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reckless in laying bare the front of vice, and exposing the dogmas of conceited ignorance. Though that age only could give him birth and nourishment, he has, if studied, lived for this he gives us a test of the good old virtue for our morality, and an example of the only worthy use of heaven-born genius for the exercise of our talents.
ART. III. Anglia Judaica: or the History and Antiquities of the Jews in England, collected
from all our Historians, both printed and manuscript, as also from the Records in the Tower, and other Public Repositories, by D'Bloissiers Tovey, L.L.D.; and Principal of New Inn Hall, in Oxford. Oxford, 1738.
The Jews have been, from the earliest times, in possession of the most common sources of interest and sympathy—they have been enlightened when others were in a state of darkness —they have been the peculiar and chosen people of the Deity, when their neighbours were grovelling idolaters--their great lawgiver impressed upon them indelible marks of distinction from every nation, and, from the time of Moses, they have been a separated, peculiar, and singular race they have been the sport of
power, and the butt of ridicule and malice-they have been tortured, exiled, enslaved, persecuted, all but exterminated, and yet they have borne their sufferings with an unshrinking fortitude, and adhered in foreign lands, without a country, a home, or a government, to the laws of their ancestors, without giving up a tittle either to the menaces of authority or the blandishments of luxury. The Jewish character if it be unamiable and disagreeable, is the creature of the circumstances by which it has been jostled and pushed about. But, “bann'd and barr'd” as it has been from all Christian sympathies, it is gratifying to the lover of human nature to observe, that it has not been materially injured, nor much if at all deteriorated below the general level of the human race, as found in civilized countries. Shut out from the learned professions and more elevated walks of life, they have been driven to traffic, and to the most corrupting kind of traffic too, the dealing in money, for their chief support; the natural consequence of which is, a narrowîng of the affections, and a chaining down of the imagination to the grossest considerations of profit and loss. This influence, however, has been powerfully opposed by the romance of their history, by the proud and elevating thoughts reflected from a long line of ancestry. The Jew is a captive in a foreign land, yearly looking for a glorious deliverer ; he is the last relic of an illustrious race, which is coeval with the world--the nations about him are infantine, when compared with the hoary age of Judaism. He is a member of a small band, amid a world of aliens; and the ties of kindred are therefore stronger, and the social affections more animated and called into action, than in the case of a Christian, who meets a brother in every man he meets. Assembled in their synagogue, built after the fashion of the temple of Solomon, and looking towards the east, their distant home, they chaunt a solemn worship in a strange tongue, with ceremonials and religious observances that are constantly reanimating a high enthusiasm and holy joy, which forbid the degradation of their character. The very persecution which has been inflicted upon them has called into action the virtue of fortitude, by which they are distinguished ; and the temporizing and subservient manners to which they have been frequently compelled to resort, has softened and civilized the character which might otherwise have been harsh and brutal—the natural effects of the ill usage which it has been their hard lot to encounter. But, allowing the truth of the charge of meanness and unamiability which has been laid against them, and which is the natural rust of their situation, the circumstances of their history-the decided nationality and the oriental colouring of the Jewish character, relieve them, in our eyes, from that contempt and prejudice which is not uncommonly felt even in these enlightened times, and which has always induced us to trace, with more than common interest, the fates of this unfortunate nation, from their last dispersion, through the dark and dismal periods of European history.
The history of the Jews in England, though a dreary tale of woe, we have been induced to select as the subject of this article, from the light which it throws upon the national character of the people of this country, and the nature of its government, during the dark ages of its annals : and if it be painful to read of massacres, extortions, and persecutions, it is still a subject of congratulation to turn our eyes upon the improved state both of the persecuted and the persecutors-an idea which is naturally reflected from the opaque surface of these barbarous times with a luminous brightness, upon our own more happy epoch.
The Jews, it has been commonly affirmed by historians, were introduced into England by William the Conqueror. That many Jews accompanied that sovereign and his army into Bri tain, and afterwards, during his reign, flocked into the country in greater numbers than at any previous period, is very true; but this wandering nation had made a settlement in England a considerable time before the conquest, as is proved by the industrious antiquary who compiled the book before us. The Jews are mentioned in the laws of Edward the Confessor, wherein it is laid down, that “the Jews and all they possess belong to the king.” And “in a charter of Witglaff, king of Mercia, made to the monks of Croyland, we find confirmed to them, not only such lands as had at any time been given to the monastery by the kings of Mercia, but also all their possessions whatever, whether they were originally bestowed on them by Christians or Jews.”* This charter was granted A.D. 833 ; but we have farther proof that the Jews were settled in England 143 years before the date of this grant. In the Canonical Excerptions, published by Egbricht, Archbishop of York, in A.D. 740, Christians are forbid to be present at the Jewish feasts. This is the earliest mention of the Jews in the annals of Great Britain. When they did enter Great Britain, it is impossible to ascertain. There have been antiquaries, who have concluded that the Jews lived in England during the first settlements of the Romans. A Roman brick, it seems, was found in digging the foundation of a house in London, having on one side a bas relief, representing Sampson driving the foxes into a field of corn. Without relying upon so slender an authority thus afforded, it is by no means improbable that the Jews, after the final destruction of Jerusalem, should wander into Britain, and settle in London, which was, even in Cæsar's time, a port and trading city, celebrated for the beauty of its situation, and for being the residence of a multitude of merchants.
Dr. Tovey seems to think, that the historians are silent concerning the Jews, from their
introduction by the Conqueror till the reign of his successor. The chronicler, Hoveden, however, states, that in the fourth year of his reign, the first William held a council of his barons, in which, among other things, it was provided," that the Jews, settled in this kingdom, should be under the king's protection; that they should not subject themselves to any other without his leave: it is declared, that they and all theirs belong to the king ; and if any should detain any of their goods, he might challenge them as his own." + This seems to have been the only tenure this miserable people ever held on this country before their banishment: the king vindicated them as his own property, lest they should become the prey of any other ; their claim to protection was, that as long as the king preserved them from the aggressions of others, they would yield the richer prey to himself. Their whole history, in England, represents them in the light of plunder, contended for between two parties—sometimes dragged within the
* Anglia Judaica. p. 3. Ingulp. Hist. p. 9.
clutches of one, and again snatched by the no less dangerous fangs of the other. By extorting usurious interest, and by taking advantage of the wants of needy borrowers, they fattened upon the land and acquired immense wealth, which they were periodically required to disgorge by the party in whose hands they happened to be. The measures which the king and the powerful barons were compelled to resort to, for the purpose of wringing the hard earned riches from the tenacious grasp of avaricious Jews, were, we may be sure, by no means of a gentle nature. We shall see in the course of this article, that from the time of William the Conqueror to the 18th of Edward I. the period of their final banishment, the unfortunate Israelites of this country were alternately indulged with privileges that they might get rich ; calumniated, abused, and massacred by the people, whose hard creditors they were ; and, in due time, that is to say, when the king wanted money, tortured, imprisoned, and executed by heir protector, into whose presiding care they fled for refuge, and who, like a good shepherd, guarded them from the wolves till their fleeces were grown, and their carcases ready for the butcher. Dealing with them as sponges,” says the author of an old pamphlet (the Anglo-Judæus) we have before quoted,
suffering them to suck up the English treasure, which they then squeeze
out into their own coffers." The first mention made of the Jews, in the reign of William Rufus, is on the occasion of a very singular transaction : whether it was that the king's conscience was troubled with scruples, or whether he was prevailed upon by the handsome presents of the Jews, or, what is more probable than either, in utter carelessness of all religion, he wished to make sport, by bringing the professors of two diametrically opposite ones into close contest, for the amusement of himself
and courtiers ; howmay
be, he determined to hold a solemn conference of Jews and Christians, to dispute on the evidence of Christianity --and the heartless king declared, by the face of St. Luke, that he would abide by the result, and adhere to the faith of the victorious party. The chief leaders, on both sides, met in the city of London ;
“And, after the matter had been for some time strenuously debated, it pleased God that victory appeared, very plainly, in behalf of the Christians, whose arguments could not possibly be withstood ; tho’ the Jews opposed them with so much vigour and resolution, that the bishops and clergy were not without some pious fear and solicitude how the disputations might terminate :* yet so insolent were the Jews, after all was over, (knowing how secure a friend they had in the king,)
* 1 Will. Malm. de Gestis, p. 122.
that they did not stick to boast publickly, they were overthrown more by fraud than force. Stow,* after having mentioned the wickedness of Rufus, observes, that it was followed by such dreadful claps of thunder, and so violent an earthquake, that the like was scarce ever observed in England. And notwithstanding, also, what must necessarily have been so clearly and convincingly urged in behalf of Christianity, upon such a solemn occasion, we find the king's heart still continuing hardened, and his majesty no otherwise a Christian than in profession.
The king's perfect impartiality and freedom from all religious bias is farther illustrated, by a story told by Hollingshed, and which we will give in the words of the chronicler himself.
“ The king being at Rhoan, on a time, there came to him divers Jews, who inhabited that city, complaining that divers of that nation had renounced their Jewish religion, and were become Christians ; wherefore they besought him, that for a certain summ of money, which they offered to give, it might please him to constrain them to abjure Christianity, and turn to the Jewish law again. He was content to satisfy their desires. And so receiving their money, called them before him ; and what with threats, and putting them otherwise in fear, he compelled divers of them to forsake Christ, and to turn to their old
Hereupon the father of one Stephen, a Jew converted to the Christian faith, being sore troubled for that his son was turned a Christian, (and hearing what the king had done in like matters,) presented unto him sixty marks of silver, conditionally, that he should enforce his son to return to his Jewish religion : whereupon the young man was brought before the king, unto whom the king said, Sirrah! thy father here complaineth that without his licence thou art become a Christian; if this be true, I command thee to return again to the religion of thy nation, without any more adoe. To whom the young man answered, Your grace (as I guess) doth but jest. Wherewith the king being moved, said, What! thou dunghill knave, should I jest with thee? Get thee hence quickly, and fulfil my commandment, or by St. Luke's face, I shall cause thine eyes to be plucked out of thine head. The young man nothing abashed thereat, with a constant voice, answered, Truly I will not do it, but know for certain, that if you were a good Christian you would never have uttered any such words; for it is the part of a Christian to reduce them again to Christ which are departed from him, and not to separate them from him which are joyned to him by faith. The king herewith confounded, commanded the Jew to get him out of his sight; but the father perceiving that the king could not perswade his son to forsake the Christian faith, required to have his money again. To whom the king said, he had done so much as he promised to do ; that was, to perswade him so far as he might. At length, when he would have had the king dealt further in the matter, the king, to stop his mouth, tendered back to him half of his money, and kept the
* 1 Stow. Chron. p. 129.