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Henry Straus Quixano Henriques, K. C., 1886-1925

Lucien Wolf

<plain_text><page sequence="1">H. S. Q. HENRIQUES, K.C. Facing p. 247]</page><page sequence="2">henry straus quixano henriques, k.c. 247 Henry Straus Quixano Henriques, K.C, 1866-1925. By Lucien Wolf. Henry Henriques, who passed away a month after Israel Abrahams, was, like him, of mixed Sephardi and Ashkenazi descent. His father, Edward Micholls Henriques, J.P., of Manchester, came of a West Indian family which held plantation property in Westmoreland County, Jamaica, in 1754, and was probably settled in England nearly a century earlier. His mother, Bose Straus, a sister of Mr. B. S. Straus, J.P., was a direct descendant of the Straus family of Frankfurt, whose pedigree has been traced as far back as 1530. He was born in Man? chester on November 8, 1866, and he died within four days of his fifty-ninth birthday. Henriques was our fifteenth President. But for the accident that he was a relatively late recruit of our Society he would assuredly have filled that position at a much earlier date. When he determined to join us, however, he was no stranger to our Transactions, for in 1901, on the invitation of our then President, Mr. Frederick Mocatta, he read a paper before us, and after that he was frequently a guest at our meetings and a valued participant in our discussions. Although not of large scope, the work he brought to our Society was marked by exceptional distinction and value. He was essentially a lawyer, not in the narrow sense of a mere advocate, but rather in that of an historical jurist who had delved deep into the science and philosophy of law. His career in this respect was traced out for him by his brilliant University record. At Oxford, where he spent six years, he took a first in Jurisprudence and a second in the examination for the B.C.L. degree, and in 1891 he was awarded the coveted Vinerian Law Scholar? ship. Entering the Inner Temple, he won the Common Law Student? ship in 1892, and his scholastic competence was afterwards recognised by his appointment as an Examiner for the degree of B.C.L. at Oxford in 1897, and for the Board of Legal Education of the Inns of Court in 1907.</page><page sequence="3">248 HENRY STRAUS QUIXANO HENRIQ?ES, K.C. It is remarkable that, with his undeniably great scientific equip? ment, he gave so little to the world in a literary form. The truth probably is that he was much absorbed by a busy practice at the Bar and that he had really no literary vanities. His practical instinct led him to wield the pen only when, in his judgment, his erudition and opinion could be of real use in correcting error or in clarifying definite social problems which pressed for solution. From the fruition of this instinct the Jewish community chiefly benefited. Like Spielmann and Abrahams, he was a devoted Jew, and the promotion and defence of the best interests of his co-religionists always made the strongest appeal to him. Thus he was led at an early date in connection with his work on the Board of Deputies to place at the disposal of that body his rich arsenal of juridical learning. It was indeed the first time that the legal aspects of Jewish communal life in this country were placed under so competent a guardianship, although the Board had not been without the co-operation of great lawyers before his time. The pamphlets and memoranda he prepared for the Board, such as those on Marriage Law and Sunday Trading, have a permanent value as historical documents. But it was the Jewish Historical Society which most largely benefited from his learning. Before he joined the Society he had been much interested in the controversy which had arisen as to the date and circumstances of the foundation of the Anglo-Jewish community as it now exists. New evidence had been discovered which seemed to show conclusively that the resettlement of the Jews in this country was the work of the Commonwealth. Henriques opposed this view, at first on the ground that the evidence was insufficient and unconvincing. But in truth he had a deeper reason for his opposition, and to-day, when the controversy is at an end, it is only right that an effort should be made to understand the views he held. They were the outcome of his strong conservative opinion in regard to the sanctity of constitu? tional law. His views in this respect take us back to the Whig doctrines of Lord Somers?perhaps even to the Legitimist fantasies of Filmer. To him the Commonwealth was an illegal Government, and it had no power whatever to change the law as it then existed. Thus he held that, while the statement of the law in regard to the Jews by the Whitehall Conferences was valid because it was a mere reaffirmation</page><page sequence="4">HENRY STRAUS QUIXANO HENRIQUES, K.C. 249 of the legal situation which existed independent of the Commonwealth, any new concessions for the protection of the Jewish settlers which ran counter to the existing law in regard to Judaism had no legal value. Hence his conclusion that there was no resettlement of the Jews in a constitutional sense during the Commonwealth. This view, it will be seen, was not so paradoxical as it appeared at the time. In holding it Henriques was as much actuated by his strong Jewish feeling as by his Conservative politics. He disliked intensely the idea that the Anglo-Jewish community should rest on what he conceived to be a false legal foundation, and he was thus led to attach a perhaps ex? aggerated importance to the Restoration Orders in Council which seemed to him to legitimise the Resettlement. Whatever we may think of Henriques's attitude on this question, there is no doubt that Anglo-Jewish history has immensely benefited from the stimulus it gave to his historical studies. We have the result in his great monograph on The Jews and the English Law, which was published by the Society to celebrate the Jubilee of Jewish political emancipation in 1908. The book has defects of style and form. It was written at odd moments in the midst of other and more pressing occupations, and was published without adequate revision; but in spite of all this it must rank as one .of the most valuable contributions that have been made to Anglo-Jewish history. For the first time it has placed the external history of the Anglo-Jewish community on its only proper basis of law, and it did this with a completeness which has never been rivalled by any other historian, not even by Israel Abrahams in the kulturhistorische treatment of the inner history which was so dear to his heart. The service he thus rendered to Anglo-Jewish history was in a sense similar to that which was rendered to English history by Hallam's magnum opus. The practical value of this book, for enabling us to understand not only Jewish rights in this country but also the peculiar character of the Anglo-Jewish community and its relation to the British State, was afterwards strikingly illus? trated by Henriques himself in the Presidential Address he delivered in 1920. Besides writing The jews and the English Law, Henriques con? tributed to our Transactions many valuable essays on historico-legal problems, and he also added to our store of historical documents. He</page><page sequence="5">250 HENRY STRAUS QUIXANO HENRIQUES, K.C. was an active, loyal, and wise worker on our Council, and he served two brilliant terms as President in 1918-19 and 1919-20. It was during his second Presidential term that the Society held its memorable Peace Banquet under the presidency of the Earl of Reading. The success of that function was in a very literal sense a personal triumph for Henriques. Late in life Henriques found another outlet for his legal scholarship in the Grotius Society, which was formed in 1915 to take the place of the International Law Association. Owing to the war and its large foreign membership the latter body had become embarrassed and paralysed, and the new Society was accordingly strictly limited, as regards membership, to British subjects. Henriques was elected a member early in 1916, and it is a great satisfaction to me to remember that I was elected at the same time on his suggestion. He became a very active and useful member, was soon nominated to the Executive Committee, and in 1924 was elected Treasurer. He achieved a reputa? tion in the Society by his profound knowledge of the law of Nationality, to which he had been led to give much attention by his experience in the Jewish community. He had already given us the firstfruits of his studies in a book on The Law of Aliens and Naturalisation. When in the course of the war the drift of English legal opinion seemed to run in the direction of a modification of the jus soli he became not a little perturbed, mainly because his conservative instincts revolted against any disturbance of the foundations of the prevailing doctrine of British Nationality, but also because he was convinced it would be bad for the country and still worse for the Jewish community. His atti? tude on this question led to a lively controversy with Dr. Ernest Schuster, in the course of which he read a valuable paper before the Society entitled " Jus Soli or Jus Sanguinis." The result was that an influential Committee was appointed by the Society to draft an International Code of Nationality. Three years later, in his second Presidential Address before the Jewish Historical Society, he gave luminous and courageous expression to the important bearing of jus soli on the evolution and vital interests of the Anglo-Jewish community. Upon the more intimate personal aspects of the loss we have sustained by the death of Henry Henriques in the flower of his age</page><page sequence="6">HENRY STRAUS QUIXANO HENRIQUES, K.C. 251 I cannot do better than quote from the eloquent tribute paid to his memory by a former President of our Society, Dr. C. G. Montefiore : " Henry Henriques was a man of a sturdy independence of character, a man who never spared himself, a man who never was and never could be deflected one inch to the right hand or to the left from what he considered to be his duty. . . . He was a brave man, a sincere man, and a good man. . . . He was a man who had no hesitation in putting forward his own opinions strenuously and fearlessly, but no less did he desire that others in similar fashion should put forward theirs, and so he won the respect of us all. He was simple, honest, and true, and beneath a somewhat bluff manner there beat a warm and affectionate heart."</page></plain_text>