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The Expulsion of the Jews from Prague in 1745

Aubrey Newman

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Expulsion of the Jews from Prague in 1745 and British Foreign Policy* AUBREY NEWMAN, M.A., D.Phil. On 1 December 1744 the leaders of the Prague Jewish community wrote in great distress to the leaders of Jewish communities all over Europe. Their ruler, Maria Theresa, Queen of Bohemia and Hungary, and ruler of many other Habsburg lands as well, had decreed the expulsion of all Jews from Bohemia and Moravia. They were to leave Prague by the end of January 1745 and the rest of Bohemia by the end of June. 'What shall we poor souls do? . . . The children, women, infirm and aged which are not in a condition to walk, especially at this juncture, being cold and frosty weather, besides in the condition we are at present in, for they stripped many hundreds quite to their shirts . . . Brethren, we humbly beg, you would commiserate our condition, considering the eminent danger many thousand souls are in by this decree, and not delay inter? ceding for recommendations from all courts, that we may have time allowed us for a com? mission of enquiry.'1 This appeal was taken up in London by the leaders of the communities there. The Sephardi community raised nearly nine hundred pounds to help relieve distress, but the Ashkenazi leaders went further. Two of their number, the Wardens of the Great Synagogue, Moses Hart and Aaron Franks, drew up a petition for presentation to the King. Both were eminent among the non-Jewish community; Hart had been involved with Government finance many years earlier and now, though almost certainly retired, since he was nearly seventy, had still considerable influence, enough anyway to secure an audience with George II. At their audience Hart and Franks begged the King's intervention on behalf of the Jews of Bohemia^ Your petitioners, far from vindicating any particular persons in the crimes they may have committed during the revolution (if any such there be), desire adequate punish? ment to be inflicted on them: but humbly hope that the innocent will not be permitted to suffer for crimes which they have in no wise been accessary to, and humbly remon? strate that the expulsion of fifty thousand families and upwards from their native country at so critical a juncture, who (as your petitioners are informed and believe) always contributed and concurred in streng? thening Her Majesty's hands against Her enemies, must in its consequence prove detrimental and prejudicial to the true interest of the common cause, and more immediately so to Her Hungarian Majesty. In tender consideration whereof Your Petitioners (in behalf of the aforesaid dis? tressed people) most humbly supplicate Your Majesty, in Your great and known equity and compassion, to interpose your Majesty's good offices upon this occasion with the Queen of Hungary, in order to prevail upon Her said Majesty to revoke the said edict, or at least to suspend the time of the expulsion of their said brethren, and to establish a commission of enquiry, in order to discriminate the innocent from the guilty, and punish those only who have deserved Her said Majesty's displeasure. The results of this intervention were striking; Hart and Franks reported later the King's distress at hearing of the troubles of the Prague community, and on the day of the audience the Secretary of State, Lord Harring * Paper delivered at a meeting of the Jewish Historical Society, 7 February 1968. 1 Simon Spira, etc., to Moses Hart and Aaron Franks, 1 December 1744 (New Style; at this time the British Calendar, Old Style, was eleven days behind that in Amsterdam and Vienna). Printed in J. Krengel, op. cit. 2 Hart and Franks to George II, undated. Printed in F. Kobler and J. Krengel. 30</page><page sequence="2">The Expulsion of the Jews from Prague in 1745 31 ton, wrote to the British Ambassador in Vienna, Sir Thomas Robinson :3 The principal merchants of the Jewish nation established here having made an humble application to His Majesty that he would be pleased to intercede with the Queen of Hungary . . . and His Majesty, finding that the States-General [of the United Provinces] have already interposed their good offices in their behalf, it is the King's pleasure that you should join with Monsr. Burmania [the Netherlands envoy in Vienna] in endeavouring to dissuade the Court of Vienna from putting the said sen? tence in execution, hinting to them in the tenderest and most friendly manner the prejudice that the world might conceive against the Queen's proceedings in that affair, if numbers of innocent people were made to suffer for the fault of some few traitors, and at the same time showing them the great loss that would accrue to Her Majesty's revenues and to the wealth and strength of her Kingdom of Bohemia by depriving it at once of so vast numbers of its inhabitants ... As His Majesty does ex? tremely commiserate the terrible circum? stances of distress to which so many poor and innocent families must be reduced, if this edict takes place, He is most earnestly desirous of procuring the repeal of it by His Royal intercession, in such manner that the guilty only may be brought to punishment, for obtaining of which you are to exert your? self with all possible zeal and diligence. In fact these instructions crossed with a report already made by Sir Thomas Robinson to London on the same subject:4 'a severe edict is said to have been sent into Bohemia for the total expulsion of the Jews, who are very numerous in that Kingdom. It is to be hoped that the Queen will by the advice of her council revoke the order which will otherwise be a sad delusion in political arithmetic, particularly at this time of day'. It is this intervention, described by Dr. Roth as 'the first instance in modern history of diplomatic intervention by a European power on behalf of an alien minority on purely humanitarian grounds',5 that I want to investigate this evening in more detail, to try and set in its diplomatic back? ground, and to assess its general effectiveness. The background of this episode is Europe of the 1740s, the period of the War of the Austrian Succession. Maria Theresa was the eldest daughter of the Emperor Charles VI, who had died in 1740 without any sons. He had tried before his death to secure a general recognition by the leading Powers of Europe of his daughter as his heir, but in 1740 several rulers?the Kings of France and Prussia and the Elector of Bavaria?took what seemed a heaven-sent opportunity of increasing their own territories at the expense of Maria Theresa. The Bavar? ians, allied to the French, had occupied most of Austria and Bohemia, and the Prussians had seized Silesia. The Franco-Bavarians had been expelled from Bohemia in 1742, but in 1744 the Prussians had for a short time reoccupied Prague. It had thereafter once again been taken by Maria Theresa's troops, and remained firmly in Austrian hands. Only two of the other Powers of Europe had come to Maria Theresa's help, Britain and the United Provinces, but by 1745 their aims were different from hers. She was principally concerned in maintaining the territorial integrity of her inheritance, and so her wrath was directed against Frederick the Great of Prussia, since he still retained Silesia. Her allies, on the other hand, were more directly concerned with the threat from France, and consequently were continuously putting pressure on Maria to cut her losses in the east and direct her attention against France in the west. To this end, throughout 1744 and 1745, they were urging her to make peace with Frederick and acknowledge his possession of Silesia. Moreover, in order to open up a new front in the south they wanted to persuade the King of Sardinia to join in the war against France. The only inducement he would accept was a slice of North Italian territory already owned by Maria. Consequently, throughout 3 28 December 1744 (Old Style). Printed inj. Krengel. 4 26 December 1744 (New Style). Printed inj. Krengel. 5 C. Roth, A History of the Jews in England (1964 edn), p. 212.</page><page sequence="3">32 Aubrey Newman the years 1744, 1745, and 1746 Maria Theresa was being urged by her two major allies to surrender some of her territories in Germany and Italy, advice to which she was reluctant to accede, in order to engage in war in a theatre of operations where she was not particularly con? cerned. It was against this already complicated diplomatic background that the ambassadors of both Western Powers began to put pressure on her to rescind the decree of expulsion im? posed on the Jews of Bohemia. This expulsion was in part a reflection of her own antisemitic feelings. Of these there is ample evidence. The English Ambassador mentioned in one of his dispatches that in her childhood she had been scared of the Jews of Vienna whenever she had seen them; putting this down to 'some very early insurmountable prejudice in the course of her education', he added '? Her aversion to the sight of a Jew was too great to be concealed when at Pressburg she could not pass from the town to her palace but through the very street that was thronged by that people, and the very first order she gave upon her arrival at Prague the year before last was that no Jew should presume to enter into the precinct of the Palace during her residence there. On another occasion she herself declared: T know of no greater pest to the state than this nation, on account of their cheating, usury, money-lending, reducing people to beggary, and carrying on all kinds of evil transactions which honest persons abhor'.7 And one con? temporary observed of her: 'Maria Theresa nourishes many narrow and illiberal pre? judices. Neither exempt from nor superior to the uncharitable notions which bigotry neces? sarily imposes, she firmly believes every heretic excluded from the divine mercy'.8 On the other hand, her aversion to Jews was not carried so far as to interfere with her immediate con? venience. One of the greatest artistic achieve? ments of her reign was the construction of the Palace of Sch?nbrunn; the funds for this came from loans granted by the Baron d'Aguilar, a Portuguese Marrano who had fled to Vienna, where he had been ennobled and appointed to the Habsburg Council, becoming Maria Theresa's most important financial adviser until he moved to London in the early 1760s. The Queen was also very bitter at the Jews as a result of accusations made against them of having trafficked with the enemy during their occupation of Prague. That indeed went deep. Not that the Jews were alone in this. On the Franco-Bavarian occupation of Bohemia many of its inhabitants, noble and peasant, Gentile and Jew, had sworn allegiance to the Elector of Bavaria as their rightful sovereign, and by so doing had become avowed traitors to Maria. Only by the payment of large fines in ready cash could the Bohemians secure their pardon. The Jews had then been particularly singled out, and even before the retreat of the French their punishment had been determined. They had to pay as a Voluntary5 gift the sum of 150,000 florins in order to be pardoned. But after the second occupation there were once more charges against the Jews of having again collaborated?the details included having served the Prussians in their shops. It was now decided to take stronger action, and it was at this stage that the complete expulsion of all Jews, first from Prague and then from Bohemia and Moravia, was ordered. The decree was issued in Vienna on 18 De? cember 1744. After Mature deliberation We have been induced by many weighty Reasons and Considerations to resolve and Determine that no JEW shall hereafter be Suffered or permitted to dwell in our Hereditary King? dom of Bohemia which, our Resolution, We Will Shall be put into Execution in Manner following. The Decree then proceeded to lay down that there should be no Jews living in Prague itself by 31 January 1745, and that they should be given six months 'to settle their affairs and in order to dispose of their effects, estates, and credit which they shall not be able to carry with them by the last day of January'. 6 Sir Thomas Robinson to Lord Harrington, 27 March 1745 (New Style). Printed inj. Krengel. 7 Quoted S. K. Padover, The Revolutionary Emperor (1938), p. 252. 8 N. Wraxall, Memoirs of the Courts of Berlin, Dresden, Warsaw, and Vienna (1800), II, p. 326.</page><page sequence="4">The Expulsion of the Jews from Prague in 1745 33 They were to be allowed to re-enter Prague only with special permits, and then only during the day; 'absolutely none shall be suffered to stay a single night'. The decree made Maria's intention clear. 'Our meaning and intention is not only that the Jews of the City of Prague and all others who live in any part of our Hereditary Kingdom of Bohemia shall quit, . . . but also that no Jew shall on the said day be found in the said kingdom.'9 The blow fell hardest on Prague. This was of course a community rich in Jewish life and history, a city very dear indeed to European Jews, a city whose prestige among Jewish communities elsewhere stood high, so that when the Prague leaders wrote their appeals all over Europe they did so in the strongest terms possible :io Now, you, brethren and children of the exile, whom God has spared in Germany, on you falls the duty of deliverance and help, of aiding us in the time of affliction, and of trying to obtain appeals of mighty princes, . . . from princes in the Netherlands, where many are indebted to us, . . . for intervening in our behalf to delay the date of expulsion for some months. Or again :ii The main matter must be to obtain a suspension for Prague, because if they were forced to leave during this cold weather, they would freeze and die in the open field, and the peasants would be spared the trouble of killing them . . . Hasten to help for the sake of the nine splendid synagogues ... do it for the sake of the cemeteries with the tombs of the saints who rest in the earth, do it for the sake of the thirty or forty thousand souls who, because of our sins, are in this great peril. Those who received these letters did their best to draw the attention of their Gentile rulers to these events. The King of Poland, the Sultan of Turkey, the Pope, as well as the rulers of smaller States received pleas for help and all replied suitably. But it was in London and Amsterdam that most response was evinced. That in London has already been described, but that in Amsterdam was equally effective. The British Ambassador in Amsterdam, Lord Chesterfield, wrote to Robinson in Vienna: 12 The Jews here having obtained of the States [General] an order to Mr Burmania to apply directly to the Queen of Hungary in their favour, persecute me to recommend them to you in the same way. They think that a direct application to Her Majesty is more likely to be successful and probably cheaper, than an indirect one through her Ministers. I could not refuse them this request, but I would leave it entirely to you at the same time, what steps you will think proper to take in it as you will be the best judge. Poor Robinson was indeed constantly being bombarded by renewed instructions from London. On 26 February he was sent a letter in the course of which it was mentioned that Moses Hart was impatient for an answer?one can judge that the Ministers at home must have been bombarded as much as Robinson?and on 5 March he was sent another official letter on the same subject. This one is indeed of interest, because on the same day he had been sent a long secret letter dealing with other diplomatic affairs; this one, being written in more open terms, and in more formal language, was very likely intended to be shown to the Queen's Ministers.13 As it does not appear that the represen? tations which you and Mr Burmania were directed to make in favour of the Jews in Bohemia . . . have as yet produced any effect, I write this separate letter to you by the King's order, to acquaint you with His 9 Lucien Wolf, Notes on the Diplomatic History of the Jewish Question (1919), pp. 10-11. 10 Rabbi Samuel Levi Lasch to Rabbi Eisik, 23 December 1744 (New Style). Printed in F. Kobler and S. H. Lieben. 11 Wolf Wertheimer to Meir and Eisik Landau, 8 January 1745 (New Style). Printed in F. Kobler and S. H. Lieben. 12 24 February 1745 (New Style). British Museum Additional Manuscript 23819 f. 243. 13 22 February 1745 (Old Style). Printed in Krengel.</page><page sequence="5">34 Aubrey Newman Majesty's pleasure that you should continue to make the strongest instances in his name for obtaining a reversal of the terrible sentence pronounced by your court, upon so many thousands innocent families which the King has so much at heart, that he does earnestly intreat the Queen of Hungary to suffer his intercession to prevail in their be? half, in which His Majesty so much the more readily flatters himself with Her compliance as, not to mention any arguments drawn from her real interest, Her persevering in that severe and merciless resolution could not but be esteemed by all mankind as an in? delible stain both in point of justice and clemency upon her hitherto moderate and equitable government. For his part Robinson was not at all slow in showing that he had been doing his best. He reported several times that he had seen the Queen's Ministers in company with Burmania, and that the answers he had received had been far from satisfactory.14 I took the opportunity of our being to? gether with Count Ulfeld yesterday upon other affairs to ask him what answer he was pleased we should return upon this subject. He said he had no further orders at present from the Queen than to tell us that it would be difficult for Her Majesty to revoke her edict, but that as to the time whether a week, a month, or more months for the more or less execution of it, it was not absolutely fixed. From which and from other circum? stances we are apt to flatter ourselves that time itself will be a sort of remedy, whatever better effects reflection and voluntary con? siderations may produce with respect to the whole. But in another letter he lamented 'the unfor? tunate affairs of the Jews remains still in the same state of delicacy and uncertitude as before, notwithstanding Mr Burmania's and my repeated instances'. At least, he was always able to declare 'my personal compassion for these poor people, of which their principals are, I am persuaded, entirely convinced*. 15 On 27 March 1745 Robinson sent a full and frank dispatch to Lord Harrington. The dispatch was labelled 'Secret*, and much of the original was in fact in cipher; when it is remembered that ciphers in the eighteenth century were extremely complicated it becomes clear that Robinson placed a great deal of importance on his being able to communicate in as much detail as possible. The dispatch, printed as an appendix, showed clearly the pressures put on Maria Theresa, and the obstinacy with which she clung to her decree. It certainly justified, as far as it went, Sir Thomas Robinson's hope that George II should believe that he had fully done his duty. In the meantime opinion in the West had become more and more heated. The charge d'affaires at Amsterdam reported to Robinson: 'the town is not recognisable in the affair of the Jews, and I wish Her Majesty may not soon feel the full effects of her giving this blow to the popularity of her character'.^ It was probably as well that in the spring of 1745 she did not have to try and raise a loan in the West. A series of delays in the fullest execution of the decree was not altogether unwelcome, but the ambassadors were in their turn embar? rassed by an unauthorised publication of one of Lord Harrington's letters to them in the Amsterdam Gazette.11 His Majesty was much concerned to find the Queen so inflexible with respect to the expulsion of the Jews, both out of com? passion to those poor people, and for the sake of Her Majesty's own reputation and interest. But as it appears that the publication of my last letter to you upon that subject in the Amsterdam Gazette is ill taken by your Court I can assure you that we are entirely ignorant to this day by whom that was done, and that the doing it was entirely contrary to his Majesty's intention. 14 Robinson to Harrington, 20 February 1745 (New Style). Printed in Krengel. 15 Robinson to the Earl of Chesterfield, 17 March 1745 (New Style). Printed in Krengel. 16 Trevor to Robinson, 9 April 1745 (New Style). Additional Manuscript 23820 f. 32. 17 Harrington to Robinson, 12 April 1745 (Old Style). Printed in Krengel.</page><page sequence="6">The Expulsion of the Jews from Prague in 1745 35 They are without lodging, hundreds of poor people are wandering from town to town . . . Many carriages with sick have been sent over the whole country of Bohemia . . . until they come to [the] . . . Lesrett [i.e., Lazaretto] . . . for the Jews have no permission to bring sick people into the places of their residence, and thus many die in the carriages, many die on the roads, and even those who survive have on their arrival in the said place hardly a breath in their throats and are glad ... to find there a grave. In December 1747 one of the expellees wrote to Moses Hart:21 The noblest princes and officials, also the corporations of the lands, have passed resolu? tions of protest and shown how the greatest incomes of the higher classes come from the Jews, that the subsistence of the public, especially commerce, depends upon them, and that in case the expulsion is accomplished the countries will be unable to fulfil their obligations. In consequence of these weighty objections the expulsion was neither exe? cuted nor cancelled: therefore the execution can be expected at any hour, even at any minute; their lives are in suspense; in the morning they say 'Would God it were evening' . . . Who could in the face of this, withhold his words, seeing the great ruin in the Jewish street of the holy community of Prague . . . Burglaries happen every night, and even what was built of stone and iron is being demolished and destroyed. The dwelling houses with the strong vaults for business purposes worth many millions have now been left for some years without inhabitants; the walls are in peril of collaps? ing so that in a short while they will become heaps of stones and debris forever. Salvation was, however, at hand, though not as the result of the interventions of Britain and Holland. The non-Jews of Bohemia and Mor? avia, negotiating with Maria Theresa for their own forgiveness, included the Jews in their pleas. There were protests that the expulsion of Robinson for his part kept in continuous and close touch with the Jews of Vienna; one of their leaders wrote to Prague: 'The King of England . . . has sent an express courier hither with another urgent letter of inter? cession, and this courier waits here especially for the answer. I cannot express on paper how urgently the King . . . has written.'18 Little more was to be heard from Robinson, but a morsel of news was carried in the British Government's official publication, the London Gazette, on 20 June 1745. A letter was printed from Vienna with the date 9 June reporting the issue of a new decree: 'Her Majesty, out of her natural clemency and in consideration of the powerful intercession of the King of Great Britain and the States-General of the United Provinces, permits the Jewish nation to remain until further orders . . . and to follow their commerce and other occupations, as heretofore etc. The Jews have resolved to present her Majesty with a free gift as an acknowledge? ment of this favour.' And Robinson's last letter to London on this subject seemed to confirm the change of mind. 'No affair ever seemed more desperate, yet it worked itself out of itself. . . What must be more powerful than herself and her ministry together, is the present exhausted state of her finances to a degree as not to be perhaps supplied but by the last temporary expedient of making free with the plate of the church'.1^ But both the letter in the Gazette and that from Robinson were wrong. The expulsion from Prague and Bohemia had continued, unabated. That from Prague had been en? forced in the summer of 1745, and as late as the winter of 1746-1747 the few Jews per? mitted to remain in the neighbourhood of the city were writing for help throughout Europe. One letter wrote of 'the poor people that have left their homes, bare and naked, without bread'.20 is Samuel Wertheimer to Wolf Wertheimer, 31 March 1745. Printed in Kobler and Lieben. 19 Robinson to the Duke of Newcastle, 29 September 1745. Printed in Krengel. 20 'The Heads of the Jews of Prague' to the Community of Pfersee, 30 December 1746. Printed in Kobler and Lieben. 2i Wolf Wertheimer to Moses Hart, 18 December 1747. Printed in Kobler and Lieben.</page><page sequence="7">36 Aubrey Newman the Jews had increased the cost of living; certain of the nobility whose loyalty to Maria Theresa had been consistent and undoubted added their own pleas, pointing out that the 'Christian artisans of Prague themselves clamour for the return of the Jews'. In 1748 three hundred and one families were permitted to return to Bohemia for a period of ten years in return for a special grant to the Queen of 300,000 florins, and, as Maria was careful to point out, 'solely because the Lands have asked for it with such persuasion'.22 The ten-year limitation was carefully forgotten by both sides, and by 1763 the Jewish community in Prague was again wealthy enough to rebuild their Town Hall in the Ghetto in the latest archi? tectural style, adding to the existing structure a wooden tower and a clock with a Hebrew dial. When the Emperor Joseph II, Maria Theresa's son, issued his Edict of Toleration, the Jews of Prague succeeded to all its advantages in a way that thirty-five years earlier would have seemed impossible. In retrospect the expulsion was of course no different in many ways from similar events else? where, even during this same century. In 1748, for instance, Maria Theresa had secured the exclusion of the few Jews who lived in Inns? bruck and the Western Tyrol, which in that year was declared to be 'free' of all Jews, while in 1743 she had attempted to gain support in Naples by offering to expel all Jews from southern Italy. Nor was it uncommon in the ghettoes of Central Europe for there to be a maximum number of Jews licensed to reside. In these circumstances it was quite common for the surplus to be expelled. Frederick the Great did this himself in the Berlin ghetto in 1750. What was of course different in this case was the sheer number of the Jews involved, the complete destruction of a number of com? munities, and the brutality involved too in the choice of the height of winter. Nor was it unusual for the Jews of Prague to have appealed elsewhere for help. This is the age of the Court Jew, when most of the greater and smaller courts had a Jewish financier who held a highly privileged place, and when it was usual and expected for such a man to use hisi nfluence on behalf of his coreligionists either in his own ruler's principality or elsewhere. There were a great many letters addressed to these 'inter? cessors' in these years, and the correspondence still preserved indicates the trouble to which many of them went. Wolf Wertheimer, of Augsburg, Michael Apt Steinschneider, of Dresden, are only two beside whom may be placed Hart and Franks. But none of these Court Jews really had the influence which earlier they might have expected. International politics were too complicated already to be swayed by such considerations. Indeed, this point can be proved easily from the correspondence of Sir Thomas Robinson himself. In March and April 1745 he was lamenting to his Secretary of State his inability to put pressure on Maria Theresa. But in August 1745, when it was felt that Maria's military policies were not in line with the needs of the British Government, he had an audience with her in which he told her some home truths very effectively and directly threatened her with the loss of all British financial assistance. Almost immediately Maria Theresa fell into line. It is clear therefore that in the final solution of this issue the impact of the West was negligible. It was certainly unusual for the West to protest as it did, and it is certainly true that for a few months in 1745 the ambassadors were kept busy. But thereafter they were too deeply involved in diplomatic negotiations with Maria, negotiations in which their own essential interests were too deeply concerned, to be able to spare time for the Jews of Prague. Nor is there any evidence that unofficial public opinion in London was much concerned. This is admittedly an age in which many people in England were deeply involved in the affairs of the Continent as a whole. Indeed, the Lon? don papers carry a great deal of information about the affairs of Central Europe and even about Bohemia and general conditions there. But the affairs of the Prague Jews are barely mentioned?there are some five or six refer? ences in all23?and there is no suggestion that 23 I am indebted to Mr. Stephen Johnson and Mr. Bernard Wasserstein for their help, particularly on this point. 22 Quoted R. Pick, Empress Maria Theresa, the Earlier Tears (1967), p. 231.</page><page sequence="8">The Expulsion of the Jews from Prague in 1745 37 this issue touched opinion below the official level. George II was distressed enough, and the reactions of his Ministers were genuine. It might have been that pressure was being put upon George in his capacity as Elector of Hanover, but there is no evidence of this; he did not, for example, instruct his Hanoverian representative to join Robinson in making representations. Rather it seems that British reactions were the result of the compassion of British Ministers, and their attention was so soon taken up by the arrival in Britain of a rival claimant to the throne, the Young Pretender, as to have little enough time for affairs elsewhere. There have been suggestions that the Jews of Prague found their salvation through the 'intercessors' at foreign Courts; the evidence seems to point to the ineffectiveness of any direct intervention of this nature. Nor did the well-intentioned efforts of Sir Thomas Robin? son or of Burmania have any effect on the Vienna Government. They had their own interests to pursue. In spite of all the documents printed from the British Public Record Office and all the labours of Lucien Wolf, all that has been proved is that for a few months the British and Dutch ambassadors were prepared to agi? tate on behalf of the Jews, but these agitations were not sufficient to make any difference to the ultimate fate of the Bohemian communities. It would seem rather that the Jews of Prague found their salvation in the need felt for their services by their own non-Jewish neighbours. For neither the first nor the last time the Jews of Prague might well echo the Psalmist, 'Put not thy faith in Princes'. There is, however, in retrospect one possible further aspect, a reaction in England, as it were, rather than a reaction by England. It may well be possible that the Jewish expulsions from Prague had one very important reper? cussion in England. The period of the middle of the eighteenth century sees an increase in the immigration to this country of Jews from Central Europe; it also sees the emergence of several communities of Jews in the English provinces. Whereas in 1740 there were no Anglo-Jewish provincial communities, there were several by 1760. It is not therefore im? possible that some of the unfortunates expelled from Prague in 1745 were the founding fathers of some of the communities here in England. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Two important articles have printed many of the relevant documents, J. Krengel, 'Die Englische Intervention zugunsten der b?hmi? schen Juden im Jahre 1744', Monatschrift f?r Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums XLIV (1900), and S. H. Lieben, 'Briefe von 1744 1748 ?ber die Austreibung der Juden aus Prag', Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft f?r die Geschichte der Juden in der Cechoslovakischen Republik, IV (1932). In all cases it has been necessary to check all the transcripts made by Krengel with the originals in the Robinson papers in the British Museum (Additional Manuscripts 23819 and 23820). Franz Kobler, Letters of Jews through the Ages (1952), translates some of the most important of the letters cited by Lieben. See also the following studies: J. Bergl, 'Das Exil der Prager Judenschaft von 1745?1748', Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft f?r die Geschichte der Juden in der Cechoslovakischen Republik, I (1929). M. Gr?nwald, 'Der Prager Exodus, 1745', Aus dem Hamburger Staatsarchiv, I. S. H. Lieben, 'Handschriftliches zur Ge? schichte der Juden in Prag in den Jahren 1744-1754'. Jahrbuch der J?disch-Literarischen Gesellschaft, II (1904). D. Simonsen, 'D?nemark und die Juden in Prag, 1745', Festschrift A. Schwarz (1917). G. Wolf, 'Die Vertreibung der Juden aus B?hmen in Jahre 1744 und deren R?ckkehr im Jahre 1748', Jahrbuch f?r die Geschichte der Juden und das Judenthums, IV, 1869.</page><page sequence="9">38 Aubrey Newman APPENDIX Sir Thomas Robinson's secret report to Lord Harrington, Vienna, 27 March 1745 Public Record Office, S.P. 80/168 I am at a loss how to answer fully your Lord? ship's letters of the 28th of January and 22. past mth concerning His Majesty's Royal inter? cession for a reversal of the sentence passed upon the Jews in these countries, whereby they are ordered to depart in six months time. Before I was honoured with the first of these orders, the queen had commanded her minis? ters to receive no foreign representations upon a point which, as depending upon her sole Sovereign Will, She was at liberty to do as she pleased. This was the subject of the answers given to the Dutch envoy, these were the reasons alleged for refusing, for some time at least, to receive from the Danish Secretary and from an Agent of the Elector of Mentz, the respective letters and representations of their masters, and this was partly the style with which Count Ulfeld received my applications. What he principally seemed to take ill, tho' I opened myself as commanded by your Lordship's first instructions in the tenderest and most friendly manner, was what he said he knew to be the strength of the orders I had received, by which he meant the conclusion of your Lord? ships letter, where I was commanded to exert myself with all possible zeal and diligence, &amp; to prove to me that my orders were such, he produced a french translation of them which had been sent by M. Wasner. Whereupon I told him, that the personal zeal and diligence of a minister in an affair which I perceived was to become delicate, would consist in shewing the nature and true meaning of that amiable word intercession, &amp; tho' it might be possible for the Queen to forbid her ministers to receive any foreign representation, yet it would be difficult to hinder such a gracious intercession of the King, and of other great &amp; powerful friends to the House of Austria from reaching her Hungarian Majesty. Count Uhlfeld in softening, said I was in the right, for tho' according to his orders he could not enter into the matter with me, yet he would not &amp; could not secrete the translation of my orders as sent by M. Wasner, which with the rest of that minister's packet would be laid before the Queen, &amp; make, he hoped its own true impressions. When I spoke to Count Staremberg, he said, amongst other things, the Queen's ancestors had thought proper to come to like measures with respect to the Jewish nation in one or other of their territories, but then, things had been done with less precipitation and severity. Not to mention what has passed with the other ministers in daily discourses both before and since the King's instructions, I shall beg leave to observe in general, that there is not one who does not disclaim all share &amp; part what? ever in this rigorous sentence, and what is certain, they had all, both separately and jointly, given their advice against it till the injunction above mentioned. But Her Hun? garian Majesty, to cut short their represen? tations, had, I am well assured, inforced that injunction by letting them perceive she should suspect any man, who should presume to divert her resolution, as one influenced by Jewish money, or too attentive to his private interests, or to those of his friends and relations, for besides the general loss that will accrue to the Queen's revenue, for which she affects an absolute indifference, there is hardly a man of estate in Bohemia &amp; Moravia, who will not suffer greatly in his private oeconomy. The Great Duke and Prince Charles them? selves have gone as great length as possible to divert the Queen's resolution. During her Majesty's lying in, I addressed myself to his Royal Highness, who told us frankly that not? withstanding all his endeavours, he found it impossible to get the edict revoked, but as to the time of the execution, "whether a week, a month, or more months", it was not, he said, absolutely fixed. I should do an injustice to this</page><page sequence="10">The Expulsion of the Jews from Prague 1745 39 Prince, if I omitted to express the compassionate concern he was under. He told me in confidence the ill opinion that the Queen had conceived of me personally, as who, she had heard, should, before I could receive any orders, have said, "that Her Hungarian Majesty must be in great opulence, indeed, to throw so much of her revenue out of the windows". My Lord, there is no accounting for this singular affair, but by imputing it to some rash vow, or at least to some very early insurmount? able prejudice in the course of her education. Her aversion to the sight of a Jew was too great to be concealed, when at Pressburg she could not pass from the town to her palace, but through the very street that was thronged by that people, &amp; the first order she gave upon her arrival at Prague the year before last, was that no Jew should presume to enter into the pre? cinct of the palace during her residence there, but as to the supposition of some rash vow, that obstacle might be removed, one would think, by a papal absolution, the Pope having by his Nuntio been as solicitous for the repeal of the edict, as the Elector of Mentz, or the King of Poland, or any other catholic Prince whatever. In the meanwhile it is denied that the rigorous sentence is occasioned, tho' it may be hastened, by the part which some of the Jews may have held more or less in the late troubles &amp; invasions of Bohemia. It is affirmed that the design of diminishing at least their numbers which are grown to too great a head in Bohemia and Moravia, &amp; particularly in the town of Prague has been long time thought of, &amp; may be as well practised with respect to those countries, as it has been formerly with respect to the Austrias and Silesias; that it is a neces? sary act of state to send away such as for want of lawful employments can be deemed little better than beggarly burthens to the state, &amp; to own the truth, my Lord, an idea of the German Jewish Nation in general is not to be taken from the opulent &amp; industrious appearance of pros? perity in their brethren at London, Amsterdam, &amp; elsewhere. So that the whole ministry is most certainly against the manner of the present proceedings, yet nobody seems to be against the necessity of coming to some sort of regu? lation or other. One principal difficulty lay D in the precipitation with which the edict &amp; the rigorous execution of it were published &amp; enjoined, and in hopes that [time] &amp; voluntary reflection might work out their own better effects, we thought we had gained something in obtaining a respite of one month only for the evacuation of Prague, which had been fixed for the last day of February. The most that the whole ministry could extend their wishes to was, as it was said, chi ha il tempo ha la vita. But your Lordship will have heard, how unfortunately, or as some think, how designedly that respite arrived so late, that most of the families had been leaving the town from day to day under an apprehension of a military execution, if waiting for the last moment. The greatest difficulty is to remove the impression of private flatterers, who are supposed to inculcate how far princes weaken their authority by receding in any manner from whatever has been once resolved. And in this the Queen does not follow exactly the example of her uncle the emperor Joseph to whose temper in most other respect her's seems to have a great resemblance. That prince was no less easy in revoking upon consideration hasty steps, than in running into one without re? flection. He was the first who sold an Austrian regiment. Prince Eugene convinced him of the ill consequence of it in such a manner, that whatever instances His Highness could make, that for that time, the thing might pass, since the Emperor had given his word, yet his im? perial Majesty would never allow the officer, who tho' otherwise a man of merit, had sur? prised him, to have the Regiment. The reason of my troubling your Lordship with this particu? larity is first, to give a transitory sketch of this princess' character, so conformable to what I may formerly have had the honour to say of it to your Lordship, &amp; secondly to remark that it was good old Count Staremberg himself, who, upon this very occasion, related to me this circumstance, in speaking with rapture of that great Emperor's character, who, he said, could so magnanimously break his own promise, when convinced that it was a wrong one. I heartily wish, My Lord, there had been no occasion for entering into these reflections, however naturally they may account for my</page><page sequence="11">40 Aubrey Newman having less success formerly in several great affairs of other natures; but I foresaw such difficulties very early, &amp; pointed them out from the very first beginning of this new Govern? ment. Before I had received your Lordship's second instructions of the 22d past Mth I had in con? formity to a letter from the Earl of Chesterfield joined with Mr Burmania in representing to the ministers the ill effects these hard pro? ceedings had produced in the minds of all sorts of men, particularly in England &amp; Holland. Bad arguments &amp; despairing ges? tures were all we had in return. It was late on the 21st inst. that I received those repeated instructions. I translated your Lordship's letter myself &amp;, having copied that translation with my own hand, carried it sealed up the next day to Count Ulfeld, when I told him that the orders I had were of so delicate nature, that I would not trust even to my secretary the knowledge of such an indelible stain as the Queen would fix upon her Govern? ment, if she persisted in her severe and merci? less resolution against so many thousand innocent families. I would, therefore, if he pleased, convey to the Queen, through his channel &amp; as it were unknown to him, the King's most earnest intreaties that the Queen of Hungary would, for her own sake, suffer His Majesty's intercessions to prevail in behalf of the Jews. Count Ulfeld excused himself, &amp; advised me to speak to Count Staremberg who, from his great age, known wisdom, &amp; long services to the house of Austria, might have more credit than himself, but in assuring me that too lively a representation of anything, that might give the Queen so bad an opinion of her own self, &amp; of her personal conduct, would only make things worse instead of bettering them. I went immediately that afternoon to Count Staremberg. He said, it was in vain for him to charge himself with the delivery of the papers, as he should not be able to see the Queen before she set out the next day for the famous Monastery of St Mary in Stiria, when she was to go, as is customary in the House of Austria to make an offering for the birth of the eldest Archduke, the perfor? mance of which she had been so long debarred from, but that he would certainly concert with Count Ulfeld the best manner of their joining in a last effort upon my present representations, which he perceived, by the method I proposed for their being conveyed to the Queen; to be so delicate as well as serious as to make him curious to know in what they consisted; whereupon I opened the sealed paper, &amp; read to him the inclosed translation of your Lord? ship's last letter. He told me, that for the suc? cess of the affair itself, he was glad that cir? cumstances had happened to be such that he could not give it to the Queen before her departure, for tho' he could not answer for the good effect of His Majesty's friendly in treaties, yet knowing as he did the character of the Queen, he could answer for the ill effect of the rest of the presentation, were it only on account of its being too true. I informed Count Ulfeld the same night of what had passed with Count Staremberg, &amp; finding the next morn? ing, upon a full consideration of the whole, that nothwithstanding the said joint efforts to be made by these two ministers, after con? ferring together, the Queen would be set out for Stiria, I drew up early the paper of which the inclosed is a copy, &amp; surprised Count Ulfeld with it before he went to the Queen's apartment, shewing him the necessity of his producing it to her Majesty time enough for her giving orders to prevent further proceed? ings at Prague on the last day of this month, making a merit to him of the delicacy [with] which he forbore using the strong expressions in your Lordship's letter, the translation of which I gave to him to read in form &amp; at length; that he might report as much of it as he thought proper towards producing the effect which I knew he sighed for as much as myself, &amp; pointing out to him the true meaning of my paper which I told him was a concise refutation of all that I had heard alleged against a foreign intercession in so domestic an affair.?A great Sovereign, I said, would speak to a great Sovereign,?an ally could speak to an ally?a friend surely might open his heart to a friend; so that if this method did not succeed, I could only pray that God to whom the Queen was going to make so solemn a thanksgiving, [might] inspire Her Majesty with more</page><page sequence="12">The Expulsion of the Jews from Prague in 1745 41 charitable &amp; compassionate sentiments. Since which Count Ulfeld has told M. Burmania, that with respect to our joint representations, the Queen went away bien ulceree, &amp; he has told me, that with respect to my private office, &amp; his charging himself with it, the Queen gave him too disagreeable a parting that he should remember it his whole life, for what she has said upon the particular affair of the Jews in question, had drawn the repetition of many old reproaches. I have reason to believe, he took the liberty to speak several truths, &amp; am confirmed in this opinion, by his saying, upon my shewing a concern for any mortification he might have undergone, that he had however had the consolation to have done his duty. I humbly hope the King will be graciously pleased to believe I have done mine.</page></plain_text>