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interruption must, in the generality of cases, either put a stop to their progress, or, if they are unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of boards of health, they must perforce consent to receive at their hands the most unpleasant substitute that can easily be imagined for the contemplated pleasures of their tour.
Besides, there is another kind of injury, which has already been experienced, and is always to be apprehended from these sanatory regulations. It is not only a number of individuals who endure, or boards of health that inflict, this abominable and useless tyranny; it must be also remembered what a convenient engine a lazzaret is in the hands of a government, how well adapted to carry into effect any sinister designs. If there be any jealousy of English commerce, what pretext so plausible, what instrument so effectual, for ruining our commercial interests? If an encroaching power, as for instance Russia, desires to bring an army to bear upon a certain point without alarming its victim or giving other powers a pretext for interfering, --if a foreign nation is gradually and systematically to be tutored into dependence,- if the subject is to be accustomed and insensibly habituated to the degradation of a despotic government, what so convenient as a quarantine establishment?
We shall close our evidence upon this point by transcribing the account of the actual effects of the quarantine at Alexandria in 1835.
It is thus described by Dr. Bowring : “ Were I willing or able to awaken your sympathies by pictures of human suffering, were it necessary in the pursuit of truth to appeal to the excitable passions, I would endeavour to describe the horrors which the isolation of infected houses and other quarantine regulations brought with them into Egypt. Impotent, wholly impotent, to stop the progress of the disease, which raged, and raged more intensely as the measures which were taken to arrest it became more and more cruel and severe, they created an additional mass of misery beyond all power of calculation. The plague, no doubt, had its awful mission of desolation and death, but the quarantine let loose other murderous missionaries, more barbarous and pitiless : in the name of civilization they made men savages; in the name of humanity they inflicted hunger and thirst, intolerable suffering, frightful starvation. They spread distrust and terror where calmness and resignation existed before; they tore asunder, they uprooted all sympathies, all charities, when misery most demanded their aid and support. To ac
knowledge that a case of plague had broken out in a family, was to subject that family to imprisonment and uncontrolled despotism. Hence the dead were flung into the public streets, or buried and allowed to putrefy in the dwellings where they died.”
Now the plague is undoubtedly a terrible scourge, but are not lazzarets also a terrible scourge? The time, money, correspondence, persons, health of a multitude of individuals, are all subjected to the most absolute tyranny. An instrument of foreign invasion, of despotism, and of international injury is placed at the disposal of governments; and in such cases as that of Alexandria, the most shocking horrors that can be presented to the imagination are the consequences. If then we were to allow for a moment, that the quarantine regulations are in most cases an effective preventive of the plague, yet even then we should refuse our concurrence in the imposition of a certain evil, almost, if not quite, as dreadful, merely on the chance (however great that chance might be) of removing what is in itself a contingent evil. Believing however, as we do, that with respect to its very objects the system is utterly inefficient, if not pernicious,-being persuaded also that there are other means, such as ventilation of houses, cleansing of streets, clearing of drains and sewers, prompt medical attendance, and a supply of wholesome food, which are universally allowed to have a strong effect in preventing and palliating the evils of the pestilence, -we cannot close this article without expressing our strongest and most earnest wishes that this useless, oppressive, and only not ridiculous because revolting and horrible system may be speedily abolished.
In order to arrive at this desirable end, we see no more effective plan which can be adopted than that of sending out a commission, selected chiefly from the medical profession, to collect full and complete information on the subject; for we cannot conceive that proceedings involving so much absurdity, and productive of such complicated evils, could long resist the effect produced by the report of a body of enlightened inquirers.
Sephardim; or 'the History of the Jews in Spain and Por
tugal. By James Finn. London, 1841. SEPHARDIM is the title of an interesting and unpretending volume on the history of the Jews in Spain and Portugal, from their first appearance in the Peninsula to their expulsion from it by “the most Catholic sovereigns” of Castile and Arragon. It traces their various fortunes under the generally tolerant sway of the Roman empire, their depressed and perilous existence under the Gothic monarchy, their free and prosperous condition in the brilliant æra of the Arabs, and their renewed sufferings and final banishment when the Peninsula was again brought under one government and one faith. It exhibits them under the opposite aspects of agriculturists and merchants, as the rulers of their own communities, or the ministers of state and finance to their Christian or Moorish masters; at one time resuming, under the protection of the crescent, their oriental splendour and stateliness; at another, under the oppression of the cross, as the servants of servants, or veiling their ineradicable Hebraism beneath the strange guise of monks, bishops, or inquisitors. It displays their singular proficiency in some departments of science and literature, and their equally singular rejection of other elements of European civilization. Recent events have once more drawn attention to the Hebrew people both in Europe and Asia, and we shall perhaps lay before many of our readers both new and interesting matter by a brief survey of some portions of the annals of the Sephardim.
The history of modern Europe, indeed, during the dark and medieval periods, is incomplete without occasional notices of a race, which, from its wide dispersion and the tenacity of its national ties, was for many ages a principal channel of commercial and diplomatic communication from the Atlantic to the Euphrates. But the historians of modern Judaism usually combine the records of the Sephardim, or Spanish and Portuguese Jews, with those of the Ashkenazim, or Jews of Germany, Britain and Poland. It is obvious, however, that both in his social relations and intellectual character, the Hebrew of Granada in the twelfth, and of Castile in the fourteenth century, differed materially from his countrymen and contemporaries in the half-civilized or wholly barbarous regions of central and northern Europe. The Arab claimedand the Hebrew admitted the claim—a common descent through Ishmael from Abraham the “father of the faithful." The unitarian creed and simple ritual of Islam offended the prejudices of the Jew much less than the Catholic creed and image-worship of the medieval church. In his oriental habits, his Semitic dialect, and in many of the principles of the Koran, the Mohammedan accorded with the Hebrew, and from gratitude or policy. the western caliphs were mostly lenient rulers, and frequently bountiful patrons of the Sephardim. The physical circumstances also of soil, climate and population in Spain were favourable to the development of the Hebrew character. The Keltic and Phænician elements that in the south of the Peninsula modified the temper and institutions of the Gothic settlers, had no distant affinity with a people whom a hard destiny alone severed from the East. In the Moorish capitals Granada, Seville and Toledo, the exiles beheld a lively image of the populous towns which were once spread over their native Palestine; and the Mediterranean, the high-road of their active traffic, preserved and renovated their oriental associations, by affording an easy intercourse with their brethren in Bagdad and Cairo.
It is needless to dwell on the opposite picture of the trembling and servile Jew of northern Europe. Barabbas, Shylock and Isaac of York are faithful impersonations of the Ashkenazim ; nor is there a more remarkable contrast in the history of social life, than that between the slavish and vindictive usurer or leech of Frankfort or London and his contemporaries at Cordova, Joseph Ben Ephraim the treasurer, and Samuel Ben Waker the physician of Alonso VIII. It is among the Sephardim, under the Arabian dynasty in Spain, that we discover the genuine lineaments of the Hebrew exile; and the contrast is heightened by the iron age of oppression from which he emerged, and to which he returned respectively under his Gothic and Catholic rulers.
The author of “Sephardim' has drawn his narrative from
a variety of chronicles. His Notices of Jewish Literature and Rabbinical Biography' are mainly taken from the ‘Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica’ of Fr. Bartoloccio, and the ‘Dizionario Storico degli Autori Ebrei’ of De Rossi ; and his view of “Talmudic Judaism is considerably influenced by a recent work called The Old Paths,' by Dr. M'Caul." His work does not aspire to a higher rank than that of compilation ; but Mr. Finn has not sufficiently apprised his readers of the insecure ground of some of his authorities, especially of Mariana, to whom he frequently gives, as at p. 66, rather easy credence; and his mode of reference is provokingly lax and indefinite. Should . Sephardim' reach a second edition, we recommend a careful revision of the notes, an enlargement of the appendix, and a retrenchment of certain exuberancies of diction. While however we mark these defects, we gladly bear testimony to the candid and enlightened spirit of the volume before us, and cordially assent to its frequent denunciations of the wickedness and impolicy of intolerance.
The first settlement of the Jews in the Peninsula is involved in doubt, and still more obscured by fable. The identity of Tarshish with Tartessus-of which the author might have derived further evidence from the commentators on Herodotus --and the well-known alliance between the princes of Tyre and the great Hebrew monarchs David and Solomon, make it probable that the Jews visited the shores of the Atlantic as early as the ninth century before our æra. The legends however which make the Phoenician emporia in Spain tributary to Solomon, and which placed in Saguntum the tomb of his chancellor Adoniram, originated probably in the desire of the Spanish Jews to date their immigration before the advent of the Messiah, and thus imply to their Christian persecutors their innocence of his crucifixion. But dismissing, as incapable of historical proof, although not altogether void of probability, the establishment of the Jews in Spain prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, we assume the edict of Antoninus as the first trustworthy evidence of their settlement in the "far West.” The Spanish provinces were long the most peaceful section of the Roman empire, and during an interval of nearly three centuries we are ignorant of the fortunes of their Hebrew population; yet from their known habits, wherever peace