colonel should do so. Colonel Hodges said he was going on the following day for a few days to Beyrout, but assured Sir Moses he need be under no apprehensions; there would be no hostilities till the Admiral received orders from England, which he did not expect for another fortnight; and that if he (Colonel Hodges) should be obliged to leave, he would give Sir Moses timely notice, and both he and Lady Montefiore should go with him in his vessel. From his manner of speaking, we gathered that he expected an outbreak in Syria, but no direct attack on the part of the English; Admiral Stopford had told him that we were by no means prepared; the ministers had been much deceived.
The letter to the Pasha could not be presented that day.
September 7th.—We met Colonel Hodges; he told us that the Pasha had seized L6000 in bullion, British property, and if it was not given up to-morrow morning, he would strike his flag and go on board ship. He told Sir Moses that he must be prepared to leave at a moment's notice, and that he had spoken to Captain Fisher of the Asia, who had kindly promised to take us in his ships in the event of our being obliged to leave.
INTERVIEW WITH THE PASHA—LIBERATION OF THE JEWS OF DAMASCUS—PUBLIC REJOICINGS AND THANKSGIVING—DEPARTURE OF SIR MOSES FOR CONSTANTINOPLE.
We arranged with Monsieur Cremieux to go to-morrow to the Pasha and present our letter.
September 8th.—We drove this morning to Mohharem Bey's garden, where the Pasha is staying. We found him in the garden, with his Admiral, also Anastasi, the Turkish Consul, and Mr Tibaldi. He desired us to be seated. Sir Moses then said to him, "We come to offer to your Highness our thanks," and presented to him the letter, to which we had added the request to abolish the use of torture. There was a Turkish translation affixed to the letter. The Pasha gave the letter to one of his officers, who put it in his pocket; but on Sir Moses expressing a desire that the Pasha should have it read, he took it himself and appeared to read several lines, when one of his secretaries came and read the whole to him. We remained some moments in silence. Mr Tibaldi then told Sir Moses that the Pasha had been pleased to give him a granite column from the ancient temple of Serapis in Alexandria. Sir Moses thanked His Highness in suitable terms.
After waiting some time in silence, the Pasha having twice looked at his watch, we took our leave without having uttered a single sentence on the principal subject of our visit. Sir Moses was much out of spirits. On our return we went to Colonel Hodges, who said that Boghoz Bey had refused to give up the bullion seized on the previous day, but added that he should go himself to the Pasha, and if it was not restored in twenty-four hours, he would strike his flag and go on board the Asia, and would take Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore with him. Sir Moses hoped the Pasha would not hasten his ruin by his rashness. Colonel Hodges replied that he was already ruined; he had been declared a rebel by the Sultan; another Pasha had been appointed for Egypt and one for Syria; and the Russian fleet with the Russian troops was already moving. This news the Colonel had received from Constantinople. Sir Moses begged him, should any vessel be going to that city, to procure a passage for us; this he promised to do.
Sir Moses was now anxious to leave Egypt, thinking he could do no more good there.
September 9th.—Monsieur Cremieux came in the morning to ascertain Sir Moses' intentions, as he wished to go on the following Monday to Cairo, and should Sir Moses decide to remain in Egypt, he would go to Thebes. Sir Moses suggested taking three days' time for consideration.
September 10th.—We called on Colonel Hodges. The Pasha had not yet given up the bullion; the Colonel said he should write to him the same evening at five, and send at eight the next day for an answer, and should tell him that unless he received satisfaction he should strike his flag and embark, leaving the English under the protection of the Dutch Consul. Colonel Hodges had already sent on board several camel-loads of books, papers, &c. Sir Moses felt confident that the Colonel would soon follow, whether the Pasha gave up the money or not, and believed the best thing for us to do would be to go by the next French packet, which would leave Alexandria on the 16th, pass the quarantine at Syra, and afterwards proceed to Constantinople, thank the Sultan for all he had done in the affair of Rhodes, and then, should the state of Syra permit, go to Damascus, and failing this, to return via Vienna to England.
September 11th.—Again visited Colonel Hodges. He still talked of embarking, but advised us to wait for the French steamers, and if it should still be our intention to visit Damascus before leaving the East, he would recommend our making quarantine at Syra, thence to proceed to Constantinople, and await events. "It would be madness," he added, "to go now to Damascus. I will hold myself responsible for the advice I now give."
Saturday, September 12th.—Attended divine service, afterwards called on the Spiritual Head of the congregation, who showed us his large and valuable library. Later in the day Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received many visitors: two gentlemen from Salonica especially interested them in their accounts of communal matters in that city. They informed us that there were about five thousand Jewish families, and they possessed thirty-six Synagogues, and fifty-six colleges for the study of Hebrew and theological literature, and over one thousand gentlemen were distinguished for their knowledge of Hebrew. They had suffered greatly by the fire which had broken out (in the previous year) in their city, and had destroyed over two thousand houses belonging to the Jews.
Our dinner party on that day included Colonel Hodges, Monsieur Laurin, Captain and Mrs Lyons, Mr Paton, Mr Stoddart, Mr Drummond Hay, and Monsieur and Madame Cremieux. Colonel Hodges said he had given the Pasha time till Monday at twelve o'clock for his reply, failing to receive which he would strike his flag. Sir Moses informed Monsieur Cremieux that he felt convinced of the impossibility of obtaining anything more from the Pasha, owing to the present serious state of politics. The Consuls, he said, were making every preparation for leaving Alexandria, and as our proceeding to Damascus at that time was considered to be not only a most rash and unwarrantable act, but almost an impossibility, he was of opinion that we should proceed to Constantinople, and there await a favourable change in politics. Should Damascus hereafter belong to the Sultan, then to request from him the same justice for the Jews of that city as he had afforded to those of Rhodes, but if Damascus continued under the Pasha, then we should be forced to return to Egypt and thence to Damascus, and should then, if politics still continued unsettled, return to Europe.
Monsieur Cremieux agreed with Sir Moses, and said he would go to Constantinople, but first to Cairo. He then proposed to Sir Moses to build an hospital for the Jews in Cairo, as he (Monsieur Cremieux) intended building a house there for school purposes, having in hand one thousand ducats from the Baroness de Rothschild in Paris for that purpose. Sir Moses, however, did not feel justified in spending large sums in Egypt. "Were it for the Holy Land," he said, "I should be delighted to establish both hospital and school."
September 14th.—It was reported that St Jean d'Acre was being bombarded by the English fleet; everything looked most threatening. We met Colonel Hodges, who was hourly expecting to receive orders from Constantinople to quit Egypt. A Russian and an Austrian ship of war had arrived. The French steamer due that morning had not arrived; they said it had been detained at Syra for the mail from Constantinople.
September 15th.—We were caused much anxiety by the absence of any account from Damascus, and by hearing that Mohhammad Ali had had a despatch from Sherif Pasha, stating that he had received His Highness' orders for the liberation of the Jews, but without further notice of it. Monsieur Cochelet, we were told, had had a letter from Rattimenton, violently exclaiming against the Viceroy's order, by which he had been compromised, adding that he had warmly protested to Sherif Pasha against his complying with His Highness' order. But soon after this, writes Sir Moses, "Thanks to Heaven, this day has happily put an end to our fears for the delay of the execution of the Pasha's firman. We have received letters that all the Jews were liberated on the 5th inst, in the most gracious manner, by Sherif Pasha, to the great joy, not only of the Jews of Damascus, but also of all the Mussulmans of that city. The unfortunate men were accompanied by bands of music, and thousands of persons, Jews and Moslems. They first went to Synagogue to return thanks for their delivery, and then to their respective dwellings. All the distinguished Mussulman merchants paid them visits of congratulation, expressing their firm belief in their innocence. The Christians maintained silence, denoting thereby their dissatisfaction at the justice of the Pasha. The blood of the four unhappy men who have died under torture has not been sufficient to satisfy these people. The suffering of the Jews appears to have been unbounded, as is their gratitude to God for their deliverance."
The copy of the Pasha's order, which we sent by a courier with our letters to the prisoners, had not arrived on the 7th when the mail left. We were all anxious for news from the unfortunate men themselves, but as we knew that all were at liberty, Sir Moses considered that no further good could be achieved by remaining in Egypt. Syria was in a state of revolt, and the post between Beyrout and Damascus closed. The British Consul, with all the other European Consuls, excepting the French, had left Beyrout, and were on board the ships of war. Commodore Napier had given notice that he should bombard the town on the following day. Monsieur Cochelet, we were told, had heard accounts of several thousand men having been landed from the fleet between Beyrout and Sidon; no action had, however, as yet taken place. Sulieman Pasha had declared he would destroy Beyrout, though he should be compelled to withdraw his troops.
September 16th.—Sir Moses writes in his diary: "I sent to Monsieur Cremieux, but he and Madame Cremieux, with Monsieur Munk and Signor Morpurgo, had already left for Cairo. Mr Wire, Dr Loewe, and I went to Mohhammad Bey's palace. He is the son-in-law of Mohhammad Ali. We entered the garden. As soon as the Pasha saw us he beckoned me to approach him. He was seated in a kiosk. Boufort, the interpreter, was translating to him one of Galignani's papers. On our entering the kiosk, he motioned me to be seated. I took my seat opposite him, Dr Loewe next to me, and Mr Wire next to the doctor. I informed the Pasha that we had received letters from Damascus, and that, agreeably to his orders, the Jews had been honourably liberated by Sherif Pasha on Saturday, September 5th. The Mussulman population had expressed much joy on the occasion. They had accompanied the unfortunate men, when liberated, to the Synagogue, and the Jews had thrown themselves on the ground before the Holy Ark, blessing the God of Israel for their deliverance from the hands of their persecutors, and praying for the happiness of His Highness, whose justice and humanity had restored them with honour to liberty. I also told the Pasha how they had been visited and congratulated by all the Mussulmans of Damascus, who confidently believed in their innocence. Mohhammad Ali replied he was glad to hear it, and informed me that he had received letters from Sherif Pasha with the same intelligence, and also that that Jews who had fled from the city had returned. This we did not know. I expressed much gratitude to His Highness for his humanity, and entreated him to protect my brethren in his dominion. I also said that as it was impossible for me to go to Damascus at present, I intended returning to Europe, and therefore begged to take leave of His Highness; but before doing so I hoped he would allow me to speak a few words in favour of the poor Jews who had suffered by pillage at Safed, and that he would graciously make them compensation. He replied he would see; he would do it. I again repeated my thanks, and rose to leave, but he motioned me to remain. In a few moments he beckoned me to come quite close to him, which I did. He then said that he frequently gave orders for ships, guns, and other things to be sent from England, that six months elapsed before they were ready to be shipped, and that as I was going there he would like to make some arrangement with me to guarantee the parties, and said that I should always have the money before the things were shipped. He repeated several times that he did not desire that I should ever be in advance, as he would always send the money beforehand. He did not wish the arrangement to take place immediately, but as soon as affairs were settled. I told His Highness that I would consult with my friends in England, and would write to him as soon as I got back to London; he expressed his satisfaction, and we retired.
"I have omitted to notice that I gave Mohhammad Ali a copy of Dr Hirschel's letter to me, respecting the charge brought against the Jews of using blood in their religious ceremonies. I gave him copies of the same in Turkish and French; he looked at them, and promised to read them.
"We then went to the Palace of Saeed Bey. Mr Thurburn was with him. 'Excellency,' I said, 'I have come to take leave of you previous to my return to Europe,' and repeated to him all the accounts we had from Damascus. He was very civil to us, and invited us to take wine and coffee, but, being much pressed for time, we declined. I said I hoped to see him in London. He replied that as soon as affairs were settled he should travel, and would certainly pay us a visit. We then took leave of Count Medem, the Russian Consul. He congratulated me on the success of our Mission, having attained all that was possible in the present unfortunate state of affairs. I told him I was most anxious to visit Damascus, to trace the whole transaction respecting the charges against the Jews. He said it was quite impossible to go just now, the country was in revolt; Beyrout was threatened with bombardment, and all accommodation for travellers stopped.
"We next went to Monsieur de Wagner, the Prussian Consul (who expressed the same opinion), and to Colonel Hodges and Monsieur Laurin, expressing to both our sincere thanks for what they had done in favour of the Jews in Damascus, Safed, and the Holy Land in general."
September 17th.—We embarked in one of the Pasha's large boats, being escorted to the water side by three janissaries, and were safely on board the Leonidas at 3 P.M.
September 18th.—We are detained in the harbour for despatches.
Mr Reinlin, the Dutch Vice Consul, came on board with letters. He went with me into our berth, and informed me that news had been received last night from Beyrout; the English had entirely destroyed that town, and had landed two thousand English and four thousand Turks. The French Consul had taken a house in a garden about a mile out of town, with the French flag flying on it, nevertheless four cannon balls had struck the house. Ibrahim Pasha was at Beyrout, and Suleiman Pasha was in the neighbourhood.
At 10 A.M., the anchor being weighed, we started, and were soon safely out of the port. "Then," Sir Moses writes in his Diary, "we sang the 'Song of Moses,' and with joy and thanks, left the land of Egypt."
September 21st.—After eighty hours at sea, with a strong north wind, we arrived at five in the morning at Syra. The captain and the surgeon went on shore with letters and despatches; they soon returned. When a boat with the health officers came alongside, we learned to our great dismay that we had a man dangerously ill on board. The officers insisted on seeing him. The poor man was carried on deck with much difficulty; they asked him many questions, but he was so weak that he could scarcely answer. The officers then left us, to make their report to their superior; they did not know whether we should be allowed to go that night into the Lazaretto. This was a serious matter, as the Leonidas was to start at twelve for Alexandria. Our ship was soon surrounded with boats, occupied by Turks, male and female, with their luggage, who had secured their berths for Alexandria. The captain would not allow them or their luggage to be received on board till he had got rid of those he had brought with him. The noise and confusion that arose in consequence were dreadful. It was nearly nine o'clock when permission arrived for our leaving the ship for the Lazaretto; the captain put us in his long boat. It was blowing hard, the sea was rough, and the night very dark.
Sir Moses was dreadfully uneasy, but there was no choice. We all went in the same boat, which was long and narrow. It was half-an-hour before we reached the landing place, and it was not without great difficulty that we scrambled up the rocks in the dark.
On getting into the Lazaretto we found that the guardian and officers had left for the night, and there were but two miserably dark rooms for the whole party. We were told to make the best we could of them for the night. All our luggage had been left at the water's edge, and there was not a soul to assist in bringing it to the Lazaretto. After much time and trouble, our servants got one bedstead and mattress for Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and a few mattresses for the rest of our party.
In our small room, more than nine of us, including a Greek lady, her servant and one child, had to remain the whole night; the servants and all other passengers were obliged to manage as they could in the other room.
After a night passed with little or no sleep, we rose from our weary couches. Mr Ralli, the son-in-law of Mr Wilkinson, called. He had procured us an order from the Superintendent of the Lazaretto, giving us the apartments set aside for noblemen. We were soon admitted to them. They were very comfortable rooms, beautifully situated, commanding a fine view of the town and port. They were quite empty, but our servants soon brought up our bedsteads and camp-stools, and we hired two or three tables, which was all we required. Being informed that we might shorten our confinement by five days, if we and our servants took a bath and changed all our clothes, and had all our luggage fumigated, we readily consented. By two o'clock, all our boxes having been opened, and the contents spread over the room and hung up on lines, dishes with pots of burning sulphur were placed in each room, and the doors kept closed for half-an-hour. In the meantime we took a bath and changed every article of dress.
Sir Moses put the whole quarantine into confusion, and compelled a repetition of the fumigating ceremony, by inadvertently putting his finger on the wrapper which contained Lady Montefiore's dress. This caused much vexation to all the "guardiani" and ourselves. However, the fumigation was performed once more, and by four o'clock the whole ceremony was ended.
September 28th being the first day of the Jewish New Year, we all met early in the morning, and read the service appointed for the day. It was nearly twelve before we breakfasted. The afternoon we spent in reading subjects connected with Hebrew literature. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore spent a most happy day, and said they had only felt the want of their Synagogue and of the society of their relatives.
The physician paid us a visit on the same day, and said we might, if we pleased, go out of quarantine on the morrow. He enquired if we were all well, then desired us to strike our fists under each arm and other parts of the body. Having seen this ceremony performed, he made his tour round the Lazaretto. We were much amused at seeing him go through the same ceremony with more than one hundred persons, who were to leave the next day.
The following day, being the ninth day of our quarantine, and having performed the "Spoglio" the morning after our arrival, we could have received pratique this morning; but as we were most comfortable, Sir Moses requested to be allowed to remain till Thursday. We received the greatest kindness from all the officers of the quarantine, who came frequently to enquire if they could do anything to promote the comfort of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. We all quitted the Lazaretto on the 1st of October, grateful to the Almighty for permitting us to pass the ten days we spent there so pleasantly. We walked to the town, which was built round the bay, nearly opposite the Lazaretto. The road was very rough, and Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were extremely fatigued by the walk.
Syra was very gay; the town was thronged with well-dressed people, as the King and Queen were expected that day from Athens. On the wharf, which was strewn with laurel, there were some four hundred little boys and girls dressed in white with blue ribbons, some of them carrying branches of laurel, and others the Greek flag. It was four o'clock when the first cannon announced the arrival of the steamboat with the King and Queen on board. From Terenzio House, where we were accommodated, we had a good view of them as they landed. The King was dressed in a Greek uniform, and the Queen in Western costume. To our great disappointment, the steamer which was to take us to Constantinople had not arrived, and at Syra we could not even find a room to pass the night, so that we were compelled to return to the Lazaretto. Lady Montefiore was most fatigued and poorly, and quite happy when she could throw herself on the ground with the luxury of a mattress.
We received an invitation from the Governor of the town to a grand ball, to be given to the King and Queen. The next morning at five o'clock we were informed that the Mentor had not yet arrived, but about two hours later we ascertained that she had come into port in the night. We lost no time in preparing to embark, and before eight again took leave of the Lazaretto, very thankful for the accommodation it had afforded us. At eight we were on board, but it was nearly twelve before we started. We expected to reach Smyrna towards noon on the following day, but not to be able to land, as it would be our Sabbath.
We entered the harbour of Smyrna on the 3rd October. Sir Moses received immediately a large number of letters and visits from the heads of the congregation and principal inhabitants, all offering their services. The Dutch Consul spoke much of the sad state of the Jews at Smyrna, and requested Sir Moses' intercession on their behalf.
CONSTANTINOPLE—CONDITION OF THE JEWISH RESIDENTS—INTERVIEW WITH RECHID PASHA—AUDIENCE WITH THE SULTAN—HE GRANTS A FIRMAN.
From Smyrna we went to Constantinople. Of our arrival in that place Sir Moses gives the following account:—
"Constantinople, October 5th.—The appearance of the city was most beautiful from the steamboat; we anchored at half-past eleven. Many persons came on board to welcome us, including Monsieur Commundo, who had prepared one of his houses for us. Lady Montefiore and Mr Wire went there immediately. Dr Loewe and I, accompanied by Mr Nugent, a Queen's messenger, who had special despatches for Lord Ponsonby, started for Terapia, and were allowed to leave the vessel at once. It took two hours to row there, the current being very strong. On reaching Terapia we went to Lord Ponsonby's, and found that he was out. Mr Nugent remained, but we returned. There was a strong wind blowing against the current, which made a heavy sea. I passed two hours in the utmost anxiety, and would gladly have landed and walked back, but it was impossible; we should not have found our way. At last we landed safely, but our troubles were not over. We had the greatest difficulty in finding Monsieur Commundo's house. We found two Germans in a little tailor's shop, and they became our guides. I found my dear Judith in a state of great anxiety on our account. It being between seven and eight before we arrived, they had sent in every direction after us; however, we sat down to a good supper, and soon forgot our troubles."
The day after our arrival the Spiritual Heads of the Hebrew communities, accompanied by several of their members, came to pay their respects to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and to invite them to attend divine service in one of their Synagogues on the Day of Atonement, which commenced the same evening, an invitation which was accepted.
During the whole of the following day (the Day of Atonement) Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore remained in Synagogue, returning in the evening at the conclusion of the service, accompanied by many members of the congregation. They were preceded by two men bearing two large wax candles, which had been lighted in the Synagogue the evening before. They received a hearty welcome from their host, Monsieur Commundo, and, having broken their fast, soon retired to rest.
October 8th.—Signor Commundo, with his wife, two sons, and a daughter, paid us a visit in the morning. The little girl, a lovely child about seven years of age, was already engaged, as well as the two boys, aged nine and ten respectively, both handsome, intelligent lads. It reminded Sir Moses of what he had once found fault with when at Haifa. Certain allowances, however, must be made for the peculiarities of the East. Turkey would certainly not yield in this respect to any remonstrances. We called on the British Consul General, and in the evening Sir Moses received a deputation from the European Hebrew community; they spoke much of the necessity for an hospital and schools.
October 9th.—We set off to the Porte to-day, as soon as our visitors had left, with the intention of going later on to Terapia to see Lord Ponsonby. After rowing nearly two hours and a half, we found that it would take us a full hour longer to reach our destination, and that, wind and current being both against us, we should not be able to get back before the Sabbath. Sir Moses, therefore, gave orders to return home.
Saturday, October 10th.—We attended divine service in a very large Synagogue; all the worshippers appeared to be natives of Turkey. At the conclusion of the service we accompanied the Chief Rabbi to his house. He was preceded by three soldiers and six attendants; on passing the guard-house we found the officer with his men in front. They saluted him with every token of respect, as did all the people in the densely-crowded streets. His house was full of people. We partook of some refreshment, and took leave. As we appeared again in the street we noticed a guard of honour walking before us, and an officer with two soldiers following in the rear. Sir Moses wished them to return after going a few paces, but they insisted on accompanying us to the end of the street, an honour Sir Moses was but little desirous of receiving.
Sunday, October 11th.—We afterwards went into three large and handsome Synagogues in the same quarter; adjoining one of these we observed three school-rooms, occupied by about 250 boys. We entered the school, and found the boys divided into three classes, their ages varying from three to twelve. At the request of Sir Moses I examined two boys. They read the Talmud and translated it into Spanish very fluently. Sir Moses was much pleased. The children all appeared to belong to the poorest classes. We had much difficulty in escaping the importunities of the people; many seemed to be in very distressed circumstances. In one room, scarcely six feet square, we saw a mother and five children.
October 4th.—An Austrian steamer arrived in the afternoon from Smyrna, with an English messenger from Syria. It was reported that Commodore Napier had concluded a treaty with the Emir Besheer, by which the latter had engaged to join his forces to the Sultan's. Napier had landed with his marines, and, assisted by the Turks and the troops of the Emir, was in pursuit of Ibrahim Pasha. Many of the Pasha's soldiers had joined the Sultan's party.
October 15th.—Sir Moses went to Lord Ponsonby. Having thanked him for his great assistance in the affair of the Jews at Rhodes and Damascus, he informed him that he wished to have an audience with the Sultan, to thank him for his justice to the Jews, to claim his special protection for them in all his dominions, and to obtain from him a declaration similar to that made by Selim the Second.
Lord Ponsonby said he would give Sir Moses a letter of introduction to Rechid Pasha, who would perhaps be able to forward his wishes. Lord and Lady Ponsonby then begged him to fix a day to dine with them, and Sir Moses returned, much pleased with the interview.
The next five days were spent by Sir Moses in making himself acquainted with the communal affairs of various congregations. Being very anxious to assist them in their endeavours to introduce improvements in their method of education, he had frequent communications with their teachers and school committees. In support of his exertions, at the special request of the ecclesiastical chief and representatives of the congregation, I delivered an address in one of their large Synagogues at Galata, on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the aim of which was to exhort the audience to give more attention than hitherto to the acquisition of a liberal education.
October 22nd.—Mr George Samuel, Mr Pisani, Mr Wire, and myself accompanied Sir Moses to an interview with Rechid Pasha, who received us most kindly. Sir Moses informed His Excellency that he had come to express his thanks, and those of all his co-religionists in Europe, for the humanity and justice which His Excellency and the Sultan had shown in respect to the affair at Rhodes. The Pasha said he was sorry they had not been able to do the same at Damascus. Sir Moses hoped that His Excellency would do him and the gentlemen who accompanied him the honour of introducing them to the Sultan, to which he replied that he thought it might be done. Sir Moses then said that formerly Sultan Selim had issued a Hatti-Sherif, declaring his conviction of the innocence of the Jews of the charge brought against them, and it would be a great satisfaction if the present Sultan would do the same. Sir Moses had prepared a paper, which he requested His Excellency to hear read. Mr Pisani read it to him in French; he thought it very good, and said it might be done. Having had pipes and coffee, we returned home, being engaged to dine with Lord Ponsonby. We had great difficulty in procuring a carriage to take us, and at last agreed with a man to take Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and fetch them back, for the sum of L6 sterling. It was a miserable four-horse concern. Mr Wire and I preferred riding on horseback.
It was a most agreeable party, and we met there several of our acquaintances. His Lordship spoke with Sir Moses on the subject of a bank for Constantinople, and said he wished him and another gentleman, whom he named, to speak with Rechid Pasha about it, and he would be present at the interview. Sir Moses said he would do so, but could not say anything before he returned to England. On the following day the Rev. Dr Samuel Bennet, the Chaplain of the Embassy, lunched with us. He had just delivered an excellent sermon in favour of the Jews in the Damascus affair.
October 26th.—As no appointment had been made, and that evening was the commencement of the Ramazan, during which month the Turks attend to no business, Sir Moses determined to call on Mr Pisani to inquire if he had heard from Rechid Pasha. We went accordingly, and Mr Pisani informed him that he had just received a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, acquainting him that the Sublime Porte would receive a deputation headed by Sir Moses Montefiore on Wednesday evening, three hours after sunset, at the Palace of Beshik Tash. "How great and good," exclaimed Sir Moses, "is the Almighty! At the moment when I most despaired of success, He has granted our petition." Mr Pisani said he had no doubt he should get the Hatti Sherif, but he could not say when. Before we reached home it was six o'clock, and we found by the brilliant illumination of the minarets and mosques that the Ramazan had been declared.
Tuesday, October 27th.—In the course of the day the Haham Bashi, Signor M. H. Fresco, came to Sir Moses by appointment, together with several leading members of the community and the secretary of the congregation. Sir Moses recommended him to issue an order that every school should have a well-qualified master, to teach the children to read and write the Turkish language. Sir Moses offered to pay the first expenses they would have to incur. The Haham readily consented.
An order to that effect had been drawn up in the Turkish, Spanish, and Hebrew languages, and promulgated all over the country.
The Haham Bashi is the head of all the Jews in the Turkish Empire, and his decrees are law. Sir Moses promised him to speak on the subject to Rechid Pasha before leaving Constantinople.
The following is the account, as given in Sir Moses' diary, of his audience with the Sultan:—
"Wednesday, October 28th.—Sir David Wilkie, Mr Pisani, and George Samuel dined with us, and at seven afterwards we set out. Our cavalcade consisted of one carriage with four horses, and one with two horses, six kavasses or police officers, eight men carrying large wax torches, two horsemen with each coach, a sedan chair with each coach, and three men to close the procession. As the carriages could not drive up to our door I was carried in a sedan chair to the foot of the hill, the other gentlemen walked, and I went in the first carriage with Mr Pisani, the British Dragoman; George Samuel, Mr Wire, and Dr Loewe in the second. I wore my full uniform. The streets were crowded; many of the Jews had illuminated their houses. We reached the Palace in rather less than an hour. On descending from the carriages we found in the courtyard a large guard of honour, who presented arms. We were shown into a handsome drawing-room, furnished in the European style. Two magnificent silver candlesticks with large wax candles stood on the ground in the centre of a richly embroidered velvet carpet. We had not been seated two minutes when Rechid Pasha entered; he was most friendly in his manner. We were soon joined by Riza Pasha, and all were served with coffee and pipes, the mouthpieces and bowls of the latter being richly embellished with diamonds.
"Rechid Pasha asked me how long I remained at Alexandria, how often I had seen Mohhammad Ali, and how he looked? In a few moments it was announced that the Sultan was ready to receive us. The two Pashas walked first, I next, and the rest of our party followed, a large throng of officers bringing up the rear.
"We crossed a garden about sixty yards in length, and entered a handsome marble hall; having descended a grand staircase, likewise of marble, we entered into the presence chamber.
"The Sultan was seated on a sofa, clad in his cloak of state, which was fastened at the neck with two large clasps of the finest diamonds. The cloak itself was of a violet colour, similar in cut to our own. He was a good-looking young man, and appeared about twenty-six years of age, though in reality but nineteen. The two Pashas took their station on his left, I and my party on his right. After having received some courteous signs of welcome from him, I delivered the speech I had intended to have read to him, but instead of reading it, I spoke it, as I knew it well by heart, and there was not sufficient light to read it without spectacles. I said as follows:—
"'May it please your Imperial Majesty,—In the name of my brethren, who have deputed me, I come to lay at the foot of your Imperial Throne the grateful homage of their respect.
"'England, my country, and other enlightened nations of the earth, heard the cries of the suffering and persecuted Jews at Damascus and at Rhodes, and they hastened to offer to the sufferers their sympathy and affection. But the Lord God, who ruleth over all, prevented the necessity of their aid at Rhodes, and inspired your Imperial Majesty with wisdom, justice, and the love of truth. Under your righteous direction the oppressor was laid low, the designs of the wicked made known, and the innocent delivered. I therefore crave permission to offer to your Imperial Majesty the profound gratitude of the hearts of our people, and to utter our prayers that the merciful God may bless your Imperial Majesty with length of days, with wisdom, honour, and riches, and so direct all your actions, that your name may be inscribed in golden characters for ever, and the memory of your deeds smell as sweet as a garden of roses.
"'In ancient times the Lord God brought our people out of Egypt, and for ages they dwelt in Palestine; to them were committed the oracles of God, and though now dispersed among the nations of the earth, they are numbered with the most peaceful and loyal subjects, and by their industry they have augmented the riches and prosperity of the countries in which they live.
"'They look with love and veneration upon that land where their forefathers dwelt; they pray that all who live therein may enjoy the shadow of your sublime protection, and in peace be permitted to worship the God of their fathers.
"'Their prayers ascend to Him whose wisdom is absolute, whose decrees are fixed and immutable, whom none can withstand, imploring that he will make your enemies eat the dust, that they may vanish as the morning dew, and flee away as chaff before the wind; that your throne may endure for ever, and that all who live under your sceptre may have peace, sitting under their own vine and their own fig-tree, none daring or wishing to make them afraid.'
"The Sultan listened with great attention, and as soon as I had finished, Mr Pisani repeated it in Turkish. The Sultan smiled whilst he was reading, and showed that he well understood the address and was pleased with it. As soon as Mr Pisani had concluded, the Sultan fixed his eyes on me, and spoke in a mild and pleasing voice. 'I am perfectly satisfied,' he said, 'with the communication made and the sentiments expressed by the deputation.
"'I have been affected by the events which have taken place in Damascus, but I have endeavoured to offer some satisfaction to the Israelitish nation, by giving orders that justice should be done in the affair of Rhodes.
"'The Israelitish nation shall always have, from me, the same protection and enjoy the same advantages as all other subjects of my Empire.
"'I will grant the deputation the firman they have asked.
"'I know, gentlemen, how to appreciate the pure philanthropy which has led you to this capital.'
"Having given his reply, the Sultan requested me to come nearer. Rechid Pasha again presented me by name. The Sultan smiled most graciously, and said, 'Present your friends to me.' I first presented George Samuels, my relative, then Mr Wire of the City of London, and Dr Loewe. When Mr Pisani repeated the last name and the Doctor made a bow, Mr Pisani informed the Sultan that the Doctor had presented to the late Sultan a translation of the hieroglyphical inscription on the Obelisk in the Hippodrome. The Sultan spoke with Rechid Pasha to explain it, and then said he remembered seeing it, and seemed much pleased, and said the Doctor must be a learned man.
"The Sultan could not have given us a more flattering reception; it was at the same time most dignified. The room in which he received us was well proportioned, and neatly furnished in European style. The curtains were of rich yellow satin and embroidered damask and velvet, most probably of French manufacture; the carpet was English; there were two large wax torches standing in elegantly carved candelabras. We descended a flight of marble stairs, and were shown into a large and handsome room, splendidly furnished, and more brilliantly illuminated than the other room. We chatted with Rechid and Riza Pashas, expressed our thanks to them for their great kindness in procuring for us at so unusual a time an audience with His Imperial Majesty, and our gratitude to His Majesty for his gracious reception and reply. I asked Rechid Pasha when I might hope to receive the firman which the Sultan had promised me, as I was most desirous of returning to England the moment I got it. He replied that he supposed I should not go before the next steamer left (on the 7th of November), and that I should have it by that time; but as it was the Ramazan, there was some difficulty in preparing it. We returned in state as we came, the guard of honour saluting us as we passed them in the court of the palace. We were again served, after the audience, in the lower room of the palace with sherbet in elegant glasses, and we had splendidly embroidered table napkins. A military band played during the greater part of the time we were at the Palace. We found the streets still more crowded than when we went; not a window in the whole street through which we passed but was filled with female faces. As we approached the Jewish street we experienced even more difficulty in passing. At the end of the same street Signor Commundo, with the ecclesiastical chief of Galata and about twenty of our acquaintances, insisted on walking with us to our house. I was delighted to see my dear Judith, and to acquaint her with our happy reception and the complete success of our Mission, for which we return our grateful thanks to Heaven."
DISTRESS AMONG THE JEWS AT SALONICA—OPPRESSIVE LAWS WITH REGARD TO THEM—TEXT OF THE FIRMAN—ITS PROMULGATION.
On the 30th of October all the representatives of the Hebrew congregations called to express their thanks to Sir Moses for introducing the study of the Turkish language and its literature in their schools. The letter on the subject, addressed by the Haham Bashi to all the congregations, had been printed, and was to be read publicly on the following day in all the Synagogues in Constantinople.
On Saturday we had the happiness of receiving from Mr Pisani the answer of His Imperial Majesty, which he had delivered to Sir Moses in reply to his address on Wednesday evening, which His Majesty promised should be delivered in writing. Rechid Pasha sent it by Mr Pisani, saying that he was preparing the firman which Sir Moses had requested from the Sultan. The same day the letter of the Haham Bashi was read in all the Synagogues, and caused great satisfaction to all present, as they considered that the introduction of the Turkish language in the Jewish schools would raise the Jews in the estimation of both Moslems and Greeks. We had again many visitors, and received a deputation from Salonica, where there were 5000 Jewish families. Much distress, they said, prevailed there, in consequence of a fire which had destroyed 20,000 houses, of which 2000 belonged to Jews. They had presented a petition to the Sultan for assistance to rebuild the houses, as he had sent money for that purpose to the other inhabitants, but not to the Jews. They also complained that they were forced to pay the Governor large sums of money before he would allow them to bury any one. Sir Moses asked them if persons of other religions were also charged for the privilege of burying their dead; they replied in the affirmative, but said the sum that others paid was very trifling as compared to the charges made to the Jews.
Mr Isaac Picciotto, who had just arrived from Damascus, paid us a visit. He was one of the unfortunate persons accused there, and had only been saved from torture by the protection of the Austrian Consul, he being an Austrian subject. He was kept seven months in the Consul's house, and had only had courage to leave it that week, after the other persons had returned to their homes. He expressed great gratitude for our exertions on their behalf, and shed tears on seeing us.
November 1st.—Mr Alison called, with a request from Rifaat Bey to Sir Moses to fix a day to dine with him, and he would invite Colonel Hodges to meet him. Sir Moses accepted the invitation for the following Wednesday. The intervening days were spent in receiving deputations and friends, and visiting various charitable institutions, where he distributed generous gifts.
November 7th.—Having seen much poverty at Khaskoey, Sir Moses went there, accompanied by Lady Montefiore and myself, to attend prayers at the Synagogue "Major."
On leaving the Synagogue, Sir Moses, according to previous arrangements, commenced distributing among the poor the money he had brought with him. But he was overpowered by the crowd, and had he not been rescued by the guard (two officers and six men) who attended him as a mark of honour, he would not have been able to pass. It required all their force to keep back the crowd till we had reached our abode. Sir Moses was obliged to leave the money with the wardens of the Synagogue to be distributed by them, observing that he had never in any other place witnessed so much poverty and distress.
Poor, however, as the people of Khaskoey were, they devoted a great part of their humble earnings to education, and not only to the education of their children, but also to that of grown-up members of their community; nor did they neglect to contribute to the support of their Synagogues.
My attention was here called to a rather amusing notice affixed to the portals of the Synagogue, containing strict orders and regulations, issued by the heads of the congregation, regarding the best mode of effecting economy in the affairs of the community, collectively and individually. The members and their families were interdicted from wearing costly furs, dresses and head-dresses embroidered with gold or silver. Expensive shawls, gold and silver fringes on the costume, and similar luxuries are likewise prohibited. The women are not to bring their jewellery to the hamam (public bath), where they were in the habit of spending hours chatting with their friends and exhibiting their wealth. Similar restrictions were placed on festivities at weddings and at the naming of boys. Even at funerals the use of costly shawls on the biers of females was not permitted.
The poor of Galata were considered the following day, and we repaired to the Synagogue, there to distribute Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore's gifts.
In the course of the day Mr Pisani called, informing Sir Moses that he would receive a decoration from the Sultan.
Subsequently Sir Moses called on Lord Ponsonby, who promised to do what he could to relieve the distress in Rhodes.
Being pressed for time we soon returned, and proceeded to Rifaat Bey's. "It was already late," says Sir Moses, "when we came there, and found waiting there Lords Canning and Louvain, Colonel Hodges, Captain Gordon, Dr M'Carthy, Mr C. Alison, Rifaat Bey, and several Turkish gentlemen."
The conversation on the events in Syria was very interesting.
About nine o'clock we left the party, much pleased with the novelty of the scene.
November 6th.—We went first to the Austrian Ambassador and then to Rechid Pasha. The latter, who received us in a very friendly manner, said that the Hatti-Sherif was ready, but had not yet been signed by the Sultan. Sir Moses expressed his anxiety to have it as soon as possible, as he was desirous of leaving the next day. The Pasha said that if Mr Pisani came at ten o'clock the same evening to the Porte, he should have it, as he himself would go to Riza Pasha about it, and appointed twelve o'clock the next day to see Sir Moses.
Saturday evening, November 7th.—Sir Moses writes in his diary: "I sat up last night till after twelve, awaiting with great anxiety the return of Mr Wire, who had gone to Mr Pisani's house to fetch the firman for me as soon as Mr Pisani should return from the Porte, where Rechid Pasha had appointed him to be at ten o'clock. I had just fallen asleep when Mr Wire knocked at my door, and showed me the firman which the Sultan had signed. It was beautifully written on thick parchment, and was enclosed in a coloured satin bag. I sent it to Dr Loewe, who had also retired, begging of him to read it and let me know if it was all we could desire for the satisfaction of our brethren. In a little while Mr Wire returned it to me, saying that Dr Loewe had read it, and had assured him it was written in the strongest possible terms as to the innocence of the Jews, as well as for their future protection.
"I then blessed the Lord God for His great goodness, placed the firman under my pillow, and fell asleep."
The next day I walked with Dr Loewe to Rechid Pasha's residence. I took the firman with me, as it had to be deposited in the Archives of the Ottoman Empire, and the Pasha had only sent it to me that I might be convinced of its authenticity. An official copy was, by order of the Sultan, forwarded to the Haham Bashi. His Excellency, Rechid Pasha, received us immediately, and said he hoped I was satisfied with what the Sultan had done for us. Mr Pisani then handed me an official copy of the firman, and I gave the original to the Pasha. I had first begged to be allowed to keep it, but His Excellency said it was impossible, and my copy of it was in every respect accurate.
The following is an exact translation of the firman Hatti-Sherif (addressed to the Chief Judge at Constantinople), at the head of which His Imperial Majesty the Sultan Abd-ool-medjid wrote with his own hand the following words: "Let that be executed which is prescribed in this Firman:"—
"An ancient prejudice prevailed against the Jews. The ignorant believed that the Jews were accustomed to sacrifice a human being to make use of his blood at their feast of Passover.
"In consequence of this opinion, the Jews of Damascus and Rhodes (who are subjects of our Empire) have been persecuted by other nations. The calumnies which have been uttered against the Jews, and the vexations to which they have been subjected, have at last reached our Imperial Throne.
"But a short time has elapsed since some Jews dwelling in the Island of Rhodes have been brought from thence to Constantinople, where they have been tried and judged according to the new regulations, and their innocence of the accusations made against them fully proved. That, therefore, which justice and equity required has been done on their behalf.
"Besides which the religious books of the Hebrews have been examined by learned men, well versed in their theological literature, the result of which examination is, that it is found that the Jews are strongly prohibited, not only from using human blood, but even that of animals. It therefore follows that the charges made against them and their religion are nothing but pure calumny.
"For this reason, and for the love we bear to our subjects, we cannot permit the Jewish nation (whose innocence of the crime alleged against them is evident) to be vexed and tormented upon accusations which have not the least foundation in truth, but in conformity to the Hatti-Sherif which has been proclaimed at Gulhani, the Jewish nation shall possess the same advantages and enjoy the same privileges as are granted to the numerous other nations who submit to our authority.
"The Jewish nation shall be protected and defended.
"To accomplish this object, we have given the most positive orders that the Jewish nation, dwelling in all parts of our empire, shall be perfectly protected, as well as all other subjects of the sublime Porte, and that no person shall molest them in any manner whatever (except for a just cause), neither in the free exercise of their religion, nor in that which concerns their safety and tranquillity. In consequence, the present firman, which is ornamented at the head with our 'Hoomaioon' (sign-manual), and emanates from our Imperial Chancellerie, has been delivered to the Israelitish nation.
"Thus you, the above-mentioned judge, when you know the contents of this firman, will endeavour to act with great care in the manner therein prescribed. And in order that nothing may be done in opposition to this firman, at any time hereafter, you will register it in the Archives of the Tribunal; you will afterwards deliver it to the Israelitish nation, and you will take great care to execute our orders, and this our sovereign will.
"Given at Constantinople, 12th Ramazan, 1256 (November 6th, 1840)."
I gave Rechid Pasha the order issued by the Haham Bashi respecting the instruction henceforth to be given in all the Hebrew public schools in the Turkish language. He read the paper carefully, and said he was much pleased; he also made the following remark: "If you had done nothing else in Constantinople than that, you ought to consider yourself amply compensated for the trouble and fatigue you have undergone, by the consciousness of having been instrumental in affording your brethren the opportunity of raising their position, by a knowledge of the Turkish language." He then told me of his having written to the Pasha of Rhodes to take special care that the Jews were always under proper protection, so that, if they wished to leave the town, they might do so without fear of molestation.
On our return home we found a great many visitors who had come to bid us farewell. Towards evening the representatives of all the congregations called, and prayers were recited at the conclusion of the Sabbath. Soon after dark, Monsieur Le Goff, who had promised to call for us when it would be time to embark, came, and we all went on board. Hundreds of people pressed round us as we embarked, offering prayers and good wishes for our safe return to England.
On the 9th November we landed at Smyrna, where Sir Moses left Greek translations of the firman, as well as many charitable gifts for distribution. Six days later we arrived at Malta, where we learned that St Jean d'Acre had been taken, after three hours' fight, but with very little loss.
This, Sir Moses thought, would settle the affair of Syria, and he had some hope that Egypt itself would soon return to the Sultan. The officer of the Lazaretto came, and advised us to remain on board that day and the next. He told us we should have excellent apartments in Fort Manoel, as the Emir Besheer and his attendants, about 120 persons, would then leave the Lazaretto. Sir Moses agreed to this, and the next day the commandant, Monsieur Le Goff, took us in his boat to Fort-Manoel. The Emir Besheer and his suite only left at nine o'clock. We saw them going in two boats on their way to St Antonio. The Emir Besheer was in the Governor's boat with some of the attendants; the ladies, about twelve of them, were in another boat. The Emir was a noble-looking old man, with a long white beard; the ladies were all dressed in white, and had their faces veiled. I once had the opportunity of seeing the Emir in his mountains at Ebtedeen. His proper name was Emir Sa'ad ed-deen Esh-shehabi. His political movements, as well as his general course of life, from a religious point of view, could not stand the test of a strict investigation. He spoke on one occasion, in the presence of French officers, disrespectfully of the Queen, and also of the Sultan. The British Consul at Damascus, now Sir Richard Wood, escorted him to Constantinople, where he received a serious reprimand from the English Ambassador and the Turkish authorities.
We found that our apartments were not ready for immediate occupation, and we therefore had to remain a long time in the open air, until they had undergone a process of fumigation and ventilation.
November 19th.—A French war steamer arrived in the morning from Alexandria, reporting the recall of Ibrahim Pasha from Syria, and the countermanding of troops under orders for Syria, and of the levy of Bedawees. We also learned that the Pasha had given up the Turkish fleet, and contented himself, with the vice-regal power in Egypt; and that all this had been approved by a council. Sir Moses remarked, "that all this might be true, but if the Sultan allowed Mohhammad Ali to retain Egypt, he would not suffer Syria to remain quiet for twelve months, but would excite insurrections. The English government," he said, "had the game in their own hands, and he hoped they would not throw it away; Syria would never be safe while Mohhammad Ali ruled in Egypt."
September 23rd.—Sir Hector Grey sent the welcome tidings that our imprisonment would be reduced to fifteen days instead of twenty. A few days later, Captain H. M. Austin, of Her Majesty's steam frigate Cyclops, arrived from Beyrout, and gave us a most interesting account of all that had been passing in Syria. He expected that Ibrahim Pasha would be taken, and that Mohhammad Ali would retain Egypt, as our ministers, he said, wished it.
Friday, September 27th.—We had many visitors at Fort Manoel Lazaretto (Malta) this day: Lady Stopford and her daughter, Captain and Mrs Copeland, and the Greek Consul; also Captain Le Goff of the Minos. All of them gave accounts of the state of politics. The French steamer brought us letters from Signor Communda, in which he informed Sir Moses, that Rechid Pasha had sent his chief secretary, accompanied by many officers, to the Jews with the Hatti-Sherif. It was publicly read amidst the universal joy of the people, and prayers were offered up for the Sultan, also for Sir Moses.
DEPARTURE FROM MALTA—NAPLES—ROME—A SHAMEFUL INSCRIPTION—PREJUDICES AGAINST THE JEWS AT THE VATICAN.
November 30th.—Sir Hector Grey called, bringing news (in confirmation of previous reports) to the effect that Commodore Napier had made a convention with Mohhammad Ali: the latter was to give up Syria, recall Ibrahim Pasha, and restore the Turkish fleet, on being guaranteed by the four Powers in his authority over Egypt.
Having accepted an invitation from the Governor to dine with him, we repaired to the Palace, and met a very pleasant party of twenty-four persons. The Governor repeatedly expressed, to Sir Moses his satisfaction with the result of his Mission.
December 2nd.—Major Churchill called, bringing with him Colonel Hugh Rose and Colonel Golquhoun; all offered to take letters and parcels for us to Damascus. Sir Moses availed himself of their kindness, and entrusted Major Churchill with a box containing letters, newspapers, and copies of the Sultan's Hatti-Sherif for transmission to the representatives of the Hebrew community at Damascus.
At ten in the evening we went, by invitation from Colonel Winchester and officers of the 92nd Highlanders, to a splendid ball. All the elite of the island were present, the Governor, the Admiral, &c. Sir Moses was introduced to General Mitchel and all the officers then going to Syra. They offered him every assistance he might desire, and promised to protect the Jews.
Lady Lewis called to invite Lady Montefiore to go with her to see the Emir Besheer's lady, Baheeyat Eddoonya (the beauty of the world), and Sir Moses and party to accompany them, and call on the Emir. The invitation was gladly accepted. We were detained there a long time, the Emir having a great deal to say to Sir Moses respecting his own affairs, as he wished him to intercede on his behalf with the English government.
Saturday, December 5th.—Attended divine service early in the morning, and received in the course of the day the representatives of the Hebrew community. They came to thank Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore for what they had done for them, and wished us a safe voyage home.
The Emir Besheer sent his Bishop to Sir Moses, and begged he would speak with Lord Palmerston. He had written himself to the Queen, praying Her Majesty for his return to the mountains. He wished him to say that his family had ruled there two hundred years, and himself fifty.
Sir Moses promised the Emir to comply with his request, and Lady Montefiore returned compliments and good wishes to the Princess Baheeyat Eddoonya.
December 6th.—Early in the morning we went on board the French steamer Dante at Malta, and after a two days' pleasant sea voyage, dropped anchor in the Bay of Naples.
December 8th.—Sir Moses was very anxious to prepare here for the important work he would have to do at Rome regarding the removal of a scandal that might, at some future period, become a source of great vexation and misery to thousands of innocent Jews.
I allude to the libellous epitaph which the Capuchins at Damascus had inscribed on the stone erected over an opening in which some bones of animals had been put.
The inscription, which had been copied by two monks, was in the Italian and Arabic language, as follows:—
"D. O. M.
"Qui riposano le ossa del P^re Tomaso da Sardegna Miss^o Cappuccino assassinato dagli Ebrei il giorno 5 de Febraro l'anno 1840."
Translation of Italian Inscription.
"Here rest the bones of Father Tomaso of Sardinia, a Capuchin missionary, murdered by the Hebrews on the 5th of February 1840."
Translation of Arabic Inscription.
"The outward appearance of the tomb of Father Tomaso the Capuchin, and its place of wailing. He zealously discharged the duties of his calling as one of the missionaries in Damascus—the Jews slaughtered him—his goodness did not save him.
"The laying down of his bones took place on the 5th of February 1840."
The Baron and the Baroness Charles de Rothschild called soon after our arrival. They considered with us what was best to be done to facilitate the intended proceedings at Rome, and agreed to seek an interview with the Pope's Nuncio. Permission was obtained the same day from the Minister of Police to have the Hatti Sherif printed and published in Italian papers. His Excellency had them printed for Sir Moses, and forwarded him several hundred copies for distribution among friends.
Mr Briggs paid them a visit, and having discussed all that had taken place in Alexandria, expressed much pleasure at the result of the Mission.
Naples, December 10th.—Sir Moses went with Baron Charles to the Pope's Nuncio, who received them most kindly. He complimented Sir Moses, saying that he was an excellent ambassador, as was proved by his success.
On acquainting him with the object of his visit, and asking for his advice as to the best mode of proceeding when at Rome to procure the removal of the stone in the Latin Convent of the Capuchins at Damascus, the Nuncio said that the business must be hinted with much delicacy at Rome; he was going there on the 13th January, and would do it himself if Sir Moses would remain at Naples. Sir Moses, however, could not remain so long, and the Nuncio promised to prepare a letter, to a friend at Rome and send it to him.
In the evening we all dined with the Baron and Baroness de Rothschild. The entertainment was given in honour of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore; twenty-four at table—Princes and Princesses, Dukes and Duchesses, the elite of the Neapolitan nobility, as well as Admiral Gowley and other distinguished officers in the navy. We were also invited to a ball, but Sir Moses was not sufficiently well to go, and Lady Montefiore would not go without him.
December 16th.—A visit was paid to the Austrian Ambassador, Count de Lebselter. Both Sir Moses and Baron de Rothschild were much pleased with his remarks on the recent events in the East.
December 19th.—Sir Moses and Baron Charles went to the French Ambassador, who received them most kindly.
Sir Moses recounted to him Count Ratti-Menton's conduct in the affair of Damascus, with the full particulars. He also told him what he had effected in Constantinople, and he had the happiness of hearing the Ambassador state that it had been his opinion from the first that the Jews were innocent of the crime imputed to them. He several times congratulated Sir Moses on his success; said that he was glad the latter intended going to Paris, and that he should make the government acquainted with the conduct of Ratti-Menton, but without publishing it to the world. The Duke was the first Frenchman that Sir Moses had heard express in so decided a manner his conviction of the innocence of the Jews.
It was reported that the Sultan had refused to ratify Commodore Napier's convention, at the request of the Ambassadors of the four Powers. They would not consent to the Pasha having Candia.
Naples, December 20th.—"We entered our good old carriage this morning," Sir Moses writes in his diary, "at eight; the weather was mild and pleasant. We had four horses to our carriage, and only a pair to the carriage for Mr Wire and Dr Loewe, though I was obliged to pay for three, as we do not intend travelling at night, and are anxious to get on as fast as we can. We hope to save much time and obtain better accommodation on the road by having a courier."
December 22nd.—Through the carelessness of the postilions, Sir Moses' carriage was driven against a cart, the pole of the former being broken. Our carriage also met with an accident, but we nevertheless all reached Rome safely. Soon after entering the gates of the city we were greeted by a deputation of our brethren, who followed us to our hotel, and expressed their pleasure at seeing us return in good health. We then proceeded to the Synagogue, which had been most brilliantly illuminated in our honour.
The people of Rome were delighted with our success at Constantinople; the firman, they considered, gave some reparation for the past and security for the future.
December 23rd.—Sir Moses presented his letter of introduction to Prince Alexander Torlonia, who likewise congratulated him on the success of the Mission.
Another deputation from the Jews of Rome came to express their thanks to Sir Moses for his exertions on behalf of his co-religionists, regretting that it was not in their power to prove their gratitude by something more than words.
Rome, December 24th.—We then called on Baron de Binder, the Attache to the Austrian Embassy. Sir Moses intimated his desire to be introduced to the Austrian Ambassador, in order to thank him for the lively interest he had taken in favour of the Jews of Damascus.
The Baron said he should be happy to introduce him, but as the following day was Christmas day, and the New Year holidays were so near, he feared some few days must elapse before he would be able to get an appointment.
Sir Moses informed the Baron of his earnest desire to be presented to the Pope, to express his gratitude to him for not having permitted the public press of Rome to insert the charges made against the Jews at Rhodes and Damascus, also to present His Holiness with a copy of the firman granted by the Sultan, and to intimate the great act of kindness it would be on his part to advise the removal of the inscription from the stone in the convent at Damascus, over some bones said to be those of Father Tommaso. The Sultan would doubtless, if applied to, order the removal of the stone, as soon as his Governor was in the city; but Sir Moses, well knowing His Holiness' love of truth and peace, felt confident that, if made known to him, he would not permit such a libel to remain.
December 25th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, while visiting one of the public institutions, met the Princess Augusta of Cambridge, who spoke to them most kindly. Prince A. Torlonia sent them the key of his box at the opera. They availed themselves of this kindness in company with several friends. "Being the first representation of the season," writes Sir Moses, "the house was filled to overflowing in every part. The Queen of Spain, the Duchess of Cambridge and her daughter were present, as well as every person of note in Rome. It is customary for the Governor of the city, on the first night of the season, to offer to the audience in the second and third tiers of boxes, ices, cakes, &c., twice during the evening, between the acts. Simultaneously, as if by magic, two waiters entered into each of the sixty-two boxes, one bearing wax candles in silver candlesticks and the other trays with the choicest refreshments. We had one of the best and largest boxes in the house, and remained till nearly twelve."
The following day Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received a beautiful address from the Consistoire Israelite of France, offering congratulations and deep gratitude for their noble exertions.
December 29th.—Sir Moses went with Baron Binder to Count Lebselter, the Austrian Minister. The Count expressed himself most handsomely, saying that he was perfectly convinced of the innocence of the Jews, and that he knew the people well, having been Ambassador at Constantinople for four years. He said he had frequently spoken with the Cardinals on the subject of the Damascus affair, but he did not succeed in converting them to his opinion. He recommended Sir Moses to see Mr Aubin, who then acted as agent for the British Government, and to request Mr Aubin to present him to Signor Capuccini, Under Secretary of State, and explain to him his wishes.
December 30th.—Sir Moses had a long conversation with Mr Aubin, who consented to speak to Signor Capuccini and acquaint him with Sir Moses' desire to be introduced to the Pope. Mr Aubin said, as to the presentation he feared he should not succeed, but thought perhaps he might with the request referring to the firman.
At four o'clock Sir Moses saw Mr Aubin again. He had been with Signor Capuccini, but could not succeed in any way, and was, indeed, most anxious that Sir Moses should not even call upon him. Mr Aubin said that all the people about the Pope were persuaded that the Jews had murdered Father Tommaso, and even if all the witnesses in the world were brought before the Pope to prove the contrary, neither he nor his people would be convinced, and he could do nothing more.
Sir Moses, on hearing this, determined at once to leave his card, together with his letters of introduction, with Signor Capuccini and the Cardinal Tosti, which he did, also leaving cards on Monsignor Bruti and the Abbe Ferrari, and was informed two days later that the Secretary of State had appointed eleven on the following day to receive him.
Sir Moses called on Torlonia, and spoke to him respecting his introduction to the Pope, to solicit his directions for the removal of the stone. The Prince promised to consult his brother, the Duke, and see what could be done; personally he thought it should be done through the Propaganda. Sir Moses left him a translation of Mr Shadwell's letter on the subject.
It was again reported that the Sultan would not ratify Commodore Napier's convention with Mohhammad Ali, but that Lord Palmerston would insist upon the ratification.
We then visited the Ghetto, where we were met by a deputation of our brethren, who took us to see the workshops. We saw many Jewish children at work, some weaving, others making shoes. Sir Moses gave to each child a Spanish dollar, and two Napoleons to each teacher. We next went to the four schools. Sir Moses gave to each boy half a dollar, and fourteen dollars to the students, for the study of the Holy Law.
On our return, Sir Moses found that cards had been left by the Abbe Ferrari; Monsignor Bruti, private chamberlain to the Pope; and Baron de Binder Kriegelstein.
Great anxiety was felt by Sir Moses as to the result of his endeavours to get an audience with the Pope. His petition was already prepared, and he hoped by some means to get it into the Pope's hands. If this could be effected, he thought some good might be done. "Heaven only knows," he said, "my fears are much greater than my hopes; neither the Austrian Minister nor Baron de Binder will do anything."
The Hanoverian Minister had expressed to Baron de Binder his total inability to assist Sir Moses in obtaining an audience with His Holiness. Mr Aubin said he had done all he could, but ineffectually, and Signer Capuccini entreated that Sir Moses would not insist upon seeing the Pope, as the Cardinal Tosti had taken no notice of either Sir Moses' letter or card. "This is the last night of the year 1840," Sir Moses said. "It has been a year of much anxiety, fatigue, and danger to Lady Montefiore and myself, but thanks to the God of our Fathers, we trust its fruits will be productive of much good to His children, not only in the East, but in the West as well."
MONSIGNOR BRUTI AND HIS HINTS—CARDINAL RIVEROLA—INEFFECTUAL ATTEMPTS TO INTERVIEW THE POPE—RETURNING HOMEWARDS—ALARMING ACCIDENT—THE GOVERNOR OF GENOA—INTERVIEW WITH KING LOUIS PHILIPPE.
At Rome, 1st January 1841, Sir Moses writes: "Monsignor Bruti called on us, and I asked his advice as to the best means of obtaining the removal of the stone, &c. He advised my first trying the head of the Capuchins here, also of the Propaganda, before I went to the Secretary of State, and offered, if I would postpone my visit to the Secretary of State, which I had arranged with Mr Kolb for to-morrow, to make enquiries in some influential quarters, and see me again to-morrow to acquaint me with the best mode of proceeding. He spoke in a liberal manner, and appeared to think I might succeed. In consequence of this, Mr Wire wrote to Mr Kolb to postpone the appointment.
"January 2nd.—Monsignor Bruti came in. He said he had spoken to several influential persons, but the one he particularly wished to see was out of town; if he did not return in a few days, he would go to him. Monsignor Bruti thought the petition I had prepared for the Pope very likely to meet with success, if I first gained the concurrence of some of the Capuchins, and he advised my making some presents of money. I instantly stopped him, and assured him that, in the execution of my Mission, I had not given a single dollar, nor would I do so in Rome, even if I was sure to obtain by it the object I had so much at heart. This information had a great effect on his manner of speaking, and he left us in two minutes. I daresay we shall see little more of him."
January 4th.—Mr Kolb went with us to the Monastery to endeavour to see Cardinal Riverola, the head of the Capuchins; he was unwell, but appointed to see us the next day at twelve. Monsignor Bruti called; he seemed very desirous to know how Sir Moses was going on; the latter, however, did not think Monsignor Bruti could assist him.
January 5th.—"I received a letter," Sir Moses writes in his diary, "from Prince Torlonia, expressing his regret that he had not succeeded in his application for me, and enclosing a letter he received from the Chamberlain of His Holiness, stating that at present His Holiness did not give any audiences. At twelve, I and Dr Loewe went to Monsieur C. de Kolb; he joined us, and we went to the Monastery. We were admitted immediately to his Eminence, Cardinal Agostino Riverola. Mr Kolb introduced me. I acquainted the Cardinal with the object of my visit to him, as he was the chief of the Capuchins. I urged the injustice of allowing such a libel to exist in the Convent at Damascus, pointing out that the inscription stated that Padre Tommaso was assassinated by the Hebrews. I said that both Mohhammad Ali and the Sultan were satisfied as to the innocence of the accused, and they had both given me firmans confirming their opinion. The Cardinal said the firman was most important, and he would at once sanction the removal of the stone, whether the firman had been obtained by Rothschild's fortune or by other means. I instantly stopped the Cardinal, and assured him that I had not given a dollar for the firman, nor would I have attempted to obtain justice by bribery. He said that was immaterial, he would not enter into the subject; the firman was of great importance. The inscription, he said, was most improper, as it charged all the Israelites with the murder. What would be said if a Florentine committed a crime, and all Florentines were charged with it? I assured the Cardinal that Padre Tommaso had not been murdered by a Jew, but he did not seem to credit my assurance. I said I thought it possible that the Padre might still be living in one of the Monasteries of Lebanon. The Cardinal laughed, and turning to Mr Kolb, said, perhaps Cardinal Fesch was still living. It was his opinion, however, that the stone should be removed, and he would confer with the general of the Capuchins on the subject, as he could not give instructions for its removal without his concurrence. I asked if he would see him to-day, but he replied, 'Look at the weather; it is impossible, but I will in a day or two.' I enquired when I might call again; he said, 'whenever I pleased.' I gave the Cardinal two copies of the firman, also translations of the letters sent me by Mr Shadwell and the Rev. J. Marshall. The result of my interview leads me to hope that with patience and perseverance I may succeed in getting the inscription removed.
"January 6th.—Signer Scala paid us a visit, and advised me to forward the petition I had prepared for His Holiness to the Cardinal. I and Dr Loewe then went to the Cardinal's house; we sent in the petition, enclosed in one to himself. We then had an interview with him in his library. He told us that he had read the petition, but that it was not his department to present petitions to His Holiness. I asked him kindly to inform me in whose department it was. He replied, the Cardinal's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I gave him two of my pamphlets with the firman, and we took our leave. We returned to our hotel, and I immediately wrote to Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. We took the letter to his house, but he was at dinner, and the servant informed us he must not be disturbed. We could leave the paper, and it would be given to the Cardinal. If we returned at six o'clock we should have an answer. We left the papers. At six, Dr Loewe went to Cardinal Lambruschini. His servant said the Cardinal had read the papers, but he had nothing to do with them; that the application had been made before, and that he returned them. Thus, it appears, all doors are closed against my petition finding its way to His Holiness.
"Mr Kolb said I must be prepared to hear bad news to-morrow from the Cardinal Riverola, as the Cardinal felt great surprise at my boldness in replying to him respecting the Rothschilds having purchased the firman with their fortunes, and also about the Jews not having murdered Father Tommaso. I believe it is not of much consequence, but, at all events, I would not suffer any one to suppose for a moment that I had been base enough to bribe any one for the purpose of freeing the Jews from false and base accusations. At twelve I went with Dr Loewe and Mr Wire to Mr Kolb. He joined us, and we proceeded to the Convent of the Frati di St Marcello to Cardinal Riverola, the protector of the Capuchins. We were all presented to him. I took my seat next to him by his desire. He informed me that he would write to advise the removal of the stone from the Convent of the Capuchins at Damascus; that he could not order the removal of the stone, but would advise it; that the Convent was under the protection of the French authority, who had caused it to be erected; that all the monks belonging to that Convent, except one, had died, and that several monks would be sent there as soon as Syria became more tranquil. The Cardinal was most friendly in his manner. Before I left he returned me the copies of the letters of Mr Shadwell, &c., I gave him to read at my last interview, but he kept the copy of the firman, as well as the copy of the firman of Mohhammad Ali which I gave Mr Kolb for him. Cardinal Riverola had consulted with the Chief of the Capuchins at Rome. It was this person who assured the Cardinal that he had not the power to remove the stone, but if he advised it, the advice would certainly be followed. I must see when I get to Paris what can be done with the French Minister."