top of page
< Back

The first Jewish magistrates

Ann Ebner

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The first Jewish magistrates ANN EBNER When Oliver Cromwell accepted Jews back into England in 1656, it was a time of religious turmoil. Jews may have been allowed to live in England, but they were by no means accepted members of society. Instead their reli? gious beliefs were more likely to lead to them being brought before the criminal-j us tice system. Within that system, magistrates had considerable powers. They could sentence people to prison, recommend them for deportation, flog them and fine them, and they also played an important role in local government and administration (with policies such as the Poor Law) until the late nine? teenth century. The Justices of the Peace were an integral part of society, dealing with the minutiae of daily life from licensing public houses to sanitation. In England they were part of a powerful elite of male Anglican Protestants, many of whom also made the law as MPs. The idea that Jews could join this elite appeared impossible. Yet before the middle of the nineteenth century, Jews had reached magisterial office. This, I would argue, even more than the Parliamentary emancipation which later followed, is an important measure of their acceptance in English society. Magistrates even today have never been asked about their religion1 dur? ing the selection process, and this makes it impossible to produce exact sta? tistical evidence for how many Jews were put forward and what proportion were actually appointed once they first began being accepted. In practice, Jews, along with women, Catholics and others, were traditionally excluded from sitting on the Bench. For nearly 700 years JPs were male members of the landed gentry (women were not eligible for appointment until 1919), and after the revolution of 1688 they were also solely Anglican Protestants. Nonconformists were permitted to sit by the passing of special Indemnity Acts from 1728. Jews were not even as fortunate as that. Indeed, the embryonic Jewish community found their religion under constant threat both from government and the legal system, and it would have seemed extraordinary in the seventeenth century that Jews would ever * Paper presented to the Society on 6 December 2001. 1 Except in Ireland where the procedure is somewhat different. 45</page><page sequence="2">Ann Ebner be passing judgements on others regarding the law. An Act of Uniformity in 1662 required every clergyman to use the Book of Common Prayer, and in 1664 the Conventicle Act2 empowered JPs to impose penalties on anyone over the age of sixteen who attended a meeting of more than five persons for religious worship other than with the Book of Common Prayer. The initial punishment was a fine, but transgressors were warned that they faced seven years deportation for a third offence. Justices who did not implement the Act were themselves fined, while Jews who met in London to pray could be brought before justices and indicted. It was also illegal to carry out work or business on a Sunday, a day which for Jews could have been just another working day, and no one might travel by boat or barge.3 It was King Charles II rather than Parliament who changed the situation. Charles had been in exile in Holland where he was given support by some of the Dutch Jewish community. The leaders of the Jewish community peti? tioned the king (without mentioning the Conventicle Act), promising to be loyal and obedient subjects until His Majesty ordered them to depart. The king conceded to the Jews that they 'promised themselves the affects of the same favour as they had as long as they demeaned themselves peaceably and with due obedience to his Majesty's Laws and without scandal to his gov? ernment'.4 Following his return to England the king issued an Order in Council to stop judicial proceedings against Jews, as a result of which Jewish worship was allowed to develop while penal laws were still being car? ried out against non-Anglicans. Jews were thus permitted to practise their religion, albeit discreetly. However, while the Jewish community continued to grow (helped by the lack of a ghetto system in England, unlike the rest of Europe), they were still disqualified from all official positions, whether in Parliament, the Bench, the law or the army, all of which required oaths under the Test Act of 1673. This act, designed to exclude Roman Catholics from any office under the Crown, applied to all and included the order that justices had to take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy. The oath was a straightforward pledge to uphold the Crown and its succession, but its Trinitarian ending made it unacceptable to professing Jews. It was this that excluded Jews from partic? ipation, despite it not actually being aimed at the Jewish community. Jews were also excluded because all magistrates had to produce a certifi? cate signed by a minister and churchwarden and authenticated by two wit? nesses that they had taken the sacrament according to the usage of the Church of England. This naturally barred Jews. 2 Act of Uniformity, 1662, 16 Charles II C4. 3 Conventicle Act, 1664, 29 Charles II C7. This act carried an inducement for informers: they could be awarded a third of the penalty imposed at the discretion of the justices. 4 H. S. Q. Henriques, jfews in English Law (Oxford 1908) 149. 46</page><page sequence="3">The first Jewish magistrates Nonetheless, Jews also created their own restrictions. The rules or Ascamot of the Bevis Marks synagogue in London included limitations on members of the community participating in official activities outside the Kahal (their own community) in case it created a negative reaction to the Jewish community. These were clearly formulated to prevent any distur? bance to the fragile religious toleration under which the Jewish community lived.5 In the eighteenth century Jews who were willing to live solely within their cultural community were generally content. Not so those who wanted to become naturalized and partake of the privileges and responsibilities they felt would follow. Their frustration was compounded by the passage and almost immediate repeal of the Jews Naturalization Act of 1753. The act merely gave foreign-born wealthy Jews the opportunity to apply for natu? ralization by a private act of Parliament. Less than a year later, and after a huge outpouring of anti-Semitic polemic, the act was repealed, demonstrat? ing that British society was not yet ready for Jews to contribute in the way many wished. Jews were often attacked for being different, and although the merchant class was divided many non-Jews feared commercial competi? tion. Above all, there was a fear that naturalization would lead to unlimited Jewish immigration. This response caused Horace Walpole to write that the furore over the Bill 'showed how much the age, enlightened as it was, was still enslaved to the grossest and most vulgar prejudice.'6 Despite this, many Jews had been born in Britain by the 1750s and were British citizens. However, there was a vast discrepancy between the lives of the wealthy Jewish minority and those of poorer ones. Until the pioneering work of historians such as Todd Endelman, it was assumed that early Jewish immigrants were comparatively wealthy Sephardi merchants, while poor Jews came to Britain after the pogroms of the 1880s. Yet as early as 1682 the Mahamad of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue had decided that conti? nental Jews who came to England to beg charity would be given a small sum and shipped back to Amsterdam. In 1726, a year of particularly virulent Inquisitorial activity, the Congregation spent ?2786 on poor relief. The Jewish poor, like the poor in most societies, committed their fair share of petty crime and the motives of the Jewish community for providing relief were not only to aid their co-religionists but to prevent poor Jews from turning to crime for subsistence and bringing the developing community into disrepute. 5 The Ascama 35 laid down that a Jew who committed a criminal act such as robbery or fraud would not be supported by the Jewish community, but punished by the law of the land. Lionel Barnett (ed.) El Libro de Los Acuerdos (Records of Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of London 1663-81) (London 1931). 6 Quoted in Todd M. Endelman, The ferns of Georgian England, 1714-1830 (Philadelphia 1979) 47</page><page sequence="4">Ann Ebner It is almost impossible to give an accurate picture of crime involving Jews. Since there was no police force and no agency responsible for bring? ing cases before the justices, it was often left to informers or victims to pur? sue their grievances. A combination of prejudice and their own religious restrictions left Jews unable to work in many occupations. Because of this, large numbers became involved in the trade in cheap and second-hand clothes and goods. This sometimes included illegal activity and records show many people with Jewish names being brought before justices for obstruction of the king's highway with their stalls of old clothes, as well as for stealing and acting as 'fences'.7 For instance, Abraham Abrahams, aged thirty-six, the married father of two children, was sentenced to death for stealing twenty-two yards of linen. Solomon Nathan, aged sixteen, was transported to Australia for shoplifting a handkerchief, while Henry Hart, aged fourteen, was whipped for stealing a sheet.8 The leaders of the Jewish community recognized that there was a prob? lem of real and perceived Jewish criminality. The elders of the Spanish and Portuguese community had laid down in their original Ascamot that a Jewish criminal should be punished through due process of law. In 1766 the wardens of the Great Synagogue, the main centre of the Ashkenazi commu? nity, went further and offered assistance to John Fielding, a JP, in his work.9 In 1771 a sensational murder case involved a Jewish gang from the Continent, members of which had killed the manservant of a widow living with her three children in Chelsea. This was followed by a huge outcry against Jews and street attacks against them. When one of the gang subse? quently went to the Great Synagogue for charity he was persuaded by the warden, Naphtaly Myers, to speak to John Fielding. This led to the appre? hension of the gang, some of whom were publicly hanged, although Daniel Isaacs, the informer, was not. What mattered to the leaders of the Jewish community was that they had publicly demonstrated respect for the law of the land by going to the magistrate in order to help curb crime by Jews. They were also quick to make it publicly known that that none of the men was said to be a practising Jew or normally resident in England.10 In 1796 Patrick Colquhoun, who had served as a Middlesex justice for many years, wrote A Treatise on the Police and Crimes of the Metropolis which ultimately influenced the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Force. 7 Kellow Chesney, The Victorian Underworld (London 1970). 8 Endelman (see n. 6) 193. 9 C. Roth (ed.) Anglo-Jewish Letters (London 1938) 155. Cambridge Chronicle 7June 1766. 10 Details in many books, but see A. Knapp and W. Baldwin (eds) The Newgate Calendars, Vol. 1 (London 1926). 48</page><page sequence="5">The first Jewish magistrates It was Colquhoun whom the leaders of the Jewish community contacted in their further attempts to control Jewish poverty and criminality. Colquhoun's treatise, an analysis of crime in London and the problems caused by poor policing which was reprinted many times,11 examined the involvement of different groups in different crimes. Although he did not stigmatize Jews more than any other groups, he wrote of Jews who, for example, were involved in running brothels or were known as fences. He also wrote about the problem of'numerous youths of that persuasion who are at present rearing up in idleness, profligacy and crime'.12 Colquhoun's work made an impact on wealthy Jews, causing those with money and influence to realize that charity was insufficient to deal with the issues. A group of magnates led by the surgeon Joshua van Oven subse? quently met Colquhoun and formulated a plan to set up a Jewish poor-relief board to be invested by Parliament with quasi-governmental powers. This did not come to fruition at the time, but a more modest proposal led to the establishment of the Jews' Hospital in Whitechapel in 1807. This was founded with the dual purpose of providing a home for the aged poor and a school to educate the young poor. It was the first of a series of Anglo-Jewish communal institutions for the relief, education and support of the needy. These developments were important factors in the entry of Jews into the magistracy, since the recognition of the problems of Jewish criminality first alerted wealthier Jews to the need to formulate a response. It was through the magistracy, particularly John Fielding and Patrick Colquhoun, that they made contact with those involved in criminal jurisdiction and chose to cooperate with magistrates. Moreover, the growing wealth of this segment of the community brought with it the realization that 'rank, power, wealth and influence constitute no exception from activity or attention to duty, but lay a weight of accumulated responsibility on the possessor'.13 A sense of duty, therefore, was one reason for Jews to try and involve themselves with the magistracy. In much of England responsibility was concentrated in the local justices, and by the end of the eighteenth century some members of the Anglo-Jewish elite also saw that appointment to the Commission of the Peace would enable their authority and status to be rec? ognized and strengthened. This would also mark a significant step in their acceptance by the elite of the host community. A Justice had to have land worth ?100, and whether Jews could own land was still in dispute. However, as Malcolm Brown has shown, Jews did own estates: Naphtaly Franks, for example, the other warden of the Great 11 Patrick A. Colquhoun, A Treatise on the Police of the Metropoles (London 1826) 145-52. 12 See n. 11 quoted in David Katz, The Jews in the History of England, 1485-1850 (Oxford 1995) 13 D. Owen, English Philanthropy, 1660-1960 (Cambridge, Mass. 1964) 103. 49</page><page sequence="6">Ann Ebner Synagogue, was the owner of the Misterton estate in Leicestershire and the Limes in Mortlake.14 Justices also had to be socially accepted by their peers and to take the oath. Aspiring Jews therefore had either to become members of the Church of England (which was not difficult, as many Anglican clergy saw it as a way to save souls) or to fight for change. Both routes were fol? lowed, the former benefiting individuals and their families, the latter accel? erating the ultimate emancipation of the whole Jewish community. It appears that the first Jewish apostate to become a JP was Manasseh Massey Lopes (1755-1831), a member of Bevis Marks born to a wealthy Jewish Jamaican family and a large landowner in Devon. He converted to Christianity in 1802 on his marriage to Charlotte Yeats and was appointed to the Commission of the Peace for Wiltshire and Devon soon after. He also became an MP and baronet in 1805, but was subsequently involved in a vote-buying scandal and sentenced to imprisonment at Exeter in 1819. He returned to the Bench and to Parliament as MP for Westbury15 on his release and remained an MP until he was asked to give up his seat to Sir Robert Peel in 1829, who had been defeated at Oxford because of his sup? port for Catholic emancipation.16 One wonders whether members of the Jewish community viewed a Jewish apostate who lost his seat for Catholic rights with pride or horror. Jews who continued to profess Judaism and wanted to overcome the practical difficulties of advancement in English society were in a more diffi? cult position. In 1828 the Test and Corporation Acts were repealed for Nonconformists and the need to take the sacrament as a qualification for certain offices, including that of JP, was removed. In 1829, despite an out? cry from the established Church, the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed, although the new declaration of office used the words cOn the true faith of a Christian'. The Jewish Emancipation debate continued for anoth? er three decades. The oaths were not uniformly applied, however, and in some areas Jews were not only allowed to vote (which also needed an oath), but were elected to town councils, such as David Barnet in Birmingham and Emanuel Emanuel in Portsmouth. In spite of this, Jews were still excluded by the requirement of the oath from public and judicial office, the army, profes? sions and universities. 14 Malcolm Brown, 'Anglo-Jewish Houses from the Resettlement to 1800' Trans JHSE XXVIII (1981-2) 20-38. 15 It was not unusual for MPs to change their Parliamentary seats in the early nineteenth century, and Lopes sat for New Romney, Barnstaple, Grampound and finally Westbury. In Westbury after Peel, his nephew Ralph Franco became MP and JP and took the name Lopes. 16 See the obituary in The Alfred West of England Journal 4 April 1831, 3. 50</page><page sequence="7">The first Jewish magistrates In 1845 there was another attempt to remove Jewish parliamentary dis? abilities. Lord Lyndhurst, then Lord Chancellor, supported the bill, draw? ing a parallel between the possibility of Jewish MPs and, he claimed, the existence of Jewish magistrates. This appears to be the first occurrence of any parliamentary recognition of Jewish justices of the peace. Lord Lyndhurst said that 'not only is there no objection to any person professing the Jewish religion being placed upon the Commission of the Peace for a county, but that he may hold the important and very responsible office of county magistrate . . .'. He then named Sir Moses Montefiore in Kent and the Cinque Ports, David Salomons in Kent, Emanuel Lousada in Devon and Benjamin Cohen in Sussex.17 Yet although Lord Lyndhurst was Lord Chancellor, the head of the judiciary and the minister of the Crown ultimately responsible for the appointment of justices, his remarks on the legal position of Jews being appointed to the Bench are not entirely correct. There had been no legislation which appeared to allow the appoint? ment of Jews. Before appointment, magistrates had to own land and take a religious oath. In 1838 the Duke of Wellington had described justices as 'Gentlemen of wealth, worth, consideration and education. They should have been edu? cated for the Bar, if possible, and above all they should be associated with, and be respected by, the gentry of the country.' As already shown, wealthy Jews such as Moses Montefiore18 and Emanuel Lousada19 did own land, but the religious oath was a different matter. Although David Salomons - the first professing Jewish magistrate - was added to the list of Kent magis? trates in March 1838,20 he was technically forbidden to be included before the oath had been taken. Yet in all the sessions' records from 1838 to 1846 there is no record of his taking the oath. There is no record either of the Benjamin Cohen mentioned by the then Lord Chancellor on the Sussex Commission of the Peace. However, a Benjamin Cohen was appointed to the Surrey Bench in 1841,21 and once again there is no record of his taking the oath. Still, he was a member of the Middlesex and Surrey Justices Dining Club from August 1842 - an addi? tional mark of social acceptance although it might place a question mark over his Jewish observance. Sir Moses Montefiore, who was appointed a JP in 1844, again appears not to have taken the oath, while Emanuel Lousada in Devon, also in 1844, 17 House of Lords Parliamentary Papers 10 March 1845. The Annual Register London 1845 196. 18 The Office of Kentish Studies Archives Section, QJOG, Maidstone, Kent. 19 Devon Record Office, QS1/29, Castle Street, Exeter. 20 Seen. 18. 21 Surrey County Council Archives Commission of the Peace 1841-50 QSi / 3/4. 5i</page><page sequence="8">Ann Ebner took no oath of religion. However, before he first sat on 9 September he did take an oath to say he had sufficient property. The only other JP in Devon not to have taken the religious oath was a Quaker, Thomas Ware Fox.22 These appointments mark a relatively unknown path in the history of Anglo-Jewish emancipation. Often if the individual was 'acceptable for the position' the qualification was ignored. Some might say this is a particularly English method of allowing things to develop. For example, in our own time, many shops and supermarkets opened on Sundays while it was still technically illegal to do so, before legislation to allow it was passed. Despite the achievements of these first few men, the Duke of Wellington's definition of social standing for justices still made it difficult for Jews to become JPs. Magistrates were expected to share the values and culture of the landed class, which almost without exception included mem? bership of the Church of England. The few Jews of wealth and standing would have been unable to share the school and university education of their non-Jewish peers and their careers would have been circumscribed by their refusal to take the religious oath. Nevertheless, the men first appointed as county JPs did have wealth and standing and did, probably despite their religion, appear to share the values and culture of England's landed class. David Salomons, for example, whose fight for his individual rights as a Jew helped emancipate those who fol? lowed, was a banker and member of Lloyds, as well as chairman of the Reigate and Guildford Railway. He was the first Jewish Sheriff of London, the first Jewish Alderman, the first Justice of the Peace, the first Jewish Lord Mayor and the second Jewish Member of Parliament. Although fur? ther education and the professions were closed to him his achievements were enormous and he was even called to the Bar later in life. It is of him Salomons that the only letter concerning the appointment of a Jewish justice was written. Lord Camden, Lord Lieutenant of Kent, who was responsible for putting forward names of potential justices to the Lord Chancellor, wrote to Salomons that 'respecting the new Commission of the Peace, Amongst the gentlemen I mentioned to the Lord Chancellor, I included your name and I did you that justice due to your name and charac? ter .. . but I could not but inform his Lordship of the tenets you profess.' He concluded, T have been informed from a confidential source that your name will not be included in the new Commission of the Peace . . ,'.23 Yet the following day he wrote again to say he had heard that Salomons had been appointed, suggesting that Salomons, who publicly fought for Jewish civic rights and had many roles in Anglo-Jewish emancipation history, sat 22 See n. 19. 23 A. M. Hyamson, David Salomons (1939). 52</page><page sequence="9">The first Jewish magistrates as a JP without taking the oath. In Salomon's own opinion he was covered by the Indemnity Acts previously mentioned, although this is legally incor? rect.24 The lives of wealthy Jews reflected those of the wealthy English at this time. Many of the English landed gentry intermarried with each other and, similarly with Jews, the 'cousinhood' provided many early JPs. For exam? ple, another of the first Jewish magistrates, Benjamin Cohen, was married to Justina Montefiore, Sir Moses's sister, as well as being brother-in-law to Baron Meyer de Rothschild. He was a member of Lloyds and played an important part in local affairs, becoming Deputy Lieutenant for Surrey and a considerable philanthropist. Benjamin's son Arthur was educated at Cambridge, through the intervention of his uncle Moses and the Prince Consort, but could not take his degree until some years later; he was the first professing Jew to do so and later became the first Jewish QC. Sir Moses Montefiore, Sheriff of London, statesman and philanthropist and the most religiously orthodox of the four initial Jewish JPs, was also known to Queen Victoria whom he entertained. Montefiore's diaries include an account of a visit to Springfield Gaol where two Jews from Poland without hawker's licences had been imprisoned and, because of their observance of Kashrut, were existing on bread and water. After dis? cussion with the governor, Sir Moses arranged for a petition to be drawn up for their release, which was subsequently granted.25 In March 1844, soon after his appointment as a justice, he requested permission to be absent from court on Sabbath, although he sat regularly on other days.26 In 1856 Montefiore wrote to Sir George Gray, the Home Secretary, ask? ing him to permit Jewish prisoners to refrain from work on the High Holy days without punishment. 'Few, if any even of the most abandoned mem? bers of the Jewish faith, contemplate without much bitter anguish, the non observance of the very sacred approaching days . . . which could prevent or impede the desire of reformation which is conceded to be a great object in the punishment of the criminal offender.' It was agreed that if a prisoner applied for relief that indulgence would be granted.27 Each of the first four Jewish magistrates were heavily involved in their geographical communities as well as the Jewish community. Emanuel Lousada, Devon's first Jewish JP, was a member of one of only three Jewish families in Sidmouth. He was created High Sheriff of Devon by Peel and was an active justice, sitting frequently in court. He was also a representative 24 David Salomons, Alteration of Oaths Considered in a Letter to the Earl of Derby (London 1853)113 25 L. Loewe (ed.) The Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore (London 1983) 318. 26 Ibid. 323. 27 The Board of Deputies Minute Book (1855) ACC3121/A/008, 215. 53</page><page sequence="10">Ann Ebner of Be vis Marks on the Board of Deputies and maintained his Jewish practice although he lived far from an organized community. Kent and Middlesex had a different solution to the question of the reli? gious oaths - special oaths for Jewish justices. In Kent there is the signature of Benjamin Phillips, who became second Lord Mayor of London, and Frederic Goldsmid.28 In Middlesex, there are Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, the foremost proponent of Jewish emancipation (1845), and Benjamin Phillips, who clearly sat in two counties, and Aaron Asher Goldsmid.29 At the back of the justice's qualification book in Sussex, there are forms devised for Jewish justices. There are no signed forms, although it must have been pos? sible if such a form was produced.30 Joseph Mayer Montefiore of Worth Park, Crawley, appears as a JP in Sussex in the 1878 trade directory, but by that date the oaths situation had finally been clarified. It was not until 1868 and the Promissory Oaths Act that the legal position of Jews in civic and judicial offices became the same as that of other reli? gious groups. The Act consolidated all oaths to be taken before assuming office in a form which was acceptable to everyone but professing atheists such as William Bradlaugh, since it ended 'So help me God'. Justices of the peace were specifically listed in the Act.31 Outside the counties, there was another route to becoming a JP, which after 1835 was by being elected mayor of a town or borough. There was no clear definition of the term 'borough' and only in a very few cases were Commissions of the Peace issued to the towns. Names were placed on the commission by the Lord Chancellor. They were usually office-holders and leading citizens. In 1835,the Municipal Corporations Act, which applied to all principal towns except London, received royal assent. This act replaced the old bor? ough corporations with municipal councils elected by rate payers. At the same time, new Commissions of the Peace were introduced to deal with the judicial work in the boroughs. The justices were also given the powers to grant liquor licences - the relationship between uncontrolled drinking and crime being long recognized. The Act provided for the elected mayor to be a justice during his mayoralty and for one year afterwards. There were major differences between county and borough justices: bor? ough justices could not sit at quarter sessions and their powers were con? fined to judicial work. However, they still had to be male, successful in their 28 Office of Kentish Studies Archive, QSMB4. 29 Middlesex Commission of the Peace Records, MJP/09, Greater London Record Office, EC1R0HB. 30 Sussex Record Office Declaration Books 1831-46, QDR/3/EW2. 31 Promissory Oaths Act 1868 -31 and 32 Victoriae Cap 72. Justices of the Peace for Counties and Boroughs were specifically named in the Second Part of the Schedule to the Act. 54</page><page sequence="11">The first Jewish magistrates occupations, often contributing strongly to the community's economy and charities, as well as being active in local affairs. They were generally from a different social class to the landed gentry. As far as Jews were concerned, the Municipal Reform Act maintained the status quo, with Jews unable to hold any civic office because of the necessity of taking the sacramental oath. Another decade passed before the Jewish Disabilities Removal Act permitted qualified Jews to make a sepa? rate declaration, thus making them eligible for municipal office (although not election for Parliament). There remained the anomaly that the Sacramental Oath for JPs remained on the statute book until the Promissory Oaths Act of 1868, which introduced oaths applicable to all. In reality, the legislation followed general practice. The 1867 Parliamentary Reform Act, which applied to municipal as well as national government, enfranchised all male householders who had been in residence for one year and lodgers who paid ?10 or more per annum. The effect was to extend the vote to artisans, shopkeepers and better-off workers in the towns, although the total electorate was still less than a tenth of the population. The total population of Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) is generally estimated to have been around 7.7 million in 1756, 10.6 million in 1801 and 20.8 million in 1851. The Jewish population was probably around 8000 at the time of the Jew Bill (1753), 27,000 in 1830 and had risen to about 40,000 by 1849. Jews made up less than a quarter of a per cent of the mid nineteenth-century population and of those more than three quarters lived in London. The few Jews who lived in the cities outside London were often those who became enfranchised by the Reform Acts. They soon achieved civic office and it is surprising how many were subsequently elected city mayors, thus enabling them to sit as JPs. These Jewish mayors did not live in clusters of Jewish settlement, but were elected for cities as far apart as Bath and Bradford, Canterbury and Belfast, Portsmouth and Leicester. There is some question as to who was the first Jewish mayor and there? fore the first Jewish borough JP. Simon Barrow was elected mayor of Bath on 9 November 1837 for the following year,32 the same year that David Salomons was added to the Kent Commission, and is listed as a magistrate in 1841.33 But there is no record of the date he was added to the Commission. This also means that there is no information on whether there was any variation on the normal oath procedures. Barrow, whose family came from Bridgetown in Barbados, appears in the birth register of Bevis Marks and was sufficiently involved in the community to donate a Torah 32 Bath and Northeast Somerset Archives, Council Minute Books, 1835-42. 33 Silverthorne's Bath Directory (Bath 1841). 55</page><page sequence="12">Ann Ebner scroll. He married his cousin Tryphena and they had many children before she died in 1828. Soon after this, and before his election as mayor, he resigned from Bevis Marks, which suggests that by the time of his appoint? ment he may no longer have identified with the Jewish community, and had no problem about taking the sacramental oath. It is interesting to note that the Barrow family were in business partnership with the family of Emanuel Lousada, another early JP, as noted before. Soon after Barrow's appointment, Michael John Michael was elected mayor of Swansea in 1848 and became a magistrate in his own right in 1850. He was the scion of a well-established Jewish family, his grandfather having been a founder of the Jewish community there, although Michael himself joined the Unitarian Church. It was almost half a century before Simon Goldberg, a ship-owner and coal-owner who was appointed a JP in 1895, became (according to the Centenary History of Swansea Jewish Community, quoting The Cambrian), 'we believe, the only member of the Jewish com? munity to sit on the Commission of Peace in the Principality and his elec? tion may be regarded as a well-deserved if long-delayed compliment to that body'. The first professing Jewish mayor and therefore JP appears to have been John Lewis Levy of Rochester in Kent, described in the Justices' Returns as a coal merchant and general dealer. He was appointed to the Commission of the Peace in 1850, ten years before he was elected mayor. Levy does not appear to have been active in the larger Jewish community, but is found on a list of contributors to a Jewish charity for the blind,34 the giving of charity being one of the indications of Jewish identification. His son, Lewis Levy, was elected mayor of Rochester three times, in 1874, 1885 and 1886,35 and was added to the Commission in 1876. He was one of only five justices for the area. The city of Portsmouth had only about 300 Jews in 1850,36 but as early as 1836 the mayor, Edward Carter, forwarded a petition to Parliament for the 'removal of civil disabilities which affect British born Jews'. None of the signatories - who were all later thanked by Emanuel Emanuel - was a Jew. Emanuel was elected to Portsmouth Council in 1841 and on his election as town councillor refused to take the oath 'on the faith of a Christian'. That made him liable before magistrates for a fine of ?500 for every vote he sub? sequently gave, but it appears that the fines were never collected. 'No man 34 De Sola pamphlet No. 2, Mocatta Library, University College London. 35 Frank Falkner, The Mayoral Album, 1885-6. In the mayoral album in the British Library there is a photograph of Lewis Levy and a short description of his mayoralty. His religion was not mentioned, but it was noted that Rochester Cathedral was reopened during his year of office. 36 V. D. Lipman, Social History of the fews in England, 1850-1950 (London 1954) 185. 56</page><page sequence="13">The first Jewish magistrates in Portsmouth', it was reported, 'is mean enough to proceed against this valiant Jew.'37 Emanuel's firm was engaged in supplying silver to the Royal Navy, and in 1850 he was appointed silversmith to Queen Victoria. When he was later appointed to the Commission of the Peace in Portsmouth (1867) he is listed as a goldsmith. Like many Jews who became active in the civic arena, Emanuel, who was elected mayor in 1865, was very committed to his local community. He took an active role in the building of Southsea Pier and promoted a railway link between London and Portsmouth. He was also an enthusiastic member of the Portsmouth school board and provided local children with refresh? ments and carriages when they attended a party at the seat of the local MP, W. H. Stone. Emanuel was a working justice, sitting regularly in court. He is still listed in the Justices' Returns for 1882, his profession there noted as 'esquire', suggesting that he was continuing on the bench in his retirement. He often sat with Captain Hodgkinson RN, and many examples of their judicial deci? sions are reported in the Portsmouth Times. The cases dealt with included larceny (for example, James Wellspring,38 a poor labourer discharged from the Dockyard who was sentenced to three weeks' hard labour for stealing a tame duck), oyster robbery and tobacco smuggling.39 Emanuel's daughter Kate married Philip Magnus, ordained as third minister of the West London Synagogue, London's Reform Community, in 1867. He was one of the few Jewish clerical JPs, and was knighted in 1886 for his work as a member of the Royal Commission on Technical Education.40 Portsmouth was also the home of Michael Emanuel, whose family (who were unrelated to Emanuel Emanuel) also produced mayors and JPs. Two of Michael's sons, Jacob Israel and Samuel Michael, moved to Southampton where Jacob founded the Southampton Hebrew Congregation and Samuel Michael involved himself in civic affairs. Samuel was elected mayor, and thus sat as a magistrate, in 1865 and 1866. He was added to the Commission in 1867, his occupation being given as 'gentleman'. His nephew, Abraham Leon - who remained in Portsmouth - was appointed to the Justices Bench in that city in 1890. He also undertook the task of visitor to Jewish prisoners at Kingston Prison, was the only Jew serving on the council and, when elected as mayor in 1894, celebrated with 37 Aubrey Weinberg, Portsmouth Jewry, 1730-1980, 37. 38 Portsmouth Times 12 February 1870. 39 Oyster robbery merited a fine to the value of the goods, and tobacco smuggling was pun? ished with a heavy fine as well as forfeiture of the goods. 40 A. J. Kershen and J. A. Romain, Tradition and Change, a History of Reform Judaism in Britain (London 1995) no. 57</page><page sequence="14">Ann Ebner a tea party for a thousand of the town's elderly poor and the first ever civic service at the local synagogue. These men were prominent, wealthy busi? nessmen, who contributed handsomely to charitable requests. Members of Michael Emanuel's family were also active freemasons.41 A third son, Henry Michael, was invested as Provincial Senior Grand Warden of Hampshire in 1855 and was a Past Master of the Royal Sussex Lodge, Portsmouth. Abraham Leon Emanuel was Master in 1874. The masonic lodge was clearly one of the places where prominent men of a city met and established relationships, and so close are these that today's magistrates are asked to declare whether they are freemasons. It is a little explored area of Christian-Jewish contact. In Canterbury, the seat of the Archbishop, there is a remarkable record of three Jews being elected mayors of three different cities,42 despite the small size of its Jewish population. Records from the Board of Deputies show that there were only ten seat holders in 1890, although a number of men attend? ed synagogue services without having seats. There were also no Jewish charitable institutions, but from '50-100 poor casuals pass through the city in the year and are relieved'.43 Nevertheless, the Jews who lived there were clearly able to participate fully in local affairs. Henry Hart, described as 'clothier, outfitter and pawnbroker', was appointed to the Justices' Bench in 1879, one ?ftne thirteen magistrate in the city. He was added to the Commission at the same time as William Linom, described simply as 'gentleman', and George Friend, a wine mer? chant. Hart was active in the Jewish community and in 1889 was president at the opening of the new synagogue. The earlier Canterbury Synagogue had been opened by Moses Montefiore in 1847. The second Canterbury Jew to be elected mayor and chief magistrate was Myer Jacobs who became the first mayor of Taunton, Somerset, in 1877. There was some objection to his holding office because of his religion, but he was re-elected twice, stating categorically: T am proud to avow myself as a member of the Jewish faith'. On the third occasion of his election, no other was proposed, 'looking at the able manner in which he had presided over meetings and looking at his ability on the Bench'. There was no organized Jewish community in Taunton, yet Jacobs identified as a Jew despite the fact that there was no minyan or quorum for prayers, at a time when such identi? fication was often still a barrier to advancement. It appears, indeed, that he had no direct involvement with organized Jewry. There is no evidence of 41 John M. Shaftesley, in English Freemasonary in the 18th and igth Centuries (London 1979) 42 Michael Jolles, A Directory of Distinguished British Jews, 1830-1930 (London 2001) 42. 43 Prepared by Dr Aubrey Newman, 'Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain' JHSE (July 1975) 58</page><page sequence="15">The first Jewish magistrates activity in Canterbury and he is not listed in Asher Myers' Jewish Directory of 1874, an attempt to list all the prominent Jews of that date. Henry Hart's brother, Israel, appears to have moved to Leicester in the 1850s, before there was an organized Jewish community, and opened a ready-to-wear clothing shop. His business expanded throughout the Midlands and he and his partner Joseph Levy brought a new industry, mass-produced clothing, to the borough and provided work for thousands. Israel Hart was elected mayor in 1884, 1885 and 1886 and again in 1893 and played an active role on the Bench for many years, the only Jew among thir? ty-one magistrates.44 In 1886, as he took his seat as chairman of the magis? trates, he was congratulated by Mr Justice Grantham for there being so little crime in the borough. Larceny, assault, drunkenness and wife-beating were common in all areas. The first case heard by Joseph Abrahams (who was elected mayor in Bristol in 186545) involved Elizabeth Telling, who was charged with being drunk and disorderly on Bristol Bridge.46 In Portsmouth Emanuel Emanuel dealt with smuggling (especially tobacco) and the illegal fishing of oysters. In Leicester, with its industrial development, Israel Hart heard many cases concerning the illegal employment of children and violations of the Factory Acts. For example, Benjamin Ellis, boot manufacturers, were brought before the court for employing children under fourteen without obtaining a certificate of fitness. A fine of ten shillings was imposed.47 Much information about the daily work of these justices can be found in the local press. It is remarkable that in cities and boroughs with little or no Jewish settle? ment, Jews were elected mayors and thus sat as magistrates. Cities such as Bristol, Southampton, Portsmouth, Grimsby and Belfast were seaports and as such among the more cosmopolitan of English towns. Yet it is still sur? prising that city voters were willing to elect men who were not members of the established Church and not always born in England. It is also unexpect? ed that outside Bradford and Liverpool, it was not in the new industrial cen? tres of England that Jews first became JPs. While contemporary prints and caricatures of life in Portsmouth, for instance, do depict the stereotyped Jewish money-lender or hawker, similar depictions of Manchester, Leeds or Oldham were less likely to portray a Jewish presence. There were some German-born and Jewish factory owners in the middle of the nineteenth 44 Return of the Names and Professions of Justices of the Peace, Counties and Boroughs Parliamentary Papers (1892) Vol. LXXIV 277. 45 Mrs Alderman Bloom, the second Jewish mayor of Bristol, 1970, was not ex-officio JP. This right was removed in the Justice of the Peace Act 1968. 46 The Saturday Bristol Times and Mirror 11 November 1865. 47 Leicester Mercury 10 December 1884. 59</page><page sequence="16">Ann Ebner century (such as the Behrens family), but in general Jews stood at the fringes of the Industrial Revolution. In 1876, however, Henry Samson, partner in the cotton firm of Samson and Leppoc, became Manchester's first Jewish JP,48 and in the following year William Aronsberg, optician and manufacturer of optical lenses, fol? lowed him. Aronsberg was a benefactor of several orphanages, Jewish, Protestant and Catholic in Ireland, and was much honoured on his visits there. His son Aaron married Rose Jaffe, sister of Otto, who was appointed a JP and then elected Lord Mayor of Belfast, the first under Belfast's new status as a county borough. The Irish Times, while welcoming his election, wrote that although Belfast is the 'last and seemingly impregnable rampart of intolerance',49 a Jewish lord mayor was elected. Charles Semon, a Jew born in Danzig, was the first elected foreign-born mayor of Bradford in 1864. At that time there was no Jewish community there, although Semon did identify himself as Jewish. He remained equally, if not more, committed to the city and culture of his birth, founding and maintaining a home for 'decayed townspeople' in Danzig. Like Israel Hart, Semon also became a major employer in the woollen and worsted industry in Bradford and was a generous benefactor, furnishing wards at the local hospitals, including the eye-and-ear hospital which he opened during his mayoralty. He was an active JP and after his mayoralty was appointed to the Commission.50 Jacob Moser, who was born in Schleswig, was placed on the Commission of the Peace for Bradford in 1895 and elected lord mayor in 1910. He built up a highly successful woollen business and like Semon was a major philan? thropist. In 1898 he anticipated the introduction of a national old-age pen? sions scheme by introducing a large fund for pensions for aged and infirm workpeople in Bradford. He was involved in charities aimed at helping dis? charged prisoners, and also played an active role in early Zionism as vice president of the English Zionist Federation which visited Palestine. Moser is an important example of an early Jewish magistrate, serving as JP in an English city where he was known actively to identify with his roots, at a time when the influx of Jews escaping persecution in Eastern Europe was already reviving anti-alien feeling. He was also prepared to support the 48 Bill Williams, The Making of Manchester Jewry, 1840-1875 (Manchester 1976)336. 49 The Irish Times 7 September 1899. 50 Lewis Heymann, born in Mecklenberg, was Nottingham's first elected foreign-born mayor (1857). He and his wife were both Jewish by birth, but soon after their arrival in England joined the High Pavement Unitarian Church where they were regular worship? pers. Philip Goldschmidt, twice mayor of Manchester and a JP, was Jewish and German born, but also joined the Unitarian Church. See Todd M. Endelman, Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History, 1656-1945 (Indiana 1990), esp. ch. 4, 'German Immigrants in the Victorian Age'. 6o</page><page sequence="17">The first Jewish magistrates Zionist idea at a time when most Jews were fearful of being identified with anything that might appear to question their commitment to England. The Jewish mayors and early justices were elected as mayors or appoint? ed to the Commission not as representatives of a minority community, but as men who had a major impact on the towns in which they lived. They were prominent in the development of local industry and commerce, con? tributing to the economy and increasing employment, which helped to reduce crime. Charles Semon and Israel Hart in particular developed industries which came to be identified with the cities in which they lived. These men were philanthropic and paternalistic, sharing many of the values and life patterns of their colleagues from the host community. They behaved on the Bench as their fellow magistrates did - there does not appear to be any reference or criticism of the Jewish justices as magistrates. Where there was inconsistency in sentencing, it was because they respond? ed to the defendant and crime in before them, and did not have the training and guidelines available to present-day magistrates. To most of their con? temporaries their religion was unimportant, particularly as they were pre? pared to support Christian charities and attend church services where necessary. In recently published research, William Rubinstein51 lists the Jewish top wealth holders in Britain from 1809 to 1909. It is not surprising that each of the first county JPs are named, as is the apostate Manasseh Massey Lopes. It is interesting that John Lewis Levy and Charles Semon are listed. These men were not from the landed gentry, but are examples of those who became wealthy through businesses that they created in the provincial cities in which they lived. One geographical area, the City of London, united county and city mag? istrates and is of particular relevance to Jewish justices and their involve? ment with other Jews. It was in London that most Jews lived and worked, and naturally it was in London that Jewish defendants came before Jewish JPs. The City courts were particularly close to the centre of Jewish settle? ment in London, and of all the JPs these were the men constantly in touch with Jewish poverty and criminality. The City of London had its own sys? tem of local justice. The lord mayor was first magistrate of the City and presided daily over the Mansion House Court. There was also the Guildhall Court, over which a rota of aldermen usually presided. In 1856, after a long legal battle mainly about the oaths, David Salomons became the first Jewish lord mayor of London. In the next half century four other Jewish lord mayors presided over the Mansion House Court: 51 William Rubinstein, 'Jewish Top Wealthholders in Britain, 1809-1909' Trans jfHSE XXXVII (2001)133-61. 6i</page><page sequence="18">Ann Ebner Benjamin Phillips (1865-6), Henry Isaacs (1889-90),52 George Faudel Phillips, son of Benjamin (1896), and Sir Marcus Samuel (1902-3). Like the county justices, they were wealthy landowners, socially remote from all but a tiny number of Jews. They mixed in the highest echelons of English society. Salomons and Phillips both had additional responsibilities as visiting jus? tices to Newgate prison, liasing with the governor over prisoners. The Newgate Prison Visitors Justice Book contains a signed note by David Salomons showing his compassion to those being transported to Australia. He had seen a convicted prisoner called Trussell, who 'having represented that he had been suddenly removed from his wife, asked for an opportunity of meeting her. I directed that he might be permitted to see his wife in the solicitor's room in the presence of one of the officers. Should any of the other prisoners committed under similar circumstances request a similar indulgence - I authorise the officer to permit the same.'53 The entry con? cerning Trussell was made on David Salomon's first visit to the prison, but the records of subsequent visits demonstrate a similarly genuine interest in the problems he saw. Salomons noted, in the case of a prisoner acquitted of murder on the grounds of insanity, that 'He cannot be properly taken care of in Newgate .. . and should be committed to some criminal asylum'.54 He also took up the case of Lazarus, detained for non-payment of a fine, who was expected to share a ward with a long-term prisoner, and described it as 'A course of treatment utterly inconsistent with either justice or common sense'.55 The duty of visiting prisoners and dealing with problems put forward by convicts or officers was incumbent on magistrates and Sir Moses Montefiore (a City as well as county magistrate) frequently visited Newgate, on one occasion leaving the house of mourners for his brother-in law's death to do so.56 The London Guildhall archives contain daily annual registers of the crime, larceny, begging, pickpocketing and robbery which came before the mayor. Defendants registered there include some with obviously Jewish names, such as Abraham Rozenberg57 and Elias Lipman.58 Some of these would have come before Jewish magistrates. Many more Jews, including children, appeared in court during the late decades of the century, after the 52 Henry Isaacs was a leading freemason and during his year of office was appointed Grand Warden by the Prince of Wales. 53 Newgate Prison Visitors Justice Book 1119/2, 56, Guildhall Library archives. 54 Ibid. 55. 55 Newgate Prison Visitors Justice Book 14 Nov. 1849. 56 Loewe (see n. 25) 143. 57 The Mansion House Justices Book 19 November 1855, Guildhall Library archives. 62</page><page sequence="19">The first Jewish magistrates large-scale settlement of Jews in London as a result of Eastern European pogroms. For example, one of the first cases to be heard by Sir Henry Isaacs in 1889 was tnat of Mark Levy (aged thirteen), Lewis Levy (aged ten) and Simon Cohen (aged twelve), who had been seen stealing some enamelled letters from the door of a restaurant. On paper, this does not appear to be a heinous crime, but the clerk to the court stated that Lewis Levy had been before the courts repeatedly, and was the worst boy in the City. The boys were remanded for a week and their cases came back before Alderman Husk and Alderman Faudel-Phillips. Mark Levy was discharged and the others sent to an Industrial School till they were sixteen.59 Other young Jews who committed crimes included Solomon Lazarus who, aged fifteen, was sentenced to twenty-one days' hard labour in March 1866 and to three months for a second offence in June, with his co-defen? dant, sixteen-year-old Philip Isaacs. On another occasion, forty-four young Jews were arrested for illegal gambling in a raid on the Victor Club.60 By the end of the nineteenth century, gambling was an issue which caused consid? erable concern to the Jewish community. There was also anxiety - within and without the Jewish community - about the growth of juvenile crime, and in 1866 the first Industrial School was established. These schools were set up to deal with children, not neces? sarily convicted of a crime, brought before magistrates for begging, wander? ing, frequenting thieves' company and found destitute. Moreover, if a parent or guardian stated a child was refractory, the child could also be brought before justices. Annual returns relating to Reformatory and Industrial schools were pre? sented to Parliament each year. If a child was sent to a school 'not conduct? ed in accordance with the Religious Persuasion to which the child appeared', reasons had to be given. In 1871 Celia Bishfield, a Jewess, was sent to Leeds Girls' Industrial School, but no additional details were given and she was the only Jew listed in the Returns.61 It was not until 1885 that there is a note in the minutes of the Board of Deputies that the Visitation Committee of the United Synagogue and the Board of Guardians should take concerted action on the Industrial Schools, as a growing number of Jewish children were being sent to these schools.62 The Board of Deputies, which had been founded in 1760 but developed 58 Ibid. 3 March 1856. 59 City Press 28 December 1889, 7. Mansion House Court Register 1889-90, 8 January 1890, Guidhall Library archives. 60 Mansion House Court Register 3 February 1897, 188. 61 Returns Relating to Reformatory and Industrial Schools May 1872. 62 Minute Book of The Board of Deputies 1878-1889, ACC/312/A010, London Metropolitan Archives. 63</page><page sequence="20">Ann hbner during the Victorian period, acted as the representative of the Jewish com? munity in dealing with the authorities on marriage laws, schools, burials and so on. In the last two decades of the nineteenth century (coinciding with the influx of refugees from the pogroms of Eastern Europe) their min? utes refer to a growing number of children being sent to Industrial schools and the necessity for providing for the observance of their faith. In 1891 the Committee of the Lewisham School wrote to the secretary of the Board of Deputies concerning the problem of how to deal with twenty-seven Jewish lads on the Sabbath: 'the absence of efficient control over these lads on Saturdays renders nugatory the efforts of the superintendent to enforce proper discipline'.63 There was clearly a need for a Jewish industrial school, and a site was found in Hayes, West London. The minutes of the original meetings reported that it was agreed that it should be in an area where relatives could not visit easily and, as one member wrote, 'I doubt if any relative will take sufficient interest in an inmate to walk 32 miles to visit'.64 The school opened in 1901 with twenty-six residents, the youngest of whom was Alick B,65 aged six, who 'had been residing with a prostitute in a house used for prostitution'. Boys were sent from as far away as Leeds, and many went on to have useful and fulfilling lives after a period of structured education, food and shelter. One unusual career was followed by Morris Cohen, a young pickpocket who became bodyguard to the Chinese leader Sun Yat Sen. There was no such school for Jewish girls, although these were not infre? quently charged. Lily Goldberg, aged nine, for example, was a known shoplifter and frequently before the courts.66 In 1882 the Ladies Conjoint Visiting Committee was established; its first president, Mrs Lionel Lucas, was ineligible to be a justice as she was a woman, but her father, grandfather and brother all were. The visitors would try to arrange for girls to be placed with suitable families, often as servants, but with lodgings and some attempt to improve their literacy and household skills. Their work devel? oped into broad welfare provision, evolving into the Ladies Society for Preventative Rescue Work to prevent women falling into destitution or prostitution. In 1905 Montefiore House, an Industrial School for thirty girls, was founded. Thus the existence of juvenile crime was recognized and attempts made to redress it, although one must stress that they involved only a small minority of the community. 63 Board of Deputies Correspondence Industrial Schools, ACC/312/07/001 21 March 1891. 64 Minutes of Hayes Industrial School MS181, Hartley Library, Southampton. 65 Ibid. 24. 66 E.g. East London Observer 15 May i? 64</page><page sequence="21">The first Jewish magistrates The children of immigrants faced many problems, as those who followed them still do. There was prejudice against aliens, religious observance made finding a job difficult and there were often clashes with parents and elders at home. Gangs existed, and one Edward Emanuel was known as the Al Capone of East London.67 Clashes with local youth and even police occurred in London and Leeds. The leaders of the community did not dis? own them. The Board of Deputies went to great lengths to set up an inter? preters' scheme for the courts, while a Yiddish-English manual was produced by the Russo-Jewish committee to help prisoners learn the English language and British ways. The Jewish justices, with their first? hand knowledge of crime among Jews in London, played a central part in developing Anglo-Jewish institutions and therefore in the evolution of English Jewry. The key institutions that developed during the nineteenth century cov? ered the full spectrum of Jewish life. The Jews Free School (JFS), for exam? ple, was supported by all the early JPs. In the year of his appointment as JP, David Salomons, Moses Montefiore and Benjamin Cohen were all present at a dinner to raise money for the school. In 1847 Salomons spoke at an anniver? sary dinner, saying 'the first duty of the rich is to educate the poor, that of the poor to learn.' The school was a bulwark against poverty and crime, provid? ing not only education, but also clothes and food where necessary. The Rothschild family provided presidents for the school for 115 years. Virtually all of them were justices. Educationalists and school board officials sought and welcomed advice from Moses Angel, headmaster of the school for half a century, himself adopted and apparently the son of Emanuel Moses, trans? ported to Australia for his part in a gold-bullion robbery in 1841. New religious structures within Anglo-Jewry developed with the estab? lishment of the West London Synagogue in 1841, the first reform commu? nity in London. Its founders included Aaron Asher Goldsmid, who saw public worship as highly conducive to the interests of religion. He wished to establish a synagogue in an area where many wealthier Jews had settled (although this was contrary to the Ascamot of Bevis Marks, which specified that no branch synagogues should be set up), and introduced a shorter serv? ice with more English to retain the younger members of the community. The new service provided a more easily understood and anglicized Judaism. As previously mentioned, the Reverend Philip Magnus of West London became the first Jewish clerical JP; his father-in-law, Emanuel Emanuel, was also a JP. The United Synagogue brought together existing Orthodox London synagogues by act of Parliament in 1870. Its structure was influenced by the 67 Raphael Samuel, East End Underworld (London, Boston and Henley 1981) 133. 65</page><page sequence="22">Ann Ebner Church of England and it was, as now, the synagogue to which the host community turned for a Jewish religious viewpoint on major events. Rothschild, Salomons and Cohen were all heavily involved, and its commit? tees dealt with problems in the Jewish community. Towards the end of the century, in 1887, after many tiny chevras were started by new immigrants, Samuel Montagu JP established the Federation of Synagogues to give a voice to Orthodox immigrants. The key bodies dealing with the problems and issues faced by a small minority community following the influx of persecuted refugees at the end of the century were the Board of Guardians and the Board of Deputies. The Board of Guardians had been founded in 1859 to centralize and modernize the relief of the poor, previously undertaken by the largest synagogues. The Board's policy was to ensure that 'no person of the Jewish community need now suffer absolute hunger' and that the number of Jews brought before magistrates for begging and destitution should be greatly reduced. Relief was not automatic and enquiries and a six-month residency qualification were expected before relief was given. In its first report the point is made that what keeps the poor 'poor indeed' are their homes. There is a great understanding of the evils which poor housing causes - 'unfavourable to moral culture or religious training, the father spiritless stays away from home, - the child neglected seeks evil company . . ,'.68 In 1869 Henry Isaacs was chairman of the Board of Guardians. Following the passing of the Public Health Act of 1848, JPs had statutory responsibilities for dealing with violations of Housing and Sanitary Laws. The Jewish JPs on the Board of Guardians and Board of Deputies, aware of the criminal implications of such violations, played an active role in setting up their own Housing and Sanitary Committee after the Royal Commission on Housing in 1884. There are appalling pictures of Jewish slum housing, with seven or eight people living in one room, for example, and '1621 out of 1741 toilet closets not provided with any arrangement for flushing with water'.69 The Board of Guardian's sanitary inspectors wrote to bad land? lords and, if there was no improvement, sent details to the Board of Works, who could prosecute them. One Jewish landlord, Gershon Harris, had more than a hundred notices served on him by sanitary inspectors and was prosecuted more than eighty times.70 The Council of the United Synagogue recognized that improvements in the dwellings of the poor were needed, and in 1885 an East End Enquiry Scheme was set up under the chairmanship of Nathan Rothschild JP. The 68 David Englander, A Documentary History of Jewish Immigrants in Britain (1994) 40. 69 David Schloss, 'Healthy Homes for the Working Class' The Fortnightly Review 49, NS 43 (1888)533. 70 J. White, The Rothschild Buildings (London 1980) 64. 66</page><page sequence="23">The first Jewish magistrates report reiterated the view of the Guardians that 'immigrants must be angli? cised upon arrival to imbibe notions proper to civilised life in this country'. A parallel report suggested that a company should be set up to provide healthy homes for the Jewish poor, and as a result the 4 per cent Industrial Dwellings Company was set up. Its first model residences became the Charlotte Rothschild Dwellings in Flower and Dean Street in the East End. Samuel Montagu, a fellow committee member and tireless activist for improved housing, also supported a new housing development near White Hart Lane in Tottenham, north London, providing some dispersal from the East End. Montagu and other magistrates saw how poor housing affect? ed crime, as in the case of Leah Goldberg who violently attacked Leah Bondy, a lodger in the same house, cutting her head with a chopper.71 In another case, Rebecca Keinberg burst into the room of Fanny Levy, her tenant who refused to leave despite owing three weeks' rent, and attacked her with a poker while sleeping.72 In 1888 the Local Government Act introduced new elected county coun? cils for England, removing the administrative role of county JPs, but retain? ing their judicial powers. A new Justices Commission for the County (not City) of London was also introduced. However, since the appointment of the first Jewish county JPs, the social composition of the county benches had not changed. County JPs remained a wealthy landowning elite, and this was no different in the new county of London, where the mayor and City aldermen sat with barons, army officers and peers. Two further Jewish JPs - Sydney Stern MP, nephew of Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, and Samuel Montagu, later Lord Swaythling, MP for Whitechapel - were appointed for the county of London. Following the introduction of this act, three out of the 120 justices in Buckingham were Jews, all of them Rothschilds. In Sussex, Sir Frances Montefiore and Alfred Henriques served on the Commission of the Peace; in Kent, Sir Charles Jessel and Sir George Jessel (the first Jewish Master of the Rolls); in Middlesex, Sir Henry de Worms, Baron George de Worms, Sir David Lionel Salomons (nephew and heir to Sir David, who died child? less), Joseph Sebag-Montefiore and Sir Julian Goldsmid MP. These county magistrates were a select elite, like their Christian contem? poraries, many the sons and grandsons of justices and powerful in the land. They lived extravagant lifestyles, attending parties with Queen Victoria and socializing in the highest reaches of English society, remote from the major? ity of the population and certainly from the poorest Jewish immigrant pop? ulation. Nevertheless, they shared a dominant belief that having wealth and power brought duties and responsibility to the poor. For instance, when 71 East London Advertiser 2 January 1899,3. 72 Ibid. 16 September 1899, 7. 67</page><page sequence="24">Ann Ebner Ferdinand de Rothschild married his cousin Evelina, the newspapers not only described the society wedding of the year, at which the First Lord of the Admiralty gave a toast to the family, but also stated that a large sum was donated to the Jewish and Buckinghamshire poor. Each of the first Jewish county justices was a delegate to the other impor? tant Anglo-Jewish institution, the Board of Deputies. The Devonshire JP Emanuel Lousada, a delegate from Bevis Marks, Emanuel Emanuel and Charles Mozley of Liverpool were also delegates. The Board was largely responsible for attempting to solve another group of crimes which came before magistrates - those concerned with violations of the Sunday Trading and Factory Acts. This was largely because the restrictions on Sunday trad? ing were onorous to Orthodox Jews who did not work on Saturday and had to finish early on Friday in the winter. From the appointment of the first Jewish JP, Moses Montefiore, the president of the Board of Deputies was a JP. The only exception was Arthur Cohen QC, the son of Benjamin Cohen JP. The Deputies' Law and Parliamentary Committee scrutinized all legisla? tion affecting Jews, negotiating with governmental bodies for changes when necessary, but upholding the law of the land. It was David Salomons who in 1871 introduced an amendment to the Factory Acts, stating that when an occupier was a Jew who shut a factory on Saturday, he could work until 2 pm on Sunday. However, factory owners were warned that violations lead? ing to court appearances would not be supported by the Board. Likewise irregular marriages, valid in Jewish Law but not English law, would not be supported in court. The law of the land would prevail. Another issue which emerged from the appearance of Jews in court was that of interpreters. Many of those accused of crime had a poor command of English, and magistrates' court proceedings were to a great extent incom? prehensible to Yiddish speakers. Leah Gealish, for instance, who appeared at Thames Police Court on the serious charge of stabbing Harris Abraham, needed an interpreter,73 as did Sarah Greenwood74 who had assaulted a lit? tle boy. At a meeting of the Law and Parliamentary Committee in October 1806, under the chairmanship of Joseph Sebag-Montefiore JP, it was agreed that there should be an official interpreter for the East End County Court and police courts. The money was to come from the Board of Deputies and the Russo-Jewish Committee, whose chairman was Samuel Montagu.75 Further research is needed on the definition of a 'professing'Jew. For the one legal barrier to Jewish advancement before 1868 was the unacceptable 73 East London Observer n February 1888. 74 East London Advertiser 6 May 1889. 75 Minutes of the Parliamentary and Law Committee of the Board ofDeputies 15 Oct. 1896. 68</page><page sequence="25">The first Jewish magistrates form of the religious oath. During the Victorian era it was expected that people had a religious identity and that this would be in most cases Church of England. A minority might belong to Catholic or Nonconformist Churches, but it was unacceptable to identify with no religious group. In this context Jews could identify themselves as 'professing', and as part of the Jewish community. This did not mean, of course, that the first Jewish justices were necessarily observant Jews, since this would have presented an insurmountable barrier to social relationships with their Gentile peers. There would also have been insufficient contact for the appointment of a Jewish JP to have been considered. It would be generally accepted, howev? er, that a 'religious' Jew would refrain from work on Saturday and festivals, observe the dietary laws, belong to and attend synagogue, give charity and marry within the faith. As far as their judicial duties are concerned, the Court Registers, particu? larly of the Mansion House, show clearly when the lord mayor sat as a mag? istrate, each Register being dated and signed. Interestingly, each Jewish lord mayor dealt with court matters on Saturday. The three most solemn dates in the Jewish year, including the two days of New Year and the Day of Atonement, fall on various Gregorian dates in September or October due to the luni-solar nature of the Jewish calendar. On Tuesday 30 September 1856, the first day of New Year 5617, David Salomons presided over the Lord Mayor's Court where there was a full list, again on the following day and on 9 October, Yom Kippur. Benjamin Phillips was in court on Yom Kippur on 19 September 1866.76 Sir Henry Isaacs was not in court, but, as already indicated, he presided infrequently, although he was there almost every Saturday. His absences were always covered by aldermen, demon? strating that it was acceptable to do so. Presence in court on these days indi? cates a gap between being a 'professing' and an 'observant' Jew. It was clearly identifying oneself as a Jew, rather than the restrictions imposed by Orthodox Jewish life, that impeded Jewish judicial and civic advancement. Sir George Faudel-Phillips, who did sit almost every day, was in court neither on the first day of the Jewish New Year 5658 (27 September 1897), nor on Wednesday 6 October, the Day of Atonement. Sir Marcus Samuel, who became lord mayor in 1902 and kept a daily calendar of his mayoralty including full details of all his court sessions, slept at the Langham Hotel on 10 October so that he could walk to the services at Great Portland Street Synagogue on Yom Kippur. 'I fasted all day', he wrote for his entry on that date.77 76 E. H. Lindo, A Jewish Calendar for Sixty Four Years (London 1838). Dr Aron Landy, Luach, computer programme for determining dates and times of Jewish Sabbaths and festivals (1998). 77 'The Diary of Marcus Samuel' MS 10590, Guildhall Library. 69</page><page sequence="26">Ann Ebner The fact that both David Salomons and Benjamin Phillips presided in court on Yom Kippur poses interesting questions on the nature of being Jewish. Salomons was the key architect of Jewish civic emancipation, 'as an individual of the Jewish faith, standing for a particular office, fighting to remove any obstacles of ineligibility to filling that office with distinction'.78 He fought a long battle to become a JP, sheriff, alderman, lord mayor and MP, 'while at the same time remaining loyal to the traditional demands of Judaism and the interests of Jews elsewhere'. What were those 'traditional demands' of Judaism? To be able to practise their religion freely was funda? mental. It therefore appears remarkable that David Salomons and Benjamin Phillips chose to preside in court on the most important date in the Jewish religious calendar. George Faudel-Phillips (son of Benjamin) and Sir Marcus Samuel did not sit on court on the High Holy days, but it is impossible to know their reasons. Yet it may not be a coincidence that their mayoralties occurred after the large influx of Jews from Eastern Europe, many of them religious? ly observant. When Henry Isaacs became lord mayor in 1889, Lord Mayor's Day, tra? ditionally on 9 November, fell on a Saturday. The City Press subsequently commented on the 'controversy respecting the observance of the Jewish Sabbath, which has arisen, a controversy into which one not of the faith cannot enter'.79 The lord mayor and alderman were those who clearly demonstrated that Jews could become acculturated and leaders in English society. They offered a dream to the thousands of poor Jews who were set? tling into the East End of the City. Men like Faudel-Phillips and later Marcus Samuel were among the lay leaders of the Jewish community. Perhaps they recognized that their influ? ence could not be imposed entirely from above. By sharing religious obser? vance and appearing in synagogue, rather than court, on the High Holy days, they could have a greater impact on the immigrant Jewish poor. In 1905 the Aliens Act restricted Jewish immigration, deporting any Jew who committed crimes, was a charge on the state or who had been charged with a non-political crime in his country before he left. Despite the efforts of the Board of Deputies many individuals were refused entry. Jewish JPs considered it their duty to offer leadership to the general and Jewish community. There is no doubt that they comprised a tiny number of wealthy and integrated Jews, and formed part of the oligarchicy from which magistrates were appointed in Victorian England. They would have wel? comed the report that William Deedes, chairman of the East Kent Quarter 78 M. C. N. Salbstein, The Emancipation of the Jews in Britain (London 1982) 244. 79 City Press 13 November 1889, 2. 70</page><page sequence="27">The first Jewish magistrates Sessions (where David Salomons and Moses Montefiore sat), presented in January 1845,tnat 'by means of education and greater attention being paid to the condition of the lower orders, every inducement to crime would be removed'.80 They considered that the Jewish community would benefit from being anglicized and as little different from the Gentile community as possible. Later they were concerned that their own hard-won acceptance would be compromised by poor, alien, Orthodox, Yiddish-speaking Jews. Current research suggests that the Anglo-Jewish elite 'repressed' the immi? grant community by imposing their institutions and structure, and pre? vented them from developing their own responses to their situation.81 This is a complex issue and much of the literature does not take into account the historical context in which these men lived and acted. The issues of religious beliefs, practices, cultural cohesion and minority status still exist today. If Jewish JPs had not been aware of the connections between crime and poverty and tried to do something about them, it seems unlikely that anyone else would have. Such a minority would not have found it easier to establish and adapt itself to a new country without leadership. The end of the First World War saw the beginnings of a welfare state, the development of socialism and enfranchisement for some women. In iQio the Justices of the Peace (Qualification of Women) Bill was introduced and on 23 December became the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act. It enabled women to be appointed to the Commissions of the Peace and to various other offices. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Birkenhead, set up a committee to recommend suitable women candidates for appointment to benches throughout England and Wales.82 There were three Jewish women among the first appointments. Those appointed on 1 January 1920 were Nettie Adler, daughter of the Chief Rabbi, appointed for her work as a member of the London County Council and National Council of Women; Lily Montagu (daughter of Samuel Montagu), founder and chairwoman of the National Organization of Girls Clubs and member of the Central Committee on Women's Employment (and founder of Liberal Judaism); and Marion Phillips, from Melbourne, General Secretary of the Women's Labour League, Organizing Secretary of the Women's Trade Union League, Labour Party Advisory Committee on Government and Army and Navy Pensions. Marion Phillips was subsequently elected as the first Jewish female MP. As David Salomons had fought for recognition of each Jew's right to be appointed to public office if he was suitable, so the suffragettes fought for 80 The Canterbury Journal 6 January 1845, 4. 81 One example is Mordechai Rozin, The Rich and the Poor (Brighton 1999). 82 The full list is reproduced in Sir Thomas Skyrme, History of the Justices of the Peace XII Appendix 5 (Chichester 1991). 7i</page><page sequence="28">Ann Ebner the rights of women to be so appointed. It had taken nearly 700 years for the first professing Jew to sit as a magistrate, but Jewish women were among the first women justices of the peace.83 APPENDIX Not every Jewish mayor and JP has been mentioned here. The latter are numerous, and it is not always possible to discover the precise date on which they were added to the Commission of the Peace since nineteenth century Returns to Parliament of Justices of the Peace are incomplete. The mayors include the following: Simon Magnus was elected mayor of Queenborough in Kent in 1858, i860 and 1862. There is no evidence of his sitting as a magistrate (despite research in the Kent archives), perhaps because Queenborough was one of the boroughs without its own Commission of the Peace and justices in adja? cent quarter sessions sat as magistrates for the borough. The mayor could not sit in quarter sessions. Magnus died young and the Chatham Memorial Synagogue in Rochester was donated by his father in his memory. Joseph Abrahams, mayor of Bristol in 1865-6, fell ill soon after taking office, but did sit as a justice. 'His Worship was sworn on the Pentateuch and throughout the ceremony wore his hat in accordance with Jewish cus? tom'.84 He died in 1867. Moses Abrahams, mayor of Grimsby in 1001, was the son of the first recorded Jewish settler in Grimsby. He was in shipping, active in Jewish and Grimsby charities and a founder of the Grimsby Philanthropic Society. Charles Mozley, mayor of Liverpool 1865, was chairman of a large bench of nearly 100 magistrates and listed as a banker. He was president of the Hebrew Schools in Liverpool from 1854 to 1856 and a delegate to the Board of Deputies. The family correspondence records gifts of turtle and lobster (both forbidden under Jewish law) being sent by mail coach to Bristol. Mozley celebrated major Jewish festivals, but did not adhere to day-to-day religious observance.85 83 It was not until 1993 that Joyce Rose JP was elected the first Jew to chair the Magistrates Association. 84 Bristol Mirror Western Daily Press, n November 1865. 85 See Judith Samuel, Jews in Bristol, Bristol 1997. 72</page><page sequence="29">The first Jewish magistrates The early JPs in cities which later became centres of Jewish life include the following: Jacob Jacobs, an outstanding entrepreneur in the jewellery trade, was the first Jewish JP in Birmingham. 'As a magistrate he was the terror of the peaky blinders (so called from the long peaks of their caps which they pulled down over their heads to escape detection), wife beaters and other ruffians of the period.' However, his severity in court was tempered outside by acts of kindness and he would distribute plum pudding to the poor at Christmas.86 He was soon joined by John Phillips, a member of the city council, prominent communal worker and president of the Birmingham Hebrew Congregation. Phillips was visiting justice to local prisons in Birmingham and the county of Warwick. Alfred Harris was the first Irish Jew to be appointed to the Commission of the Peace in 1882 in Dublin. His father, Lewis Harris, died on the eve of his appointment there as lord mayor when he would have been an ex-officio JP. In Jewish Year Book for 1897-8, Marinus de Groot, a cork merchant and president of the Jewish congregation, and Maurice Solomons, an opti? cian and later optician to the Royal Family, were JPs. Solomons was also a prominent freemason and is named in James Joyce's Ulysses. Morris Harris, an antique dealer, who had come from Portsmouth in about i860 and was one of the founders of the Adelaide Road Synagogue, was also a JP.87 In Glasgow, Michael Simons, a fruit merchant active in the Jewish Board of Guardians and a freemason, was a JP for the Glasgow City County and County of Lanark. In the growing Jewish community of Leeds (10,000 in 1896) there does not appear to have been a single JP. Benjamin Goodman is listed in the Justices' Returns, but I have found no further information about him. Paul Hirsch, who is given as the first Jewish JP in 1899, had been active in the Jewish community and was president of the Leeds Board of Guardians. When he died he chose to be cremated, which is not permissible in Jewish law and was considered an outrage at that time.88 In Liverpool, Baron Lewis Benas, stock and share broker, was appointed JP in 1885. He was involved in many communal activities and his family played a significant part in Liverpool Jewish history. George Behrend, a merchant, was appointed JP in 1882. He and Benas were managers of the Liverpool Jewish Schools. E. W. Yates, also a JP, served on a committee for clothing necessitous boys. 86 Zoe Josephs, Birmingham Jewry\ 1749 to 1914 (Manchester 1980) 93. 87 See Louis Hyman, The Jews of Ireland (London, Jerusalem 1972. 88 See Ernest Krausz, Leeds Jewry: Its History and Social Structure (Cambridge 1964) 27 n. 2. 73</page></plain_text>

bottom of page