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in relation to the degraded state of their co- which occupy the leisure time of the Jews in religionists—having held the threat of anathe- Poland, and which are considered necessary ma over those who learnt the Polish language, {for peace with God; and it is plain that the or who adopted the dress or manners of their violence done to the religious feelings of those Christian countrymen,--the greater number who serve in the armies and navy of Russia, of the Polish Jews understand no other lan- must tenfold aggravate all the other sufferings guage than the corrupt German, which has they have to endure. Well may Sir Moses always been their spoken idiom; and they are Montefiore have been greeted as an angel of thus excluded from such culture even as they consolatiori, when he brought to the poor might pick up in their business intercourse prisoners the means of celebrating one of with the educated classes. Indeed, all studies, their most important religious festivals. To except that of the Talmud, -the Zoar, and how many of these poor Russian prisoners the Commentaries upon these are held in utter will not, in every respect, captivity in Encontempt among them; and the Jew who, gland seem liberation from the house of emancipating himself from the trammels of bondage ! strict orthodoxy, attempts to raise himself to The strict orthodoxy that prevails among the level of the age in which he lives, is the Polish Jews is farther evidenced by cerscouted as a traitor to Israel. He who would tain cords or wires, called aireph, or Sabenjoy the esteem of his co-religionists, on the bath-cords, which run from' roof to roof across contrary, must dress strictly after the Jewish the openings in the streets in the quarters of fashion ; must let his beard and his peysi, or the town inhabited by the Jews, and which long side-lo«ks, grow; must go at least twice a have so much puzzled travellers in Poland, day to the synagogue; must every morning and given rise to so many absurd stories. The exhibit large thephilin on his forehead and origin of these cords is derived from the law on his hand; must remain a long time before which forbids the Jews to carry anything in Chemona Ethra :ť must pour water over his their hands or about their persons on the Sabhands, or rub them on the ground, every time bath, and which being attended with great inhe has touched anything, be it only his own convenience, mothers being even interdicted hair; he must shun even the neighborhood of to carry their babes in their arms, it became a Christian temple :I take care that the zizesses, necessary to invent some lawful means of or tufts attached to the skirts of his caftan in evasion. The aireph marks the boundary memory of the commandments of God, be of within which the law may be transgressed the orthodox length; and kiss the mesures, or without sin ; beyond these precinets, however, words of the law engraven on his door-posts, the Jew must not even carry his handkerchief each time he enters or goes out. He must, in his pocket on the Sabbath ; but it he canmoreover, when rising in the morning, wet his not do without such useful appendage, must hands three times with water, to drive away tie it round his arm or wrap it round liis the evil spirits that settle upon the nails (the hand, in which case it passes for part of his evil spirit of dirt being alone left unmolested), vestments, so well has Jewish ingenuity known taking care that the ewer containing the wa- how to evade the inconveniences of Jewish ter be of the preseribed form, and that he be- orthodoxy. Whoever destroys an aireph is gin with the right-hand; and if he would severely punished. The fact of the destruchave a reputation for piety, he must three tion or disseverance of such a cord, in whattimes a-day repeat various prayers, and read ever manner it may have occurred, is made passages from the Talmud, the Mishna, the known in the synagogue, and until it be reZoar, and other holy books, written in He- paired, the encircled precincts cease to enjoy brew or Chaldean, of which languages he the immunities it conferred. Happily, chilmost likely does not understand a word ; and dren under the age of thirteen do not come he must pare his nails every Friday, and care-within the ordinances of the aireph law; and fully burn or conceal the paringy, and then by their aid the inconvenience is in some make a notch in his table or his window-post, measure mitigated. The reknitting of the to mark that it has been done, lest after death broken line cannot be performed by a lesser he should be condemned to return to earth to personage than the rabbi of the place. If it fetch the spoils.

be a rope, it must not be mended by the apSuch, and many more, are the observances plication of a knot, but an entirely new cord

must be provided ; if it be a wire, the dis* Words from the Scriptures, worn thus in lit- severed parts may be linked together again by eral accordance with the words in Deut. vi. 5. means of a hook and eye. Among the things † The fourteen benedictions of Esdraz. interdicted on the Sabbath are also driving in

As late as 1834, some Jews who had followed a carriage, or walking to a greater distance the funeral of a Polish nobleman, whose virtues than 2000 ells from the house in which they had made him beloved by all classes of his countrymen, were anathematized by their Rabbi, be- dwell, -- which distance may, however, be cause of their having entered a Christian church. doubled, if, on the preceding Friday, a fresh wheaten loaf be deposited mid way on the prayed, fearing that a fatal blow would thus rope. carried out, at least partially. A commission (in-chief; but added to this the Jewish soldier was instituted at Warsaw to inquire into the has to bear the hatred and contempt of condition of the Jews and to propose ameliora- his comrades in arms, who look upon him with tions; but the only permanent fruits of its abhorrence as belonging to the race who crulabors, was the establishment of a school in cified their God; and such being the case, it Warsaw for Jewish rabbis, with a view to is no wonder that these unhappy creatures reforming tolerant and enlightened teachers, ca- sort to the most desperate expedients to evade pable of exercising a salutary influence on a service which is also most repugnant to their their co-religionists; and the suppression of the unwarlike tastes and habits. A few years ago, Jewish authoritative bodies called cahal, who a sledge with ten corpses was brought into exercised a most despotic and tyrannical rule Wilna one morning: they were the bodies of over their fellows by means of the anathema ten young Jews, who had preferred death which they had the power of pronouncing: from cold and hunger in the forest, to life These two measures have at least emancipated among the barbarous Russian soldiers and ofa great number of the younger generation of ficers. Such tragedies are of daily occurrence 'Polish Jews from the thraldom of ignorant in Russia ; but in 1813, a tragedy of a new orthodoxy in which the rigorous Talmudists character, and on a grander scale than had endeavor to keep their people.

be 'levelled against Judaism. Happily for The customs here alluded to no doubt are, them, according to their own ideas, Nicholas or, at least, have been, common to the Jews seems to share the views of the great Catha all over the world ; but the distinction be- rine, who, writing to the governor of Moscow tween the Polish Jews and their co-religionists once, on the subject of schools, said : " If I inof the West, is that the former adhere to them stitute schools, it is not for us but for Europe, in the present day as rigidly as in the middle where we must maintain the rank we hold in ages, and mix them up with as numerous public opinion ; but the day that our peasants superstitions. Scenes are of daily occurrence evince a desire to become enlightened, neither in Poland, and attract no attention, which you nor I will remain in our places.” Dr. Liwould excite the greatest wonder in other lienthal sojourned in Russia many years, enparts of Europe, were they exhibited there. joying a high salary, but the schools that he At full-moon tide, for instance, you may, in was to organize were never established. any Polish town, come upon a crowd of Jews Even when not discriminated by their filth in the street, performing what looks very and rags, the Jews are distinguished from the much like worship of the moon, some gazing rest of the population by their dress, which at the luninary with fixed glance and mur- is of a decidedly Oriental character ; but muring indistinct prayers, while others make among themselves the similarity is so great, obeisances to it and cry out in a loud voice : that in travelling through the Polish provinces others again, in long, white, flowing robes from the Black Sea to the Baltic, one might bordered with black, grouped around small fancy oneself pursued by the same individreading-desks on which their holy books lie uals, the illusion being further encouraged by open, read in these by the light of lanterns, the sinsilarity in the size and figure of the and from time to time lift up their voices and men, who are almost invariably tall and thin, smite their foreheads.

and distinguished by the pallor of their counWhen observing the rigid orthodoxy of tenances, which seems more a characteristic of these stagnant Israelites, one cannot belp re- the race than the result of individual suffergretting that among the religious observances ing. Their complexion is clear and transpaso staunchly adhered to, there are none that rent, their eyes dark, their features delicate enforce cleanliness; for the reverse of this and chiselled, and their hair and beards dark, virtue is so prominent a quality in the Polish curly and glossy, their bands being remarkable Jews, as to make them objects of almost un- for great delicacy and elegance of shape. The conquerable repugnance, and the filth and contrast between the beauty and noble exdiscomfort in their dwellings is as great. The pression of the countenances of these men, dirt, the misery, the squalor, and the extreme and the abjectness of their character and poverty of the great majority of the two mil- meanness of their pursuits is a source of conlions and a half of Israelites who inhabit the stant wonder to the stranger.

As some one Polish provinces, is the more surprising as has strikingly remarked, it is as if you beheld they are addicted neither to drunkenness, King David or King Solomon engaged in the gambling, nor idleness; and it must, there- pursuits of hueksters and peddlers, or the pafore, in a great measure, be attributed to their triarchs committing petty roguery: If nature extreme ignorance, and to the fanatic zeal be not a deceiver, how much nobler destinies with which their rabbis and congregational might not these men have worked out for superiors have resisted every reform and inno- themselves, had not bigotry and persecution vation proposed by the Government; for bow-done their worst against them! In Lithuania, ever many sins the Poles, as all the Christian in particular, some travellers aver that every nations of Europe, may have to answer for as Jew is a handsome man; and the meekness, regards the Jews, it cannot be denied that mildness, and gentle melancholy expressed in during the present century at least, a great the countenances of the younger men espepart of the nation has sincerely desired to cially, is described as singularly touching. ameliorate their position. Even the Emperor As a general rule, the women are less handNicholas, at one period, made a pretence of some, and are much inclined to a degree of wishing to enforce enlightenment among them. embonpoint which oversteps the limits of the He invited Dr. Lilienthal, a learned German beautiful; however, their turban-like headJew, to St. Petersburg, to assist with his ad- dresses, formed of gaudy-colored handkervice a commission instituted for the purpose chiefs, give them a certain picturesqueness of of devising means for diffusing light among appearance; and the rich coronets of pearls his Jewish subjects

. The advanced minds and precious stones with which the wealthy among the Jewish population in the Empe- Jewish ladies encircle their brows on festive ror's dominions hailed these preparations as occasions, harmonize well with their dark hair the dawn of a new day; but the orthodox and brilliant eyes. Altogether, however, the Jews fasted and smote their breasts, and 'male attire, consisting of a long, dark caftan,

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fastened round the waist with a broad, silk | hovering over the doomed land, and these sash, and a high, conical, fur cap, is more noble efforts at self-regeneration, which might striking than that of the women. But when, have served as an example to the freest and in summer, the fur cap is exchanged for a low- most enlightened nations of the times, only crowned, broad-brimmed hat, the dignified hastened the action of its enemies, lest the Oriental sinks down into the common-place nation should grow too strong before the blow Jew. Says a traveller, who visited the coun- that was to fell it to the ground was levelled. try lately :

The Israelites, fully aware of the sincerity of

the intentions of the Polish patriots in their The hundreds of thousands of the poorest favor, proved by gratitude in 1794, when the Jews in Poland would afford an excellent study people flew to arms in despair, by freely mingto any one who should desire to ascertain the ling their blood with that of their Christian minimum of nourishment on which the human compatriots; and they fought with bravery body can be sustained, or to what perfection the for the independence of the country which art of making a whole garment out of innumera- promised once more to become a true home to ble rags can be carried, or in how far the air inhal- them. ed by human beings may be loaded with pestiferous smells without becoming deadly, or how chil

Those among the Polish Israelites who, in dren may be reared without clothes, without wa. consequence of the partition, were transferred ter, without soap, without comb, without brush, to Prussian rule, were they most fortunate. without medicine, without instruction, or without They have obtained many privileges they did care of any kind. The misery, the want, the not before possess; and they have in consesickness, the hunger, the suffering of all kinds quence abandoned their distinctive garb, and that reigns in the damp, filthy, pestiferous dwell have lost many of their distinguishing features. ings of the poor Jews in Warsaw, Cracow, Lem. Under Austrian rule, the influence of the berg, Mittau, Wilna, and Odessa, where half a Jesuits, who had contributed so much to their dozen families, all richly blessed with children, sufferings and degradation in Poland, continulive in one wretched cellar, amid dirt and rags, ed to be felt; and the Jews of Gallicia still with little light and less heat-the squalid fis- maintain all their characteristic features. But ures, the many colored tatters, worthy of being exhibited in an ethnographical museum, which it was the Israelites transferred to Russian may be seen in the Polish market-places, only dominion that were the most to be pitied. those can picture to themselves who have They were left entirely at the mercy of the read deseriptions of the Es quimaux, of the New caprice of the governors of the provinces, and Hollanders, or of the inhabitants of Terra del Fu- other ignorant, barbarous, and rapacious offiego.

cials, who all hoped to make their fortunes by

despoiling the Jews, whose riches they conThis is a distressing picture, and it is not ceived to be boundless. If the victims refused riewed with indifference in Poland; but the to deliver up the gold which in reality they bands of the nation are tied by the tyrannical did not possess, the tyrants put them to the despotism which weighs upon Christian and torture to wrest it from them. The underlings Jew alike.

imitated the example of their superiors; even Towards the close of the last century, when the Russian soldiers--poor miserable slaves, the Polish nobles were in every way exerting ill-treated and trampled upon themselves, themselves to retrieve the errors of the past when they met with a Jew, played the masters while their weak king, the minion of the worst for a while, and added their share to the enemy of his country, was unconsciously pre- misery that weighed down this unhappy paring its downfall, strenuous efforts were also people. The Government also oppressed them made to ameliorate the condition of the Jews; in every way, by advancing every pretext to and a “project of reform” relating to this sub- squeeze money out of them, by the creation ject was drawn up in a most just and liberal of monopolies, by increased taxation, and by spirit, by a member of the Diet, and would no illegal persecutions, while at the same time it doubt have passed into law, had not the parti- denied them all rights. They were not altion of the country intervened. According to lowed to hold real property, or to frequent this project of reform, the Jews were once more the schools of the country ; entrance into the to be admitted to all the rights of citizens, while capital was entirely denied to them, as also the their duties to the country were not made to right of lenghtened sojourn in any of the interfere with their liberty of conscience. It populous cities. was enacted that as citizens of the State they În 1807, when the Grand-duchy of Warsaw should learn the language of the country, and was constituted, equality before the law was should send their children to the national proclaimed for all citizens, and the Jews among schools, but at the same time their religious the rest ; but this liberal constitution remained rights were secured, and all honorable careers a dead letter under the rule of the House of were opened to them. But the vultures that Saxony, and the Jews continued to be burdenwere to rend Poland asunder, were already ed with exceptional taxes, administrative de

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crees depriving them of the rights which the were made to follow their Polish fellow-
organic law accorded to them. All attempts citizens to Siberia, under pretext of being
to transform the Jews into Polish citizens were guilty of smuggling. At this time also (1823)
abandoned, and except that the additional the Jews were again forced to separate from
hardship of performning military service was the other citizens, and to take up their abode
added to their other burdens, they remaired in distinct quarters of the town; and, upon the
what they bad been for centuries. To relieve whole, their condition became more intolerable
themselves from this to them most hateful than ever.
service, they offered to pay an annual sum of An incident, closely connected with an
700,000 Polish forins to the Government, and arbitrary measure, from which the Jews, in
under pretext of raising this sum, a tax called particular, suffered very severely, will suffice
kosher, * was imposed in 1810 on all meat con- to show how constitutional government was
sumed by the Jews. This odious and vexa- understood by the Russian masters of Poland.
tious tax, which weighs most heavily on the Monopoly in the distillation and sale of spirits
poor, is farmed out every year (for the Rus- and beer was suddenly introduced by the
sian government most unjustly continues the Minister of Finance, Lubecki. The monopoly
tax, though the exemption from military ser- being, however, restricted to the towns, the
vice, for which it was a commutation, has been price of the two commodities soon rose enor-
withdrawn) to the highest bidder; and it is mously in Warsaw, and other populous cities,
but too ofien Jewish speculators who come for- as compared with the price in the villages;
ward to bid, in the bope of enriching them- and many poor Jews, who had been deprived
selves by the oppression of their brethren. of every honest means of subsistence, were in-
However, the extraordinary tenacity and per- duced to smuggle spirits into the towns, though
severance of the Hebrew character has fre- many lost their lives in conflict with the cus-
quently been exhibited in resistance to this tom-house officers.
tax, whole communities having for six months At length, the citizens of Warsaw finding
together abstained from eating meat, thus re- themselves great sufferers by the enhanced
ducing to bankruptcy the heartless farmer of price of the two necessary articles, drew up
the tax. At the same time that this tax was a petition to the Emperor, couched in the
imposed, the right of keeping taverns or public- most respectful terms, but representing that
houses in the villages, was withdrawn from the the introduction of this monopoly was a viola-
Jews, and a great number of families thus re- tion of the rights guaranteed to the Polish
duced to a state of perfect destitution. people by the charter. The day after the

The treaty of Vienna brought a new change petition had been sent in to the government in the state of Poland. Again a charter was office at Warsaw, the six respectable citizens, given ensuring the rights of the citizens, whose names stood first among the signatures, Jewish as well as others, and again the people were dragged from their homes, conducted to were delivered over to arbitrary rule, and this an open square in the city, and there made to time to that of a capricious and tyrannical des-cart earth in wheelbarrows, like common malepot; for while the Emperor Alexander at St. tactors, in the presence of an immense conPetersburg planned benevolent reforms for course of people, who looked on in profound Poland, the Grand-Duke Constantine, nomina- and melancholy silence. One of the sufferers ted commander-in-chief in the kingdom, was on this occasion, a venerable old man with silgrinding the people under his heel. The ver hair, was Mr. Czynski, who had served as burdensome taxes and restrictions weighing on Captain under Kosciuszko, and whose son has the Jews were not relieved, while the prohi- distinguished himself among the Polish emibitive commercial system of Russia further in- grants, in Paris, by his generous efforts in bejured them in their trading relations. Some half of the Polish Jews. Among the means sought relief in smuggling, in spite of the heavy resorted to, at this period, for extorting money penalties attending detection. This led to the from the Jews, were also threats of displacing establishment of a regular system of extortion, their cemeteries, and of pulling down their having for its object to despoil the rich Jews synagogues; and the unhappy people, already for the benefit of their denouncers, who shared reduced to great privations, imposed long and their gains with General Rozniecki, the Chief severe fasts upon themselves in order to raise of the Secret Police. The word of a single the sums required to bribe the authorities to spy was suficient to cause the incarceration desist from these plans. So great was the of the most respectable citizen, and whether terror inspired by the Grand-Duke Constaninnocent or guilty, there was no escape from tine, that, it has been observed that not a such captivity except through means of a single Israelite at that time ventured to inform golden key. The poor Jews, against whom no his co-religionists abroad of the dreadful oppolitical plottings could possibly be invented, pression they were subjected to in Poland.

One only of Alexander's benevolent and * The word "kosher" signifies permitted food. wise measures in favor of Jewish reform was

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ever before been witnessed, was got up by For the Emperor Nicholas was reserved the order of the Emperor. In that year an ukase distinction of levelling against his Jewish sub- was published ordering all the Jews dwelling jects the most cruel blow which has ever yet on the frontiers of Prussia and Austria to rofallen upon this much-oppressed people.- move fifty wersts further into the interior; Shortly after his accession, being desirous of and thus a population of no less than 200,000 creating a powerful navy, and being advised souls were suddenly uprooted from the soil on that the Jews, hitherto exempt from military which their fathers had been established for service, possessed peculiar aptitude for naval many centuries, and cut off from their accusservice-by the stroke of a pen he caused tomed sources of livelihood. 30,000 children to be torn from the arms of The Jews exerted themselves to the utmost their parents and transported to the coasts of to avert this dreadful calamity. They sent the Black Sea during a most rigorous season. deputations to St. Petersburg to prove to the Many perished on the road, others succumbed Government that not one in a thousand of to the cruel discipline of the Russian navy; them had been guilty of the smuggling which and, if we are to believe the Jewish archives, served as a pretext of this tyrannical measure; a few years afterwards there remained only they offered to renounce entirely all participa10,000 young men alive of this first levy of tion in the frontier trade, or, if any of their Israelites. From one point of view the mili- members took part in it, to make all respontary service imposed upon his Jewish subjects sible for each ; but the Emperor, who no doubt by the Emperor Nicholas may be considered had ulterior objects in view, remained inflexa step in advance, as it places them on an ible. Animated by the reforming spirit of his equal footing with the Christians, and as such great ancestor, Nicholas, has also declared war it is indeed represented; but we must not for-against the beards and caftans of the Jews, as get that this equalization as to burdens has Peter dia against those of his Boyars. It is not been accompanied by any equalization as not, however, European civilization which to rights, and that the Jews continue to be ex- Nicholas wishes to introduce, but that perfect cluded from serving the country in any other uniformity which would render the power of capacity, and to be burdened with many ex- his colossal empire more easy to wield. The ceptional imposts. But should the Tzar ever idea of a wholesale conversion of the Jews is sincerely desire to place the Jews on a level not either foreign to Nicholas, for he cannot with his Christian subjects of the same rank, renounce the hope of embracing these two he would only be making them the equals of and a-half millions of his subjects also within serfs and slaves. However, the sufferings the the arms of the orthodox Russo-Greek Church, Jews are exposed to by being subject to mili- which are eventually, according to his plan, to tary conscription are also of an exceptional encircle all the nations that dwell within tho character.

shadow of the Muscovite sceptre. That the By far the greater number of the Jews born Russians are fully aware that hitherto persecuin the Polish provinces do not understand tion and oppression have only strengthened the Polish language, and much less the Rus- the faith of the Jews, is proved by the oath sian ; the position of the Russian soldier, as is that is administered to them on entering the now well known, is one of indescribable hard- army or the navy: they are made to swear ship and privation. He is badly fed, badly not to abandon the Emperor's banners even paid, badly housed, and ill-treated by his su- when the Messiah appears. periors from the sergeant to the commander

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