Home page The Occident and American Jewish Advocate Jews in the Civil War Jews in the Wild West History of Palestine The Occident Virtual Library


Blackwood’s Magazine for July 1848.


Mr. Editor:—It is scarcely a month since your pages were occupied with a scathing review of Judge O’Neill’s illiberal and unjust decision against the rights and privileges of the Israelites of Charleston. Ere the remembrance of this foul wrong has passed away, before the deep wound has healed or time has even soothed its anguish, another reviler of Judaism thrusts himself upon our notice. This “high priest of all uncharitableness” stalks before the altar of his horrid deity, and offers up his shameful oblation to the degenerate taste of an intolerant age. We blush to own him an American. We blush to own him a denizen of that country, whose freedom and toleration are its proudest boasts. Ashamed are we to confess that the broad canopy of our happy Union shelters the ignoble individual whose brain could indulge, whose mind could conceive, whose hand could pen thoughts so bitter, ideas so contracted, expressions so libellous and degrading. Blackwood’s Magazine, a periodical universally esteemed, and circulated wherever English literature is sought after and appreciated, has soiled its pages by the admission of the impure and shamefully unjust article we are about to notice. Over the signature of “Ernest,” and under the caption of “American Thoughts on European Revolutions,” he pours forth his strains of invective against God’s chosen people.

Treating of reforms in England, and alluding to the bill for the removal of Jewish disabilities, the writer says:

<<255>>“If time has the effect on you which distance has on me, you will yet look back on that measure as you now look back on the great mistake of 1829. It will haunt you like a nightmare, and you will regard it with less of anger than of shame and remorse.”

“If the friends of the Constitution had done their duty it would never have disgraced a Christian State.”

“So far as I know there is nothing commensurate with the greatness of the evil.”

“To the reforms of the last score of years, there could be no more fitting sequel than this coalition with a people loaded with the hereditary burden of the saving blood of the crucified.”

“I honour a Jew, however much I may pity him. Crying old clothes, or lolling in a banker’s chariot, the Jew is to me a man of sacred associations.”

“Let the Jews in; I could trust their conscience; I would put it to them whether their liberalism would consent to eat pork with the Gentiles, or to call on the uncircumcised to make laws for the Synagogue.”

“We pity the blindness of the Jews who offered their thirty pieces of silver.”

“This Jew bill is the first step in the tragedy; there was a former one in farce. There is Sir Moses Montefiore. Who made him a knight? A Jewish knight, said I at the time. ‘Hear it ye dry bones, ye cross-legged effigies, ye Paladins, ye Templars. Hear it Du Bois Gilbert, hear it Richard Coeur de Lion. Yes, and thou too, old Roger de Coverly. Hear it, thou true old English knight, for they that bought thine old clothes now come for thine old spurs. There was no London Punch to laugh at such a Judy, and so Moses was knighted, no man gainsaying.’”

“I look for some John of Gaunt yet to say, ‘This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,’ dear for her reputation through the world, is now pawned out to Jews.”

While the great statesmen of Britain are yielding to the just demands of an enlightened age, while her generous Russell and her brilliant Macaulay are eloquently urging the claims of the Israelites to a participation in the government of their country, while the debates in Parliament and the publications of the press are arousing the people in the righteous cause, an American enters the arena to battle for old customs and to uphold long-established abuses. We might pardon all this. We might excuse a generous antagonism upon a question exciting contrariant opinions, even in one of our own countrymen, from whom better things might be expected; but when, forsaking the argument, he makes the occasion a plea for the indulgence in virulent language, for <<256>>the uttering of sarcasms and the pointing of epigrams against an orderly and peaceable, a law-abiding and respectable sect, he merits and should receive the animadversions of an indignant people.

The sentiments he has expressed are degrading alike to himself, his country, and generation.

The nineteenth century has been styled the “age of progress,” of civilization and refinement, it would deserve the proud title assigned it “if like a crab it could go backward.”

T. J. M.

Charleston, July 21st, 1848.