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Surely the words of those whose relatives and friends died are worth listening to? It is S. R. Gardiner's most serious omission, in that he deliberately ignored this petition in his account of the sack of Drogheda; though his notes prove that he was aware of it and of its assertion that 'man, woman, and child, to a very few,' were put to the sword in Wexford also.
To discuss the law of war in such a case is to divert attention from the real issues; since to kill unarmed men, women, and children brands Cromwell as a savage, outside the pale of decent human beings.
If the customary law of war at the time sanctioned the putting to the sword of the garrison of a fortified place carried by storm (the reason for this being the great loss which the attacking forces inevitably sustained), the exercise of such a power was rare. Drogheda was very strongly fortified, and its Governor, Sir Arthur Aston, was an engineer of European reputation. Its garrison was the 'flower' of Ormonde's army, 'the strongest, desperatest men in all Ireland.' Yet Cromwell wrote: I do not think we lost 100 men upon the place, though many be wounded'; and, as will have been noted, Hugh Peters put the loss at sixty-four only. How can so small a loss be accounted for without wholesale surrender upon quarter,' as so many witnesses assert?
So small a loss implies the fact that, as Dillingham at once asserted, the garrison were killed 'not resisting.' As the writer in the Perfect Diurnall of the 8th of October stated of the 250 men in the mill mount (whose commander, Verney, was not killed for three days), they were first 'disarmed and afterwards all slain,' we are left without any other alternative but the hideous conclusion that the whole garrison must first of all have had their arms taken away from them before they were slaughtered. What more fearful picture can the mind conceive than that of Cromwell's horse riding down a mob of over 2000 unarmed men fleeing down the slopes to that narrow bridge across the Boyne? Does history record any parallel instance?
Finally, the date of the 11th of September, stated by Cromwell and one or two journalists to have been that upon which Drogheda fell, can be reconciled with the date of the 12th of September given by Frost if we bear in mind the time that would have been necessary in order to disarm the garrison. Proved guilty of falsehood in material particulars, Cromwell is not entitled to be believed when he asserts that he put to the sword 'that night' about 2000 men. He says that he made his first of this hostile witness disposes of the usual supposition that the soldiers originally fell upon harmless townsmen.' It is difficult adequately to characterise such an assertion when supported by such a method of quotation.
attempt at storming the place about five in the evening (one journalist asserts about six '). To suppose that he put the garrison to the sword in the darkness would not be reasonable, having regard to the small number that escaped. The night must have been passed in inducing the men to lay down their arms, in placing these out of their owners' reach, and in quietly making preparations for a cruel and cold-blooded massacre on the next day, the 12th. If so, Frost was right, and 'Wednesday, September the twelfth,' should go down to posterity as the true date of the fall of Drogheda, and not Tuesday the eleventh.
Long before the year 1649 those of Cromwell's own side repeatedly accused him of perfidy. He was, therefore, but doing what he had done before in trying to conceal the truth about Drogheda. The great puritan, Baxter's, words in praise of Cromwell have often been quoted in modern times, but no one has ever cited the phrase with which Baxter qualified all that he said of Cromwell:
He thought Secrecy a virtue and Dissimulation no vice, and Simulation, that is, in plain English, a Lie, or Perfidiousness, to be a tolerable fault in case of necessity.
J. B. WILLIAMS.
THE PASSING OF THE ENGLISH JEW
THE Jewish community in Britain is not to-day what it was when Dr. Adler became Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogues and head of the Beth Din. Reform, so-called, that is an attempt to bring the ancient religion into harmony with the habits and customs of the English life of to-day, has broken out, and founded synagogues of its own in London, Manchester, and Bradford; and there has been a continual immigration of foreign Jews to whom the British Jews appear strangely unorthodox. The position of the Jewish colony in Britain to-day is, therefore, of peculiar interest, and it would be difficult to find a more suitable moment wherein to attempt a survey of the situation.
It may be said that the social history of the English Jew began in July 1858, when the Royal Assent was given to a Bill to enable persons professing the Hebrew faith to sit in Parliament. Nevertheless, during the preceding quarter of a century many of the civil disabilities under which the race laboured had been, one by one, removed. A Jew was for the first time called to the bar in 1833; two years later a Jew was elected Sheriff of London, when a special Act of Parliament was passed to permit him to perform the duties of that office; then, in the year of the accession of Queen Victoria, another Jew became Sheriff, and in due course received the honour of knighthood. Four years later a Jew was created baronet. Parliament, however, was not yet open to members of the religious community. In 1849 Lionel de Rothschild, a baron of the Austrian Empire, stood against Lord John Manners for the parliamentary representation of the City of London, and was elected by a great majority; and in 1851 Alderman Salomons was returned for Greenwich. There is no need to dwell upon the well-known fact that neither of these gentlemen was allowed to take his seat because he could not subscribe to the Christian oath, nor that the Jewish Oath Bill, first introduced in 1851, did not become law until seven years later. Nowadays, happily, there are practically no restrictions, and a Jew may fill almost any office in the State. He cannot, indeed, become Primate; but as Prime Minister he can, if he lives long enough, appoint the entire bench of Bishops.
The study of the position of the Jews in England is most interesting. In this article, retrospection must be kept strictly within bounds, and therefore, it is not possible here to go back to the days when, as that eminent Jewish novelist, Israel Zangwill, has put it, Lord George Gordon became a Jew, and was suspected of insanity; when, out of respect for the prophecies, England denied her Jews every civic right except that of paying taxes; when the Gentleman's Magazine had ill words for the infidel alien; when Jewish marriages were invalid and bequests for Hebrew colleges void; when a prophet prophesying Primrose Day would have been set in the stocks, though Pitt inclined his private ear to Benjamin Goldsmid's views of the foreign loans.' 'It is sufficient for our purpose to go back no further than the early Victorian era, and see the place the Jew held in the estimation of his neighbours. This, perhaps, is most clearly defined in the writings of the best of the contemporary novelists, who admittedly held up the mirror in which the society of this day is reflected.
In Dickens and Thackeray Jews flit across their pages, but only in such unimportant and contemptible rôles as bailiffs, moneylenders, fences,' scoundrels all, the scum of the portrait gallery of fiction. In the eyes of these writers the grand traditions of the ancient race counted as naught when they took a pen in their hand; and it is eminently characteristic of the spirit of the period that Charles Kingsley could create that fine Jew Raphael, and then, as a concession to his readers, who in 1853 would not have relished a Jewish hero, convert him to Christianity. Raphael's conversion to Christianity is an inartistic blot on a fine book; it does not ring true, for in the case of such a man it is inconceivable that he should have forsworn his God. In its every page the history of Judaism shows that its votaries did not, for the love of money, for the love of woman, for any cause whatsoever, abandon their faith. It must be admitted, however, that Kingsley made some amends in his portrait of Miriam, the pander and slave-dealer. Vile as she is, the lust for money and power is for the child of her shame; betrayed in her youth, in later years all her toil, lies, intrigues, meannesses, miserliness, were for him she had brought into the world. Her dying outburst is poetry itself:
Of the house of Jesse, of the seed of Solomon, not a rabbi from Babylon to Rome dare deny that. A King's daughter am I, and King's heart I had, and have, like Solomon's own, my son.
Yet the critical readers of Hypatia cannot quite lull the suspicion that Miriam is allowed to die in the faith of her fathers only because she is portrayed with so many detestable qualities. Kingsley could not insult the public by converting to Christianity a character so vile. Until Disraeli's day Jews, almost without exception, had been contemptuously and vindictively presented in
the imaginative literature of this country. It remained for him to alter this. Everywhere he sang the praises of his race.
At this moment [he puts the words into the mouth of his favourite Sidonia], in spite of centuries, of tens of centuries of degradation, the Jewish mind exercises a vast influence in the affairs of Europe. I speak not of their laws, which you still obey; of their literature, with which your mind is saturated; but of the living Hebrew intellect.
It is not for the present writer, who is proud to declare himself a member of the Jewish nation, unduly to emphasise this statement.
Disraeli's treatment of his compatriots was visionary; and it is not until the period is reached when Amy Levy and Israel Zangwill wrote their novels that a true picture of the English Jews was forthcoming. Miss Levy, like Disraeli, was an idealist, but while the result of this quality upon the man was to drive him to superlatives of praise, upon the woman, who was shocked to find many and grievous faults in the individual members of her race, the effects of disillusionment brought about an undue emphasis of the darker side of the picture. So it came about that in Miss Levy's remarkable novel, Reuben Sachs, she presents a study that is painfully true, that is to say, true so far as it goes, for all the truth is not in it. It was left for Mr. Zangwill, with his wider vision, to show the Jew in all his weakness and all his strength, and it is mainly upon his books that the social historian of the future must depend for his impressions of Jewish life in England at the end, as at the beginning, of the nineteenth century.
The nineteenth century was the period of transition for the English Jew. Then the members of that nation formed, so to speak, a close borough; debarred, partly by their own desire, partly from habit, and not a little by the will of their neighbours, from having active interests in common with the rest of the community. It was no longer compulsory for the Jews to herd together, a self-contained isolated colony; but, notwithstanding, they continued to mix only with their compatriots. The more enterprising migrated from the East End, where the main body was domiciled, and founded settlements in different parts of London, first at Highbury and Dalston, later at Maida Vale and Bayswater, the more affluent subsequently moving to Kensington and Mayfair. Yet, until comparatively recently, in these places, as earlier in the East End, they continued to live in isolation. They did not mix freely with their Christian neighbours, who certainly were not at all anxious to make their acquaintance. Indeed, the disinclination was mutual. The middle-class Jews accredited Christians with a different and a lower code of morality than that which they prided themselves upon possessing, and
VOL. LXXII-No. 427