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בס"ד

 

[From our Washington Correspondent]

To the Editors of the "Jewish Messenger."
 

As your readers seldom see a letter or a telegram dated from this place, and published in the daily papers, I have conceived the very novel and original idea of supplying the deficiency, and will so indulge you and them as often as I can find the time. But, first of all, as I am a stranger to your columns, and have no one to step forward and honor me with an introduction, I must needs go through the ungracious ceremonial upon my own individual account, and with a very glossy, span new bow, hat in hand, make my lowly obeisance to each one of your 60,000 readers, (I like round numbers,) and tender to them the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.

As it is not my wish to compliment in any way the present administration, it would probably be well for me to state at the outset, that I am not, at present, a member of Mr. Buchanan's useful piece of furniture, commonly known as "the Cabinet," and, therefore, Mr. B. is not entirely committed to all I have have occasion to say upon subjects concerning the community at large, or Israel in particular. And further, to put forever at rest any doubts as to my identity and position, I will inform you, Messrs. Editors, confidentially, that I am an unmarried American Israelite of, I flatter myself, not a decidedly repulsive appearance, possessing a nasal organ of moderate dimensions, and of the recognized national type; tall in stature, and blessed with enough conversational ability and worldly store to carry me safely thus far, through the shoals and quicksands of this gay, dangerous and oddly assorted community. And now, as you know all about me, and feel the necessity of appearing delighted with the introduction, I will proceed to make a few remarks upon a subject which has engaged your able attention in the last issue of your paper: — I allude to Politics in the Pulpit.

Under the just and liberal government of the United States, our co-religionists have enjoyed a prosperity unprecedented in the history of our nation. We have amassed wealth, and attained a political and social position second to no other religious denomination of the same numerical strength. And why have we been thus favored? The reasons are obvious. Under God's favor and protection, the talents we possess have found free scope of action; competition in Science, Arts and Commerce has not been denied us, and if we have not always come off with the first prize, we have never been forced to bring up the rear. We have adhered steadfastly to the faith of our fathers— built houses, without number, dedicated to the worship of the true and only God, and in so doing have challenged the respect and received the active sympathy of our gentile fellow citizens. But there is one thing we have steadfastly avoided, and that is, identifying ourselves as a religious body with any political dogmas or party. As individuals, we have the undoubted right, which we are free to exercise, to declare our adhesion to any lawful purpose, but we have given no man or set of men the privilege of speaking for us. In these times of excitement, it behooves those who have access to the public ear, to weigh carefully their words, and without questioning the good intentions of our ministers, we should discourage the attempt to discuss any subject calculated to inflame the public mind. Depend upon it, no good will follow, and there is danger of much harm. As a native citizen and an Israelite, I am free and proud to acknowledge my adhesion to the government of these United states, which has been such a bright, and shining and blessed light to religious freedom and the oppressed, down trodden people throughout the world. Divide our country into two or more separate governments, after perhaps the carnage of a civil ——— (the word is too sickening to utter) and what guarantee have we that a long smothered fanatical religious (?) flame will not be rekindled, and a clause engrafted in some embryo Constitution "acknowledging the authority of God in Christ," which was the language of a petition presented to the Senate last week by a member from Massachusetts.

The views therein expressed were probably antagonistic to those of the Honorable member who offered them, it being a pet privilege of members from the commonwealth of Massachusetts to uphold, "the right of Petition," but still it bears unmistakable evidence, however insignificant, of a desire of a certain class to incorporate the doctrine of "Church and State" into the laws of the land, and thus transplant some of the beautiful and liberal (!) doctrines as now applied to our people in some parts of benighted Europe.

Thus, it behooves each and every one of us to use our best endeavors to re-unite conflicting claims and interests, by making every sacrifice and concession consistent with out duty to God, and the veneration we have for our once happy, and still beloved Union of States, one and inseparable.

SEMI-OCCASIONAL

Washington, January 27th, 5621
 

Letters of "Semi Occasional"