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



Judge O’Neale.

To the Editor of the Occident.

My Dear Sir:

Though Judge O’Neale has declined to answer my communication, yet as he has thought proper to give me a side blow, I must request, as an act of justice, that you insert the following:

To the Honourable J. B. O’Neale.


I am very sure that I never intended to excite your ire, and deeply regret, that you regard my communication as wanting in courtesy and liberality; whilst, however, I freely forgive you, I cannot be driven from my purpose, and must still continue to hold up to your view the mirror of truth.

If I mistake not, you are the Carolina Judge who was attacked by some one in Scotland for passing the sentence of the law on a negro thief, and though this attack was severe, and malignant, yet you condescended to reply and vindicate yourself, and the laws of your State. My remarks were neither illiberal, nor wanting in courtesy; they were defensive of my religion, and the revealed word of God. The Scotchman’s article was offensive, and on a subject in which he had no interest. Why then was he more entitled to your notice than I? Consult your own heart, and I fear, Judge, you will find an answer in the petulance of fanaticism and the bitterness of prejudice, against the “chosen of the Lord;”—but, let that pass—I have no individual wrongs to redress—I know that I “am despised and rejected of men;” but it is the decree of my God, and I try to teach my heart humility. I appeared as the champion of my faith, humble and weak as I am, and took issue with you on the subject of an extra-judicial dictum of yours in your decision in the case of the City Council of Charleston vs. Benjamin.

You there say “What constitutes the standard of good morals? Is it not Christianity? There certainly is none other.” Your profession has taught you that the maxim, “expressio unius, est exclusio alterius”—is sound law. You therefore averred that all other religious creeds were devoid of good morals, and although I proved from the Bible—the authority we both acknowledge, that Judaism had a high, pure, and holy standard of good morals, yet you have not had the magnanimity to acknowledge your error, and to admit that it was an unguarded expression. Your attempted apology, is but a perpetuation of your fault. You ask, “How I not born a Jew, could say otherwise than that Christianity was the only standard known to me of good morals is hard for me to conceive.” Why, sir, is it not known to you that Judaism has a standard of good morals? How then can you assert the contrary? Suppose that an American Judge should say that the sacred right of trial by jury was alone recognised in America, and when some indignant Englishman, should prove that our trial by jury was a mere copy from theirs, would you regard it as an apology, if he should say, How could I not born an Englishman <<368>>think otherwise? The cases are parallel. The American trial by jury has been copied from England, and we have no right to claim it as our own exclusively. The Christian standard of good morals has been copied from the Jewish Bible, and you cannot claim it as yours alone. Your birth then, whether Jewish, or Christian, cannot change the character of facts. Take not then from the poor persecuted Jew, his prop, his standard, his refuge. It is in vain for you to state that the Bible is the standard of good morals, and that the Bible is a large part of Christianity; for you well know that the Bible is the whole of Judaism, and that all that you can claim is to share it with us. But this will not do. The question is: “Was, or was not Christianity the only standard of good morals?” and as you averred the affirmative, you were bound to prove it, or acknowledge your error.

In conclusion, I will reiterate my assurance that I never intended to wound, or offend you;—my sole object being to prove that the Jew had a standard of good morals, and thereby disprove your assertion. Had an ordinary man made the remark, I should have passed it by in silence; but what you say as a Judge becomes matter of record, and forbearance here would cease to be a virtue. If I talked plainly of the peculiar dogmas of your faith, I did so defensively, and from necessity. I here part with you, sir, in no unkind spirit, and with the sincere prayer that the God of Abraham may remove the scales from your mental vision so that you may yet see some beauty in Israel.

An American Jew