Home page The Occident and American Jewish Advocate Jews in the Civil War Jews in the Wild West History of Palestine The Occident Virtual Library


Our Defenders vs. Our Calumniators


In the October number we gave publicity to some remarks we felt called upon to address to the public, against the vile calumnies which so many pious people think themselves authorized to fulminate against <<518>>the Jews. Since then we have obtained a copy of the communication of “Ludwig,” which gave rise to the controversy. We therefore give it now to the Jewish public, together with the ill-tempered remarks of Dr. Dowling, and his coadjutor, the Rev. John Lillie the late Editor of the Chronicle. By the by, since the delectable exhibition of overweening love for Israel, Mr. L. has yielded the chair editorial to the Rev. Alexander H. Wright, and we wish him a little more candour than his predecessor. But we need not tell our intelligent readers anything to forestall their judgment, as the words of the articles speak for themselves. Still we may state in conclusion that despite of the insinuation of the Editor of the Chronicle, Ludwig is a Christian minister, and we hope not the less sincere for his admiration of the Jewish character.—Ed. Oc.

(From the New York Tribune)

“To Rev. Drs. Dowling, Tyng, M’Laren, &c.

“I heard with surprise, indignation, and profound regret, the speeches delivered last evening before the association which has been named insultingly, a Society for Meliorating the Condition of the Jews. I crave your patience for a few words of truth and reason upon the subjects discussed there; and that the impulse under which I write may not be misunderstood, introduce myself to you as a Christian minister, whose blood, according to his best knowledge, has not mingled with that of Israel in a thousand years, but whose opportunities of judging of the present character and condition of the Jews cannot have been less favourable than those of any one in your assembly, though he were a convert from the Synagogue.

“I suppose that to the intelligent student of ancient or modern history it is by no means necessary to urge that the Hebrews have been, and are in an intellectual point of view, the first of nations. The fathers of religion and civilization, and the conservators of science and the arts during the long ages of heathen and Christian darkness, down to the revival of learning and the true worship in the fifteenth century, they have since then, with all their crushing disabilities, contributed far more than their proportion to the common stock of learning and philosophy, literature and art. Do you doubt it? Consult the rolls of illustrious names which even in the present century it has furnished, in investigation, reflection, and creation.

“But, shuffling, you ask, Have I been in the Jew quarters of London, Paris, and Rome? Have I walked through Chatham Street in New <<519>>York? Yes: and I have been in Wapping and St. Giles’s, in London, on the Isle de la Cité in Paris, between the Piazza del Popolo and the Tiber in Rome, and through the Five Points in New York, which with just as much reason may be cited to illustrate the tendencies of Christianity and the character of Christians. These continual references  to the conditions and occupations of the lower classes of Jews are mere insolence. Vague rumours of the oppressions suffered by Greeks, Poles, and other baptized heathens, kindle to a resistless flame the sympathy of Christendom; the Senate is in a tumult of stormy indignation that a few vagabond Papists have not succeeded in robbing the Pagans of Yucatan; and we can scarcely get through the streets here, without being overrun by some tomfool ‘demonstration’ in behalf of the down-trodden Irish. But the poor Jew, for fifteen centuries, has been shut out by custom and statute from all honourable occupations, forbidden the exercise of liberal arts, and denied the right to trade in such merchandise as a Christian might handle, and you call him a ‘dealer in old clothes;’ you have robbed him, and called him poor; held him in the mire, and complain that he is filthy; made him an outlaw, and say he is a bad citizen; monopolized all the means of creditable living, and charge him with struggling through low, and base or questionable pursuits. Walking yesterday along one of the wharves, I saw a ruffian of the size of a man, knocking down as fast as he could rise a poor, crippled boy, and every time his stalwart arm beat against the sufferer, the devil taunted him, ‘Why don’t you stand?’ Jehovah! the Justice of thy Law, the wisdom of thy Providence, it is not for any mortal man to doubt. Thine ancient people suffer the penalties of their guilt: shall the pent seas of thy fury forever be restrained from those whom thou hast chosen in after times, and who have so much more abused so much richer mercies?

“While recognising the piety of the Jews in Europe, as illustrated by their melancholy pilgrimages to the desolate but holy city which is so sacred in their memories, it was declared by one of you, that ‘a large majority of the Jews in this country are practically infidels.’ By what authority was this said? Have you read their journals?  Have you visited their places of worship? have you sat by their firesides, analyzed the teaching of their children, or listened to their prayers. Do you know anything about the subject? Had you said simply that they were Infidels, as a tree is known by its fruits, the question would have been difficult of solution; but the word ‘practically,’ challenges a direct comparison of the entire Jewish population with the entire Christian population, (i. e. all the inhabitants of the country who are not Jews,) in regard to intelligence, manners, morals, <<520>>and piety. Behold your practical infidelity! Do the Jews furnish one-half their proportion of the criminal calendar? do they claim one-quarter of their share of the public charities? Did you ever hear of a single instance of Jewish prostitution? Do you believe that one-tenth as large a proportion of the Christians (i. e. people who are not Jews) in this money-getting nation, would, for one-sixth of the week close all their places of business, and desist from all their usual occupations, in obedience simply to a religious obligation? If so, point out the acts of faith which entitle the Christians to comparison with the Jews in this respect. It is all false—scandalously false. The Jews search the Scriptures more, even the New Testament of our Lord; they are more earnest in prayer; they are more constant in the recognition of the Divine Mercy; as a body, they abound far more in the fruits of the spirit, than the American Christians. I am very sorry to think so. But my acquaintance with ‘the Jews in this country’ is extensive and intimate, and this conviction has increased with the careful and unrestricted observation of many years.

“Gentlemen, your Society for Meliorating the Condition of the Jews should be disbanded. The maintenance of its officers is not a sufficient incentive to its support. Compare the results of its labours with the results of other Christian and philanthropic efforts, and you will find that they bear to them and to the means by which they are produced, a melancholy disproportion. This is not the way to convert the Jews. Something may be done to enlighten and convert them in Mohammedan and Pagan countries, by such an association; something may be done for their conversion, by relieving them from the civil disabilities under which they exist in almost every country but our own. Here, you can do little but by cultivating a good Christian literature; by applying more and more the doctrines of the Gospel to social questions, by making the light of Christianity so much brighter and more cheerful than that of Judaism, that they may see it and walk in it. Upon this subject I could say more, but I have occupied already more than the editor could well spare at such a time; and I but repeat, disband your Society, and ask the people to support such enterprises as produce some fruits that they can see.


(From the Jewish Chronicle.)

Ludwig and Philo-Israel

Two days after the anniversary, a very rancorous attack was made on the Society in the New York Tribune. A correspondent of that paper, after “introducing himself to the Rev. Drs. Dowling, Tyng, <<521>>M’Laren, &c., as a Christian Minister,” proceeded to take those gentlemen to task for something said at the meeting, and to denounce the name, motives, &c., of the association. A friend of the cause thought it worth while to prepare the following “Answer to Ludwig,” which we extract from the journal above named:—

“To the Editor of The Tribune:

“Leaving out the ‘indignation,’ permit me to say, that, in common with multitudes of your readers, I have read with ‘surprise and profound regret’ the fierce attack of your correspondent ‘Ludwig’ upon this excellent institution, in his letter addressed to Rev. Drs. Tyng, Dowling, &c., in The Tribune of to-day; and that more especially after the interesting, accurate, and able Report of the Anniversary, from your accomplished reporter, in the paper of the previous day.

“I presume, Mr. Editor, that more than one solitary individual could be found, of those who have attended the Anniversaries of the present week, that could say of every one of the noble institutions whose claims have been advocated with so much eloquence in this city, what your correspondent says of this: ‘I heard with surprise, indignation, and profound astonishment, the speeches delivered,’ &c. Opposers and objectors may be found to every good cause on earth. I have reason to know, however, that 99-hundredths of those present on that occasion formed a far different conclusion, and that they were equally edified and delighted with the eloquent addresses delivered; and certainly the readers of The Tribune have too much good sense to consider the anonymous opinion of one person, however earnestly expressed, to weigh to the prejudice of the Society, against the deliberately-formed opinions of such men as Rev. Dr. Tyng and the other speakers at the Anniversary—or of such men as Rev. —,* the celebrated converted Jewish Missionary of London, one of the Vice-Presidents; or Rev. —, the amiable, pious, and learned Jewish Missionary of the Society to his brethren in this city—or of such men as Rev. Drs. Milledoler, (the venerable President,) De Witt, Sprague, Krebs, Skinner, Cheever, Cone, Williams, Dowling, Durbin, Alexander, and others of the most eminent of the American clergy, who are members of its board of officers.

* As we are not willing to mention by name apostates from our faith, we leave their names blank, as their existence can be of no possible service to themselves or the world.—Ed. Oc.

 “Had ‘Ludwig’—instead of, like certain persons referred to by the Apostle Jude, ‘speaking evil of things which they know not’—seen fit <<522>>to examine the publications of this Society, he would have learned that the grand object of this excellent Society is the conversion of the Jews, ‘beloved for the fathers’ sakes,’ to the gospel of Christ, (though some who call themselves ‘Christian ministers’ might perhaps be found, who would deny such conversion to be an amelioration of their condition,) and that, for years past, the instances of success in this work have been numerous and encouraging; had he perused from month to month, in the pages of the ‘Jewish Chronicle,’ the interesting journals of Rev. —, who is a relative of his great namesake, — the historian,* also a converted Jew—had he perused these journals, he would have discovered that this Society has as much claim to be reckoned among those which produce ‘fruits which can be seen,’ as the Home Mission, the City Tract Society, or any other which aims at the conversion of souls.”

* Here Philo-Israel has been misinformed. It is the custom for European Jews, on becoming new men in Christ Jesus, to assume at their baptism new names, having reference, as in the above instances, to that fact.

(To be continued.)