Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

for the anecdote. Dr. Birch gives us also some account of the reverend pamphleteers of the period, who might easily be paralleled in our own;-we regret to add, that having read the pamphlet described in the following extract, we consider it deserving of even greater reprobation than the writer has bestowed upon it.

London, October 20, 1753. “ Mr. Tucker acquainted me in a letter received yesterday, that his friends bave advised him to add a second letter. On the other side, there was published this day se'nnight a pamphlet of an hundred pages in 8vo., sold for sixpence, or distributed gratis, under the title of An Answer to the Considerations on the Jews' Bill.' It is ascribed to Romaine; and bas all the distinguishing characters of that writer, impudence, buffoonery, virulence, and insincerity. It asserts that the Jews have no God, no king, no country, and never act upon any higher principle than self interest; that the present set of (I presume be means bishops), is the only one since the time of Christ that would have countenanced so antichristian a measure.' It cites with great triumph an anecdote, as it is called, ont of Raguenet's ‘Histoire de Cromwell,' of the Jews having sent over several Rabbis to make private inquiry whether he was not their Messiah; from which Romaine, this pamphleteer, deduces several consequences, particularly that the Jews suppose that the character of their Messiah will be like that of the accomplished villain, Cromwell. The chapter pretending to show from Scripture authority that we ought to have no commerce with that nation, is not to be matched out of the Church of Rome for falsification of the doctrine of the New Testament."

It is well known, that in consequence of the popular excitement, the parliament were forced to repeal the bill in the following year.

Other nations outstripped England in the march of liberality; in America, in Holland, in Prussia, and in France, the Jews were admitted to the privileges of citizens, and have proved by their subsequent conduct that they were well entitled to the favour. The Jewish regiment in the Prussian service was the one that acquired most glory in the memorable battles of Ligny and Waterloo.

In the year 1829, Mr. Robert Grant, the present member for Finsbury, brought in a bill for the emancipation of the Jews, but withdrew it after it had made some progress, chiefly because it was deemed imprudent further to shock the prejudices of those who had been so deeply offended by the concession of emancipation to the Catholics. The speakers against the measure, with one exception, rested their arguments on expediency. The only individual who brought religion into the debate was a Mr. Trant, one of those

of whom it has been well said, if it is a case of hatred we are sure they will defend it by the Gospel, if it abridges human freedom they will find precedents for it in the Revolution.”

persons

The measure is now about to be brought forward under more favourable auspices, and we have little doubt of its success. Opposition, however, is said to be threatened from a quarter whence it could not reasonably have been expected, we mean from the members of “ The Society for Converting the Jews.” We trust, that to preserve the consistency of inconsistency, these worthy individuals will make the honourable member for Oldham the mouth-piece of their sentiments. We should have laughed at this mingled display of folly and assurance, did we not remember that a similar society for converting the Irish Catholics for some time deluded the people of England into the belief that there was no necessity for granting emancipation, for that the Irish were becoming Protestants by hundreds and by thousands, and that a change in the law would hinder the glorious work of conversion. But the British Reformation Society proved to be a complete failure, and the Society for the Conversion of the Jews is not one whit better;

“ The earth bath bubbles as the water has,

And these are of them." In the “ Genius of Judaism,” a work of which it is impossible to speak in terms of too great praise, the causes which must for ever operate against the conversion of the Jews by external agency, are fairly and forcibly stated. Our limits only allow of a brief extract from this most seasonable little work:

“ For the Hebrew, reared in the faith of his fathers, there are insuperable difficulties in abjuring bis ancient creed, which lie not in the way of him who has received the water of Christianity. The Jew has to annul what he adores as the dictation of the Creator himself, a code of perpetual obligation, and "everlasting," while the Christian bas only to preserve bis own possession. The elder religion clings to one revelation, while the younger enjoys a happier inheritance in two. The Christian exults in the completion of that Judaism which the Hebrew contemplated as perfect at 'its divine institution. The enlightened Christian should not, indeed, persecute his ancient brother, since Christianity and Judaism rest on the same foundation ; nor is the faith of either in danger from the other, since the apostolical narratives are not more authentic for the Christian, than when at Sinai the Lord " came in a thick cloud," and the people saw that “ God talked to man.”—A single step only divides Judaism from Christianity, but Heaven has interposed, and for “the son of the covenant,” that step no human effort shall pass; though, like the Talmudical wall which divides heaven from earth, that step is but a hair's breadth.

“ The Society for Converting the Jews" has now existed nearly a quarter of a century--will its managers furnish us with a list of the converts made in England that have not subsequently apostatized ?* They may be very easily counted. But though we do not anticipate any good result, but rather the contrary, from the exertions of this society, we are by no means void of hope for “ the fallen house of Jacob." The elements of regeneration exist in the bosom of Judaism; they have made themselves manifest whenever opportunities were afforded for their free development. From internal efforts we hope, and history warrants us in hoping every thing; from external meddling we anticipate no good, and we fear much evil. When the Jews no longer feel themselves stigmatized as a degraded class, when they are allowed to become the citizens of a free state, the usurped power of the Rabbins will be perceived, the follies of the Talmudic legends discovered, the degrading nature of their present superstitions known; then, and then alone, can a genuine reformation cominence. A change to be beneficial must be founded in knowledge, and knowledge can only be obtained when no restraints are imposed upon investigation. In France the Jews can no longer be distinguished from their fellow citizens, and the French nation has dropped the term “ Jews," as recalling the memory of former degradation. A friend of ours who was lately at Bordeaux having asked to be shown the Synagogue of the Jews, was instantly corrected, and told to call it " the Temple of the Israelites." Such conduct is at once in accordance with the principles of true policy and true Christianity; to unite all men of every denomination in the bands of brotherhood, is, and ought to be, the peculiar characteristic of a religion which was divinely announced as establishing “ Glory to God in the Highest, on earth peace, goodwill towards men.

Art. IX.-Briefe aus Paris, zur Erläuterung der Geschichte des

sechzehnten und siebzehnten Jahrhunderts. Von Friedrich von Raumer. (Letters from Paris, Illustrative of the History of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. By Frederic von

Raumer.) 2 vols. 12mo. Leipzig. 1831. We have already introduced Raumer to our readers, and can have no need to recall to their recollection his instructive and interesting History of the Hohenstauffen Emperors, and the period, so important to Europe, during which they reigned. Upon this second occasion of bringing him before the British public, afforded by the present publication, it may be desirable to

• We well remember the reason assigned by a worthy old clergyman in Dorsetshire, remarkable for his shrewdness, for declining to subscribe to this society. “Gentlemen,” said he, “. Jesus Christ bimself failed to convert that stubborn people by his preaching or bis miracles; and where He failed, it would be too much to expect that you will succeed."

preface our account of it, with some few details respecting the author.

Friedrich von Raumer is of noble birth; his father was employed in the civil service of Prussia; and the son, after acquiring distinction at the university of Berlin, held several successive appointments in the public service, in which he acquitted himself so satisfactorily, that the Prime Minister Hardenberg received him not only into his office, but into his own house, there, by daily intercourse, the better to fit him for the discharge of the more important functions of the financial administration.

Raumer soon perceived that the high official duties, the path to which seemed opening to him, must engross the energies, mental and physical, of the whole man; and unwilling to abandon his favourite historical pursuits, he requested of his patron and of his sovereign a professor's chair at a Prussian university, instead of one of those exalted posts, for the attainment of which the one half of mankind is ready to tear the other half to pieces. The request was reluctantly granted. In 1811, at the age of thirty, he began his professorial career in the chair of History, at Breslau ; in 1819 he was called to Berlin to occupy that of Political Science, which we believe he still holds; enjoying amongst his learned brethren, as well as in the larger circles of the capital, the high celebrity he has acquired as an historian.

This reputation, far from lulling our author to sleep under the shade of his laurels, has, it should seem, stimulated him to further activity. He has long been meditating a History of Europe during the last three centuries, and preparing for his task with the extraordinary industry and judgment for which he is so distinguished. The materials, we understand, are now collected and sifted; the first three volumes are written, and in their progress through the press, whilst the remainder are proceeding as fast as the writer's, we fear, rather delicate health will allow; and we trust it may not be very long ere we have the satisfaction of offering some account of this work to the British public.

The Letters illustrative of the History of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries” consist wholly of that portion of the materials for the history of those centuries which the author collected from MSS. at Paris--perhaps we might say, of so much of the very large appendis to his forthcoming work. Of a publication so novel in kind, it seems necessary to relate the origin, as given us by—we know not whether to say—the author or the editor. Raumer visited Paris in 1830 for the express purpose of exploring the MSS. in the Bibliothèque du Roi, in search, as well of additional matter for the history of the Hohenstauffens, as of original matter for the new history he was then meditating. VOL. XI. NO. XXII.

HH

And although during his visit the revolution of July occurred, concerning which this indefatigable writer has published another series of letters, descriptive of the events which then took place, he did not the less devote the allotted time to the MSS., fairly dividing his hours, as he tells us, " between the past and the present.” In the library he revelled amidst MSS. nearly unknown to preceding historians, and such of his extracts from these as he deemed most interesting, he determined forthwith to publish. The difficulty lay in the “ how”; and we must explain his views in his own words. The letters are addressed to the celebrated Ludwig Tieck, in the first of which he says:

" The detached and insulated extracts were neither capable of being wrought into a connected historical work, nor could I (save at great length, and a disproportionate expense of time,) annex the requisite fillings up and elucidations. In consequence, I adopted the idea of parcelling out my stock into a series of letters, which, indeed, scarcely balf deserve that name, but offer other advantages and conveniencies. instance, that I may begin and end according to the quantity of matter, and, by writing to you, can address myself to a reader whose accurate knowledge of history will enable him, without further explanation, to understand and arrange everything in its proper connexion with what is already known. At all events, you will see, in my thus dedicating these letters to you, a proof of old and faithful friendship-although none such be needed !"

As, for

" As I have, for the most part, closely followed the MSS., even to the sacrifice of a flowing style, I bave, to spare room, only added the words of the original language in cases of importance and difficulty."

The materials thus appropriated, and consisting chiefly of extracts from the correspondence of French and a few Italian diplomatists at different courts, are divided and arranged according to both Geography and Chronology. The first letter, already cited, serves both as a preface and a dedication. The following ten relate to German affairs, including Denmark. The next ten are allotted to Spain ; then two to the United Provinces, twentyfour to France, three to Italy, twenty-six to England, and seven to miscellaneous subjects. Of such a heterogeneous mass of matter, to give any thing like an analysis or abstract is manifestly out of the question. The most superficial reader of history must be sufficiently aware of what subjects the extracts refer to, from the knowledge of the period they embrace, to wit, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including the great religious wars in Germany and the Netherlands, the grandeur and decline of Spain, the rise of the United Provinces, France from Francis I. to Cardinal Richelieu, and England from Henry VIII. to Charles II. Of the collective character of the extracts, it will be enough to say that they are, for the most part, exceedingly

« ZurückWeiter »