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The first who settled in the United States are said to have been Spaniards and Portuguese, who fled from the inquisition to the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. To South Carolina the Jews came long before the Revolution, being German, English, and Portuguese emigrants ; and they are now more numerous there than in any other Southern State. To Georgia a few came over in 1733, soon after General Oglethorpe. In Virginia we find them before the year 1780. The Jews of this country are as mixed a people as those among whom they dwell, and much less disposed than the latter to forget petty differences, real or imaginary, in family or caste, among themselves ; and therefore not so rapidly assuming a homogeneous aspect.
The present number of the Jews throughout the world has been variously stated ; and, in respect to most countries, there are no sufficient data for the estimate. The difficulty of the subject will be understood best from a few examples. The Jews of European Russia, exclusive of Poland, says Judge Noah, * are, as we learn from an accurate census, 200,000 in number. Mr. Moritz, a converted Jew, residing, as a missionary to his own people, at Dantzic, estimates them at 2,000,000. The Jews of Tunis were numbered not many years ago, in the Weimar “Geographical Ephemerides," at 130,000 ; subsequently, by Messrs. Nicolayson and Farman, who visited that country, at 60,000. Late Scottish missionaries to the Jews were informed by a rabbi at Galatz, a town of only 5,000 inhabitants in Moldavia, that his countrymen there numbered but 500, while the British consul thought there were 2,000; Some have estimated those in the United States at only 15,000; others, at 50,000 ; while the Weimar “Ephemerides"
puts down only 5,700 for the whole Western continent. The migratory disposition of the Jews, produced by exile and persecution, may account for some, but not the greater part, of these discrepancies. In countries where the civil authorities do not make the census, conjectural estimates only can be obtained. And those most interested in the inquiry, the Jews themselves, seem often religiously opposed to “ numbering the people” ; for which David was severely rebuked and punished. † The Rev. Isaac Leeser, “ Pastor
* See his Letter, dated June 18th, 1844.
1 2 Samuel, xxiv.
of the Hebrew Portuguese Congregation of Philadelphia,” in an article on " The Jews and their Religion,”* has given, we suppose, the best information respecting his people in that city, which he possesses; yet he only tells us, that “ there are now three congregations in Philadelphia, numbering from 1,500 to 1,800 souls."
At several periods of their history, the Jews have greatly decreased in numbers ; but for the last few centuries, comparative exemption from persecution has favored their increase, which has always been promoted by a creed enjoining marriage, and early marriage, as a religious duty. Different estimates of their present aggregate number have varied from about three to fifteen millions. From six or seven millions, however, the most trustworthy estimates do not greatly differ. "Of the two and a half tribes, Judah and Benjamin, and half Manasseh, I compute the number in every part of the world,” says Judge Noah, “as exceeding six millions. Of the missing nine and a half tribes, t part of which are in Turkey, China, Hindostan, Persia, and on this continent, f it is impossible to ascertain the numerical force."
No estimate can be formed of the number of Jews residing in Roman Catholic countries, particularly in Spain and Portugal, who conceal their religion under a Christian garb; probably, there are several hundred thousand of them. The
Rupp's History of Religious Denominations in the United States. + Commonly denominated the “ Ten Tribes."
Judge Noah believes the American Indians to be of Israelitish descent. § The following particulars — among which those known to be substantially accurate are in italics — probably come as near to the truth as it is possible to approach it. Conjecture must be used in respect even to some of the states of Europe; and the estimate becomes more and more uncertain as we pass into Asia and Africa.
United States, 35,000; AMERICA, 75,000. Russia and Russian Poland, 1,700,000; Sweden, 1,250 ; Prussia, 194,588 ; Denmark, 6,000; Germany, 145,000; Holland and Belgium, 80,000; Great Britain and Ireland, 30,000; Austria, 453,524 ; Switzerland, 2,000 ; France, 80,000; Turkey (in Europe), 325,000 ; Italy, 200,000; Gibraltar, 2,000; Portugal, 1,000; Ionian Isles, 8,000 ; EUROPE, 3,228,362. Palestine, 12,000; Asia, 3,000,000. Africa, 500,000. Total, 6,803,362.
The Jewish population of different cities is nearly as follows : 'New York, 12,000; Philadelphia, 2,500; Baltimore, 1,800; Charleston, 1,500 London, 20,000; Amsterdam, 25,000; Hamburg, 9,000 ; Berlin, 5,000; Cracow, 20,000; Warsaw, 30,000 ; Rome, 6,000; Leghorn, 10,000 ; Con. stantinople, 80,000; Smyrna, 9,000; Jerusalem, 6000; Hebron, 800 ; Ti. berias, 1,000; Saphet, 1,800.
numbers given for Asia and Africa certainly fall short of the truth. They are powerful in Persia and the countries upon the Indian ocean, in China, and on the borders of Tartary. Black Jews are found in Abyssinia, Ethiopia, and Hindostan. They have a congregation in Calcutta, and are quite numerous on the coast of Malabar ; where they speak of brethren residing in Northern India, Tartary, and China.
The external condition of the Jews, since the destruction of their city and temple and their final dispersion, could not be more strikingly depicted than it is, in a few words, in their own Scriptures. "The Lord shall scatter thee people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other." 16 I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, and to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.” “ Among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest ; but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind ; and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy
At no period of their dispersion has their general political condition been more prosperous than it is now ; but to regard them as an emancipated people, we must shut our eyes upon all but a few of the smallest portions of the race. In Mohammedan and pagan countries, the advance of civilization, comparatively small in itself, has wrought still less change for centuries in the situation of the Jews. State policy, or the native energy of an indomitable race, has sometimes raised them in such countries to places of outward respect, of influence and official power ; and, for the most part, they are suffered to live nominally free, and to pursue the ordinary avocations of life.
Since the last conquest of Constantinople, Turkish policy has inclined to tolerate the Jews; and the consequence has been a great increase of their numbers in that city. They are often bankers for the grandees, and custom, acquiring the force of law, has established them as collectors of the customs and purveyors for the seraglio. Their taxes are not greater than those paid by other races in a similar condition. Jews,” says Judge Noah, “ are at this day the most influen
* Deuteronomy xxviii. 64, 65, 66 ; Jeremiah xxiv. 9.
tial persons connected with the commerce and monetary affairs of Turkey, and enjoy important privileges ; but hitherto they have had no protecting influence. Where all rights are precarious, the privileges of the Jews especially have been the sport of despotic power. Mussulmen and idolaters alike, from the cradle, are almost universally taught to regard the Israelites as the vilest of mankind, or as a link between man and brute, - accursed of Heaven, and the lawful sport or
any one who has the small share of hardihood required to mock them, or to exact their property or service. They are the common objects of popular malice and superstition, and, whenever money may probably be extorted, of persecution and rapacity under the garb of office. Throughout the East, Jew is a name of reproach far viler than Christian dog. Dr. Wolff writes in his Journal, “We pitched our tents at Arass. A dervis fogged his ass, and called him Yehudi (Jew).” In Turkey, politeness requires a passing apology, whenever, in conversation, certain unclean animals are mentioned ; as, “I beg pardon, a swine”; and so a Turk will sometimes say, “I beg pardon,
In some countries, the Jews are required to wear a prescribed badge, which is a blue slipper in Constantinople, and a black one in the empire of Morocco. Lieutenant Conolly, an English military man, who visited the holy city of Meshed in 1830, says, “ The Jews may not pass the pale of the sanctuary, neither may they put foot within the college squares in which good men are buried; on their clothes, however new, they must wear a patch at the breast; their caps must not be of the same form as those worn by true believers ; and they dare not return abuse, much less a blow, given by a Mahometan, so that even children of the faithful race throw stones and dirt at them in the streets, unchecked by their parents, who think it a very meritorious act to worry the soul of a Jew.” It was only in 1816, that the king of Sardinia allowed the Jews in his dominions to throw aside the badges formerly worn by them.
The Moors seem to consider the Jews born to serve them and bear their wanton insults. The Moorish boys torment the Jewish children for pastime; and the men, with impunity, maltreat the male adults, and take the grossest liberties with the females. In 1804, many of them were subjected to horrible tortures in Algiers, merely because
they had unsuspiciously lent money to certain political conspirators ; and they were not released till they had paid an exorbitant ransom. In 1827, the Dey extorted from a rich Jew, by throwing him on some pretence into prison, 500,000 Spanish dollars. But the French occupation of Algiers has greatly improved the condition of this people in that country; and, in consequence, their numbers have increased by immigration. At Tripoli, some years ago, they were heavily mulcted for a drought ascribed to them. In Persia their condition is no better. Frequently, when they are assembled in their synagogue, a soldier from the Shah enters with an order for money, which must forthwith be paid. They are often compelled to work as slaves without remuneration; and their women are unceremoniously taken from them, without their daring to murmur. Mr. Wolff was told by a Mohammedan in Mesopotamia, “Every house in Shiraz with a low, narrow entrance is a Jew's. Every coat much torn and mended is a Jew's. Every man with a dirty camel's-hair turban is a Jew. Every one picking up broken glass, and asking for old shoes and sandals, is a Jew"; and he afterwards found this description, fully confirmed.
In Syria, the Jews are in a state of real servitude, and no change of masters has bettered their condition. Mohammedans and Christians alike hate and maltreat them; and this hatred is heartily returned, as the latter find, whenever any circumstance gives their enemies a temporary advantage. When the Turkish succeeded the Egyptian troops in Damascus, a few years ago, they were stirred up by the Jews to persecute the Christians of every sect. When the Greeks rose against the Turks in 1822, the Jews eagerly joined against the Christians, especially in Constantinople ; while the Greeks, in revenge, murdered all the Jews on whom they could lay their hands. The Turks throughout Syria may compel the Jews to work without pay, and administer the bastinado if they refuse. The lowest fellaah will stop a Jew whom he meets travelling, and demand money, as a Mussulman's right; and such extortion the same individual sometimes suffers several times a day. At Saphet, in 1834, many Jewish dwellings were plundered, and great cruelties inflicted to extort money. Indeed, throughout the East, the Jews are obliged to affect poverty, in order to conceal their wealth ; what is exposed to view is never safe from