The Persecution of the Jews in Russia.
Public Meeting at the Mansion House.
Wednesday, February 1, 1882.
The Lord Mayor presided on Wednesday at the Mansion House over a large, influential, and enthusiastic meeting, convened "to express public opinion upon the outrages inflicted upon the Jews in various parts of Russia and Russian Poland." The Egyptian Hall was crowded in every available part, and the reserved seats on the platform were altogether inadequate to accommodate those who were invited to take part in the proceedings. Lady Burdett-Coutts-Bartlett sat on the right of the Lord Mayor, and amongst those present were: The Earl of Shaftsbury; The Lord Bishop of London; The Lord Bishop of Oxford; Canon Farrar; Rev. Newman Hall; Canon Spence; Sir Julian Goldsmid; Edward Clarke, Esq., M.P.; Lord Reay; Lord A. Russell, M.P.; Lord Stanley of Alderley; Mr. Alfred Goldsmid; Sir George Bowyer; the Honourable Saul Samuel; Mr. Alderman Cotton; Mr. Phillip Callan, M.P.; Lord Elcho; Dr. Munro; Dean Plumptre; The Dean of Wells; Rev. John Wilkinson; Dean Bagot; Alderman Breffit; Rev. Edward Henry Bickersteth; Rev. Charles Voysey; Rev. Henry Landsdell; Rev. Dr. Martineau; Professor Rogers, M.P.; Mr. H. Brinsley Sheridan, M.P.; Dr. Gladstone; Mr. C. McLaren, M.P.; Rev. Canon Jenkyns; Mr. A. Cohen, Q.C., M.P.; Sir W. Rose Robinson; Sir Nathaniel de Rothschild, Bart., M.P.; Hon. Rollo Russell; Rev. Dr. H. Adler; Rev. A. L. Green; Sir Alex. Galt; Mr. F. W. Buxton, M.P.; Mr. Cyril Flower, M.P.; Rev. Dr. Mensor; Rev. Horrocks Cocks; Rev. Alex. J. D. D'Orsey; Dr. Henry Behrend; Rev. G. C. Bellewes; Mr. Montague Guest, M.P.; Mr. Magniac, M.P.; Archdeacon Blunt; Rev. J. Wilkinson; Lady Winford and Hon. Miss Mostyn; Sir A. Otway, M.P.; Rev. Dr. Gordon; Rev. W. Cadman; Archdeacon Brooks; Mr. T. Rogers, M.P.; Right Rev. Monsignor Capel; D. Grant, Esq., M.P.; Sir J. Vogel; Sergt. Simon, M.P.; Professor Bryce, M.P.: Mr. W. T. Merriott, Q.C., M.P.; Mr. J. B. Montefiore; Mr. Edward M. Leon; Mr. Pugh; Lord Haldan Malcolm; Mr. Leopold Schloss; Rev. H. Jephson; Mr. I. Seligman; Mr. H. L. Beddington; Mr. J. Bergtheil; Rev. W. R. Rowe; Alderman Lawrence, M.P.; Sir T. Lawrence; Mr. Robert Browning; Louisa Lady Goldsmid, Dr. A. Asher; Countess D'Avigdor; Mr. Israel Hart, High Bailiff of Leicester; Alderman Emanuel, of Southsea; M. Léon Jolivard, &c.
My Dear Lord,—It is a distress to me that I am forbidden by my medical attendant to take part in the meeting your lordship has undertaken to call together to enter an emphatic protest against the recent outrages to which the Jewish people have been exposed. Unable to attend myself, I have asked Canon Farrar to be present and express the horror with which I contemplate the disgrace brought on the Christian name by these shameful persecutions.
A. C. Cantuar.
I am unable to attend the meeting to-morrow. I cannot, however, repress my feeling of horror and of indignation at the barbarities and ruin worked upon the defenceless Jews in Russia. I am afraid there can be no doubt as to an enormous amount of great and hideous wrong-doing; but we want more information—to obtain which every effort should be made, and for acquiring which, I believe, the Russian Government are willing to give facilities. Meanwhile, I can well understand, and can sympathise with the feeling that prompts thousands of our follow-countrymen to givent vent to their indignation against the perpetrators of these barbarities, and of sympathy with those who have suffered and are suffering under these enormities.
I should have greatly desired to join my voice to those that will be uplifted in protest against such cruelties. No language can well be thought too strong to declare our abhorrence of such conduct, and our appeal to the Russian authorities to use every effort to punish it and prevent its repetition.
As I signed the requisition to the Lord Mayor, begging him to call a public meeting at the Mansion House, at which an opportunity might be given for the expression of the feeling that, I imagine, is strong in the hearts of all Englishmen with regard to the outrages to which the Jews appear to have been subjected in Russia, I regret that it is out of my power to attend that meeting in person; but the Mayor has called a similar meeting at Manchester, on 3rd February, at which I hope to be present, and when I shall have an opportunity of saying what I feel. I will merely say now that these outrages, as they have been reported in England, have aroused in my breast the liveliest feelings of pity and indignation. I cannot for a moment believe that any civilized Government could either encourage or connive at them, and it seems to me that the Government of Russia owes it to the place it occupies in Christian Europe to extend the strong arm of its protection to the weak and helpless, and to repress, with all the force at its command, acts of pillage and violence which one would have thought were only possible in some byegone age of barbarism.
I particularly regret that diocesan business of importance prevents me attending and raising my poor voice against the horrors and barbarities that have taken place. Pray express publicly, if you think fit, my deep regret that I am prevented attending the meeting, and that I thus lose this opportunity of joining with others in expressing abhorrence at the atrocities perpetrated in a Christian country against God's ancient people—the Jews.
I am unable to be present at the Mansion House on 1st February. Not the less am I dismayed by the reports of this madness of hatred against the Jews (whatever the possible provocation), and of the unspeakable barbarities consequent. If they are not universally denounced, it can only be that they are so alien to the spirit of the age as to be almost unbelievable. The stronger the national protest the better. Our Government, however, may have reason to fear that they may do more harm than good in official intervention.
The cruelties which have been inflicted on the Jews in Russia are detestable, and should be denounced by the unanimous opinion of civilized nations.
Feeling deeply how scandalous are the outrages inflicted upon the Jews in Russia, and I may add, elsewhere, I should have wished by my presence at your meeting to manifest my sympathy, and to testify my abhorrence of the wrongs to which they have been subjected.
I hope the meeting will be very largely attended, and that the protest against the cruel and cowardly persecution of the Jews in Russia will be strong enough to check the continuance of barbarities which are a disgrace to the Christian name. I hope that every Mayor in England will follow your good example in convening a public meeting on the subject.
Strongly sympathising as I do with the praiseworthy object in view, I can only say that every person with a human heart, every one able to influence public opinion, every statesman worthy of the name, ought to join in condemning this mediæ valish madness which is passing over large parts of Europe, and which, if not speedily stopped, by united efforts, will dishonour a so-called age of progress and make it a byword for the future historian.
It is the duty of Englishmen, irrespective of creed or party, to utter their strongest protest against this brutal and barbarous persecution. If the Russian Government have sanctioned, connived at, or condoned these fiendish cruelties, no considerations of a political or dynastic character should be allowed to stifle the voice of England.
My Dear Lord Mayor,—I regret more deeply than I can express that the state of my health renders it impossible to me to be present at the public meeting to be hold at the Mansion House to-morrow, under your Lordship's presidency.
I need hardly assure your Lordship how keen is the grief which I share with every member of my community at the pitiable calamities suffered by my coreligionists in Russia.
But in the midst of the darkness which overshadows my oppressed brethren there is, happily, a gleam of light. For there appears to me no small probability that deliverance may arise through the influence of the public opinion of free and enlightened England, and through the noble and spontaneous outburst of sympathy from our Christian fellow-countrymen. Grateful, indeed, do I feel, in common with every Israelite in this land, for the enthusiastic and practical sympathy which has just found utterence; and the grief which oppresses my heart at the dire woes of my brethren is not a little assuaged by the consoling thought that I have lived to witness in the people of England the noblest development of religious toleration—the union of all creeds on the broad platform of common humanity.
May God, our common Father, bless your philanthropic efforts, and crown them with success.
Believe me, my Dear Lord Mayor,
Yours very faithfully, The Bight
N. Adler, Dr.Hon. John Whitaker Ellis, Lord Mayor. Brighton,
I am sorry that I am quite prevented by prior engagements from being at the Mansion House to speak against the outrages committed upon the Jews. I am, however, relieved by the belief that the heart of England is one in a strong feeling of indignation at the inhuman conduct of certain savages in Russia. Every man and woman amongst us feels eloquently on behalf of our fellow men who are subjected to plunder and death, and still more for our sisters, to whom even worse treatment has been meted out. Hence you have the less need of speeches and orations. As a Christian, I feel that the name of our Redeemer is dishonoured by such conduct on the part of his professed followers. As a Nonconformist and a Liberal, believing in the equal rights of all men to dwell in freedom and safety, I must protest against a state of things in which the Jew is made an outlaw. Lastly, as a man, I would mourn in my inmost soul that any beings in human form should be capable of crimes such as those which have made Russia red with Israelitish blood. But what need even of these few sentences? The oppressed are sure of advocates wherever Englishmen assemble.
Letters were also read from the Earl of Roseberry (which was received with loud cheers), Sir Benjamin Philips, Baron Henry De Worms, M.P., and the Hon. George Russell.
(The reading of all these letters was received with loud applause.)
And now my lords, ladies, and gentlemen, I have to inform you that, in addition to the numerous distinguished men you see on the platform, the Bishop of Oxford has just honoured us with his presence. (Great cheering.) I will now ask the Earl of Shaftesbury to propose the first resolution. (Cheers.)
The Earl of Shaftesbury, who was received with loud and long continued applause, then moved the first resolution, "That in the opinion of this meeting, the persecutions and outrages which the Jews in many parts of the Russian dominions have for several months past suffered are an offence on Christian civilisation, and to be deeply deplored." His Lordship said,—My Lord Mayor, Ladies, and Gentlemen,—The Lord Mayor has very rightly described the great intelligence of this meeting; it is special and peculiar in its character. There may be or there may not be a precedent for such a meeting as page 5 this, but I hold that in these days of what is called the solidarity of nations, enlarged responsibilities and great forces of distinguished men, if there is not a precedent it ought to be established on this very day—(cheers)—and I am glad the people of England have come forward to make a solemn declaration that in their belief there are moral and material views of it. There is a moral view which may become the more permanent, and it is our duty to resort to those moral views, when for the use of the material we have neither the right nor the power. But I dare say it may be asked what is the use of the representations and your memorials when they are thrust aside and thrown into the waste paper basket? My lord, we have a very strong feeling and opinion upon the power of an open and constantly repeated affirmation of a great principle founded upon justice and humanity. It carries with it prodigious weight. Have we not seen in time past and in the present day the marvellous influence produced by a good public opinion upon such states of tilings as existed in Turkey upon the Sultan of Turkey and the Shah of Persia? They succumbed to the influence of that opinion, because if they did not it would endanger their reputation with all the world around them. In the time of that stern and powerful emperor, the Emperor Nicholas, was he indifferent to public opinion, especially the opinion of England? I know well, from a conversation held with him by one of my most intimate friends, who reported to me what had passed, that the Emperor of Russia of that day (the Emperor Nicholas) felt deeply and acutely the opinion of England. And shall we not, my lord, hope that the humane and civilized prince, his successor, who now sits upon the throne of all the Russias—shall we not hope and believe that he will feel the influence of such a public voice as this? I believe it will be so. I believe it is far beyond any power to disregard it. I believe in the words of Richard Hooker long ago, who writing about the Law Divine, said:—"The very meanest bow to its influence, and the very greatest are not exempt from its power." (Cheers.) It is not necessary to dwell in detail upon all the horrible circumstances of these events of which we are speaking, enforced as they are by murder, lust, rapine, and destruction; they are set before the world in the columns of the Times and other papers. (Hear, hear.) They have been supported by testimony which cannot possibly be surpassed, and especially by the wise, touching, and unanswerable memorial presented by the Jewish community. (Cheers.) My lord, we are filled with horror and disgust, and we are come here for the purpose of expressing our opinions, and of praying God that a stop may be put to those atrocities that have afflicted, and that are a disgrace to the generation, and the age in which we live. (Great cheering.) To all statesmen denials are made, and the denials come in from official authority. Of course it was to be expected that that should be so—(hear, hear)—but I maintain from all that I have heard that the evidence in favour of the truth of our statements is so great, so overwhelming, and so powerful, as to take away all hesitation whatever as to the acceptance of that evidence. And if they say it is exaggeration, I give them the benefit of the doubt, for if there is a tenth part true of all that has been stated, it is quite sufficient to merit our condemnation. But they are not content with denials in the sense of refutation; they proceed further, and in these quasi-official docu- page 6 ments—though they are as official as any that ever came out of the Russian Chancellerie—they proceed to imputation. And what do they say of the movements of the people of England, and what do they say of the gathering here? They say that the object of this movement is one of a party spirit to disturb the peace and happiness of Mr. Gladstone. (Great laughter.) Why, my lord, of all the wild assertions that ever were made this is the very wildest. (Loud cheers.) Look to the signatures to the requisition. I doubt whether you can see one Conservative upon it. Let me take a few names—Mr. Matthew Arnold, Sir John Lubbock, and others. Are they full of rancour and jealousy against the Prime Minister? I can only say, if this case was not so appalling, such an assertion would be childish and contemptible. They know that—if they feel it, they know that this is a free meeting, of free citizens; that we are come here to express our deep regard for the rights of the human race. It is not simply because those who are persecuted are Jews; it is not simply for that we are brought here. An Englishman would feel the same for any one, whether he were Hindoo, Mahomedan, or Pagan. (Cheers.) I know that many have a deep and special feeling towards the Hebrew race. I have myself, I confess it, most deeply and most strongly; but I say we are met here on one great universal principle. If there is one thing that an Englishman loves better than another, it is freedom—(loud cheers)—that every living soul should be as free and as happy as he is himself. (Hear, hear.) But we must not look at it in that light alone. We must clear the ground; we must look at another charge. They say that all this movement arises out of hatred to Russia. (Cheers.) My lords and gentlemen, I do not believe it. (Hear, hear.) I cannot answer for what may be the feelings of private individuals, but I will boldly take upon myself to say that the feeling of the great mass of the people of England is neither of hate nor of fear of the Russian people. (Loud and long continued cheering.) Honoured as I have been to-day in having the post assigned to me to move the first resolution—I may speak for myself—hatred of Russia there is none. (Hear, hear.) Let me recall this to your recollection. When a movement was made, and a committee was formed for the purpose of protesting against the outrages committed on the wretched Bulgarians, I was there; and I was your president at the meeting. At that time I said—and I never regretted what I said—"the charge of hatred to Russia in this case does not apply to me." (Cheers.) I did not regret it then, I have not regretted it, and I am not going to regret it now. (Hear, hear.) I do not fear to see, nay, I almost wish to see the Russians upon the shores of the Bosphorus. (Cheers.) So far from this being their feeling towards Russia, I believe amongst the mass of our people it is slightly the reverse. (Cheers.) I will boldly maintain that there is nothing in the shape or form of malignant hatred; on the contrary, I am satisfied that in these three kingdoms there is at the present moment a deep sympathy with the people of Russia, and with their ruler, in the terrible calamities that have fallen upon the Imperial family. (Hear, hear.) When the late Emperor fell by the hands of those demoniacal assassins, our country was filled with horror and dismay; they rose and spoke as one man, not only because they were appalled by the frightful crime, but because they remem- page 7 bered that the father—and I trust that they will remember it in the son—was the great and glorious emancipator of two millions of slaves—(cheers)—and if we are to approach the Emperor, I am disposed to put it to his Imperial Majesty, what are we asking after all? Are we asking anything to prohibit his dignity or lower his power? Nay! on the contrary, are we not asking him to do that which shall conduce very much to his honor? Are we not asking him to do judgment and justice to a large body of his loyal and suffering people? Are we not asking him to restrain violence, murder, outrage, spoliation? Are we not asking him to be of service to the Jews of Russia? Are we not asking him to enter upon the greatest and noblest exercise of power, "to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free!" My lord, this is the purpose and object of our meeting; this will be the prayer of our memorial, and may God in His mercy prosper the removal of these horrors unto the comfort of the Jewish people, on whose behalf we now appeal. His Lordship concluded by reading the resolution.
The Bishop of London: One circumstance, my Lord Mayor, and one circumstance alone, justifies me to rise at your request to second this resolution, because such a meeting as this I am not fitted to address, and in the presence of those I see around me on the platform; and that one circumstance is the necessary absence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I quite admit—indeed I deeply feel—that the Church of England ought not, and I am sure will not be backward in joining in the expression of feelings of indignant sorrow—for it is indignant sorrow—in the statements that have come before us lately in regard to the treatment of the Jews in Russia; and in the absence of the Archbishop it may not be presumptuous in me, the Bishop of the most populous and most prominent diocese in England, if I venture, in the absence of any one more fitted for the office, to second the resolution which has been proposed. Happily for me and you no words are needed. The case has been stated to you by the noble Earl with a vigor which shows that age has not diminished his power of speech any more than it has enfeebled, and never can enfeeble, his sympathy with the suffering and his sense of indignation at injustice and crime. (Cheers). The facts can scarcely be denied. If they could have been denied—thoroughly denied—what need for all these reasons that have been assigned why the English should be so moved at reading these atrocities? (Cheers). If the Russian Government could be able to say the statements are false and can be proved to be false, they need not have said that the English have a hatred of Russia, or that we are unfavourable to, or in favour of, this or that ministry. (Hear, hear). We have seen the papers: we have seen an attempt, hardly to deny the facts, but certainly to palliate them, and palliate them by excuses, not only improbable but utterly inadequate, and set before us, I must say, with the cynical indifference which we would be very thankful to believe, had not been placed in the paper by the hands of a foreigner. (Hear, hear). There is one circumstance, my Lord Mayor, and it is the only one I dwell upon, there is one circumstance in these atrocities which must make every member of the Church—indeed every Christian—feel together with his indignation, a certain feeling of shame. A few page 8 years back our country was horrified with the accounts of atrocities committed in what were then certain provinces of the Turkish Empire. The country was moved: but we had the consolation of knowing that though the sufferers were Christians the perpetrators were men of another creed. Now, alas, the case is reversed, and they who perpetrate these atrocities are men who bear the name of Christians. So that the persecution of the middle ages, on which history has long set the stamp of reprobation, are being reproduced in this latter part of the nineteenth century, and the dark stain of rapine and lust and murder is let fall again upon the fair fame of Christianity. We do feel this, my Lord Mayor, and I will venture to say that not in this crowded assembly alone, not in this metropolis merely, but in the cities and large towns of England is the sympathy and horror felt which has been expressed before you to-day, and which has called us together; but in the most quiet parsonage, and the most retired village throughout England there is the same feeling of mingled horror, and grief, and shame, when they are told that now again, in days of civilization, in the days when we think ourselves, and with reason, better than our fathers in some respects, that again a Christain nation is persecuting the Jews—(cheers)—and knowing this, my Lord Mayor, I venture to assume that in speaking here upon this platform I may, without presumption—or if it is presumption it will very easily be pardoned—I may not in my name, but in the name of every member of the Church of England, second the resolution which Lord Shaftsbury has now proposed. (Loud cheers).
Cardinal Manning, who was received with great cheering, said: My Lord Mayor, my Lord Shaftsbury, Ladies and Gentlemen, it has often fallen to my lot to move a resolution in meetings such as this; but never in my memory have I moved a resolution with more perfect conviction, or with more reason, or with more entire concurrence with the feelings of my heart than I do on this occasion. (Hear, hear). My lord, before using any further words, it will, perhaps, be proper to read the resolution I have to propose. It is to this effect:—"That this meeting, while disclaiming any right or desire to interfere in the internal affairs of another country, and desiring that the most amicable relations between England and Russia should be preserved, feels it a duty to express its opinion that the laws of Russia relating to Jews tend to degrade them in the eyes of the Christian population, and to expose Russian Jewish subjects to the outbreaks of fanatical ignorance." (Cheers). I need not disclaim, for I accept the eloquent disclaimer of the noble Earl, that we are not met here for a political purpose. If there was a suspicion of any party politics I should not be standing here (hear, hear); but it is because I believe we are high above all the turmoils and all the conflicts of party politics, and in the serene region of human sympathy and human justice, that I am here to-day. I can only declare that nothing can be further from my intention—as I am confident nothing is further from yours—than to do that which I believe would be a violation of the laws of mutual peace, order, and respect which bind nations together, viz., that we should attempt here to interfere in the domestic legislation of Russia. (Hear, hear). And I am also bound to say, I share heartily in the words of veneration used by the noble Earl towards the Imperial family of Russia. page 9 No man can have watched the last years of that Imperial family, no man can know the condition in which His Imperial Majesty now stands, without a profound sympathy, which would at once control any disposition on our part to use a single expression which could convey the wound of the mind to its heart. Therefore, I disclaim absolutely and altogether that nothing which passes from my lips, at least, and I think I may speak in the name of everyone in this meeting, assumes a character inconsistent with the veneration I hold for the Emperor of Russia. Further, I may say that, while I do not pretend to touch upon any internal question in the legislation of Russia, there are laws larger than any Russian legislation, there are laws which are not one in London and another in St. Petersburg, and another in Moscow, they are the same in every place—I speak of the laws of human nature—the laws of God are the foundation of every law of man. (Cheers). Well, now, I must touch upon one point which I acknowledge has been painful to me. We have all watched during the last twelve months, the Antisemitic movement in Germany. I look upon that movement, first of all, in great abhorrence, as tending to disintegrate the foundations of social life, and I look upon the movement with great fear as the first lighting up of an animosity which has already taken flame in Russia, and may spread we know not where. (Hear, hear). I have read, with great regret, an elaborate article full, no doubt, of minute observations on the spot, written from Russia, in the "Nineteenth Century" of last year. In that article were given an account and an explanation of those class animosities, and those class conflicts, which at this moment are so sharp in that country. I acknowledge that when I read that article my first feeling was "I am profoundly sorry that the power and the energy of the Old Testament should be so much greater than the power and energy of the New Testament; I am sorry to see that the spirit which has penetrated, that Rationalism has not sufficient Christian energy, and Christian power, and Christian virtue to render it impossible that those cultivated and refined and industrious, and energetic people, as they are, should endanger society in that great kingdom." I have also read, with pain, accounts of the condition of the Russian Jews, bringing against them accusations which, if I touch upon them, I must ask all my Jewish friends who hear me to believe that I reject them with incredulity and horror; I have read that the cause of what has happened in Russia now has been that they have been the pliers of infamous trade, usurers, and I know not what. When I read these accusations I ask, first, "And is outrage the remedy? Will this be cured by outrage, violence, crime, murder, and abominations of every sort?" Again, "Why is it, if it be true," which I do not believe—(hear, hear)—"Why is it that the Jews are in that condition?" "Are they not under penal laws; is there anything that can degrade a man more than to close against his intelligence and energy and industry all the honorable careers of public life? (Cheers). Can anything tend to debase and irritate the soul of man more than to be told you may not pass beyond the boundary; you may not go beyond or within a certain number of miles of the frontier; you may not dwell in that town or that province? One other thought occurred to me, and it was this: Why do not the people who bring page 10 these accusations against the Jews of Russia, bring them also against the Jews of Germany? Why do they not bring the same accusations against the Jews of France? If the charge be brought against the Jews of Russia, who will bring it against the Jews of England? (Hear, hear). For uprightness, refinement, generosity, for charity, for all that adorns man, for all the natural graces and virtues, where, I ask, will be found examples brighter or more full of true human excellences than in those of the Hebrew race in England? ("Thank you," and cheers). Well, now we are told that these accounts are not to be trusted. I will ask your lordship if there were to appear in the newspapers of the Continent, a long and minute narrative, that about the Egyption Hall—in Old Jewry, in Houndsditch, Shoreditch—there were murders, rapines, and oppression, and that the Lord Mayor of London was looking on; that the Metropolitan police did nothing; that the guards at the Tower were sent to mingle in the mob; whether you would not thank any man who gave you the opportunity of exposing and contradicting the accounts? We are, then, rendering a public service to the departments and ministry of Russia, and I believe our movement will bring consolation to the heart of the great prince who reigns over that vast empire. Let me suppose, for a moment, that these things have occurred, and I don't found my belief of the truth of them upon either the Times newspaper or the Pall Mall Gazette; I hold the proofs here in my hand—(cheers)—and from whom do they come? From an official document, from the report of the Minister of the Interior, General Ignatiew. These horrible atrocities had continued through May, June, and July, and in the month of August this document was issued. The first point in it is that he laments and deplores—what? The atrocities on the Jewish subjects of the Czar? By no means; but "the sad condition of the Christain inhabitants of the southern provinces." (A laugh). The next point is "that the main cause of those movements and riots—to which the Russians, as a nation, are strangers—was but a commercial one." The third point was this, that "the conduct of the Jews has called for the protests on the part of the people, as manifested in acts of violence and robbery." Fourthly, we are told by the Minister of the Interior, that the country is subject to malpractices, "which were, as is known, the cause of the agitation," To say nothing of the logic of the document, its tone and insinuations are most inflammatory, and I can readily see why, with the rescript in their hands, the Russian people should be encouraged to violence. The document then goes on to say that a commission has been appointed to enquire into what? First of all, "What are the trades of the Jews which are injurious to the inhabitants of the place?" Secondly, "What makes it impracticable to put into force the former laws limiting the rights of the Jews in the matter of buying and farming land, the trade in intoxicants and usury?" Thirdly, "How can those laws be altered so that they shall no longer be enabled to evade them, or what new laws are required to stop their pernicious conduct in business?" and lastly, "give (besides the answers to the foregoing questions) the following additional information; on the usury practised by the Jews in their dealings with Christians, in cities, towns, and villages; the number of public-houses kept by Jews in their own name, or in that of a Chris- page 11 tian; the number of persons in service with Jews, or under their control: the extent (acreage) of the land in their possession, by buying or farming; the number of Jewish agriculturalists." We have in our hands the Russian laws affecting the Jewish subjects of the Emperor. I would ask what is the remedy for a population in this state; is it more penal laws; is it to disqualify them from holding land; is it to forbid them to send their children to the higher places of education? No, my lord, I believe that the remedy of these things is twofold. I believe it is by putting in force, in a proper manner, the real Christian law. It was not by laws like those enacted against the Jews in Russia, that Christianity won the world, and won the Imperial power to execute justice among men. It will not be by laws other than these that the great Imperial power of the Russias, will blend with the wishes and feelings of the Jewish subjects of the Russian empire. The other remedy I believe to be is this, a stern and merciful execution of justice upon evil doers—(cheers)—coupled with an equally stern and rigorous concession to all that is right in the law of nature and of God. (Cheers). All that is necessary for the protection of life and limb and liberty and property, all that constitutes human freedom—this, and nothing else than this, I believe, will be a remedy of the condition of things in the Russian empire at the present time. The Earl of Shaftsbury spoke very hopefully of what will be the effect of this meeting. Don't let us overrate it. If we think that this meeting will have done its work, and that we may cease to speak, I am afraid that its effect will not be all we ask. Neither let us underrate it. I believe that all through England, I will even say through the United Kingdom, there will be a response to this meeting in every place. Wheresoever the English tongue is spoken throughout the world, that which your Lordship has said, so eloquently and powerfully, will be known. I believe that at the very moment we are meeting here that a meeting of a similar kind is assembled in New York, and what passes here will he translated into every language of Europe, and it will pass even the frontiers of Russia. (Cheers). Like the light in the air, it cannot be excluded, and wheresoever there is human sympathy on earth, the declarations of our meeting here and the meetings held elsewhere will meet with response, and will tend to terminate these horrible atrocities. I have spoken on this question in the sense of natural and even political justice. There is a book which is common to the race of Israel and to us Christians. That book is the bond between us, and in that book I read that the people of Israel are the oldest people upon earth—the Russias, and the Austrias, and the Englands are but of yesterday, compared with that imperishable people, which with an inextinguishable light and immutable traditions and faith in the law of God, centred, as it is, all over the world, passed through the fires unscathed, trampled in the dust, yet never combining with the dust in which it is trampled—the people lives still, and we are in bonds of brotherhood with it. The New Testment rests upon the Old, they believe one-half of that for which we would give our lives. Let us, then, acknowledge that we are united in a common sympathy. My lord, I only hope this, that not one man in England, who calls himself civilised or Christian will have it in his heart to add, by a single word, to the sufferings of this page 12 great and ancient and noble people, but that we shall do all we can by labour, by speech, and by prayer, to lessen, if possible, these atrocious deeds. (Loud cheers).
Canon Farrar, in seconding the resolution, said: "I think it is a good rule when you have a good cause to read not what those say who agree with you, but the opinions of those who disagree with you; and acting on that principle, I have read what has been said by the Russian papers on this question, and what has been said has been already referred to by the noble Earl. They call this agitation malicious, anti-Russian, and anti-philanthropic, and they say that we are founding our indignation on a mass of falsehood and exaggeration; that we are desirous of setting English and Russian society altogether by the ears, and that this was an opportunity which had been seized by Her Majesty's Opposition to weaken and embarrass the Government of Mr. Gladstone. Now, on the first point, some falsehood and some exaggeration doubtlessly there may have been, and we are, indeed, but too glad to believe it; but it is certain that we have not been listening to entirely unfounded and malicious charges, for the events of which we complain have been recorded in every European newspaper, and the facts authenticated by names, and dates, and places, which have come to us not only from Jewish sources, but also from other sources and correspondents, like the correspondent of the Pall Mall Gazette, who has gathered information on the very spot. Secondly, it is said that this is an agitation got up to damage Her Majesty's Government, but certainly the Duke of Westminster and the Earl of Rosebery are not the men to embarrass Mr. Gladstone's Government. The requisition for this meeting has been signed by a large number. I always have been a Liberal, and not a single Opposition leader has raised his voice against this meeting. And I am sure there is not one of us who would not abhor the notion of dragging the name of charity into the noisy arena of party-politics. There are none of us who would not be utterly ashamed to make a feeling of humanity an engine of political warfare. (Cheers.) The third charge is that of fostering enmity against Russia; but the noble Earl who has just addressed you is one who has devoted his whole life to promoting the peace and happiness of his fellow men. The Archbishop of Canterbury and Cardinal Manning, whose voice has never been wanting in the cause of the oppressed; the Bishops of Oxford and London, and the numerous ministers of all denominations who have signed the requisition, would think it a sin to violate the first principle of their religion which teaches them the universal fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man. (Applause.) The fact that Prince Lebanoff would not transmit to the Emperor of Russia the memorial of the Jews of England does indeed betray the fact that there is a certain amount of irritation against the Jews existing. All that I can say is, that nothing is further from our intentions than to foster or to deepen the irritation: we only want to raise a friendly remonstrance. We claim the right to remonstrate against those men of high rank who have by their words and actions fostered this deplorable hatred between race and race. Between the Russian and the Bulgarian atrocities there is no parallel. The crimes are, in many instances, analogous, but the position of the Turkish and page 13 Russian Governments were wholly different. We thought it right to interfere in the Bulgarian atrocities, and why should we not in the present instance? If not, is it because in the former the offenders were Mahomedans, and now they are Christians? Is it because in the former instance the government was the weak Government of Turkey, and in this the mighty Government of Russia? England has ever interfered in the cause of freedom, and what we wish to do now is to approach Russia in the most respectful and friendly spirit and to ask her to do exactly for the Jews in Russia what we have done for them in England, namely, give them equal rights and equal privileges. (Cheers.)
Professor Bryce, M.P., moved the next resolution. He said: My Lord Mayor, ladies, and gentlemen, I feel highly honoured to have been asked to address this meeting to-day, and I ascribe the honour to the fact that some few years ago I took a part in making an active protest against the Bulgarian atrocities, which were then sending a thrill of horror throughout the civilised world. Having taken a part in the agitation on that subject, I am, to some extent, the better able to bear witness to and confirm what has been already said by a previous speaker as to the horror which was then felt at the atrocities committed by Mahomedans against Christians being reproduced now, and the suffering victims are Jews. I do not attempt to draw any parallel between the case of the Bulgarian massacres and those which are now taking place in Russia; but we cannot but charge the Russian Government with great remissness and neglect in not suppressing outrage and violence with a strong hand. (Hear, hear.) I do not draw a parallel between the two cases on other grounds, because we find that the acts of revolting brutality which accompanied the Bulgarian outrages are absent, or nearly absent, from the case of the Russian massacres. But when all deduction is made, when every allowance is made for exaggeration, there is enough left to justify the holding of a meeting like this, and to make it a necessity and a duty of every Christian inhabitant to enter his protest. We are bound to express our opinion of the conduct of those who have been guilty of these horrors in Russia, more openly than any other country is bound, because it is England which was the first to admit the Jew to the privileges of full political and civil equality—(cheers)—because we have admitted him to our learned professions, and because we have seen that, wherever we have found him, whether on the bench or the bar, we have found that none rank higher than he; and we therefore, speaking from experience, say that the only true way to do justice and to make the Jews the good citizens which they are capable of becoming, is to grant them the fullest equality in civil and political life. (Renewed cheers.) My Lord Mayor, I will not say more on this subject, as it has been dwelt upon by many of the speakers who have preceded me, and I will content myself with saying a few words on the resolution which has been placed in my hands. The resolution is:—"That the Lord Mayor be requested to forward a copy of these resolutions to the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone and the Right Hon. Earl Granville, in the hope that Her Majesty's Government may he able, when an opportunity arises, to exercise a friendly influence with the Russian Government in accordance with the spirit of the preceding resolutions." Now, page 14 I think that that resolution does not and could not suggest to the right hon. gentlemen to whom it is addressed more than what is commonly called diplomatic action." It would, in my opinion, be a great mistake to call on any Government to take more than diplomatic action in a matter of this kind, for we know how very sensitive Governments are with any interference in their internal affairs by any other country. It was only yesterday that I heard that the King of Italy had made a speech, in which, referring to the report that Prince Bismarck was going to interfere on behalf of the Pope, he took the opportunity of most emphatically disclaiming the right of any foreign Government to interfere in matters of church and state in Italy. And the position of the King of Italy is the position in this respect of all the other potentates in Europe. We might not, perhaps, have expected the King to have taken this tone, for if there is one country in Europe in which another power might have interfered in matters of religion, one would suppose it to be Italy, for Rome is the home of the supreme head of a church which has an enormous number of adherents in every other country. But if the Government of Italy held that tone with regard to any other country, suggesting more than diplomatic interference, in what manner do you suppose so autocratic a Government as that of the Czar would resent anything that took the form of diplomatic action? It is because we know that diplomatic action is impossible, and we think the meeting here to-day to be of infinite value. (Hear, hear.) A meeting of this kind is a far better representative of feeling in England than diplomatic action. We can only estimate its value when we consider its spontaneity, and that every religious feeling and creed is represented on this platform. Not a voice has been raised throughout the country against holding this meeting, although a fortnight has passed since it was convened, and that is the best evidence that we can have that the heart of England is really stirred. (Applause.) If a representation is to be made, and the voice of England is to go forward, it is not to Russia alone that representation should be made. Brutalities such as you have heard of are not peculiar to Russia, they are common in the whole of south-eastern Europe. I myself have seen Jews flying for their lives in Moldavia before an enraged crowd, who had been incited against the Jews by a report spread in a district in which cholera had broken out, that they had poisoned the wells. This burst of brutality is a phenomenon in south-eastern Europe, and it is a phenomenon which is not confined to uncivilized people, for it has found expression, not, indeed, in so terrible a form, but it has found expression in the Jewish persecutions which have been going on in Germany. It is enough to make people blush that a nation like Germany, which has rendered such great services to learning and science, should have given way to a rage of persecution upon the old lives of race hatred. (Renewed applause.) I will now tell you what I take this resolution to mean. It is addressed to the English Government, and we say we are confident in you. I do not speak as a political partisan, I should say the resolution meant confidence in the Government if another Government were in power, because to everyone who believes in the principles of truth and justice and humanity, this question is lifted out of the region of party politics. And, not speaking politically, I unhesitatingly say that there is no man who has earned his title page 15 to be believed in to take warmer interest in this matter than Mr. Gladstone. What then, I say, this resolution means is, that we recognise the difficulty of diplomatic action; but we believe and hope that it will not be far distant when English influence will be used not only with Russia in the cause of humanity. When the Government speaks it will speak in the voice of united England, where, above all things, the principles of religious toleration and civil equality are recognised, which she was the first to accord, and to which she believes she owes her own greatness and happiness to be inseparably united. (Applause.)
The Hon. Lyulph Stanley, M.P.—My Lord Mayor, it gives me great pleasure to rise and second this resolution, and it gives me the more pleasure because by its terms it calls the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the two resolutions which have already been passed unanimously to-day. The first resolution is one in which you express detestation for the outrages which the Jews in parts of the Russian dominions have for several months past suffered, since they are an offence to civilization. The second resolution is, however, the more important perhaps, because it touches not only the evil but the remedy. When the outbreaks of race-hatred take place, we cannot, I think, but feel that the only safety which we have from their recurrence is to put all the inhabitants of a country upon the same footing of citizenship, and so wipe out all those distinctions which result in so much cruelty. And now I come to the resolution in my hand. It is to bring the question before Mr. Gladstone and Earl Granville, with the hope that they will be able so to exercise their kindly offices, as to secure a better treatment of the Jews in Russia. I, myself, strongly feel the force of the remark of Professor Bryce, that it is a delicate thing so to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation as to secure good results from intervention. Your object to day is to secure remedial measures for the unhappy objects of persecution in Russia, and I hope that the condition of the Russian Jews in the future will be put on so sound a basis that no fresh call for remedial measures will be necessary. For myself, I do not believe that the Russian people, if properly approached, have any desire for brutaility and out-rage in their midst, or that the Russian Government has any wish but for the progress of humanity. We know that in that country there is a government penetrated with desires for western civilization, but that their environments are not of such a character as to enable them to carry out their design in that direction, and so when we make suggestions we must take care that we do not make them in such a way as to pique the national sentiment, and so injure the very cause which we have most at heart. We should before all things, if we would be successful, approach the Russian Government in a spirit of fairness. As I have said, it has been a great pleasure for me to come here today, because I think if ever in England there has been a public recognition of civil and religious unity, that recognition has been to-day. (Applause). What we have asserted is the principle that no man should suffer civil disability on account of his religion—(renewed applause)—and we may be assured that, if that principle is fully recognized, we shall not have recurrences of such outbreaks amongst ignorant people as have but too lately disgraced Russia. This is not a party question, nor are we actuated by party feeling; page 16 and it is our custom in England when our sympathies are touched, as to-day, to break the bonds of party, and give them free expression. (Applause).
The Lord Mayor: I have just received the following telegram from New York, "That at a meeting of the New York, United States, Evangelical alliance, resolutions were passed protesting against the persecution of the Jews in Russia, and it was decided to memorialise the Russian Government thereon." (Loud cheers).
The third resolution was then carried by acclamation.
Mr. J. G. Hubbard, M.P., moved the next resolution, which was that a fund be opened in order to assist the Jewish inhabitants in Russia, and that a committee be formed to see that it is properly administered. He said: This meeting is not held as a threat to Russia, or as a hostile demonstration, but I do think that the best influences may be expected as its result. I feel that despite all obstacles the voice of this great meeting will reach the ears of the Czar, and that it will not be without its effect on the policy of Russia.
Mr. W. Fowler, M.P., in seconding the motion, said:—"We are assured that the Russian Government is not responsible for the outrages to the Jews, and I hope sincerely that that is so; but it cannot be denied that there are officials in Russia who are not so active as they ought to have been, and they ought to hear some very plain speaking on the subject. We certainly should not hold our tongues for fear that Russia might be displeased, for we gave entire freedom to the Jews, and we are entitled to ask that they should be free also in Russia. (Cheers.) I should be the last to counsel interference in the internal affairs of Russia, but when we hear of events such as these outrages, it is impossible to be silent.
This resolution was also carried unanimously.
Sir Nathaniel de Rothschild, M.P., proposed, and Serjeant Simon, M.P., seconded a vote of thanks to the Lord Mayor, which his Lord-Ship formally acknowledged, and the meeting was brought to a close with the announcement that a Mansion House Fund for the relief of the Jews in Russia had already been opened, and that a list was open for subscriptions.
The following donations have been already promised to the Mansion House Relief Fund:—Sir Nathaniel de Rothschild gave £10,000—£5,000 on behalf of the London house, Messrs. Rothschild and Sons, and £5,000 on behalf of the Paris house. Donations of £1,000 each were contributed by Messrs. Louis Cohen and Sons (whose praiseworthy exertions in collecting a fund before the Mansion House meeting was organised will be remembered), by Mr. Samuel Montagu, Beddington and Seligmann Brothers. Baron Henry de Worms, M.P., gave £300; Baron G. de Worms, £100; Mr. Louis Goldberg, £210; Mr. David Goldberg, £100; Mr. Nathan S. Joseph, £100.
[The above Report has been extracted from the columns of the Jewish Chronicle of February 3rd, 1882.]
Lyon and Blair, Printers, Lambton Quay, Wellington, N.Z.