« PreviousContinue »
“Lift up your heads! The Moslem's fane
No more provokes a sigh;
Redemption draweth nigh!
Is yours. Ye shall not buy.
Redemption draweth nigh!
Sball once more kiss the sky!
Redemption draweth nigh!
Ye heralds, quickly ily!
Redemption draweth nigh!”
As if to indicate the effects of Russian ascendency in the East, and the probable way in which the Jews will be driven from their homes and toward their own land, we find in the “Hebrew Observer” the following eloquent article :
“It seems to be the fate of Jews and Judaism, voluntarily or reluctantly, to be involved in every great question agitating the civilized world. Whether they boldly place themselves in the foreground, -brave danger, and plunge into the midst of peril; or hide themselves in the most secret recess, and sedulously avoid every contingency which could
compromise their safety, it is all the same; they cannot escape their fate. They are to stand prominent before the world; the eyes and attention of mankind are never to be withdrawn from them. Thus has destiny willed it, and the will of destiny must be fulfilled. A most striking exemplification of this is afforded by the Eastern question.
“That little spot on the map of the globe, called Palestine, had, after having changed masters as often as conquering hordes devastated Asia, at last passed into the hands of the Turks. The Osmanlis were at that time at the zenith of their power. Three quarters of the globe trembled at the din of their arms, whilst the semi-savages on the Scythian steppes had but succeeded in shaking off the yoke of the Tartars. Little was it then thought that within a few generations after the tables would be turned, that the despised power of the Muscovites would presume to dictate laws to the successors of the superb Soliman. Such, however, was the will of destiny. And what was the indirect cause of the warlike preparations now taking place in the West of Europe, and the shedding of blood equally staining the fertile plains on the Danube, and the bleak mountains of the Black Sea ? Does the Czar profess a war of conquest? Is it that he wishes to transfer the seat of his government from the unwholesome marshes on the Neva to the salubrious tracts on the Golden Horn? No, not a single village, thus has he solemnly declared, will he sever from the dominions of the Porte. The indirect cause of war proceeded from the land once inhabited by Israel,-from the land given to him as an inheritance for ever, and which is now trodden down by Gentiles. The land usurped by Mahometan, Greek, and Papist, like ill-gotten property in general, becomes to its holder a curse instead of blessing. Papist and Greek disputed rights which belonged to neither, therefore the anger of Him who had declared, “ To thee and to thy seed I give this land for ever," was kindled. The dispute first became a source of humiliation to the Papist; subsequently one of great vexation, and possibly of great disaster to the Greek: and now a spark has gone forth from Palestine, which threatens to set the world on fire. Thus has reluctant Judaism been dragged on the foreground. But the Jews as a body, too, are deeply involved in the Eastern question.
“The two principal seats of Judaism since time immemorial, were on the Pyrenean peninsula and the plains of Sarmatia. The suicidal policy of Ferdinand the Catholic drove the majority of his Jewish subjects from the West to the East, where that shelter was afforded them by the Crescent, which the Cross denied them. The Turkish dominions became an asylum of the fugitives from Spain and Portugal. In Turkey myriads of them settled, multiplied, and took root. Again, the largest portion of what formed formerly the kingdom of Poland, which, together with the maritime provinces on the Baltic, contained the most numerous Jewish population in the world, fell into the hand of Russia.
“And now the two monarchs in whose dominions the greatest part of the Jewish settlements find themselves, are at war; and should the King of the North prevail against the King of the South, then the mass of the Jews would be at the feet of the Czar; and what mercy would it have to expect when the butcher from the north draweth nigh? The treatment experienced by the Russian Jews at the hand of the Scythian Gog Magog, is an earnest and foretaste of that which would be the melancholy lot of those now enjoying the protection of the mild Abdul Medjid, should they have the misfortune of falling into his power. Nicholas rules his Jewish subjects with an iron rod. Mercy, upon the very admission of his admirers, is not an element of his character; and the Jews are guilty of a most heinous offence, — of an enormity of the blackest dye,- of a crime most unpardonable in a country the population of which looks up to its monarch as to a God; pays him Divine honours, and considers his decisions as infallible-- the Jews of Russia are guilty of dissent from the opinions and the innermost convictions of the Czar. The Jews of Russia dare to differ from their monarch on points of religion, and to hold in abhorrence the idolatrous worship of a people that bow down before images, and in mockery of the Bible, though professing to believe in it, transgress its most sacred injunctions. This dissent, and nothing else, thus we declare aloud and emphatically before the world, is the crime of the Jews in the eyes of the Emperor."
So Jews flee from Russia, and find rest in Palestine.
“It is true that this is not the pretext under which they are oppressed, — crushed, - ground down, and trampled under foot. It is true that this is not the plea which is set up in justification of the Pharaonic cruelties daily inflicted upon them, and under which thousands of families are driven away from their native homes, where the ashes of their ancestors repose, where the houses of worship are reared in which they and their forefathers used to pray, where they drew the first breath of life, where the child, the youth, the man and woman, found a play-ground, a scene for sport, and a peaceful dwelling, and to which they are attached by the most hallowed associations and most endearing ties, in order to drag on a miserable existence in some strange and dreary place, where they are totally unknown, in most cases hateful intruders, and utterly deprived of the means of obtaining a livelihood. Nicholas may disclaim Asiatic barbarism, may pride himself upon the semblance of civilization, diffused over the surface of Russian society; but, surely, the wholesale transportation of masses of the population is nothing less than the worst characteristic of that semi-civilization, which unites the vices