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The Jubilee of Political Emancipation

<plain_text><page sequence="1">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. COMMEMORATION DINNER. Under the auspices of the Jewish Historical Society of England a dinner was held on Monday, November 30, 1908, at the Trocadero Restaurant, Piccadilly Circus, London, W., to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Acts in July 1858, enabling Jews to sit in Parliament. The Rev. S. Levy, M.A., President of the Society, occupied the chair, and there were also present: The Chief Rabbi and Mrs. Adler, Miss Levy, the Haham, the Right Hon. Herbert Samuel, M.P., and Mrs. Samuel, Sir Isidore Spielmann, C.M.G., Sir Edward Sassoon, M.P., Alderman Henry Hart, Rev. H. and Mrs. Cohen, Rev. C. and Mrs. Davies, Rev. W. and Mrs Esterson, Rev. H. and Mrs. Goodman, Rev. R. and Mrs. Harris, Rev. L. and Mrs. Mendelsohn, Rev. D. and Mrs. Wasserzug, Revs. S. Blachman, Dayan A. Feldman, Pro? fessor Dr. H. Gollancz, Morris Joseph, W. Levin, N. Peckar, I. Samuel, J. F. Stern, and W. Stoloff, Dr. T. Gregory and Mrs. Foster, Dr. William and Mrs. Hunt, Drs. A. B?chler, J. I. Jaffe, and Charles Singer, Mr. and Mrs. I. Abrahams, Mr. and Mrs. J. Dreyfuss, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Franklin, Mr. and Mrs. Alex. Gollancz, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Goodman, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Harris, Mr. and Mrs. Percy Hart, Mr. and Mrs. S. Kutner, Mr. and Mrs. George Levy, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Meiler, Mr. and Mrs. Simon Myers, Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Simon, Mr. and Mrs. 0. Stettauer, Mr. and Mrs. J. Trenner, Mr. and Mrs. Gustave Tuck, Mr. and Mrs. L. Weisberg, Mrs. Arnold Gabriel, Mrs. Julius Wolff, the Misses Abrahams, F. Barnett, Barnett, Gollancz, Isabel Levy, S. Lewis, Loewe, Sybil Tuck, Walter, Wolff, Messrs. Lionel Abrahams, C.B., E. N. Adler, Piza Barnett, C. van Biema, M. Bender, A. L. Birnstingl, S. Brodetsky, Maurice Brodzky, H. H. Eliascheff, B. A. Fersht, E. L. Franklin, Bertram A. Gabriel, Leon Gaster, B. Grad, Moss Harris, Sam. L. Harris, H. S. Q. Henriques, C. S. Henry, M.P., I. W. Jacobs, Mayer Klang, Harry Levy, Hyam Levy, Tobias Lewis, Herbert Loewe, J. R. Michael, S. H. Michael, Isidore Morris, L. A. Nathan, S. J. Nathan, C. 88</page><page sequence="2">SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH. DR. LUSHINGTON. SIR ROBERT INGLIS. WILLIAM COBBETT.</page><page sequence="3">TUE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 89 Nissim, F. H. Harvey Samuel, Albert L. Samuell, D. S. Sassoon, Oswald J. Simon, Lewis Solomon, Israel Solomons, Adolph Tuck, Desmond Tuck, Joseph Victor, Ernest L. Walford, Lionel D. Walford, and Joseph Wolff. Grace was said by the Chairman. After the loyal toasts had been duly honoured, the Chairman read the following letters: From The Right Hon. H. H. Asquith, M.P. 10 Downing Street, Whitehall, S.W., November 18, 1908. Dear Sir,?The Prime Minister directs me to request you to express to your Society his great regret that he will not be able to be present him? self at your dinner on the 30th of this month, which commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Acts of 1858, enabling Jews to sit in Parliament. I am further to ask you to convey to your Society Mr. Asquith's sincere congratulations on this occasion, and his best wishes for the future of your Society.?I am, yours faithfully, Mark Sturgis. The Rev. S. Levy, M.A., President, The Jewish Historical Society of England. From Tfte Right Hon. A. J. Balfour, M.P. 4 Cablton Gardens, Pall Mall, S.W., November 26, 1908. Dear Mr. Levy,?I am very sorry not to be able to take part in the Banquet to be held on Monday next. Every one of the fifty years which have elapsed since 1858 has given fresh proof?if fresh proof were needed?of the patriotism, the generosity, and the public spirit of the great community who in that year were too tardily admitted to the full rights of citizenship. ?With every congratula? tion, believe me, yours very truly, Arthur James Balfour. From Sir George Trevelyan. Wellington, Cambo, Morpeth, November- 13,1908. Dear Mr. Levy,?I am much interested, and very highly honoured, by the invitation which you have conveyed to me from the Jewish Historical Society of England. I regret much that I shall be in Northumberland on</page><page sequence="4">90 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. the day named, and I am not able, for several reasons, to come to and from London at that time. The pleasure given me by the invitation was enhanced by the reference to Macaulay in your letter. I possess an object on which I set much store. It is a small gold snuff-box, with this inscription: " To Thomas Babington Macaulay, the stedfast Advocate of Religious Liberty, as a token of affection? ate regard from his friend, Isaac L. Goldsmid." I am sure that the gift must have greatly pleased the young politician. ?I remain, yours very faithfully, George O. Trevelyan. From Mr. Charles Trevelyan, M.P. Board of Education, Whitehall, London, S.W., November 19, 1908. Dear Sir,?I am extremely disappointed to have to refuse your ex? tremely interesting invitation to the fiftieth Anniversary Banquet. But I am forced to anticipate that the Education Bill will be under discussion in the House of Commons on Monday week. If that is so, I cannot possibly leave the House, even for so attractive and important an object as to join in your celebration of the Charter of Equality which Lord Macaulay did so much to obtain. After these fifty years of experience we can say with certainty that none of the dangers have been realised which were prophesied, while the public advantages urged by the supporters of the reform are now univer? sally acknowledged. In each Parliamentary generation we have great figures in the Government and outside who would never have been allowed to serve their country but for the admission of Jews to the House of Commons. Nor is there any country in the world where the Jews are more really secure in the goodwill of their fellow-countrymen than here in England.?Yours very truly, Charles Trevelyan. The Chairman announced that messages of congratulation on the anniversary had also been received from Lord Rothschild, Lord Swayth ling, the Bishop of Ripon, the Earl of Crewe, the Earl of Rosebery, Viscount Milner, Viscount Morley, Lord Reay, Baron de Worms, the Right Hon. Winston S. Churchill, M.P., the Right Hon. D. Lloyd George, M.P., Mr. S. H. Butcher, M.P., Mr. Rufus Isaacs, M.P., Sir Maurice Levy, M.P., Sir Philip Magnus, M.P., Mr. Alfred Mond, M.P., Mr. Horatio Myer, M.P., Mr. Herbert H. Raphael, M.P., Mr. Stuart M. Samuel, M.P., Mr. B. S. Straus, M.P., Lord Hugh Cecil, Sir Benjamin L. Cohen, Sir Otto Jaffe, Sir George Faudel Phillips, Sir Marcus Samuel,</page><page sequence="5">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 91 Mr. G. Carey Foster, Mr. Alfred W. Harris (Dublin), Mr. Claude G. Montefiore, Mr. Leopold de Rothschild, and Mr Lucien Wolf. Mr. Israel Abrahams, M.A., then proposed "The cause of Civil and Religious Liberty " in the following terms : We are met to celebrate the jubilee of the passing of the Acts which enabled Jews to sit in Parliament. It was a right which was not readily granted, nor was it easily obtained. Catholic emancipation was complete in 1829, and nothing seemed more logical than that Jewish emancipa? tion should follow. Accordingly, in the following year, 1830, Mr. Robert Grant, to whose memory let us to-night pay due homage, introduced the first Jewish Emancipation Bill; but to the surprise of many, the friends of the measure did not have the walk-over they expected. To us, the most surprising thing is the surprise of the advocates of the reform. For the opposition was very natural, and no reasonable Jew would pronounce it otherwise. Parliament had admitted Dissenters, thereby denying the claim of the House of Commons to be a Church of England Parliament. It had just admitted Roman Catholics, thereby precluding itself from call? ing itself a Protestant Parliament. Let it, at all events, continue to call itself a Christian Parliament. Soon, however, the House of Commons, glancing round its own benches and noticing who and what some of the members were who were admitted under the existing oath, could not but perceive that the notion that the House of Commons was a Christian House was a mere fiction already untrue in fact, and so the Commons surrendered the fiction and passed the Emancipation Bill. But for nearly thirty years the House of Lords refused to look facts in the face. The policy of restriction dies hard. Rampart after rampart had been cap? tured, but the Peers stood firm in the last ditch. In one of his excellent pamphlets, Francis Goldsmid compared to Niobe's lament this cry of the Lords for the preservation of the last vestige of exclusion: " Spare ye the least," she cried, "for all the rest is past, Of all I loved, oh, spare the least and last." And so the House of Lords fought for the least and last of the vestiges of exclusion. One could not but admire the spirit in which our fathers fought the battle that faced them. Never once did they try to gain favour by sacrificing a jot of their Judaism. Never once, when the argument was thrown in their teeth, did they disclaim the then all but</page><page sequence="6">92 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. universal belief of the Jews in their restoration to Palestine. On that side of the campaign our fathers needed no outside advice. Their only guides were their consciences and their honour. But when it came to questions of tactics, they were very efficiently coached by Lord Holland. This lineal descendant of Charles Fox gave Isaac Lyon Goldsmid a piece of advice. "Do not claim your rights," he said, " earn them." And so our fathers set about earning them. They won civic equality by show? ing themselves possessed of civic virtues. In every municipal office, in? cluding that of sheriff, alderman, lord mayor, they proved themselves eminently possessed of the will and capacity to serve the State. Then said Lord Holland, " Go one step further." He knew that whilst it was the genius of France, as at the time of the Revolution, to move in the interests of abstract right, it was equally the genius of England to move for the redressing of concrete wrong. " Let a Jew get elected to Par? liament; then let him demand the right to sit there." So in 1847 Baron Lionel de Rothschild stood for the City of London as the colleague of the Prime Minister, and was returned to the House. Here is the second point of which we may well be proud. The City of London and the country stood nobly by the Jews. For eleven years the City preferred to be partly disfranchised rather than go back on its choice of Baron Rothschild. The dispute was conducted on the whole with exceptional fairness. Even Sir Robert Inglis, the protagonist of the opposition, was almost as generous as Macaulay himself in lauding the personal virtues of the Jews, but, seizing a phrase coined by an anonymous pamphleteer, Inglis cried: 44We must not un-Christianise the House of Commons." That was the stock argument for thirty years, that to remove from the oath the final phrase, " On the true faith of a Christian/* was to un Christianise the House. The retort was simple. No oath would secure that those who uttered it were truly Christians, though it did tempt one here and there to act the hypocrite in professing himself a Christian. But the struggle was really fought on higher ground. The morality? and if you prefer to call it so, the religion?of a legislature depends not on its oaths but on its acts; and those acts, in the final resort, are the outcome of public opinion. It is the soundness and the idealism of public opinion, not the formulae of a parliament, that decide whether the legislature is moral and religious or not. As the American physician quoted by Dr. Osier exclaimed : " God save me from a country without</page><page sequence="7">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 93 religion and from a government with it." If the shade of Sir Robert Inglis, the Tory representative of a Tory University, could have revisited his old haunts this year, the jubilee of the passing of Acts which "un Christianised" the House of Commons by admitting Jews within its sacred portals, if he could have revisited Westminster, he would have seen Mr. Herbert Samuel, the Jew, steering with debating skill and moral enthusiasm the Children's Bill, a Bill which the House of Lords has to-day passed, the Bill to safeguard the lives and happiness of those concerning whom that other olden Jew, the Founder of Christianity, said: " Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." Thus have Jewish members of Parliament "un Christianised " the Legislature. And now, one final thought presses itself on us to-night. Our fathers fought for their rights and won them, but with Jews victory is never the end of a campaign ; it is only the beginning. We are never secure in the enjoyment of a right if we do not go on earning it. We must illustrate the wise saying of Goethe : "Was du ererbt von deinen V?tern hast, Erwirb es, um es zu besitzen " ("What thou from thy fathers hast inherited, be sure thou earn it, that it may truly be thine "). Ours is a great and serious inheritance. What was the importance of parliamentary emancipation to us 1 It was, as has well been said, the only way in which Jews could be recognised, beyond cavil and doubt, as full members of the British Empire. A right was substituted for an indulgence. Some say that we Jews are undignified when we parade our gratitude for a mere act of justice. But let us think how bright would look the faces of the Russian and Roumanian Jewries for just such a mere act of justice. Justice is so much the highest and the rarest expression of human nature, that no signal experience of it should be received or recalled without emotion. There is no ghetto bend in the humility which bows before the just man as the emanation of the Divine. And so I submit this toast, in gratitude to England for justice to her Jewish sons, in honour of those true Christians who fought our cause, in generous respect for the honest but mistaken convictions of those who opposed our emancipation, and finally, in loving memory of that noble band of Jews who, after a long and unfaltering struggle, won for us the victory we are now celebrating.</page><page sequence="8">94 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. The Chief Rabbi, who was the first to respond, said: When it was first announced that this dinner would be held, the old-world question was asked, " What mean ye by this service ? " Why not let bygones be bygones 1 Why recall the heart-burnings, the struggles and polemics of former days 1 Is our present age so free from contro? versies that we need revive disputes that have long been consigned to the limbo of oblivion %" An effective reply to this argument has been given in the able speech to which it has been our privilege to listen just now. And, indeed, the great principle of civil and religious liberty which we are assembled to honour is, unhappily, not yet so fully recognised throughout the civilised world that we should be justified in omitting to celebrate the jubilee of its triumph in this country. You, members of the Jewish Historical Society of England, are no doubt aware that we are a little beforehand in celebrating the jubilee of our emancipation this year. It is, of course, quite correct that in 1858 Baron Rothschild and Alderman Salomons took their seats in the House of Commons. But they did so only in virtue of a compromise. A special resolution had to be passed in every new Parliament to enable a person professing the Jewish faith to dispense with the form of oath which he could not con? scientiously take. This involved both a danger and a humiliation. For the Jew held his seat not as an absolute right but by sufferance. Would this not appear in our days as a survival of the yellow patch and the conical hat which the fanaticism of former ages had compelled him to wear? It was not until 1866, when the Parliamentary Oaths Act was passed, that perfect equality was established between Jew and Christian. Then, and not till then, was full effect given to the Mosaic ordinance which had been proclaimed three thousand years before: "Ye shall have one manner of law as well for the stranger as for one of your own country." Then, and not till then, did civil and religious equality be? come a blessed reality in this blessed land. I remember that at the time when the strife of tongues about our civil disabilities waxed loud, the question was asked of us, "You who are so anxious for your emancipa? tion, how would you act supposing that you possessed autonomy in your own country ? Would you admit Gentiles to political power % " History enables us to answer this question with no uncertain voice. From the eighth to the tenth century of the present era there existed a powerful and independent kingdom on the western shores of the Caspian Sea, the</page><page sequence="9">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 95 kingdom of the Chazars. Both king and subjects had embraced the Jewish faith. Contemporary historians tell us of the perfect tolerance which prevailed in that kingdom. Chief authority next to that of the sovereign was vested in a tribunal which was composed of seven persons, two Jews, two Christians, two Mahometans, and one Pagan. And we are assured that there was an entire absence of all sectarian animosities. It is indeed a far cry from that petty tribunal in a semi-civilised state to the august mother of parliaments. Higher gifts of eloquence than any that I could command are needed worthily to pour tray the majesty of the great Council of the realm?the mainstay of England's glory, whose will is the motive force, whose laws constitute the sheet-anchor of the State. When James I. prepared to receive a deputation from the House of Commons, he ordered that gilded chairs be placed for the members, for, said he, " there are so many kings coming to me." Indeed, Parliament has achieved great things for the progress, the prosperity, and the safety of the realm. To us Jews it must appear a right worthy celebration of the jubilee that a brother in faith, my right honourable friend the Under? secretary of State for Home Affairs, has just piloted through the House of Commons the Children's Bill, one of the most beneficent pieces of legislation of these days, the Children's Charter, the key-note of which is the salvation of the child, the Bill which by a happy coincidence was read a third time to-night in the House of Lords. The question has again and again been asked, Has our emancipation proved an absolute boon to us ? Is there no reason to apprehend that it may weaken the ties that bind us to our faith and our race % The experience of the past fifty years shows that such a danger undoubtedly does exist. It can only be averted by our whole-hearted fealty and consistency. The late Baron de Roth? schild said, on a memorable occasion, that our political privileges would indeed be dearly purchased if for their attainment we had to sacrifice one atom of our religious duties,?words which it behoves our Jewish members of Parliament present and future to take to heart. I had the privilege on Wednesday last to listen to the debate on the new Education Bill. The characteristic which most deeply impressed me was the spiritual earnestness, the sense of the value of religious instruction which pervaded the utterances of speakers on both sides of the House. I trust that a similar earnestness animates our own members. My late arrival here this evening, for which I crave your indulgence, was due to the fact that</page><page sequence="10">96 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. I was detained by a consultation with the Jewish members of Parliament who, I rejoice to say, are acting in concert to safeguard the vital interests of the children of our working classes?interests which are so gravely affected by the measure now before the House. By such harmonious and zealous action, they will indeed show themselves worthy of the emancipation which was achieved fifty years ago, for they will act in a manner that beseems them alike as Englishmen and as Jews. Mr. Herbert Samuel, M.P., also responded. He said that the toast was one of ancient fame, and up to as recently as thirty or forty years ago, whenever the friends of progress met together, the most honoured toast was that of " civil and religious liberty all over the world." If at the present time the toast was less frequently honoured, it was not because less importance was attached to it, but because in this country, at all events?it was sadly not so in some other parts of the world?the cause of civil and religious liberty had been won, and they were that evening celebrating the jubilee of one of the most signal victories of that cause. They were met not only to congratulate them? selves but to honour the memory of the men who had fought the battle. After all, the England of to-day was what the Englishmen of yesterday had made her. Over the gulf of the years they gratefully took the hands of the great men who fought that battle on behalf of the Jews of England, the men who pointed the way, Bentham, the Mills, Macaulay; the statesmen who led the fight, Palmerston and Russell; the Jews who were the protagonists in the struggle, Rothschild and Salomons. The story of the great campaign had been ably told by Mr. Henriques in his recent book on "The Jews and the English Law." What masses of pre? judice and folly those men had to fight against fifty years ago! The argument was continually advanced that a man could not be a good legislator unless he professed a certain religious creed. A certain Lord Abinger said in 1851 that the House of Lords might consider him an alarmist, but let them just imagine what the danger would be if Jews got into Parliament. Suppose as many as twelve Jews were returned to the House of Commons. They could easily associate with themselves twelve other Christian members, "and twenty-four men closely com? pacted together might, if they desired, dictate their own terms to the Government and command whatever places and offices they chose." In the last debate on the third reading of the Bill in 1858 in the House of</page><page sequence="11">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 97 Commons, the member who moved its rejection, Mr. Warren, said the consequence would inevitably be a speedy disestablishment of the Church of England, and that the effect would be disastrous on the Government of India. Mr. Newdegate, a leading Tory member, said that by passing the Bill Parliament was handing England over to the Jesuits. If they were discontented with the happenings of their own times, perhaps the readiest cure was to turn to bygone days. The study of history was the best cure for pessimism. If there were follies to-day, the follies of yesterday were worse. Even the House of Lords, as they knew it, was the successor of a House of Lords even more obscurantist. But what, after all, had been the result of those fifty years ? Had those gloomy prophecies of disaster been fulfilled 1 The time that had elapsed was long enough to enable the country to judge. It was not for them, who were Jewish members of the House of Commons, to say that the State had gained by their presence there, however firmly convinced they might be that it was so. That they must modestly leave to others to testify, whilst hoping that they would lose no convenient opportunity of doing so. But this, at least, they might claim, that the Jewish members of Parliament had never urged the interests of a sect against the interests of the nation as a whole. The complaint was made in those long con? troversies of fifty years ago that the Jews were not patriotic, that they were too exclusive, that they refused to identify themselves with national concerns. The answer was given by Macaulay in his essay on the " Civil Disabilities of the Jews." He said : "It does not lie in the mouths of our rulers to say that any sect is not patriotic; their business is to make it patriotic." He preached the old doctrine, the true lesson, that if you sow liberty you will reap loyalty. And so it had been. The Jews of England, admitted to the full rights of citizenship, had assumed all the burdens of Englishmen. There had been an absolute identification in all national matters with the interests of England, and when the matter was put to the supreme test, the test of war, let it never be forgotten that the Jewish population of England sacrificed on the battlefields of South Africa a larger proportion of its sons than the remainder of the population of England. The Jewish Historical Society had done well to record the jubilee of the chief and final victory in a struggle which had lasted for centuries. The admission of Jews to Parliament was important in itself. It enabled members of the community to render VOL. VI. u</page><page sequence="12">98 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. service in the domain where service was most effective. The private individual must work with his own muscles. The legislator feels that he has his hand on the lever of a most powerful engine. But the admission of Jews to Parliament was not only important in itself. It was even more important as a symbol, for the removal of all barriers of exclusion from the path of individual Jews had strengthened the con? fidence of, and had lent an added dignity to the race itself. The Hah am likewise responded. He said that the festive gathering in which they took part that evening was of an unique character. They had not come together, as on other occasions, to increase the funds of any charity, or to contribute to its prosperity. They had come to com? memorate an historic event in the life of the Jews of this country, to read over once more a page of their annals, to rejoice in the achievement of the past, to survey the present and to look forward to the future, strengthened by such recollections and illumined by the lesson which such contemplation carried with it. He was glad, therefore, that the word "Jewish" was missing from the toast, for the commemoration was thereby lifted on to a much higher plane. The struggle was not one between Jew and Gentile ; it was between right and wrong, between liberty and persecution, for the position which a Jew occupied in any country was the touchstone of its moral conception and political eleva? tion. It was the final break with mediaeval prejudices, the removal of the last blot from the escutcheon of England that they were celebrating. The removal of civil and religious disabilities from the Jews had added not only to the dignity of the Jewish, but to that of the English race. But this period of fifty years is too short a span of time to cover the whole period of the fight for emancipation. He would ask them to follow him a little higher up the stream of tradition; it was a great tradition, too, of which he wished to remind them. The victory won fifty years ago was the last and concluding chapter in a long-drawn struggle. He was proud to think he was present that evening as the representative of the premier Jewish congregation, the Jews who had been the first to break the barrier of prejudice in this country over two hundred years ago, and who, in the middle of the eighteenth century, by undaunted courage, by dignity and by enthusiasm, fought for the removal of political disabilities. That they did not succeed completely was due to circum? stances over which they had no control. But it carried with it the lesson</page><page sequence="13">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 99 that any great end that was to be achieved could not be obtained by a rush, and on the other hand that temporary failures should not dismay them. Over and over again the battle for right and truth must be fought until the last rampart has been taken. It was also an incentive for the future. Let them not imagine that they were standing at the acme of civilisation, that liberties once won would always remain their patrimony, to be handed down to their children unimpaired. What they had achieved would not remain with them unless they worked for it. The security of the present was no guarantee for the future. History repeats itself in more than one way. The law of the swinging pendulum acted with the same force in political party life as in social organisation, perhaps less quickly but none the less surely. Perfervid religious or political enthusiasm might just as quickly turn to egotism and intoler? ance as it has turned to altruism and tolerance. Let us beware of trusting too much to the achievements of the past. What others have won for us we must try and keep, and if need be win again, if it is to abide with us. There was one great lesson still more to be learned from that commemoration. Whilst they were there enjoying the results of the fight carried on for many centuries in this country, they must remember that they were only a small scion of the great Jewish race, and that which was their possession to-day ought to be the possession of their brothers all the wide world over. If they possessed now the great advantage of being able to wield political power in this country it was not to be for the enhancement of their own position. By Divine Providence they had been placed in that position to utilise it for the benefit of those who could not fight their own battles and could not obtain their liberty. If they were to be worthy of the achievement of the past and of the liberties obtained for them, they must continue the fight in the same spirit for those who were depending on them, and it was in that manner that the commemoration that evening might be the symbol of liberty for their brethren all over the world. Sir Edward Sassoon, M.P., said that he felt highly privileged to respond to a toast which was fraught with such tender memories. All would agree that Mr. Abrahams had proposed it in a manner which showed a true appreciation of the circumstances of the struggle which ended in their political emancipation. Time pressed, or he might enlarge on the fact that in certain parts of Europe?civilised, progressive, enlightened</page><page sequence="14">100 Tlltt JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. Europe?the legislative outlook was darkened and rendered hideous by the existence of restrictions, statutes, and enactments which were worthy and redolent of the dark ages. But it was beginning to dawn on some of those States that no nation could afford, without lasting injury to itself, to uphold a state of things which was bound to react most detrimentally upon the welfare of that community as a whole. Let them hope that the success of the great measure of emancipation they were celebrating might prove a happy augury for the settlement of the education question, that the interests of the children would be at last recognised, and that a great peace would fall on the land. He endorsed the congratulations of the Chief Rabbi to Mr. Herbert Samuel for the statesmanlike way in which he had piloted the Children's Bill through the House of Commons. The more and more as opportunities were offered and Jews were able to fill useful offices and be of service to the State at home and abroad, the less the taunts levelled against them in former times would be justified. In all the arts of peace, in those high walks of learning and of the humanities which conduced to the raising of the social and intellectual condition of the State and on the stricken field, they could say that the Jews had shown themselves both worthy and capable of honourably bearing the burdens and enjoying the privileges of citizenship. The Rev. Morris Joseph, in further response to the toast, said: I understand that I am asked to respond to this toast as minister of the West London Synagogue. I readily comply with the invitation from a keen sense of its appropriateness, which I am fain to believe you all share, and not from any belief in my ability to make an adequate re? sponse. I regret that my venerable colleague, Professor Marks, who would have thrown from his well-stored memory many an interesting side? light upon the great fight for emancipation, is not here to perform the duty now devolving upon me. Both directly and indirectly the West London Synagogue has contributed largely to the promotion of the cause of civil and religious liberty. Isaac Lyon Goldsmid and Francis Gold smid, a noble father and an equally noble son?these, together with Lionel Rothschild and David Salomons, were the leaders in the historic struggle that was brought to a victorious close fifty years ago. And with them we may associate the honoured name of John Simon,the second Jew to be called to the English Bar, as Francis Goldsmid was the first. All three were prominent members of my synagogue. Isaac Lyon Goldsmid</page><page sequence="15">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION* 101 was amongst its earliest and most staunch supporters; his son was Warden at its establishment, and for many years its President of Council. Than John Simon no member more closely identified himself with its wellbeing. All worked with might and main for Jewish liberties, never sparing themselves, thinking chiefly of the cause, and making every other consideration subordinate to it. Certainly, as we have been lately told, they did advertise themselves, but in the best sense of the expression. They knew that, as O'Connell reminded Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, " they must force their question on Parliament," and that, in the words of Mr. Lionel Abrahams's able paper contributed to the Transactions of our Society, freedom even in England was not to be had for the asking. " Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow." And so they were always to the fore with their righteous demands, actuated by a single-minded regard, not for their own glory or the glory of their father's house, but for the good of the House of Israel?may I not say for the credit and the honour of England herself ? These men well de? served the title, given to their kind by our ancient liturgy, of roiDN of steadfast men, men of grit, who knew what they wanted, and laboured incessantly for its attainment, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left. And when at last they had accomplished their desire, and had won their seats in Parliament, they used their success as a vantage ground from which to agitate for the rights of the oppressed, both Jew and Gentile, in other lands. And with the performance of this splendid task I may associate yet another name?that of Julian Goldsmid, a lay head, like his venerated kinsman, Francis Goldsmid, of the West London Synagogue. Pillars of the community, these men were also pillars of their congregation. The enthusiasm which they evinced for the larger cause kept them true to the smaller. The love of freedom, the wide out? look, which made them the champions of the rights of their race, also attached them by unbreakable ties to the cause of religious progress. And so I reach my second point. Indirectly, and as a whole, my synagogue has done much for Jewish liberties. Its very existence?and I trust I shall offend nobody by saying it?has helped to secure them. For no community can rightly demand freedom from the larger com? munity of which it is a part unless it permits freedom to exist within its own confines?freedom of thought, even of religious thought. It is no accident that the struggle for Jewish emancipation coincided in point of</page><page sequence="16">102 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. time with the movement that resulted in the establishment of the West London Synagogue. The effort after religious reform and the battle for civil rights had a common source; they were connected intimately and organically. Nor is it an accident that the two movements were inspired and led by the same man. The first attempt at religious reform in our community dates from about the year 1826 ; it originated in the very citadel of English Judaism?the Great Synagogue itself. Some three years later a Jewish deputation, asking for Jewish emancipation, waited on the Duke of Wellington. The prime mover in both cases was Isaac Lyon Goldsmid. The agitation for religious reform proved, moreover, that there was an intellectual and spiritual awakening among the Jews, which itself constituted a plea for the civic freedom which they had begun to demand, They had to prove that they deserved their liberties, and one of the proofs was their ability to set free their own minds. And ever since that memorable time of storm and stress we English Jews have had to strengthen our title to the full rights of citizenship, to write our justification ever deeper upon the consciousness of Englishmen. And we have done so by our display of civic virtues indeed?by our law-abiding conduct, our philanthropy, our growing culture, but also?may I not say 1?by our increasing tolerance for each other's opinions. One of our most signal vindications of our claim to liberty is the disappearance of the animosities that marked the birth of English reform, and the recogni? tion by our community of the right of each individual to form and to realise his own conception of Judaism. The Chairman proposed " The Visitors." He said : It is one of the recognised duties of a Society like ours to help to refresh the historic sense by commemorating the anniversaries of note? worthy events in the destinies of our people, and pointing out their immediate significance and lasting effect. This practice has become so widely and firmly established that it might appear unnecessary to justify our decision to mark the jubilee of the admission of Jews into Parlia? ment by holding this banquet. But as you have already been told that the wisdom of our step has been questioned, let me endeavour to re? assure you by dealing, however briefly, with the objections which have been raised against our celebration. In the first place, attention has been called to the circumstance that, however slow in coming, the political emancipation granted to Jews in England was merely a natural</page><page sequence="17">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 103 incident in the extension of individual liberty and the vindication of freedom of opinion, which were two of the characteristic features of English legislation in the middle of the nineteenth century, and that therefore this particular Jewish element in a general principle demanded from us no special emphasis or recognition. I hope to convince you that this criticism contains within itself its own refutation. As students of history we are only too painfully conscious of the fact that there are countries where in the struggle for constitutional government the claims of our brethren to enjoy equality before the law are cruelly and deliber? ately ignored. Again, our researches remind us that Jews have frequently joined their neighbours and fought with courage and devotion on the side of liberty, but when freedom has at last been gained, the J ews have been deprived of the legitimate fruits of their labour and enthusiasm and self sacrifice, and have been compelled to submit to exceptional and degrading treatment. Further, there are lands where our co-religionists are the victims of oppression, and this persecution is pursued in grim violation of solemn pledges made to the Powers of Europe. And, finally, there are nations which boast of their enlightenment and progress, which in theory admit into the service of the state subjects of every race and creed, but which in actual practice neutralise without mercy the legal rights of Jews by social ostracism begotten of religious prejudice and intolerance. Therefore, with these facts before us, when we are told that the freedom we enjoy here forms an integral part of the freedom enjoyed by our fellow-citizens, and when we further recall that the great nation in whose midst we dwell has granted this liberty as a reality in daily life and not as a sham on the statute-book, then we are entitled to hold most strongly that these are the very reasons why the fiftieth anni? versary of an event of such vital importance should not be passed over in silence and indifference, but that its peculiar significance should make a successful appeal to our appreciation and gratitude. That is what I meant when I said that the first objection to our celebration contained within itself its own refutation. There are others who have adopted a second line of criticism. They maintain that when we rejoice in our possession of freedom, we thereby mock the misery of our brethren in less favoured lands. It is not difficult to show that this objection also provides its own answer. For what is the first and most immediate effect of our commemorating the</page><page sequence="18">104 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. acquisition of civil and religious freedom 1 Obviously we are at once impressed with the thought that although we have grown so thoroughly accustomed to liberty of conscience that we now regard its possession as a natural and inalienable right, it was not always thus even here, and is not everywhere thus now. It is not our pride which is fed. It is our sense of responsibility which is deepened. We make no boast that we in this country are the salt of Judaism, that we alone deserve emancipation. Rather do we feel the burden of the task which rests upon us of demon? strating to other nations that the State which grants its Jewish subjects equality before the law is rewarded in no stinted measure by their patrio? tism and public spirit. The real children of darkness are therefore those who enjoy the boon of emancipation, but try to cancel the memory of the very events which provided them with their opportunities for advancement. The real children of light are those who feel no shame in remembrance and in expressing their gratitude for the abolition of religious tests and the removal of political disabilities. Our rejoicing is not a satire on the plight of our less fortunate brethren. llather is it a message of hope, a message of hope which derives additional strength from the toast it is my privilege to propose. In the name of the Society which has organised this celebration, I have to extend a cordial welcome to those guests who have accepted our invitation to this festival dinner. We are proud to greet a scholar like the Rev. Dr. William Hunt, whose attainments as a historian have long called forth our admiration, whose name has long been familiar to us, and whom we are glad to meet face to face. I can assure Dr. Hunt that it is no empty flattery when I say that many of our brethren in lands of persecution will read of his presence on this occasion with infinite gratifi? cation, and invest it with a meaning far deeper than he probably ever imagined. For surrounded as they are by bigotry, what will surprise them and evoke their admiration will be the circumstance that at the same table the proposer of this toast is a Jewish Rabbi, the President for the time being of the Jewish Historical Society of England, and that the guest who will respond to the toast is a Christian clergyman, the Pre? sident for the time being of the Royal Historical Society. Thus can men of different creeds meet in peace and concord. We are also honoured to-night by the attendance of Dr. T. Gregory Foster, the Provost of University College, London. The University of London has borne an</page><page sequence="19">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 105 honourable part in the cause of Jewish emancipation. It has never placed any restrictions on the number of its Jewish students, and it has never imposed any religious tests. Furthermore, University College is now the home of our society, and I believe I am right when I say that no other university in the world extends a similar hospitality to a Jewish society. The presence, then, at our celebration of two gentlemen like Dr. Hunt and Dr. Gregory Foster is a great object-lesson in religious freedom. It is an encouragement to the fervent aspiration of our brethren, that while clinging tenaciously to their conception of the Divine, while remaining intensely loyal to their interpretation of the law of righteousness, while profoundly but conscientiously differing from their neighbours in the sphere of religion, the day may soon dawn for them when they, also, may be allowed to dwell with their fellow-country? men in a spirit of friendship and goodwill, and that when that happy understanding is once established it may nourish and endure for all time. And lastly, but none the less cordially, we welcome those guests of our own faith, those members of Parliament representing both political parties, who in the midst of a strenuous autumn session have devoted this evening to taking a personal part in our proceedings, in order to testify that in this dear England Jews can occupy positions of distinc? tion and honour in the State without having to sacrifice or even conceal their identity with their own brethren, the community of the House of Israel. The Rev. Dr. William Hunt (President of the Royal Historical Society), who responded, said : I thank you sincerely for the kind reception accorded to me, and am much indebted to the Jewish Historical Society for allowing me to share their hospitality on this interesting occasion. Conscious that I am here to some extent in a representative capacity, due to the office I have the honour to hold in the Royal Historical Society, I beg leave to express my respectful admiration of the work of the Jewish Historical Society of England. The volume of Transactions, which the kindness of our Chairman has given me the opportunity of studying, is a fine example of what the work of an historical society should be. And when we are reminded, as we are in Mr. Israel Abrahams's Presidential Address of 1904, that scientific research into Jewish history may be said to have begun in England, and not in England only, with the Anglo-Jewish</page><page sequence="20">106 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. Exhibition of 1887, we may well marvel at the excellence to which it has already attained, as evidenced by the exact learning of the paper on the "Jewry of the Restoration," by that distinguished scholar and man of letters, Mr. Lucien Wolf, by the late Mr. Singer's dissertation on the " Jews and Coronations," and by the light which the Chief Rabbi has thrown on the career of that mysterious and not very creditable person, the "Baal Shem of London." I might, indeed, refer to other papers, for the contents of the volume is no whit behind its get-up, and that is magnificent. The only fault to be found with the volume is that it stands for the transactions of five years. The Society has, indeed, produced other books, among them the important " Calendar of the Plea Rolls of the Ex? chequer of the Jews," by my friend Mr. Rigg, but the frequent and regular issue of Transactions is so necessary a means of keeping up the numbers of a learned society that I venture to hope that it will be adopted. The present volume is so good that it is only natural to ask for more. The difference between the old and the present scientific way of treating Jewish family history is amusingly illustrated by a comparison between Mr. Wolf's critical study on " The Disraeli Family " and Lord Beaconsfield's easy and gratifying belief as to his descent and connections, though even so, he could, had he known it, have boasted of a more illustrious ancestor in one of the leaders of the exodus from Spain in 1492, than at least a large number of his fellow-peers. And it is well to remember that his pride of birth was less a personal matter than part of his worthier and better-grounded pride in his ancient race, which he adorned with his many talents, of which he was never forgetful, and in whose cause, at a critical period of his career, he nobly risked serious danger to his own future success, that he might act as became a true son of Israel. This brings me to the other subject on which I should like to say a few words, the subject which fills our minds this evening. The admission of Jews to Parliament was the crowning victory of a long and arduous struggle in which those who fought for liberty fought with a dignity and self-restraint only equalled by their courage and perseverance. They, Jews and Gentiles alike, should be remembered with honour?the Gold smids, Rothschild, and Salomons, Grant and Lord Holland, Lord John Russell, Disraeli, Lord Brougham, and others. Yet we must not hastily suppose that their opponents were enemies of Liberty; their attitude arose rather from their failure to understand the demands of Liberty,</page><page sequence="21">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 107 that fair and noble mistress whose praises we are bound to utter this evening. Liberty surely demands that since Nature?or, as I prefer to say, God?has endowed man with the faculties of intellect and volition, no authority should impose hindrance, constraint, penalty, or disability on any one of full age for thinking, speaking, writing, or acting as he pleases, provided that his words or actions are not to the injury of another. The struggle for liberty runs through centuries of English history, and is not perhaps over. It is true that, first by direct means and then by the gradual growth of constitutional checks, we have been freed from all danger of monarchical tyranny. The people govern them? selves, that is to say, we are governed by a majority, and is there no reason to fear the tyranny of a majority ? I am not speaking merely of a parliamentary majority, but more widely of a majority of the society in which a man lives. The tyranny of a majority is, as John Stuart Mill has pointed out, in some ways worse than the tyranny of a monarch; for he can only inflict political penalties, but a man whose religion, or business, or success, or morals excite the dislike of the majority of his fellows may not only have to suffer by law, but may have to suffer social penalties also, such as scorn and hatred. It has been from the tyranny of a majority rather than of monarchs that Jews, here and elsewhere, have chiefly suffered, and that not in the Middle Ages only. You will remember how, in 1753, a modest Bill for the naturalisation of Jews was brought in by the Pelham administration, was carried, and became law. Immediately the country was in a ferment. Religion was in danger, we were all to be made Jews) the Church would be delivered into the hands of unbelievers; the British merchants and tradesmen feared to be under? sold ; the lower classes that wages would be lowered by competition, for a large influx of Jews was expected. The mob needed no incitement: its ancient hatred of the Jewish race broke out: the Jew must remain an alien and subject to disabilities. A General Election was at hand, and, fearful of losing office, the Government repealed the law. Liberty has not been won for us without suffering, and sorrow, and martyrdoms. The memory of those who have suffered and mourned, and died fighting in the sacred cause, bids us feel for those who in other lands are still subject to tyranny, and admonishes us to be jealous in guarding liberty, even though it be the liberty of one, and he the meanest of our fellows. Authority in one shape or another is always ready to interfere with a</page><page sequence="22">108 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. man's right to speak, or write, or shape his life, or work, or accept such wages for his work as he pleases. Here in England liberty in religious matters was long in coming, but the victory is perhaps more complete and final than in some other respects; and considering this we may look forward with hope to better times for those who are still undelivered from oppression. It was well nigh six centuries after the Norman Conquest that the right to religious liberty was asserted as a political maxim. For all practical purposes it was first asserted by Oliver Cromwell who, when a colonel in the parlia? mentary army had dismissed his lieutenant-colonel on the ground of his being an Anabaptist, wrote to him, " Granted that he be an anabaptist, does that render him unfit to serve the State ? Sir, the State in choosing men to serve it takes no notice of their opinions ; if they be willing to serve it faithfully, that suffices." Those should have been decisive words, but more than two hundred years were to pass before they were fully accepted by the admission of the Jews to serve the State in Parliament. Their cause, the cause of Liberty, was opposed by religious prejudice, one of the strongest of human motives. It supplied arguments, some of which, though they have happily proved mistaken, were worthy of respect, as were many of the men who advanced them. Those arguments are now antiquated; but the late Sir Spencer Walpole records one con? sideration used to strengthen the hearts of the opponents of the Bill which is too amusing to be allowed to pass into oblivion : Lord Chelms ford, the Lord Chancellor, the official repository of wisdom, encouraged the peers of his party in their hostility to it by a verse of Holy Scripture, forgetting that he was quoting, against the cause of Jewish liberty, the words of a Jewish psalmist uttered in praise of the God whom Jews and Christians alike adore. Dr. T. Gregory Foster (Provost of University College, London) proposed the health of "The Chairman." He said that the College he had the honour to represent, and which was founded in 1826, was one of the first in the many stages of the great conflict in the cause of civil and religious liberty. At that time the Universities of Oxford and Cam? bridge, which were the only universities in England, were closed to all except those who subscribed to the articles of the Church of England, and the great object which the founders of University College had in view was to provide a seat of university teaching and learning which should</page><page sequence="23">THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. 109 be open to all without regard to their religious faith or persuasion, and which should also be free from the old trammels in the matter of curricula. The connection of the College with the Jewish com? munity had been a close one. Among the members of its first Council was the Baron de Goldsmid, and the continued interest of that family has been shown in the work done for the College by Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid, who was treasurer and a prominent benefactor. The event that they were celebrating that evening was commemorated for all time at the College by the foundation of the Jews' Commemoration Scholar? ship. The following are the three most important paragraphs in the trust of that Scholarship : "At a meeting of Council on July 2, 1859, a letter was read from Mr. Henry Faudel, Honorary Secretary to the Jews' Commemoration Fund, accompanied by a communication signed by him on behalf of the Committee of Subscribers to the Fund : "' That in order to perpetuate the remembrance of the passing of the Act of the Legislature on the 23rd July (a.m. 5618), by which Jews were enabled to sit in Parliament on taking an oath consistent with their religious principles ; and to testify to the Electors of the City of London the grateful sense entertained by the Jews of this country of the exertions made in their behalf and in favour of Religious Liberty by the repeated election of Baron L. de Rothschild, a Jew, as one of their representatives in the House of Commons : "i University College, London, be presented with one thousand pounds Consols from the Jews' Commemoration Fund, for the purpose of founding two Scholarships. "' That the Scholarship be open to members of every religious denomination.'" It was interesting to note that this Scholarship, although given to com? memorate the admission of Jews to Parliament, was not restricted to Jews?indeed, such restriction would be inconsistent with the principles of the College. In later times, and recently, the links between the Jewish community and the College had been strengthened by the insti? tution of the Mocatta Library and Museum. In the arrangements for the transfer of this from the Jewish Historical Society, three prominent names ought to be mentioned : those of Sir Isidore Spielmann, Professor Hermann Gollancz, and the Chairman of the evening, the Rev. S. Levy; without their aid it would have been difficult to promote a library and</page><page sequence="24">110 THE JUBILEE OF POLITICAL EMANCIPATION. museum such as the " Mocatta." This is intended to provide a centre where there may be gathered together all the important records relating to the history of the Jews in England. In this respect, as in others, the College is maintaining its attitude of strict impartiality in all questions relating to religious differences, while giving freedom for the historical study of religious characteristics. Not in one iota had the present Governors of the College, or of its branch, University College School, departed from the traditions and principles laid down, and they had no intention of doing so. The Chairman, in reply, said: I beg to return my sincere thanks to Dr. Gregory Foster for the kindly terms in which he has proposed my health, and to you, ladies and gentlemen, for the friendly reception you have given to the toast. I should like to take advantage of this oppor? tunity to express my deep appreciation of the loyal and generous manner in which Mr. Israel Abrahams has co-operated with me in making a success of this celebration. Once more I thank you for your presence and support.</page></plain_text>

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