top of page
< Back

Lewis Way and his Times

Rev. James Parkes

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Lewis Way and His Times By The Rev. James Parkes, M.A., D.Phil., D.H.L.1 EWIS WAY was born in 1772, the second son of Benjamin Way of Denham Place, Buckmghamshire. His father was a prosperous squire, and the family was a large "?^one?six sons and seven daughters survived their infancy. His maternal grandfather was rector of Denham, and Lewis was brought up in an atmosphere of piety and duty, permeated by the mutual affection of excellent parents and a happy band of brothers and sisters. He wished to become a clergyman, but the family living was reserved for a brother, and Lewis was shepherded into the legal profession which he detested. He was saved from the necessity of practising it by the unexpected inheritance of a vast fortune in 1804. His fortune was to be used to the glory of God, but he only decided on the particular course he was to take in 1811. But from then until his death his main interest lay in the situation and prospects of the Jewish people. He died in 1840.2 Three factors contributed to fitting him for the particular role which he was to play in the life of his time. The first was the Evangelical Revival, which formed the religious background of his upbringing and subsequent career. The second was the fact that times of stress and uncertainty, such as the years of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic war, always produce a fresh interest in prophecy, and such an interest leads naturally to a concern with the destiny of the Jews. The third factor was a personal one. It was the unexpected inheritance which set him free to follow his desires. It has been said that John Wesley saved England from a revolution akin to that which smote France in 1789. Though his career led to the formation of a new and separate Church, the Methodist or Wesleyan, his influence was by no means confined to those who joined the new sect. It was nation-wide, and influenced profoundly the estab? lished, or Anglican, Church as well as the other sects, all of which had passed through a period of spiritual aridity. New movements of all kinds arose, there was a new interest in social justice, and it was of particular interest that laymen were at that time prominent in religious matters. The Evangelical group which influenced Lewis Way was led by William Wilberforce, and was known as "the Clapham Sect" from the fact that the homes of some of its leaders lay in that part of London. They were a group of men to whom the Bible was the Word of God in all the affairs of daily life, and who measured their public as well as their private duty by its standards. The best known activity of the "Sect" was the battle for the emancipation of the slaves, but it was men of the same type, and from the same setting, who founded in 1795 "The Missionary Society," an undenorninational body whose object was the conversion of the heathen. There were English Protestant societies of this kind which were already a century old, but on the whole the Protestant Churches were only just waking up to the idea of a world-wide responsibility. In 1801 the Missionary Society brought to England a young Jewish proselyte, Joseph Samuel Christian Frederick Frey, who had been trained at the Moravian Mission? ary Serninary in Berlin. The Society intended to send him, with two others, on a mission The "Clapham Sect 1 Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England on 16th June, 1958. 2 Our main source of information about Lewis Way is The Ways of Yesterday, being Chronicles of the Way Family, 1307-1885, by A. M. W. Stirling, London, 1930. 189</page><page sequence="2">190 LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES to the Hottentots in South Africa. But, on his arrival in England, he had a dream, which he communicated to the Society, telling him that he should stay in London and preach to his brethren, the Jews. The Society had not, up till then, thought of a special mission to the Jews, but they agreed to set Mr. Frey free for this purpose, and he spent some years preaching to, and disputing with, the few Jews whom he could persuade to listen to him. But it proved unworkable to combine the two missionary projects in one society, so in 1809 a "London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews" came into existence. Christian Interest in the Jews The Christian?or rather, the non-Jewish?world at that time was interested in three different ways in the Jewish people, though these three different factors were frequently combined with each other in a splendid medley and confusion. First there was civil and political emancipation. This had already taken place in the United States and in France, and had been partially extended to those parts of Europe which received constitutions moulded by Napoleon. But it had not yet affected more than the relatively small Jewries of those countries. The mass of Jews still lived in eastern Europe and in medieval conditions, with but very restricted rights. In the second place was prophecy. Since there was a widespread belief among Evangelicals that the End of the World was imminent, the question as to the future destiny of the Jewish people was, from their point of view, a practical issue. Lewis Way considered that the project of the Emperor Alexander I of Russia to settle converted Jews in the Crimea was a particularly good one, because the Crimea was the part of his empire from which one might most easily travel to Palestine. But there was a third question: was the conversion of the Jews to Christianity to take place before or after their restoration ? This again was, from their point of view, a practical issue. For on it depended the decision whether the main effort of those interested should be exercised to secure the Jewish return to their Homeland, in the expectation that they might be there converted, or whether the prior emphasis should be placed on their conversion, that they might be ready for restoration when the expected End took place. Every conceivable kind of opinion was expressed on these issues, and it must be remembered that Jews were themselves under no obligation to keep silent. Though they had not yet secured equality in the political field, their social emancipation was complete in England, and they could express themselves freely, in pulpit, in pamphlet or in the press, on any issue that concerned them. There had always been differences between Christians?as there were between Jews?as to whether the world were corning to a speedy end or not. Calculation about the future is a universal human trait. But it was something new to find a wide variety of opinions about the Jewish-Christian relationship. It was centuries since any special effort had been made to convert the Jews. In Rome itself, there were still the compulsory conversional sermons, against which Lewis Way was to protest to the Pope, and which Browning was to describe with such profound understanding and bitterness. But the Protestant Churches had no official attitude on the subject. The field was wide open for anyone who liked to express an opinion?and those who liked were not few. To deal with all of them is impossible, but there is an excellent chapter on the subject in The Vision was There by Franz Kobler, one of the volumes in A Popular Jewish Library of the World Jewish Congress, British Section.</page><page sequence="3">LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES 191 For a considerable period the belief that the prophecies about the End of the World were about to be fulfilled went hand in hand with the belief that the restoration and conversion of the Jews was about to take place. So closely were the two ideas linked that when in 1824 the Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews declared that it was possible to undertake that mission without believing in the immediate fulfilment of prophecy, Lewis Way resigned his office of Vice-President in the Society and retired broken-hearted from its councils. He had himself written and preached continually that the conversion and restoration of the Jews were prophetically foretold, and had in several long conversations discussed the terms of his expectation with so great a personality as the Emperor Alexander himself. Yet, though there was widespread acceptance that the End of the World and the conversion of the Jews were both imminent, there was no agreement as to how the prophecies were to be fulfilled, or what part the Jews were to play. Richard Brothers Lewis Way, for example, would have heartily disagreed with the first?and indeed most remarkable?example ofthat connexion which I would bring before you?Richard Brothers (1757-1824). Brothers began bis career in the navy, but finally came to the conclusion that the career of a sailor and the profession of Christianity were incompatible. He resigned his commission and shortly afterwards began to have visions. He proclaimed himself the nephew of the Almighty and his mouthpiece for foretelling the destiny of nations. In 1794 he published two books of prophecy in which he put himself forward as "the man that will be revealed to the Hebrews as their Prince and Prophet,55 in which capacity he was to lead them back to Palestine in 1798.1 His proof that this was to be his destiny is thus related by his fervent disciple, the orientalist and M.P., N. B. Halhed:? "he quotes a text of Scripture, which can neither be eluded nor explained away, that the man destined to lead the Jews a second time to Palestine should be like to Moses himself. The parallel between the two personages Mr. Brothers states to have tallied hitherto, anld he asserts that it will continue to do so; for, as Moses ascended from the ark of bul - rushes, so did Mr. Brothers rise from a ship, having been bred in the navy. That this coincidence of characters might be evident at first sight, Mr. Brothers asserts that, by the command of God Himself, he cut a wand in 1792, which is to perform precisely the same miracle with the former wand of Moses. Nor need we now be scandalized or astonished that God speaks to him in plain direct words, as one man would speak to another, since we know that in this respect Moses was favoured with a communication exactly similar. Moses, born in Egypt, led the Israelites from Egypt through the Red Sea into Palestine. The birth-place therefore of the second Moses, and the country from whence he is to summon the modern Hebrews, must, spiritually at least, have at one time or another also been dominated by Egypt, to make the parallel between the two events move on all fours; and I have already proved from St. John in the Revelations, that the great city (viz. London) was spiritually called Sodom in Egypt.552 1A Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies and Times, wrote under the Direction of the Lord God and published by His Sacred Command; it being the First Sign of Warning for the Benefit of all Nations, containing, with other great and remarkable Things not revealed to any other person on earth, the Restoration of the Hebrews to Jerusalem, by the year 1798 under their Revealed Prince and Prophet. 2 Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, Testimony of the Authenticity of the Prophecies of Richard Brothers and of his Mission to recall the Jews, 1795, pp. 36 f.</page><page sequence="4">192 LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES Richard Brothers also declared that the British were descended from the Israelites, the majority from the ten tribes, but specially favoured individuals from the tribe of Judah. His intention to lead the Jews back to Palestine was frustrated in 1795 by a most banal accident, his detention during His Majesty's pleasure for foretelling His Majesty's immediate decease and the end of the monarchy, a proceeding which was adjudged treasonable. From Richard Brothers we can pass on to a somewhat more responsible interpreter of prophecy, the Rev. James Bicheno. The Dictionary of National Biography, in its article on his son, states that he was a dissenting minister, but Mr. Thomas Witherby, whose work we shall soon be considering, addressed him as M.A. in contradicting his views. As the universities were at that time confined to members of the Anglican church, I do not know what happened to the Rev. James, about whom I have been able to find out nothing save that his cure of souls was at Newbury. Like many others, Bicheno was overwhelmed by the French Revolution. It seemed to him, as to many of his contemporaries, an event without parallel in the history of the world, and therefore of cosmic and divine significance. But that significance eluded him until, abandoning other previous guides to the apocalyptic of the Old and New Testaments, he commenced his own studies. In due course he became convinced that the Great Beast foretold in both Testaments was Louis Quatorze, and thereafter everything became clear to him.1 The originality of Bicheno lay in his recognition that the French Revolution, whatever its excesses, was, in the words of 1066 and All That, "a good thing." In the ' Advertisement" or Preface to the second part of Signs of the Times he says that "the overthrow of monarchy and popery in that country is the accompHshment of God's word, and in judgment for oppression and corruption; that their great leading principles are good, and that they have a right to legislate for themselves, and choose what sort of government they please."2 Bicheno wrote two pamphlets directly addressed to the Jews, and their essential points of interest can be gathered from Thomas Witherby's replies.3 In the first place, in strange anticipation of the fictitious elders of Zion, Bicheno foretells that the Jews are to take an important part in "punishing and revolutionizing the nations." They are to "execute the vengeance of God upon the wicked nations." They are then to raise up "a great army" and conquer their Holy Land from the Turks who now possess it. Witherby exclaims with distress, "Alas! Alas! Do you think that the kingdom of God is to be established upon earth by anything which will bear the least analogy with the French Revolution?"4 Thomas Witherby In Thomas Witherby we have reached, perhaps, the most interesting of all the curious figures upon our canvas. He was a gentleman of independent means, a member of a family which have been publishers in London since 1740, and he lived at Enfield Wash. More than that I have not been able to discover. In the work already quoted, his reply to Bicheno, Witherby avows his belief in the near fulfilment of prophecy, but 1J. Bicheno, The Signs of the Times: or the Overthrow of the Papal Tyranny in France, the Prelude of Destruction to Popery and Despotism, but of Peace to Mankind, 1794, p. iv. 2 The Signs of the Times: Second Part, p. vi. 8 Dedicated to the Jews: Observations on Mr. Bicheno's Book entitled The Restoration of the Jews: The Crisis of All Nations, 1800. 4 Op. at., pp. 5-7.</page><page sequence="5">LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES 193 believes that Jews and Christians are to go through far worse persecution than either have yet endured before the End comes. This persecution will draw members of the two faiths together, so that Christians will become more Jewish and vice versa. But the restoration of the Jews to their Homeland will be only by an act of God and as a reward for their fidelity. It will have no political accompaniments. Witherby returned again to the Jews in a second and still bigger volume, published in 1804.1 It is mainly a plea for their emancipation. But, whatever the gifts of the author, brevity was not one of them. He takes several hundred pages to say what Abbe Gregoire had put into immortal words in a few lines: "si vous envisagez de nouveau les crimes passes des Juifs et leur corruption actuelle, que ce soit pour deplorer votre ouvrage."2 Still, the book has its importance in that it combines the sober and practical issue of emancipation and equality with the nights of fancy of the apocalyptists; and the two subjects are linked by Witherby's conviction, which appears still more strongly in his next work, that the prime business of the Gentile nations is the restoration, not the conversion, of the Jews.3 The last work published by Thomas Witherby was a direct reply to the foundation of the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews.4 It appeared in the same year, and was a reply to the invitation to the Jews issued by the Society. A full account of the founding of the Society can be found in the first volume of its periodical, The Jewish Repository, and in that volume some of the difficulties encountered by the Society, and some of the opposition it aroused, are frankly related. But Thomas Witherby based his objections on two main grounds, of which the first must have come to his readers as an unpleasant surprise. We can picture them braced to resist a heretical interpretation of a vision in Daniel or a verse of Saint Paul. But it was surely hitting below the belt when he told these upper middle-class gentry that such an action was not good manners. Witherby quotes the parallel of the many Roman Catholic clerics who had taken refuge in England from the persecution of the French Revolution. Would it, he asks, be good manners to take advantage of their distressed condition and form a society for converting them to Protestantism ? The Jews likewise took refuge among us from persecution. We promised them freedom to enjoy their religion among us. Is it good manners to try and seduce them from it ? Nay more, they enjoy their freedom among us on condition that they live peaceably and attempt to make no proselytes. Now, no one can pretend that they are not hostile to any member who becomes a Christian, and their hostility is likely to lead to violent argument and even a breach of the peace. Is it good manners to incite them to violate the terms on which we invited them to settle among us ? The second main objection brings us back to the familiar ground of prophecy. The prophecies of the Old Testament are complete in themselves. The promises of restoration are linked with the fulfilment and proper observation of a religion described in the Old Testament. There is no evidence suggesting that something more was needed. The business of Christians is therefore their restoration, not their conversion. That lies between them and their Lord. Our Thomas could be vigorous when he desired. What 1 An attempt to remove Prejudices concerning the Jewish Nation by way of Dialogue. The participants in the dialogue are "Cautious" and "Sudden." The former is Mr. Witherby. 2 Essai sur la Regeneration, physique, morale et politique, des Juifs, 1789, p. 193. 8 Op. cit., pp. 329 f. * A Vindication of the Jews, by Way of Reply to the Letter addressed by Perseverans to the English Israelite, humbly submitted to the consideration of the Missionary Society and the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, 1809.</page><page sequence="6">194 LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES must have been the surprise of his readers in the London Society to find that they were compared to Antiochus Epiphanes for attempting to turn the Jews from their religion, and warned that an end like his would befall them if they did not repent.1 And so we return to Lewis Way. Lewis Way's Activities in England The third, or special, factor mentioned at the begmning as having formed his career was the inheritance of a huge fortune. Lewis Way, as the second son of a prosperous squire, who had a large family, had no special prospects. He could expect only to earn his own living. But there existed at that time a much older man of the same surname, John Way, who had been secretary and agent to Lord Mansfield and who greatly desired an heir. He had no children of his own; and a first cousin once removed, whom he had considered as a possible heir, so shocked him by keeping a corkscrew in his pocket, that he felt he must turn elsewhere. For John Way was a man of very sober and pious life. Walking one day through the Temple he saw the name Lewis Way as the occupant of a set of chambers. Struck by the surname, he directed his lawyer to find out what kind of man this Lewis Way might be. The lawyer gave a good report, and one day John Way presented himself at the chambers and invited Lewis to spend a week-end with him at his home in Acton. The week-end was but the beginning of an intimacy which ripened on both sides. John was enchanted with the sincerity and piety of Lewis, and Lewis, in the loneliness of London chambers, greatly enjoyed his week-ends and visits with John. Though doubtless unaware of the danger, he did not keep a corkscrew in his pocket. In 1801 John Way wished to provide his young friend with a wife, but the young friend betrayed so much agitation at the proposal that John, asking the cause, found that Lewis was already in love, but lacked the means to wed. Pulling out his cheque book John wrote a cheque for ?1,000 and told Lewis to go and get married on it. Lewis did. The bride came of a Devon family of the name of Drewe, and of very similar standing to his own. Three years later, on 14th August, 1804, John Way died, leaving Lewis as his residuary legatee. To the astonishment of everyone, the legatee included, the residue proved to be some ?300,000, as to whose disposal John Way asked only that Lewis should use it to the glory of God. At times John had thought of founding some charitable institution, but had not taken any decision on the matter. Lewis felt, therefore, that one of the first things to do was to acquire a home for himself which might, at some future time, prove a basis for some charitable foundation of a character not yet determined. He purchased an enormous country mansion, Stansted Park, Sussex, with priceless tapestries, panelling, and carvings, together with hundreds of acres of park and woodland. This might have been a profitable investment in 1804, but proved an appalling white elephant when agricultural prices collapsed at the end of the Napoleonic war. For six years it did not become clear to him in which direction he should exercise his considerable talents and his still more considerable income. Then in 1811 he was staying with some of his wife's family in Devonshire. Riding one day between Exeter and the sea, he saw across a pleasant park an extraordinary round house, and in the park he noticed a superb group of oaks. Asking what the dwelling was, he was told that it had been built by a Miss Jane Parminter, who had just died, and had ordered in her will that the oaks were never to be trimmed nor cut until the Jews were restored to their Holy Land. Lewis was very impressed and almost immediately became convinced that it was 1 Op. dt., p. 161 f.</page><page sequence="7">LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES 195 to this restoration of the Jews that he should devote his life and talents. It may be added that the story of the oaks of Jane Parminter figured in numerous tracts of the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews and was repeated in numerous sermons, until a zealous researcher sought to get the exact terms of this strange clause. Obtaining Jane Parminter's will, he found that it contained no reference either to the oaks or to the restoration of the Jews! But Jane had been very interested in the Jewish people and had created a number of somewhat quaint charities in their favour, so that one may assume that the original legend was told to Way in good faith. It was the sort of thing that her neighbours expected Jane Parminter to do! It was one thing to decide to consecrate his time and wealth to the cause of the Jews; it was another matter to decide how to do it. To help his decision he went to consult his friend, Bishop Burgess of St. David's, who happened to be staying not far from Stansted at Chichester. This may explain why he thought of establishing a college for teaching converted Jews how to preach to their brethren, in a country house, far from any centre of learning. For Bishop Burgess was to be the founder of Lampeter College, in the wilds of Wales, a centre for training clergy for Welsh parishes. The bishop told him of the London Society, and Way proceeded to get into touch with it. He found it deeply in debt, and also in a state of depression and despondency. Its first converts had turned out badly, and the critics of the Society were many. Lewis Way paid its debts to the extent of ?12,000, and became one of its main supporters. Hitherto the Society had been open to both Anglicans and Dissenters, but this had a number of practical inconveniences, for neither could attend worship in the religious edifices of the other. For a period there were two chapels in one of which Anglicans, in the other of which Dissenters lectured the Jews?but presumably not on the subject of Christian unity! Way persuaded the Dissenters to withdraw, whereupon in 1913 the foundation stone of a great new centre, to be called Palestine Place, with chapel, schools, houses and workshops, was ceremonially laid by the Duke of Kent in the presence of a large assembly of nobility, clergy and others. Meanwhile Way began to invite young Jews to Stansted and there had them taught the rudiments of the Christian faith. In a number of cases he persuaded them to be baptized, but it is doubtful if he secured any genuine conversions. It was a curiously amateur affair, as were the efforts of the Society itself at this time; for each depended, as it were, on a pet convert, the Society on its original missionary, J. S. C. F. Frey, and Way on one whose ordination he had himself secured, the Rev. B. N. Solomon, who accom? panied him on his tour to Russia and was a constant and intimate visitor at Stansted. Beth were eventually to prove disappointments, Frey when he was convicted of irrimorality, Solomon when he departed with the cash from his mission in Crimea. These disappoint? ments are mentioned, not to sneer at them, but to illustrate the situation at the time. It was extraordinarily difficult for an earnest Christian to reach a sincere believing Jew. Even apart from history the path between them was beset not only by the charlatan, but also by the impecunious, the outcast and the rootless. In all his missionary work and experience we know of only one utterly sincere Christian Jew with whom Way had contact, and that was the amazing Joseph Wolff, who passed some of his time at Stansted in preparation for his missionary career. But we must remember that it was rather a bad time in Anglo-Jewish history; the rich had moved away from the City and the East of London, and the organizations for the relief of the poor were still in a hesitant and incomplete state. The relevance of this we see from the first title of the mission which</page><page sequence="8">196 LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES was "The London Society for the purpose of visiting and relieving the sick and distressed, and instructing the ignorant, especially such as are of the Jewish nation."1 Lewis Way and Jews Overseas While Way was pursuing his somewhat amateurish efforts at conversion, he was also spending much time in the study of Judaism and Jewish history. He was increasingly horrified at the appalling record of Christian cruelty and persecution, and became more and more convinced that, as a Christian, he had an obligation to seek to ameliorate the position of Jews in Christian countries. The period which we have now reached was that at the end of the Napoleonic war. The continent was again open to travel, and the Society had become more and more convinced that more fruitful fields for its activities were to be found among the Jews of the continent than in East London. It was being continuously attacked; its enormous expenditure and the small results in numbers of baptisms were the subject of hostile comment. Hence as Way remarks, with astonishing naivete, to the Bishop of St. David's in defence of transferring the activities of the Society to foreign fields: "distance alters the case; a fairer estimate is made?the favourable side of the question is presented to view." In 1816 Way decided to be ordained, and in 1817 he undertook an extensive journey to the continent at his own expense, intending to end up with a visit to the Emperor Alexander I, to whom he had obtained a letter of introduc? tion from his uncle, Edward Cooke, Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He visited the communities of Holland, which he found depressed, Hanover, where he found conditions improved, and so reached Berlin where conditions were still better. There he was introduced to the Crown Prince, Frederick William, whom he found to be filled with a like evangelical piety to himself and his circle. They became fast friends, and it is perhaps to this friendship that the Anglican Church owed later the project for an Anglican bishopric in Jerusalem. For it was Frederick William, when he came to the throne, who proposed a joint Anglican-Lutheran bishopric to Queen Victoria. When Way reached Moscow, he secured, through the Prince Galitzin, an interview with the Emperor. Alexander was at that time completely under the influence of a sincere Biblical pietism, a pietism shared by Galitzin, and he was devoting himself, with Galitzin as his minister, to various projects for the moral welfare of his subjects. He had already met the missionaries of the Bible Society and was assisting the distribution of Bibles to his subjects (a distribution he later cancelled), and he received Lewis Way with genuine pleasure and appreciation. In return Way was thrilled by the projects which the Emperor was, at that time, meditating for his Jewish subjects. The Tsars have always, by kindness or the knout, wished to "amalgamate" the Jews with the rest of the popula? tion. Alexander wished to encourage them to go to Russian schools, to drop their foreign dress and language, and he proposed to encourage them to become Christians by a large offer of land in south Russia and the Crimea for such as would accept baptism. Way was so thrilled that he sent the Bishop of St. David's, as patron of the Society, a translation of the imperial ukase and the whole Crimean project. Alexander wasatthat time preparing to attend the Conference of European sovereigns and their representatives to be held at Aix-la-Chapelle in the autumn of 1818. He had discussed with Way many projects for the betterment of the Jews "not as Emperor and private person, but as two Christians together," and now he urged Way to come to Aix and to plead there for the full implementation of the resolutions of the Congress of Vienna 1 Jewish Repository, Vol. I, p. 27.</page><page sequence="9">LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES 197 for the emancipation of the Jews, which many countries had not observed or had deliber? ately abandoned. Way had already been away from home for many months, and was longing to return to his family, but it was difficult to resist the appeals of an emperor. In consequence he set out for Aix and reached it some time in September. Immediately he set about preparing the Memorandum which the emperor had requested of him. Through the generosity of our President, Mr. A. Rubens, I am in possession of the dossier which Lewis Way made up after his return from Aix, and which contains his different projects, as well as a resume of his interviews with Alexander. They are a little difficult to set in order, owing to oddities of their dating. But it seems clear that he began with a memorandum to the emperor, very religious in character, of which the key words are: Existence civile et politique; reintegration libre; rentree dans le sein de la grande famille de la societe, voila ce qui parait constituer l'essentiel prealablement necessaire ? la regeneration complete des Israelites. . . . Thus far it is a programme of civil and political emancipation which was the object of his travels and his presence at Aix, as he avowed on several occasions when challenged. But the memorandum goes on: . . . ? leur reception dans le troupeau de Jesus-Christ, ? leur reunion avec la maison de Dieu. . . . But here is how he sees the two purposes honestly joined: C'est en vain qu'on les invite ? devenir Chretiens sans les traiter en hommes et en freres participant k une nature commune et heritiers du mSme salut que nous-memes. This memorandum was presented on 5th October, together with a set of principles1 to which was added a note from Christian Wilhelm Dohm, emphasizing that the state of the Jews was the consequence of their oppression, not of their natural defects. Among the principles the most important are: 1. On doit accorder aux Israelites tous les droits civils et sociaux, sans aucune difference d'avec les Chretiens. 3. Les gouvernements doivent encourager l'etablissement des arts et metiers parmi les Israelites et surtout les diriger vers FAgriculture. 4. Les gouvernements doivent faire des reglements en sorte que la jeunesse juive puisse participer ? Teducation generale comme les Chretiens, et dans les mSmes colleges, ecoles, gyrnnases, universites, etc. In return a number of demands were made on the Jewish cornmunities, of which the most important were: 2. Iis doivent contribuer, autant qu'il est en leur pouvoir, ? Pamelioration de leurs moeurs et abandonner les usages (non-obligatoires ou indifferents) qui tendent ? les isoler des Chretiens dans les relations seculaires. 3. Iis doivent renoncer aux legislations particulieres, en tant que cette autonomie pourrait empecher leur participation ? toutes les charges communes aux autres citoyens. 1 These have been published in English translation by Max J. Kohler in his work for the American Jewish Cornmittee, Jewish Rights at the Congresses of Vienna and Aix-la-Chapelle, 1918. pp. 53 ff.</page><page sequence="10">198 LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES The emperor seems then to have set one of his officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, M. A. de Stourdza, to examine the principles and draw up another memorandum. This again proceeds on very religious lines, but also reveals how Way's whole attitude was shaped by the situation in Russia, and the Russian ideas of what to do with their Jewish population. For Mr. de Stourdza draws up a strange table of what was to be given by the state and by the Jews in order to maintain "un equilibre salutaire d'une exacte reciprocite." Here is his table: Concession Droits individuels Droits de propriete Frais de domiciliation Admission ? quelques emplois publics Moyens d'education ? offrir aux Juifs Maintien de leur Jurisdiction nationale Advantages Service militaire ou son equivalent Impots foncieres Mise en valeur des pays incultes Obligation qui en resulte pour les Juifs Obligation pour eux de s'appliquer aux arts liberaux et mecaniques Obligation pour eux de renoncer en tout, ou en partie, ? l'existence parasite si prejudiciale au bien etre des pro? vinces qu'ils habite dans l'empire Russe Way then revised his memorandum, increasing to several pages the proofs from Scripture and the relevance of prophecy; but he also included, in much more detail, Stourdza's balance of advantages and obligations, mentioning, which Stourdza omitted, that emanci? pation would give the Jews the right to live in all parts of the empire and follow all professions. There was also to be a religious guarantee to supplement the "maintenance of their national autonomy." These provisions are backed by reference to the Sanhedrin in Paris, the work of Dohm, the decrees of Joseph II in Austria, and the decisions of the Congress of Vienna touching German Jewish communities. The whole was then submitted to the assembled sovereigns and their ministers at the session of 21st November, with the result that a somewhat colourless protocol was published, with the signatures of all the ministers. As we now know, the intervention of Way produced no permanent results. Alexander himself, always an unstable character, passed from his evangelical pietism to a harsher and more unsympathetic phase, and was succeeded in 1825 by his brother, Nicholas I, under whom the lot of the Russian Jews was immeasurably worsened. In the German states Jews had to wait for another generation for their emancipation. Way himself returned to Stansted, and to his effort to create there a college for Hebrew converts. In this he failed, for a number of reasons. With the fall in agricul? tural prices after 1815, Stansted had presumably lost most of its income-producing value, and Way had been prodigal in his gifts. It was first let and then, in 1826, sold. Mean? while he had undertaken another lengthy mission for the Society. This was to travel through southern Europe to Lebanon and Palestine, and report on conditions in that region. Way got as far as the Lebanon, where he had an interview, or rather listened to a monologue, from Lady Hester Stanhope, lasting from three in the afternoon till the following dawn. Whether from this cause or not, Way fell dangerously ill in the Lebanon,</page><page sequence="11">lewis way and his times 199 while staying in an abandoned Jesuit building at Antoura, where, he thought, another college for Hebrew converts might well be established, so that they might prepare them? selves for life and missions in the East. He never reached Palestine, and returned a sick man to his family, now in the south of France. PROTOCOL E. Sdance du 21 novembre 1818. Entre les cinq Cabinets. METTERNICH. RICHELIEU. CASTLEREAGH. WELLINGTON. HARDENBERG. BERNSTORFF. NESSELRODE. CAPODISTRIAS. [essieurs les SS. de Russie onfc communi qu6 Pimprim^ ci-joint, relatif a une reforme dans la legislation civile et politique en ce qui concerne la nation juive. La conference, sans entrer absolument dans toutes les vues de l'auteur de cette piece, a rendu justice ? la tendance generale et au but louable de ses propositions. MM. les SS. d'Autriche et de Prusse se sont declares pr?ts a donner sur l'etat de la question dans les deux monarchies tous les ?claircissemens qui pourraient servir a la solution d'un problSme qui doit ?gale ment occuper l'homme d'etat et l'ami d? l'humanitl. Plate 33 Extract from Protocol issued by the Conference of European Sovereigns held at Aix-la Chapelle in 1818 From now on he was increasingly occupied with what had been a secondary interest, the provision of proper Anglican chaplaincies abroad. He believed they might well be provided by the Society, and combined with the conversion of the local Jewish community. Actually, while he never did produce this strange combination, he left his most permanent physical memorial through his chaplaincies. For he built what was, for a long time, the only English Church in Paris, and, during a winter of unemployment, he raised a sub? scription to employ men in building the Promenade des Anglais at Nice, where he was temporarily chaplain. o</page><page sequence="12">200 LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES Way's Place in Jewish-Christian Relations With the rest of his life we have little concern. He died in 1840. It is more interesting to try and assess his place in the tangled and often tragic story of Jewish Christian relations. So far as he is himself concerned it is well to begin with the tribute that, by both Jewish and Christian report, his own attitude was one of unswerving affection and respect. There was in him none of the contempt, bitterness or lofty condescension which had too often marred the Christian approach to the Jew. Yet his life was a failure on both counts. He failed to advance the cause of emanci? pation, and he failed to win sincere Jewish believers to his Christian faith. But he is of interest as expressing to the full the sentiments of his generation, in which it seemed that the two causes were one. In the following period they were to become sharply separated. The London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews issued a volume of over 600 pages to record its first hundred years. In an index of twenty-four pages, the word "Emancipation" does not occur, nor do either civil or political rights. It would be likewise true that a study of the figures which were in the forefront of the battle for political emancipation would contain, even among the clergy involved, few who had any association with the missionary Society. On the other hand, Sir Robert Inglis, M.P. for Oxford, was a vigorous opponent of Jewish emancipation up to the very end, and always from the highest motives. But he was from the beginning a supporter of the Society. And the same would be found to be true of other opponents of emancipation. In fact, it was impossible to hold the two movements together. For, even apart from the natural unwilHngness of any Jewish community to be indebted to those who proclaimed its Judaism effete and dead, the missionary and the emancipator spoke to two different worlds, both Jewish and Christian. The unhappy throngs of Luftmenschen who were a prominent feature of every ghetto in days when Jewish economic activity was restricted to the minimum, contributed nothing to emancipation, but they were the natural object of the charity of the missionaries. On the other hand, the many Jews who had accepted baptism for social reasons, and who had come to occupy the place in society which was theirs by right, whether in academic, artistic, social or political fields, were a prime argument of the benefits of emancipation, but an equally obvious denial of the validity of the missionary approach. Finally the struggle for emancipation was one in which Jews and non-Jews could engage on a basis of equality; the missionary approach was one which one side proposed, but which the other was bound to oppose, and that with full recognition of the sincerity of both. If we were to study the life and period of Lewis Way from the standpoint of Zionism, and of the movement for a return of their Holy Land to the Jews, we should come to very similar conclusions. Restoration and conversion cannot be held together in one activity. We have referred already to the index of Mr. Gidney's century of the London Missionary Society. If we look up Sir Moses Montefiore, there are a couple of insignificant references, but nothing of substance. We would expect any Zionist action of that period to be paternalistic and emanate from wealth, as did Montefiore's many journeys. But the Society had nothing which could lead to common action by a Way and a Montefiore. Nevertheless we must recognize that, in his period, it was only through religion that any Christian interest could be aroused in the restoration of the Jews to their homeland. Way failed to get to Palestine, so that we do not know what his reactions would have been; but it was only after Mehmet Ali had opened the doors a little that men like Col.</page><page sequence="13">LEWIS WAY AND HIS TIMES 201 Churchill began to think of the restoration of a Jewish republic as something of political value, and to be pursued as a political, not primarily as a religious, end. In other words Way marks the end of the period when the restoration of the Jew was a concomitant of the End of the World, and the beginning of that in which it is seen as some kind of political convenience or compensation. What then is his place in a permanent record of the Jewish-Christian relationship? It is, I think, symbolized by his intercession with Pope Pius VI that he should bring to an end the conversional sermons. It marks a definite break with the previous Christian tradition.1 It made possible a new appraisement of the actual, as opposed to the imputed, qualities of the Jewish people. That task completed, each interest followed its own path. 1 But not in Russia. Way's own diaries (reproduced in the Jewish Expo itor, Vol. 3) recount how the local police authorities gathered his Jewish audience, and remained present to see that they kept quiet when he introduced the topic of conversion to Christianity! See also The Rev. H. J. Norris, The Origin, Progress and Existing Circumstances of the London Society, etc.: A Historical Enquiry, 1825, pp. 174 ff. The work of Mr. Norris constitutes one of the most violent and documented attacks which the Society had to meet.</page></plain_text>

bottom of page