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Dr. Meyer Schomberg's Attack on the Jews of London, 1746

Edgar R. Samuel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Dr. Meyer Schomberg's Attack on the Jews of London, 1746 This paper owes its origin to the initiative of my late father, Wilfred S. Samuel. He first obtained a photographic copy of the manuscript of Emunat Omen {see Plates 11-19) from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York; he persuaded Mr. Harold Levy to make the excellent English translation of the manuscript which is printed in this volume {pp. 101-111)/ and he began, but was not able to finish, research into Dr. Meyer Schomberg's biography. Before his death in December, 1958, my father had undertaken to read a paper to our Society with the title which I have taken over. He was never well enough to set about its composition, so the ensuing paper, though based partly on material collected by my father and on a subject which we discussed together, was written, with the help of many kind friends, by myself. It so happened that my father died on my thirtieth birthday, a day on which? according to the Mishna1?a man enters into his full strength. So if the reader finds any faults in this attempt of mine to conclude a study started by my father, they are entirely my own, if any merits, they are the fruit of his instruction. I would like to acknowledge the valuable help of Rabbi Dr. A. Altman, Mr. G. W. Busse, Mr. A. Schischa, Master A. S. Diamond, Mr. R. J. D'Arcy Hart, my brothers Andrew P. Samuel and Oliver W. Samuel, and of Mr. Harold Levy. It need hardly be said that without Mr. Levy's excellent translation this paper would not even have been started. I should like to thank the Librarian of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, for permission to publish the text of Emunat Omen, the Registrar of the Royal College of Physicians for permission to publish extracts from the Annals of the Royal College, and the Secretary of the Royal Society for permission to publish a letter of Meyer Schomberg's in the Royal Society's Miscellaneous Manuscripts collection.?E. R. S. Y i 1HE subject of this paper is a Hebrew manuscript at present in the possession of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. It is a short essay of thirty eight pages entitled Emunat Omen composed by Dr. Meyer Loew Sch?mberg and dated London, 1746.2 The manuscript was shown in the Jewish Historical Exhibition of 1887 by its then owner, the Chief Rabbi, Dr. Nathan Marcus Adler.3 It was inherited by his son, the late Elkan Adler, and was acquired by the Jewish Theological Seminary together with the rest of Elkan Adler's collection of Hebrew manuscripts.4 How the manuscript came into the possession of Dr. N. M. Adler and who had owned it previously is not known. By Edgar R. Samuel 1 Pirke Aboth, V, 24. 2 The date on the title-page appears to be the Christian date, not the customary Jewish one. 8 Joseph Jacobs and Lucien Wolf, Catalogue of the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, London, 1888, item 783. 4 Catalogue of Hebrew Manuscripts in the Collection of Elkan Adler, Cambridge, 1921, p. 55, item 2245v, illustration 25b. Jewish Theological Seminary MS., ENA 2245. 83</page><page sequence="2">84 DR. MEYER SCHOMBERG'S ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 How the essay came to be written and what purpose it was intended to serve is equally obscure. The work in question bears the Hebrew title Emunat Omen. This is a play on words which refers to a phrase in Isaiah Emunah Omen1?Faithfulness?Faithfulness which has been modified by the author to Faithfulness of Faithfulness or The True Faith. The phrase can also be read as The Faith of an Artist or The Faith of a Pro? fessional Man?so we can take it to mean either The True Faith?or, since the author was a medical man, as The Faith of a Physician. The resemblance of this work to Sir Thomas Browne's famous Religio Medici hardly proceeds further than the title, and the content of Schomberg's essay is in no sense the same in quality or in intention. Emunat Omen is divided into three parts. It opens with a recitation of the first seven of the Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith of Maimonides, the last six Principles of Faith being omitted.2 The second section is a violently phrased denunciation of the Jews of London for breaking each of the Ten Commandments. This is followed by a vigorous defence of the author against an accusation by these very transgressors that he is himself a Sabbath-breaker. The third section, which is written in an entirely different manner, is a discussion in which the author uses Midrashic and Talmudic sources in an attempt to deduce the fundamental dogmas of Judaism. The last two sections are presented in a way which implies that while Judaism requires its adherents to live virtuously it does not insist upon the performance of all the Commandments. This impression is achieved by very selective quotation and, in at least one case,3 by taking a passage from the Talmud right out of its context. The statement of the Principles of Faith gives us a fair idea of Schomberg's religious position. The first seven principles which he accepts state that: 1. God is the sole creator of all things. 2. God is One. 3. God has no bodily form. 4. God is the First and the Last. 5. To God alone is it right to pray. 6. That the prophecy of Moses was true and that he was the chief of the Prophets. 7. That the words of the Prophets are true. The last six principles, which he omits and presumably rejects, state that:? 8. The whole Law in our possession is the same that was given to Moses. 9. That the Law is immutable. 10. That God knows the hearts and minds of men. 11. That God rewards those that keep his commandments and punishes those that transgress them. 12. That the Messiah will come. 13. That the dead will be resurrected. 1 Isaiah xxv3 1. 2 The text of Maimonides' Thirteen Principles with which Schomberg's version has been compared is that printed by S. Singer in The Authorized Daily Prayer Book, London, 1890 et seq., p. 89. 3 Discussed on p. 98.</page><page sequence="3">DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 85 The most significant points here are that Sch?mberg seems to reject the validity of the Oral Law; the uniqueness of the revelation on Sinai; and the need to observe the commandments, an attitude which, as we have seen, recurs in the later part of the text. He rephrases some of the first seven principles and transposes the sixth and seventh, but these last alterations do not seem to be significant. A subjective impression from reading Emunat Omen is that Sch?mberg had read and was influenced by the New Testament; that he was very favourably impressed by Christianity as practised in Georgian England and though he could not accept the central beliefs of Christianity he saw no point in continuing to practise Judaism or in deterring his children from becoming Christians. But this is reading between the lines and such a proposition is not stated in the text, though there are one or two echoes of the New Testament,1 and the emphasis on "Faith" to the exclusion of "Works" in the latter part of his essay?though entirely based on Jewish sources?may possibly show some Christian influence. The manuscript is written in "square" or "Chaldean" Hebrew script, with one or two lapses into "Rashi" script (see Plate 16, sheet 20). The hand is Ashkenasi? probably Dutch Ashkenasi. The copyist's initials seem to have been "M. R." because these two letters have been starred in three places on the title page. There are some errors in copying, the most notable being Nitas di Bangui instead of Notas do Banco {i.e. "banknotes"), which shows that the copyist did not understand a Portuguese phrase used by the author.2 The fact that Meyer Sch?mberg employed a scribe to rewrite his manuscript in square script does seem to suggest that he wished to prepare it for the press. Apart from the points discussed in Schomberg's essay which deal with timeless questions of religious belief and daily conduct, there is a certain limited amount of historical information to be derived from his attack on the Jews of London in the second part of his paper. Some of the accusations brought by Sch?mberg against his contemporaries sound plausible. One can imagine that there was truth behind his story that the London Jews used to walk home from Synagogue on the Sabbath by way of Exchange Alley in order to learn the latest Stock Exchange prices.3 One can well believe that Jewish patients were unreasonably exacting in their demands on the Jewish physicians and yet prepared to pay higher fees to a Christian consultant.4 However, some of the other accusations seem coloured by prejudice and indignation to say the least. Many of the hostile com? ments made by Sch?mberg are specifically directed against the Portuguese Jews and it is even possible that he has them in mind throughout his diatribe,5 though some of his remarks may equally well apply to both sections of the Jewish community. 1 For example:? "Let them go to the physician to get the mote removed from their own eye" (Sheet 15) is a phrase which could well be based on a Rabbinic source, but one is reminded of Matthew vii, 3. 21 am indebted to Mr. A. Schischa for drawing all these points to my notice. Elkan Adler, The History of the Jews of London, Philadelphia, 1930, read this last phrase as "Nithsdale Bank" which was very wide of the mark. I was at first puzzled by this interpretation, because, apart from the fact that no other mention of such a bank could be found, it did seem most unlikely that any London Bank in 1746 would bear the name of an attainted Jacobite Earl. It was Mr. Harold Levy who finally worked out that the phrase was "Nitas di Bangui" and related to bank notes. 3 Emunat Omen, Sheet 7. 4 See p. 98, ibid., Sheet 18. 5 This is the view taken by Mr. A. Schischa.</page><page sequence="4">86 DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 However it is hardly possible to make sense of the polemic contained in the earlier part of this extraordinary document without some study of Schomberg's life and times. Dr. Meyer Loew Sch?mberg was one of the best known London Jews of his day. He was born in 1690 at Fetzberg in Germany,1 and obtained a doctorate in medicine in 1710 from the University of Giessen. He practised first at Schweinsberg (1710),2 then at Metz (1715),3 and came to England in 1720 or thereabouts and was adrnitted to the Ucentiateship of the Royal College of Physicians in March, 1721-2. At that time he was unable to pay the fees and was allowed to give a bond for payment in twelve months. Annals of the Royal College of Physicians Vol. VIII. 1710-1721. p. 193 Comitiis Censoriis ord: Decemb: 1?. 1721 p. 194 Present Sr. Hans Sloane, President Dr. Chamberlen "I Dr. Barrowby 1 Censors Dr. H?lse f ^ensors Dr. Wadsworth J Dr. Meyer Low Schamberg, a Jew of Fetzberg a German, having visited and produced his Diploma for the Degree of Doctor of the Univer Dr. Schamberg's versity of Giessen, dated 21 December 1710, was examined in the first first examination, part viz Physiology; and was desired to come again the next Censors day to take his second examination. p. 198 Comitiis Censor, ordin?r. Januar: 5? 1721.2 Present Sr. Hans Sloane, President Dr. Chamberlen ~) Dr. Wadsworth Dr. Schamberg's Dr. Schamberg was examined the second time and desired to take 2d. examination. his third examination next Censors day. Mr. Simon Lopez Samuda having had leave to be examined for a licentiate, he produced a diploma for the Degree of Batchelour of Physick Dr. Samudas 1. in the University of Conimbra [sic], dated 21 May 1702. He was examined Examination. the first time, and desired to take his second examination next Censors Day. 1 Dictionary of National Biography "SCH?MBERG, Meyer Low." 2 The D.N.B, says that Sch?mberg was originally named Mayer Low but that he adopted the additional name of Sch?mberg. Since he once lived in Schweinsberg, one cannot help suspecting that, at one stage, he may have been known as Meyer Low Schweinsberg. If so, he could hardly be blamed for exchanging this unattractive place name for the more euphonious surname borne by the famous Marshal Sch?mberg. 8 Dr. A. H. Moses' MS. paper on Anglo-Jewish Medical Practitioners (of which there are some extracts among my late father's papers), citing Eliakim Carmoly, Histoires des midecins juifs anciens et modernes, Brussells, 1844, reports that a Dr. Meyer Sambourg, practising at Metz, was involved in a dispute with Leb Enfant and David Picart, both of whom renounced the authority of the Rabbinical Court and commenced litigation in the Civil Courts, for which they were excommunicated by the Rabbis of Metz and Treves. Since Meyer Schomberg's son Moses was, according to his Notarial Faculty, born at Treves (E. R. Samuel, Anglo-Jewish Notaries and Scriveners, J.H.S.E. Trans., XVII, p. 157) it seems very likely that Dr. Meyer Sambourg was the same person as Dr. Meyer Sch?mberg, the Hebrew spelling of the name Shomberg being readable as Sambourg.</page><page sequence="5">DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 87 Dr. Schambergs 3. examination Mr. Samuda's 2. examination p. 200 Comitiis Cens: ordin?r: Feb. 2&lt;\ 1721.2 p. 201 Present Sr. Hans Sloane, President Dr. Barrowby Dr. H?lse ^ Censors Dr. Wadsworth Dr. Schamberg was examined the third time in Therapeuticis and was approved to be recommended to the College, for a licence intra civitatem, next College Day. Mr. Samuda was examined the second time in pathologica parte: he was approv'd, and desired to take his third examination next Censors day. Vol. IX, 1721-1732. p. 1. Dr. Shamberg's bond taken Dr. Shamberg licentiate Mr. Samuda Licentiate Comitiis majoribus ordinariis Mart. 19. 1721-2 Present Sr. Hans Sloane, praes. (etc.) The President proposed y* Dr. Shamberg's Bond might be taken for ?35, payable in a twelve month. p. 2. Dr. Meyer Shamberg was proposed by ye President to be admitted a Licentiate, was Balotted, elected, gave his faith and admitted. Mr. Ishac de Seguera Samuda was proposed as a licentiate, balotted, elected, gave his Faith and admitted. Order'd ye severall diplomas to be seaPd next College day. He was employed at first at a salary of ?30 p.a. by the wardens to attend the poor of the Great Synagogue.1 Some insight into his circumstances and personality is afforded by the following extract from Munk's Roll of the College of Physicians, written in 1878 but based on an earlier work by Sir WilHam Browne, who was President of the Royal College of Physicians in Schomberg's day, and no friend of his. "Cultivating an intimacy with the Jews of Duke's Place, he, by their means, got intro? duced to the acquaintance of some of the leading men, merchants, and others of their religion, who employed him, and by their interest recommended him to a good practice. He had been librarian to some person of distinction abroad, was a fluent talker, and a man of insinuating address; and as he understood mankind well, he soon found out a method of acquiring popularity, which had never been practised by any of his profession. He took a large house and kept a public table, to which, on a certain day in the week, all the young surgeons were invited and treated with an indiscriminate civility, that had 1 C. Roth, History of the Great Synagogue, London, 1950, p. 83. Meyer Sch?mberg and his sons Isaac and Ralph were active Freemasons. I am grateful to Mr. Lewis Edwards for the following references extracted by him from the papers of the late Rev. Morris Rosenbaum: Quatuor Coronatium Autographa, Vol. X, p. 166. A 1730 list of members of Grand Lodge at the Swan and Runner in Fruit Lane includes "Dr Sch?mberg." Ibid., p. 240, lists "Dr Meyer Sch?mberg" as Steward for Festival in 1734. Ibid., p. 254, lists "Dr Isaac Sch?mberg Junr." as Steward for Festival in 1735. "Ralph Sch?mberg M.D., Surgeon [sic]" is also listed by Rosenbaum as Master of Old Dundee Lodge in 1744, with no source stated. G</page><page sequence="6">88 DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 very much the appearance of friendship, but in reality meant nothing more than that they should recommend him to practice. The scheme succeeded: in the year 1740 Sch?mberg, it is said, had distanced all the city physicians, and was in the receipt of a professional income of four thousand guineas a year."1 The medical profession in eighteenth-century London was divided in three.2 At the lower end of the scale was the apothecary (from whom the modern general practitioner and pharmacist both descend). He was a tradesman whose Livery Company had originally (over one hundred years before) grown out of the Grocers' Company, but who specialized in purveying pharmaceutical materials and dispensing prescriptions. By the eighteenth century the apothecary used generally to prescribe, as well as to dispense, and he functioned as a medical adviser to the poorer and middle classes, calling in a physician as a consultant in difficult cases. Secondly, there was the surgeon (who had derived from the barber). His speciality had originally been blood letting but he had also a good grasp of anatomy and at this date it was customary for a surgeon to carry out quite a range of surgical operations (in the modern sense). He was not an academic person, but qualified in his profession by apprenticeship and examination. His status was higher than that of an apothecary, but lower than that of the medical man. Some conditions (such as the venereal diseases) which required medical treatment were regarded as the prerogative of the surgeon, but surgeons, too, had to call in a physician in all matters involving internal medication. The discipHnary body of the London surgeons was a Livery Company, the Surgeons' Company which in 1754 broke away from the Barber Surgeons' Company. This body has since risen in the world and become the Royal College of Surgeons. The physician had a status far superior to that of the apothecary or surgeon. He was normally a university graduate or at least a licentiate of the Royal College. His was a learned profession, at a time when the apothecary was a superior tradesman and the surgeon only rising from the ranks of craftsmen. The physician's fees were on a much higher scale than those of the apothecary and of the surgeon, and consequently he was ordinarily consulted by the wealthy, and only in emergency by the poor. The title "Doctor" was confined to those who had been granted a doctorate by a university. Now let us return to Meyer Sch?mberg. He was married, but the name of his wife has not been discovered, nor is it certain whether he married more than once. There is a story that he had divorced his wife on the Continent and married again, but I have found no evidence either to support or refute it.3 Although he did ultimately leave the Jewish community, I think it unlikely that he married out of the Jewish faith because of the heavy-handed way in which, in Emunat Omen, he attacked those Jews who do so.4 He had a large family, of whom we know of seven children:?a daughter Rebecca and six sons, Isaac, Ralph, Solomon, Moses, Alexander and Henry. His daughter died young.5 1 William M?nk, The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London 1518-1825, London, 1878, p. 81. Boswell noted "Fothergill, a Quaker and Sch?mberg, a Jew had the greatest practice of any two physicians of their time" (Footnote to the Life of Johnson for 23rd March, 1776). 2 H. W. Haggard, Devils Drugs and Doctors, London, 1929, has a good account of the structure of the medical professions in the eighteenth century. 3 Dr. A. H. Moses, Anglo-Jewish Medical Practitioners, Jewish Museum MSS 290 (see note 3, p. 86). 4 Emunat Omen, Sheet 11. 5 Dossier on Sch?mberg family, Colyer Fergusson Collection, Jewish Museum, London, records "Rebecca Sch?mberg (1719-1742)."</page><page sequence="7">DR. MEYER SCHOMBERG'S ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 89 Each of his sons received an expensive education and was helped on his way to a respectable profession. Isaac and Ralph were were sent to Merchant Taylor's School, the one Public School which accepted Jews and taught Hebrew as well as Latin and Greek.1 They were taught medicine by their father and obtained medical degrees.2 Solomon and Moses became notaries,3 a profession which Ralph also graced for the space of one year,4 and Solomon was admitted to the Middle Temple.5 Alexander was sent to St. Paul's School6 and then into the Navy.7 He later distinguished himself in command of the frigate Diana, one of the ships supporting General Wolfe's Canadian campaign, and was ultimately knighted.8 Henry became a Lieut-Colonel in the Army.9 All of them, except Moses, appear to have left the Jewish community.10 Meyer Sch?mberg evidently quarrelled with four of his sons and cut off Ralph, Moses, Solomon 1E. M. Hart, Merchant Taylor's School Register, 1571-1934, London, 1936. See also E. R. Samuel, op. cit., p. 118. 2 Isaac Sch?mberg obtained an M.D. from Giessen and from Cambridge (see p. 96). Ralph received his M.D. from Aberdeen in April, 1744, on the recommendation of his father and three other sponsors. (P. J. Anderson, Records of Marischal College and University, Aberdeen, 1898, Vol. 11, p. 115). His chequered career is more fully outlined in his father's deposition in the Chancery case of Sch?mberg v. Sch?mberg (P.R.O. C. 12/2230113). In 1747 (the year after the writing of Emunat Omen) Ralph sued his father for the repayment of an apparently fictitious debt. Meyer Sch?mberg deposed that he had educated two sons in the study of Physic; he let Ralph go abroad, on finishing his studies, to visit some of the universities. Although Ralph had an allowance of ?100 p.a., he got into debt and was told to come home. He went to Scarborough, without telling bis father, and there led an excessively gay and extravagant life. When Meyer heard of this, he wrote to Dr. Shaw of Scarborough to ask him to keep an eye on his son, whereat Ralph moved to Malton, Yorks. He asked his father if he might return to London and become a notary public. As he did not know the business of a notary, apart from his knowledge of foreign languages, he was placed in partnership with Samuel Willett on or about 12th July, 1737. He neglected the business and spent his time in idleness and extravagance and when his partner complained, he declared that he would remain a notary no longer. At the beginning of 1738 Ralph went to Barbados as tutor to two young gentlemen there. Mr. Lascelles of Barbados paid him ?20 and defrayed his passage. Before long he started drawing bills on his father in London without authority. When these were refused, Ralph was obliged to move to other parts of the West Indies and then to Amsterdam, whence he wrote a contrite letter to his father. He married Elizabeth Crowcher on 8th April, 1742. (See also D.N.B. and E. R. Samuel, op. cit.) I am grateful to Mr. Alfred Rubens for drawing my attention to the following quotation from a letter written by Philip Thicknesse from Bath circa 1778, which explains why Ralph Sch?mberg had occasion to retire from medical practice in Bath. "The world is full of bad people. What think you of Dr. Sch?mberg (a man with ?40,000 or ?50,000) being detected last Sunday in stealing the money out of his own plate at the church door, and it now appears that the Rascal is an old hand at it." Dr. Philip Gosse, Dr. Viper, London, 1952, p. 154. 8 See E. R. Samuel, ibid., for further details. The statement made by P. Emden in Jews in Britain, and quoted by me in the above article, that Solomon Sch?mberg studied Medicine at Leyden, needs to be corrected. He studied Law there in 1748. I am indebted to Prof. Dr. J. N. Bakhuizen van der Brink, Keeper of Leyden University Records, for this information. 4 Sch?mberg v. Sch?mberg. P.R.O. C. 12/2230/13. 5 27th April, 1758, Register of Admissions to Middle Temple, Vol. 1, p. 353. 6 R. B. Gardiner, Admission Register of St. Paul's School, 1748-1876, London, 1894, p. 83. 7 P.R.O. Ad/36/4017 (see note 3, p. 90). 8 See D.N.B. ? C. Roth, History of the Great Synagogue, London, 1950. The 1756 Army List (A List of the General and Field Officers as they Rank in the Army..., Dublin, 1756) shows that Henry Sch?mberg ranked as a Lieutenant in the 40th Foot Regiment as from 3rd June, 1755. 10 Isaac is the only one who is definitely known to have been baptized (see note 5, p. 90), but it is pretty clear that the other members of the family drifted well away from the Jewish community and from Judaism. Ralph married a Christian and had his children baptized (Registers of Bath Abbey The Harleian Society Registers?Vol. XXVII, London, 1900.). Solomon became an Irish Privy Councillor (Freeman's Journal, 29th March, 1770, Dublin), an appointment for which membership of the Church of England (or Ireland) was almost certainly a pre? requisite. It is not certain whether Henry and Alexander would have been able to obtain</page><page sequence="8">90 DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 and Henry with a shilHng each when he died in 1761, leaving his estate equally to Isaac and Alexander.1 As far as can be seen it was in about 1742 that the Sch?mberg family began to abandon Judaism. This was the year in which Ralph married out of the Jewish faith.2 In 1743 Alexander entered the Royal Navy.3 In 1746 Isaac declared his intention of becoming a student at Trinity College, Cambridge,4 and in 1747 he was baptized at St. Mary, Woolchurch.5 The circumstances of the case make it clear that this was with his father's approval. So by the time Emunat Omen came to be written Dr. Meyer Loew Sch?mberg seems to have severed himself from the Jewish community, lost his faith in the traditional teachings of Judaism and decided to encourage his sons to become Christians if this should be of help to their careers. By the time of his death in 1761 Schomberg's detachment from Judaism was so far advanced that he specifically desired to be buried in accordance with the rites of the Church of England,6 and though the terms of his will seem to indicate that he was a Deist rather than a Christian himself, they make it quite clear that he wished to avoid being buried as a Jew. The will reads as follows:? I Committ my Soul to that Eternal Being that gave me my Existence and my Body to the Earth to be buried at the Distance of four or five Miles from London and not nearer and as to the place I leave that to my Executors hereafter mentioned as to my Real or Personal Estate of whatever kind I give and bequeath it to my dear Sons Isaac Sch?mberg and Alexander Sch?mberg to be divided equally between them Share and Share alike as to the rest of my Sons Viz. Ralph Sch?mberg Solomon Sch?mberg and Henry Sch?mberg I give to each of them one Shilling and of this my last Will and Testament I make Constitute and appoint my two Sons Isaac Sch?mberg and Alexander 1 See text of will below. The will makes no mention at all of Moses, but there is no doubt that he was one of Meyer Schomberg's sons because on his own intestancy in 1779, administration was granted to his brother, Isaac. (E. R. Samuel ibid, p. 125.) 2 Sch?mberg v. Sch?mberg. P.R.O. C. 12/2230/13. 8 P.R.O. Ad 36/4017, Suffolk muster. "14th Nov. 1743 Alex Scomberg ord. No. 1075." 4 Annals of the Royal College of Physicians, Vol. IX. Letter to the College dated 6th March, 1746. 5 Register of St. Mary Woolnoth with St. Mary Woolchurch Haw. "August 1747. Isaac Sch?mberg student in Physic of Trinity College in Cambridge was baptised ye seventh day of this month by me G. Conva D.D." 6 Public Advertiser, London, 9th March, 1761. "The late Dr. Sch?mberg is to be buried at Hackney and the funeral service by his own desire is to be performed by a Divine of the Church of England." I am indebted to Mr. Alfred Rubens for this reference. commissions in the Army and Navy while still professing Judaism. It seems possible but very unlikely. Alexander, like Ralph, married a Christian and had his children baptized (see D.N.B.). The only member of the family who seems to have remained a Jew was Moses. He was a notary (as were his brothers Ralph and Solomon) and was in partnership with Solomon da Costa Athias and Haham Isaac Netto to the end of his life. Both these men were scholarly and observant Jews who would almost certainly have objected to working with a renegade. Indeed, Solomon Schomberg's departure from the partnership in or around 1751 may have been significant. (See E. R. Samuel, (pp. cit.) It is probable that Meyer Sch?mberg brought up his older children as Jews, but that the younger ones had a laxer and less Jewish background. Isaac and Ralph Sch?mberg, who were twins, are usually said to have been the oldest of Schomberg's sons. They were born in 1714 at Schweinsberg. Moses, who was born at Lemburg, Treves (see note 3, p. 86) was probably next. Solomon was born in London (see E. R. Samuel, op. cit.) and was therefore probably younger than Moses, although in the Register of Admissions to the Middle Temple (see note 5, p. 89) he is referred to as the third son of Meyer Sch?mberg. Alexander and Henry were younger than the others and were presumably born in London.</page><page sequence="9">DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 91 Sch?mberg my whole and Sole Executors written with my own hand and dated Viz: October the twenty third 1759. M. Sch?mberg. Witnesses Thomas Wheeler. Stanyford Blanckley.1 Schomberg's commentary on the Commandments concerning murder and adultery are so extraordinarily vehement and illogical that I think they can only be understood in the light of a series of disputes in which he had been involved before the time of the composition of the manuscript. As I see it, the commentaries on both these Commandments include an attack on the Portuguese Jewish physician, Jacob de Castro Sarmento. Jacob de Castro Sarmento was of about the same age as Meyer Sch?mberg and came to England at about the same time. He was born and educated in Portugal and was a graduate of Evora and Coimbra Universities, taking an M.B. degree from the latter in 1717. In 1720 the Inquisition arrested and charged his mother, Violante de Mesquita, with Judaism, and he fled to England to escape arrest.2 Between Sch?mberg, the most prominent German Jewish physician, and his Portu? guese contemporary there was considerable animosity. There is record of two bitter disputes between them. The first of these two incidents relates to the candidature of Jacob de Castro Sarmento for election as Fellow of the Royal Society in 1729. Sch?mberg, who had been elected an F.R.S. three years earlier, vigorously opposed De Castro Sarmento's election and circulated the story that he was a dishonourable person who had acted as an informer to the Portuguese Inquisition. This was an accusation which had originally been made shortly after De Castro Sarmento's arrival in England, but which had been thoroughly investigated some five years earlier by the wardens of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, who had found De Castro Sarmento to be completely innocent of this charge. De Castro Sarmento felt himself obliged to vindicate his honour by pubHshing and circulating an extract from the Mahamad minutes of the time.3 Sch?mberg wrote the following ungracious letter to the Royal Society:? Gentlemen: Since Mr. Castro Sarmento has published a paper designing thereby to vindicate his reputation, which I think is sufficiently impeached without going farther by an abstract (Lent lately to the Society) of the proceedings at law against him sign'd by Mr. Wismon Claget principal of Barnets Inn in Holborn, who, with Mr. Tallboy one of his Majestus Justicis of the Peace will be ready to Justine the Contents thereof on any proper occasion. As to the printed paper it appears plainly from it self that Mr. Castro Sarmento 1 P. C. C. Cheslyn. 107. 2 The D.N.B, incorrectly describes Jacob de Castro Sarmento as a Rabbi. This description seems to have been based upon the fact that he preached an oration at the funeral of his brother physician Haham David Nieto as well as another sermon preached at the Bevis Marks Synagogue. De Castro Sarmento gained considerable fame in Portugal for his success in popular? izing quinine water as a remedy for all forms of fever, a medical fashion which lasted for a considerable time. Large quantities of his nostrum, Agua de Inglaterra, were shipped to Portugal by him. The following works contain biographical information:? D.N.B., Antonio d'Esaguy, Da Quina Quina and Uma Dedicatoria do Dr. Jacob ou Henrique de Castro Sarmento, two articles published by A Medecina Contemporanea for 1930 and 1929 respectively, Lisbon, and Ndtulas relativas as Agoas de Inglaterra . . ., Lisbon, 1931, J. Lucio de Azevedo, Historia dos Crist?os Novos Portugueses, Lisbon, 1922, Maximiliano Lemos, Ribeiro Sanches, a sua vida e a sua obra, Oporto, 1911, Maximiliano Lemos, Jacob de Sarmento, Oporto, 1910, Israel Solomons, J.H.S.E. Trans., XII, pp. 83-88. 8 J.H.S.E. Trans., XII, pp. 83-88, and A. M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England, London, 1951, p. 105.</page><page sequence="10">92 DR. MEYER SCHOMBERG'S ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 was Loudly accus'd long before now in a very Extraordinary manner; and notwith? standing the distance of time and place it will yet be Evidently prov'd that the accusation was not groundless whatever may be in the slender vindication of his Character which he may hope from the contents of that paper. As I had no inducement at first to mention any thing concerning this person but to do what was in my power to maintain the dignity of the Society of which I have the honour to be a member so I cou'd not ommitt this opportunity of insisting on what I formerly advanc'd. De Castro Sarmento was nevertheless duly elected to the Royal Society.2 Meyer Loew Schomberg's second dispute with Jacob de Castro Sarmento occurred in 1738, and concerned the treatment of a patient. The matter was referred to the disciplinary committee of the Royal College and the story is fully recorded in the Register Book of the Royal College in the following terms:3 The minutes of the last Comitia were read. Mr. De Castro Sarmento came to make a Complaint against Dr. Schamberg, which he delivered in writing signed with his own hand, &amp; desiring that Mr. Isaac Luzitano de Pina, being present, might be asked what he knew of the Matter, he was call'd in and acknowledg'd what was mentioned of him in the abovementioned writing to be true. Dr. Schamberg was order'd to be summoned, by the Censors, against next Censors day. Mr. De Castro complains, that being call'd by Mr. Benjamin Mendes da Costa, an eminent Merchant in Jeffries Square, Who lay ill of a Fever with violent pains in both Hypochondrys, &amp; prescribing what he thought proper for his Case, Dr. Meyer Schamberg who was formerly Physician to the sd. Patient, upon not being call'd, went to Mr. Badger his friend, and then Apothecary to the Patient, &amp; call'd for the File, and looking over Mr. De Castro's prescriptions, told the Apothecary, that one of them was very dangerous, &amp; would prove of bad Consequence to the Patient if he took it, &amp; for humanity sake he desired him to go the Patient and tell him not to take such medicines &amp; in case he wou'd not believe ye sd. Dr. Schamberg he wou'd have him ask the Opinion of Dr. Mead, or any other Physician: Upon this the sd. Apothecary went to the Patient and intimidated him, after feeling his Pulse told him he was very dangerous, &amp; begg'd him to call another febr. 3d 1729 I am with the utmost respect Gentlemen Your most obed't humble servt M Schumberg -301 Comitiis Censoriis 1? Dec: 1738. Present, Dr. Pellet, Praeses. Mr. De Castro's Complaint to the President &amp; Censors of the College of Physicians? 1 Royal Society, Misc. MSS. 2 R. N. Salaman, The Jewish Fellows of the Royal Society, J.H.S.E. Misc., V, pp. 148, 155. * Annals of the Royal College of Physicians, Vol. X, 1732-1744, p. 84 et seq.</page><page sequence="11">DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 93 Physician, &amp; did the like to the rest of the Family, &amp; to the Surgeon who was in the Room; that the Medicines were Opiates &amp; very prejudicial, putting them in great concern &amp; Confusion but the Patient being well satisfied, &amp; ye Apothecary &amp; Dr. Schamberg disappointed, caused a Report to be spread that Mr. De Castro had prescribed such Quantity of Opium to ye Patient, wch: must have proved very dangerous to him, had he not been prevented taking of it; &amp; ye sd. Dr. Schamberg, &amp; sd. Apothecary being at Garreways Coffee-House by the Royal-Exchange, &amp; Mr. Isaac Luzitano de Pina a Surgeon, asking Dr. Schamberg before several Gentlemen whether the above Report was true ? he answer'd it was, and that ye Medicines prescribed by Mr. De Castro were so very dangerous &amp; irregular that if the Patient was his ennemy he wou'd acquaint him not to take them, &amp; that nobody cou'd make such a Prescription but an Ass &amp; a Fool, &amp; one that knew nothing of the matter, &amp; that he would refer it to Dr. Mead,1 Dr. H?lse,2 or any other Physician, &amp; declared in presence of sd. Mr. Luzitano de Pina, that he had sent the Apothecary then present to acquaint the Patient therewith, and if he wou'd not believe him to ask the Opinion of any Other Physician, &amp; upon Mr. Luzitano de Pina's replying, that they say the Patient had taken the same Medicines, and by the use of them was recovered, the Dr. answer'd he did not continue such medicines because he was prevented upon better advice; and the sd. thing vizt. of not having taken the Medicines was confirmed by the Apothecary, who was present during the whole conversation; Mr. Luzitano de Pina then ask'd the Dr. what sort of Opiates had been prescribed ? to which he answer'd, if he wou'd have a Copy of the prescription, he wou'd indite it to him upon which he wrote a Copy, ready to be produced. And the sd. Dr. Schamberg further gave out Mr. De Castro's prescription to expose it to several persons, with two Querys under it, vizt: 1st. Whether any Apothecary mix'd up Spec. Diatrag. frigid, in a liquid ? 2ndly: whether Opiates in such a Quantity are proper to be given every six hours, especially when there is a shortness of Breath ? Mr. Mendes will appear to acknowledge his own illness &amp; Mr. De Castro's attending him, &amp; that the Apothecary intimidated him, and desired he wou'd call in an other Physician; Mr. Abraham Dias a Surgeon, as also ye Clerk of sd. Mr. Mendes, David de Crasto, will prove ye same; Mr. Luzitano de Pina will prove what pass'd at Garraway's Coffee-House, Mr. Wm. Peirce a Surgeon &amp; Mr. Abraham Raton will likewise prove ye same; Mr. Isaac de Prado will prove that Dr. Schamberg gave Mr. De Castro's prescrip? tion to him, to expose it abroad, with the two Queries underneath; Mr. Abraham Bravo will prove ye same. That sd. Mr. Mendes ye Patient demanding from Mr. Badger ye Apothecary, the original prescriptions directed for him by Mr. De Castro Mr. Badger refused to deliver the same, saying that Dr. Schamberg took ye sd. prescriptions from him, and wou'd not return them to him back again. The prescription insinuated to be so very dangerous prejudicial and irregular, of which Copy's have been handed about with, and without the above said two Querys, is as follows R Aq. Lact. Alex. ?jss Spec. Diatrag. frig. 3SS Syr. de Mecon: ?ss. M. f. Haust. 6t? : quaqz hor? Capiend. It is to be observed that Mr. De Castro, by the particular desire of the Patient, visited him twice a day, as evidently will appear by the dates of the prescriptions December ye 1st. 1738. Jacob de Castro Sarmento. 1 Richard Mead M.D. (1673-1754) physician to Queen Anne and George II see D.N.B. 2 Sir Edward H?lse Bt.5 M.D. (1682-1759) physician to George II see D.N.B.</page><page sequence="12">94 DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 Comitiis Censoriis Ordin?r: 5?. Jan. 1738 Present, Dr. Pellet, Praeses. Dr. Gardiner Dr. Nesbitt Dr. Burton Dr. Whitaker The minutes of the last Comitia were read. Dr. Schamberg appeared; &amp; Mr. De Castro's Complaint delivered before in writing was read to him, ye first part of wch: vizt. his calling for the File &amp; finding fault with Mr. De Castro's prescriptions he absolutely deny'd: indeed having occasion to go to Mr. Badger's Shop about a Patient he then had with him, he saw Mr. De Castro's Prescription lye on the Counter, and having just before heard from the Surgeon that blooded Mr. Mendes da Costa that he had a Fever, &amp; great Difficulty of Breathing upon him, he said to Mr. Badger in the back-shop that it was an odd prescription for such a Complaint, but did not desire him to go to Mr. Mendes da Costa's about it; and as to his giving a Copy of the Prescriptions to one or two Persons that asked him for them he did not deny it: He said likewise that Mr. Badger the Apothecary was waiting without, &amp; desir'd he might be asked what he knew of the Matter. Accordingly Mr. Badger was call'd in, &amp; asked Whether he went at the desire of Dr. Schamberg to Mr. da Costa's to caution him from continuing the prescriptions of Mr. De Castro ? who said indeed he went to Mr. da Costa's House, &amp; said to ye Surgeon, Mr. Dias, that ?ss of Syr. de Mecon. was Order'd every six hours, which he thought wou'd not be so safe for Mr. da Costa, but without Dr. Schamberg's Direction. Mr. Mendes da Costa, Patient to Mr. De Castro, came &amp; acknowledged that Dr. Schamberg was not mentioned to him by the Apothecary: He deny'd he had any shortness of Breath but since he recover'd he heard from several people that Dr. Schamberg had said the Medicines prescribed for him were dangerous, as by a paper delivered to the President and Censors does more fully appear. Mr. Isaac Prado was calle'd in (at the request of Mr. De Castro) who said that he desired of Dr. Schamberg a Copy of Mr. de Castro's prescriptions for the Minister of the Portuguese Synagogue. As likewise Mr. Abram Bravo who acknowledged that Dr. Schamberg gave him a Copy of Mr. de Castro's prescriptions with two Querys, vizt: Whether Spec. Diatrag. frigid, was ever prescribed in a Draught ? or whether Opiates were proper every six hours in a shortness of Breath, which he might enquire of any Physician whether it was a regular way of practice ? After Examination of several Witnesses, The Censors agreed that Dr. Shamberg had unjustly reflected upon Mr. de Castro's practice in relation to Mr. Mendes da Costa's Case. The Consideration of the Fine was defer'd to next Censors day. To the President and Censors of ye College of Physicians. Gentlemen Having heard from several Ladys &amp; Gentlemen of reputation of Dr. Schamberg's endeavours to perswade them that Mr. De Castro had prescribed for me in my late Illness, Draughts with quantities of Opium sufficient to kill any body, pretending that I was afflicted with shortness of Breath; and that the good success of my sd. Illness was owing to his preventing me from taking those dangerous Medicines. By these I assure you, 1&gt; Censors</page><page sequence="13">DR. MEYER SCHOMBERG'S ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 95 Gendemen, that I never was afflicted with any shortness of Breath, in the whole time of my Indisposition; nor never was forewarned by any body from taking the medicines prescribed me, from which, I believe, I receiv'd great Benefit: But only the Apothecary Mr. Badger came and told me it was high time that care shou'd be taken of me; and when I asked him in what manner ? he answer'd by taking better or another advice, or to that purpose: &amp; when he saw he cou'd not prevail with me, went to the people of my house saying that the medicines prescribed by Mr. De Castro were very prejudicial by the great quantities of Opium, &amp; put them in great fright and Confusion. After I was recover'd, I demanded from the Apothecary the sd. prescription which he answer'd he cou'd not deliver to me, because Dr. Schamberg had taken them from off the File, &amp; wou'd not return them back again. And as what Dr. Schamberg has said about my Illness, I believe, has been with a malicious design, in common justice I am bound to declare the above-mention'd in Mr. de Castro's vindication. And wou'd offer to your Consideration, whether it wou'd not be of dangerous consequence to any Patient to be put in such frights &amp; his family and friends in such a Confusion. London, Jan. ye 3d : 1738. Benjamin Mendes da Costa. Comitiis Censoriis Ordin?r. Feb. 2?. 1738 Present, Dr. Pellet, Praeses. Dr. Gardiner Dr. Nesbitt Dr. Burton Dr. Whitaker The minutes of the last Comitia were read. Resolved that Dr. Schamberg for his said Offence be punished four Pounds, &amp; the following paper be sent to him by the Beadle, vizt: College of Physicians London Feb. 2?: 1738. Sr: The President &amp; Censors have agreed that You have unjustly reflected upon Mr: de Castro's practice, in regard to Mr. Mendes da Costa's Case, which makes you guilty of a Breach of one of the Moral Statutes. You are therefore required to pay to the Beadle Mr: Edwards four pounds, as the Penalty mentioned in that Statute. L. Martel Registrarius To Dr. Meyer Schamberg. Sch?mberg in his commentary on the Ten Commandments attacked tale-bearers and equated tale-bearing with murder in the following terms: "THEY HATE a murderer while in truth their hands are filled with blood, for they kill and shed innocent blood with their evil tongue as they go tale-bearing, revealing secrets, spreading evil reports about their fellow, despising and slighting his honour, and depriving him of his very life by undermining his Hvelihood and the livelihood of his household"1 I think it is probable that when he wrote this, De Castro Sarmento and the five other Jewish witnesses who testified against him to the President and Censors of the Royal Censors 1 Emunat Omen, Sheet 6.</page><page sequence="14">96 DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 College of Physicians were in his mind. There is no doubt that the condemnation of his conduct by the Royal College of Physicians infuriated Sch?mberg. He had understood that Benjamin Mendes da Costa was suffering from shortness of breath. A heavy dose of opium (Syr. de Mecon.), such as De Castro Sarmento had prescribed, would depress the respiration, and kill the patient.1 He had felt impelled to intervene to save his former patient from a dangerous and incompetent colleague. The outcome of this case was that Schomberg's antagonism for De Castro Sarmento was deflected on to a new target?the Royal College of Physicians. He bided his time until his eldest son Isaac had obtained a Doctorate in Medicine from Giessen and took him into his practice without his having first obtained a licence from the College. When in 1746 he was requested to present himself before the Censors of the College for examina? tion, at his father's instigation Isaac Sch?mberg refused to do so, and wrote a number of letters to the College of a discourteous nature. In the next year he was baptized and entered Trinity College, Cambridge. He took his degree at that university and resumed practice without the required licence. He then demanded his licentiateship as of right, without proferring any apology for his previous rude letters to the Royal College. When this was refused he started a Court case against the College and petitioned the Visitors to the College to correct the actions of the President and Censors. The Visitors appointed under Charles IPs Charter were the Lord Chancellor, the two Lords Chief Justice and the Lord Chief Baron. After a short but certainly expensive hearing these judges ruled they had no jurisdiction and the Sch?mbergs lost their case. This was in 1753.2 Even after his apology for his actions, it was not until 1765, by which time Meyer Sch?mberg had died and it was more than twenty years since Isaac Sch?mberg had taken his degree, that the College was constrained to grant him a licence to practice.3 The whole dispute was carried on at Meyer Schomberg's instigation, without any regard to its effect on his son's career and reputation. All this goes to show what a stubborn, cantankerous and vindictive sort of man Meyer Sch?mberg must have been, in spite of his possession of a sufficiently high degree of charm, geniality and capacity for friendship to cause no little envy among his professional rivals.4 In his commentary on the Commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery" Sch?mberg equates promiscuity and marriage out of the Jewish faith with adultery.* Here again I think he had his rival Jacob de Castro Sarmento in mind. De Castro Sarmento kept a mistress, by whom he had a natural son, Henry de Castro (afterwards a general in the East India Company's service).6 In 1756 his wife died, and after an interval he married his Christian mistress, and formally resigned his membership of the Jewish community in a statement to the press in 1758.7 There are several places in Emunat Omen where Schomberg's invective is clearly aimed at the Portuguese Jews. 11 am grateful to my brother Dr. O. W. Samuel for pointing this out to me. 2 The facts of the dispute are well summarized in the articles on Meyer and Isaac Sch?mberg in the D.N.B, and in W. M?nk op. ext. The original documents in the case are calendared in A Descrip? tive Catalogue of the legal and other documents in the Archives of the Royal College of Physicians of London at the Royal College. Further items are to be found in the College's Annals, Vols. XI-XIII. 8 Annals, Vol. XIII, pp. 23, 39, 41, 43 and 49. 4 M?nk, ibid. c.f. p. 187 above. 5 Emunat Omen, Sheet 11. 6 A. M. Hyamson, op. cit., p. 108. A. Spencer (ed.), Memoirs of William Hickey, London, 1913, I, p. 221. 7 Hyamson, ibid., p. 108, citing The Annual Register, 1758.</page><page sequence="15">DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 97 Dealing with the second Commandment he says that his adversaries are "entirely devoted to multiplying riches and property" and that their sole motive is to collect "a rich store of Notas do Banco"1 He again refers to the Bank of England as Banco when talking of the Fourth Commandment.2 Discussing the Third Commandment he castigates them for blaspheming by repeatedly using the oath "As God lives," an expression which is plainly Sephardi rather than Ashkenasi.3 In the course of his commentary on the Seventh Commandment Sch?mberg again castigates the Sephardi Jews, who took a typically Iberian pride in their genealogies and aristocratic connections and who believed themselves to descend from the tribe of Judah and therefore to be superior to the Ashkenasi Jews whom they believed to be of the tribe of Benjamin.4 It therefore seems that Meyer Schomberg's attack on the Jews of London in Emunat Omen was directed principally, if not solely, against the Portuguese Jews. One of the accusations from which Sch?mberg defends himself is that of carrying a sword on the Sabbath. We know that in eighteenth-century London, Jews used to wear a wooden sword or a hilt without a blade on the Sabbath and only wear a genuine sword on a weekday;5 Sch?mberg justifies himself by relying on the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer,6 who certainly regarded the carrying of a sword on the Sabbath as permissible.7 For once Schomberg's Talmudic reasoning does seem to be at least logical. Whether we can credit him with great erudition in quoting a relatively obscure Mishnaic passage is more doubtful, for the subject is one which must have been much discussed at the time. Another matter on which Emunat Omen throws some light is the system which was current in the London Jewish community of engaging a physician on the basis of an annual capitation fee. My late father discovered some notes, made by Lord Hardwicke when trying a case,8 which illustrate this. In 1734 Jacob de Castro Sarmento sued Rachel da Costa Villareal, the widow of a patient who had died, for fees in respect of his professional services to her husband, Jacob da Costa Villareal, during his last illness. He claimed fees of ?40 for twenty days' attendance. Evidence was given that it was not customary for 3 Emunat Omen, Sheet 5. 2 Ibid., Sheet 7. 3 P. 102. I am grateful to Mr. A. Schischa for making this point. 4 Emunat Omen, Sheet 11. See H. J. Zimmels, Ashkenasim and Sephardim, London 1958, p. 28, for a discussion of this belief, which was of course merely an attempt without historical justification, to account for the considerable social and cultural differences between the two communities in racialist terms. 6 Gamaliel ben Pedazur (alias Abraham Mears), The Book of Religion Ceremonies and Prayers of the Jews, London, 1738, p. 86. "They must not wear a Sword on their Sabbath-day; because it is esteem'd a Weapon more than an Ornament; for which reason if a Jew has a mind to wear his Sword on the Sabbath day, without trespassing against the Law of the Rabbies, he must have a wooden Stick fasten'd to the Hilt instead of his Steal Blade, or else wear the Hilt and Scabberd without any Blade at all; in that manner the Rabbies permit it may be worn, as being only an Ornament and no Weapon; so that their Swordsmen on the Sabbath are not such keen Blades as they may be perhaps on other Days. However, there are but few of those Gentlemen, that wear Swords on the aforesaid Day." ?According to the general index to Philip Blackman's Mishnayoth, Vol. II, Order Moed, London, 1952, the R. Eliezer responsible for this opinion was R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, a Second Generation Tanna (//. circa 100). For a full analytical list of Tannaim and Amoraim see George Foot Moore?Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era, Harvard, 1927, Vol II, p. 485. 7 Mishna, Shabbat VI-4. 8 B.M. Add MSS. 36029, f. 5-6.</page><page sequence="16">98 DR. MEYER SCH?MBERG^ ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 Jews to give fees to their physicians for specific attendances, but to give them instead an annual payment of ?4-5 a year by agreement. It was only when a gentile physician was called in as a consultant that the Jewish physician received a guinea or two. Moses Dias, a surgeon, gave evidence that in his opinion two to three guineas would have been a normal fee for twenty days' attendance and that Dr. Sch?mberg would have been content with ?4-5. The Judge awarded Dr. Jacob de Castro Sarmento ?3 5s. Od. in place of the ?40 claimed.1 The case shows two things?that the wealthier London Jews in the eighteenth century anticipated the system of the modern National Health Service by paying their physicians an annual capitation fee, and that Dr. Schomberg's fees at this time were well above average. Schomberg's comments2 on this system are revealing. Having considered the fresh information which Emunat Omen gives us about the London Jews of the mid-eighteenth century, we are now faced with the more difficult task of discussing the religious argument with which Sch?mberg concludes his essay. Meyer Sch?mberg and his opponents have been dead for many years but the ideas which he opposes and those which he propagates are still very much alive, and the modern commentator can hardly claim to be detached or impartial. Schomberg's commentary on the Ten Commandments is not a discussion of religious principles at all. It is purely a personal denunciation, in violent language, of those with whom he is in dispute. The discussion of religious principles com? mences with his truncated version of Maimonides' Thirteen Articles of Faith and then continues with his defence against the charge of desecrating the Sabbath. He starts off by justifying his own actions and then goes on to argue, in effect, that Judaism does not insist on strict adherence to the Sabbath. One would not mind if he were content merely to break the Sabbath laws, but to argue, as Sch?mberg does, that he is adhering to the teaching of the Talmud is both dishonest and hypocritical. He quotes the saying of Rabbi Akiba from the Talmud, "Turn your Sabbath into a weekday and do not be beholden to your fellows."3 The original passage in its context teaches that if a person is too poor to buy extra food to celebrate the Sabbath, he should content himself with a weekday ration. Sch?mberg takes the phrase right out of this context and uses it to argue that the Talmud allowed a poor man to work on the Sabbath as on a week day. Having caught the man out in such a piece of intellectual dishonesty, it is difficult to accept that Schomberg's is the sincere reasoning of a troubled soul or that he is to be trusted as a guide to the Talmud. The final section of Emunat Omen is written in an entirely different manner to the earlier parts. The clever use of biblical phrases, the hot language and the personal vindictiveness which characterize the earlier part of the work are missing, and in place of the specious wrangling arguments that his particular breaches of Sabbath observance are within the Law, there is a more general and impersonal argument to the effect that it is not necessary to observe the Commandments so long as one lives a virtuous life. The change of style and the change of standards have led several experts who have read the essay, including Mr. Harold Levy, Mr. Gerhard Busse and Rabbi Dr. Altmann, 1 B.M. Add. MSS. 36029, f. 5-6. See also A. M. Hyamson, op. cit.} p. 88, for the repercussions of this lawsuit. 2 Emunat Omen, Sheet 18. 3 Talmud Babli, Shabbat 117a, also Pesahim 112a.</page><page sequence="17">DR. MEYER SCHOMBERG'S ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 99 to conclude that this section represents a later development of thought and is therefore later in date. I do not share this opinion. My view?adrmttedly an inexpert and subjective one? is that the whole essay is a single composition written within a short period of time. Though illogical, Schomberg's double standard which enables him to castigate his critics for breaking the Mitzvot (Commandments), and then to argue by implication that the Mitzvot are out of date and unnecessary anyway, seems to me to be in character and very human; and I feel that his unbrotherly attack on the Jews of London is not likely to antedate the changes in his own religious belief. The final part of Emunat Omen contains some fine (and well known) Aggadic passages from the Talmud. On the subject of the Imitation of God Sch?mberg quotes the saying of Abba Saul (circa C.E. 150) i1 "Is it possible for a man to walk in His ways and to cleave to Him and walk his his paths ? Just as He is gracious, be you gracious, just as He is merciful be you merciful." He then uses a homily based on that of Rabbi Hama bar Haninah (circa C.E. 270)2 which teaches that the Almighty, it is recorded in the Pentateuch, clothed the naked, succoured the afflicted, visited the sick, supported the needy, and buried the dead, and that man must learn to do likewise.3 Sch?mberg next cites the "Golden Rules" of Leviticus xix, 19, of Hillel (circa C.E. 30) (in this case attributed to Ben Sira) and of Rabbi Akiba (circa C.E. 120),4 each of whom enunciated one fundamental principle as underlying the whole Torah. He then concludes by quoting a sermon by Rabbi Simlai (circa C.E. 270)5 which deduced that the Pentateuch contained six hundred and thirteen commandments which were successively summarized by David and the Prophets into fewer and fewer underlying principles, until Habbakuk reduced them to one.6 In all this Sch?mberg is using first-class Talmudic material. But he uses it in a highly unorthodox manner, for he implies?even if he does not actually say?that Musar (moral teaching) renders Halacha (rules for conduct) unnecessary, which was never the doctrine of Tannaim like Hillel and Akiba or Amor aim like Hama bar Haninah and Simlai. We cannot do better than to conclude our study of the final part of Emunat Omen with the words of the great modern Talmudic scholar, G. F. Moore, on this very subject: "Such condensations of the essentials of the moral law into a dozen great precepts or into one comprehensive rule are of interest to us as exhibiting a sound estimate of religious and moral values, and for the intrinsic unity of fundamental principle. They were never meant to be taken for sufficient regulatives of conduct, for which, indeed, they are wholly inadequate, and the broader and more elevated they are, the less they are adapted to any such end. . . . For the actual conduct of life, and above all for the practical morals of a community or a people in any age, explicit rules, defining cases and prescribing what is to be done in concrete instances, are indispensable. Such rules may be conventional, the custom of a given society, or they may be embodied in legislation, civil, or religious, or both at once. The Jews possessed such a legislation in the form and 1 Fourth generation Tanna. G. F. Moore, ibid. 2 Second generation Palestinian Amor a. Ibid. 8 Talmud Babli, Sotah 14a. 4 Third generation Tanna. G. F. Moore, ibid. 6 Second generation Palestinian Amora. Ibid. 6 Talmud Babli, Makkot 23b.</page><page sequence="18">100 DR. MEYER SCHOMBERG'S ATTACK ON THE JEWS OF LONDON, 1746 with the authority of divine revelation, and on it the ethics of Judaism were founded, not on deductions from general principles, which were themselves at best only inductions from its particular regulations."1 However, apart from the difficulty of assessing Schomberg's own religious views, the problem of why he wrote Emunat Omen remains. It is obviously a reply to an accusation that he was publicly disregarding Jewish observances and breaking the Sabbath. Possibly he had been placed in Herem (excommunicated) or publicly humilated in some way. The most likely explanation for this very angry and aggressive piece of apologetic writing seems to be that it was prepared for publication as a pamphlet?and then for some reason or other never actually reached the press?or, if it did so, no copy has survived. The work is packed with recondite references to different parts of the Bible, and shows that Schomberg's biblical knowledge was more than ordinary. He had a good grasp of Hebrew and some knowledge of the Talmud and Midrash, although his quota? tions from these sources are all from well-known and well-used passages.2 The glimpse afforded of the personality of the author of Emunat Omen is not an attractive one. To the writer he appears to be quarrelsome, avaricious, ungenerous, insincere, and entirely self-centred and self-satisfied. This is merely the subjective impression of one individual?others will no doubt take a different view. But at least he took the trouble to put pen to paper and to think out and set out his religious views and arguments in erudite Biblical Hebrew. 1 G. F. Moore, ibid., p. 88. 21 am grateful to Mr. Harold Levy for this assessment.</page></plain_text>

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