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Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists 1800-1850

Rabbi Harvey W. Meirovich

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800-1850* RABBI HARVEY W. MEIROVICH, B.H.L., M.A. I. Economic and Social Degradation of English Jewry At the turn of the nineteenth century there were vast economic, social, and educational inequities within the Anglo-Jewish community. London Jewry, which numbered 13,000/ was composed of two dis? tinct communities?Sephardim and Ashkenazim? and there was widespread poverty within each group. Although a number of small charitable institutions had operated throughout the eighteenth century, English Jewry lacked a co-ordinated welfare structure to deal with indigence. Various joint plans had been tried. One such project failed mainly because the Sephardi leadership refused to dole out large sums of money to help newly arrived German and Polish immigrants. Consequently, each community drew on its own resources. The richer Sephardim, longer estab? lished in London, had developed an organised system of taxation and distribution. The Ashkenazim relied on moneys available in their synagogue treasuries; charity was distributed at the discretion of the local overseers.2 The Ashkenazi campaign to implement educational reforms on the primary level did not succeed, being rather similar to the limited endeavours of the sur? rounding Gentile society. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that S. J. Cohen, an enlightened Jew who had emigrated to England at the turn of the century, failed to establish a successful Jewish school in London. In 1809, Solomon Bennett, one of the earliest exponents of the Reform mission theory, summed up the deplorable educational system when he lamented that novels and romances were more to the taste of English Jewry than the study of Scripture and that the majority of people could not comprehend the Hebrew prayers.3 Robert Grant, the distinguished Parliamentarian, upon introducing the Bill to Repeal the Civil Disabili? ties affecting the Jews in 1830, admitted to his opponents that among the lower classes of Jews 'there * Paper delivered to the Society on 6 February 1974. My thanks are extended to the staffs of the following libraries for their cooperation in making available to me pertinent sources: the British Museum; Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati; the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City; the New York Public Library Jewish Divi? sion. I wish to especially thank Mrs. Beverly Pressman for her many stimulating and valuable editorial suggestions. was something . . . demoralising,' but recognised the efforts of the higher classes to educate 'their humbler brethren'. Sir James Macintosh also acknowledged the 'moral malady' of poor Jews.4 The early years of the nineteenth century bore vivid testimony to the failure by the Jewish community to establish a constructive internal socio-educational pro? gramme, which, in turn, produced a physical and spiritual malaise among the Jewish poor. It was not long before the plight of the Jewish masses came to the attention of the London Society for Promoting Chris? tianity Amongst thejews. In establishing contact with the Jews, the society was motivated by both succour and missionary zeal. There can be no doubt, however, that the prime interest of the society's leadership was the latter. II. Efforts of the London Society The London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst thejews was founded on 4 August 1808 by a converted Jew, Joseph Samuel Christian Frederick Frey, who had broken away from the London Mis? sionary Society, founded in 1795. Until 1815, the London Society had welcomed both Churchmen and Dissenters. However, from 1815 on, the society affi? liated itself solely with the Anglican Church. The society included among its patrons well known clergymen, various Archbishops of Canter? bury, members of both Houses of Parliament, and, perhaps the most celebrated personality of all, the Duke of Kent (1767-1820), the fourth son of King George III and the father of the future Queen Victoria. He participated in laying the foundation-stone of the society's new headquarters in London at Palestine Place in 1813. In his address to the vast concourse, said by one interested writer, W. T. Gidney, to total 20,000 people, he disclaimed that the moving force behind the society was the conversion of Jewish souls. In 1816, he resigned his post as first Patron of the London Society, requesting that the position be filled by a prelate of the Established Church.5 During the early years, the society's motto was, first, to meet the material needs of a Jew, and then to indoctrinate him with the requisites for eternal salva? tion. Contemporary records testify that the society's bold plan was based on the inadequacy of the self-help measures adopted by the Jewish community. Recapi 6</page><page sequence="2">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800?1850 7 tulating the history of the society in 1851 in a series of Tracts Suitable for Imparting Information Relative to the Objects of the London Society, the editor noted that in its inception the object of the Society . . . appears to have been chiefly, by means of temporal relief to gain access to the poor.6 In 1808, C. F. Frey wrote that it is chiefly amongst this class of Jews i.e. the poor and ignorant we must look for success at first and there is no doubt but afterwards, some of the rich, the wise and the mighty will listen to the joyous sound.7 A. Highmore, a social historian of the period, testi? fies further to the game plan of the London Society: The means by which they humbly hope to accom? plish this most desirable object are such as these: to establish a school that they may be able to receive children from their parents, and to bestow upon them education, board and clothing. To connect with this a day school... to put out girls and boys apprentices; to find employment, if possible, for those who are able to work; to visit and relieve the sick; to distribute tracts, etc.8 In a letter to Joseph Crool9 in 1811, the London Society denied that it employed surreptitious means to attract Jewish children into its school.10 Moreover, the Earl of Shaftesbury (1801-1885), who was President of the London Society from 1848 until his death, declared in 1838: It is a very important feature in the generality of these conversions, that they have taken place among persons of cultivated understandings and literary attainments. We are not to be told that those excel? lent societies have operated with success on ignor? ance and poverty, purchasing the one, and persuad? ing the other . . .11 However, contemporaries have given a less favour? able evaluation of the functioning of the London Society. B. R. Goakman, the first printer to work for the society, was tormented by the fact that many young men accepted Jesus so that they 'could get a good belly-full of victuals.'12 On another occasion he observed that a foreign merchant informed him that he was willing to convert in order to gain financial assistance from the society.13 A Jewish spokesman, M. Sailman, who was a teacher of Hebrew and Aramaic in Southampton, drew on Goakman's account in offering the following episode describing the psycho? logy adopted by the missionaries: The mode of introducing themselves . . . was, first by purchasing some article to the value of a few pence, and leaving a dollar or seven shilling piece for it, to the delight and astonishment of the youth . . . the same benevolent deed was acted again and again, when at length the snare-laid youth humbly solicits to know to whom he is indebted for such mighty goodness. . . Before the youth has time to recover himself from his surprise, he is informed that such a lovely fine lad would look handsome in a new suit of clothes, and that if he will come next Sunday and hear Mr. Frey preach, he shall have as fine a suit as can be made.14 Solomon Bennett recognised three categories of converts: the poor, illiterate, and distressed Jew who converted on account of necessity; the proselyte who desired to live free and easy for reasons of vanity ; and, the most pernicious and hypocritical one of all, the convert who stirred up the prejudices of the masses for sport and thereby enriched his pocket.15 In 1828 a young girl in a manufacturing town in the North of England was lured into attending clandestine prayer meetings under the auspices of the conversionists without the knowledge of her widowed mother.16 The modern inquirer has, too, the record of Stanis? laus Hoga (1791-1860), the Polish penitent who returned to Judaism in the late 1840s: If you reflect on the miserable condition of Jews in some countries, if you reflect on their bad educa? tion ... if you add to this ... his bitter conviction that his most miserable condition is the result of the apathy and neglect of the Jews in those countries to introduce a better education among themselves then . . . you will not be at all surprised at his weak? ness in not resisting the tempting bait held out to him by the missionaries of the London Society.17 The Jewish silversmith and apologist, Moses Samuel, of Liverpool, wrote a well-known refutation of the society entitled, Address to the Patrons of the Institute for the Promotion of Christianity among the Jews (1822). He perceived in 1844, a year before Hoga broke with the London Society, that the former Jew still clung to the essentials of Judaism. In particular, Samuel lauded Hoga for his published defence of the Jews in Damascus in 1840. By 1840 Hoga had returned to the Jewish fold, and for the remainder of his life valiantly attempted to free himself from his sense of guilt. He scathingly criticised the London Society in a pamphlet, The Faithful Missionary, which failed to develop into a monthly periodical. In an article en? titled, Jewish Emancipation and the Conversion Society,' which was published by the Jewish Chronicle,</page><page sequence="3">8 Harvey W. Meirovich Hoga attacked those Parliamentarians who regarded England as a Christian State.18 The society's directorship believed that practical benefits would accrue from the distribution of propa? ganda, including translations of Scripture, for Jewish consumption. Thus, in 1817, 3,180 copies of the New Testament in Hebrew, published by the society, were distributed. The Rev. Alexander McCaul (1779-1863) regarded the new Hebrew Gospels as the greatest blessing that the Church could confer on thejews.19 His older colleague, the Rev. Charles Simeon (1759-1836), lauded the publication with the follow? ing encomium: It is well known, that the long extant and widely diffused translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek afforded great facilities for the spread of Christianity amongst the Gentiles, and it may well be hoped, that the translation of our Greek Scrip? tures into the Hebrew tongue will subserve in no small degree, the reception of the Gospel amongst the Jewish nation.20 In 1820 the society issued a Hebrew-German ver? sion of Luther's translation of the New Testament. In the same year aJudaeo-Polish [sic] edition of the New Testament composed by the Rev. N. B. Solomon rolled off the presses. This was followed in 1827 by the distribution of the Old Testament in Hebrew and in Judaeo-Polish. The year 1840 witnessed the publica? tion of a Judaeo-Spanish [sic] translation of the Bible and Liturgy.21 Within the period 1821-1830, the society distri? buted approximately a half-million pieces of literature to the Anglo-Jewish community. These materials consisted mainly of various translations of the Old and New Testaments and propaganda tracts. This figure testifies that the London Society perceived its mission to thejews as a sacred task. Recognising that the recent immigrant retained a strong emotional attachment to the Jewish liturgy, the missionary leadership responded to his spiritual crav? ing by publishing Christian prayers in Hebrew. The following sample from an 1820 tract conveys, in trans? lation, the literary style: Please, Lord, great and awe-inspiring God, preserve the covenant and lovingkindness to those who love you and observe your commandments. We, the children of Abraham, are your servants. We have sinned, transgressed, done wickedly, rebelled and strayed from your commandments and ordinances . . . and now O Lord our God ... let your fury and anger be withdrawn from Jerusalem, your holy mountain . . . Fulfil the words which you spoke concerning the consolation and return of your people: Please, Lord, fulfd your word to establish a new covenant with the Houses of Israel and Judah. Please, place your Torah in our midst and inscribe it on our hearts, and be to us our God and we will be your people . . . turn, plant us in our land now and place . . . your servant, David, the anointed one, over us as king and shepherd forever.22 In 1825 the society published a pamphlet which utilised both Old and New testament sources and was designed to convince the reader of the Messiahship of Jesus: Here before you, reader, is material taken from the Holy Scriptures concerning the time, birth, judg? ment, and death of the Messiah and his resurrection from the dead: Pray to God to grant you the grace of His holy spirit. Then, you should read with an open heart and understanding the New Testament, and see for yourself that the words of the prophets, were fulfilled through Jesus Christ. If Jesus is the Messiah, then, happy is he who takes shelter in him.23 The following year the conversionists published in Hebrew a theological exchange between one notional R. Nehemiah and his disciple, Yavetz. The pupil, bedridden and growing sicker each day, is concerned with his fate in the world to come: Yavetz: I know that He is compassionate . . . but if He were to judge me I know that I would perish forever ... I do not know the quantity of wicked? ness which others have committed. I am, however, aware of the fact that I have acted with great wick? edness . . . Master, you know that I have performed the 613 commandments of the Elders night and day, as you instructed me; I meditated upon them at all times and I directed my heart to consider their purpose. [Nevertheless,] I have not performed as the Lord has commanded us; whereas He com? manded that we should love Him with all our hearts, all our souls and all our might... I observed that which I have observed only out of awe and fear and for this I am sorry.24 R. Nehemiah recited for him the Scriptural passage dealing with the City of Refuge (Numbers xxxv, 9-12, 22-28), to which Yavetz replies: My situation and circumstance appear to me like that of the poor unfortunate man who fled on account of the blood-avenger. I too am fleeing, but do not know where. No City of Refuge is opening its gates for me.25</page><page sequence="4">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800-1850 9 After citing Scriptural proofs, R. Nehemiah provides the long-awaited answer: The Messiah was anointed ... in order to bind up the broken hearted (Isaiah 61:1) and it is to him that we must flee for he is our City of Refuge. He is the person whom we killed and, therefore, we must flee with all our might from the blood-avenger.26 The student is finally made aware that when the Messiah appears: The Torah presently in use will pass on . . . and will be swallowed up by that which is more precious than it; similarly, the priesthood of Aaron will fall before a more precious and eternal priesthood.27 Another type of appeal to Jewish immigrant men? tality was attempted on Sunday, 5 February 1837, with the initiation of a Hebrew language service at Palestine Place.28 By far, however, the most ambi? tious scheme to convert thejews originated in 1807, one year before the London Society's inauguration. In that year, under Frey's guidance, the London Mission? ary Society erected a Free School. On 23 June 1809, with the opening of its own free school in the Jewish quarter, the London Society commenced what was to be a long series of continuous and overt challenges to the Ashkenazi community. As many as 300-400 pupils attended the new school 'but only a few of them were of the people of Israel.'29 Nevertheless, by the end of the first year 18 Jewish boys and 4 Jewish girls had been admitted, and an additional 22 Jewish pupils were added to the roster in the same year when the free school that had been operated by the London Mission? ary Society came under the auspices of the London Society. In 1812 another school opened. This time enrolment rose to 83 Jewish children.30 It has been estimated that the total enrolment for the years 1809-1814 was 219 pupils. Total enrolment for the period 1816-1825 numbered 839 pupils, with an aver? age attendance per year of 40 boys and 44 girls. These figures, however, do not indicate the exact numbers of Jewish pupils within the over-all school population.31 Furthermore, between the years 1810 and 1819, the society constructed a number of agencies which were to act as temporay shelters and as educational training centres for potential converts and baptised Jews until they could reorient their lives.32 III. Formation of the Philo-Judaean Society Throughout these early years factional strife broke out among the London Society's members over the issue of Jewish emancipation. Eventually, this conten? tion led to a rift within the organisation's ranks. Liberals, constituting a minority faction within the society, advocated the complete removal of Jewish civil disabilities because they believed it would hasten conversion. Their philosophy had historical prece? dent. In the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries conver? sionists used the bait of citizenship to lure Jews to the baptismal font. However, the majority of the London Society's members, the conservatives, realised that the revolutionary doctrine of inalienable human rights which emanated from the circles of the French Revo? lution would be detrimental to their conversionist ambitions. The conservative wing recognised that the fruits of emancipation could no longer feasibly be used as a lure to the Jews to be awarded once they began to assimilate and to practise the established religious habits of the Christian State. Thus, The Evangelical's . . . essential conservatism, would not think of advocating a change in the status of the Jews in order to facilitate their conversion but would preach and implore the Jews to emancipate themselves through conversion . . . Once the con? cept of'citizen' is established it is possible, at least in theory, for the emancipation of the Jews to lead to integration without their converting. Hence, the conversionist would not be an advocate of emancipa? tion.33 Furthermore, the conversionists of the 19th century therefore stand in marked contrast to their intellectual and spiritual fore-bearers.34 Four of the leading exponents of this conservatism were Henry Robert Inglis (d. 1855), M.P. for Oxford, and Treasurer of the society in 1819;35 Samuel Wil berforce (d. 1873), Bishop of Oxford and a Vice Patron of the society in 1843;36 Archbishop Howley, Patron of the society;37 and the Earl of Shaftesbury.38 On the other hand, the minority liberal faction, hitherto largely ignored by historians, campaigned within and without Parliament for the removal of Jewish civil disabilities. This faction, which numbered more than 20 men, retained active membership in the London Society. Their rank as evangelicals earned them a citation in the centennial history of the organi? sation. Among their number were the following: Robert Grant, member of the Committee of the society; the Rt. Hon. Nicholas Vansittart (who became Lord Bexley in 1823), a Vice-President of the society in 1815 and a Vice-Patron in 1823; William Wilberforce, an early Vice-President;39 Archbishop Whately of Dublin, a Vice-Patron;40 Zachary Macaulay, an early member of the Committee around 1815;41 Thomas Babington, son-in-law of Zachary</page><page sequence="5">10 Harvey W. Meirovich Macaulay, a brother-in-law of William Wilberforce, and a Vice-President;42 the Rev. Michael Solomon Alexander, a Jew who converted in 1825;43 the Rev. J. C. Reichardt, an energetic evangelist who became Superintendent of the Operative Jewish Converts' Institution in 1831 and worked on the revised trans? lation of the Hebrew New Testament published in 1838;44 Dr. William Marsh, a well-known London Minister who was appointed an Honorary Life Gover? nor in 1827 for exemplary services rendered;45 and Connop Thirwall, Bishop of St. David's, Pembroke, Wales, and a Vice-Patron of the society.46 Of particular interest is the following statement by Charles Simeon, who was appointed an Honorary Life Governor of the society for his exemplary ser? vices: Let it suffice to say, that even in this land . . . there has been, within the memory of many now living, as universal and disgraceful an opposition to the Jews, as could well be expected from any civilized community. When the government of this country had passed an act in their favour, such was the clamour excited throughout the whole land, not by the irreligious only, but, I am ashamed to say, the religious also, that the Parliament was constrained to repeal in the following year, the law which had been enacted, when the law did nothing more than concede to them the common rights of humanity, the rights possessed by the meanest beggar in the land.47 Perhaps Simeon was implying his support of Jewish civil emancipation when he stated that . . . we . . . shall gladly labour in every possible way for the promotion of their good, if by any means we may save them.48 Finally, mention should be made of the Rev. Louis Way (1772-1840), Vice-President and financial sup? porter of the society. Way won the approbation of his fellow-members of the society when, while visiting Russia in 1818, he privately petitioned Alexander I to grant complete civil and social rights to the Jews within his jurisdiction. It is clear that Way viewed emancipation as the road of least resistance for achiev? ing maximum success among the Jews.49 In return for emancipation, the Jews . . . ought to contribute, as far as they are able, to the improvement of their habits and to give up customs (non-obligatory or non-essential) which tend to isolate them in their secular relations with Chris? tians.50 Before the assembly of notables at Aix-la-Chapelle, he stated: What I plead for on behalf of this distressed people is civil and political freedom-an entrance into the great family of society. It is vain to ask thejews to become Christians otherwise.51 Differences in ideology mounted between the con? servative and liberal factions of the society as to the most effective manner of accomplishing the objective of Jewish conversions. In 1826 the disaffected minority liberal wing broke away from the parent body and established its own conversionist enterprise in London, calling itself the Philo-Judaean Society. The new society's list of supporters included Dissenters as well as 16 members52 who continued to retain their affilia? tion with the parent organisation. The Philo-Judaean Society openly worked for the removal of Jewish civil disabilities, which included the admission of Jews into Parliament.53 The new society's intentions were clear. In its First Report, published in 1827, the society proclaimed that it sought to eradicate 'the moral torpitude' [sic] into which the masses of Jews had fallen and ... to procure the removal of civil disabilities from the Hebrew People . . . promote their national wel? fare . . . and above all, to accelerate that period foretold in the bible, when Jew and Gentile shall unite in one faith.54 In 1829 the Christian Register declared that the pur? pose of the Philo-Judaean Society was to relieve . . . thejews resident in Great Britain, from the civil disabilities to which they are subjected; and of per? forming such kind offices towards the members of the Jewish persuasions generally, as may induce them to regard the professors of the Gospel with a more favourable eye, and ultimately lead them within the pale of the Christian Church.55 In 1830 the society's journal, the Jewish Expositor, asserted that The Philo-Judaean Society seeks to conciliate Jews to Christians and Christianity by doing them tem? poral good, without reference to their state of mind . . .56 These activities did not go unnoticed in the Jewish quarter. In 1842 the Voice of Jacob expressed its alarm over what it regarded as the deceptive activities of the Philo-Judaean Society: A society, styling itself Philo-Judean, is advertising for charitable contributions for poor Jews, to be</page><page sequence="6">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800?1850 11 dispensed not through Jewish channels, but for ulterior objects.57 The Philo-Judaean Society acknowledged that Jews accepting its temporal aid were threatened from the pulpit with excommunication and denial of Jewish burial.58 To ease their transfer to Christianity, the society proposed that converted Jews maintain the outline of the Jewish liturgy . . . provided due reference be made to the accom? plishments of the divine promises in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.59 and that they observe Saturday and Sunday as Sabbath days. The society felt that these 'Hebrew Christians' would serve as harbingers of a national Jewish conver? sion.60 In 1847 Connop Thirwall (1795-1875), manifestly a member of the liberal wing of the London Society,61 voted in Parliament in a losing cause for the removal of civil and religious disabilities. Prior to casting his vote, he articulated the point of view expressed by his conversionist precursors: I am a believer in the force of truth, in the power of justice, and in the ultimate triumph of Christianity, and I am firmly convinced that by passing this measure . . . you will not be retarding, but rather hastening, the period of its final triumph . . . you will be hastening the approach of the time when the veil shall be taken away from the eyes of the people for whose relief it is designed . . . every exclusion by which they are deprived of the rights enjoyed by their fellow subjects, lays an additional fold to the veil which prevents them from discerning the truth.62 The London Society quickly established a har? monious working accord with the offshoot organisa? tion. In the January 1830 issue of the Jewish Expositor, the London Society decided that, henceforth, their official pronouncements would be released in a new publication, Monthly Intelligence. While the new periodical urged the conversion of thejews by means of direct spiritual propaganda, a portion of it included programmes which advocated Jewish conversion by means of temporal relief, an obvious reference to the Philo-Judaean Society.63 the compromise sentiment of the London Society read, in part, as follows: ... we are not desirous to look out for . . . novel applications; but to take up those which are the best known . . . other Societies and Institutions . . . seek the good of Israel. We propose to give occasional extracts from their publications and even abstracts of their reports . . . We blame not those . . . whose aim is to render temporal relief to the Jews. We feel convinced that their labours are wanted, and that their work has its proper place in the scheme of Christian beneficence . . . the prayers of Christians should be offered in behalf of those who are labour? ing for the benefit of the Jews. . . whether in the way of preaching the Gospel to them . . . keeping up discussions, visiting the Jews at their houses . . .relieving their temporal wants, or pursuing any other methods that appear equally expedient.64 The evidence indicates that, at this period, the London Society concluded that the work of the Philo-Judaean Society could only complement their own endeavours.65 Interestingly, the Philo-Judaean Society believed that all Jewish educational and tem? poral advances were a direct consequence of their own efforts among the Jews.66 Besides the rift over emancipation, another internal struggle raged within the London Society. The issue was whether temporal aid served the best interests of the society. In response to those of its members who took a stand against the offering of temporal relief, the Committee of the society declared in 1817: ... it is not the purpose of the London Society, by the relief which they give to Jews in distress, to induce them to make a profession of Christianity . . .[rather the Society is] to make them understand that the temporal aid afforded will neither be in? creased by their professing themselves Christians, nor withheld on account of their remaining Jews.67 By 1819 the London Society had defined its objec? tives as being purely spiritual in nature. Henceforth, the temporal relief of the Jews ceased to be one of the society's major responsibilities. As will become evi? dent, the reasons underlying this decisive change in conversionist policy must be sought within the con? fines of the Anglo-Jewish community, which finally awoke to the consequences inherent in the conver? sionists' activities. IV. Responses of the Ashkenazi Community The year 1820 marked a turning point in the history of the evangelical movement's relationship with the Anglo-Jewish community. Having decided to de emphasise its temporal relief programme, the society now turned its spiritual aspirations outward. Prima facie, it appears that, having rooted themselves in English turf with the financial backing of the Church of England, the conversionists decided to reap the harvest of Jewish souls on the Continent. Particular</page><page sequence="7">12 Harvey W. Meirovich attention was to be paid to the impoverished Jews of Russia and Poland, who were living without the grace of Jesus. However, the primary motive for the society's expansion abroad at this time is more likely to be found within the internal dynamics of the Jewish community. The initial advances and considerable campaign undertaken by the London Society had caught Lon? don Jewry by surprise. The society, however, could not have known that its budding triumphs would be short-lived. The Ashkenazi religious and lay com? mand awoke, startled by the presence of what they regarded as an ominous enemy. Albeit late, the com? munity's counter-offensive ultimately succeeded not only in stifling the proselytising efforts but also in eliminating some of the economic and social depriva? tion upon which the conversionists preyed. Unwitt? ingly, the London Society for Promoting Christianity had served as a catalysing agent in prodding thejewish establishment into action.68 Thejewish response took a number of forms. Un? surprisingly, Solomon Hirschell, spiritual leader of the Great Synagogue in Duke's Place, led the Jewish defence. Hirschell was universally recognised by both Anglo and world Jewries as the Chief Rabbi of the German and Polish Jews in the British dominions. Historians have evaluated him as a man of extremes. One portrait would have us believe that Hirschell was an active leader who possessed considerable sway over his flock, while the other would portray him as a weak and ineffective anachronism who was oblivious to the modern world. Both images touch upon the truth. The fallacy lies in casting him entirely in one mould or the other.69 Hirschell longed to live as a scholar, contemplating the dawn of redemption for his oppressed people. However, when he became fully cognisant of the hazards confronting his community, he emerged from his isolation. Although naturally averse to religious controvery,70 within days of the London Missionary Society opening its free school, Solomon Hirschell addressed his congregants on two successive Sabbaths, 3 and 10 January 1807. The timing of his sermons obviously reflected the urgency of the moment, for he normally preached only twice a year, once on the Great Sabbath before Passover and again on the Sab? bath of Repentance before the Day of Atonement. In the first sermon, after drawing his text from Ezekel iii. 17, he declared: Attend, O ye children of Israel! A new matter has appeared from a set of benevolent gentlemen, of the Christian persuasion, who have proceeded to open a free school for the benefit of the Jewish children of both sexes. Now, although, according to appear? ance, nothing can be more praiseworthy than such philanthropic kindness on their part, yet, after well considering the circumstance, and the good likely to arise therefrom to us and our posterity ... it appears, likely to injure the principles of the Jewish religion, and thus, instead of producing fruit, we gather shame. I feel myself, therefore, under the necessity of warning you, both male and female parents, or guardians, who own the name of Israel? ites, and wish to be esteemed members of our com? munion, not too rashly to embrace this plan, nor to send your children to the school established by those gentlemen, until we shall have farther and satisfactory information, and clear proofs of its utility, free from all idea of probable and distant evil.71 The following week, after further investigation, the Chief Rabbi presented his findings to the congrega? tion: Now, having since been fully convinced . . . that the whole purpose of this seeming kind exertion is but an inviting snare, a decoying experiment, to undermine the props of our religion; and the sole intent of the institution is, at bottom, only to entice innocent Jewish children, during their early an un? suspecting years, from the observance of the law of Moses ... I feel myself necessitated to caution the congregation in general, that no one do send, or allow to be sent, any child whether male or female, to this or any such school, established by strangers to our religion; nor likewise unto any Sunday school ofthat nature. All such persons . . . who shall act contrary to this prohibition, whether male or female, will be considered as if they had themselves forsaken their religion, and been baptized, and shall lose all title to the name of Jew, and forfeit all claims on the congregation, both in life and death. Every one who feareth God, is hereby reminded of his duty to warn every one of these circumstances, and acquaint him thereof, that he may escape the snare laid to entangle him.72 A summary of this exhortation was published in Yiddish and English and distributed to all parts of England. C. F. Frey, one of the directors of the Lon? don Missionary Society, testified to the effectiveness of the Rabbi's ban: 'For two full years. . . not one child was added to the original number.'73 Shortly after the London Society commenced oper? ations, Hirschell, working discreetly, sent an official delegation of synagogue leaders to visit the Treasurer</page><page sequence="8">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800-1850 13 of the society.74 It was clearly not a social call. Throughout the 1820s, the Chief Rabbi utilised his authority to castigate the evangelists. In the early part of the decade, he apparently took issue with and refuted the dogma ofjesus's resurrection. The incident is obscure in its details, but this much is certain: He drew the fury of one Rev. George Hamilton, Rector of Killermogh, who published a rejoinder.75 In a letter dated 22 February 1827, Hirschell admonished one of his parishioners who had been frequenting the activi? ties of the conversionists: The presence of any Jew at such a meeting is not only improper in itself, but gives an apparent sanc? tion or approbation to it and, however unfounded, encourages a false hope in the practice that their preaching has effect. Let me therefore caution you not to appear at any such meetings lest it should appear as if you encouraged the system when you merely went from curiosity.76 That same year, Joseph Wolff (1795-1862), the well-travelled and influential son-in-law of the Earl of Oxford and the most outstanding convert to come out of the London Society, had just returned from the Middle East. Wolff attempted to meet Rabbi Hirschell privately. He probably hoped to be able to relate that he had befriended the Chief Rabbi of Ashkenazi Jewry upon his return to Jerusalem. Hirschell acknowledged the receipt of Mr. Wolffs letter, but felt ... it is inconsistent with his official situation as it is incongrous [sic] with his personal feelings that he should admit Mr. Wolff to be capable of reporting any conversation between them on his return to Palestine.77 On 3 April 1830, the Great Sabbath before Pass? over, Rabbi Hirschell directed his sermon at the bap? tised Jew. He likened him to a sick patient who was beyond medical treatment.78 Frey confirms that the Chief Rabbi often delivered threatening sermons against those Jews who were 'suspected of inquiring into the truth of Christianity'.79 Throughout this period the Chief Rabbi voiced his strong opposition to the Philo-Judaean Society.80 Moreover, his defence of the faith compelled him to dispatch a letter to Sir I. L. Goldsmid disproving the calumnious charge promul? gated by William Cobbett that Jewish children were taught to blaspheme Christianity.81 Indeed, it is cer? tain that Hirschell included among his friends a select number of professing Christians.82 Cognisant of the fact that exhortations were ephem? eral by nature, the spiritual leader of Ashkenazi Jewry approved an educational primer intended for use as a Jewish catechism. The author was Saloman Jacob, or Shalom ben Jacob (1772?1845). His educational trea? tise, Shorshei Emunah (Elements of Faith), was pub? lished in 1815 and translated into English in 1817 by Dr. Joshua Van Oven. The pamphlet was based on an earlier German tract composed by Cohen in 1812 and falls into a category of pamphlets written at this time aimed at, so to speak, re-educating orthodox Jews along the lines of the Enlightenment. As a Mendels sohnian document, it stressed the obligations of the Jew as a human being to observe God's revealed law. The primer taught the principle that the religious Gentile was he who observed the Noahide precepts. It further argued that, since both Christianity and Judaism are founded on sound moral principles, the adherents of each persuasion should remain within the bounds of their respective religions, especially since only a handful of proselytes ever converted out of truly sincere motives.83 With manifest reference to the missionaries, Cohen wrote: It is therefore a strange thing in our eyes, that persons should be found who lay in wait for the members of the Jewish faith ... to entice them by flattery, lures, and tempting gifts, to abandon the religion wherein they were born and educated, in order to embrace Christianity [sic]. Such practice. . . occasions divisions in families, the husband divorced from the wife of his bosom, the father cast off by the son of his loins, and nature's best affec? tions converted into hatred . . . Nay, it is a question, whether it be not a greater crime to attempt the conversion of a person to a different faith, by promises and gifts, than to effect proselytism by fire and sword.84 Thus, it becomes apparent that it was Solomon Hirschell's fervent hope that Cohen's tract would inculcate Jewish values, and thereby undermine the stratagems of the London Society by making the youth of our nation acquainted . . . with the doctrine and correct morality of our holy law, to point out to them the way in which man may ascend to the attainment of true happiness, and by which he may comprehend the course of life laid down by our pure religion [becoming so attached to Judaism that] . . . they will not listen to the voice of deceivers.85 By far the most effective and concrete measure to combat the conversionists was the construction of educational and social welfare institutions. It is no accident that the timing of the massive building cam? paign initiated by the Ashkenazi community coin</page><page sequence="9">14 Harvey W. Meirovich cided closely with the planning efforts embarked upon by the London Society. In 1795 Abraham and Benja? min Goldsmid laid out a design for a Jews' Hospital. Procrastination, however, delayed completion of the project, and it was not until 28 June, 1807, that is to say, six months after the free school of the London Missionary Society began its operation, that the Neve Tzedek (the popular appellation for the Jews' Hospi? tal) opened its doors to care for the aged, to educate youth, and to seek useful employment for both boys and girls.86 Two years later, in 1809, the recently founded London Society opened its own school. Sub? sequently, in 1811, the Westminster Jews' Free School was established in thejewish quarter in the West End. In 1817, under the guiding hand of Joshua Van Oven, the Jews' Free School was erected. It assumed educa? tional responsibility from its precursor, the Talmud Torah School, which was founded in 1732 and had been affiliated with the Great Synagogue. Statistics indicate that within a few months enrolment in the Free School reached 220 pupils and in time rose to 600 boys and 300 girls. With the establishment of thejews' Free School, M. Sailman, one of the archcritics of the London Society, happily spoke of the daily improve? ments in Jewish learning.87 The nineteenth-century Jewish historian, James Picciotto, would be justified in saying later in the century that the school and the other social welfare projects demonstrated . . the munifi? cent charity of the English Jews towards their poorer brethren [a policy, in part, of anti-conversionist pru? dence].'88 Finally, a major impetus towards the foun? dation of thejews' Infants' School in 1841, in the East End of London, off Houndsditch, was the Jewish concern over the potential influence of Christian schools in the neighbourhood.89 Thus it has been clearly demonstrated that thejew? ish religious and lay leadership undertook efforts to counter the momentum of the London Society. It seems reasonable to conclude that it was precisely the Jewish initiatives which effectively halted the conver? sionists' advances, thereby forcing them to expand their operations abroad. Henceforth, thejewish estab? lishment recognised its obligations to perform the commandment of charity. Throughout the rest of the century, mainly through voluntary contributions, the community implemented progressive programmes of social welfare reform.90 The Jews took up en masse the initiative Hirschell began against the London Society. One group of Jews obviously hoped to upset the society's pamphleteers when they tore up the literature distributed to them and threw it into the gutter. Another group of unsym pathetic Jews threw the tracts back into the mis? sionaries' faces.91 In many instances, reaction to the society was said to be expressed even more forcefully. In one instance, a Jew was so distressed by a relative's conversion that he sued him for payment of an old debt amounting to ?5, which the convert claimed he had already paid. The proselyte's baptism and open acceptance of Jesus had already caused him severe financial difficulties, so the society was forced to settle this outstanding debt. On another occasion, a Jew, Barnard Jacobs, was physically assaulted by his brethren because he showed an interest in the society and wanted to have his children attend its school. The Rev. N. B. Solomon admitted that he approached the London Society with trepidation. In 1811, in an attempt to negotiate a series of debates between C. F. Frey and Rabbi Joseph Crooll, the directorship of the Society feared that 'Mr. Frey's safety . . . under the present circumstances, would be endangered by the lower order of Jews, who would we fear, consider it a meritorious act to take away his life.' The society acknowledged that Frey had ' . . . more than once been endangered by a few hundred Jews of the lower order attending at the Jews' Chapel.'92 In fact, Frey was imprisoned for one night by a Jewish constable in Portsmouth, on the grounds of not having in his possession the proper identifica? tion. However, Frey attributed his incarceration to the hatred of his Jewish brethren.93 The intensity of Jewish feeling against the society led the Rev. Charles Simeon to write in 1811 that when a Jew converted, the Jews '. . . are kept only by the powerful arm of the law from manifesting their displeasure, as they were wont to do in the days of old.'94 The London Society was convinced that the Jewish community was not above murdering sincere converts.95 An effective measure brought to bear upon poten? tial converts was social ostracism. A converted Rabbi and Jerusalemite, Judah Catarevus, was demoted on grounds of immoral behaviour during his stay with the London Society, and he was rejected by his former brethren when he tried to rejoin their ranks. On another occasion, the Jewish quarter refused to accept back into the fold a Jew who had recanted his belief in Jesus. The lad, near starvation, was taken back into the missionary organisation by Frey. Another boy, de? clared by the society as unworthy of partaking of the holy ordinance, was so driven to despair after being rebuked by his Jewish relations and friends that he drowned himself in the New River. Still another case was that of one George Myars, a butcher, who was ostracised by the Jewish community for having</page><page sequence="10">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800?1850 15 attended the London Society Chapel. Thereupon, once his new employer made it known he was a Jew, the Christian employees refused to work with him!96 In the 1840s the Voice of Jacob bombarded the Lon? don Society with a series of critical articles. The news? paper pointed out misstatements about Judaism which the society propagated in its publications and meet? ings. Christians so inclined were encouraged to submit to Christian journals articles denouncing the society's work. The society itself was urged to pursue its humanitarian efforts by aiding its own poverty stricken brethren and those Christians who had apos tasised.97 The Ashkenazi community produced pamphleteer* who took up the challenge of counteracting state? ments from the society's press. The charges levelled against the society by Messrs. Solomon Bennett, Stanislaus Hoga, and M. Sailman have already been cited.99 Another contemporary to take up the pen against the society was Tobias Goodman, one of the earliest English preachers.99 In 1809 Goodman addressed these words to the society: . . . while the Gentile race are carried away with every new fangled system of religion, you pine at the firmness of the Jew, who, in spite of every artifice and temptation, has for so many thousand years, denied himself many things, which others call luxuries, because he is commanded to do so by his God.100 He warned his brethren to guard their offspring with a jealous eye, and he disclaimed the society's expectation of a bounteous spiritual harvest: Do you mean to teach us a better system of morale than the law and the prophets teach? Believe me Gentlemen, when you can, I will most cordially adopt it, and become a proselyte to your faith . . . Do not imagine that a Jew is to be as easily brought to reverence your reveries, as those whom you have terrified into a slavish fear, by threatening them with the terrors of-.101 In 1814 another Jewish apologist presented his argu? ments to the general public. He was Jacob Nikels burger, a recent arrival in Liverpool (probably from the town of Nikelsburg, in Moravia, from which he would have derived his name). In his pamphlet he confined himself solely to refuting the various Scrip? tural arguments raised by the Rev. C. F. Frey. By his own account, Nikelsburger admits to having tried without success to engage Frey in debate. While visit? ing Liverpool Frey had issued the challenge to dispute with anyone, at any time or place, on the subject of the Messiah. From the evidence Nikelsburger cites it appears that Frey reneged on his offer to debate. Nik? elsburger claimed that his letter, dated 20 September 1813, had ample time to reach Frey, who was in Liverpool at the time. Frey replied by stating that he did not receive Nikelsburger's letter prior to his depar? ture from the city. However, Frey's reply, written from Manchester on 25 September, arrived in Liver? pool the following day.102 Nikelsburger accused Frey of perverting the words of ' . . . the prophets, by turning their words to a meaning, which you conceive, to be best adapted to your purpose: and, in doing this, you make them not only flatly contradict each other, but themselves also.'103 Nikelsburger took issue with the theological dic? tum enunciated by the leading exponents of the Lon? don Society, that the dispersion of thejewish people in the Diaspora was a sign of God's retribution for their having rejected the Messiahship of Jesus: . . . if it be true . . . that Jesus is the person he [Isaiah] alludes to, I cannot help remarking . . . that the Gentiles are under great obligations to thejews, for having bruised him, and ought to treat them with a little more courtesy than is usual: for, if thejews had not bruised him, the Gentiles would not have been healed ... if all sin was pardoned by the sacrifice of Jesus, of course the sin committed by the Jews in sacrificing him (if they did commit sin by it) must also be pardoned.104 In 1822 the reading public was offered a scathing denunciation of the London Society published under the title, An Exposure of Hypocrisy and Bigotry, and a Strenuous Vindication of the Israelites. The author, Zai lick Solomon, was an enlightened Jew who had acquired secular learning. He also had more than a dilettante's familiarity with the major Hebrew com? mentaries and codes. Like his compatriot in philoso? phy, Tobias Goodman, Solomon believed that Judaism was most concerned with the moral relation? ships between men. However, unlike his contempor? ary Joseph Crooll, whom he cited with due respect, Solomon rejected the belief in the imminent restora? tion of the Jewish people. Rather, he adopted the centrist line advanced by Hirschell, S. J. Cohen, and Goodman that the restoration of Israel, one of the thirteen articles of faith, would certainly occur, but at a time known only to God Himself.105 Although acutely aware of the deficiency of Hebrew knowledge among thejewish masses, Solomon did not think that ignorance formed . . sufficient ground for discon? tinuing the national and venerable custom of uttering the prayers... in that language, so emotional and so</page><page sequence="11">16 Harvey W. Meirovich harmonious.'106 On the question of civil emancipa? tion he maintained that the Jew who was integrating into English society would insist upon his right to remain an observant Jew: . . . very few Israelites have, or seek for, an easy access to the festive boards at the places of illustrious Christians . . . the peculiarity of the Jews' mode of living insulates them, in many respects, from other communities. Still, they observe amongst them? selves, a few substantial rules of good manners which qualify them, not only for the society of each other, but for that of all discreet and civil per? sons.107 Preferring to debate the issues through the medium of the press, Solomon suggested that the zealots of the London Society devote their energies to less fortunate Christians and natives. He directed a broadside assault on the concept of the Trinity, although he later apolo? gised for any condescension on his part which may have tended to invalidate Christian dogma.108 The most vociferous and outspoken opponent of the London Society was Rabbi Joseph Crooll. Very little is known about his background except that he was a native of Hungary.109 The personal information available about him dates back to a hostile description of him by the Rev. F. R. Hall, of Fulbourn Rectory, and released by the Cambridge Independent Press on 11 June 1848. The Jewish Chronicle, in turn, published the Cambridge Independent Press report.110 This portrait of Crooll, although patently biased, later served as the basis for the 1902 article in the Jewish Encyclopaedia. Hall, probably a former student of Crooll's at Cam? bridge, concluded that he was an eccentric, devoid of learning, who gave Hebrew lessons at the University of Cambridge during the absence of the Royal Profes? sors of Hebrew: Mr. Crooll was by no means. . . well read; and could read no language except German, English, and Hebrew. He abounded in prejudices. He delighted in old wives' fables and vain tradi? tions ... he wore a parchment girdle, on which were inscribed messages from the law and the Tal? mud . . . He was opposed to the emancipation of the Jews, because he thought that the introduction of Jews to Christian gentlemen in the Legislature would lead to their conversion to the Christian faith.111 In the Jewish Chronicle report Hall took the Bishop of Oxford to task for citing Crooll in order to support the doctrine that the majority of English Jews did not favour emancipation. Hall concluded that the Bishop should not have quoted Crooll as an authoritative representative of the Jewish viewpoint. There can be no argument that Crooll was, indeed, something of an eccentric and radical personality. But it is surely strange that one of the grounds for Hall's denunciation of Crooll was the latter's proficiency in only three languages (the writer having forgotten to mention Crooll's probable fluency in Hungarian and Yiddish!). Moreover, a reading of Crooll's works reveals that he was a man of considerable learning, albeit primarily in the Jewish sector. The only point not open to question is Crooll's adamant opposition to Jewish emancipation. It is this paper's contention that, seen from his Weltanschauung, Crooll had two solid reasons to berate obsessively the emancipation efforts of his confreres; first was his fear that Jews introduced 'to Christian gentlemen in the Legislature' would be ultimately seduced into con? verting to Christianity. This angst, however, only takes on credibility when juxtaposed beside the overt proclamations of a group of Parliamentarians who, while urging Jewish emancipation, paid allegiance to the London Society's minority liberal wing and/or the Philo-Judaean Society.112 Secondly, Crooll believed in the imminent coming of the Restoration, which necessitated Jewish aloofness from the dominant Christian culture. When Crooll first arrived in England around the turn of the century, he took a post as one of the first Anglo-Jewish preachers in Manchester. It was there that he translated into English a service commemorat? ing a special fast day set for 19 October 1803. During the Hebrew service Crooll prayed for God's blessing of peace on England and her righteous people who displayed '. . . pity, charity, mercy, and loving kind? ness to the Jewish people who were strangers in the land'.113 It appears that Crooll moved to Nottingham in 1805, where he may have assumed the office of Rabbi.114 Nothing is known of his activities during the following five years. However, in 1810 he took up the cudgels against the London Society. On 26 December ofthat year Crooll challenged OF. Frey to a public debate before thousands of Jews and Chris? tians. He issued his call in an anonymous letter through a liaison. Frey accepted the proposal in a letter dated 1 February 1811, but with great apprehension '. . . lest through incompetence to so arduous an un? dertaking, or from any other defect in me, the cause of the Messiah should suffer'.115 A series of insulting letters between the parties followed. Crooll was accused of not being able to comprehend the letter sent to him by Frey, due to his 'partial acquaintaince [sic] with the English Lan? guage.'116 Therefore, the society was prepared to</page><page sequence="12">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800-1850 17 correspond with him in Hebrew. On 3 April a series of debates was arranged to take place beginning 17 June. On the 17th, 19th, and 24th, Frey was to propound questions to Crooll, and on the 18th, 20th, and 25th Crooll was to cross-examine his opponent. Two thou? sand tickets were to be distributed, and peace officers were to ensure the safety of Crooll! It was agreed that Crooll was to be reimbursed for travelling expenses, board and lodging, and loss of time away from his professional duties, the amount to be determined by the Rev. Charles Simeon and the Rev. William Leeson (the latter now acting as Crooll's liaison with the society).117 Yet, in his final letter to the society on 12 April 1811, Joseph Crooll reneged on his pledge to debate with Frey, with the startling statement: 'I assure you that I repent that I undertook it... if you will excuse of it in dropping the whole undertaking I shall thank you for it.'118 What circumstances could possibly account for his sudden and dramatic change of heart? It must be remembered that it was he who initiated the challenge to Frey. Moreover, this incident is the only one in which Crooll ever backed away from what would become a life-long offensive against the missionaries. The answer is probably that Crooll feared opposi? tion from within the leadership ranks of the Jewish community. It is reasonable to conjecture that they did not view him as an ideal spokesman to articulate their cause. They seem to have felt that his lack of profi? ciency in English would do more harm than good in the heat of public debate. Then, too, thejewish com? munity may have feared that Crooll would not be able to maintain his composure in the face of hot debate. A Mr. Holmes may have been alluding to Crooll's temper when he wrote on 13 November, 1824: 'He [Mr Holmes] trusts, should a public discussion takes [sic] place, that each will endeavour to win the others esteem ... by carrying on the discussion in a spirit of conciliation and kindness.'119 Moreover, Crooll was obviously aware that his initiative to debate the fledgling London Society col? lided head on with the prevailing policy of refraining from public confrontation with the conversionist (note Hirschell's unobtrusive delegation sent to the Treasurer of the society). Thejewish quarter at this early period probably wanted to refrain from provid? ing the London Society with additional publicity. Zailick Solomon probably reflected this establishment opposition to Crooll when he addressed the leaders of the society: You speak of Mr. Crooll's proposing to dispute with any of you in public, and afterwards evading the encounter by subterfuges. If such be the truth, for which, without a correspondence with Mr. Crooll, at Cambridge, I have your words only, the conduct of that gentleman is reprehensible, for undertaking such a task without sufficient pre? meditation. Mr. Crooll, teacher of Hebrew at the University, is known as a man of letters, and as being conversant with theological subjects, and might overwhelm the mightiest of your comba? tants. But he ought to have preconsidered the disad? vantages to which he would be exposed, as a for? eigner, incapable of transmitting his ideas with suf? ficient facility to an English audience, though acquainted with the principles and details of the English language . . . Mr. Crooll should have pre? considered most especially, that no good, either spiritual or temporal could ensue from the contest; that it would be bad policy to grant a boon to enthusiasts, in adding fuel to their fervency. Had Mr. Crooll weighed these circumstances, he would have sustained his merited reputation. That gentle? man will pardon the free use that I make of his name, for he may feel assured, that it is noticed on this occasion, with pain; and under a supposition, that the story which converters have told is correct; though a distortion of truth is amongst them, by no means uncommon.120 The London Society did believe that any publicity would advance their cause. In 1829 the society reported that the denunciation by certain Rabbis of its Old Testament translation into Judaeo-German [sic] had the desirable effect of increasing the interest of the Jewish reading public. Earlier, in 1824, the society acknowledged its thanks to Joseph Crooll, by indirect reference to him, for evoking discussion beteen Chris? tians and Jews.121 In his initial letter to Frey on 26 December 1810, Crooll's liaison made it clear that Crooll had refrained from signing his own name, not 'from any ignorance of English manners, but from some other cause', known only to himself.122 Yet in future correspon? dence Crooll did not hesitate to sign his name. Why? No doubt his secret venture with its inherent contro? versy leaked to the public, perhaps prematurely. His efforts at anonymity had failed. Or, perhaps, his failure to affix his signature was a safeguard against self-recri? mination; for, although he initiated the challenge to Frey, it would have been to Crooll's advantage had the Jewish establishment ultimately believed that it was Frey who had instigated the affair and that he, Joseph Crooll, had innocently stepped forward to defend the righteous cause of his coreligionists. It would further appear that in the end community pressure did prevail, which would account for the</page><page sequence="13">18 Harvey W. Meirovich following statement written by Crooll on 12 April 1811: 'I have no prospect to gain anything, for where is my protection against them that might perhaps rise against me, therefore I must be particular in every step.'123 Given the hypothesis above, Crooll apparently feared not the derision that would emanate from the Gentile audience once he ascended the speaker's plat? form, but rather the scorn of his fellow-Jews! In a final effort to save face with the Jewish community if he were to debate, Crooll demanded that the London Society advertise that Frey had issued the challenge to the Jewish community and that he, with good inten? tions, had accepted the challenge on behalf of the Jewish community. But, preferring to step down in order to remain in good standing within the com? munity, he put forth what were probably unreason? able terms: a payment of ?50 as wages and the right to choose his own lodgings at the expense of the society.124 It is not mere coincidence that in future years Crooll waged his battle against the London Society exclusively in the press, and never again sug? gested a debate in the public forum. Surely this inci? dent in 1811 weighed heavily on his mind.125 Joseph Crooll had ample opportunity to survey the activities of the London Society and to acquaint him? self with some of its leading exponents. For example, the Rev. Michael Solomon Alexander, a converted Jew, was a stalwart of the society and for a period of 20 years served as Professor of Hebrew and Arabic in King's College, London. In 1841 he assumed the post of Protestant Bishop in Jerusalem.126 Crooll was probably a close observer of the activities of the Rev. Charles Simeon, Vicar of Holy Trinity at Cambridge and Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. The move? ments of a branch office of the society established at Cambridge in 1821 probably also interested him.127 In 1812 Crooll published his major polemic against the society, entitled The Restoration of Israel. In 1829 two shorter pamphlets appeared which further defined his thinking: The Fifth Empire 128 and The Last Generation. In these works Crooll argued that in trying to convert the Jews the London Society was acting contrary to the command of God 'that the Jews should forever remain separate from all nations.129 He asserted that the Jews were in the Diaspora as a punish? ment by God. They had been exiled for their historic sins, including those of their forefathers, and for worshipping the false gods of the Gentiles. God punished Israel first, not the Gentile nations, in order to demonstrate to the world His impartiality in hand? ing out punishment. While in exile, Israel's task was to convert the Gentile world to the worship of the God of Israel.130 In 1812 he was of the opinion that Chris tian persecution of thejews throughout history would be requited in full measure when the Messiah arrived, for 'the blood of Israel which was shed like water, cries and will never be silent'.131 But, should any nation choose to follow Israel's law, their observance of it would accrue to their benefit.132 Crooll propounded the idea that if, indeed, Jesus were the Messiah, he would punish the European nations for their cruel persecution of thejews.133 In describing the relation? ship between the Jewish people and the Gentiles, he compared the nations of the world to a ship which floundered in the sea for lack of a rudder. With the creation of Israel as the rudder, the world was set in motion. The ship, however, needed a compass, which was provided by God in the form of the Ten Com? mandments and the bulk of Biblical law.134 Further? more, he believed that the final clash of the world empires would have its locus in Palestine. The battle would pit the European Powers against the Moslems (i.e., Gog), who would attempt to rescue the belea gured forces of Turkey. After the blood-bath Israel would be restored by the Messiah, son of Joseph.135 The Messiah would then extend his hegemony over the Fifth Empire, after subduing the powers of Rome (i.e., the last generation=the Gentiles of the nine? teenth century), compelling them to accept his supre? macy.136 Then Israel would once again nestle in the bosom of God as His treasured people in the land of Palestine until the end of time: '. . . mankind will recover their primitive glory, and will be above the angels; Satan and his band will be destroyed.'137 In short, the Fifth Empire will be heaven on earth.138 By 1829 Crooll had toned down his prediction of doom for the Gentile nations. He offered them a path of repentance. For reasons known only to himself, he left his Christian readers guessing as to the manner in which they were to repent, at the close of The Fifth Empire; but in The Last Generation he advised the European nations to compensate for their past cruelties against the Jewish people, in the face of the pending world cataclysm, by extending their friendship to the Jewish people through tithes and property to sustain them until the Restoration became a reality.139 In 1825 Crooll was of the opinion that the Restora? tion would dawn in 1830 (the Hebrew year 5590) or, at the very least, that this year would bring a great change in the world.140 In 1829 he changed the above calculation to the year 1840 (or the year 5600 of the Hebrew calendar). He adopted the midrashic conclu? sion that the earth would endure until the year 6000 of the Hebrew calendar, basing his calculations on the six days of creation, with each day representing 1,000 years.141</page><page sequence="14">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800-1850 19 It has been demonstrated thus far that the polemi? cists were, indeed, united in their opposition to the London Society. At the same time, it is equally clear that their writings provide a glimpse into the diver? gent philosophies of Judaism which exercised sway at this period within the Anglo-Jewish community. The London Society did not wait long to respond to The Restoration of Israel. In 1814 the Rev. Thomas Scott (1746-1821), Rector of Aston Sandford, Bucks, and an accomplished Hebraist and Bible commen? tator, sought to prove in a commentary to Croon's work that Jesus was the Messiah, and that the peculiar doctrines of Christianity were clearly 'contained in the old Testament; or are not at all inconsistent with its leading principles'.142 A notice of Scott's reply appeared in The Eighth Report of the Committee of the London Society in 1816, and in the same year his tract received favourable review in the Jewish Expositor.143 The Restoration of Israel underwent further criticism at the hands of William Cunninghame, a resident of Lainshaw, near Glasgow. In a series of letters published originally in the Jewish Repository of October and November 1815, and republished in the Jewish Exposi? tor Supplement (1816), Cunninghame, like Scott, attempted to prove the Messiahship of Jesus by means of Scriptural interpretations. But, unlike Scott, he did not hesitate to employ New Testament sources.144 Joseph Crooll now availed himself of the oppor? tunity to wage his campaign against the conversionists through the medium of this new journal, the Jewish Expositor. In September 1816 the Jewish Expositor pub? lished a letter written by Crooll to Cunninghame. For Cunninghame's perusal Crooll enclosed a few chapters of a manuscript that he was preparing. The manuscript in its entirety was to have comprised more than 200 chapters. However, Crooll forwarded only eight chapters, the approximate equivalent of 15 pages of an octavo size book. The following chapters were sent: 1, 15, 37, 101, 158, 193, 198, and 200.145 Crooll stressed that any Israelite who converted was joining the descendants of Amalek and thereby placing his soul in jeopardy. Moreover, John was not Elijah, and when the Messiah appeared it would be suddenly. He would take the form of a mortal man and marry a woman who would bear children. Only after the Restoration would the Gentile nations gladly acknow? ledge Him.146 Apparently, the manuscript Crooll sent never went to press. Fortunately, the material he sub? mitted to the London Society was recorded for pos? terity in the Jewish Expositor of September-November 1816, along with Cunninghame's reply. The Restoration of Israel received a careful perusal by at least two more stalwarts of the London Society. The Rev. Charles Simeon and Lord Ashley, later the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.147 It is evident that the society considered Crooll's journalism a threat to their aspirations, since it recommended that its potential converts possess a copy of Scott's refutation.148 The Rev. E. Bickersteth recommended to a friend that he read Scott's reply to Crooll so as to be more ably equipped to engage in his missionary endeavours.149 Joseph Crooll took up the cudgels once again on 26 August 1823, and for the next two years the pages of the Jewish Expositor recorded his zealous denunciations of the society. Through his prose Crooll hoped to encourage responsible Christian and Jewish spokes? men to react in support of his beliefs. Several men rose, but to defend the evangelist cause.150 Crooll opened his series of letters by introducing a theological concept not encountered elsewhere in his writings: the London Society, like the nations of anti? quity, was being employed by God as a tool to test the Jewish people's adherence to the concepts of mono? theism. Thejews' steadfast belief in God would speed the coming Restoration. The society was thereby serv? ing inadvertently to accelerate Israel's final salva? tion.151 Crooll then sought to prove that Ezekiel prophesied the literal building of a third Temple, which would descend from heaven to Jerusalem, at which time the Messiah would appear and the Jews would be transported to Israel, accompanied by a renewal of all the Mosaic rites and ceremonies.152 Reactions to his third Temple interpretation were not forthcoming. Thus, on 4 August 1824, he issued another letter which further elaborated his position.153 Finally, in a letter dated 13 November 1824, thejew? ish polemicist was chided by the Rev. I. I. Holmes, who argued that the last nine chapters of Ezekiel were to be understood as a figurative description of Heaven.154 In the May 1825 issue of the Jewish Expositor, 'A. S. Senex' attempted to prove to Crooll that Ezekiel spoke of a spiritual resurrection and restoration, to be accomplished not by a conqueror sent from heaven by political means. He added that thejews would un? dergo a moral and religious metamorphosis (i.e., con? version) by means of the mass circulation of the Old and New Testaments.155 On 7 December 1824, Joseph Crooll once again addressed a letter to the missionary office, offering proofs similar to those contained in The Restoration of Israel concerning the necessity of thejewish dispersion as a requisite for the coming of the Messiah. On 30 December, he forwarded a letter in which he employed Scriptural verses to refute, once again, the New Testament allegation that John was the forerun? ner of the Messiah. He also confirmed the Jewish conviction in the observance of the law.156 On the</page><page sequence="15">20 Harvey W. Meirovich same day he penned a reply to a person who had taken i issue with his letter written 26 August of the previous year. The letter reaffirmed his faith in the mortal constitution of the Messiah and his understanding of '* Ezekiel's prophecy. In addition, it restated his belief in s the future re-establishment of the priesthood, sacri- s fices, and the ritual laws. Crooll declared that if his 1 opponent could undertake to expound the obscure &lt; passages contained in the Revelation of St. John with a ' degree of certainty, then surely he, Crooll, was ^ entitled to the privilege of interpreting Ezekiel's Tern- ; pie prophecy, which was 'plain as the palm of your hand, clear as the sun, pure as the firmament'.157 In his i final letter of the series, dated 9 September 1825, he 1 reasserted his contentions about the promised Messiah &lt; and the expected date of Israel's Restoration.159 In 1833, after a protracted fight of more than twenty years, Crooll took the offensive once again, in a desperate last attempt to counter the pro-Christian emancipation forces. Through his eccentric beha? viour, he had stumbled on to a verity not recognised by most of his Jewish contemporaries: the victory of emancipation carried with it a Christian demand for the forfeiture of the Jews' allegiance to an anachronis? tic Judaism. To be sure, those Jews who were fighting to hurdle the final political barrier must have also regarded his posture as ludicrous and devoid of any basis in reality.159 Crooll addressed himself to R. H. Inglis, one of the arch-opponents of Jewish civil ameli? oration. On 22 May 1833, Inglis, recognising that the Jewish quarter was not of one mind on the issue, quoted, from Crooll's communique: The start for emancipation, as it was called, was got up by a few obscure persons of the Jewish per? suasion who thirsted for worldly honours . . . Addressing himself to his Jewish brethren, Crooll exhorted: Remember this, you can be no freemen except in the land of Canaan. One Jew, indeed, in Egypt, and three or four in Babylon, were admitted to places of trust and honour, but this happened by reason of inspiration and a mission from above . . . Jews whether they spend two days, or two months, or twenty years in a country, are equally strangers and sojourners. They must look to another home and another country.160 Eight years later, on 10 March 1841, Inglis again quoted the substance of a letter written to him by Crooll about five years earlier which categorically asserted 'that no Jew could be at once an Englishman and a Jew.'161 Donclusion The economically deprived Jews suffered physical ind spiritual anguish because the Anglo-Jewish leader hip failed to provide them with the necessary social md educational structures. Thus, fertile soil had been provided for the activities of the conversionist so :ieties. The ultimate failure of the conversionists to ichieve their objective of converting the masses of English Jewry probably led its members to regroup ind seek their aims on the European Continent.162 rhere can be no doubt that the conversionists' failure s attributable to the counter offensive launched :&gt;y the various groups within the Ashkenazi Jewish quarter. The response took a variety of forms: sermonic exhortations by the Chief Rabbi, temporal aid to Jews n distress, the educational primer of Shalom ben [acob, physical assaults on the missionaries, social Dstracism of Jews frequenting missionary meetings, md the defence of Judaism by Jewish polemicists tiolding different philosophical persuasions. More aver, the present study indicates that in some instances apathy from within Ashkenazi ruling circles pre? vented any meaningful attempt to succour the Jewish poor. Only when it became apparent that the conver? sionists did, indeed, pose a threat to the survival of a [ewish mode of life in England were latent energies activated to deal with the crisis. That the varied Ash? kenazi responses in the first half of the nineteenth century successfully checked the conversionist efforts of the London Society and (after 1826) the Philo Judaean Society becomes apparent from the following statistics: between 1809 and 1851, the London Society's London branch baptised an estimated 664 converts, of whom approximately two-thirds were children. In 1908 the London office recorded that in its first one hundred years of operation 2,110 Jews had been baptised. In the same period, the London Society spent in excess of ?2,800,000 and recorded that in all of its branches 7,000 souls had accepted baptism. Roughly calculated at today's rate, the London Society expended an estimated $2,000 for each soul that was saved.163 Finally, it may be posited that the overwhelming majority of Ashkenazi Jewry (with an obvious excep? tion in Joseph Crooll) remained indifferent towards the emancipation debate which raged in their midst. One theory has been advanced that their apathy was the result of their zealous preoccupation with eking out a bare livelihood. The London Jews in the East End had to face the ever-present threat of hunger. Thus it is evident that there is considerable truth in the argument that, to the London Jews, the fight for full</page><page sequence="16">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800?1850 21 political equality was at best an issue of academic interest.164 The present study, however, has brought to light another factor which kept Anglo-Jewry from in? volvement in this struggle. The community was required to divert its energies to fight a clear and present danger menacing its religious and cultural institutions, this threat was embodied in the Evangeli cal-conversionist activities of the London Society and its younger offshoot, the Philo-Judaean Society. NOTES 1 Cecil Roth places the number of English Jews at this time at 20,000, 13,000 of whom resided in London: A History of the Jews in England (Oxford, 1941), p.240. F. H. Goldsmid, the first Jew to be admitted to the Bar, remarked in 1830 that there were fewer than 27,000Jews in Great Britain, of which number, 18,000 lived in or near London: Ursula Henriques, Religious Toleration in England, 1787-1833 (Toronto, 1961), p.182. 2 See Siegfried Stein, 'Some Ashkenazi Charities in Lon? don at the End of the Eighteenth and the Beginning of the Nineteenth Centuries,' The Jewish Historical Society of Eng? land, Transactions (hereinafter TransJHSE), XX, 63ff.; S. Levin, 'The Origin of the Jews' Free School,' Trans JHSE, XIX, 98; James Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History, ed. Israel Finestein (London, 1956), pp.218ff.; V. D. Lipman, A Century of Social Service 1859-1959 (London, 1959), p.21; In spite of their pecuniary means, in contrast to their Ash? kenazi brothers, the Sephardim channelled their com? munity's funds with zealous caution. A Christian observer, B. R. Goakman, writing in 1816, cited an incident in which a sincere Jew was obliged by his needs to accept financial relief from his Sephardi compatriots. Fearing that the destitute Jew might be duly influenced by the London Society's generous aid, the Sephardim finally agreed to assist him: B. R. Goak? man, The London Society . . . Examined and the Pretensions of the Converted Jew, Investigated . . . (London, 1816), pp.42ff. By 1829, out of a total number of25,000 Sephardim in London, 1,200 were forced to rely on aid from the communal coffers: Israel Finestein, 'Anglo-Jewish Opinion During the Struggle for Emancipation,' Trans JHSE, XX, 127. 3 Trans JHSE, XIX, 99, 101; Arthur Barnett, 'Solomon Bennett,: Artist, Hebraist and Controversialist (1761-1838),' Trans JHSE, XVII, 93; Solomon Bennett, The Constancy of Israel (London, 1809), p.34. In 1817 Bennett published a critique of S. J. Cohen's educational primer, The Elements of Faith (London, 1815), which had received the approbation of Chief Rabbi Hirschell. His work, entitled Basket of Criticism, chided the system of Jewish education and marked it as culpable for the temptations and successes enjoyed by the London Society: see Trans JHSE, XVII, pp.lOlff. It has been conjectured from the fact that since he did not write a critique of Cohen's work until two years after its publication, the book merely served as a catalyst for releasing Bennett's anger against Hirschell. However, it could well be that Bennett's work was written, at least in part, as the reaction of a man upset with the conservative theological posture advanced by the primer, namely, the future restoration of the Jewish people to Zion. Bennett was a man who espoused the radical doctrine that the destruction of 70 c.E. was brought about by Jewish disobedience not against God's will, but against the might of Rome. Moreover, his rejection of a personal Mes siah led him to propound at this early period a Diaspora centred theory of Jewish history which had yet to emerge among the German Reformers: 'The dispersion was the absolute will of God, for the progress and preservation of the seed of Abraham . . . whose laws and records were a light and a guide to mankind at large, and a covenant to all Nations': Constancy of Israel, pp.232ff. In an attempt to combat the missionary movements' rendering of the Biblical text, by which he felt they were gaining adherents, he devoted the closing years of his life to writing a new translation of the Hebrew Bible. Unfortunately, he died in 1838 or 1839 before his work could be published, and it was left to his family to publish his rendition of the Book of Genesis in 1841: See Alfred Rubens, 'Early Anglo-Jewish Artists,' TransJHSE, XIV, 116f.; XVII, 95. The article on him in The Jewish Encyclopaedia, III (1902), 37, is wrong about his date of death and the Encyclopaedia Judaica is, unfortunately, marred by typographical and biographical errors. His death was not in 1831 and it was not he who published the new translation of Genesis but his family after his death. See 'Bennett, Salomon Yom Tov,' Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem, 1971), IV, 543-44. 4 Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, XXIII (London, 1830), New Series, 1298L, 1319. For Grant's role in the society see the Rev. W. T. Gidney, The History of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews, from 1809 to 1908 (London, 1908), pp.53, 60, 70. 5 The original title of the organisation had been 'The London Society for the purpose of visiting and relieving the sick and distressed and instructing, the ignorant, especially as are of the Jewish nation.' On 5 February 1809, the society formally changed its name to the London Society for Pro? moting Christianity Amongst the Jews: Historical Notices of the London Society (London, 1851), pp. 1-2; Gidney, op. cit., p.34. The society is at present constituted as the Church Mission to Jews: see M. Eisen, 'Christian Missions to the Jews in North America and Great Britain,' Jewish Social Studies, X (1948), 31. It is, of course, no surprise that Gidney, op. cit., p.41, and Historical Notices, p.3, do not mention the resigna? tion of the Duke of Kent. On the other hand, the Jewish sources go out of their way to point out that the Duke departed: see M. Sailman, The Mystery Unfolded (London, 1816), p.60; Zailick Solomon, An Exposure of Hypocrisy and Bigotry and a Strenuous Vindication of the Israelites (London, 1822, p.5. 6 Historical Notices, p.2. 7 Melvin Meyer Scult, 'The Conversion of the Jews and the Origins of the Jewish Emancipation in England' (Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Bran deis University, 1968), p. 179. 8 A. Highmore, Pietas Londonensis. The History, Design, and Present State of the Various Public Charities in and Near London (London, 1814), pp.754f. 9 On Crooll see infra. 10 Third Report of the committee of the London Society (London, 1811), 89. 11 Gidney, op. cit., p.401; the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, 'State and Prospect of the Jews,' The Quarterly Review, LXVIII (London, 1839), 184. For proof of his authorship of the article in the Q.R. see E. Hodder, The Life and Work of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury (London, 1888), I, 238. 12 Goakman, op. cit., p.25; cf. the Voice of Jacob, Vol. II, 6 January 1843, p.95. 13 Goakman, op cit., p.64. 14 Sailman, op. cit., p.7. 15 Bennett, Constancy of Israel, pp. 206f; cf. A. Menes, 'The Conversion Movement in Prussia during the First Half</page><page sequence="17">22 Harvey W. Meirovich of the 19th Century,' Yivo Annual of Jewish Social Sciences, VI, 194, 201f. 16 the Voice of Jacob, Vol. II, 17 February 1843, pp.lHf.; cf. ibid., 3 March 1843, p.128. 17 Beth-Zion Lask Abrahams, 'Stanislaus Hoga?Apos? tate and Penitent,' Trans JHSE, XV, 131. 18 Moses Samuel, An Address on the Position of the Jews in Britain (London, 1844), p.26; Jewish Chronicle, 3 September, 1847, p.231. 19 Gidney, op cit., p.56; A. McCaul, Equality of Jew and Gentile in the New Testament Dispensation. A Sermon Preached . ..on May 2. 1833 (London, 1844), p.33. In 1837 McCaul finally published a refutation of Rabbinic Judaism, entitled Old Paths. The same year 10,000 copies were issued. There is reason to speculate that Stanislaus Hoga worked alongside McCaul, providing him with the appropriate Talmudic sources: Trans.JHSE, XV, 132; cf. Gidney, op. cit., pp.215, 535. The society felt that the Old Paths contributed to the dissension in the London Jewish community which reached its climax when the Reformers broke with the religious establishment in 1840 and founded their own synagogue, called the West London Synagogue of British Jews. The society claimed that Dr. McCaul had pointed out to these Jews the need to return to Scripture and reject Talmudism. In 1841 McCaul was appointed Professor of Hebrew and Rab? binical Literature at King's College, London. 20 Charles Simeon, Conversion of the Jews (London, 1821), p.47, included in pamphlets collected under the title Tracts Suitable for Imparting Information Relative to the Objects of the London Society (London, 1851). 21 The Jewish Expositor, VI (London, 1821), 214; Gidney, op. cit., pp.56, 71f., 252; Twelfth Report of the London Society (London, 1820), p.49; Rev. E. Bickersteth, An Address In Behalf of the . . . Society (London, 1849), p.4. 22 An Aid to Self-Examination and Beneficial Prayers for Jews of Tormented Spirit Seeking the Truth [Hebrew] (London, 1820), No. 9, pp. 18-20, included in pamphlets collected under the title City of Refuge . . . 23 The Words of the Prophets Concerning the Messiah were Fulfilled in Jesus Christ [Hebrew] (London, 1825), No. 46, p.3, included in pamphlets collected under the title City of Refuge . . . 24 City of Refuge: Questions and Answers Between a Sage and a Sick Penitent [Hebrew] (London, 1826), No. 47, pp.6f., 9. 25 Ibid., p.20. 26 Ibid., pp.16, 22. The London Society used the name City of Refuge to designate its public address: A. Highmore, op. cit., p.754. 27 Ibid., p.20. 28 The Quarterly Review, p. 187; Historical Notices, p.8; Gidney, op. cit., p. 161. 29 Historical Notices, p.2; Gidney, op. cit., p.40. 30 Historical Notices, pp. 2f., 66; Gidney, op. cit., pp.33, 39f.; It is clear from the phraseology and figures employed by Gidney that he utilised the pamphlet Historical Notices (1851) as a documentary source. 31 Eighth Report of the Committee of the London Society (London, 1816), p.16; Ninth Report. . . (London, 1817), p.19; Tenth Report . . . (London, 1818), p.22; Eleventh Report . . . (London, 1819), p.18. Twelfth Report . . . (London, 1820) p.48; Thirteenth Report . . . (London, 1821), p.68; Fourteenth Report . . . (London, 1822), p.59; Fifteenth Report . . . (Lon? don, 1823), p.30; Sixteenth Report . . . (London, 1824), p.6, appended to the Jewish Expositor, IX (London, 1824). 32 Historical NoticeSj pp.2f.; Gidney, op. cit., p.40; Goak man, op. cit., p.63. 33 Scult, op. cit., p.165 (emphasis mine). 34 Ibid., p.228 (emphasis mine). 35 Gidney, op. cit., p.54. 36 Ibid., p.213, and Trans.JHSE, XX, 117. 37 Gidney, op. cit., pp.205, 210; Henriques, op. cit., p.192; Hansard, XXIII, 1304; ibid., XCVIII (1848), third Series, 1375. 38 In fact, Shaftesbury did vote in favour of the removal of those Jewish disabilities which did not permit them to hold local executive offices. He opposed, however, the final step of admitting them to Parliament on the grounds that England was a Christian State: Scult, op. cit., p.256. His biography carries the following pertinent comment: 'I will not be a party to playing with the name of Christ by striking it out of an oath, to please any one. If you like to have no oath at all, well and good, but I will have nothing to do with its alteration, which is a practical denial of the faith': The Life and Work of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, II, 231. In 1858 Shaftesbury agreed under pressure to accept the Jews into Parliament: ibid., III, 75. 39 Gidney, op. cit., pp.37, 53; Hansard, XXIII, 1287n\; ibid., XXII (1830), 923; Scult cites only the above-mentioned London Society members as advocates of Jewish admission into Parliament: Scult, op. cit., pp.161, 238, 243, 249. 40 Gidney, op. cit., p.205; Picciotto, op. cit., pp.385f; Lionel Abrahams, 'Sir I. L. Goldsmid and the Admission of the Jews to Parliament,' Trans.JHSE, IV, 167. 41 Gidney, op. cit., p.53; Picciotto, op. cit., p.384; Hen? riques, op. cit., p. 190. 42 Gidney, op. cit., p.37; Henriques, loc. cit. 43 Gidney, op. cit., pp.73, 131ff. 44 Ibid, pp.77, 152, 158. 45 Ibid. p.68. 46 Ibid., p.37; W. L. Bevan, Diocesan Histories, St. Davids (London, 1888), p.230. 47 Simeon, The Conversion of the Jews, pp.1 If. Simeon was obviously referring to the Jew Bill of 1753, which was repealed the following year. 48 Ibid., p.31; Gidney, op. cit., p.60. 49 Jewish Expositor, IV (London, 1819), 280; Gidney, op. cit., pp.37, 79, 95f. 50 M. Kohler, 'Jewish Rights at the Congresses of Vienna and Aix-La-Chapelle,' Publications of the American Jewish His? torical Society, XXVI, 87. 51 A. M. W. Stirling, The Ways of Yesterday. Being the Chronicles of the Way Family from 1307-1885 (London, 1930), p.196. Way was following in the footsteps of C. W. Dohm and Wilhelm von Humboldt: Kohler, op. cit., pp.83, 108. 52 The 16 members who retained affiliation with the London Society is determined by comparing Gidney's citations with the extant membership lists of the Philo Judaean Society. The only Reports extant are for the years 1827-1829 and a small brochure entitled An Appeal on Behalf of the Philo-Judaean Society Including the Fifteenth Annual Report (London, 1842); see too Jewish Expositor, XV (Lon? don, 1830), 140, and Crooll The Last Generation (London, 1829), p.19. 53 First Report of the Philo-Judaean Society (London, 1827), p.46; Scult contends that 'the actions of Bexley and Grant illustrate again that conversionists did at times serve to aid the Jews in ameliorating their condition.' Scult, op. cit., p.249. More correctly stated, the Philo-Judaean Society steadfastly sought to ameliorate the Jewish condition by means of stress? ing temporal relief, a philosophy which required its members to advocate Jewish emancipation. His contention that the conversionists of the nineteenth century as an organised body fought against Jewish emancipation is not tenable in the light of the activities of the Philo-Judaean Society. In a later</page><page sequence="18">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800?1850 23 reformulation of his thesis, Scult admits that besides Bexley and Grant there were a few [London Society] conversionists who, acting as 'individual members . . . played a key role in the initiation and early stages of Anglo-Jewish emancipa? tion. Furthermore, he concedes that with the establishment of the Philo-Judaean Society some of its members continued to retain their membership in the London Society. Signifi? cantly, Scult qualifies his categorical statement set down in his dissertation (p. 165) that 'the conversionist would not be an advocate of emancipation.' Yet, at the conclusion of his article he dismisses the actions of those pro-emancipation conversionists he referred to earlier. Instead, he retreats to the formulation enunciated in his doctoral thesis: 'The actions of Bexley and Grant illustrate that conversionism did at times serve to aid thejews in ameliorating their condition': Mel Scult, 'English Missions to thejews?Conversion in the age of Emancipation,' Jewish Social Studies, XXXV (1973), 10, 14, 16; although aware of the existence of the Philo-Judean Society and presumably of the minority liberal faction of the London Society, Scult passes over their significance in almost total silence. 54 First Report of the PJ.S., pp.4, 6, 13, 36. 55 Henriques, op. cit., p.177. 56 Jewish Expositor, XV, 211 (emphasis mine). 57 Voice of Jacob, 7 January, 1842, p.61. 58 First Report of the P.J.S., p .31; Second Report of the PJ.S . (London, 1828), pp.20, 26; Jewish communal opposition also prevented the re-establishment of a Philo-Judaean Society adult school: third Report of the PJ.S. (London, 1829), p.30. 59 Third Report of the P.J.S., p.24. 60 Ibid., p.25. 61 Owen Chadwick, The Victorian Church (London, 1966), p.604. 62 Hansard, XCVlll, 1311. 63 The name Monthly Intelligence was changed in 1835 to Jewish Intelligencer. The Jewish Expositor, which continued under separate editorship, was disbanded in 1831, probably owing to insufficient funds: Gidney, op. cit., p. 145; the editor (in Jewish Expositor, XV, 21 If.) clearly labels the Philo Judaean Society as a temporal-oriented organisation and the London Society as a body aimed exclusively at providing spiritual benefit. The Philo-Judaean Society aided the fight for Jewish retail trade in London and became involved in the struggle by Jews to hold the office of Sheriff in London: Second Report of the P.J.S., pp.33f.; Henriques, op. cit., p. 179; H. S. Q. Henriques, The Jews and English Law (London, 1908), p.255. The society prepared a petition in 1829 to be submitted to the House of Commons requiring the removal of all civil disabilities against the Jews: Third Report of the P.J.S., p.11; earlier, in 1826, the society presented a similar petition (dated 29 June) to the House of Lords: Journal of the House of Lords, LIX (London, 1826), 459. 64 Jewish Expositor, 2?4, 70f. 65 In 1847 it would appear that from the perspective of Stanislaus Hoga the London Society's accommodating atti? tude of 1830 had undergone a dramatic transformation: 'We know that there are in Parliament some bishops and churchmen who . . . would never oppose thejewish emanci? pation, had they not been prevailed upon to do so by the insinuation and intrigues of the leaders of the London Society, who see in that emancipation the ruin of their own nefarious trade': Jewish Chronicle, 3 September 1847, p. 231. 66 Second Report of the P.J.S., pp.20,26; Third Report of the P.J.S., pp.16, 22f. 67 Ninth Report (London, 1817, p.35; Eighth Report, pp.27f.; by 1816 the society expressed in writing that its sole motive was the conversion of the Jews to Christianity by preaching the Gospel, and that it did not abide by any particular interpretation concerning the mode of Israel's res? toration to Zion nor the particular nature of the Messianic Kingdom; Jewish Expositor, I (London, 1816), 26. However, Gidney, op. cit., p.71, lists 1823 as the year in which the society disclaimed the intention of promulgating any par? ticular view as to the nature of the Millennium. 68 Gidney, op. cit., pp.65, 89, 96; James Parkes, 'Lewis Way and His Times,' 'Trans.JHSE XX, 196; two earlier writers also noted the role played by the London Society: Cecil Roth, Essays and Portraits in Anglo-Jewish History (Phila? delphia, 1962), p.230, and Trans.JHSE XIX, 113. See also the remarks of Israel Finestein, 'Some conversionists [of Hull] in the 19th Century,' Gates of Zion, July 1957, p.7. 69 For the former view of Hirschell see Picciotto, op. cit., p.300. For the latter derogatory opinion see Trans.JHSE XVII, HOf. Hirschell certainly wanted to inculcate in his constituency feelings of respect and reverence for the office of the Chief Rabbi. See S. J. Cohen, Elements of the Jewish Faith, trans. Joshua Van Oven (Richmond, Virginia, 1817), p.40. 70 Henry Innes, A Letter to the Friends in Scotland of God's Ancient People, the Jews, Including a Correspondence with Dr. Herschel, the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Synagogue in London (Edinburgh, 1838), pp.20-22. 71 Ibid., pp.36f. 72 Ibid., pp.37f; Trans.JHSE, XIX, 106. 73 The Jewish Intelligencer. A Monthly Publication, I, edited by C. F. Frey (New York, 1837), 572. This was the only volume published; the records of the London Society testify to Jews who were placed under the ban of excommunication for daring to read their literature: Jewish Expositor, VII (Lon? don, 1822), 419. 74 J. Rumyanek, 'Early Conversionist Activities in Lon? don,' Jewish Guardian, 29 May 1931, p.8. 75 The notice of Hamilton's book appeared in the Jewish Expositor, VIII (London, 1823), 54. 76 C. Duschinsky, The Rabbinate of the Great Synagogue, London, from 1756-1842 (London, 1921), pp.l30f. 77 Ibid., p.132; Gidney, op. cit., p.66. 78 Jewish Expositor, XV (London, 1830), 120. 79 Sailman, op. cit., p.37. 80 Picciotto, op. cit., p.302. 81 Voice of Jacob, II, 21 July 1843, p. 206. There can be no question that Hirschell wanted to expunge from the minds of Jewish students any belief that they might have had that Jesus was a prophet. Since Moses was the chief of all prophets 'it would follow that if any other prophet should arise and prophesy in the name of God anything inconsistent with the Mosaic law, we should not attend to, nor regard him, what? ever wonders or miracles he might perform': Cohen, op. cit., p.27; a similar letter to Goldsmid was written by Hyman Hurwitz, Professor of Hebrew in University College, Lon? don. 82 Innes, op. cit., passim. When Hirschell died he was eulogised by the Rev. Henry Hawkes, of Portsmouth: Voice of Jacob, 3 February 1843, p. 110, and Duschinsky, op cit., p.155. 83 Cohen, op cit., pp.5, 7, 9, 30; Mendelssohn's philo? sophy is evident in the following excerpt from Cohen's primer: 'Q. How can we learn the duties we ought to perform? A. In two ways. 1. By the reflection of our own reason, and 2. By the laws and doctrines revealed to us by God. Q. Is reason alone sufficiently capable to make us acquainted with all our duties? A. No; for human reason is circumscribed and confined; we are therefore in need of the revelation of a law from heaven, to guide us in the know</page><page sequence="19">24 Harvey W. Meirovich ledge of what we ought and what we ought not to do'; Cohen, op cit., p.26. 84 Ibid., pp.8f. 85 Ibid., pp.9f. 86 Its first inhabitants were 10 aged Jews and 18 children: Picciotto, op cit., p.236. 87 On 23 May 1811 a committee met to outline a master plan for what would become the Jews' Free School. The minutes of the Talmud Torah School at Duke's Place indicate that the committee was primarily interested in rendering the school more effectively beneficial to the needs of the com? munity: Jewish Guardian, 5 June 1931, p.ll; Trans.JHSE, XIX, 110; the origin of the name Jews' Free School probably goes back to the Juedische Frei Schule in Berlin, founded by Mendelsohn and Friedlander in 1778, with Friedlander acting as school director: see Meyer, op. cit., p.58; R. Hirschell Lewin, Solomon Hirschell's father, supervised the Hebrew curriculum of the Juedische Frei Schule, just as his son was destined to do in the London Jews' Free School: see Trans.JHSE, XIX, 70; Voice of Jacob, 3 March 1843, p.128; Picciotto, op. cit., p.325; Sailman, op. cit., p.23. 88 Picciotto, op. cit., pp.300f. 89 I am indebted to Judge Israel Finestein for bringing this fact to my attention. 90 Jewish Guardian, loc. cit.; letter from M. Kent, social worker at Norwood Homes for Jewish Children, West Nor? wood, London, 13 April, 1972; V. D. Lipman, A Century of Social Service, p. 18. 91 Jewish Expositor, VIII, 449; VII, 400. 92 Third Report, pp.89, 96. 93 Jewish Expositor, XV, 142f.; Jewish Guardian, 29 May 1931, p.8; Jewish Intelligencer, pp.480, 526; Eighth Report, p.52; Henry H. Norris, The Origin, Progress and Existing Circumstances of the London Society . . . (London, 1825), Appendix No. VII, p.xiii; Sailman, op. cit., p.53. 94 Charles Simeon, The Jews Provoked to Jealousy. A Ser? mon Preached on June 5, 1811 . . . 95 Jewish Expositor, XV, 212f. 96 Sailman, op. cit., pp. 16, 61f.; Norris, op. cit., pp.33-35, 53?55; Jewish Guardian, loc. cit.; Goakman, op. cit., pp.33, 38f. 97 Voice of Jacob, Vol. I, 2 September 1842, p.200, and Vol. II, 14 October 1842, pp.43f.; ibid., 9 December 1842, pp.74ff.; ibid., 21 July 1843, p.206; ibid., 17 February 1843, p.120; ibid., Vol. , 24 December 1841, p.51; ibid., Vol. II, 17 February 1843, pp.H5f. 98 See supra, n.lOff. 99 Arthur Barnett, Western Synagogue Through Two Cen? turies (1761-1961) (London, 1961), p.50, places the death of Tobias Goodman in the 1820s, while Cecil Roth, in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, VII, 782, states that he died in 1824. Yet, in my edition of a work written by Goodman, entitled The Faith of Israel (London, 1834), there is a letter of apprecia? tion in the preface written by Goodman to Moses Montefiore dated February 1834. 100 Tobias Goodman, An Address to the Committee of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews; in which the Conduct of the Committee is Investigated, Their Views Examined, and Their Attempt to Overturn the Jewish System of Worship Proved to be Unwarrantable, and Contrary to Divine Revelation (London, 1809), p.24. 101 Ibid., pp.8, 17f. 102 Jacob Nikelsburger, Koul Jacob in Defence of the Jewish Religion: Containing the Arguments of the Rev. C. F. Frey . . . and Answers Thereto (London, 1814), preface. 103 Ibid.,vA2. 104 Ibid., pp.48f., 103. Joseph Crooll employed the same argument. See Jewish Expositor, VIII, 425; for the polemics of the Missionaries see Simeon, The Jews Provoked to Jealousy, pp.8f., 11; Simeon, Conversion of theJews, p.17; Rev. Thomas Scott, the Restoration of Israel by R. Joseph Crooll . . . and An Answer by Thomas Scott . . . (London, 1814), p.310; Rev. Edward Bickersteth, The Way of the Jewish People to be Prepared: A Sermon Preached at the Parish Church of St. Clement Danes. Strand on . . . May 8,1834. . . (London, 1844), pp.l6f.; Rev. W. Bushe, Sermon preached at the Parish Church of St. Paul . . . Before the London Society . . . (London, 1821), p.33; see too the remarks of W. Cunninghame in Jewish Expositor I. 412, and ibid., II (London, 1817), 140f., 144. 105 On Zailick Solomon's secular learning see Solomon, An Exposure of Hypocrisy and Bigotry, pp.84-88, 131, 140; on his Jewish learning see ibid., pp.136, 166, 173, 191, 195, 223 245-247, 25Iff.; for his rejection of an imminent restoration to Zion see ibid., pp.119, 242; Zailick Solomon apparently knew Tobias Goodman personally and of his efforts to check the London Society: 'Mr Goodman is, however, too sensible to regard your answers; for disputation protracted would be, to him, very undesirable. His family could not be, by such employment [i.e., writing Jewish polemics] subsisted': Expo? sure of Hypocrisy, p.103. 106 Z. Solomon, op. cit., p.226. 107 Ibid., p.299. 108 Ibid., pp.127, 236, 305, 310, 313, 323. 109 H. P. Stokes, Studies in Anglo-Jewish History (Edin? burgh, 1913). Stokes drew this scant piece of biographical information from a work written by Crooll in 1805 while he was in Nottingham, entitled The Importance and Necessity of a More General Knowledge of the English Language Stated: With a Short Comment on Some Mistranslations in the English Bible (Nottingham, 1805). I have not been able to find a copy of this book extant. 110 I have not been able to find a catalogued entry for the Cambridge Independent Press; see Gates of Zion, p.9. 111 Jewish Chronicle, 30June 1848, p.590 (emphasis mine); cf. the remarks of F. H. Goldsmid in Trans.JHSE, XX, 117, n.l. 112 Crooll knew of the existence of the Philo-Judaean Society for he cited from their First Annual Report. See Crooll, The Fifth Empire (London, 1829), pp.75ff. 113 Joseph Crooll, The Service in the Synagogue of the Jews (Manchester, 1803), p.ll, cf. Joseph Crooll, The Restoration of Israel (London, 1812), p.4, and Jewish Expositor, 1, 22; C. Roth, Rise of Provincial Jewry (London, 1950), p.83. 114 Ibid., p.87. 115 Third Report, p.91. 116 Ibid., p.95. 117 Ibid., pp.98-100. 118 Ibid., p.m. 119 Jewish Expositor, X (London, 1825), 11. 120 Exposure of Hypocrisy, pp. 103-105. 121 Twenty-First Report, (London, 1829), p.29; Sixteenth Report, p.55. 122 Third Report, pp.92f. 123 lbid.,p.\00. 124 Ibid., p.101. 125 Although the Jewish establishment was successful in dissuading Crooll from debating with society members, the society did engage other Jews in disputation. See Historical Notices, p.7; Third Report, pp.52-56, Norris, op. cit., Appen? dix 21. 126 A contemporary reported on the animosity accorded the Bishop by his countrymen when he visited his native Prussian Poland. Upon his departure from his home town, they shouted in Hebrew to the apostate: 'Righteousness will save from death,' which is a statement commonly used</page><page sequence="20">Ashkenazic Reactions to the Conversionists, 1800-1850 25 during a funeral cortege: Rev. W. Ayerst, Faith in Israel (London, 1851), pp.l2f., included in pamphlets collected under the title Tracts Suitable . . . 127 Gidney, op. cit., p.66; Jewish Expositor, VI, 209; Joseph Crooll, The Fifth Empire, p.6. 128 The title, The Fifth Empire, may be influenced by the relatively unknown work of Menasseh ben Israel entitled The Precious Stone, or the Image of Nebuchadnezzar, or the Fifth Monarchy (Amsterdam, 1655), cited in Cecil Roth's A Life of Menasseh ben Israel (Philadelphia, 1934), p.97. The Fifth Monarchy was synonymous with the kingdom of the Mes? siah which was destined to save the world: Frank Kobler, The Vision was There (London, 1956), p.28. Menasseh ben Israel identified the stone which broke the image of the monarchy in the Book of Daniel with the stones that David used to kill Goliath and upon which Jacob slept: Roth, A Life of Menas sesh ben Israel, loc. cit. Crooll identified the 'stone of Daniel' with 'Jacob' and with the 'coming ofjacob': Fifth Empire, op. cit., pp.54, 56, 61, 65. The probable influence of the medieval chronicle, Josippon, on Crooll's thinking remains to be docu? mented. 129 Crooll, The Restoration of Israel, p.60; cf The Fifth Empire, pp.5, 28. 130 Crooll, Restoration of Israel, pp.12, 54, 69, 72; Crooll, Fifth Empire, pp.14, 16f., 20; Crooll, The Service in the Syna? gogue, pp.8f; Jewish Expositor, X, 90. 131 Crooll, Restoration of Israel, p.79. 132 Ibid., pp. 31-34, 54. 133 Ibid., pp. 115-119. 134 Ibid., p.SS. 135 Ibid., pp.83{. 136 Ibid., p.80; Crooll, Fifth Empire, pp.25f.; Joseph Crooll, The Last Generation, pp.13, 21f. 137 Crooll, Restoration, p. 12. 138 Crooll, Fifth Empire, p.72. 139 Ibid., p.74; Crooll, Last Generation, pp.25f. 140 Jewish Expositor, VIII, 426f. 141 Crooll, Restoration, pp.43ff.; Crooll, Fifth Empire, pp.73f.; Crooll's 6,000-year figure was based upon a Mid rash, or exegetical interpretation, from an esoteric passage in the Zohar: Jewish Expositor, loc. cit. 142 Scott, op. cit., 143 Eighth Report, p.20; Jewish Expositor, 1, 21ff. 144 Jewish Expositor Supplement (London, 1816), 481-498; Jewish Expositor, I, 13-21, 81-87, 161-169; II, 96-101, 137-145; Cunninghame later became a member of the Philo Judaean Society, See The First Report of the Philo-Judaean Society, p.53. 145 Jewish Expositor, I, 321-330, 360-370, 401-412. 146 Ibid., pp.323?., 363, 401-404. 147 Simeon, Conversion of the Jews, p.50; Quarterly Review, p. 191. 148 Ninth Report, p.35. 149 E. Bickersteth, Scriptural Studies Relating to the Con? version and Restoration of the Jews (London, 1843), p.9. 150 Jewish Expositor, VIII, 429fF., 469ff.; the society also published the responses to a letter submitted by Crooll, dated 4 January 1824: see Jewish Expositor, IX, 5fF., 163ff., 215fF. 190f., 446fF.; the society admitted that its aim was to provoke agitation among the public. See Sixteenth Report, p.5. 151 Jewish Expositor, VIII, 383f. 152 Ibid.,p.m. 153 Jewish Expositor, IX, 409-412. 154 Jewish Expositor, X, 9f. 155 Ibid., pp.171-79. 156 Jewish Expositor, X, 54-56, 89-92. 157 Ibid., p.209. For the reply of his adversary see ibid., pp.21 Iff. 158 Ibid., pp.406-410. 159 See the remarks of F. H. Goldsmid (1808-1878) in Trans.JHSE, XX, 117, n.l, which are an obvious reference to Crooll. 160 Hansard, Third Series, XVIII (1833), 50f. 161 Ibid., LVII (1841), 90; The estimate that Joseph Crooll's death occurred in 1829 is based on the fact that in the following year his teaching post at Cambridge was filled by one Herman Bernard. Cecil Roth 'Joseph Crooll,' Eneyelo paedia Judaica [German] (Berlin, 1930), v, 1129. However, in view of Crooll's letters to Inglis, his death must be placed some time during or after 1833. 162 The conversionists also transplanted their bases of operation to American soil, initially under the leadership of C. F. Frey. For the reaction of American Jewry to the conversionists see S.Joshua Kohn, 'Mordecai Manuel Noah's Ararat Project and the Missionaries,' American Jewish Histori? cal Quarterly, LV (1965-1966), 168ff.; S.J. Kohn, 'New Light on Mordecai Manuel Noah's Ararat Project,' American Jewish Historical Quarterly, LIX (1969-70), 210-214. 163 Historical Notices, p.3; Gidney, op. cit., pp A3; Jewish Repository, I, 224, Historical Notices, p.3, and Gidney, op. cit., p.43, put the number of conversions for the period 1809-1813 at 79; M. Sailman, op. cit., p.20, places the figure for the period 1809-1813 at around 40; Historical Notices, p.66, recorded 542 conversions at the Episcopal Chapel and 79 more at the other London churches between 1814 and 1851; Quarterly Review, p. 183, cites 246 baptisms in London between 1809 and 1838; for conversions within a single year see Picciotto, op. cit., p.277; Quarterly Review, loc. cit., Gid? ney, op. cit., p.216. 164 Trans.JHSE, XX, 127f.</page></plain_text>

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