|Vol. VIII, No. 7
Tishry 5611, October 1850
The Jew Bill
By S. C. Van Beil.
Thus the editor of Blackwood’s Magazine, in his July number, heads an article abounding in abuse of the Jewish character, and speaking of the Jew as naught but an alien and a money-lender.
For eight hundred years the English Church and the English aristocracy have tried to frown down any scheme tending to make the Jews English subjects.
The people of England, convinced of this fact, and desirous of showing their detestation of church government, have elected men to the House of Commons favourable to the admission of our people into that august body.
London, the largest constituency in England and in the world, has elected four members to Parliament, one a Jew, Baron Lionel de Rothschild, another, the Premier, Lord John Russell, all the four being advocates of progressive reform and religious freedom; most of the other towns and cities have followed its example, whilst the aristocracy control many of the villages and rural districts, where the Jew is the least known, and his character spoken of as it is represented by his enemies.
Thus we have opposed prime minister, Israelite, and people to the aristocracy,—England and freedom of conscience at war with Episcopacy and superstition.
We all know that the consequence must be that the Jew will at length be declared eligible to the highest offices; for although Baron Rothschild may be excluded from his seat this session, owing to a mere matter of form, he will be sworn in at the next.
The whole gist of Blackwood’s remarks is found in the last words of the last paragraph: “The Jew must not enter the Christian Legislature;” and therefore he mentions certain reasons for his exclusion which may read thus, “The Jew cannot become a member of the House of Commons, because he is not a merchant, a philanthropist, a sailor, or a soldier, and because he is rich, an alien, a money-lender, and a Jew.”
The Jew not a merchant? why this very fault has ever been fastened on him as a mark of reproach; and it was the only reason why, in 1753 (I think that is the date), the Jew was deprived of many rights, lest he might rival the English merchant in his sales.
Why should a Jew defend “the wooden walls of old England” when he is told he can never be more than a petty officer? In the service of other lands he has shown great skill and gallant bearing, because they rejected him not on the score of his faith.
The Israelite though quite as brave as his Christian brother has no desire to enter an army where he can receive nothing but stripes and homely fare; where, though possessed of a daring spirit and a good education, should he even signalize himself by some noble act, unless he renounces the faith of his fathers, he can be known only as “the gallant Jew sergeant.”
Does Blackwood say a Jew must, in order to become celebrated, build Christian churches and Christian hospitals, when the would-be law-giver denies him the right to be represented in the national councils?
Blackwood is true to its ally, still wages war for “the glorious High Church party,” still loves the ancient regime, even when opposed to England’s interest, to common sense.
A large folio might speak of the benevolent acts of the Jewish merchant, the prowess of the Hebrew soldier on many a well-fought field; how he died for fatherland; and many a page might be filled with the records of the generous deeds of those who are dead but not forgotten, and of those in life and who will live for ever.
Spite of everything, the people of England will send men to the Legislature, in defiance of church and churchmen of bigots and bigotry.
The Jew bill is no longer a religious topic, it is a political question, and by it many national measures will be controlled; the people will be interested, they will vote for no men but those who advocate reform, and they will give their suffrages for those only who will do justice to the Jew and his ancient faith.
Although the Israelite will be interested in the contest, the quarrel will not be between the Jew and the Episcopalian, but between the State and the Church.
The same cause which has engaged Peel, Peel, Scott, Byron, Heber, and Moore, will draw and has drawn to our support Russell, Hume, Cobden, and thousands who are willing to contend in the fight for the political salvation of Israel.
The Anglo-Saxon does not desire to see a church rule a whole country; and, therefore, hails this as a happy chance to destroy the overshadowing influence of the Established Church.
Let the Jew be treated as an equal, let him be treated as a brother; <<357>>give him education, allow him his proper position in society, and he will do no discredit to his birthright.
Give the Jew those privileges, those rights, which have been long denied to him, and he will be distinguished for noble qualities ; and he will fill with dignity his place in the House of Lords or Commons; and even as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he will do credit to himself and honour to his country.
We have seen English statesmen of various political creeds, offer their powerful aid to advance this noble object; with such examples before us, we can do nought but lend a helping hand to our brethren in distress, wishing for them “a good deliverance.” May there be in this instance “no such word as fail,” so that “the Jew shall sit in the British Parliament, notwithstanding it is vauntingly styled a Christian Legislature.”
Philadelphia, August 19th, 1850.