Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

the dark and baser passions of our nature prompted much of his policy. Elated with the conquest of Granada, which was completed in January, 1492, he yielded to the instigations of the inquisitors, and resolved that the soil of Spain should no longer be polluted by the tread of the Israelites. It was in vain that they pleaded their services to the State, their attachment to the homes of their fathers, their talents and learning, their peaceful lives and thrifty habits. Under the specious mask of religion, Ferdinand sought to possess himself of their wealth. He had already, through the medium of the Inquisition, extracted from them large sums, and the diabolical tribunal he wielded, was now employed in a more sweeping confiscation. An edict was issued under date of March 30th, 1492, ordering all Jews and Jewesses, of whatever age they may be,' to quit the kingdom by the end of the following July, under penalty of death, and confiscation of all their property. It is needless to dwell on the atrocity of such a measure. It fell like a thunderbolt on the Israelites, and is now condemned by the universal judgment of mankind :

The tempting offer of 600,000 crowns made by Abarbanel, caused the cold-hearted, calculating Ferdinand to hesitate about revoking the cruel decree, when Torquemada rushed into the royal presence, with a crucifix in his hand. Casting it on the table, the proud Dominican said, • Behold him whom Judas sold for thirty pieces of silver ; do you sell him for more ?'_The churchman succeeded ;—the decree was not repealed. This unmerciful persecutor of the Hebrew people rendered their fate worse, by forbidding Christians to supply them with food, or the necessaries of life; or to receive, or even to hold communication with them after the month of April ; thus usurping and superseding the royal authority, which had guaranteed them security from the date of the edict until the end of July. Yet the Catholic sovereigns winked at the daring insolence of the monk in assuming an authority over the regal power ; but Torquemada was the creature of Ferdinand. In Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia, (where they were exceedingly wealthy), the inquisitor ordered that the property of the Jewries and individuals should be sequestrated, to pay any mortgages the king, the church, and monasteries might hold, and that twice the amount of the principal should be retained to defray expenses; and that a further sum should be taken to indemnify the land-proprietors and monasteries, for the loss they would sustain by their involuntary departure.'--p. 281.

Wherever the evil decree was proclaimed, or the report of it had spread,' says one of the emigrants, our nation bewailed their condition with great lamentations; for there had not been such a banishment since Judah had been driven from his land. * * * In one day, on foot, and unarmed, three hundred thousand collected from every province, young and old, aged

and infirm, women and children, all ready to go anywhere. Among the number was I, and, with God for our leader, we set out. Another contemporary and eye-witness gives the follow. ing harrowing account:

Within the term fixed by the edict, the Jews sold and disposed of their property for a mere nothing; they went about begging Christians to buy, but found no surchasers; fine houses and estates were sold for trifles; a house was exchanged for an ass; and a vineyard given for a little cloth or linen. Although prohibited carrying away gold and silver, they secretly took large quantities in their saddles, and in the halters and harness of their loaded beasts. Some swallowed as many as thirty ducats to avoid the rigorous search made at the frontier towns and sea-ports, by the officers appointed for the purpose. The rich Jews defrayed the expenses of the departure of the poor, practising towards each other the greatest charity, so that except very few of the most necessitous, they would not become converts. In the first week of July they took the route for quitting their native land, great and small, old and young ; on foot, on horses, asses, and in carts; each continuing his journey to his destined port. They experienced great trouble and suffered indescribable misfortunes on the roads and country they travelled ; some falling, others rising ; some dying, others coming into the world; some fainting, others being attacked with illness; that there was not a Christian but what felt for them, and persuaded them to be baptised. Some from misery were converted; but they were very few. The rabbins encouraged them, and made the young people and women sing, and play on pipes and tabors to enliven them, and keep up their spirits.'— p. 285.

It is impossible to imagine the sufferings which were involved in this forcible expatriation. Vast numbers were fortunate enough to enter Portugal, where for a time, they found shelter, but the majority were scattered far and wide over the continents of Europe and Africa. "Some sold their children to procure bread, others expired in the midst of theirs, who were also dying from hunger; some few, in despair, returned to Spain, and were baptized.'

On board one vessel full of emigrants,' says our author, “a pestilential disease broke out; the captain landed all on a desert island, where they wandered about in quest of assistance. A mother carrying two infants, walking with her husband, expired on the road ; the father, overcome with fatigue, fell fainting near his two children; on awakening he found them dead from hunger. He covered them with sand: • My God,' exclaimed he, ‘my misfortunes seem to induce me to abandon thy law; but I am a Jew, and will ever remain so.'

Another captain deprived them of their clothes, and landed them naked on a barren coast, where they found a spring of water. At night, climbing some rocks in search of human habitations, a number were devoured by wild beasts. After being there for five days, the captain of

a passing ship perceived naked people on the shore; he took them on board, clothed them with old sails, gave them food, and conveyed them to Genoa. Seeing their miserable condition, the inhabitants inquired if he had slaves for sale ? He nobly answered, “No!' and delivered them to their brethren in the city, on payment of reasonable expenses. They gladly made him an additional present, and loaded him with their blessings. One wretch is said to have violated a Jewish maiden in her parents' presence : after quitting her, he returned and cut her throat, for fear, as he said, she should have conceived, and should bring forth a Jew.

The miseries suffered by those who went to Morocco are equally appalling. The Moors plundered them of almost everything they had. Hearing that many men and women had swallowed gold to bring away, they murdered a number, and then ripped them open to search for it.

* At Sallee, the crew of a large vessel enticed a number of children on buard, with promises of giving them bread, and then set sail, while their frantic mothers implored them from the beach to restore them their only treasure.

Nine crowded vessels, infected with disease, arising from the hardships and privations of the voyage, arrived at Naples. The pestilence was communicated to the city, and 20,000 of its inhabitants fell victims to it.

• Others repaired to Genoa, where a famine prevailed. They were permitted to land, but were met by priests carrying a crucifix in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other : thus intimating, that by receiving baptism they should have food.

*This is but a brief account of the horrors and atrocities suffered by the unfortunate descendants of Judah on quitting, by the cruel mandate of Ferdinand and Isabella, a country to which, notwithstanding the persecutions they had occasionally experienced from the populace instigated by fanatic monks, they were sincerely and devotedly attached.'— pp. 289-291.

The Italians received them hospitably, and strange to say, the Pope, Alexander VI., afforded them an asylum in his dominions, and wrote to all the Italian States 'to grant the exiles from Spain and Portugal the same privileges as resident Jews enjoyed.

The edict of Ferdinand was suicidal, like all the measures which a brutal and besotted superstition prompts. It gave an appearance of unity to the religious faith of Spain, but it was an appearance only, and that was dearly purchased by the exhaustion of the nation, and the premature development of its political and social decay. The present condition of the Peninsula is an instructive warning against the policy its rulers have pursued. Let our own country shun the example, and hasten to complete the work of tardy justice to an ill-used and calumniated people.

We need not follow the subsequent history of Mr. Lindo. Its general outline is known, and those who desire more minute information, will find what they require by consulting his pages.

Art. IV.- Our Scottish Clergy; Fifty-two Sketches, Biographical,

Theological and Critical, including Clergymen of all Denominations.

Edited by John Smith, A M. Edinburgh : Oliver and Boyd. 1848. THERE is always a keen appetite for sketches of the remarkable of any kind and books which have professed to gratify it, have been eagerly read, even though they laid claim to no higher merit than being random recollections. We fear that we must come to the mortifying conclusion, that it was the very fact of their being mere random jottings, that made such volumes popular. The craving to which they are addressed, is usually a love of gossip. People want to know, not the man,—but, as they say, with more truth than they perceive, something about him, and if a writer will only describe little personal peculiarities of dress and appearance, he may always rely on finding readers. No doubt such descriptions help us in completing our idea of men, but when they are made the chief points in a sketch, we instinctively feel that an audience of tailors would be the only fitting one, for a writer whose talk is of garments. We are glad to know that Goldsmith rejoiced in a peach blossomed coat, and thank a Pepys or a Boswell, for their preservation of such particulars, but we cannot be expected to extend our gratitude to gentlemen, whose entire volumes are mere records of mien and manners.

We took up this volume with some fear that it was another of this trashy kind—but we have been most agreeably disappointed. The writers—for it is the work of more than one author-have

souls above buttons,' and while they do not omit the personal appearance of the subjects of their sketches, they keep it in its right place, and devote their attention to the mental peculiari. ties. The variety of authorship is plainly enough seen in the unequal merit of different articles, but in all there is an attempt —and usually a very successful one—at a fair discriminating estimate of character. Indeed, in this particular, it is an advantage that there is more than one mind at work, for we should scarcely expect from a single individual, the extensive

whair idea oferte difficult, candour, and sermon; "thutes spent bier

sympathy with mental excellence of all casts, requisite for the hearty genial appreciation of the merits of fifty or sixty different preachers. The plan adopted, has secured this, that whatever is worthy of praise is noted, but it has also entailed the evil that the various critics sometimes come into collision with each other —from their different ideals of pulpit excellence. Thus we find, more than once, a gentleman praised on one page for the very peculiarity which, on the next, forms the subject of an indirect censure. There is no one standard to which all are referred, the effect is, a fluctuation in the decisions of the book as a whole. With this slight abatement, however, the idea of the work is a good one, and well carried out. The general plan of each sketch, is to give a brief picture of the actual ministrations of the clergyman selected, on a certain Sabbath-day, and then to furnish an estimate of the man, and a condensed biography. The former part of each sketch embraces, of course, minute details of the whole service, even down to the number of verses that were sung, and the number of minutes spent in prayer, as well as an abstract of the sermon; the latter part is usually done with care, candour, and acuteness.

There is some difficulty in finding extracts that will convey a fair idea of the volume, from the diversity of authorship which we have noticed, as well as from the fact that a majority of the names in the Index are unknown on this side of the Tweed. There are, however, several of 'Our Scottish Clergy' who are loved and honoured beyond the bounds of their own land. At the head of these, facile princeps, the acknowledged leader of Scottish dissent, we place Ralph Wardlaw, from the sketch of whose character we make our first selection.

*Among the causes of his pre-eminence, we may notice what we may designate the completeness and elegance of his mind... There are men that possess some one faculty in a higher degree, but few possess the whole in such harmony. Symmetry, not strength; health, not ro. bustness; beauty, not sublimity, characterize his mind. Modesty and shrinking sensitiveness govern his proceedings. He makes no adventurous voyages, no Alpine journeys in quest of materials for thought. The dangers of the distant, the gloom of the profound, and the risk of the daring, he never ventures upon; and he has never raised the eupaka-I have foundfor he never went in quest of the marvellous. His mind is not creative, but assimilative. Send it in quest of materials, and its very fastidiousness would send it back empty a thousand times; but give it those that have occupied the attention of men of note, and its experiments are most successful. . . . His mind cannot move, unless it can move with certainty. He is no smatterer, and no pretender, —what he knows, he knows thoroughly. This peculiarity runs through the extent of his knowledge. He never guesses at the meaning of a word in his own, or in any other language ; before he uses it, he must know

« НазадПродовжити »