Sir Moses then called on Baron Binder and Prince Torlonia, and informed them of what he had done. In the course of the day Signor Scala came to inform him that the Pope had appointed the next day at eleven o'clock to receive the deputation of the Jews of Rome who annually paid their homage to him at that season.
January 8th.—We called on Mr Aubin to ask his advice respecting the petition to His Holiness. He was of opinion that Sir Moses had better not present it unless Cardinal Riverola advised it. We afterwards called on Mr Kolb. He said he was satisfied the Cardinal would keep his promise, and Sir Moses would only do mischief if he attempted to petition the Pope. Signor Scala and the deputation that accompanied him were received by the Pope, who said he was well satisfied with his Hebrew subjects, and would grant them all the privileges his religion permitted.
We quitted Rome on Monday evening (January 11th), and travelling via Viterbo and Sienna, reached Leghorn on the 14th January.
"Most grateful do I feel," said Sir Moses, "to the Almighty for having conducted me and my dear Judith in safety and peace to this my native city."
Saturday, January 16th.—About one o'clock the Chancellor of the Congregation came, saying that he had received an intimation from the Governor of the town that the latter wished to make the acquaintance of Sir Moses, but that etiquette prevented his calling on him, and he had therefore sent his card by his aide-de-camp. In consequence of this we all went to His Excellency, accompanied by the Chancellor, Signer Basevi. He received us most politely, and paid Sir Moses a great many compliments. He said, among other things, that every friend of humanity owed him a debt of gratitude. He was delighted to have made his personal acquaintance, and hoped to see him again.
January 17th.—Accompanied by Signor Basevi, we went to the old burial-ground, where we met seventeen old men who knew Signor R. H. Racah, Sir Moses' uncle and godfather. Sir Moses distributed money among them, and proceeded to the new burial-ground, where, on seeing the grave of one of his relations without a tombstone, he gave the order to have one made at his expense.
19th January.—We left Leghorn at 1 P.M., Sir Moses being obliged to leave by a side door to escape the great numbers of people who were waiting in front of the hotel to pay their respects to the Champion of Israel. About two o'clock we were all much alarmed by Lady Montefiore being suddenly taken seriously ill, with a numbness of her hand and arm, and a dizziness and great pain in the head, which almost deprived her of speech and motion. She was just able to ask for the Prayer Book. Gradually she recovered from the attack, which Sir Moses hoped was only spasmodic, though she remained weak and very unwell.
From Genoa we made our way to Savona, but in consequence of a serious carriage accident, in which Buck, one of the servants, was badly hurt, we immediately returned to Genoa to obtain medical assistance. By some misunderstanding which had arisen between our couriers and the postillions of another carriage on the road, that of the Prince and Princess Marc de Beauvaix, in changing horses, ours took fright and went off down a hill. On the one side there was a deep precipice, of at least a hundred feet, into the sea; on the other a deep ditch. The carriage was thrown into the ditch, and fell on the side of the hill, which prevented it from being entirely overturned. Sir Moses, on getting Lady Montefiore out of the carriage, found she had lost all power to help herself, and placed her on the side of the road, while he endeavoured to restore her. As soon as the carriages were ready again, the invalids were carefully placed in them, and we all returned to the Hotel Croce di Malta, our old quarters, where we found everything prepared for us, all having been ordered by the young couple who were the innocent cause of our misfortune. We soon had Robert carried to bed, and Dr Bennett, an English surgeon and a very clever man, very carefully examined the patient, and did all that was necessary for his comfort and recovery. He said the wound in his leg would be of no consequence, but if it had been extended the hundredth part of an inch it would have cut the artery, and he would have bled to death before we could have even placed him in the carriage.
Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were much fatigued and agitated, but full of deep gratitude to Heaven for the mercy shown to them and to their faithful servant, Robert, whom they would not leave; and they remained at Genoa till he was sufficiently recovered to travel.
January 26th.—Mr Yates Brown, the British Consul, called with the compliments of the Governor of Genoa, who desired to make Sir Moses' acquaintance. The latter agreed to accompany him the next day to His Excellency.
January 27th.—I accompanied Sir Moses to His Excellency the Marchese Paulucca, the Governor of Genoa, who received him most kindly, enquired as to the result of his voyage to the East, and was happy to hear of its success. "He had never," he said, "for a moment believed the charges against the Israelites; he had been Governor of Georgia, where there were many of that nation, and he had never heard of such a thing; he had known many Jews for eighteen years, and respected them. He had allowed a contradiction of the charge to appear in the Genoa Gazette, for which he said he had been reprimanded by the Government; nevertheless, he was glad he had done it. Sir Moses gave His Excellency two copies of the firman, with which he seemed much pleased. The Rev. E. Bondi subsequently related to Sir Moses an anecdote concerning the Marchese. About three months previously an Englishman, a Protestant, with a large family, had given much trouble to the British Government respecting a claim he had on the Sardinian Government, but not having succeeded in gaining his object, in a fit of spleen he embraced the Catholic religion with all his family. The ceremony took place in the great church at Genoa, in the presence of the King, the Royal family, and the great officers. On the following day the King inquired of the Marchese Paulucca if he was not delighted with the beautiful ceremony (supposing him to have been present), but the latter informed His Majesty that he was not in the church at the time. The King expressed his surprise, and inquired the reason. The Marchese replied that he disliked hypocrisy of all kinds. The King was silent, but did not speak to him for three days."
Monsieur Blaurie, the Consul General of France, sent us the key of his box at the opera, and begged we would go there in the evening, but Sir Moses declined the favour.
Friday, January 29th.—Mr Wire left us to-day to proceed by sea to Marseilles and thence to England, accompanied by a French courier whom Sir Moses engaged to attend him. The Gazette of Genoa (a paper which contained many articles unfavourable to the Jews) now published the firman, and other journals followed the example. The representatives of the Hebrew community requested to be favoured with some copies, to be distributed among their acquaintances, not only in this city, but in every town where there were Israelites, as they had all suffered more or less by the infamous calumny. In Genoa a song had been printed and sung about the streets, relating the particulars of the supposed murder of Padre Tommaso, and the confessions of the persons accused of the crime.
February 1st.—Lord and Lady Roden and Lady Stratford Canning came to see Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. They spoke much on the subject of our Mission. His lordship told Sir Moses that the upper classes even of that place were ignorant and fanatic. An Italian lady only three days before told him at a large party that a young woman was missing in the city, and she believed the Jews had taken her, with the intention of keeping her for a time to see if her blood was pure, and then to kill her to use the blood in the Passover cakes. His lordship asked her the name of the person who gave her the information, and on what authority they did so, but she could not answer that question.
February 9th.—We travelled by Marseilles and Avignon, and reached Lyons the next day.
February 17th.—Reached Auxerre. During the last three days we had noticed some reports in the papers to the effect that Sherif Pasha, the late Governor of Damascus, had incurred the displeasure of Ibrahim Pasha, the latter having threatened to have him tried by court martial. His troubles were therefore beginning, and he would perhaps regret the injustice he committed when enjoying the favour of his Highness.
February 18th.—On our arrival at Paris, Mr S. Almosnino, the Secretary of the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew congregation of London, came expressly to Sir Moses to deliver some letters to him from the representatives of that body. Sir Moses was much pleased to see this worthy and faithful officer of his community, and gave him a hearty welcome. After paying visits to the Barons James and Solomon de Rothschild, to report to them on the result of the Mission, Sir Moses left his card at Lord Granville's.
Friday, February 19th.—Sir Moses called on Lord Granville, and told his lordship that he was anxious to present to His Majesty the King a copy of the firman Hatti-Sherif granted by the Sultan to the Israelites in his dominions. His Lordship said, as Monsieur Thiers had taken a prominent part in the affair of Damascus, it was probable the King might not wish to receive the firman. Sir Moses replied that he thought His Majesty too great a lover of justice to refuse his request. His Lordship then asked him whether he would publish the refusal, in case the King's reply should be unfavourable. Sir Moses immediately replied in the negative; that his object was to promote peace, and not to create animosity. Upon which his Lordship said he would consult Monsieur Guizot, and let him know the result. The next day Sir Moses received a note from Lord Granville, informing him that His Majesty had notified his willingness to receive him at the Tuileries the same evening.
Saturday, February 20th.—At half-past eight his Lordship also informed him in a second note that he would be at the Palace to present him.
The following is an account of the interview with the King in Sir Moses' own words:—
"I was so fatigued that I could eat no dinner, but dressed myself in my uniform, and at half-past eight I went to the Palace, accompanied by Dr Loewe. A minute or two afterwards Lord Granville came in, and we were immediately conducted into the presence of the King and the Royal family. There were a number of officers in the room. His Majesty came up the moment we entered. Lord Granville presented me. I then offered to the King the translation of the Hatti-Sherif; he accepted it of me in a most gracious manner, said he was happy to receive it, and enquired if I had been at Damascus. I informed him that the disturbed state of the country had prevented me, but His Majesty would perceive by the firman I had the honour of placing in his hands, that there was no longer any occasion for my going, as the Sultan had expressed his entire conviction that the accusations against the Jews at Damascus were calumnies. His Majesty said he was happy it was so. He said he feared he had put me to some inconvenience by the very short notification he had given me, but as to-morrow was Sunday, he was fearful it would be detaining me longer at Paris than I wished. He then turned to Lord Granville, and said he also feared he had occasioned him some inconvenience. Dr Loewe was then presented, and Lord Granville took me to the Queen, and afterwards to the King's sister; both were very gracious, and spoke to us in French for a long time.
"There was a Member of the Chamber who appeared to know me, and spoke to me about the Damascus affair. He began to rail against Monsieur Thiers, but I stopped him, saying that the result of my Mission had been so completely successful, I was desirous of having everything of an unpleasant nature forgotten."
Sir Moses expressed himself to all his friends as being greatly pleased with his reception by the King.
Numerous visitors called and left cards. Some of them came expressly from England, so as to be able to offer their hearty welcome to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore a few days sooner than they could have done by awaiting their arrival at home.
February 22nd.—Sir Moses went to Monsieur Guizot, who was very civil, and spoke much on the Mission. He requested Sir Moses to give him copies of the letters he had received from the Rev. Joseph Marshall, Lieutenant Shadwell, and the Rev. E. Schlientz.
On his return to the hotel the members of the Consistoire Israelite, the spiritual chiefs of the community, and deputations from all the charitable institutions called, and presented to him and Lady Montefiore addresses of congratulation.
February 24th.—We left Paris, and reached Dover on Friday, where we rested over the Sabbath.
HOME AGAIN—SIR MOSES PRESENTS A FACSIMILE OF THE FIRMAN TO THE QUEEN—HER MAJESTY'S SPECIAL MARK OF FAVOUR—REFORM MOVEMENT AMONG THE LONDON JEWS—APPEAL FOR ENGLISH PROTECTION FROM THE JEWS IN THE EAST.
February 28th.—In the evening we arrived at Park Lane, London, where Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received a hearty welcome from their relatives and friends.
The next morning, and for many days afterwards, visitors called in great numbers. Deputations from various communal institutions, literary societies, and financial companies arrived and presented addresses.
In most of the Synagogues special services were held, and the exertions of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore in the cause of suffering humanity, and in the vindication of the purity of the religious tenets of Israel, were warmly acknowledged by all present.
The Hebrew communities of Paris, Hamburg, Frankfort-on-the-Main, and Magdeburg, together with those established in Italy, the United States of America, the Barbary States, Egypt, and Turkey, all sent testimonials, which are now preserved in Judith, Lady Montefiore's Theological College at Ramsgate.
March 3rd.—Sir Moses went to Lord Palmerston to thank him for his great kindness and assistance in his Mission, and to give him an account of all that had occurred at Alexandria and Constantinople. He also spoke to him of the Emir Beshir, having promised the latter when at Malta to intercede in his behalf with the British Government. Sir Moses asked his Lordship whether he might present the Queen with a copy of the firman Hatti-Sherif, to which Lord Palmerston replied that he had no doubt Her Majesty would be happy to receive it.
In accordance with his Lordship's permission, Sir Moses presented the copy of the firman to the Queen on Wednesday, the 24th of March.
The following is a copy of his entry in the diary referring to the subject:—"Attended the Marine Board at 11.30; the Alliance Board at 12; at 12.45 returned home and dressed in my uniform. Mr H. de Castro, Mr Waley, Mr H. H. Cohen, Mr Wire, and Dr Loewe came, and we proceeded to St James' Palace to attend the levee. I had the honour to present the Queen with the firman. The following is the copy of the card that was read to Her Majesty:—'Sir Moses Montefiore, F.R.S., presented by the Right Honourable Viscount Palmerston on his return from the East, to present a facsimile and translation of the firman granted by the Sultan to His Imperial Majesty's subjects professing the Jewish religion.' Mr Wire and Dr Loewe were presented by me to the Queen. I had a most gracious reception, and kissed hands."
As a token of royal approbation, Sir Moses had the satisfaction of being informed, three months later, that Lord Normanby would have great satisfaction in recommending the grant of supporters to his armorial bearings. "The supporters I wish for," Sir Moses writes in his diary, "are to exalt our holy religion by displaying 'Jerusalem' in a more distinguished manner than I could otherwise have done."
My readers may perhaps care to have the opportunity of perusing the material portions of this document, which are as follows:—
"Victoria, by the grace of God, &c.—Whereas it has been represented unto us, that our trusty and well-beloved Sir Moses Montefiore, &c., &c., in consequence of information having been received from the East, that a number of Jews had been imprisoned and tortured at Damascus and at Rhodes, and that he had, in conformity to a voluntary offer, made at a General Meeting of the London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews and others, held on the 15th of June last, proceeded (accompanied by Lady Montefiore) to Alexandria, with the view of proving the falsity of the accusation, and of advocating the cause of his unfortunate and persecuted brethren."
[Here follows an account of what Sir Moses had accomplished in the East.]
"We, taking the premises into our Royal consideration, and being desirous of giving an especial mark of our Royal favour to the said Sir Moses Montefiore, in commemoration of these his unceasing exertions on behalf of his injured and persecuted brethren in the East, and the Jewish nation at large, have been graciously pleased to allow him to bear Supporters to his Arms, although the privilege of bearing Supporters be limited to the Peers of our Realm, the Knights of our Orders, and the Proxies of Princes of our Blood, at Installations, except in such cases wherein, under particular circumstances, We have been pleased to grant our Licence for the use thereof."
The document proceeds to describe the supporters as follows:—
"On the Dexter side, Lion guardant, and on the Sinister side, a Stag, each supporting a Flagstaff, therefrom flowing a Banner to the dexter, inscribed 'Jerusalem' in Hebrew characters."
During his stay at Alexandria, and on his return to London, Sir Moses addressed letters to the Jews at Damascus, advising them to endeavour to conciliate the Christians in that city, as well as those who were known to be their most violent enemies. In connection with these letters, Raphael Farkhi, the principal representative of the Damascus community, now forwarded to him the following important communication, wherein he satisfactorily refuted certain calumnies, which, according to the Times newspaper, had been renewed against the Jews in Damascus.
"In addition to what I have already stated," Signor Farkhi writes, "I have already mentioned to Sir Moses, in a former letter, that as soon as the Pashas of His Majesty the Sultan arrived at Damascus, they reinstated me in my former office, the duties of which are to assist in the magistrates' department in managing the affairs of the city; this honour was conferred on me in accordance with a direction in the Sultan's firman. When the English Consul (Mr Wherry) and the detractors whom I have spoken of, heard of this distinction, so auspicious to our people, they were moved with the same mortification as that which they had exhibited when the arrival of Sir Moses at Alexandria destroyed their plans and rescued us from the cruel fate to which they had destined us; and the English Consul immediately repaired to the Governor of the city, and recommended him to dismiss me and put a non-Israelite in my place, under whom I might act as servant or deputy. But, by the blessing of the Almighty, this attempt against my interest utterly failed; for the Governor declined to adopt the plan thus suggested to him. In consequence of their envious scheme being thus defeated, they are seeking other means to inflict injury on us, by making a false charge against the Israelites of having insulted their religion, which they communicated to his Excellency the Governor Ali Pasha, and to the three Consuls, in order that the charge might be circulated in other and distant countries, and a universal prejudice created against the Israelites.
"As a further proof that the Israelites are innocent of the crime imputed to them, I have to mention that His Excellency Ali Pasha sent for me one day, and after having received an assurance from myself that such a deed would be contemplated with abhorrence by all our nation, he made many rigid enquiries amongst various honourable and respectable gentlemen concerning what had been disseminated by our enemies, the result of which was, that he declared himself convinced of the utter groundlessness of the foul report; and he replied to the heads of the Christians in the city that henceforth they ought to treat us with justice and equity; and he then commanded me that I should take upon myself to see that my people should behave themselves as might best become them, which commands I have been mindful to fulfil.
"Our enemies endeavoured to engage the Russian Consul at Beyrout on their side, but he was not disposed to give any credit to their statement, and therefore despatched his faithful interpreter to Damascus, to make proper inquiries; and the result of his interpreter's labours was an opinion which to us was most flattering. The Most Reverend the Patriarch of the Greek Church has also recorded his testimony, with the Russian Consul at Beyrout, that the accusation was utterly false, and could only have emanated from a malicious spirit.
"Every member of our community behaves with the greatest courtesy to every Christian, whether rich or poor, and often with marked humility. We seek not to gratify any revengeful feeling for what has passed, but yet all our endeavours have hitherto proved ineffectual. There can be no other reason for that than the anger and jealousy of the men, for they wished and intended to kill us, and since Moses, our brother, rescued us from their hands, destroyed their plans, and frustrated their intentions, this jealousy has rankled in their hearts, and they seek to bring more accusations against us, although we are not guilty of any wrong."
Sir Moses sent a letter on the subject, with a translation of the original, to the Morning Chronicle, which was inserted on the 5th July 1841.
His attention after this time was directed to matters of a business character.
On the 7th of May Mr Hananel de Castro, who rendered most efficient services in connection with the Mission to Damascus, informed Sir Moses that he had been elected President of the London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews. On the 16th of that month he attended an important meeting of the Elders of his Synagogue, at which a motion was brought forward respecting a reform movement in the community. Four days later he presided over a meeting of the Board of Deputies held at his own house for the same purpose, at which every member of the Board, with only one exception, attended. The debate was warm, but not personal. Sir Moses, nevertheless, apprehended great agitation in the community, and felt much anxiety as to the result. He entertained the most liberal principles in matters of religion; although himself a staunch supporter of the time-honoured usages of his religion, he did not interfere with the opinions or acts of those who differed from him unless compelled to do so by actual duty. But when, as President of the Board of Deputies, or of any other institution, he had to give his opinion on religious matters, he invariably referred to the Spiritual Head of the community for guidance; he regarded a word from him as decisive, and obeyed its injunctions at whatever cost to himself.
There was never any doubt in his mind as to the spirit which should prevail in their deliberations on the intended reform in the community; and he maintained that the religious tenets of Israel, as revealed in the Code of Sinai, would invariably stand the test of reason.
"They are," he would add in the words of Scripture, "to show our wisdom and understanding in the sight of nations;" and he did not consider that he would be acting in accordance with the dictates of truth and justice if he were to accept laymen, however learned they might be, as authorities on religious subjects for the guidance of the whole community.
Some of his colleagues at the Board, however, did not acknowledge the authority of the Ecclesiastical Chief of the community, and relying entirely on their own judgment, would not accept the dictates of the ancient teachers by whose decisions and interpretations of the sacred text Hebrew communities had been guided for thousands of years. The result was that the debates at their meetings became very heated, and bore evidence of the fervour displayed in a cause they had so deeply at heart, thus foreshadowing a struggle which threatened to extend beyond the confines of the Board.
May 21st.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore attended the Queen's Drawing-Room, and met with a most gracious reception. The Duchess of Kent and the Princess Sophia Matilda expressed pleasure at seeing them. The Duke of Cambridge shook Sir Moses by the hand in a very friendly manner, and said he was glad to see him safe back, that his efforts had done him great honour, and that he deserved much praise.
May 23rd.—He presented an address to Mr H. de Castro, voted to him by the Deputies, in appreciation of his services in connection with the Mission of Damascus. On this occasion all the Deputies were entertained by Sir Moses at his house in Park Lane.
A week later he attended a meeting to consider the means for establishing a branch Synagogue in the West End, which, when opened to the community, would afford a practical proof that the statutes of their ancient community hitherto prohibiting divine service to be held in any other building than that at Bevis Marks, had been reconsidered.
The events of the year continued to bring with them much anxiety, owing to the agitated state of the community in connection with the reform movement. In the month of August the Ecclesiastical Chief took what he considered necessary measures to express his opinion publicly for the guidance of those who adhered to his rule, which naturally raised the excitement of the contending parties, and not unfrequently disturbed the peace of many a family circle.
The death of the mother of Sir Moses, a most virtuous daughter of Israel, spread a deep gloom over the whole family, and more especially over her beloved son Moses, and Judith his wife.
His brethren in the East appealed to Sir Moses to intercede with the English Government to take them under their protection. They complained of being compelled by local governors to pay heavier taxes than any of the non-Israelite inhabitants. Both Lord Palmerston and his successor, Lord Aberdeen, listened with great kindness to the statements made to them on that subject by Sir Moses. Lord Palmerston, in reply to his representations, said the Christians had suffered more than the Jews from the Governor being a fanatic, and added that he (Sir Moses) had his authority to write to the Jews in the East that if they had any serious complaints to make, the English Consuls would attend to them, and forward them to the Ambassador at Constantinople, who would represent them to the Ministers of the Porte. Sir Moses took the opportunity of speaking to his Lordship respecting Smyrna, Safed, and Damascus, and he had the satisfaction of hearing from him that the Governor of the latter city would be changed in consequence of the reports which had been made.
Lord Aberdeen, with whom he subsequently had an interview on the same subject, said that he saw no objection to the British Consul receiving the statements of grievances made by the Jews, and transmitting such statements to the British Ambassador at Constantinople, who would be directed to confer thereon with the Ministers of the Porte, with a view to the redress of the grievances complained of.
On Sir Moses pressing the desire of the Jews in the East to be brought under British protection, his Lordship replied that he did not see how it could be accomplished. All the European Powers were extremely jealous of any interference on the part of England. His Lordship added, however, that he would consider the best means to afford the Jews protection for the sake of humanity and justice.
On the 7th of November, Sir Stratford Canning, previous to leaving for Constantinople, called on Sir Moses, and afterwards sent him a note, appointing to see him on the following day at twelve o'clock. Sir Moses accordingly went to him. The purport of this interview was to solicit protection for the Israelites in the East. Sir Moses informed him of the directions given by Lord Palmerston, and Sir Stratford said he should be happy to do all that his duty permitted, and to hear from Sir Moses whenever he pleased. They had a long and interesting conversation respecting the Jews and the Holy Land, and Sir Moses was exceedingly gratified by Sir Stratford's kindness.
Amongst the numerous letters received by Sir Moses on this matter was one from Messrs Grindlay, Christian & Matthews, East India Agency, containing an extract from a letter from Commodore Brucks, of the Indian navy, which showed that the great esteem in which both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were held by the people in the far East sometimes proved detrimental to the interest of their admirers. "A Jew," it stated, "and his wife had been passing themselves off for Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. Under this supposition the Government Agent at Muscat, a Jew of the highest respectability, received them, and did all in his power to make them comfortable. They eventually left, telling him they would pay when they came back, leaving him more than a thousand dollars out of pocket."
On reading this, Sir Moses at once expressed a desire to ascertain the name of the victim of the fraud, in order that he should not suffer any loss on his account.
PRESENTATION FROM HAMBURG—SIR MOSES MEETS THE KING OF PRUSSIA—ADDRESS TO PRINCE ALBERT—ATTEMPT ON THE QUEEN'S LIFE—PETITIONS TO SIR MOSES FROM RUSSIA.
The entries of the next five years in the diaries refer to numerous important events, interspersed with appeals from communities to Sir Moses to plead the cause of their brethren before the Emperor of Russia.
The Hamburg Jews, who were among the first to support their British friends in the mission to Damascus, had a gold medal struck, which was presented to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore by Mr H. de Castro. The complimentary address which accompanied it, in speaking of the Queen, says:—
"God bless Her Majesty, and prosper her, whose enlightenment knows how to appreciate and reward such exertions as are performed for the benefit of us and ours."
The obverse of the medal bears a representation of the arms of Sir Moses Montefiore. The margin has a verse in Hebrew, taken from Psalm cxxii. 8: "[Hebrew] LEMANN AKHAI VEREAI ADABERA NA SHALOM BEKHA" ("For the sake of my brethren and companions I will declare peace unto thee"); and a chronogram in Hebrew: [Hebrew] "SHNAT GAON ISREAL LEP'AK" signifying, "The year of the pride of Israel," the numerical value of the dotted lines representing the date of the Damascus Mission, viz.: 5601.
The reverse has a German inscription, which, rendered in English, is: "Dedicated to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, after their return from Egypt, in the year 1841, by their co-religionists of Hamburg." My esteemed friend, the late Mr M. Haarbleicher, exerted himself greatly in this matter.
Unfortunately, one night burglars got into the drawing-room of Sir Moses' house at Park Lane, and took the medal, together with many other valuable articles. There is only a facsimile of the medal in bronze now left in my cabinet, which the Committee in Hamburg kindly presented to me.
January 31st.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received an invitation from the Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Inverness to lunch with them on the first of February, as His Majesty the King of Prussia had intimated to them his intention of honouring them with his company. Sir Moses went early in the morning of the following day to Somerset House to see the King of Prussia admitted as fellow of the Royal Society, together with Baron Alexander von Humboldt; and before two o'clock he and Lady Montefiore were at Kensington Palace.
The Duke and Duchess received them very kindly, and the Duke promised to introduce them to his Royal visitor. He said he was anxious that his invitation should be forwarded in time, as he was desirous of introducing Sir Moses to the King of Prussia, which he did almost as soon as the King entered; informing His Majesty, at the same time, of the journey of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to the East. The King, Sir Moses says, was very gracious; but remarked (speaking of Padre Tommaso), "but the poor man is dead;" upon which Sir Moses ventured to point out to His Majesty, that it was by no means certain that the man was dead. "It was a truly Royal banquet," Sir Moses writes, "about sixty persons being present. The Duke made a liberal and excellent speech about religions in general, but the King did not notice it in his reply." They were delighted with the kindness of their Royal Highnesses, and of those they knew. Lord Lansdowne hoped they had not forgotten him. Lord Palmerston enquired what reports he had from the East, and whether the English Consuls were behaving better.
On the following day, Mr Attwood, one of the Directors of the Imperial Continental Gas Association, expressed a wish that Sir Moses should accompany him to see the King of Prussia, who had consented to receive a deputation from the Association; and in compliance with this wish he went with them. He met Sir J. L. Goldsmid at the office, and they proceeded to Buckingham Palace. "There were," Sir Moses observes, "many persons waiting." He saw there Lord Roxley, Sir Robert Inglis, Sir Robert Adair, and many noblemen and clergymen.
They were soon admitted to the King's presence, and were very graciously received. Mr Attwood read the address, and the King spoke a few words to each of them. He recognised Sir Moses, observing that he had spoken to him on the previous day, and enquired whether he was settled in England; the King thought he lived in Italy. He spoke to Mr Attwood about Parliament and the new buildings, and laughingly said, he supposed that the Association would light them.
February 5th.—About this time Sir Moses pointed out the spot at Ramsgate where it was his wish, when it should please the Almighty to call him, that his earthly remains might repose, with those of his beloved wife. The spot was marked out by four hurdles, which he assisted in placing there. Possibly the illness of his brother's wife, which, a few days after, terminated in her death, cast a gloom over his mind, which made him consider it advisable to prepare himself for such an event.
He was much grieved by this family affliction, and remained in the house for several days; owing to which he was unable to present an address of congratulation to the Queen on the birth of the Prince of Wales. Mr De Castro and two other Deputies of the London Committee of the Board had to present it instead; as also an address to Prince Albert, and later on, one to the Duchess of Kent. They were most graciously received, and Her Royal Highness desired them to express her great regret at Sir Moses' absence, and at the cause of it. Colonel Cooper, the next day, by desire of the Duchess, wrote him a letter, to assure him of her sympathy on this melancholy occasion.
In the same month he made a donation of L200 for the repair of the ancient Synagogue of the Spanish and Portuguese community, as it was greatly needed, and thereby induced others to follow his example. He also took steps to have the Synagogue included in the clause of exemption from property tax, in which he succeeded, by the kindness of Mr John Masterman, who wrote a letter to Mr Goulbourn on the subject.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer promised that he would so alter the wording of the Income-Tax Bill as to meet Sir Moses' wishes. Sir Robert Peel also wrote to him a letter to the same effect.
May 31st.—There is an entry referring to an attempt on the Queen's life. "Last evening," he writes, "an attempt was made on the life of our gracious Sovereign, which, through the protection of Almighty God, was happily preserved. It is most difficult to believe that any mortal in his senses could attempt such a thing. May the God of Israel shield the Queen from all harm, and bless her with every happiness and long life. I convened a meeting of Deputies to forward letters of congratulation to the Queen, Prince Albert, and the Duchess of Kent, on the providential escape of the Queen, and went with Lady Montefiore and Dr Loewe to Kensington Palace to enter our names in the visitors' books of the Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Inverness; afterwards to Buckingham Palace, in Prince Albert's book; and Clarence House, to the Duchess of Kent."
July 2nd.—Attended a meeting at the Thatched House Tavern, St James Street, for the purpose of selecting an artist to carry out the resolution agreed to at a previous meeting for the erection of a statue to Sir David Wilkie.
Sir R. Peel, who took the chair, proposed that a sub-committee should be appointed, consisting (in addition to the officers already appointed) of the Duke of Sutherland, the Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Mahon, Sir Francis Clark, Sir Thomas Mahon, Sir Martin Archer Shee, Sir William Newton, Mr Phillips, Sir Moses Montefiore, Mr Burnett, Mr Rogers, and Mr Henry Labouchere, M.P.
Sir Moses was also one of the Committee appointed to watch the progress of the statue. He had entertained a high regard for Sir David since making his acquaintance at Constantinople, and was glad to have the opportunity of showing it on this occasion.
July 24th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were honoured by a visit from Viscount and Viscountess Ponsonby. His Lordship, who had shown them much kindness and attention during their sojourn in the Turkish Capital, spoke of the benefit which the people of the East would derive from the encouragement of industry among them. This reminded Sir Moses of a promise which he had made to a very industrious person in the Holy Land, and on the same day he sent a printing press and fount of type to the value of L105 to Israel Drucker in Jerusalem, whose acquaintance he had made at Safed, during his second journey to the Holy Land. It was this same printing press which the recipient, out of gratitude to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, called "Massat Moshe Ve Yehoodit" (a gift of Moses and Judith), that, forty-three years later, caused Professor Roehling of Prague to accuse Sir Moses of having printed a book which he (Professor Roehling) said was intended to prove the use of blood for Jewish ritual purposes. The printing press which Sir Moses sent was accompanied by a beautifully written Scroll of the Pentateuch.
August 2nd.—Sir Moses received a deputation from the representatives of the New Synagogue at Liverpool, requesting his mediation in a communal dispute. He strongly advised their reunion with the old Synagogue, and promised to see the deputation again.
A few days later he and Lady Montefiore left England for Paris, to be present at the wedding of the daughter of Baron James de Rothschild.
He describes that event in the following words:—
"Paris, Hotel Windsor, Wednesday, August 17th.—The great day has at length arrived, and, happily, our presents also: they were sent last night to the Bois de Boulogne. Ours was similar to that we gave to Baron Charles and Louisa de Rothschild; a large and handsomely-carved ewer and basin, worth L180. We left Paris before twelve o'clock, and on reaching the Bois de Boulogne, found the party already assembled, all the ladies most elegantly dressed. A procession was formed by a number of choristers, led by the ministre officiant, and preceded by the Grand Rabbin. Then followed the bridegroom with his brother, Baron Lionel de Rothschild, as best man, and on his left Baron James; afterwards, Barons Salamon, Anthony, and the other relatives and friends present. We proceeded to a magnificent canopy of white satin and gold embroidery, erected in the garden: the ground was covered with velvet carpets. The path leading to the canopy was covered with crimson cloth strewn with roses. The choir was singing Hebrew hymns all the time. Then followed the bride, led by her mother and Mrs de Rothschild, the other ladies following. Under the canopy stood the bride and bridegroom, their parents, Barons Anselm, Lionel, and myself. The marriage ceremony was performed by the Grand Rabbin, who delivered an excellent discourse in French. After the ceremony the whole party walked to the Swiss cottage in the garden, where a sumptuous breakfast was laid. No toasts or healths were drunk, but grace was said. Afterwards the gentlemen went back to Paris to dress, the ladies being accommodated in the house. We were back again by four o'clock, and now found the ladies most magnificently attired. At seven we entered the banquetting room. It was in a perfect blaze of light: only once, at the Archbishop of Canterbury's, have I seen such splendour. The repast consisted of all the luxuries the world produces. The gardens were brilliantly illuminated. The host and hostess were most attentive. It was past eleven when we left."
On the day after the wedding he called on Rechid Pasha, the Turkish Ambassador, and writes in his Diary:—
"The Pasha received me instantly, and told me how pleased he was to meet me in Paris, and how happy it made him that he was able to assist me in Constantinople to further the cause of justice and humanity. He said he hoped to see me again in Turkey. He asked me whether I had seen Lord Ponsonby, and what I thought of the disturbances in Manchester and the manufacturing districts. I assured him that they were of no consequence. He asked me to be permitted to introduce his sons to me: three very fine boys, the eldest about sixteen, the others ten and eight years old. The youngest was very fair, and appeared to be the favourite. The Ambassador told me that the note he had sent me yesterday was written by the youngest. After chatting a little longer I took my leave, the Pasha begging of me to preserve him my friendship. I gave him Dr Loewe's Circassian-Turkish and English Dictionary, with which he seemed much pleased, and asked me to thank Dr Loewe in his name for it. Later we paid our farewell visits to all the Barons de Rothschild and their families, and prepared for our departure."
September 15th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore received at Park Lane, through the Baroness Lionel de Rothschild, a beautiful silver gilt cup made from a design by Professor Oppenheim, and sent to them as a present by the Hebrew community of Frankfurt-on-Main, accompanied by an address signed by all the members. He also received a splendid album from Magdeburg, the covers of which were ornamented with two beautiful paintings, also executed by Professor Oppenheim, one representing Moses installing Joshua in his office as leader of Israel, and the other a copy of Benda's picture "By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion" (Psalm cxxxvii.), copied by the same artist, and signed by Dr Philipson, the Spiritual Head of the Hebrew congregation of Magdeburg, and near 1500 other persons, many of them non-Israelites belonging to the clergy and nobility.
These two testimonials are now, with many others, preserved in the Lecture Hall of the College in Ramsgate.
October 11th.—Colonel C. H. Churchill paid them a visit at Ramsgate previous to his leaving England for the East. The Colonel having married a young widow at Damascus was very anxious to return to her at Beyrout, where he intends residing, having adopted Syria as his country. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore requested him to take with him some contributions towards the support of the poor Jews in the East, which he gladly promised to do for them, expressing his high regard for the character and industrious habits of the Jews.
October 17th.—A petition was received from the Hebrew congregation of Riga, imploring Sir Moses to intercede on their behalf with the Emperor of Russia. Many others, from various places, on the same subject followed. Most of the principal communities in Germany, France, Italy, and America entreated him to accede to the petitions of their brethren in Russia and Poland; and Sir Moses now began seriously to consider the desirability of serving the cause of humanity anew.
In the same month he and the Hebrew communities in England sustained a severe loss by the death of their Ecclesiastical Chief, the Rev. Dr Solomon Hirschell.
"I was at Bury Street at twelve o'clock," he writes in his diary, "on October 31st, and found our esteemed Chief Rabbi apparently in a state of insensibility; his chamber was filled with his friends, and his bed closely surrounded by the members of the Ecclesiastical Court, and other persons. They were saying prayers; he was very calm, and at 12.25 his spirit fled from its earthly tenement to receive that reward which his righteousness in this world secured to him; eternal happiness and peace to his memory!"
Sir Moses was entirely guided by him in all matters concerning religion, and felt the loss of such a friend and counsellor acutely.
He appears to have been roused by that sorrowful event to fresh acts of benevolence, and believing it possible to render some service to the Jews in Russia, he thought it necessary now to make himself fully acquainted with all the recent publications referring to that country and its inhabitants, and obtained information from German and English travellers who had just returned from visiting Warsaw, St Petersburg, Moscow, and other important cities in the Czar's vast empire.
November 5th.—The entry in his diary contains the following lines:—"Extremely cold morning; nevertheless dear Judith and I left Park Lane before eight o'clock to walk to Synagogue. It was very well attended, and prayers were offered up for the late lamented Chief Rabbi. We remained in the city, and attended afternoon and evening prayers at our own (the Portuguese) Synagogue. Afterwards we rode home to Park Lane. Dr Loewe accompanied us, and agreed to go with us to Russia and Poland whenever that should seem necessary."
November 15th, 19th, and 27th.—The number of petitions to go to Russia increased considerably, especially entreating Sir Moses to accept an invitation from Count Ouvaroff, the Minister of Public Instruction, who wished him to be present at the deliberation of the government referring to the improvement of the method of education among the Hebrews in the Russian Empire. The following entries refer to the subject:—
"December 8th.—Went to Chevalier Benkhausen, the Russian Consul-General, and spoke with him respecting a letter I had received from Dr Lilienthal of St Petersburg, referring to an invitation from Count Ouvaroff to proceed to the Russian metropolis, and he recommended my seeing the Russian Ambassador.
"Accordingly I wrote to the latter, requesting the honour of an interview with him, and received his reply that he would receive me the next day.
"December 9th.—Had an audience of the Russian Ambassador, Baron Brunnow, and spoke to him regarding our intended journey. He entered into all particulars with me, and promised to make all necessary enquiries.
"The next day we dined at Mrs de Rothschild's, and met Baron and Baroness Brunnow, the Austrian Ambassador and his wife, Lady Pellew and her daughter Lady Walpole, and many other distinguished persons. Baron Brunnow spoke to me about Dr Lilienthal's letter, and said he would write to Count Ouvaroff, and would ascertain for him the authenticity of Dr Lilienthal's communication. The Baron advised me, if I went to Russia, to proceed in the first instance to St Petersburg, and speak with the Emperor himself, and not to go, as I had intended, to the several cities in Poland previously to my going to St Petersburg."
December 25th.—Notwithstanding the multiplicity of matters referring to the North which now filled his mind, he did not for a moment neglect the interest of the East. He made an agreement with a physician, Dr S. Frankel, to allow him a salary for three years, to furnish the requisite medicines, and to pay his expenses to Jerusalem, on condition that he should attend the poor of the Holy Land gratuitously.
ADDRESS AND TESTIMONIAL FROM THE JEWS—SIR MOSES' SPEECH IN REPLY—DEATH OF THE DUKE OF SUSSEX—THE DEPORTATION UKASE IN RUSSIA—OPENING OF THE NEW ROYAL EXCHANGE—SIR MOSES MADE SHERIFF OF KENT.
January 26th, 1843.—Sir Moses ordered from the Apothecaries' Hall drugs, surgical instruments, and fittings for a dispensary in Jerusalem, and saw them packed and forwarded to the Holy City.
February 27th.—A large number of his Jewish brethren in the United Kingdom, Jamaica, Barbadoes, and Gibraltar, presented him with a testimonial of respect and gratitude in commemoration of the many personal sacrifices made, and the philanthropy displayed by him and Lady Montefiore during his Mission to the East, Anno Mundi 5600 (1840).
It was designed by Sir George Hayter, modelled by E. Bailey, R.A., and executed by Messrs Mortimer & Hunt, and is an exquisite piece of workmanship, both as regards the design and execution. It is exclusively ornamental, adapted for no special purpose, and is, as it were, a kind of miniature monument. It is three and a half feet high, weighs 1319 ounces of silver, and has a large base. The most prominent figure, which surmounts the whole work, represents David conquering the lion and rescuing the lamb (as in First Book of Samuel xvii. 34 and 35), and is emblematical of the victory over oppressive force, and the delivery of innocence effected by the Mission. This is the chef d'oeuvre of the work, which is full of fine allegorical details.
Immediately under this figure are four bas-reliefs, representing respectively, (1) the landing of Sir Moses and his party at Alexandria; (2) the audience with the Sultan at Constantinople on the granting of the firman; (3) the liberation of the prisoners at Damascus; and (4) the public thanksgiving on the return of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to London. On the four corners of the base are exquisite figures in frosted silver, two representing Moses and Ezra, the great deliverers of their people in ancient times, and the other two some of the accused Jews of Damascus, one in chains, bowed down by grief, the other in an attitude of thanksgiving, with the fetters lying broken at his feet.
The chairman (Mr H. de Castro), accompanied by the Committee, prefaced the presentation by reading an address, engrossed on vellum. A vellum scroll was also added, containing the series of resolutions adopted at the public meeting in 1840, and the name of every contributor to the testimonal, copied from the lists furnished to the Committee, and arranged according to residence.
The following is a copy of the address:—
"Esteemed Sir,—We have long looked forward to the present as a moment of high and honourable gratification, when we should come forward on behalf of the Jewish community to present to you this manifestation of their gratitude and esteem. The services which, at a period of excitement, you rendered, in a foreign clime, to religion and humanity, were such as are rarely called into requisition. The alacrity, spirit, and zeal with which you embarked into the cause, were only equalled by the liberality, judgment, and decision you evinced in the accomplishment of the end you had in view. The restoration of the oppressed to liberty, and a full refutation of the vile calumnies brought against our faith—both these great objects, by the aid of Gracious Providence, have been attained. The grateful thanksgivings of the liberated prisoners pronounce you their deliverer. The firman of the Sultan, denies these calumnies, of which they had been the unfortunate victims.
"It may be truly said of you, Sir, and of your amiable Lady—the companion of your anxieties and dangers—that your services were 'the labours of the heart,' works of all others most deserving of distinction and reward.
"May you ever be the 'harbinger of glad tidings to Zion,' and long live to continue your watchful care to all who need your solace and support. How will your suffering brethren in Jerusalem hail your late acts of munificence—the founding a dispensary for the poor of our community, now dwelling in the land of our fathers.
"In the name of the Jewish people we present to you this testimonial of your great and successful labours, with the hope that the blessing of our Heavenly Father may vouchsafe, to you and Lady Montefiore, many, many happy years to contemplate and enjoy it.—On behalf of the Committee,
"Hananel de Castro, Chairman." "27 Adar 5603—27th February 1843."
To this address. Sir Moses made the following reply:—
"Mr De Castro and Gentlemen,—I receive with unfeigned satisfaction, and, I trust, with humility, the address which you have offered to me. I accepted with fear and trembling the responsible yet honourable task confided to me by my brethren, not trusting in my own strength or wisdom, but relying upon the saving strength of the Lord our God. I felt that I should be sustained by the prayers and sympathies of my brethren, and of the enlightened friends of humanity throughout the world. Aided by these prayers and sympathies, and supported by the Government of our country, your Mission was permitted by Divine providence, while in Egypt, to become the instruments of giving liberty to the captive, of opening the prison to them that were bound, of restoring to their wives and families those who, by unjust persecution, had been compelled to abandon their homes. We have everywhere asserted their innocence of the atrocious crime laid to their charge, and in the face of all men have vindicated the purity and divinity of our holy religion.
"At Constantinople our success was complete. There we had the satisfaction of obtaining from the Sultan a Haiti Sherif, which asserts the innocence of our brethren after a full examination of the witnesses against them, and of their religious writings, and declares that the accusations against our religion were based in falsehood, and entertained only by the prejudiced and the ignorant. That noble writing has also laid the foundation for improving the civil condition of our brethren in the Turkish Dominions. To that, as well as to the documents which have been transmitted to the committee, I refer with exultation, as proofs that the rulers of the East have imbibed more liberal notions, have set themselves against the use of torture, have secured to our brethren an equality of civil rights, and thus given them a deeper interest in the prosperity of the countries in which they reside. That you approve of these acts, and testify your approbation of the whole proceedings of the Mission, and believe that I have, to the best of my ability, fulfilled its objects, will be to me a source of continual satisfaction through life, and when I am about to quit this earthly scene will cheer the last moments of my existence.
"You are pleased to speak of the dangers and perils to which I have been exposed. I assure you that I count them as nothing when I consider the noble object of the Mission, and the entire success with which it has pleased God to crown our labours. Without, however, your continual advice and support, I might not have been able to accomplish that which has been done, because, when all around appeared gloomy and dark, and I thought that amidst the contending struggles of nations for power the rights of humanity would be sacrificed and the liberties of our brethren utterly destroyed, I was cheered and sustained by the recollection of your prayers and support, and, relying upon the God of our fathers, I persevered until I was satisfied that the objects of the Mission had been fully accomplished. Nor is it one of the least consequences attending our labours, that, in accomplishing such objects, we have been enabled to dissipate prejudice and to remove ignorance, so that now our persecutors are compelled to look with respect upon our nation. May I not, therefore, assert that a new and brighter era is dawning upon those who have for ages been the subjects of calumny and oppression.
"In prosecuting the labours of your Mission I received most valuable assistance from our friends the family de Rothschild, from each of its members at London, Paris, Naples, Frankfort, and Vienna, both by introductions to their extensive connections in the East, as well as by their unremitted personal exertions in Europe; nor can I forget my friend Mr George Samuel, who was ever ready to lend his aid at Constantinople. I should also be doing great injustice to my own feelings were I to let this opportunity pass without referring to the valuable assistance of my friends, Mr Wire and Dr Loewe, who accompanied me throughout the whole of my long journey, and whom I shall ever esteem as men devoted to the interests of humanity.
"I cannot conclude this short and imperfect reply to your congratulations without referring to the kind expressions in which you speak of my beloved wife, whom you truly characterise as the participator in all my toils and anxieties. She has, indeed, shared my toils but diminished my anxieties, and aided me in the prosecution of my labours.
"Gentlemen, to you, to your excellent president, but, above all, to the God of our fathers, I offer thanks that I have been permitted to fulfil the objects of your Mission, and with devout gratitude I resign into your hands the trust committed to my care, praying that peace, prosperity, truth, and union may ever prevail in Israel."
The death of the Duke of Sussex took place at this time, and Sir Moses deeply lamented the loss sustained by his demise.
The Lord Chamberlain sent him a command to attend the funeral on the 4th of May, and Lord Dinorben wrote a letter to inform him that a card of invitation had been sent, and that he would be permitted to follow in his own carriage.
Sir Moses, describing the funeral, says:—
"I left home after six in the morning, and was at Kensington Palace a quarter before seven. The company began to assemble between seven and eight: I suppose there were more than one hundred and fifty persons. The procession commenced at half-past eight; the roads were lined with people, every window filled, also many scaffoldings. The chapel at Kensal Green was solemn and grand, being filled with the grand officers of state, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, &c., &c. We saw none of the Tories or Royal Family at the palace, but in the chapel there were the Duke of Cambridge, chief mourner; Prince Albert, &c. The ceremony was over at twelve. I reached home at a quarter to one, and after breakfast proceeded at once with Lady Montefiore to the city to attend the funeral service in the Portuguese Synagogue, where Dr Loewe (who filled the office of oriental linguist and Hebrew lecturer to his late Royal Highness) delivered a discourse, at the conclusion of which we repaired to the great Synagogue of the German community. There was a funeral service, but no discourse." "The Jews," Sir Moses says, "have lost an excellent friend: may he be rewarded with eternal bliss for his kindness to suffering humanity."
On May 30th the Earl of Thanet informed Sir Moses that Lord Lyndhurst had given directions for the insertion of his name in the commission of the peace for the County of Kent.
On July 13th the first step was made for the repeal of the Deportation Ukase in Russia.
"I called at Baron Brunnow's," he writes. "He was just stepping into his carriage, dressed in full uniform, going to celebrate a mass on some public occasion; but he very kindly insisted on my going into his library, and returned with me. I gave him the letter I had received from Koenigsberg, which he read, also the Ukase. He said he believed the Minister of Justice thought it was an act of mercy to remove the Jews from the temptation of smuggling, of which crime many had been guilty, and, no doubt, the Emperor was of that opinion, which was the cause of the order. 'It was possible,' he continued, 'if I were to be at St Petersburg, by speaking with one and another, my influence might cause its revocation;' but he advised me to write to Count Ouvaroff, and, if I showed him the letter, he would suggest such alterations as he thought would be advisable. He recommended that no public steps should be taken in the way of petition to the Emperor, as there were two years still before the Ukase would take effect; he thought it a bad measure."
This statement corroborated what some of the letters from Russia previously addressed to him on the subject had already stated.
A few days later Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were present at an entertainment given by Mrs Rothschild to the King of Hanover, and met the Duke of Cambridge, the Duchess of Gloucester, and most of the nobility, besides all the Ambassadors. They were introduced to the Marchioness of Ely at her own request, and she complimented them on the result of the Damascus Mission. Several of the Ambassadors spoke to him on the recent reports respecting the state of the Jews in Russia.
June 1st, 1844.—The Emperor of Russia arrived in London.
June 6th.—The entry states:—"I have been looking with deep anxiety from morning till evening for a letter from Baron Brunnow. I wrote this week to Lord Aberdeen, soliciting an interview to-morrow. I will do everything I possibly can to approach the Emperor, and pray for our brethren in his dominions. I also wrote to Mr Dawson on the same subject; it engrosses all my thoughts."
June 8th.—"Baron Lionel de Rothschild accompanied me to see Lord Aberdeen. He said Baron Brunnow had intimated to him the impossibility of His Imperial Majesty receiving any deputation. I showed his Lordship the Address from the London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews, and asked his advice about sending it to Baron Brunnow, for him to present it on our behalf, and whether he thought there was anything in it that could do harm. His Lordship thought there was not: the Emperor, he said, was very firm when he had once made up his mind on a subject.
"Lionel and I then walked to Sir Robert Peel's. He was just going to mount his horse, on his way to the Queen. He heard all we had to say respecting the address, and said he had heard it whispered that the Emperor would see Sir Moses Montefiore, but the Emperor's stay was so short that he could not tell whether he would be able to do so."
The address was subsequently given by Sir Moses to Baron Brunnow, who promised to send it to St Petersburg. In the following month, on July 29th, an entry states that the Emperor received the address graciously, but his visit to this country would be so short that it was impossible for him to receive the deputation.
On August 9th Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore proceeded to Birmingham, in company with several of their relatives and friends, Sir Moses having been invited by the Hebrew congregation of that town to lay the first stone of a Hebrew National School, a task which he performed amid the cheers of many hundreds of persons of various religious denominations.
September 1st.—The cause of two poor Poles who had been imprisoned for hawking without a licence attracted Sir Moses' attention. The men having excellent characters, he determined on going to Chelmsford, to see them there in the Springfield Gaol, where they were then confined under sentence for three months, and to endeavour, if possible, to obtain their release. They had only been six or seven weeks in England, and could speak but a few words of English.
Next morning he went to Springfield Gaol and saw the Governor, who had the two men brought to him. One had been a dyer, and the other had kept a hardware shop near Warsaw. Both men lived whilst in prison on bread and water, refusing to eat either the soup or meat allowed to the prisoners. The Governor recommended him a man to draw up a petition for them. Sir Moses immediately sent for him, and instructed him as to the matter of the petition. The Governor kindly sent a man to wait till it was written, and Sir Moses then forwarded the petition to the prison, where the Governor had it signed by the two prisoners, and returned to Sir Moses, who was just able to take the last train back.
September 3rd.—He called at Somerset House, and left the petition from Springfield Gaol, and three days later had the gratification of receiving a letter from the Secretary of Stamps and Taxes to say that the Board had been pleased to remit the Crown's share of the penalties against the two prisoners.
October 24th.—Sir Moses is present at the opening of the New Royal Exchange by the Queen; he had a seat in the subscribers' room, where the Royal banquet was given. The Queen, Prince Albert, the Duke of Cambridge, &c., presided at the head table: about two hundred persons dined there.
October 28th.—The Baroness Brunnow invited him to meet the Grand Duke of Russia; and Sir Moses, entertaining the hope of finding there the opportunity to serve the cause of his brethren, gladly accepted the invitation.
November 12th.—He was nominated Sheriff of Kent, and on the 17th inst. his friends and most of his neighbours congratulated him on being elected to that high office. His mind, however, was not joyfully attuned to the occasion. His thoughts at one moment were wandering away from happy England to the burning sands of the African deserts, and at another, to the frozen rivers and the snow-covered forests of the north of Russia. This was owing to a visit which he had received from Mr Erith, a Mogador merchant, who gave him a very cheering prospect of the success which might be expected if he were to appeal to the Emperor of Morocco for a firman, to place the Jews in the same position as his other subjects; and to some letters he received from several trustworthy sources, giving disheartening accounts of the state of the Jews in Russia, to the following effect:—
"The Ukase ordering the Jews to remove from the frontier provinces to the interior is now being carried into effect. This measure affects nearly one hundred thousand persons. The families receive passports, delivered by the Magistrates, indicating the place to which they are to go, and only a few days after they have received the passport, they must sell all their property and convert it into money."
AFFAIRS IN MOROCCO—LETTER TO THE EMPEROR—HIS REPLY—DEPUTATION TO SIR ROBERT PEEL—DEATH OF LADY MONTEFIORE'S BROTHER ISAAC—SIR MOSES SETS OUT FOR RUSSIA.
The first few months of the year 1844 appeared, according to a statement in the Koenigsberg Gazette, to give some hope for an improvement in the condition of Sir Moses' co-religionists in Russia.
The paper says:—
"The famous Ukase against the Jews, of the 20th April 1844 (2nd May), seems to be adjourned. The Emperor himself has given orders to the Minister of the Interior to present him with a minute report on the situation and property of the Jews in the villages and frontier towns, before the terrible Ukase is put into execution. This sudden change has produced so much the more joy among the unfortunate Jews, as rigorous measures had already been taken for the execution of the Ukase, as well as the decree of the Senate, dated January 10 (22) 1884. It is to Sir Moses Montefiore and the interference of many members of the nobility that thirty thousand Jews perhaps owe the entire revocation of this law."
As for Morocco, where, during the bombardment of Mogador, the Jews, together with other inhabitants, had been great sufferers, Sir Moses wrote a letter to the editor of the Times, directing his attention to the fact, and showing that the committee in London had correctly estimated the number of the sufferers. Consignments of money, food, and clothing, had, he observed, already been transmitted to Mogador to trustworthy agents, for immediate distribution among the sufferers. The subscriptions to the day he wrote exceeded L2500.
Sir Moses also attended a meeting of the Mogador Committee, at which they agreed to send a letter to the Emperor of Morocco, and to request the Earl of Aberdeen to instruct Mr E. W. Drummond Hay, H.B. Majesty's Consul-General at Tangiers, to forward it to the Emperor.
By desire of Sir Moses I wrote an Arabic letter to the Emperor, which Sir Moses signed and despatched to his Lordship, for transmission to His Majesty.
February 10th.—Sir Moses proceeded to the Judges' Chambers, Chancery Lane, accompanied by Mr D. W. Wire, and then went before Baron Parke, and was sworn into office (as Sheriff of the County of Kent). The Baron very kindly wished him a pleasant year, and hoped to have the pleasure of coming down and seeing him at the Assizes. Mr Wire was also sworn as his Under-Sheriff.
February 18th.—The fees due for his Shrievalty, L2, 6s. 8d., had already been offered to him, but on seeing Mr Temple, he requested him to send them to his Under-Sheriff. Notwithstanding the duties his new office imposed on him, he endeavoured scrupulously to discharge those of his Presidency of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Agreeably to a resolution adopted at a previous meeting of that body, held for the consideration of a petition to Parliament for the removal of all civil disabilities, he and the other members of the Board waited the next day on Sir Robert Peel.
The subject being of interest to friends of civil and religious liberty, I here give the words of Sir Moses, and those of Sir Robert Peel's reply.
Sir Moses, addressing Sir Robert, said: "We have the honour of waiting on you as a deputation from the Metropolitan and Provincial Congregations of British Jews, to ascertain whether Her Majesty's Government be favourably disposed to meet their wishes for the removal of the civil disabilities under which they labour, and, from the advancement of liberal feeling in all classes where religious questions are concerned, they are led to believe the present moment most fitting for them to be placed on an equal footing with their fellow-subjects."
Sir Robert replied that he had been considering some measure on the subject to propose to his colleagues, when he received a letter from Sir J. L. Goldsmid, which stated that the Jews would not be satisfied with any measure less than the whole. Seeing there was some difference he would not proceed. However, after some consideration, he said he would see Sir J. L. Goldsmid, and would write to them to come to him within a fortnight, adding that he was fully aware that they would feel as well satisfied with a part, and that they should not thereby be precluded from hereafter getting more.
March 3rd.—As High Sheriff of the County of Kent, Sir Moses opened the Court at Canterbury for the election of a member of Parliament in the room of Sir E. Knatchbull. After delivering an appropriate address to the electors, the meeting was proceeded with, and eventually Mr William Deedes was returned.
The meeting was conducted in a most orderly manner. Mr William Deedes of Sandling Park was elected to represent them in Parliament, and thanks were voted to the High Sheriff.
March 5th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore attended the levee, where Sir Moses was presented to the Queen by Sir James Graham, and had the honour to kiss hands on his appointment as Sheriff of the County of Kent.
Sir Robert Peel, who was standing within three or four paces of the Queen, came out of the circle as Sir Moses came up, and spoke to him. He said the suggestion made the previous day respecting the removal of civil disabilities seemed good; and he requested Sir Moses to be so good as to communicate with Baron Rothschild and Sir David Salomons.
March 10th.—At Maidstone Sir Moses went in state to meet Lord Denman. About a mile from town his Lordship got out of his own carriage and entered that of Sir Moses, the Rev. G. W. Sicklemore being with the latter. They proceeded to the Sessions House, and opened the Commission; then went to the Judge's lodgings, where Lord Denman robed, and received the Mayor and Corporation. They left to go before the Judge to church. Lord Denman said to him that he was ready to go, but Sir Moses might do as he pleased. The latter therefore only conducted him to his carriage, and returned to his lodgings to wait there for him instead of accompanying him and the Rev. G. W. Sicklemore to church. They went there in Sir Moses' carriage. Baron Alderson arrived a few minutes after they had left, and remained with Sir Moses till Lord Denman returned, when Sir Moses took his leave and went home. At seven he and Rev. G. W. Sicklemore went to fetch the Judges, and dined with Lord and Lady Romney.
March 14th.—At nine Sir Moses went, as usual, to fetch the Judges—the Lord Denman and Sir Edward Hall Alderson. On their way to the Court they called for Mr Serjeant Dowling. As they were going there Sir Moses requested their Lordships' permission to be absent the next day, as it was his Sabbath, to which they very kindly consented. Sir Moses sat for some time in each Court. Lord Denman told him he had received a letter from the Bishop of Durham, expressing his desire to vote for the Jews' Relief Bill, and sent his proxy for the purpose; but Lord Denman said there would be no occasion for it, as their Lordships would not divide. At five, on his asking Baron Alderson's consent to his leaving, the latter most kindly said to him, "I know; six o'clock," and shook him warmly and kindly by the hand. Sir Moses then took leave, and returned to his lodgings.
Friday 28th.—"I received a letter," the entry in his diary reads, "from Mr Addington, forwarding another to me by desire of the English Ambassador in Morocco. Dr Loewe read to me his translation of the same. It is from Ben Idrees, the Wazeer of the Emperor of Morocco, written to me by order of His Majesty, in reply to the petition of the Mogador Committee. It states that the Hebrew nation enjoys throughout the empire the same privileges as the Mooslimeen, and the Hebrew nation is highly regarded by him."
May 19th.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore attended Her Majesty's State Ball at Buckingham Palace. Sir Moses was dressed in his uniform, and Lady Montefiore wore a dress of superb tissue "d'or et cerise," elegantly trimmed with gold lace and ribbons, and a profusion of diamonds. They left Park Lane at nine, and it was ten when the long string of carriages allowed them to reach the Palace. "During the evening," Sir Moses wrote, "1500 persons were there; the rooms were magnificently decorated; the dancing was in two rooms; supper at two o'clock. Nothing could have been more splendid. The Queen, God bless her, looked very beautiful, and in good health and spirits. We left much delighted and pleased with the honour we had enjoyed."
After witnessing the splendour of the State Ball we find him actively engaged at Birmingham and Preston, visiting most of the humble dwelling-houses of the working classes. Being desirous of having three persons from Jerusalem taught the art of weaving, he went to see a man in Preston, who had been recommended to him as an intelligent and clever workman, and made an agreement with him for the above purpose. "I wish," Sir Moses said, "to help our brethren in the Holy Land in all their efforts to get bread by their own industry, and pray to Heaven they may succeed."
July 1st.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to welcome the Rev. Dr N. M. Adler, Chief Rabbi elect of the German Hebrew Congregations in the British Empire, on his arrival at Dover, and were present the next day at his installation in the Great Synagogue in London. The Synagogue was handsomely decorated, and crowded with the elite of all the Jewish congregations. A most appropriate and solemn service was performed, and our Gentile brethren showed their interest in the event, by causing the bells of the neighbouring churches to be rung.
November 16th.—A special delegate arrived from Poland to entreat Sir Moses, in the name of many thousands of his brethren, to intercede in their behalf with the Russian Government, and to proceed at once to St Petersburg to make known their cause to the Emperor himself.
The subject at that time greatly engrossed his mind; he had no rest, either by day or by night, on account of his anxiety to hasten to their succour, and determined to set out on his journey as soon as his year of Shrievalty expired. Meanwhile he called on Baron Brunnow, who promised to give him letters of introduction to his friends, and to several ministers at St Petersburg, if he went there. He thought the Emperor would ask him to visit his co religionists in his Empire. His going to St Petersburg could do no harm, or he would not give him letters. Sir Moses, Baron Brunnow remarked, had received an invitation from the Minister of Public Instruction, two years previously, to go there, as he wished to have the benefit of his counsel respecting the establishment of Hebrew schools, and he thought this constituted a claim on Sir Moses to go. Baron Brunnow also recommended Sir Moses to obtain permission to act as he thought best, with reference to the address of the Board of Deputies of the British Jews to the Emperor; and advised his going as an English gentleman, his character being so well known, remarking that the cause would not be benefited by his acting as representative of the Board of Deputies.
The year 1846 begins with a sad occurrence in the family. Mr Isaac Cohen, the brother of Lady Montefiore, a man highly esteemed for his excellent character and benevolent disposition, died suddenly. Though this was a cause of much grief to both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, they did not consider themselves in any way justified in delaying the necessary preparations for their self-imposed Mission to Russia.
Sir Moses called again on Baron Brunnow, who said that he could neither advise him to go or to stay, but said he might be assured that the Emperor's object was not that of conversion, but rather to render the Jews more useful subjects. He advised him not to go till Count Nesselrode returned from Rome to St Petersburg. Soon after this interview, Sir Moses again saw the Ambassador at which the latter recommended him not to go to Russia, and held out very little hope of the object of his journey being accomplished. Nevertheless, Sir Moses resolved on going, saying that as he had been invited to discuss the subject of schools, and was then out of office, he should go. Baron Brunnow then advised its being kept as quiet as possible. He promised to give him a letter to Count Nesselrode, and suggested that he should go direct, and as quickly as possible. Subsequently he advised him to see Lord Aberdeen, and get a letter of introduction to Lord Bloomfield, the British Ambassador at St Petersburg; also, to see Sir Roderick Murchison, who could give him useful advice, and to endeavour to obtain an introduction to Prince Michael.
February 18th.—Sir Moses called on Lord Aberdeen, who received him kindly, and promised to give him letters to the British Ministers at St Petersburg and Berlin.
February 27th.—A solemn prayer was offered by the united congregations of the British Empire for the success of his philanthropic mission to Russia.
March 1st.—Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to Dover, and arrived safely the same day at Ostend; and on the following Sunday I met them in Berlin, according to our previous arrangement, to accompany them to St Petersburg.
March 10th.—Sir Moses called on the Earl of Westmoreland to present to him his letter of introduction from the Earl of Aberdeen. Having acquainted him with the object of his journey to St Petersburg, and mentioned Baron Brunnow's suggestion to facilitate our journey, his Lordship replied that the Russian Ambassador was absent, but that he would give him a letter to Monsieur Fonton, his representative. His Lordship hoped to see him on his return. We then went to the Russian Embassy, and delivered to Monsieur Fonton his Lordship's letter. That gentleman said he would give Sir Moses a letter to the officer at the frontier, but he had chosen a very unfavourable time for his journey, and had better remain five or six days longer at Berlin. The waters were out, it would be impossible to pass, and he would be detained on the road. There was a gentleman present in the office who told us he had arrived on the previous night from St Petersburg, but had experienced the greatest difficulty, and was the only person who had succeeded in getting through, as it was quite out of the question for a carriage to pass, and we should be compelled to remain on the road.
This information was very distressing, but Sir Moses was determined to go on, and only stop when we should find it too dangerous to go forward.
The same day we left Berlin, and proceeded via Koenigsberg and Tilsid to Mitau.
Friday, the 20th March.—A deputation of the Hebrew community came to welcome Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore at the Post House, at St Olia, the last stage before Mitau, to express their gratitude to them for what they had effected in the Damascus Mission, and to beg they would accept their hospitality during their sojourn at Mitau. Sir Moses thanked them for their kindness in coming so many miles to meet us, but declined accepting their offer, as he wished to travel as privately as possible. As we entered the town, hundreds of persons ran by the side of the carriage to the hotel. We had splendid apartments there, and were grateful for our safety, as we had suffered very much from cold, heavy snows, and horrible roads, and had frequently been obliged to travel all night.
Not wishing to attract any notice (in compliance with the suggestion of Baron Brunnow), we refrained from leaving the house for the whole day, and from attending Synagogue, which was a painful deprivation to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. Many persons called, but Sir Moses was under the necessity of refusing to see anyone. We had excellent dinners—a dozen dishes, served on silver; but when, in the evening, we sent for the bill, wishing to pay for our dinners of that and the previous day, we found that they had been prepared at the house of Madame Johanna Davidoff, a lady of this town, and she would not allow us to pay for anything.
Sir Moses wanted to give her a costly present, but she declined accepting it. "I am," she said, "amply repaid by the great happiness afforded me to prepare a humble meal for those who come from a distant land, and brave the inclemency of a Russian winter, to serve the cause of humanity. May all the Heavenly blessings alight on them!"
We left Mitau in the evening. In front of the hotel hundreds of persons were waiting to see us set off. When we reached Obay, on the south side of the Dwina, opposite Riga, at 10.35, we found the river still covered with ice, but in a weak and dangerous condition. Our carriages were deemed too heavy to be passed over; but after considerable hesitation, they were allowed to be conveyed across, though at a great expense and at our own risk. The wheels were taken off, as well as all the luggage, and they were then placed on sledges and drawn by men to the opposite side of the river. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore and their attendants were waiting at the inn till 1.30 P.M., when we all walked across. We had great difficulty in walking; the ice was wet and slippery, with numerous dangerous holes. Not two minutes before we passed, a man fell into one of these holes, and was drowned. A similar accident nearly awaited one of our party: the ice broke under him, and one leg went through, but his body falling across the ice, he was soon extricated from his perilous position. It was impossible, Sir Moses said, "to express the alarm we felt in crossing." It took us twenty minutes to accomplish.
We walked to the hotel, and were followed by hundreds of people. Shortly afterwards a deputation of the Hebrew community, and many others, came to welcome us, but Sir Moses declined seeing them, for the reasons already stated. He requested me to see them, and explain to them his object in depriving himself of the pleasure of expressing personally to them his thanks for their civilities and attention.
We only remained at Riga a short time, to recover a little, and to dry our clothes, and then proceeded on our journey.
March 26th.—We arrived at Narva, where we remained over Sabbath. The weather was most dismal.
PERILS OF RUSSIAN TRAVELLING IN WINTER—ARRIVAL AT ST PETERSBURG—INTERVIEWS WITH COUNT NESSELRODE AND THE CZAR—COUNT KISSELEFF'S PREJUDICES.
March 29th.—Snow had again fallen heavily, and on arriving at Jamburg we found the ice in such a bad state that grave fears were entertained as to the possibility of crossing the River Lugu. The officer in charge repeatedly refused to allow us to cross.
Neither bedsteads nor bedding being obtainable, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore had a kind of bed prepared on the floor in a very small and low room, and I had a bundle of straw, in another room, for my couch; it was, however, so warm there, and the air so very oppressive, that I was obliged to get up in the middle of the night, and take a walk outside the house.
Jamburg, March 30th.—At seven in the morning I crossed the Lugu; there was not much ice on the river. The officer told me he would have three boats lashed together to take the carriages over. I returned to Sir Moses to bring him the good news, and to prepare for our departure. I had scarcely been at home an hour when the ice came down the river in great quantities. Sir Moses accompanied me to look at it, and decided not to cross, as we should have incurred a great risk by doing so. At last towards evening the officer came and told us that he would employ soldiers to launch the great barge, and would come for us when he was ready. We continued in painful suspense awaiting his arrival till a few minutes before seven, when he came and said "All was ready." Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went in their carriage. I and the rest of the party walked down to the water side. The carriages were safely put on a large barge, and soon launched into the stream, but when in the middle it struck on some large stones, and they were in the greatest peril. The barge remained for nearly an hour fixed to one spot. Happily, after great exertions on the part of the soldiers, it was got off.
The officer then conducted us into his own boat, in which, besides Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, were also two servants, the officer, and a gentleman with despatches from the Russian Government, and we were towed across, though not without some danger from the ice which was driving down the current in great masses, and which our boatman found great difficulty in avoiding. Had they struck it must have proved fatal, but Heaven guarded us, and we landed in safety. We were one hour in crossing from the house on the west bank to the Post House at Jamburg, and had more than a hundred men to assist us. The officer was most civil and attentive, and refused to accept any present.
March 31st.—We left Jamburg last night with the intention of travelling through the night, but we found the road so dreadfully bad, in many places covered with snow and ice and full of ruts, that Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore deemed it most prudent to stop at Opolje, which was reached at one in the morning. We found warm and excellent accommodation at the station, and instantly threw ourselves on the sofas in our clothes, and slept soundly. We started again after six. The roads were so extremely bad that we were at last compelled to leave our carriages, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, as well as myself and the rest of our party, having to walk through the snow, between six and seven versts, and arrived dreadfully fatigued at Ischerkowitz, where we remained three hours for rest and refreshment. We then had a pleasant drive in a little open carriage placed on a sledge and drawn by two horses, but it was very cold. We reached Kaskowa one hour before our own carriages.
April 1st.—We left Kaskowa, passed through Kipeen, and a stage later arrived at Stretna. From this place to St Petersburg is seventeen and a half versts. The road is here well macadamised; on either side of it are the country seats of the nobility. Up to this place we had had as many as eight, ten, or twelve, and sometimes even a greater number of horses put to the carriage, now the number was limited to three, we were told, by order of the Government. The driver remained standing all the time (while driving furiously) on a small piece of iron, which served as a step to get up to the coachman's seat. At about three o'clock we arrived at St Petersburg. After our passports had undergone the necessary examination, we drove to the place where apartments had been taken for us, but found them unsuitable, and had to search some time before we succeeded in engaging rooms at the Hotel de Prusse.
St Petersburg, April 2nd.—We went to His Excellency the Hon. T. A. D. Bloomfield, who received us immediately. Sir Moses gave him his letters of introduction, and acquainted him with the object of his visit to the Russian metropolis. He also showed him the letters of introduction to Count Nesselrode which he had received from Sir Robert Peel and Baron Brunnow.