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Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling

Mervyn Goodman

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 40, 2005 Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling* MERVYN GOODMAN Samuel Montagu, first Baron Swaythling, was born in Liverpool in 1832, the youngest son of Louis Samuel, whose father had come to London from Kempen, near Posen, in about 1775. Louis Samuel had been born in London, but found his way to Liverpool where his brother Nathan had established himself as a pawnbroker. On a visit to London he met Henrietta Israel, the sister of a friend, whom he married. Louis's oldest child was Edwin Louis Samuel, father of Sir Stuart Samuel, who became an MP and, later, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Another son was Herbert Samuel, later Viscount Samuel of Mount Carmel and Toxteth. His youngest son was Montagu Samuel. He also had five daughters. Louis, considered a 'poor relation', left only £250,000 when he died in 1877, but his son Montagu left more than a million pounds.1 He was sufficiently proud of his birthplace to describe himself as a Lancashire man.2 Little is known of Montagu Samuel's early life. He was educated privately and then at the High School of the Mechanics Institute, which became the Liverpool Institute. He was an avid reader and as a child frequently spent time in the public library, so worrying his sisters that they persuaded the librarian not to give him books after a certain hour. After a hard day's work he spent evenings reading translations of the classics,3 and on occasion took novels with him to synagogue - with grey covers on them.4 He was close to his sisters, who helped him prepare for his Bar Mitsvah by singing his portion about the house. When he moved to London one of them accompanied him to keep house during his bachelor days.5 At the age of thirteen he was sent to Kahn's International Boarding School in * A version of this paper was presented to the Society on 24 February 2005. 1 W. Rubinstein, A History ofthe Jews in the English Speaking World: Great Britain (London 1996) 185. 2 Report on an International Monetary Conference, 25 January 1865. 3 L. H. Montagu, Samuel Montagu, first Baron Swaythling (London 1913) 2-3. 4 Ibid. 5. 5 Ibid. 75</page><page sequence="2">Mervyn Goodman Brussels6 to learn French and he may well have been sent to school in Germany too. In later years, sitting as a magistrate in Southampton, he acted as interpreter in a case involving a German lawyer.7 His article on 'Arbitrage' in the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica refers the reader to three specialist books in German. With no formal training in finance Montagu was able to conduct his business in several European languages. It is not known when he reversed his name from Montagu Samuel to Samuel Montagu. The change has been attributed to an error by a school master in the class register.8 His father may have named him Montagu intending him to take this as his surname.9 It has been argued that he may have thought there were too many Samuels in the banking world, but in fact that became true only later.10 It was only two weeks before he was created a baronet in 1894 that he and his children were officially allowed, by Royal Licence, to use the surname Montagu.11 The banker He was offered hospitality by Jewish families in London, including that of Louis Cohen who, like Montagu, strictly observed the Sabbath. Montagu became a frequent visitor to his home, and in 1862 married Ellen, one of his daughters. In this way he became a member of what has been called the Anglo-Jewish Cousinhood.12 Samuel and Ellen had six sons and four daughters. On arriving in London he joined the foreign currency firm of Adam Spielman &amp; Co, owned by the husband of his sister Marion.13 By the age of seventeen he had become the head clerk, but left after a dispute with his brother-in-law.14 Montagu said that he would have remained with Adam had he seen a chance of earning £300 a year. Adam nevertheless named Montagu as guardian of his three sons,15 and when Adam Spielman died in 1869, Montagu rented a house for the children near his own, in Cleveland Square.16 He was also guardian of the children of his brother Edwin Robert Henriques, Marcus Samuel, First Viscount Bearstead, Founder of Shell Transport and Trading Company (Oxford 1968) 36. Southern Echo 4 Sept. 1894. E. Black, 'Edwin Montagu' TransJfHSE XXX (1989) 201. Eastern Chimes i Jan. 1885. H. Samuel (ist Viscount) Memoirs (London 1945) 2. Jewish Year Book (London 1896). C. Bermant, The Cousmhood (London 1971). Montagu (see n. 3) 3. R. Sebag-Montefiore, 'From Poland to Paddington' Trans JHSE XXXII (1993) 243. Ibid. 241. Ibid. 243. 76</page><page sequence="3">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling Samuel. On leaving Adam Spielman in 1851 he became manager of the London branch of a Paris banker, Monteaux, but still felt he was not realiz ing his potential. He contemplated emigrating to Australia where gold had recently been discovered, but his father, who had returned to London in 1847,17 loaned him £5000 to finance an international bullion, money exchange and bill-collection service in London. Many larger banks were moving out of foreign banking at this time and Montagu filled the vacuum. Ten of the fifty firms engaged in foreign banking were owned by Jews.18 With his brother, Edwin Samuel, he established a banking firm called Samuel &amp; Montagu, in Leadenhall Street in the City of London. Unable to delegate, for twenty years he left only to travel to the Continent on business. He or his chief assistant signed all the cheques and documents of the company for the first fifty years. He was reluctant to write letters, but never employed a personal secretary. Unlike his relation by marriage, Sir Moses Montefiore, Ellen's great-uncle, who retired at the age of forty, Montagu remained active in business until his death. Montagu persuaded his brother Edwin to leave Liverpool and join him in the company, which was named Samuel Montagu &amp; Co, bullion brokers and foreign bankers. In 1864 he had postage stamps underprinted with the words 'Samuel Montagu &amp; Co'. Ultimately the company became the chief clearing house in London of the international money market. The firm remained in private hands until the middle of the twentieth century, retain ing its name. In 1888 it absorbed Edward Lazard &amp; Co.19 After a series of takeovers it was bought by the Midland Bank (now HSBC) in 1982.20 Samuel Montagu &amp; Co became the leader in the silver market, and by the 1870s was financing loans for European governments, such as the 1896 loan to finance the Belgian budget. Both Conservative and Liberal Chancellors of the Exchequer sought his opinion on financial matters. It was said that Montagu had built a fortune on 'the quarter pfennig and the half centime'. He was totally ethical and never dealt in spurious finances or held South African shares, which he considered 'unclean'.21 He was instrumental in making London the centre of the international money market and was one of London's most respected bankers.22 The Bankers' Magazine wrote that 'He is a credit to the Jews generally and we are glad to claim him as an English man of business'.23 17 Eastern Chimes i Jan. 1885. 18 V. D. Lipman, A History of the fern in Britain Since 1848 (London 1990) ii 19 Pall Mall Gazette 5 Dec. 1888. 20 H. Pollins, Economic History of the Jews of England (London 1982) 219. 21 Montagu (see n. 3) 60. 22 Black (see n. 8) 201. 23 Bankers' Magazine Sept. 1988. 77</page><page sequence="4">Mervyn Goodman He was one of the earliest members of the Council of Foreign Bondholders, formed by Isidor Gerstenberg in 1868 to protect the interests of holders of foreign government, state or municipal obligations issued in the United Kingdom.24 In 1885 he was elected a member of the London Chamber of Commerce.25 The importing of foreign silver, his involvement in the silver market and his interest in the fine arts led him to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he would bring in a bill to consolidate the hallmarking of silver.26 He never offered financial assistance to countries which were persecuting Jews. In 1893 he was responsible for the Russo-Jewish Committee writing to all merchant banks and finance houses to boycott Russian loans, securi ties and bonds.27 A keen advocate of decimalization, he was instrumental in introducing the Weights and Measures Bill which legalized the use of the metric system and became an Act of Parliament in 1897. He was also a proponent of the decimal system of currency, arguing that the United Kingdom, apart from South Africa, Australia and India, was the only coun try using the duodecimal system. He even suggested a 'double florin', which he called the British Dollar,28 since it then corresponded in value to the United States dollar. (A florin was two shillings in the duodecimal currency, one-tenth of a pound and equivalent to iop.) In 1888, while advo cating the use of £ 1 bank notes, he made a plea for a universal currency to stimulate commerce.29 He was elected first president of the Decimal Association in 189430 and led a deputation to Arthur Balfour in his capacity as First Lord of the Treasury (the prime minister at that time, Lord Salisbury, did not take this office) to urge the adoption of metric weights and measures.31 His experience in international finance markets made him an authority on bimetallism, the monetary system which he said existed 'when both gold [sir] and silver are freely coined for public use, circulated freely equally [sir] as currency coins and are equally [sir] legal tender for the payment of debts'.32 He was a member of the Gold and Silver Commission (1887-90) and submitted evidence to the commission which ultimately set up the United States Federal Reserve in 1913. Among other acitivities he 24 H. Behr, 'Isidor Gerstenberg (1821-1876)' Trans JHSEXV 11(1953)211 25 Jewish World 19 Feb. 1885. 26 Sussex Daily News 15 Feb. 1895. 27 St James Gazette 19 March 1893. 28 London Evening Standard 2 Feb. 1888. 29 Daily Chronicle 2 Jan. 1887. 30 A'lorntng Advertiser 19 July 1894. 31 The Times 21 Nov. 1895. 32 Mexican Financier Jan. 1887. 78</page><page sequence="5">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling contributed to Palgrave's Dictionary of Political Economy and the Encyclopaedia Britannica and in 1857 patented a package box.33 In 1903 the firm of Samuel Montagu celebrated the golden jubilee of its foundation in Montagu's home. The staff composed a poem in his honour which began: In the year eighteen hundred and fifty three In a vessel small called 'Leadenhall' Some pioneers put out to sea With unlimited hopes and spirits bold. But not much cargo in the hold; Yet fairly equipped for a brave career, And determined a steady course to steer - And over their heads a flag there flew, With the superscription 'Montagu'.34 The politician Following their readmission to England in 1655, Jews were allowed to live and work within the City of London. In the nineteenth century they spread into the Whitechapel area and adjacent boroughs, where Montagu set up in business and which he later represented in Parliament. He admired Gladstone and his policies, but did not initially entertain ideas of entering Parliament and never took part in open-air meetings.35 He was conservative in his attitude to Judaism but politically radical, espousing Liberal policies which included free education, support for tenants of unscrupulous landlords, municipal control of water supplies and local self government. In the wider world he supported free trade as a stimulus to the general economy and published a pamphlet on the subject.36 It was during the passage of the Redistribution Bill in 1884 that he was approached by James Bryce, the Liberal MP for Tower Hamlets, to stand as a candidate for its newly formed Whitechapel constituency. In the general election of November 1885 he was elected MP for Tower Hamlets in the Whitechapel division with a majority of 381 over his Conservative opponents. He subsequently fought three more general elec tions. In 1890 he was the only London Liberal MP to increase his majority, but in the 1895 election, because the first Lord Rothschild gave his public 33 M. Jolies, personal communication. The patent was registered UK 1857 272,30 Jan.1857. 34 S. Aris, The Jews m Business (London 1970) 71. 35 The Star 28 Sept. 1894. 36 S. Montagu, Free Trade and Fair Trade (London 1886). 79</page><page sequence="6">Mervyti Goodman support to the Conservative candidate, this majority fell to only 32, despite the fact that, as The Echo wrote, Whitechapel was practically a Jewish constituency.37 The Star said 'No division returns a better radical, nor has the House a more respected member ... for Samuel Montagu is not only an English radical but one of the most influential and public spirited members of the Jewish faith'.38 Jewish parliamentary candidates regularly had anti Semitic charges levelled at them by their political opponents and he was the subject of a libel action, later withdrawn, by his Conservative opponent.39 Although he rarely spoke in Parliament, when he did so it was usually on financial matters; he also voted in favour of Home Rule for Ireland.40 His tall, portly figure, described by journalists as 'patriarchal', became well known and respected in the House.41 He was characterized as handsome and strong-willed, but with an attractive personality and a powerful head for finance.42 In 1894 he became treasurer of the National League for the Abolition of the House of Lords43 in its existing form, as he felt that membership should be 'by worth not birth'.44 Although he recognized the need for a bicameral legislature, he considered that 'the Tory majority of that body of peers have imbibed and maintained the prejudice and intolerance of their ancestors'.45 In the House of Commons he was prolific in putting questions to minis ters, usually on subjects of Jewish concern.46 At that time it was not unusual for elections to be held on Saturdays and he obtained a concession for presiding officers at the ballot, rather than the individual voter, to record the votes of Jews on the Sabbath.47 In early 1886, when the Liberal party had come into office, he presented a 'memorial' (statement of facts forming the basis of, or expressed in, the form of a petition or remonstrance to a person in authority, government, etc.) to the Home Secretary requesting a reduction of the naturalization fee,48 which had been increased by the Conservatives from £1 to £5. He said that if the fee was placed within the means of his Tower Hamlets constituents this alone would bring between 37 The Echo 11 July 1895. 38 The Star\]u\y 1895. 39 The Times 6 Dec. 1893. 40 East London Observer 12 June 1887. 41 Samuel (see n. 10) 3. 42 Ibid. 43 Jewish World g Feb. 1894. 44 Jewish Chronicle (hereafter JC) 9 March 1894. 45 East London Observer 11 July 1885. 46 J. M. Shaftesley, 'Nineteenth-century Jewish Colonies in Cyprus' Trans JHSE XXII (1970) 90. 47 Manchester Courier 2 July 1894. 48 East London Advertiser 17 April 1886. 8o</page><page sequence="7">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling 500 to 1000 additional Liberal votes.49 He was successful, but shortly after the Conservative party returned to power the higher fee was restored. Three months after entering the House he asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer 'whether he was aware that 60% of gold coins in circulation have ceased to be legal tender as they are in a worn condition'.50 One of his first speeches was in the Budget debate two months later, when he said that the 22 carat gold from which sovereigns were minted was too soft. He quoted a personal case in which out of a case of 120,000 coins sent to Germany and returned unopened, 1499 were declared to be of lighter weight. He suggested that if two grains of copper were added to each coin it would double their life. In 1887 he gave evidence to the English Currency Commission,51 and in July of that year was appointed to the Royal Commission enquiring into recent changes in the relative value of precious metals.52 In 1894 Montagu successfully moved an amendment to the Finance Bill exempting works of art, items of historical interest and scientific instru ments from Estate Duty.53 He also supported the Sunday opening of mus eums and art galleries.54 He raised the question of discrepancies in postal charges for mail to the Continent - the United Kingdom, a member of the Postal Union, had a higher rate than other countries55 - and opposed the Sample Post Regulations because the cost of returning samples from abroad was higher than the reduced fees of sending them from the United Kingdom.56 In a debate in the House of Commons he opposed a govern ment bill imposing stamp duty on stocks which had merely been deposited and not actually sold.57 Other concerns were the delay in dispatching mail to the United States58 and the need to put the Post Office Savings Bank on a sound basis.59 Unusually for a Jew he supported the disestablishment of the Church of England, feeling that this was the wish of his non-Jewish constituents.60 49 J. M. Ross, 'Naturalization of the Jews in England' Trans JHSE XXIV (1975) 67-8 50 House of Commons, Order of the Day Feb. 1886. 51 Civil and Military Gazette 26 Feb. 1887. 52 Manchester Guardian 3 Sept. 1887. 53 Graphic 3 Nov. 1894. 54 East London Observer 21 March 1896. 55 The Times 10 Sept. 1886. 56 Drapers Trade May 1888. 57 Bankers' Trade 27 Jan. 1889. 58 TheTimes 24 Feb. 1896. 59 Ibid. 26 Nov. 1886. 60 Ibid. 27 March 1895. 8i</page><page sequence="8">Mervyn Goodman The constituency MP Montagu was particularly concerned with the welfare, and especially the housing, of people in the East End, recognizing, as a magistrate, the rela tionship between poor housing and crime. The expertise he gained by his association with the London Jewish Board of Guardians (LJBG, founded in 1859), which had established its own housing standards,61 earned him respect. He did not approve of beggars, but gave generous interest-free loans to the indigent, usually never expecting to be repaid. He advocated free employment registry offices some time before labour exchanges were created.62 As a member of the Education Reform League he advocated free technical and physical education to help the unemployed,63 and supported free libraries, art galleries and museums. He also supported trade unions (he was president of the London Fruit and Potato Traders and Grocers Benevolent Association64) and the East London Apprenticeship Fund, which gave loans to boys wanting to learn a trade. He believed in independ ence and self-reliance and, to benefit the youth of all classes, supported the establishment of social clubs. Among his many and varied activities he was also interested in hospitals, serving for many years on the committee of the London Hospital in the East End. Of particular concern to his constituents was the circulation of foreign bronze coins, mainly French and not legal tender, in the dockland area. He was instrumental in 1886 in obtaining free public access to the gardens and waterside promenade adjacent to the Tower of London, closed when the War Office had used the Tower for storing munitions following the Crimean War.65 In the following year the gardens were opened to the public,66 and a ceremony held, involving his wife, in May 1888.67 The authorities continued to oppose opening the promenade, as they said the Tower was still used for military purposes. To express his displeasure he moved a technical motion in the Commons to reduce the salary of the Secretary of State for War by £500, which was lost by 118 votes to 168.68 The Tower Walk was opened every day only in 1893, and even then only in the summer.69 61 L. P. Gartner, The Jewish Immigrant in England 1870-1914 (London i960) 153. 62 Pall Mall Gazette 28 November 1887. 63 Daily Chronicle 31 May 1888. 64 City Press 2 March 1895. 65 The Times 1 Sept. 1886. 66 Daily Chronicle Aug. 1887. 67 JTC6 May 1888. 68 East London Observer 12 Jan. 1889. 69 Daily Telegraph 1 Aug. 1893. 82</page><page sequence="9">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling In 1888, when Montagu was Whitechapel's MP, Jack the Ripper brought havoc to the area. Three Jews were among the suspects because it was felt that the way the throats of the victims had been cut suggested the work of a shochet (ritual slaughterer). The three were Kosminski, 'a Polish Jew', Aaron Davis Cohen and Nathan Kaminsky. Montagu himself offered a £100 reward for the Ripper's capture. The next year he opened the new Spitalfields Working Men's Club70 and gave his support to the Whitechapel Foundation Schools.71 In 1887 he took up the case of dock workers, chairing a meeting to protest at the reduction of their wages,72 leading a deputation to the East India Dock Company at Tilbury Docks73 and setting up dinners and shelters for the workers in St Katharine's Dock. He also raised the matter of the low pay of some customs officers.74 He was chairman of the Spitalfields Benevolent Society,75 and took an interest in the All Saints Working Men's Club and the Young Men's Institute.76 He also found scope for charitable work as a member of the Ancient Order of Buffaloes,77 was vice president of the National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Disease Act in 1886, and treas urer of the London Hospital.78 In 1900, when age was beginning to tell, he did not stand for re-election and the seat was won by his nephew Stuart Samuel, also a Liberal and later president of the Jewish Board of Deputies. He stood instead for the Leeds Central constituency, knowing he was unlikely to succeed, costing the Liberal Party a member it could ill spare.79 Albert Jessel said: 'There are few men in the House of Commons like Sir Julian Goldsmid, Mr Lionel Cohen or Sir Samuel Montagu'.80 He had been created a baronet in 1894 and was raised to the peerage in 1907, taking the title Baron Swaythling after the site of his country home near Southampton. He was only the second Jew to be ennobled. (In London, where he lived in Kensington Palace Gardens, he was one of the first to have battery-powered electric lighting installed.81) He was a Justice of the Peace, a deputy lieutenant for Tower Hamlets and sat on the Bench in Southampton. 70 East London Observer 26 Oct. 1889. 71 Ibid. 10 Nov. 1894. 72 Daily Chronicle 15 Sept. 1887. 73 The Times 1 Nov. 1887. 74 East London Observer 15 July 1893. 75 Ibid. 29 Oct. 1887. 76 Eastern Post 5 Nov. 1887. 77 East London Observer 26 No\. 1887. 78 Daily Chronicle 26 Aug. 1886. 79 Hampshire and Neighbouring Records (1908). 80 I. Finestein, Jewish Society in Victorian England (London 1993) 18 81 Society 16 May 1885. 83</page><page sequence="10">Mervyn Goodman The Jewish philanthropist Montagu's generosity, based on the biblical precept of giving a tenth of his income to charity, was not confined to London or Jewish causes. The Graphic of 16 November 1889 wrote: 'Samuel Montagu MP is, after Lord Rothschild, the most considerable figure in the Ashkenazi section of the [London] community. He is President of the Federation of Minor Synagogues and of the Shechita Board, besides being connected with the management of other institutions. He is regarded as a pillar of Jewish ortho doxy and represents Whitechapel in Parliament.' He was never ashamed of his Judaism, a fact that earned him the respect of non-Jews. 'When Friday night came Lord Swaythling would light candles but he would not draw the blinds.'82 An early foray into Jewish communal activity was in 1869, when the Jewish Chronicle was experiencing financial difficulties and he was one of a trio who purchased the newspaper to relieve it of its outstanding debts. The others were Lionel Louis Cohen, Montagu's brother-in-law, who was a founder of the United Synagogue (US) and Conservative MP, and Lionel van Oven, prominent in charitable work among London Jews.83 Having helped ensure the paper's independence, they sold it a few years later to Israel Davis and Sydney Montagu (no relation). In 1877 Montagu chal lenged Dr Abraham Benisch, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, for publish ing a letter from a butcher whom Montagu had accused of evading his duties to the Shechita Board.84 In the same year he suggested to the Board of Deputies that Benisch was using his connections with the Anglo-Jewish Association to inflate that body's importance in approaching the British government on the plight of Jews in Bulgaria - the 'Eastern Question'.85 Samuel Montagu's most important contribution to Anglo-Jewish life was his interest in Jews who had sought refuge in Britain from Eastern Europe, whose plight he helped to alleviate both economically and religiously. Their common language was Yiddish, which Montagu had perhaps learnt in Germany in his youth. As a dealer in foreign currency he probably also had a working knowledge of the major European languages. He recommended not an open welcome to these immigrants, but more humane treatment.86 At the LJBG he initiated a system of visiting its beneficiaries. 82 H. M. Brotz, 'The Outlines of Jewish Society in London,' in M. Freeman (ed.) A Minority in England (London 1955) 179. 83 D. Cesarani, The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo-Jewry : 1841-iQgi (London 1994) 65. 84 J. M. Shaftesley, ' Dr Abraham Benisch as a Newspaper Editor' Trans JHSE XXI (1968) 226. 85 Cesarani (see n. 83) 65. 86 B. T. Gainer, The Alten Invasion (London 1972) 57. 84</page><page sequence="11">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling In 1870 he founded the Jewish Working Men's Club in Great Alie Street,87 the first of a number of centres designed both to provide a social environment and to assist the integration of members to 'cast off the almost oriental shackles which they have imported into this country' by means of education.88 He was proud that this was the only club in London to be 'self supporting without the sale of alcohol and whose members were always nicely dressed although 90% will never earn more than 30/- a week'.89 He travelled to Galicia in 1882 as a member of the committee of the Mansion House Fund to discover the social conditions in which the Jews were living and to attempt to dissuade them from coming to England.90 In 1884 he visited North America, again on behalf of the Mansion House Fund, to see how new Jewish communities had integrated there.91 During his visit he discussed with the Canadian government the possibility of its granting a large tract of land on which to settle further Jewish refugees.92 In 1886, shortly after his election as an MP, he made another visit to Russian Poland, again to study the plight of Jews and to dissuade them from coming to England.93 On this occasion his activities led the Russian authorities to give him twenty-four hours in which to leave. His treatment by the Russian government led to a question in the House of Commons to the Foreign Secretary.94 When the Mansion House Fund became the Russo-Jewish Committee he succeeded Sir Julian Goldsmid as president, an office he held until he resigned due to ill health in 1909.95 When Jewish immigrants landed at the docks of the Port of London they were frequently met by Christian missionaries offering them shelter and hoping to convert them. In 1885 Simon Cohen, a prosperous baker in Aldgate and himself a refugee from Poland, purchased a house at 19 Church Lane to provide shelter, clothes and kosher food for these penniless arrivals from Eastern Europe, and to protect them from missionaries. Anglo-Jewish authorities pronounced its amenities to be unhealthy, but a protest meeting was held and, fearful that closing the shelter would alienate new immigrants from the established leadership, a group of prominent Jews, including Montagu, sponsored a properly organized establishment at 12 Garden Street, Whitechapel, in 1885.96 The Poor Jews' Temporary Shelter, which 87 Black (see n. 8) 202. 88 Cesarani (see n. 83) 78. 89 Morning Leader 11 April 1893. 90 C. Bloom, 'The Politics of Immigration, 1881-1905' Trans JHSE XXXIII (1995) 189. 91 The Times 27 Sept. 1884. 92 Winnipeg Daily News 15 Aug. 1884. 93 Jewish World 19 March 1886. 94 The Times 14 Aug. 1886. 95 Black (see n. 8) 202. 96 G. Alderman, Modern British Jewry (Oxford 1992) 116-17. 85</page><page sequence="12">Mervyn Goodman offered to accommodate people for a maximum of fourteen days, was formally opened in April 1886. Montagu was the treasurer. These Jews were a source of cheap labour for both Jewish and non Jewish clothes manufacturers. They usually worked in sweatshops in appalling conditions for more than twelve hours a day, often taking work home with them. They had come from a society in Russia and Poland where socialist trade unionism had begun to emerge. Although many of the leaders were atheists, orthodox Jews also played a part in trade unions. Montagu and Lord Rothschild were eager to facilitate the Anglicization of the immigrants, also hoping to avoid the influence of socialist atheists97 who might aggravate anti-alien hostility.98 His own hostility towards socialists may have led him to encourage the departure from London of two printers of the London Jewish socialist newspaper,99 following an editorial attack on him. But the adoption by the Liberal Party of a policy of support ing workers' organizations and the accusation that immigrant Jews were taking the jobs of British workers led Montagu to modify his views and to sponsor the establishment of a new type of non-socialist organization for the tailors, to include both employees and employers. In 1886 he chaired a meeting of the newly formed London Tailors' and Machinists Society, at which a resolution was passed calling for working hours to be reduced from between 15 and 20 hours to 12 hours a day. Montagu felt such organiza tions would help integrate immigrants, but, unlike the secretary of the Society — Lewis Lyons — he was against the use of strike action and later withdrew his support. He subsequently argued that strikes were acceptable only as a last resort.100 The following year the Society collapsed.101 A strike-call had little effect,102 no progress was made and in September 1889 there was a mass meeting for working hours to be from 8 am to 8 pm with one hour for lunch and half an hour for tea - all meals to be taken off the work place. Wages must conform to trade-union rates and no work was to be taken home.103 Montagu pledged £ 100 on behalf of the employers and he and Rothschild agreed to attempt to reach a settlement.104 Rothschild acted as mediator105 and the workers' claims were met,106 with breaks for 97 Ibid. 167. 98 A.J. Kershen, Uniting the Tailors (Ilford 1995) 132. 99 Gartner (see n. 61) 59. 100 Eastern Post 21 March 1890. 101 A.J. Kershen, 'Trade Unionism in London and Leeds: 1872-1915', in D. Cesarani (ed.) The Making of Anglo-Jewry (Oxford 1990) 47. 102 Kershen (see n. 98) 134. 103 Ibid. 12. 104 Ibid. 104. 105 JC 29 Sept. 1898, p. xxx. 106 Ibid. 86</page><page sequence="13">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling meals.107 The agreement was broken in 1890, however, when some tailors were made to work 17-18 hours.108 Both he and Lord Rothschild gave evidence to the Select Committee on the 'Sweating System'.109 Montagu later became a member of the House of Lords Select Committee to inquire into the practice of sweating, the outcome of which was inconclusive.110 In November 1892 a hundred Jewish tailors were sacked because they refused to work on Succot. After an appeal to the Chief Rabbi, who wrote to the employers and received no response, Montagu met the employers and was given an assurance that the tailors would not be expected to work on Shabbat and would be given thirteen days off work a year for the festivals.111 In an interview in 1895 Montagu expressed pride in the improvement in the standard of living of immigrant Jews. They were now buying new suits and second-hand clothes were being exported. Nearly every furniture shop bore a Jewish name: 'Jews like speculative trade', he said. They were prepared to work for lower wages in order to learn a trade, and he pointed out that Englishmen had not suffered as a result of the competition. When asked if there would always be a poor class he replied: 'Certainly as long as there is drinking, greediness and ignorance.' As the last decade of the nineteenth century drew to its close, population growth produced a housing crisis, not only in London but in provincial cities such as Leeds and Manchester, with a consequent rise in the cost of rents. In some areas of East London the rise had been as much as 25 per cent between 1880 and 1900.112 The health hazards of overcrowding and poor sanitation in the alien communities led to a series of articles in the Lancet. The medical officer of health for Liverpool, Dr E. W. Hope, said that there was no gross overcrowding or higher levels of ill health in the immigrant Jewish population of his area.113 But in London a meeting was held at the Rothschild's banking house in the City on 6 March 1884 with Rothschild in the chair and in the presence of Lionel Cohen (president of the LJBG), F. D. Mocatta (the philanthropic bullion broker), Claude Montefiore (the wealthy biblical scholar and philanthropist), Samuel Montagu (as MP for Whitechapel) and fifteen others. The Four Per Cent Industrial Dwelling Co. Ltd was formed, in the words of the Memorandum of Association, 'To provide the industrial classes with more commodious and healthy lodgings and dwellings than those which they now inhabit, 107 East London Observer 13 March 1886. 108 Weekly Dispatch 23 Feb. 1890. 109 Daily Telegraph I2july 1888. 110 Finestein (see n. 80) 205-6. 111 JC11 Nov. 1892. 112 JKj 11 1NUV. lOy^S. Alderman (see n. 96) 126 (quoting Feldman). 113 Royal Commission on Alien Immigration (1903) II (Evidence) Cd 1742, 773 87</page><page sequence="14">Mervyn Goodman giving them a maximum of accommodation for the minimum rent compat ible with the yielding of £4 per cent per annum dividend upon the paid up Capital of the Company.'114 This was a precursor of modern housing asso ciations. By 1884 most of the London poor were paying at least one fifth of their earnings in rent and some as much as half.115 Housing became a polit ical target and Montagu's work for the Four Per Cent Dwellings was used by Conservatives to smear him in the 1895 general election with the accusa tion that the buildings were to be occupied only by immigrants.116 These campaigns dogged Montagu throughout his period as an MP.117 He also objected to the high rates in East London, especially 'rack rating' (defined in the OED as 'The want of proper economy or management, waste and destruction'). But by 1899 some 4300 people had been rehoused. The large influx from Eastern Europe became a cause of concern because there was no state financial help available to those escaping from religious and economic oppression. The Anglo-Jewish establishment saw immi grants as an embarrassing threat to their attempts to integrate into the host society, and the LJBG felt that it would be unable to cope with the large numbers seeking help. The British authorities referred to immigrant Jews as 'Aliens', and in 1886 the short-lived Society for the Suppression of the Immigration of Destitute Aliens was founded and held a number of meetings at which Jews sat on the platform to suggest impartiality. Among these was Montagu who on one occasion unsuccessfully opposed a resolution to restrict immigra tion.118 In 1887 he used figures from the LJBG to show that there had been a decrease in the number of newcomers. Between 1888, when the House of Commons set up a Select Committee on Emigration and Immigration, to which Montagu and Ferdinand de Rothschild were appointed members, and 1905, when the Aliens Bill was enacted, the question of'aliens' was constantly on the agenda of Jewish welfare organizations. Anglo-Jewry was divided: the working class feared that immigrants would jeopardize their position and jobs, while leaders felt that the welfare bodies would be unable to cope with the influx. Some were secretly embarrassed by the dress and customs of their East European co-religionists. Most members of the Anglo-Jewish establishment were acutely conscious of the religious per secution taking place in Russia, but attempts to influence public opinion against Russia were seen as pro-German. In the 1892 general election 114 J. White, Rothschild Buildings: Life on an East End Tenement Block: 1887-1Q20 (London 2003) 19-20. 115 Gainer (see n. 86) 39. 116 Ibid. 117 Ibid. 59. 118 Ibid. 61.</page><page sequence="15">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling Montagu was accused by his Conservative opponent of being afraid to antagonize 'the alien support on which he depends for his seat'.119 Eight years later, in the general election of 1900, some Jewish leaders supported two prominent anti-Semites — Evans-Gordon MP and David Hope Kyd. It fell to the two lay leaders of the synagogal organizations, the Tory Lord Rothschild and the Liberal Samuel Montagu, to lead the divided Jewish community in opposing any restriction on immigration. The Royal Commission on Alien Immigration was appointed in 1902 and, together with other prominent members of Anglo-Jewry, Montagu gave evidence before it.120 The president of the Board of Deputies in his evidence said that some Jewish immigrants were 'undesirable', giving tacit support to those favouring restriction of immigration.121 Montagu was more tolerant, at the same time realizing that help would be needed for these people. He told the Commission that legislation to control over crowding would assist the cause of the Jewish Dispersion Committee, which he helped to establish in 1902,122 but he was in a minority. The report was published in 1904 and a Bill introduced into the House of Commons to implement most of its recommendations. By this time Montagu was no longer an MP, but he was a member of a delegation of senior members of the Anglo-Jewish community to the Home Office to make representations against some of its proposals. In 1905 the Aliens Act was nevertheless passed. One solution to the problem of accommodating immigrants, which Montagu as chairman of the Dispersion Committee espoused, was their relocation elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Another accusation made against him in the 1895 election, by his Conservative opponent, had been his 'exertions in diverting, as far as practicable, the stream of foreigners to those places which are suitable for them in this crowded country'. In the same election the successful Conservative candidate in Limehouse, another Jew, Harry Simon Samuel, supported the absolute prohibition of 'alien' pauper immigration.123 In 1899 many immigrants were continuing to settle in the East End because of the availability of facilities for living a Jewish life. The United Synagogue adopted the Associated Synagogues' scheme to help members of the 'industrial class' to settle in such districts as Poplar, southeast London 119 I. Finestein, 'Jewish Immigration in British Party Politics in the 1890s', in Aubrey Newman (ed.) Migration and Settlement (London 1971) 135. 120 Alderman (see n. 96) 205. 121 Bloom (see n. 89) 189. 122 Ibid. 205. 123 Finestein (see n. 80) 217. 89</page><page sequence="16">Mervyn Goodman and West Ham124 and later in East Ham and Manor Park.125 He was the first person to use burial figures to estimate the size of the Jewish community in London, one of the methods still used by the Board of Deputies for demo graphic purposes.126 The Jewish Dispersion Committee, of which he became chairman, offered employment and financial help to immigrants willing to move out of London to towns as far north as Blackburn.127 The synagogue mogul Montagu was a member of the United Synagogue (US) throughout his life, although he later founded and was president of the Federation of Synagogues. Nominated as a delegate to the council by Bayswater Synagogue in 1868,128 he remained a member of the council and served as chairman of its building committee between 1879 and 1883. He opposed large synagogue buildings, first expressing this opinion in the early planning stage of a new synagogue in St John's Wood, which he considered less important than building one in the East End of London.129 Together with his brother, who had been a warden of the Princes Road synagogue in Liverpool, he was a founder and first warden of the New West End Synagogue, built by the same non-Jewish architects, the Audley brothers, as the Princes Road Synagogue. He argued against the more affluent US congregations retaining some of their surplus income at the expense of the poorer ones. In 1873 he requested a seat in the Sephardi Bryanston Street Synagogue, but only the following year were the rules of the Mahamad changed to allow those who were not Yehidim, members of the Sephardi community, to become seat-holders.130 Although when the New West End Synagogue opened in 1879 he surrendered his seat in Bryanston Street, his association with the Sephardim continued and it was he who opened their synagogue in Devonshire Street, Mile End, in 1894,131 when the Sephardi community consolidated its resources and transferred its almshouses there. At the new building's consecration ceremony all major Anglo-Jewish institutions, as well as orthodox Ashkenazi and Reform synagogues, were represented. It was formally opened by Samuel Montagu.132 124 Lipman (see n.18) 101. 125 M.Brown,'The Jews of of Essex before 1900' TransJHSE XXIII (1995) 133. 126 Western Mercury 17 Feb. 1893. 127 Alderman (see n. 96) 166. 128 A. Newman, The United Synagogue: 1870-1Q70 (London 1976) 12. 129 Ibid. 23. 130 A. M. Hyamson, The Sephardtm of England (London 1951 ) 315. 131 Ibid. 375. 132 Ibid. 90</page><page sequence="17">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling Immigrants had difficulty coming to terms with mainstream US prac tices. Anglo-Jewish clergy mimicked their non-Jewish equivalents, and Nathan Marcus Adler's title as Chief Rabbi of the United Congregations of the British Empire had no equivalent elsewhere. He refused to allow his ministers to use the title 'rabbi' even if they were qualified to do so, and insisted they adopt the title 'reverend' like their non-Jewish counterparts. The US considered him an archbishop, an alien concept for Russian and Polish Jews, who feared that this low level ofyiddishkeit might spread to immigrants raised in the shtetl. The cost of US membership was anyway prohibitive. Additionally, its members treated immigrants as beggars and tended to refuse charitable aid to help even with their funeral costs, result ing in friction. This led to the formation of chevrot, groups of people meet ing for worship and arranging for welfare such as burial rights, widows' benefits and maintenance during the week of shiva. Worshipping took place in shtiebls, small synagogues often in a room in a house, with whose informal style of worship they were familiar. Initially there were some twenty of these chevrot in London, but the number grew to cater for the 12,000 to 15,000 'foreign' Jews in London by 1890. Most of these chevrot were of recent origin, but three had been formed in the eighteenth century while others had been in existence for twenty or thirty years.133 Beatrice Webb described the conditions in such synagogues: 'It is a curi ous and touching sight to enter one of the poorer and more wretched of these places on a Sabbath morning. Probably the one you will choose will be situated in a small alley or a narrow court, or it may be built in a back yard. To reach the entrance you stumble over a broken pavement and household debris; possibly you pick your way over a rickety bridge connecting it with the cottage property fronting the street. From the outside it appears to be a long wooden building surmounted by a skylight, very similar in construc tion to the ordinary sweaters' workshop. You enter, the heat and odour convince you that the skylight is not used for ventilation. From behind the trellis of the ladies' gallery you see at the far end of the room the richly curtained Ark of the Covenant.'134 For immigrants, Montagu was someone with similar ideals to their own, the son of a Liverpool trader rather than a member of the establishment, who wanted to include them in the community and improve their environ ment. In 1886, at the opening of the Spital Square synagogue, he expressed concern about the decline in Sabbath observance: 'it was not only a crime, it was worse than a crime, it was a blunder'.135 The concentration of Jews in 133 V. D. Lipman, 'Synagogal Organization in Anglo-Jewry' Jewish Journal of Sociology (here after JJS) I (1959) 91-3. 134 P. Renton, The Lost Synagogues of London (London 2000) 183. 135 fC 22 Jan. 1886. 9i</page><page sequence="18">Mervyn Goodman one district seemed to him dangerous, and in advocating their dispersion he felt he must ensure that there was a synagogue in every district. Lord Rothschild, by contrast, discouraged the building of many synagogues. On 16 October 1887 the Federation of Minor Synagogues (Chevrot B'nai Yisrael) was founded single-handed by Samuel Montagu to improve the organization of independent orthodox chevrot. Dr Asher Asher, then secre tary of the US, who was a friend of Montagu and accompanied him on visits to Palestine and Eastern Europe, often sharing the same accommodation, helped draft the Federation's constitution.136 Montagu nevertheless ensured that the Federation accepted the authority of the Chief Rabbi, who officiated at the opening of the Federation synagogue in Great Alie Street.137 Such was his interest in actual buildings that he ensured that before a synagogue could join the Federation its structure was surveyed and approved.138 Despite an earlier argument with Lord Rothschild over the financial organization of the US, Montagu did not see the Federation as a challenge, but wished to see these congregations integrated into the US, provided their independence and Orthodox practices could continue. It was said of him that 'They of the Federation were the successors of the founders of the community (now in the West End) many of whom had been as poor as those he was addressing. Their descendants in the West End had no right to call the Jews in the East End barbarous paupers or recipients of char ity.'139 He offered Rothschild the presidency of the Federation because he was president of the US and hoped that the Federation would join the US.140 This was a titular honour, but Rothschild did preside at a meeting of the Federation in the following January.141 Montagu failed to persuade Rothschild to include the Federation on the Burial Board of the US in 1889, even though a principal objective of the Federation was to raise social conditions in East London and prevent what some considered to be anar chy.142 Montagu ruled the Federation in an autocratic manner. Meetings of the board were postponed if he was unable to attend and members were merely spectators.143 He was not only anxious to acculturate these 'small men of great faith',144 but hoped they would compensate for 'the decadence of observance among 136 Ibid. Ii Jan. 1889. 137 Daily Telegraph 10 Dec. 1894. 138 Jewish World 2 June 1899. 139 JC 6 Dec. 1889. 140 JC 3 Dec. 1889. 141 G. Alderman, The Federation of Synagogues (London 1987) 1-2. 142 JC22 March 1889. 143 S. Sharot, 'Native Jewry and the Anglicization of Immigrants in London: 1870-1905' JJS XVI no. I (1974) 45. 144 Montagu (see n. 3) 32. 92</page><page sequence="19">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling the wealthy classes'.145 After feuds between Jews of Dutch, German, Russian and Polish origin there were fears that Montagu would modify services or alter the internal arrangements of synagogues, despite his policy of non-interference. He did, however, introduce English classes and urge the use of English in sermons. The difficulties experienced by poorer Jews in burying their dead touched Montagu's sense of philanthropy. Most could not afford the £3 for 'second class' US funerals or the cost of children's burials which comprised more than half the total.146 In 1896 he donated almost £1000 for the first cemetery of the Federation in Edmonton, with its own burial society.147 Montagu munificently made over to the Federation large blocks of Treasury stock, yet at the same time was described as 'tight fisted over stipends'. He built model synagogues and amalgamated some of the smaller ones, providing most of the money for those in Garden Street and Fieldgate Street and for the freehold of that in Notting Hill, and often presenting the Federation with a fait accompli.148 Synagogues whose size or hygiene were inadequate he barred from joining the Federation.149 He personally funded the salary of a number of rabbis brought from Eastern Europe and, on his elevation to the peerage, donated £500 to fund the salary of a chief minister. In 1886, afraid that trade unionism would increase irreligion, he brought a number of rabbis from Europe to England,150 including the German-born Dr Meier Lerner who became the principal rabbi, guaranteeing their salary for three years. He bequeathed £2000 for the continued payment of the salaries of two of them, and in his will absolved the Federation of all monies he had lent, interest free.151 Lerner, who translated the Workshop and Factory (Jews) Act 1871 into Yiddish,152 left after three years. The successor to this title, Rabbi Dr Maier Jung, was not appointed until Montagu had died, and in the meantime Rabbi Chaim Maccoby of Kaminetz, who was living in London, was appointed maggid (preacher) of the Federation but not its minister or religious authority.153 One of those who approached Montagu to become maggid was Naftali Herz Imber, the author of 'Hatikvah'.154 145 Ibid. 146 JC 31 Jan. 1896. 147 Ibid. 11 Dec. 1890. 148 J. Glasman, 'Assimilation by Design: London Synagogues in the Nineteenth Century' in T. Kushner (ed.) The Jewish Heritage in British History (London 1992) 204. 149 C. Bermant, Troubled Eden (London 1969)215. 150 E. Black, 'Edwin Montagu' Trans JHSE XXXII (1989) 201. 151 Alderman (see n. 141)40-1. 152 Jewish World 30 J une 1893. 153 Lipman (see n. 18) 97. 154 C. Bloom, 'Hatikvah: Imber, his Poem and a National Anthem' Trans JHSE XXXII (1993) 323 93</page><page sequence="20">Mervyn Goodman Montagu felt that rabbis should be elected directly by the people,155 and be subordinate to the communal leaders. It was said at this time that 'Whilst others are planning Montagu is doing'.156 The Federation secured representation on the LJBG in 1888 and on the Board of Deputies in the following year, but there was a further confronta tion that year between Montagu and Rothschild over admission to the Shechita Board, an autonomous conjoint body of representatives of the US and the Spanish and Portuguese congregations, dominated by the US. Montagu's demand for representation and a share of its profits for the Federation was refused. When this was debated by the council of the US, Montagu protested against Lord Rothschild's ruling from the chair, where upon Rothschild ordered Montagu to withdraw. Montagu, understanding the request to withdraw his protests as an order to leave the meeting, replied: 'I will withdraw from the meeting and will never again co-operate with your lordship on any committee'.157 The misunderstanding was soon resolved, but he continued to press for a place on the Shechita Board for the Federation, arguing that as its members consumed kosher meat they were entitled to be represented. Montagu subsequently became president of the Shechita Board;158 an amicable agreement was reached only in 1901.159 In 1891 the Mahzike Hadath, an ultra-orthodox congregation which had organized its own shechita because it desired a stricter degree of kashrut, fell into debt, cleared with the help of a loan arranged by Montagu and Rothschild. In 1889 the US proposed a programme called the 'East End Scheme' whose main aim was to build what Montagu called a 'colossal synagogue' (he felt that seating for 150 males and 100 females was about the right size),160 with its own welfare services, a day an, a preacher and clergy who were to be encouraged to undertake pastoral work. Montagu, who favoured smaller synagogue buildings, saw this attempt to anglicize immigrants as a threat to the Federation. He criticized the size of the proposed building, pointed out that 'the Jews of Whitechapel desire to control their own synagogues',161 argued that a new US synagogue would not attract members from the chevrot and accused Rothschild of breaking his pledge not to interfere with the Federation except on matters affecting the whole Jewish community.162 155 7C 15 Nov. 1889. 156 Ibid. 157 JCi Dec. 1888; 14 Dec. 188? 158 Gartner (see n. 61) 214. 159 Alderman (see n. 141)22-3. 160 Ibid. 24-4. 161 jfC 17 Jan. 1890. 162 Ibid. 31 Jan. 1890. 94</page><page sequence="21">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling At the time there were 1500 empty seats in the Federation's smaller syna gogues.163 Montagu did purchase land for a Jewish Toynbee Hall, to be called Rothschild Hall, in Mile End Road which could be used as a syna gogue.164 Two thirds was paid by Rothschild and one third by Montagu. But he was against Rothschild's East End Scheme, even though this was to include a people's synagogue and a court house (beth din).165 He did not attend the council meeting of the US in July 1894 when the matter was discussed as he did not want to embarrass Rothschild. Reasons to reject it included the fact that it would cause a congestion of 'aliens' in the area and that the siting of a Jewish 'Toynbee Hall' in Commercial Road might have appeared to express ingratitude to the non-Jews in the area who freely admitted Jews into Toynbee Hall. He was not satisfied that the matter should be decided by the council and wanted a ballot of all members of the US.166 The objection was supported by the opinion of R. B. Haldane, a barrister, which was sought because the US was a charity and required a vote of the members.167 In 1893 the Hambro synagogue in Fenchurch Street closed and services moved to the Great Synagogue in nearby Dukes Place. Then in 1899 the new Hambro Synagogue was opened in Adler Street. Reports modifying the original proposal were presented to the US council in 1893, 1894 and 1896. After the final report the scheme was dropped.168 At this stage Montagu reached an amicable arrangement with Rothschild, offering £200 a year for five years for the modified scheme.169 After five years of war, he described this as 'Peace with honour'.170 Simeon Singer, the first US minister to obtain a rabbinical diploma - which he had to take on the Continent as it was not then possible to do so in England - published his Authorised Daily Prayer Book in 1890. Singer had somewhat progressive ideas regarding the synagogue service, advocating innovations which he wanted to include in his new prayer book, but with drew these after an approach from Montagu.171 The Times, commenting on possible changes to the liturgy of Anglo-Jewry, said in 1890 that 'Those best satisfied [with the status quo\ were the latest immigrants and a section of native Jews headed by Samuel Montagu M P'. 163 Ibid. 7 March 1890. 164 Daily Chronicle 24 Oct. 1893. 165 Daily Graphic 2 July 1894. 166 JC13 July 1894, letter from Montagu. 167 Ibid. 6 Feb. 1896. 168 Newman (seen. 128)71. 169 JC 15 Feb. 1895. 170 Ibid. 8 May 1896. 171 R. Apple, 'United Synagogue: Religious Founders and Leaders' in S. S. Levin (ed.) A Century of Anglo-Jewish Life (London, n.d.) 23. 95</page><page sequence="22">Mervyn Goodman In 1890 when Nathan Adler, aged seventy, was sick and unable to continue in office, six prominent Jews, including Montagu, wrote to Rothschild as president of the US suggesting a meeting of representatives of the US, the Sephardi community, the Federation and the Reform congregation.172 Montagu was prepared to agree to the inclusion of the Reform congregation provided its members agreed to accept the Mosaic laws and keep two days of the festivals. Dr Hermann Adler, the delegate Chief Rabbi during his father's illness, objected and the meeting did not take place.173 The following year, after the death of his father, Hermann Adler was appointed Chief Rabbi. The Federation participated in his elec tion. Hoping to bring provincial synagogues under his leadership it was proposed to establish an advisory committee to the chief rabbi. Montagu was involved in a meeting in 1910 between the US and the Federation with a view to preventing friction in the election of the next chief rabbi, as Hermann Adler was then over seventy. The Federation participated also in the appointment of Dr J. H. Hertz as Chief Rabbi in 1913. Montagu's support of the chief rabbinate had led him earlier to insist that the Federation's Rabbi Lerner exercise his authority 'under the jurisdiction of Dr Adler'.174 The suggestion that the Federation have representation on the council of the US, a move which Lord Rothschild feared would give the Federation a majority, failed. Within a year both Adler and Montagu were dead.175 In 1897 the US had wished to close the New Synagogue, then in Great St Helens, which was in debt. Montagu cleared the debt, but Rothschild voted, unsuccessfully, to relocate the congregation. It finally moved to Egerton Road in 1911, to a building purchased by Marcus Samuel &amp; Co (Samuel became Viscount Bearsted and also controlled the Shell Transport and Trading Company).176 Montagu did not at first favour Jewish day schools, except for the chil dren of immigrants, since attending a Board school would help in their Anglicization. Among middle-class children such schools would produce narrow-mindedness and foster inhibitions between them and their Christian fellow citizens.177 When he opened the Dalston Jewish School in 1990 he said that religious education should be provided at home and that immigrant children should not be exotics.178 He even asked pupils at the 172 JCg May 1990. 173 Newman (see n. 128) 91. 174 Alderman (see n. 96) 159-60. 175 Ibid. 163. 176 Renton(seen. 134)47. 177 I. Finestein, Anglo-Jewry in Changing Times (London 1999) 99. 178 JC 10 Jan. 1890. 96</page><page sequence="23">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling Jews' Free School, whose prize day he often attended, to refuse to learn Yiddish and to teach their parents English.179 In 1895 Chief Rabbi Adler proposed that the Jewish community should seek an amendment to the Education Act of 1870 to permit Jewish denominational teaching during school hours. Montagu was one of many who opposed this, on the grounds that there were insufficient teachers and that they might find themselves allied to the 'Church Party'.180 He reiterated that children should be taught Hebrew and Judaism at home or in religion classes,181 but also condemned hadarim (part-time Hebrew classes) for the quality both of the premises in which they were held and of the teachers. He wished to improve the stan dards of Jewish education throughout the Federation. In 1894 the Federation was a founding partner of the Jewish Religious Education Board.182 Towards the end of the nineteenth century Talmud Torah schools re-emerged within the Federation. The classes were constantly faced with financial difficulties and Montagu personally came to their aid.183 Together with the philanthropist Hermann Landau, himself an immigrant, he founded the Talmud Torah Trust in London. This provided £500 a year and the services of an architect.184 For nearly thirty years he was chairman of the Initiation Society whose aim was to ensure the medical competence of mohelim at circumcisions.185 Although publicly opposing religious instruction in state schools he considered it improper and impolitic for a Jew to enter into the debate on the disestablishment of the Church of England. His brother-in-law Lionel Cohen supported an established Church and was in favour of an established Synagogue. One of his last speeches in the House of Lords was in support of the Sunday Trading Bill which would allow Orthodox Jews, who closed their shops on Saturday, to open them on Sundays. The social conditions under which Jews lived in Eastern Europe were of great concern to Montagu. In 1875, when he travelled to the Middle East with Dr Asher, his prime objective was to study the practice of halukkah, monies collected in the Diaspora for distribution in Palestine. His report was critical both of the transfer of the monies and of the recipients.186 In 1890 he approached Gladstone on behalf of the plight of Russian Jews187 179 180 181 182 183 184 G. Black, JFS: The History of the Jews' Free School, London since 1732 (London 1998) 127. I. Finestein, Scenes and Personalities in Anglo-Jewry (London 2002) 67. Finestein (see n. 177) 237. Alderman (see n. 96) 159-60. S. S. Levin, 'The Changing Pattern of Jewish Education', in Newman (see n. 128) 65. Gartner (see n. 61) 237. Black (see n. 8) 203. C. Bloom, 'The Institution of Halukkah: A Historical Review' Trans JHSE XXXVI (2001) 35 JC 8 May 1890. 97</page><page sequence="24">Mervyn Goodman and a month later presented a 'memorial' to Lord Salisbury to ask the Sultan of Turkey for permission for Russian and Polish Jews to settle in Palestine. Montagu adopted an ambivalent attitude towards Liberal Judaism. On one hand he supported its philanthropic work, offering to pay the salaries of three welfare workers, provided the sum could be matched to pay for another three.188 On the other hand he did not approve of their religious practices and attempted to remove Claude Montefiore, a leading Liberal, from the Board of Deputies.189 Provincial communities also interested Montagu. He was instrumental with Lord Rothschild in founding the Middle Street Synagogue in Brighton, the congregation which returned him as their first deputy to the Board of Deputies.190 In 1887 he sent a cheque for three guineas towards the salary of a shochet in Reading and in 1899 presided at a meeting there to found a synagogue and school.191 He visited Manchester in 1895 where he opened the Talmud Torah and suggested that synagogues there should be federated or associated with the London Federation.192 A conference of the Russo-Jewish Committee and the Anglo-Jewish Association, under his chairmanship, gave financial assistance to the Manchester Jewish commu nity, which in 1894 numbered 16,000 Jews.193 The anti-Zionist Montagu's views on plans for a national home for the Jewish people have been well documented.194 He had visited Palestine, Galicia and Russia to assess the possibility of Jewish resettlement in Palestine, was an early member of the Hovevei Zion in England and co-founder and treasurer of the Chevra Hoveve Zion - Lemaskereth Moshe in 1885.195 This was not a Zionist organization, but a philanthropic movement for raising money to help settlers in Palestine under Ottoman rule. In 1892 he drew up and presented a petition on behalf of Hovevei Zion to the Sultan of Turkey to allow Jews to settle in the Houran district of Trans-Jordan.196 When Theodor Herzl visited London in 1895, Israel Zangwill197 and 188 S. Bayme, 'Origins of the Jewish Religious Union' Trans JHSE XXVII (1982) 67-8. 189 Bermant (see n. 149) 186. 190 David Spector, 'The Jews of Brighton 1770-1900' Trans JHSE XXII (1970) 48. 191 JC 2 Feb. 1899. 192 Manchester Courter 28 Jan. 1895. 193 JC I Feb. 1895. 194 C. Bloom, 'Samuel Montagu and Zionism' Trans JHSE XXXIV (1997) 17-41. 195 J. Frankel, 'Lucien Wolf and Theodor Herzl' Trans JHSE XX (1964) 175. 196 J. Adler, Restoring Jews to their Homeland (New Jersey and Jerusalem 1997) 385. 197 Ibid. g8</page><page sequence="25">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling Lucien Wolf198 advised him to see Montagu, and Herzl recorded in his diary that on 22 November 1895 the chief rabbi had given him an introduc tion to meet Montagu,199 who had invited him to lunch on the following Sunday. He described Montagu as: 'a splendid old fellow, the best Jew I have met so far. At table he presided over his family . . . with the air of a good-natured patriarch. Kosher food, served by three liveried footmen . . . He confessed to me that he felt himself to be more an Israelite than an Englishman. He would be willing to settle with his entire family in Palestine. He has in mind not the old but a larger Palestine. He will hear nothing of Argentina.'200 When asked by the Southampton Times for his views on founding a Jewish national home in Palestine, Montagu said he felt that many Jews would go there if the Sultan of Turkey would allow them to do so and that he would support land purchase there.201 Following the publication of his booklet The Jewish State in 1896 Herzl records that Montagu gave an interview to the Daily Chronicle in which he said that one might offer the Sultan £2,000,000 in return for Palestine.202 He also mentions that Montagu had given a copy of Herzl's booklet to Gladstone. On 2 June 1896 the Times printed the following: GLADSTONE ON ANTI-SEMITISM Gladstone has addressed the following letter to Samuel Montagu MP who had sent to him Dr Theodor Herzl's pamphlet The Jewish State: 'The subject of the publication which you sent me is highly interesting. For the outsider it is not easy to form a judgement regarding it, nor perhaps pertinent, having fired a judgement so expressly. It surprises me, however, to see how far reaching is the distress among Jews. I am of course strongly opposed to anti-semitism .. .203 On 8 July Herzl met Montagu in the House of Commons, who gave him an account of his unsuccessful visit to Constantinople where he had hoped to meet the Sultan. 'He was taken aback, but quickly rallied again. A splendid fellow.' Montagu told Herzl that he must try to win over the major current benefactors to Palestine, Baron Edmond de Rothschild and the Hirsch Foundation, which had not less than £10,000,00 at its disposal.204 Montagu later became disaffected with Zionism. In 1896, following a second Maccabean Dinner, where the leaders of the Hovevei Zion reaffirmed their support for Zionism rather than Herzl's Zionism, the conflict between 198 Frankel (see n. 195) 172. 199 M. Lowenthal, The Diaries of Theodor Herzl (New York 1956) 79. 200 Ibid. 81. 201 Southampton Times 29 Feb. 1896. 202 Lowenthal (see n. 199) 101. 203 Ibid. 177. 204 Ibid. 99</page><page sequence="26">Mervyn Goodman the ideologies began.205 As a believer in the coming of the Messiah, Montagu felt that Jews need not attempt to survive in Palestine with its inadequate irri gation and lack of good government. In addition, those who had become acculturated to life in Britain were worried by the accusation of dual loyal ties206 and felt that Jewish nationhood was the antithesis of their newly won emancipation. By 1900 Montagu had become an avowed anti-Zionist, appeal ing to his cousin Sir Francis Montefiore not to drag the name of his illustrious uncle Sir Moses Montefiore into the mire of political Zionism.207 He said: 'For a Jew to espouse political Zionism made him unfit to be a Member of Parliament... and [would] bring trouble upon the loyal and patriotic Jews of England'. Montagu, who had never forgiven Herzl for writing him a postcard on Shabbat, might have played a leading role in the Zionist movement,208 but refused to chair a meeting addressed by Herzl in the East End and forbade any discussion of Zionism at meetings of the Federation.209 He also banned the use of Yiddish. In 1898 he urged members of the board of the Federation 'to prevent the poor Jews of the East End from becoming involved in [this] ill judged scheme [Zionism]',210 telling the Daily Mail that he objected to Jews acting internationally for political purposes, that he did not believe that large numbers of Jews would go to Palestine unless they had a leader who inspired them with confidence, and that he was opposed to placing additional Jews under the control of the Sultan of Turkey under the existing circumstances.211 The MP Gideon, in Zangwill's Children of the Ghetto (1892), was modelled on Montagu.212 There is no record of Montagu's attitude to the East Africa scheme of 1903, by which the British government was to offer Jews land in Uganda, then a British protectorate, which could have solved the problem posed by Jewish immigration into Britain. When this was rejected by the World Zionist Organization in 1905 a dissident group formed the Jewish Territorial Organization (ITO) which Montagu refused to join because, as Zangwill said, he 'was too old and set in his ways'.213 205 206 Frankel (see n. 195) 175. S. A. Cohen, 'First World War Anglo-Jewish Opposition to Zionism' Trans JfHSE XXX (1989)151. Frankel (see n. 195) 177. Ibid. 175. G. Alderman, 'M. H. Davis: The Rise and Fall of a Communal Upstart' Trans JHSE XXX (1989) 255. Federation of Synagogues Minute Book, I, 244-5, cited in S. A. Cohen, English Zionists and British Jews (Princeton, NJ, 1982) 49. Daily Mail 3 Sept. 1898. Bloom (see n. 154) 322. Cohen (see n. 206) 94. 100</page><page sequence="27">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling The man In private life Montagu was austere, deprecating charity dinners since 'It is monstrous to suppose that you must fill men with wine and fowl before you can get money from their purses'.214 The Daily News wrote that 'Most typi cally Jewish of the men who lead Anglo-Jewry, there is nothing of the diplo matist in Sir Samuel's ways. His words are rugged and blunt, and strike home.'215 Working five days a week in his City office left him little time for relaxation. But he enjoyed old English silver, and his membership of the Burlington Fine Arts Club and the Society of Antiquaries enabled him to build up a considerable collection of fine art, including works by French, Flemish and English painters which adorned his London home.216 Constable's Stafford Mill, which he purchased at the highest price then paid for a Constable, was lent to the Royal Academy.217 A late-seventeenth century silver salver supplied him with his coat of arms.218 He helped in the redecoration of the Royal Exchange by commissioning and donating a painting of King Charles I demanding the delivery of five members of Parliament at Guildhall.219 He was one of the first people to own an auto mobile.220 He bought two, and the East London Advertiser commented that 'It is surely characteristic of the race, which at once is the oldest and youngest of the world, that Sir Samuel Montagu, when nearly 70 years of age should come to the House in the latest form of locomotion'. He had always wanted a country house and chose one in the Hampshire village of Swathling, a few miles north of Southampton, which he proposed spelling 'Swaythling'.221 In Hampshire he gave money to local social and welfare bodies, became a member of the South Stoneham Parish Council222 and participated in local activities, donating £100 to a Church of England school near Southampton223 and paying for the building of Swaythling Hall for public use and the benefit of local residents.224 He also donated a foun tain to Southampton. He then purchased South Stoneham House, built in the reign of Queen Anne and set in 1200 acres (which was featured in 214 JC13 June 1890. 215 Daily News 21 July 1899. 216 Magazine of Art ( 1893). 217 The Times 1 Jan 1896. 218 jfC8 Feb. 1895. He seem to have misunderstood the provenance of this piece, which is now in the Jewish Museum, London. 219 City Press 17 Dec. 1895. 220 East Anglian Daily News 21 June 1899. 221 Southampton Times 22]vatt 1895. 222 Ibid. i2jan. 1895. 223 West Morning News 14 July 1896. 224 Southampton Times 1 Jan. 1900. 101</page><page sequence="28">Mervyn Goodman Gardeners' Magazine).225 There he indulged in one of his favourite pastimes - fly fishing, especially for salmon. He became a senior member of the Fly Fishers' Club, where a member referred to his 'bimetallic fish' bright as silver and worth its weight in gold. The pond in Swaythling and the fishing rights in the waters feeding it led to many problems (reported in the Spectator of 7 January 1893), and he took proceedings in the Chancery Court to restrain fishing in the River Itchen which fed his pond.226 Having lost his case he took it to the Court of Appeal with a similar outcome.227 Like the Rothschilds he took a keen interest in horticulture, winning first prizes for chrysanthemums228 and miscellaneous plants.229 He was also a good billiards player, and served as president of the Eastleigh Liberal Association230 and of the Royal Horticultural Society of Southampton, while Lady Swaythling participated in local activities and was vice-president of the recently formed Southampton Women's Liberal Association.231 Sitting as a magistrate he showed his lenient side by reducing the sentence of a poacher from three to two months.232 He was also vice president of the Universal Israelite Marriage Portion Society, to assist in youthful marriages which in many cases resulted in a financial burden for the couple in later years;233 president of the Kadima Association for Russian and other foreign Jewish families to promote the study of Jewish history and a love for the Holy Land; and treasurer of the Berith Society, an organization to give financial help to indigent parents of newly born boys.234 Samuel Montagu died in 1911 aged seventy-nine, leaving more than a million pounds. His eldest son Louis, who succeeded to the title and to the presidency of the Federation of Synagogues, was a founder member of the anti-Zionist League of British Jews.235 Louis's second son Ewen had a distinguished naval career during the Second World War, described in his book The Man Who Never Was (1953). Following his demobilization he was prominent at the Bar and became president of the United Synagogues. His brother, Ivor Montagu, was educated at Westminster School and Cambridge University, became an expert table-tennis player and was active 225 Gardeners' Magazine 9 Nov. 1889. 226 The Times 29 June 1897. 227 Morning Past 4 May 1897. 228 Southampton Echo 13 Nov. 1894. 229 Ibid. 4June 1895. 230 Hampshire Independent 8 Jan. 1889. 231 Kent Herald t)]\x\y 1894. 232 Truth I9july 1894. 233 Jewish World 19 March 1886. 234 Ibid. 4 Feb. 1888. 235 Alderman (see n. 209) 294. 102</page><page sequence="29">Vice versa: Samuel Montagu, the first Lord Swaythling in the Communist Party.236 The second Lady Swaythling donated the Swaythling Cup for world men's table tennis. Another son, Edwin, a Liberal MP from 1906 to 1922, opposed, as a Parliamentary Under Secretary, the Balfour Declaration. In his will Samuel Montagu had included a disinheritance clause to prevent his children marrying outside the Jewish faith (which provoked criticism in the non-Jewish press), so when Edwin fell in love with Venetia Stanley, daughter of Lord Sheffield, he could have forfeited a legacy of some £10,000 annually. Venetia reluc tantly converted to Judaism and secured his inheritance.237 Lilian (Lily) Montagu, Samuel's youngest daughter, was a founder of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue and the World Union for Progressive Judaism which she served as secretary until 1963 when she died aged ninety, and was active in the welfare of Jewish girls. In 1893 she founded, with her sister Marian, the West Central Jewish Day Settlement. She was a founder of the National Organization of Girls' Clubs and one of the first women to be appointed a Justice of the Peace. His eldest daughter Henrietta (Netty) married her cousin Ernest Franklin, assisted Lily in her work for the Liberal Synagogue and was pres ident of the National Council of Women and honorary secretary of the Parents' National Education Union. Samuel Montagu was a man of his times. Had he been born a century later would he have been a socialist rather than a Liberal? Would he have kept his head covered at all times? What would have been his attitude to the State of Israel? And would his son have been able to find a Beth Din willing to convert a reluctant bride to Judaism? 236 Alderman (see n. 96) 316. 237 T. M. Endelman, Radical Assimilation in English Society (Bloomington and Indianapolis 1990) 107. 103</page></plain_text>

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