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house of David Harari. One of the seven, however, offered to produce, as evidence to disprove this, two persons, one a Mohammedan and the other a Christian, who were sitting with him in his own house all that day and the greater portion of the ensuing evening. A child of his had just died, and, according to the precepts of the Jewish law, he was compelled to remain in his house during seven days from its decease, in a state of mourning that day was one included in the seven, and these persons came to condole with him on his loss. Had these witnesses been allowed to come forward, the whole of the case must have fallen to the ground at once, in spite of the malicious craft and cunning which the originators of the charge displayed; for as they were in nowise connected with the Jews, their testimony must have been received as valid; and the absence of one out of the seven being proved, the charge, specially implicating the seven, could not have survived for a moment. But this man was instantly put to the torture; and though they were all subjected to the most horrible appliances that the human mind can conceive, yet the mode of torture used with him took effect so speedily, that he died before any of his friends could have any chance of putting forward the witnesses referred to. He was still included in the accusation, for now he could only testify his innocence to his Maker.
There was another remarkable circumstance, which shews how determinedly the charge was carried over
every impediment that truth and justice opposed to it. Three ministers of the Jewish congregation were, at the outset of the calumnious report, commanded by the governor to discover the criminals; these three straightway repaired to the synagogue, and having summoned all their brethren that could come into their presence, made a proclamation that, if any Jew knew aught that might lead to the detection of the criminals, he should instantly communicate it to them, under pain of excommunication, which is the most serious punishment that the Jewish clergy can inflict, and which every Jew contemplates with the utmost dread. The rabbies likewise enjoined all their auditors to make diligent search for the criminals for the honour of the nation at large. In consequence of this proclamation, a young man, a Jew, who kept a tobacconist's shop in the Mooslimin quarter, just without one of the city gates, came forward, and stated that he had seen the priest and his servant pass by his door at six o'clock in the evening of the day on which he was last seen, which he the more clearly remembered as he then solicited them both to purchase toombak of him.
In the accusation against the seven, it was stated that the priest was last seen at David Harari's house at halfpast four. This evidence, then, tended strongly to refute the accusation; but the ill-fated youth was directly arrested as an accomplice, and hurried into eternity simultaneously with the first of the seven.
Thus the testimony that could not have failed to weigh on the minds of the multitude was entirely suppressed; and the multitude were now induced to raise a clamour against the unfortunate prisoners; and the individuals in office, whose actions can clearly be traced to motives of revengeful jealousy, excited against the most distinguished Jews in Damascus by certain circumstances which had long since occurred, took shelter under this clamour, and gratified their atrocious malice not only with impunity, as regarded the major part of the inhabitants of the place, but with the approbation due only to a rigid act of justice. On nearly all former occasions, when the Jews have been persecuted in consequence of the superstitious impression that they used Christian blood in their Passover ceremonies, similar means have been practised to stifle the voice of truth, and similar feelings of revenge have, without doubt, first kindled the flame of persecution. The reader is particularly requested to note the coincidence between the proceedings of the semi-barbarians at Damascus in the present age, and those of the judges who lived in the dark ages of superstition in other parts of the world.
The translator had the honour of accompanying his truly illustrious friend, Sir Moses Montefiore, in his recent self-imposed, generous mission to the East,*
* It is probable that few people have heard of any other than the last journey performed by Sir Moses Montefiore; by that alone he has certainly obtained the applause of civilized men of all conditions;
and, consequently, was present at his interviews with Mohammed Ali at Alexandria; and, from what thus came to his knowledge, he feels bound to acquit the Pacha of entertaining the prejudice himself. His reception of Sir Moses and the other members of the mission was characterised by great courtesy; and his whole behaviour was such, as plainly evinced that he would have granted all the privileges which were asked for the Jews almost on the very first application for them, had there not been some influence secretly at work, which, for awhile, counteracted the exertions made in their behalf. That Mohammed Ali had not sanctioned the persecution himself was made fully apparent; indeed, the entertaining of the
even many of his own nation are, without doubt, unacquainted with his benevolent exertions in that region on a previous occasion; but the writer thinks that he will be only discharging a just duty by here recording the fact, that two years prior to the lamentable events at Damascus, Sir Moses, and his lady also, as on the late mission, with the writer in their company, explored the Holy Land, and some of the adjacent countries, for the sole purpose of using those things with which God has blessed them for the good of their species inhabiting those regions, without respect to their descent or faith. Where poverty does exist in those places, it is of a most heart-sickening character, and is frequently attended by withering disease; but wherever sickness and want were to be found, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore made their way; and whoever the afflicted might be, they experienced their bounty. Yet even this was not their first visit to the Holy Land; some twelve years ago they were at Jerusalem, with objects in view similar to those just described. The writer has some reason to fear this record of their philanthropy will not be in perfect unison with the sentiments of Lady Montefiore or Sir Moses; but, by inserting it, he has, at least, satisfied his own conscience.
prejudice would have been quite inconsistent with the Pacha's sagacity and knowledge of mankind; and the only inference that can be drawn from his behaviour in connexion with that affair is, that, in the peculiar position in which he was then placed, he was afraid to do anything which might seriously displease any of the agents of France, lest they should interfere, to his disadvantage, with the negociations he was then carrying on with the hopes of securing France as his political friend. Potentates whose names will live for ever in history, and whose virtues will ever be cited as worthy of imitation, have, when placed in situations of great political difficulty, been compelled to sanction measures which their consciences disapproved of; and there is ample reason for thinking as favourably of Mohammed Ali.
What has just been advanced respecting the ruler of Egypt, implicates, indeed, to a great extent, the French consul at Damascus in the persecution; but it would be a puerile absurdity to affect not to know that that personage took a most active share in the transaction; too much reason have the Jews who survive it to remember his persevering efforts against them. It is really a lamentable thing that, in these days of civilization, a representative of one of the most enlightened nations of Europe should enact the part of a fanatic of the middle ages. But, though it is unhesitatingly asserted that the Egyptian Pacha was for a time influenced by this agent, it cannot for a moment be supposed that his conduct was