« PoprzedniaDalej »
Israelitish Deputies of France and Italp,
CONVOKED AT PARIS BY AN IMPERIAL AND ROYAL DECREE,
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL PUBLISHED BY
M. DIOGENE TAMA,
WITH A PREFACE AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES
BY F. D. KIRWAN, Esq.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM BURTON, FETTER LANE.
PUBLISHED BY CHARLES TAYLOR, HATTON STREET.
ERRATA.---In p. 134, after line 5, read, “ 7th. Who elects the Rabbies?" The succeeding question should be numbered 8.
THE BINDER is requested to notice the folios of P, Q, and R, a mistake having occurred in one of those signatures in a few copies.
THE novelty of a Jewish assembly deliberating on the national interests of a people which has so long ceased to be numbered among nations, induces us to offer an account of its proceedings to the English public. The French-Jewish editor, M. Diogene Tama, in an advertisement prefixed to his collection, expatiates with wonderful complacency on the immense utility of his publication. Without being quite so sanguine in our expectations, we cannot help expressing our conviction that it will prove highly gratifying to that curiosity which has been excited by the first mention of the meeting of such an assembly.
The ultimate views which Bonaparte may have on the Jewish nation are, to this day, involved in obscurity; while the supposed advantages he so pompously conferred on them may reasonably be called in question. This will warrant our attempting to elucidate them, as far as his dark purposes can admit of investigation,
The conduct of the former government of France toward sits Jewish subjects happily united tolerance and even encouragement with circumspection: indeed their state was, in many instances, preferable to that of the Protestants; they were secured in the enjoyment of their property; their religious ceremonies were acknowledged by law, (which, till the reign of Louis XVI. was not the case in respect to the Protestants,) and those who proved really useful citizens received letters of naturalization.
Some local badges of their former slavery still existed in several of the provinces; but, as early as the year 1785, government had in contemplation to remove them; and it is rather singular that this very M. Furtado, who appears so conspicuously as President of the present assembly, should have been called to Paris, with several other Jews, by M. de Malesherbes, Minister of Louis XVI. to give the necessary information on the subject.
It is more than probable that Bonaparte, in this instance, as indeed in most others, has taken up the plan of the ancient French government, giving įt, at the same time, that theatrical form which is so
peculiar to his conceptions, and happily fixing the meeting of the assembly at a time when it was the less necessary. For the decree of the National Assembly, which had assimilated the Jews to the rest of the nation, and which was then in full force, apparently left nothing to be done for men who were considered as French citizens to all intents and purposes. The ușurious practices of the Israelites of some departments of France were only a plausible pretext, for it is well known, that the Jews were not the only people in France who followed that nefarious traffic: the total want of laws to repress it, the universal laxity of morals, and the uncertainty of every kind of speculation, had made it almost general among monied men, and five per cent. per month has been not unfrequently exact. ed by Christians lenders, even with the security of landed property.
A motive more likely to have influenced the ra pacious French government on this occasion is the douceur of thirty millions of livres which had been required from the Jews as the price of the honour conferred upon them; and it probably was with a