Laurence Oliphant.

The land of Gilead, with excursions in the Lebanon; online

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workers earnest and ennobling labour. Laborare et orare.

^ If the writer means by this that I have no religious belief, he labours under
a mistake.

2 L


{From the ^Jewish Chronicle^ June ii, 1880.)

Although Mr Laurence Oliphant has returned from
Constantinople without having obtained the signature of
the Sultan to the irad^ authorising the formation of a com-
pany for the purpose of colonising the fertile and unoccu-
pied lands to the east of the Jordan with Jews, he by no
means despairs of ultimate success. The present politi-
cal situation at Constantinople is altogether exceptional,
and it is quite impossible that it can last. The opposition
to all reform and to all foreign influence calculated to
ameliorate the present desperate condition of the Turkish
empire, emanates from the Sultan and from the fanatical
clique by whom he is surrounded at the Palace, and is
directed, not against Mr Oliphant's scheme alone, but
against every project which has been suggested during the
past year either by foreign Governments or individuals, no
matter how politically or pecuniarily advantageous they may
have been. This attitude of fixed resistance to foreign
influence, applied as it has been to the Treaty obligations
of Turkey, has placed the English Government as well
as the Governments of other European Powers under the
necessity of adopting a course of action which must sooner
or later break down the Palace obstructiveness, and restore
to power the Turkish statesmen who are willing and able
to adopt a liberal and enlightened policy. Mr Oliphant
received the most positive assurances from the Minister
of Foreign Afiairs that his scheme had been unanimously
approved even by the existing Cabinet, and that the
Sultan's suspicions of all foreign proposals alone prevented
it from being finally adopted, although in an interview
which he had with his Majesty the Sultan denied this.
Wherever the truth may be, there can be no doubt that
the men who are destined to come back to power as soon


as the Sultan's obstinacy is overcome, are strongly com-
mitted to it. Among these may be mentioned the three
former Grand Viziers, Khaireddin Pasha, Midhat Pasha,
and Mahmoud Nedim Pasha, all of whom have expressed
their approval in the most unequivocal terms, of a project
which, in fact, one of them assisted Mr Oliphant to elabo-
rate. Prudence suggests, therefore, that for the moment
nothing should be done until a change occurs at Constan-
tinople, and this we trust Mr Goschen, in concert with
the ambassadors of one or more European Powers, may
speedily effect. Meantime we would strongly deprecate an
agitation which has been recently set on foot in London
to take some action in the matter, and which seems rather
to have its origin in an unreasoning outburst of religious
zeal on the part of those who desire to forward their
peculiar theological crotchets, than in any knowledge of
facts or appreciation of the existing political or financial
conditions in the Turkish empire. Mr Oliphant's proposal
has been recognised in Turkey by those conversant with
the position of the Jews in the East, and the local cir-
cumstances generally, as a sound and practical scheme con-
taining all the elements of success. It has been drawn up
at Constantinople with the assistance both of Jews and
Turks filling official positions, and it is not likely that the
crude imaginings of a clique of religious fanatics in London
would produce anything more likely to be acceptable to
the Turkish Government,



The Colonisation of Palestine.

{To the Editor of the 'Jewish Chronicle,')

Sir, I have been much interested by a letter which ap-
peared in a recent number of the 'Jewish Chronicle/ ad-
dressed to you from Bucharest by a society formed there
for the colonisation of the Holy Land, and signed on behalf
of lOO families by Abraham Weinfeld, the President, and
four members. From this it would appear that the sum of
;^i6oo has already been raised there, and that it is estimated
that a further amount of from ;^8oo to ^looo is required
to enable the emigrants to meet the first expenses of pur-
chasing the land and founding the colony. This sum they
appeal to the Board of the Montefiore Testimonial Fund
Committee to supply.

I am not in a position to know what may be the views of
the Board upon the subject, but in case there should be any
difficulty in providing funds from this source, I feel con-
vinced that a much larger sum than that applied for by
the Roumanian Association, could be easily raised in Eng-
land from extraneous sources ; and that, if the Association
are merely prevented by lack of funds from forming a
scheme of emigration on a much larger scale, there would
be no difficulty in finding the necessary capital in this
country. In order, however, to satisfy themselves upon
this point, as well as to make the necessary arrangements,
it would be desirable for them to send a deputation of one
or more members of their body to London, properly author-
ised to make such arrangements.

The Roumanian Association are probably not aware that


by the Ottoman Colonisation Law they are entitled to take
up and cultivate any amount of unoccupied land they may
desire without purchase, on condition of becoming Turkish
subjects; and that there are in the Caimakamliks of Tiberias
and Jenin about 200,000 acres of most eligible land for this

Having just returned from a careful examination of the
capabilities of the Holy Land for colonisation, and having
subsequently obtained all the information bearing upon the
subject at Constantinople, I may perhaps be able to offer
the Roumanian Association some assistance or advice which
may be of use to them. Should you be in communication
with them, I would esteem it a favour if you will inform
them that it will give me great pleasure to forward their
views by any means in my power. Yours obediently,

Laurence Oliphant.

Athen/eum Club, loth September 1880.

Palestine and Roumania.

{To the Editor of the 'Jewish Chronicle!)

Sir, We are duly in receipt of your journal of the 24th
of September, containing the kind letter of your correspon-
dent, Mr Oliphant, in answer to our communication inserted
in your columns. Your paper came to hand on the 26th
Tishri (ist October). We will not describe in detail the
enthusiastic joy which the cheering and precious words of
your correspondent caused us words full of confidence and
hope, and breathing the deepest sentiments of patriotism.
On the holy Sabbath n''t/'N~i2 the Sabbath on which we begin
to recite anew the words of the living God from His holy
and pure law ; in which we read the common origin of the


whole world, and the history of Israel in particular the
people that went forth from bondage to freedom, and to
whom God gave the Holy Land as a good and fruitful pos-
session, in order that the descendants of Abraham and the
followers of Moses the man of God might dwell therein,
each under his vine and under his fig-tree, eating of its fruit
in purity, and enjoying its goodness with thoughts of holi-
ness, on that sacred day, we, the members of the Society
for the Colonisation of the Holy Land, all assembled at
the Beth Hamedrash of the late pious Rabbi Meir Lebus
Malbin, of blessed memory, for divine service. The Presi-
dent of the Society was called to the law and pronounced
a blessing on your esteemed correspondent and on you, the
honoured editor of the ' Jewish Chronicle,' for your earnest
endeavours to benefit your distressed brethren who are long-
ing to earn their bread in the cultivation of the sacred soil
of Palestine. The whole assembled congregation raised
their voices on high, invoking, as a blessing, that we might
all have the merit of uttering a threefold blessing on you
in the coming year, in the house of God to be raised in
our new colony. Then will the plougher meet the reaper,
and the husbandman and his yoke of oxen will together
cry Hed ! May this be the will of God ! Amen.

And now that we have poured forth the powerful senti-
ments we feel towards you and Mr Oliphant, we will return
to the subject of our petition. We have already described
the terrible position which the Jews occupy in Roumania,
and how every day adds its curse to those that preceded it.
The recent and cruel order issued by the Government to
expel certain Jewish traders from the villages, has spread
fearful destitution among thousands of families, who have
till now earned their livelihood by honest labour, and in
places where these our brethren were always ready to


stretch out a helping hand to the oppressed and needy.
Now, alas ! they are fleeing for bread, the wrinkles gathering
on their brows, and their children's faces betraying signs of
misery, and none of them know^s whither he shall turn.
The cry of distress has reached the borders of Roumania,
and the prayer of the flock of Jacob has ascended to
heaven. We are informed of the consternation that has
followed close on the heels of their cruel edict, in No. 36
of the ' Fraternetate ' (a paper published in the Roumanian
language by our esteemed and learned co-religionists). And
if our generous brethren in Great Britain do not extend
to us a helping hand, the Jews of Britain, who are distin-
guished by the intensity of their love of patriotism the Brit-
ish Jews, who excel all our other brethren of the Captivity
in their reverence for the memory of ancient days, if these
do not turn to our appeal in the time of distress, then
indeed may the Roumanian Jews prepare for utter destruc-
tion. We have already described our scheme in detail, and
have declared that we have no desire to accept a gift from
any man, but we seek help in the shape of a loan, to be repaid
in a specified number of years. The creditors will hold the
colony, which they are to found, on mortgage.

We see from your correspondent's letter that our words
have, with God's help, met with a warm reception among
our brethren the Jews of England. He assures us that
there will be no difficulty in providing the funds needed for
our project, but explains that we should send representa-
tives to London to confer on the various details and pre-
parations which require deliberation. Though the sending
of a deputation would at the present time entail consider-
able outlay, yet we will not consider that, but are willing to
exhaust our last resources in providing the necessary funds
for the expenses of the deputies, in addition to the four


hundred francs which each of us has promised to contribute.
We are prepared to do our part in the matter as soon as
we receive from you the inteUigence that the negotiations
are begun, and that steps are taken to hasten our deHver-
ance. We trust to be able, within a month's time, to send
our deputies to England ; and we entertain the hope that
we shall be able to prevail on our excellent friend, Mr
Eliezer Rokeach, to proceed to London. He is already-
well known for his intense love for his people, and for his
voluntary undertaking to visit foreign lands for the purpose
of obtaining for the poor Jews of Palestine encouragement
from their benevolent co-religionists in their schemes for the
cultivation of the ground. And it is to him that we owe
the first impulse to the project which we have now actively

We venture once more to call your particular attention
to the fact that, if our generous brethren in London are dis-
posed to lend us their valuable aid, it would be an easy
matter to obtain a lease from the Turkish Government for
any number of year.s, and that we should without difficulty
be able to pay off the loan in ten years. Many other
cherished designs, which we have in contemplation, are
bound up with this scheme, for the execution of which we
are in need of necessary funds, but we cannot enumerate
them in a letter. We feel sure that our representative will
lay our proposals before you in detail, and that thereupon
the wisest and most prudent measures will be determined on.

We have a strong hope, also, that the Montefiore Com-
mittee will entertain our proposal, and that the Board of
Deputies will not hold aloof from a scheme which has such
great advantages to recommend it. The British Jews will,
we are confident, set an example in being the first to raise
the foundation-stone of our national reunion.


We feel bound once more to express our profound grati-
tude to your esteemed correspondent for his generous en-
couragement, and not less to you for lending us the aid of
your journal, and instilling into the minds of English Jews
sentiments of sympathy for their deeply oppressed brethren.
May the great God of Israel reward each according to his
merits, and may the works of those who strive for Israel's
restoration be never forgotten ! Acccept, sir, our fervent
and devoted thanks for your disinterested kindness. We
remain, sir, your most obedient servants,

The Committee of the Society for the
Colonisation of Palestine.

Bucharest, T,d October 1880.

( To the Editor of the ' Jewish Chronicle')

Sir, I have read in your valuable journal of the 24th
September a letter from Mr Laurence Oliphant, in which
he promises us aid from London for the colonisation of the
Holy Land. I thank you for your assistance in the holy
cause, and at the same time thank Mr Oliphant for the
enthusiastic proposal which he has published for our benefit.
But to avoid any misunderstanding, we wish it clearly and
distinctly to be understood that, on account of Roumanian
persecution, many Jewish families have been deprived of
their daily bread, and that, in consequence, an association
of one hundred families has been formed, which wishes to
emigrate in a body. The means of each member amount
to 400 francs, and the total sum on which we can reckon is
therefore 40,000 francs. Our wish, then, is, that either the
Montefiore Testimonial Committee, or some generous Jews
in London who have the means at their disposal, will help


us with as much money as we require for purposes of
colonisation. This money is not to be regarded as a gift
but as a loan, which we would repay in a few years. In
the earnest hope that your esteemed correspondent, Mr
Oliphant, will honour us with an early and full answer,
I beg to subscribe myself yours obediently,

The President of the Committee for the
Colonisation of the Holy Land.

Bucharest, loih October 1880.




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Online LibraryLaurence OliphantThe land of Gilead, with excursions in the Lebanon; → online text (page 34 of 35)