Antebellum: Joyful Times Before the Storm

– 15 May 2017 –

Barzillai “19th Century” Bozarth:

So often the memories of times before a great calamity are colored and distorted by romanticism and nostalgia. It is easy for one to remember golden years filled with prosperity and happiness, all the more heavenly in contrast to the horrors and deprivations that followed.

Yet, in cases where a nation was destroyed, its society uprooted and forcibly transformed, the years preceding such revolutionary changes unquestionably experienced more prosperity and stability and innocence than the bleak years that followed. This was true in the French and Russian revolutions, and it was true for the South in the American Civil War. The following letter demonstrates this fact.

In this letter, written sometime between the years 1850 and 1856, an unknown woman using the pseudonym “Kate Cunnyngham” describes her light-hearted experiences at a fox hunt in rural Tennessee. Several of her letters, which detailed her travels throughout the antebellum South, were compiled in the book The Sunny South, or The Southerner at Home: Embracing Five Years Experience of a Northern Governess in the Land of the Sugar and the Cotton, published in 1860.

Mr. —

Have you ever been fox hunting? If you have, you have seen very respectable, rough and tumble enjoyment ; if yon have not, there are yet before you certain experiences.

I have already spoken of the fine, broadly spread landscape, visible from the portico of Overton Park Lodge. In the late autumnal months when the crops are well gathered, and there is nothing to trample down in the fields, this wide landscape is converted into a vast fox hunting ground, full eleven miles across. By concert the neighboring planters open their fences with many a gap across the country, and so a clear ride of ten or twelve miles is left free to the adventurous huntsman or huntswoman.

Two evenings ago as I was about to mount my beautiful dapple mule, (don’t laugh at my mule, for it is the dearest little fellow with ears like velvet, and feet and fetlocks like an antelope’s, a special gift to me for its beauty and gentleness, from Colonel Peyton,) to pace down the avenue to the turnpike, I was surprised to see suddenly appear in sight a party of seven young gentlemen. They were riding at top speed, and in great glee, and all came dashing up toward the villa at that rapid rate the Tennesseean loves to ride.

“Ah, my boys,” cried the colonel, “who was about to ride out with me, removing his foot from the stirrup, while I hesitated whether to remain on the flight of steps or fly from such a battalion. “Don’t go, Miss Kate. They are only some of the young fox hunters come over to make preparations.”

And before I could escape—

“Miss Conyngham, gentlemen!”

The young men, who drew up their horses on seeing a lady, lifted their caps and hats, and I was struck with their general appearance; four of them being fine-looking, yet dressed in blue linsey woolsey, with boots pulled on over their pantaloons; and the other three in thick coats and caps, or broad felt hats slouched behind—a very common head covering in these parts and not unpicturesque.

Every young man was armed with a gun, and attended at least by two dogs, and beautiful creatures some of them were —not the young men, Mr. —, but the hounds.

“Well, colonel, we have come over to settle upon the day,” said one of the young gentlemen.

“That is right! I like to see the rising generation prompt to engage in such noble sports. I think that the day after to-morrow we will give Reynard our compliments in person. I will have my men ready, and if you will meet me at the edge of the wood, by the lion’s head cliff, at six in the morning, we will do our best for a day’s sport.”

“We’ll be there, colonel,” was the response; “and then we shall stand a chance of bringing down a deer or two,” added one of them. “I saw one on the ridge by the creek as I rode over.”

“No doubt we shall see plenty of sport. And you must accompany us, Miss Kate,” added the colonel turning to me, as I stood with the bridle of my mule in my hand, trying to check his restive movements, for the prancing horses of the young men fired his ambition to prance too.

After suffering myself to be urged a little by two of the young gentlemen, I consented to join the party, if other ladies did so. The cavalcade then escorted us to the gate of the main road, and the horsemen separated each to his own home; while the colonel and I took a forest road, that, after a league’s windings, came out near the villa. As we rode, the colonel entertained me with a great many anecdotes of hunting, from Bruin to the Hare. As we approached the mansion on our return, the avenue was temporarily blocked up by not less than fifty slaves of both sexes; for it was now twilight, and they had just completed their day’s work, and were wending their way to their village, or quartier.

The women carried hoes upon their shoulders, and trudged along, some dull, and with expressionless faces, others laughing and singing. The men, I remarked, were more cheerful than the women, and had more lively countenances. One and all were clad in their coarse white cloth, known as negro cloth— the men with straw hats and the women with handkerchiefs upon their heads. I have not yet seen a negro woman wear a bonnet on Sundays, it is only a gayer kerchief.

As we passed, they drew up on each side of the narrow road for us to pass—the men all taking off, or touching their hats, and replying with a smile to their master’s salutation of “Good evening, boys!” and the women—some of them, slightly nodding, but without the smile. One of them had a huge cotton basket upon her head.
“Peep into it,” said the colonel, as I rode by. I did so, and beheld four little cunning black babies!—they were nestled together, and quite naked. These babies had been taken by their mothers to the field, and while they were at work, were placed under the care of the girl who had them in charge.

I am already getting reconciled to slavery, since I find that it does not, in reality, exhibit the revolting horrors I was taught in the North to discover in it. There are many things to admire and to interest one in the social and domestic condition of the slaves, and I am almost ready to acknowledge that the African is happier in bondage than free! At least one thing is certain: nearly all the free negroes I have ever seen in the North were miserable creatures, poor, ragged, and often criminal. Here they are well clad, moral, nearly all religious, and the temptations that demoralize the free blacks in our northern cities are unknown to, and cannot approach them.

Even many former slaves looked back on their lives before the Civil War with nostalgia, to the point where their narratives are discounted today. In reality, most of them lived harder lives after the war.

As we drew near the front of the villa, my mule, not liking the shrill cry of a superb peacock, which conceived the idea of welcoming us with a song, and a resplendent unfolding of his prismatic-eyed tail, started to run with me at top speed. I am a tolerable rider, and as I could not fall far if I were thrown, the mule being so little and low, I did not feel half the alarm the colonel manifested for my safety, who began to ride after me; when finding his horse only gave fresh impetus to the speed of my mule, he drew rein, and called to a negro man to stop my career. But the mule was not to be stopped. Instead of taking the carriage-way, he bolted across the lawn, and made straight for the stable. To stop him was impossible. I found I might as well pull at a granite column as at his jaws. The door of his stable was open, and I saw that he would only stop at his crib. I measured the ground to spring to it, but the dreadful idea that my skirt might entangle with the horns of the saddle, deterred me. In another moment the stable was reached! The door was open. I threw myself forward, clasped neck and mane, and stooping low went safely in with him. The suddenness with which he stopped at his manger, tossed me into the rack, out of which I was taken unhurt, and with many a joke and laugh upon my mule race. But a mule race is not a fox hunt, you say! Bide a wee, sir.

Yours,

Kate.

Ingraham, J. H., “Letter VII.” The Sunny South, or the Southerner at Home, Embracing Five Years’ Experience of a Northern Governess in the Land of the Sugar and the Cotton, 56-60. Philadelphia: G. G. Evans, 1860.

Janus:

Cycles and seasons govern collective human behavior, whether they are irregular economic cycles from decade to decade, or the lifespan of a nation or civilization across the centuries. Likewise, some primeval force seems to take hold of a people once every human life-span or so, a force that drives a people to stand up and fight their enemies, to die if they have to, to declare that the time for compromise has reached its end because further concessions will ultimately destroy who they are as a people. Sometimes the people aim their wrath at enemies outside the gates, sometimes at the enemies within.

We are living in the cusp of such a time today. Traitors and parasites rule over the white nations of the West. They seek our displacement as a people at the very least, and they are setting the world stage for another fratricidal world war to cement their power. And the white people under their rule remain almost hopelessly confused and divided, ready to kill each other because the time for compromise has reached its limit. The lines are being drawn.

In perhaps months, or maybe a few years, the blood of thousands or millions will flow. And in the years after this season has passed, when whatever remains of the nations struggle to rebuild, the survivors will look back on today’s opulent, relatively peaceful, and carefree years as a golden age. And in many ways, in comparison to the future, maybe these years will actually be golden ones.

As we prepare ourselves for the battles to come, I recommend that we take the time to give thanks for our families and good friends, for the decent people that still exist out there, for good health and good hospitals, for our plentiful food and clean water, and every other joyous and fragile thing that we tend to take for granted. Let us appreciate them while we can.

May the Lord have mercy on us all.

Early 19th-Century Female Courage Compared to Ancient Female Courage

empress_eugenie_surrounded_by_her_ladies_in_waiting

– 13 September 2016 –

Barzillai “19th Century” Bozarth:

19th-century-barzillaiA respected reverend attempts to resolve a civilized dispute between a group of young ladies, a discussion taking place roughly two hundred years before the present.

The ladies cannot decide whether their courage should manifest itself in their dominion over their future husbands or in their willful submission to them. The reverend gives the proper answer, and then afterwards he presents a comparison between the ladies’ ideas of courage and the ideas of female courage that were exalted in the ancient Occidental world:

FEMALE COURAGE PROPERLY CONSIDERED.

The Rev. Mr. Sherlock being one day in company with a number of young ladies, the conversation happened to turn on the courage of their own sex. One observed, that Miss Lovelace had a resolution above being curbed by her guardians, and was determined to dress as she liked; while another gave it as her opinion, that it would be better for her to check her temper, and submit to the will of her guardians. “If ever I should be married” said one of the young ladies, “I think I shall have courage enough to make my husband do as I please.”—“You may be right, miss,” said another, “but I think, should I ever be married, I shall always consult my husband’s opinion, and readily submit to it, whenever reason seems to require it.”

The young ladies kept up this kind of conversation for some time; when, at last, finding their opinions were so different, they requested the reverend divine to give them his sentiments, wherein true female courage consisted.

“I have,” said Dr. Sherlock, “been listening to your conversation, and, as you have been pleased to appeal to me, I shall speak truth, without the least reserve. I hope you will attend to what I am going to say, and treasure it up in your minds.

“I consider true courage as one of the noblest ornaments of the fair sex, since it must be allowed, that, without a becoming resolution, many female accomplishments would be lost and sunk in obscurity, and that even virtue itself, unassisted by true courage, would soon dwindle to a shadow. I doubt not but that each of you amiable young ladies flatter yourselves with being possessed of this noble accomplishment; but permit me to tell you, that it is not every possessor of a pretty face who knows what it is. It is not Xantippe, but Lucretia, whom I call the woman of true courage.

female-courage

The young women demure so politely to the authority of the reverend. It is a romantic depiction that seems unimaginable to anyone today.

“Xantippe is the daughter of two noble personages, and the wife of a sensible and prudent man; the mother of a blooming offspring, and the sole mistress of a plentiful fortune, the produce of which her husband cannot receive without her order. Elated with the thoughts of her high birth, and sensible of the dependance her Husband has on her will, she subjects him to the most rigorous discipline, is cruelly severe to her children, and arbitrary and tyrannical over her servants. Insolent and disdainful in her behaviour to her equals, and haughty and arrogant inner demeanour to her superiors, her jealousy is equalled only by her ill nature : the most innocent freedom of her husband to a visitor is sufficient to give rise to the former : and the most trifling repartee is sure to occasion the latter. These are her qualities, which she is so far from endeavouring to amend, that she considers them as marks of true courage ; or, to speak in a more polite phrase, they make her pass for a woman of spirit!

“How opposite is the conduct of Lucretia!—Possessed of no other fortune than what good sense and a proper education give her, she passes through life with peace and serenity of mind. The will of her husband, the care of her children, and the due preservation of order and economy in her house, are her principal studies. Easy, good-natured, and affable to her equals, and humble, submissive, and obliging to her superiors; as no height of prosperity makes her forgetful of adversity, so no storms of angry fortune are able to disturb the calm within her breast, or deprive her of that hope with which true courage will always support those who possess it.

“True courage, rightly understood, and properly cultivated, will inspire the fair sex with the noblest sentiments of honour and generosity. It will elevate their minds above those mean and paltry methods, which too many of them put in practice, to captivate the hearts of the giddy and unthinking. It will raise in them a noble and emulative zeal for literary studies, which will rescue them from the odium that is too frequently, and too justly, cast on many of them, of being pretty, but silly, prattling creatures. It is true courage only that can raise in them such sentiments as shall preserve them the esteem and affection of all, when the bloom of youth shall be lost in the evening of life: when the lily and rose shall fade on their cheek, and the beautiful form of their persons can be no longer admired.

“I have now, young ladies, given you my opinion of what really ought to be considered as true courage in your sex; and I hope it will have some influence on your minds, as well as on your conduct in the commerce of this busy world. It is not at all surprising, that you young ladies should differ in your opinions on so delicate a question; since true courage is, in these times of refinement, considered in a very different light from what it was in the remote ages of antiquity. In order to amuse you, and perhaps instruct you, I shall beg your attention to a piece of ancient history: from which you will judge what were the barbarous ideas the ladies of antiquity had of true courage.

Mithridates, king of Pontus, proving unsuccessful in the war in which he was engaged against Lucullus, a Roman general, had shut up two of his wives (for the custom of that country allowed of a plurality,) and two of his sisters, whom he most loved, in that part of his kingdom which was the most remote from danger. At last, not being able to brook the apprehensions of their falling into the hands of the Romans, he sent orders to Bacchalides, an eunuch, to put them to death. The manner in which they received this order strongly marks the ideas the ladies of those times and regions had of true courage.

“Berenice and Monima were these unfortunate princesses. The first was born in the island of Chios, and the other in Miletus, a city of Ionia, towards the borders of Cairo, on the coast of the Aegean Sea. Monima was celebrated for the invincible resistance which she made to all the offers of Mithridates, who was most violently in love with her, and to which she never consented, till he had declared her queen, by calling her his wife, and sending her the royal diadem—a ceremony indispensable in the marriage of kings in that part of the world.

mithridates-vi-monime-diadem

Death Before Dishonor: Rather than suffer humiliation by the capture of his wives and sisters by the Romans, Mithridates VI of the defeated Kingdom of Pontus ordered each of them to die, and the courageous ancient women promptly obeyed.

“However, even then she consented with reluctance, and only to gratify the inclinations of her family, who were dazzled with the lustre of the crown and power of Mithridates, who was at that time victorious and loaded with glory. Monima abandoned herself to a perpetual melancholy, which the abject slavery in which Mithridates kept his wives, the distance she then was from Greece, whither she had no hopes of returning, and, perhaps too, a secret passion which she always disguised, rendered insurmountable.

“When Bacchalides had declared to them the fatal message, and that they were at liberty to choose what death appeared to them the most easy, Monima tore of the royal bandage which she always wore on her head, and, fixing it round her neck, endeavoured to strangle herself; but the bandage broke, and left her in a condition truly to be pitied. ‘Unfortunate diadem,’ said she, trampling it under her feet, ‘thou hast brought me to all my miseries! thou hast been witness of my slavery and wretchedness! Why wouldst thou not at last help me to put an end to them all?’— After having shewn these marks of her resentment, she snatched a dagger from the hand of Bacchalides, and sheathed it in her bosom.

“Berenice swallowed the dreadful potion with astonishing resolution, and obeyed, without murmuring, the frenzy of a barbarous lover.

“The king’s two sisters, Statira and Roxana, followed the example of Berenice. Roxana, after having a long time kept a profound silence, swallowed the fatal draught, and died without uttering a single word. As for Statira, after having shewn her grief for the king’s defeat, she highly praised his conduct, and ordered Bacchalides to thank him for thinking of her amidst the wreck of his affairs, and thereby securing her, by a timely death, from the shameful slavery of the Romans.”

Dr. Sherlock having now finished, the young ladies all rose and thanked him for the instruction he had been pleased to give them. They assured him, that they should in future endeavour to distinguish between the true courage of these modern times, and of those in which lived the wives and sisters of Mithridates.

Johnson, R., “Female Courage Properly Considered.” The Blossoms of Morality; Intended for the Amusement and Instruction of Young Ladies and Gentlemen, 136-144. London: J. Harris, 1828.

The Social Problems of 1905 America: Ominous Social Phenomena Associated With Want of Sunday Rest

drunks-in-1899

– 6 August 2016 –

Barzillai “19th Century” Bozarth:

19th-century-barzillaiThe following article attributes many of the social ills of the United States in 1905, such as they were, to a widespread lack of Sunday laws, otherwise called “blue” laws.

That the author of the article, Dr. Alexander Jackson, can demonstrate the degenerative state of America in the year 1905 should illustrate to those who today believe that the decline of the U.S. began in the 1950’s or 1960’s that they possess too narrow a perspective of history. Rather, civilization in the West in general has declined steadily at least since the time of the Enlightenment in the Eighteenth Century, not necessarily following a linear path, nor the same path in each stratum of every Western nation, but certainly following a reliable downward trend in the West overall.

Historically, Sunday laws in the United States have lacked consistency in their application, both geographically and in severity. Naturally the Puritan founders of New England, having rejected the feasts and holidays of the Anglican church, adopted the stern character of the Jewish Sabbath to what they called a Christian Sabbath. Over time, governments loosened the terms of these laws as the public held the Sabbath with less intensity. Then, at various times and places in Nineteenth Century America, moralists called for a return to the strictness of colonial New England’s Blue Laws, often meeting with success. State after state, particularly in the South, adopted some form of Sunday laws. Typically, such laws forbade the sale of liquor and prevented other forms of retail. Often they restricted the public activities of the citizenry. The stringency of such laws tended to ebb and flow in relation to periods of religious zeal and passivity, but the Christian apathy of today’s world has seen the slow erosion of Sunday laws to their lowest levels in our history, though they still do commonly exist.

Dr. Jackson’s notions concerning blue laws likely strike the present-day reader as absurd. Yet do the events of history not validate the societal concerns of Jackson and men like him? A mere fifteen years after this article, the Lost generation, after suffering in the trenches of the First World War, ushered in the decadence of the Roaring Twenties, with its speakeasies and flappers and raucous jazz music. The austerity of the Great Depression and the Second World War reversed some of these excesses, yet the supposed greatest generation of World War II, the most secular generation in the history of America up to that time, failed to instill in their children the moral integrity to preserve the fundamentals of their civilization. The decline of Christian moral standards has only accelerated since those spoiled children have grown to adulthood and now elderhood.

Had the moralists of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries won in their days, then they, at a minimum, could have delayed the spread of decadence that we see today, if not averting it altogether.

OMINOUS SOCIAL PHENOMENA OF TO-DAY ASSOCIATED WITH WANT OF SUNDAY REST.

Alexander Jackson, A. M., Ph. D.

There are several social phenomena of to-day that are ominous in the extreme. They have been frequently noticed in an incidental way; but they have not been carefully or scientifically examined, and what explanations have been suggested are superficial and unsatisfactory. Let us collate a few of these facts and then seek for an explanation of them:

I. The Facts:

(a) There is the vast increase of insanity. There has been no opportunity to arrange statistics, but the fact that insanity has increased at an appalling rate is not to be questioned. Probate Courts and superintendents of asylums have echoed the statement. It is only too true.

(b) There is the vast increase of crime. We have no statistics more recent than those collected in the census of 1890; but they show that crime had increased up to that time at an immensely greater rate than the population; and it will not be questioned that the increase since 1890 has been even greater than it was previously. In 1890, Arizona had more than four per cent of its population in jail; Montana and Nevada had more than three per cent; Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Texas, and the District of Columbia had more than two per cent; twenty-five other States had more than one per cent; while the remaining fourteen States had less than one per cent.

[. . .]

(c) There is the vast increase of accidents of a more or less disastrous character. According to Public Opinion, 57,500 lives are annually lost in the United States by accidents and injuries. ”The death rolls of the railroads, industry in general, and disastrous fires, show that killing human beings is a common incident of life in this country.” And the evil appears to be rapidly on the increase. Recently the Hungarian consul at Pittsburg took official notice of the frequent and large slaughter of his fellow countrymen in the mills and workshops of Pittsburg and neighborhood. The average losses in the mines of the United States are 1,500 killed and 3,600 injured. There were 64½ per cent more deaths of passengers in train accidents in 1904 than there were in 1903. It is said that the Interstate Commerce Commission has been moved to recommend the compulsory use of the block-signal system; but the nonuse of the block-signal system does not explain this appalling increase in killing passengers in railroad accidents. The real cause lies further back than the signal system.

WEB-train-wreck

“In 1897, the government of Belgium proceeded to reduce all freight trains until, at the present time, there are 2,227 less on Sunday than on other days. As a result of this cessation of freight traffic on Sunday there has been a reduction of 54 per cent in the accidents occasioned by the fault of railroad employees.”

(d) There is the vast increase in the amount of liquor consumed, although there never was a time when temperance sentiment was so widespread and so strong. Official reports of the United States Bureau of Statistics show that the use of whisky has steadily increased from 1.01 gallons per capita in 1896, to 1.48 gallons in 1904, a gain in nine years of over 46½ per cent. The consumption of wine for the same period shows an increase of 100 per cent; beer, 18 4/5; all alcoholic drinks combined, 21 4/5. Coffee shows a per capita gain of 44.88 per cent since 1896; tea about the same. This shows that the use of the milder stimulants, — wine, beer, coffee, and tea, — has not been able to check the increasing use of spirituous liquors. The total revenue of the United States Government in 1904 from spirituous and malt liquor licenses, etc., was $184,893474.

(e) There is the deluge of strong drugs and patent medicines, the consumption of which in such vast quantities is one of the most alarming factors in the problem of modern life. Many of these drugs are more dangerous than any liquor sold over the saloon counter; and many of the patent medicines have more alcohol than any alcoholic liquor.

(f) Then, there is the widespread degeneracy, which is more and more pressing itself upon the attention of thoughtful men. We have been told that it was with considerable difficulty enough young men could be had to pass the medical examinations to make up the little army necessary to fight Spain in Cuba. And yet our boys and young men were volunteering by the million. Our country was settled by the best blood of the best races; and the blending of these ought to have given us a race of young men and maidens the perfection of manly and womanly development. Instead, we have widespread degeneracy.

What does it all mean?

II. The Explanation.

(a) The American people are living on high pressure. It is doubtful if any nation ever was so high-strung and so intense in all its life as ours. This being the case, on simple sociological grounds no country has ever had so much need of the old-fashioned, quiet, reverent Sabbath rest.

(b) But with us it has come to be that Sunday has about as much mental and nervous strain as any day of the week. There is no criticism of concerts, games, entertainments, excursions, social parties, etc., etc., as things bad in themselves. It is only that, when practiced on Sunday, the benefits from the quiet, reverent rest-day are lost to the people, and there is consequently a premature exhaustion of vitality and nervous and mental power. Even those who wish to keep the day in quiet are not allowed to do so by the intrusion of Sunday newspapers, Sunday traders, Sunday excursions, and Sunday sports. All this lands in nervous and mental exhaustion. The person is “run down,” and in the strain of business or social life a “bracer” is called for; or, if too conscientious to use liquor, he falls back on some drug or patent medicine which may be more dangerous than any alcoholic liquor. The time comes when the bankrupted brain and nervous system succumbs to some deadly disorder or collapses in insanity or nervous impotency.

(c) As showing the relation between a quiet and reverent Sabbath and law-and-order, I quote the following significant comment from the distinguished French statesman, Comte de Montalembert: “Men are surprised sometimes by the ease with which the immense city of London is kept in order by a garrison of three small battalions and two squadrons, while to control the capital of France, which is half the size, forty thousand troops of the line and sixty thousand national guards are necessary. But the stranger who arrives in London on a Sunday morning, when he sees everything of commerce suspended in that gigantic capital in obedience to God; when in the center of that colossal business he finds silence and repose scarcely interrupted by the bells which call to prayer, and the immense crowd on their way to church, — then his astonishment ceases. He understands that there is another curb for a Christian people besides that of bayonets, and that where the law of God is fulfilled with such solemn submissiveness, God Himself, if I dare use the words, charges Himself with the police arrangements.”

(d) As indicating a similar close relation between a quiet and reverent Sabbath and the morality of the people, the following may be quoted: The Registrar-General for Scotland tells us that there is four per cent of illegitimacy in London with all its badness; but thirty-two per cent in Milan; thirty-three per cent in Brussels; thirty-five per cent in Munich ; forty-eight per cent in Paris, and fifty-one per cent in Vienna, — or nearly one thousand per cent more illegitimacy in cities where the Sunday is spent in sport or work than in the greatest city in the world which honors the Sabbath to that extent that it will not allow the publication of a newspaper or collect or deliver mail on that day.

(e) The investigations of Messrs. Imbert and Mestre, two French scientists, have shown that accidents occur most frequently to workmen late in the afternoon, and are least frequent in the morning. This indicates that accidents are largely the result of the workmen being tired. Science also advises us that as nature demands sleep when the person is tired, a part of the mental faculties, or a section of the brain, may take a nap longer or shorter, as the case may be, while otherwise the man is apparently wide-awake. The part of the brain that has been most strained calls for and takes some of the needed rest. Thus the capacity of hearing sounds or of distinguishing colors may be asleep, while the man is otherwise awake. Many of the mistakes of railroaders, in the last analysis, may be thus explained.

[. . .]

Two reports from Europe strengthen our contention that lack of Sunday rest is a great cause of the calamitous accidents which have been so frequent. After the International Congress on Sunday Rest, which was held in Brussels in 1897, the government of Belgium proceeded to reduce all freight trains until, at the present time, there are 2,227 less on Sunday than on other days. As a result of this cessation of freight traffic on Sunday there has been a reduction of 54 per cent in the accidents occasioned by the fault of railroad employees. While in the United States one passenger in 2,316,648 is killed, there is only one passenger in 8,461,309 killed in Great Britain. English railways carry twice as many passengers annually as those of America, but only one-tenth as many of these passengers are killed or injured. In 1904, 10,000 people were killed on American railroads and 75,000 injured; but on English railroads there were only 1,150 killed and 6,785 injured. Sunday rest for railroad men in Belgium and England gives the railroads, the passengers, and the employees a larger immunity from calamitous accidents. If calamitous accidents would be reduced 54 per cent, the sooner our railroads adopt Sunday rest as a principle in railroading, the better. It would save more lives and property from accidents than all the mechanical devices that ever were invented.

(f) But there is still another principle involved. No fair-minded observer will question the great influence of the Christian Church in building up character and educating moral principle. This education is largely done through the public or private services on Sunday, Sunday-schools, Young People’s Societies, and other Christian agencies. In proportion as a man is conscientious in observing the Sabbath as the Lord’s Day, and attending the services in Church as meeting with God, will he be conscientious and reliable in ordinary life. The presence in church of persons who use it for dishonest purposes, no more impairs the truthfulness of this principle than does the forgery of a bank-note impair the worth of the standard currency. This being the case, it is a fair deduction that those who neither observe Sunday nor attend on the public Christian services of worship or work, must deteriorate in moral character. Universal experience corroborates this deduction. Those who are faithful in taking advantage of the means of grace, improve in character, other things being equal; and those who use Sunday the same as other days, and are never found in attendance on Church, deteriorate in moral character. A man who is not faithful to his Divine Maker can not long remain faithful to his fellow-man.

sunday_ban_off_prem_map_2013

Bans on Off-Premises Sunday Sales as of January 1, 2015: Some blue laws have managed to survive till the present day.

Back of all the ominous phenomena which is exciting the alarm of thoughtful men, is the wholesale degradation of the Sabbath. That may not be all the explanation, but no explanation will satisfy that leaves it out. The want of Sunday rest exhausts the vitality; stimulants are resorted to; the exhaustion becomes bankruptcy, and the man yields to physical or mental disease. His children, too, inherit impaired constitutions and distorted organisms. The want of Sunday rest also means the loss of regular Church privileges; and there is a corresponding loss of moral character. The man may not become openly vicious, but he is not as highly conscientious as he who has been regularly taught from Sabbath to Sabbath to recognize the constant presence of the All-seeing One. Then, too, the want of Sunday rest means such exhaustion as compels tired nature to steal snatches of needed rest for exhausted faculties or functions, and these impair the reliability of the operator. In fact, no man can be an efficient officer who does not honor the weekly Sabbath. We unhesitatingly insist that, in this matter of Sabbath observance, the man who is most faithful to his spiritual obligations will be found most efficient and faithful to the duties and responsibilities placed upon him by his fellows.

III. What Is to be Done About It?

That is the main question after all. Statesmen and political economists on the Continent have been so impressed by these and other considerations bearing in the same direction, that they have been trying to restore Sunday rest to their respective peoples, and this without respect to its religious relations. Eleven European countries have, within the last dozen years, placed laws on their statute-books with this object in view. Last year, the Government of Spain, acting under authority of a law passed by the Cortes, inaugurated a national plan for restoring Sunday as a rest-day to the people, and, curiously, in their first practical application of the law they forbade bull-fights and the publication and sale of newspapers on Sunday.

In many cases, public-spirited citizens have not waited for the Government to act. In Marseilles, France, the newspaper proprietors and editors came together, and after conference determined to try the experiment of having no Sunday issue of their newspapers. After three months’ trial, all parties were so satisfied with the situation that, on last May, they agreed to permanently discontinue the publication of Sunday newspapers, and to-day Marseilles has no Sunday newspaper.

Surely, surely our American business men are not all so lost to the principles of the higher manhood that they will continue a course which is so threatening to all that is best in the life of the nation! At least one large Insurance Company is planning to recognize these principles. It is arranging to place a question in the interrogatories of candidates for insurance, and if a man is found to be working regularly seven days a week, he will be refused insurance. There is no doubt that the time is coming when, from simple self-preservation, it will be insisted that every worker shall have one day of rest each week, and when the day will be so safe-guarded from mental and physical dissipation that it will afford real rest and refreshment to tired men.

Sunday Rest in the Twentieth Century, ed., Dr. Alexander Jackson, 63-71. Cleveland: The International Federation of Sunday Rest Associations of America, 1905.

Patulcius:

Patulcius-sqAlthough it would be useless to create stricter blue laws with the idea to improve the moral character of the rotten public, a secular case for such laws can be made on the basis of public rejuvenation and well-being.

Germany has some of the strictest shopping hour restrictions in the world. And not just on Sunday, but throughout the week. The country remains productive and fruitfully employed, yet the frantic rush of all-day shopping and consumption is avoided. Parents can spend time with their children; workers don’t have to slave away at all hours to earn a living. Certainly socialist Germany has several flaws, but the restrictions on work hours benefit the German people whether they believe in Christ or not.

When employers in a society run rampant with the hours they demand of their employees, families suffer. Individuals suffer. Japan is a fine example of a country where parents often spend very little time with one another or their children. As a result, their birthrate is disastrous and their stress rate can kill. A generation of young men and women don’t even know how to engage the opposite sex.

Even the concept of Work Life Balance, Left-wing though it may be in many respects, has some merit because of these reasons.

Clusivius:

Clusivius-sqThere is little point to pushing for stricter blue laws in today’s America. The population has grown so decadent that such laws would only enrage the people without improving their characters.

It makes little sense to impose restrictions on business hours or hours of employment even for secular reasons.

Personally, I prefer to shop, when I have to, during off-peak hours in order to avoid the crowds. (And so do you, Patulcius! Haw! Haw!) Restricted shopping hours would force more people to shop during available hours, increasing crowds.

Likewise, some people in today’s wretched economy depend on irregular hours to make their livings. How many people would lose their jobs if evening or third-shift work disappeared? Sure, some of them could help with increased demand during the allotted hours, but certainly not all.

I doubt the country would benefit enough from blue laws or ‘work life balance’ laws to justify the intrusion of more government in private business.

1828 Attack Ad Against Andrew Jackson

presidential-campaign-1828-granger

– 16 June 2016 –

Barzillai “19th Century” Bozarth:

19th-century-barzillaiIn America’s election of 1824, even though Andrew Jackson had won the greatest share of votes in a four-way race—in both the official electoral and the unofficial popular tally—the lack of a majority of electoral votes allowed the House of Representatives to appoint John Quincy Adams to the Presidency. After winning office, Adams duly appointed the Speaker of the House, Henry Clay, as Secretary of State, a position in those days that all but guaranteed him the presidency. This quickly grew to notoriety as the “Corrupt Bargain.”

Most of the people, however, denied the legitimacy of Adams, whose presidency produced one failure after another, and Jackson loyalists almost immediately sought to elect their beloved general again for the election of 1828. In one of the most bitterly fought presidential elections in history, Adams men attacked every aspect of Jackson’s life, from his violent temper and duel-fighting to the legitimacy of his marriage and the character of Jackson’s wife Rachel. They warned that a Jackson presidency would amount to a military dictatorship marked by personal feuds and irresponsible foreign policy.

The following campaign poem, published in the Truth’s Advocate and Monthly Anti-Jackson Expositor in June of 1828, covers each of these condemnations and dire warnings against Jackson in the form of the General’s farcical lamentations upon hearing in December of his hypothetical loss to Adams.

GROANINGS OF ONE A____W J_____N

TO BE HEARD DECEMBER, 1828

“Caesar ant nulles was his name,
Caesar non venit—”nullus came!”

Oh! lud I am dished—Oh sons! I’m undone,
clear-spaceI must give myself up to despair—
For Adams, that rascally turncoat has won,
clear-spaceAnd is still in the President’s chair.

In vain did I fight so, behind cotton bags,
clear-spaceWhich gained me such glorious renown—
In vain turned so pious—the curst Adams wags
clear-spaceSaid the world would not swallow it down.

They say I don’t know e’en our G’ography
clear-spaceclear-spacehere.
clear-spaceBut I know enough plenty for me;
I know Washington’s up in the District some-
clear-spaceclear-spacewhere,
clear-spaceAnd Kentuck I know a’nt Tennessee.

But a phoo! for your larning—for where is the
clear-spaceclear-spaceuse?
clear-spaceIf a man should go off on a tour,
There’s any black nigger, that’s walking the
clear-spaceclear-spacestreet,
clear-spaceCan tell him the way, I am sure.

I murder King’s English, they say—so I will—
clear-spaceFor it shows true American pride
I hate all your kings, and your Englishmen, too,
clear-spaceAnd every thing English beside.

Then a nice writing-man I have hired for my
clear-spaceclear-spaceuse,
clear-spaceTo hide the bad spelin I skrawl,
And them are as says how my grammar is bad,
clear-spaceDon’t know nothing about it at all.

Though spouting sometimes in the Senate, ’tis
clear-spaceclear-spacetrue,
clear-spaceI’ve stammer’d most sadly and blundered;
But if I’ve occasion to make a speech now,
clear-spaceVan Buren will write me a hundred.

“The three R’s—honest ‘Rithmatic, Reading
clear-spaceclear-spaceand ‘Riting,
clear-spaceI think, I can say, I’m no fool in—
Considering my time was so took up in fighting,
clear-spaceThat I only had three quarters schooling.

I hate Clay—I hate bargain—except as a bet
clear-spaceOn a game-cock, or horse at the races;
I like one of Clay’s acts, though—’tis so much
clear-spaceclear-spacelike me,
clear-spaceWhen he fought with slim John at ten paces,

And then about that Mrs. Robards affair—
clear-spaceThat, too, they’ve told Adams and Clay—
Had it never leaked out, I’ll make bold to de-
clear-spaceclear-spaceclare,
clear-space‘Twould not be known to this day.

Then poor Mrs. Gin’ral—I blush when it’s
clear-spaceclear-spacetold,
clear-spaceHow they laughed—(I can never forgive her)—
When she said that “she cotch’d a most wiolent
clear-spaceclear-spacecold,
clear-spaceFor the Gin’ral had kicked off the kiver.”

Though every objection I’ve answered enough,
clear-spaceStill the Adams men jabber and squall,
‘Bout militia men—marriages—morals & stuff,
clear-spaceAnd war—and the deuce knows what all.

Make me President once, and the scoundrels
clear-spaceclear-spaceshall feel—
clear-spaceWith my fist ‘gainst the wall would I jam
clear-spaceclear-spacee’m—
If they still made their jabber—by thunder and
clear-spaceclear-spacesteel
clear-spaceI’d shoot every rogue of ’em—d—n ’em”
clear-spaceclear-spaceclear-spaceclear-spaceclear-spaceclear-spaceclear-spaceclear-spaceTRASH.

Trash, Truth’s Advocate and Monthly Anti-Jackson Expositor, ed., An Association of Individuals, 235-236. Cincinnati: Lodge, L’hommedieu, and Hammond Printers, 1828.

“If Donald Trump is Nominated By the Cleveland Convention What Course Should Establishment Republicans Pursue?”

Cindy+McCain+Ann+Romney+Romney+Visits+Peanut+6HDjvHBpdSJl-480

– 5 March 2016 –

Barzillai “19th Century” Bozarth:

19th-century-barzillaiThe situation with the divided Republican Party today, where one group of politicians refuses to support their party’s front-runner and conspires to destroy him at every opportunity, shows a great similarity to the situation of the Democratic Party in 1860 that led ultimately to the Civil War.

The Democratic Party should have won the 1860 presidential election rather than lose to Lincoln and the Republicans. In those days the Democratic Party represented conservative forces throughout the United States, people who wished to preserve the status quo.  The new opposing party, the Republicans, having formed in 1854 out of the abolitionist remnants of the fallen Whig party, continued to pursue a relatively radical agenda that failed to appeal to a solid majority. The conservative Democrats should have easily defeated the radical Republicans.

However, the Democrats could not agree on a candidate. Southern Democrats refused to accept the front-runner, Stephen A. Douglas, because of his moderate stances on slavery in the territories. Unionist Democrats could not agree to the Southern “Fire-Eater” demands to add protections of slavery in the territories to the party platform, believing that such protections would ensure Democratic losses in the Northern states. For various reasons, many of them hidden from the public, neither side would compromise on what should have been a minor issue: the decisions of settlers to settle the question of slavery in their respective territories.

The following article, written in the Louisville Journal on April 20, 1860, demonstrates this stubborn and heated refusal of both sides to compromise on any issue:

The Southern Confederacy, a fire-eating paper that has nominated Alexander H. Stephens for the Presidency and Daniel S. Dickinson for the Vice-Presidency, and keeps their names flying at its mast-head, asks in staring head-lines, “IF STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS IS NOMINATED BY THE CHARLESTON CONVENTION, WHAT COURSE SHOULD THE SOUTHERN STATES PURSUE?” and answers the portentous question as follows:

The South has nothing to fear from a dissolution of the Union, but everything to gain. And whilst we desire its perpetuation upon a constitutional basis, still if it is to be held in tact simply for the purpose of subserving the fanatical interests of a piratical and sectional combination, we would prefer to see it torn into fragments and scattered to the four winds.  The South as a people neither asks nor expects anything but their constitutional rights.  This, if we mistake not, she is determined to have in the future at all hazards.  The nomination of Judge Douglas by the Charleston Convention—by the combined vote of the North, would in our estimation, be an overt act of sufficient importance to cause a dissolution.  For his nomination would be in the name of that party which can only give security to Southern interests.  When that party representing a meagre minority of doubtful proclivities so far forgets the rights of the slaveholding States as to thrust upon them a disguised hypocrite, let them reap as they have sown.  And should any Southern State prove in that convention particeps criminis to so foul a deed, we trust enough will be left whose escutcheons are untainted to retire from the plot house of treason and nominate a ticket that will rally to its standard every true Southron.  Let us have a ticket that is to the “manor born,” and one that will inaugurate Southern Independence in fact and in truth.  In these views we believe we are endorsed by nine-tenths of the Southern people.  Woe unto those at the South who have attempted to inveigle us into the support of the Arnold Douglas.  And woe be unto him from the South who casts a vote for our worst enemy.  It is deplorable indeed that even the name of Judge Douglas is mentioned in connection with the Charleston Convention.  It is significant of the awful fact that there are many amongst us who are ready to surrender the last vestige of hope—the last anchor of protection!

election1860-480

The stubbornness of Democrats in 1860 led to the division of the party in two and a victory for Lincoln. Had they not split, Lincoln would have lost the election, with the Civil War likely delayed or prevented.

Now, all this rumpus, be it observed, is kicked up by a paper whose avowed first choice for the Presidency stands squarely on the policy of Douglas, and whose avowed first choice for the Vice-Presidency stands squarely on both the doctrine and the policies of Douglas.  That is to say, Stephens assents to absolute non-intervention, and Dickinson subscribes to squatter-sovereignty.  And the Southern Confederacy must be perfectly aware of this.  So much for the sincerity of the most blazing of the fire-eating organs.  The Confederacy’s flourish about Douglas is mere gammon.  If Douglas should be nominated at Charleston, it would presently throw up its cap and bells and shout as loudly over the deed as our neighbor of the Democrat himself.  No doubt of it; and if it didn’t perhaps the result would be much the same.

We entreat the Charleston Convention to pay no regard to this sort of vaporing.  It signifies nothing.  The bark of the fire-eater is deafening but his bite is not in the least hurtful.  In fact, he seldom gets his own consent to bite at all.  His selfishness subdues him.  He is really the most tractable of animals.  Show him which side of his bread is buttered, and he will keep it uppermost, at the cost of every command of the decalogue.  Therefore, let the Charleston Convention proceed, un-awed by these empty fulminations.  Let Douglas be nominated by all means.  He is the best living embodiment of the instincts and tendencies of the Democracy, and we should like at this stage of our history to encounter that destructive and demoniacal spirit in its sharpest and most naked form.  We should like it above most things.  It would save a world of argument touching the character of our adversary if we could just point to the horns and the cloven foot in full view!  Douglas is on every account our first choice for the Charleston nomination.  We hope the Convention will steady its nerves and not take fright at the dramatic roaring of Snug the joiner.

So in those days we had a group of stubborn politicians who vowed, if their hated candidate for president won their party’s nomination, to potentially destroy their own political party, deliberately divide their party to ensure the victory of the opposition, and possibly drag their entire nation into civil war.

And today we likewise have a group of hysterical, uncompromising politicians who vow, if their hated candidate for president wins the nomination, to potentially destroy their party entirely, divide their party ticket to ensure victory for the other party, and to possibly deepen divisions within the country that ultimately lead to civil war.

The parallels to the present time don’t bode well for the near future of the United States.

Louisville Journal XXX, No. 116 (1860): 2

Ancient Christmas Carol: When Righteous Joseph Wedded Was

T'oros_Roslin_-_Joseph's_Dream_-_Walters

– 25 December 2015 –

Barzillai “19th Century” Bozarth:

19th-century-barzillai

When Righteous Joseph Wedded Was

I.
When righteous Joseph wedded was
To Israel’s Hebrew maid,
The Angel Gabriel came from Heav’n,
And to the Virgin said :
Hail, blessed Mary, full of grace,
The Lord remain on thee ;
Thou shalt conceive and bear a Son,
Our Saviour for to be.

Chorus.
Then sing you all, both great and small,
Now well, now well, now well ;
We may rejoice to hear the voice
Of the Angel Gabriel.

II.
Tis wondrous strange, said Mary then,
I should conceive and breed,
Being never touched by mortal man,
But pure in word and deed.
The Angel Gabriel thus reply’d,
‘Tis not the work of man,
But as the Lord in Heav’n decreed,
Before the world began.—Then sing, &c.

III.
This Heavenly message she believ’d,
And did to Jury go ;
There three months with her friends to stay,
God’s blessed will to show;
And then return’d to Joseph back,
Her husband meek and mild,
Who thought it strange his wife should be
Untouch’d and yet with child.
Then sing, &c.

IV.
Then Joseph he to shun the shame,
Thought her for to forsake,
But then God’s Angel in a dream
His mind did undertake.
Fear not, just Joseph, this thy wife
Is still a spotless maid ;
And not consent of sin, said he,
Against her can be laid.
Then sing, &c.

V.
For she is pure, both maid and wife,
And mother of God’s own heir ;
The babe of Heav’n and blessed lamb
Of Israel’s flock so fair.
To save lost man from Satan’s fold,
Which Adam lost by thrall,
When first in Eden Paradise
Did forfeit by the fall.
Then sing, &c.

Holy-Family

VI.
Thus Mary and her husband kind
Together did remain.
Until the time of Jesus birth,
As Scriptures doth make plain.
As mother, wife, and virtuous maid,
Our Saviour sweet conceiv’d ;
And in due time to bring us him,
Of whom we were bereav’d.
Then sing, &c.

VII.
Sing praises all, both young and old,
To him that wrought such things ;
And all without the means of man,
Sent us the King of Kings ;
Who is of such a spirit bless’d,
That with his might did quell,
The world, the flesh, and by his death,
Did conquer death and hell.

Chorus.
Then sing you all, both great and small,
Now well, now well, now well ;
We may rejoice to hear the voice
Of the Angel Gabriel.

Gilbert, Davies, Some Ancient Christmas Carols with the Tunes to Which They were Formerly Sung in the West of England, 21-23. London: John Nichols and Son, 1822.

Mark Twain: Concerning the Jews

mark-twain-circa-1999

– 29 October 2015 –

Barzillai “19th Century” Bozarth:

19th-century-barzillaiIn 1896, Mark Twain wrote an article about political troubles in the Austrian Empire. His description of anti-Semitism in that country generated several letters from American Jews, one of which inspired Twain to write a detailed response in which he analyzes the situation of Jews throughout the world, published in the September 1899 edition of Harper’s Magazine as “Concerning the Jews“.

Twain wrote sympathetically of the Jewish people, citing their civic behavior, charity among themselves, and industriousness along with other upright qualities found among good citizens.  He downplayed religious prejudice as a cause for hatred of the Jews, instead believing that the Gentile, in his inability to compete against Jews on equal terms, grew to disdain this alien people.  Twain then advised Jews to participate more visibly in military service, forming volunteer Jewish fighting units, and to organize themselves as political units, presumably so Gentile nations would find useful allies in Jewish political groups, thus gaining for the Jews the sympathy and cooperation of the ruling classes.

In 1883, the year I was taken, people in the United States did not give much thought about Jews, as they were only a small minority in some of the larger cities.  In Cleveland where I worked, a few Hebrew temples could be found, and Jews owned several businesses, particularly in the garment industry.  From what I could discern, we could only distinguish Cleveland’s Jews from Cleveland’s Christians by the customs of their separate religion, and perhaps, as Mark Twain later wrote in his article, from their conspicuous lack of drunkards and beggars.  Certainly the typical educated American citizen at this time knew of the existence of Jews, and he perhaps engaged in business with them from time to time, but we considered our differences to be religious rather than “racial”, to use a modern term.  While most respectable citizens of my time, including myself, would not associate with the Hebrews in the privacy of our homes because they were non-Christian, we did not find in them anything otherwise objectionable, and in many cases Cleveland’s Jews were highly esteemed.

Keep in mind that large-scale immigration of Jews to the United States really began in the 1880’s, and I lack first-hand experience of these later immigrants who also arrived in Cleveland.  But from what saw in my time, I largely agree with Mark Twain’s assessment in 1899.

Concerning the Jews

By Mark Twain

Some months ago I published a magazine article descriptive of a remarkable scene in the Imperial Parliament in Vienna. Since then I have received from Jews in America several letters of inquiry. They were difficult letters to answer, for they were not very definite. But at last I have received a definite one. It is from a lawyer, and he really asks the questions which the other writers probably believed they were asking. By help of this text I will do the best I can to publicly answer this correspondent, and also the others – at the same time apologizing for having failed to reply privately. The lawyer’s letter reads as follows:

I have read ‘Stirring Times in Austria.’ One point in particular is of vital import to not a few thousand people, including myself, being a point about which I have often wanted to address a question to some disinterested person. The show of military force in the Austrian Parliament, which precipitated the riots, was not introduced by any Jew. No Jew was a member of that body. No Jewish question was involved in the Ausgleich or in the language proposition. No Jew was insulting anybody. In short, no Jew was doing any mischief toward anybody whatsoever. In fact, the Jews were the only ones of the nineteen different races in Austria which did not have a party – they are absolutely non-participants. Yet in your article you say that in the rioting which followed, all classes of people were unanimous only on one thing, viz., in being against the Jews. Now will you kindly tell me why, in your judgment, the Jews have thus ever been, and are even now, in these days of supposed intelligence, the butt of baseless, vicious animosities? I dare say that for centuries there has been no more quiet, undisturbing, and well-behaving citizen, as a class, than that same Jew. It seems to me that ignorance and fanaticism cannot alone account for these horrible and unjust persecutions.

“Tell me, therefore, from your vantage-point of cold view, what in your mind is the cause. Can American Jews do anything to correct it either in America or abroad? Will it ever come to an end? Will a Jew be permitted to live honestly, decently, and peaceably like the rest of mankind? What has become of the Golden Rule?”

I will begin by saying that if I thought myself prejudiced against the Jew, I should hold it fairest to leave this subject to a person not crippled in that way. But I think I have no such prejudice. A few years ago a Jew observed to me that there was no uncourteous reference to his people in my books, and asked how it happened. It happened because the disposition was lacking. I am quite sure that (bar one) I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being – that is enough for me; he can’t be any worse. I have no special regard for Satan; but I can at least claim that I have no prejudice against him. It may even be that I lean a little his way, on account of his not having a fair show. All religions issue bibles against him, and say the most injurious things about him, but we never hear his side. We have none but the evidence for the prosecution, and yet we have rendered the verdict. To my mind, this is irregular. It is un-English; it is un-American; it is French. Without this precedent Dreyfus could not have been condemned. Of course Satan has some kind of a case, it goes without saying. It may be a poor one, but that is nothing; that can be said about any of us. As soon as I can get at the facts I will undertake his rehabilitation myself, if I can find an unpolitic publisher. It is a thing which we ought to be willing to do for any one who is under a cloud. We may not pay him reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents. A person who has for untold centuries maintained the imposing position of spiritual head of four-fifths of the human race, and political head of the whole of it, must be granted the possession of executive abilities of the loftiest order. In his large presence the other popes and politicians shrink to midges for the microscope. I would like to see him. I would rather see him and shake him by the tail than any other member of the European Concert. In the present paper I shall allow myself to use the word Jew as if it stood for both religion and race. It is handy; and, besides, that is what the term means to the general world.

In the above letter one notes these points:

1. The Jew is a well-behaved citizen.

2. Can ignorance and fanaticism alone account for his unjust treatment?

3. Can Jews do anything to improve the situation?

4. The Jews have no party; they are non-participants.

5. Will the persecution ever come to an end?

6. What has become of the Golden Rule?

Point No. 1.

We must grant proposition No. 1 for several sufficient reasons. The Jew is not a disturber of the peace of any country. Even his enemies will concede that. He is not a loafer, he is not a sot, he is not noisy, he is not a brawler nor a rioter, he is not quarrelsome. In the statistics of crime his presence is conspicuously rare – in all countries. With murder and other crimes of violence he has but little to do: he is a stranger to the hangman. In the police court’s daily long roll of “assaults” and “drunk and disorderlies” his name seldom appears. That the Jewish home is a home in the truest sense is a fact which no one will dispute. The family is knitted together by the strongest affections; its members show each other every due respect; and reverence for the elders is an inviolate law of the house. The Jew is not a burden on the charities of the state nor of the city; these could cease from their functions without affecting him. When he is well enough, he works; when he is incapacitated, his own people take care of him. And not in a poor and stingy way, but with a fine and large benevolence. His race is entitled to be called the most benevolent of all the races of men. A Jewish beggar is not impossible, perhaps; such a thing may exist, but there are few men that can say they have seen that spectacle. The Jew has been staged in many uncomplimentary forms, but, so far as I know, no dramatist has done him the injustice to stage him as a beggar. Whenever a Jew has real need to beg, his people save him from the necessity of doing it. The charitable institutions of the Jews are supported by Jewish money, and amply. The Jews make no noise about it; it is done quietly; they do not nag and pester and harass us for contributions; they give us peace, and set us an example – an example which we have not found ourselves able to follow; for by nature we are not free givers, and have to be patiently and persistently hunted down in the interest of the unfortunate.

These facts are all on the credit side of the proposition that the Jew is a good and orderly citizen. Summed up, they certify that he is quiet, peaceable, industrious, unaddicted to high crimes and brutal dispositions; that his family life is commendable; that he is not a burden upon public charities; that he is not a beggar; that in benevolence he is above the reach of competition. These are the very quint-essentials of good citizenship. If you can add that he is as honest as the average of his neighbors – But I think that question is affirmatively answered by the fact that he is a successful business man. The basis of successful business is honesty; a business cannot thrive where the parties to it cannot trust each other. In the matter of numbers of the Jew counts for little in the overwhelming population of New York; but that his honesty counts for much is guaranteed by the fact that the immense wholesale business houses of Broadway, from the Battery to Union Square, is substantially in his hands.

jewish-ghetto-new-york2

I suppose that the most picturesque example in history of a trader’s trust in his fellow-trader was one where it was not Christian trusting Christian, but Christian trusting Jew. That Hessian Duke who used to sell his subjects to George III. to fight George Washington with got rich at it; and by-and-by, when the wars engendered by the French Revolution made his throne too warm for him, he was obliged to fly the country. He was in a hurry, and had to leave his earnings behind – $9,000,000. He had to risk the money with some one without security. He did not select a Christian, but a Jew – a Jew of only modest means, but of high character; a character so high that it left him lonesome – Rothschild of Frankfort. Thirty years later, when Europe had become quiet and safe again, the Duke came back from overseas, and the Jew returned the loan, with interest added. ^*

[Footnote *: Here is another piece of picturesque history; and it reminds us that shabbiness and dishonesty are not the monopoly of any race or creed, but are merely human:

“Congress has passed a bill to pay $379.56 to Moses Pendergrass, of Libertyville, Missouri. The story of the reason of this liberality is pathetically interesting, and shows the sort of pickle that an honest man may get into who undertakes to do an honest job of work for Uncle Sam. In 1886 Moses Pendergrass put in a bid for the contract to carry the mail on the route from Knob Lick to Libertyville and Coffman, thirty miles a day, from July 1, 1887, for one year. He got the postmaster at Knob Lick to write the letter for him, and while Moses intended that his bid should be $400, his scribe carelessly made it $4. Moses got the contract, and did not find out about the mistake until the end of the first quarter, when he got his first pay. When he found at what rate he was working he was sorely cast down, and opened communication with the Post-Office Department. The department informed him that he must either carry out his contract or throw it up, and that if he threw it up his bondsmen would have to pay the government $1459.85 damages. So Moses carried out his contract, walked thirty miles every week-day for a year, and carried the mail, and received for his labor $4 – or, to be accurate, $6.84; for, the route being extended after his bid was accepted, the pay was proportionately increased. Now, after ten years, a bill was finally passed to pay to Moses the difference between what he earned in that unlucky year and what he received.”

The Sun, which tells the above story, says that bills were introduced in three or four Congresses for Moses’ relief, and that committees repeatedly investigated his claim.

It took six Congresses, containing in their persons the compressed virtues of 70,000,000 of people, and cautiously and carefully giving expression to those virtues in the fear of God and the next election, eleven years to find out some way to cheat a fellow-Christian out of about $13 on his honestly executed contract, and out of nearly $300 due him on its enlarged terms. And they succeeded. During the same time they paid out $1,000,000,000 in pensions – a third of it unearned and undeserved. This indicates a splendid all-around competency in theft, for it starts with farthings, and works its industries all the way up to ship-loads. It may be possible that the Jews can beat this, but the man that bets on it is taking chances.]

The Jew has his other side. He has some discreditable ways, though he has not a monopoly of them, because he cannot get entirely rid of vexatious Christian competition. We have seen that he seldom transgresses the laws against crimes of violence. Indeed, his dealings with courts are almost restricted to matters connected with commerce. He has a reputation for various small forms of cheating, and for practising oppressive usury, and for burning himself out to get the insurance, and for arranging cunning contracts which leave him an exit but lock the other man in, and for smart evasions which find him safe and comfortable just within the strict letter of the law, when court and jury know very well that he has violated the spirit of it. He is a frequent and faithful and capable officer in the civil service, but he is charged with an unpatriotic disinclination to stand by the flag as a soldier – like the Christian Quaker.

Now if you offset these discreditable features by the creditable ones summarized in a preceding paragraph beginning with the words, “These facts are all on the credit side,” and strike a balance, what must the verdict be? This, I think: that, the merits and demerits being fairly weighed and measured on both sides, the Christian can claim no superiority over the Jew in the matter of good citizenship.

Yet in all countries, from the dawn of history, the Jew has been persistently and implacably hated, and with frequency persecuted.

Point No. 2.

“Can fanaticism alone account for this?”

Years ago I used to think that it was responsible for nearly all of it, but latterly I have come to think that this was an error. Indeed, it is now my conviction that it is responsible for hardly any of it.

In this connection I call to mind Genesis, chapter xlvii.

We have all thoughtfully – or unthoughtfully – read the pathetic story of the years of plenty and the years of famine in Egypt, and how Joseph, with that opportunity, made a corner in broken hearts, and the crusts of the poor, and human liberty – a corner whereby he took a nation’s money all away, to the last penny; took a nation’s livestock all away, to the last hoof; took a nation’s land away, to the last acre; then took the nation itself, buying it for bread, man by man, woman by woman, child by child, till all were slaves; a corner which took everything, left nothing; a corner so stupendous that, by comparison with it, the most gigantic corners in subsequent history are but baby things, for it dealt in hundreds of millions of bushels, and its profits were reckonable by hundreds of millions of dollars, and it was a disaster so crushing that its effects have not wholly disappeared from Egypt to-day, more than three thousand years after the event.

Is it presumable that the eye of Egypt was upon Joseph the foreign Jew all this time? I think it likely. Was it friendly? We must doubt it. Was Joseph establishing a character for his race which would survive long in Egypt? and in time would his name come to be familiarly used to express that character – like Shylock’s? It is hardly to be doubted. Let us remember that this was centuries before the crucifixion.

I wish to come down eighteen hundred years later and refer to a remark made by one of the Latin historians. I read it in a translation many years ago, and it comes back to me now with force. It was alluding to a time when people were still living who could have seen the Savior in the flesh. Christianity was so new that the people of Rome had hardly heard of it, and had but confused notions of what it was. The substance of the remark was this: Some Christians were persecuted in Rome through error, they being “mistaken for Jews.”

The meaning seems plain. These pagans had nothing against Christians, but they were quite ready to persecute Jews. For some reason or other they hated a Jew before they even knew what a Christian was. May I not assume, then, that the persecution of Jews is a thing which antedates Christianity and was not born of Christianity? I think so. What was the origin of the feeling?

When I was a boy, in the back settlements of the Mississippi Valley, where a gracious and beautiful Sunday-school simplicity and unpracticality prevailed, the “Yankee” (citizen of the New England States) was hated with a splendid energy. But religion had nothing to do with it. In a trade, the Yankee was held to be about five times the match of the Westerner. His shrewdness, his insight, his judgment, his knowledge, his enterprise, and his formidable cleverness in applying these forces were frankly confessed, and most competently cursed.

In the cotton States, after the war, the simple and ignorant negroes made the crops for the white planter on shares. The Jew came down in force, set up shop on the plantation, supplied all the negro’s wants on credit, and at the end of the season was proprietor of the negro’s share of the present crop and of part of his share of the next one. Before long, the whites detested the Jew, and it is doubtful if the negro loved him.

carpetbagger

“The Jew came down in force, set up shop on the plantation, supplied all the negro’s wants on credit, and at the end of the season was proprietor of the negro’s share of the present crop and of part of his share of the next one.”

The Jew is being legislated out of Russia. The reason is not concealed. The movement was instituted because the Christian peasant and villager stood no chance against his commercial abilities. He was always ready to lend money on a crop, and sell vodka and other necessaries of life on credit while the crop was growing. When settlement day came he owned the crop; and next year or year after he owned the farm, like Joseph.

In the dull and ignorant England of John’s time everybody got into debt to the Jew. He gathered all lucrative enterprises into his hands; he was the king of commerce; he was ready to be helpful in all profitable ways; he even financed crusades for the rescue of the Sepulchre. To wipe out his account with the nation and restore business to its natural and incompetent channels he had to be banished the realm.

For the like reasons Spain had to banish him four hundred years ago, and Austria about a couple of centuries later.

In all the ages Christian Europe has been obliged to curtail his activities. If he entered upon a mechanical trade, the Christian had to retire from it. If he set up as a doctor, he was the best one, and he took the business. If he exploited agriculture, the other farmers had to get at something else. Since there was no way to successfully compete with him in any vocation, the law had to step in and save the Christian from the poor-house. Trade after trade was taken away from the Jew by statute till practically none was left. He was forbidden to engage in agriculture; he was forbidden to practise law; he was forbidden to practise medicine, except among Jews; he was forbidden the handicrafts. Even the seats of learning and the schools of science had to be closed against this tremendous antagonist. Still, almost bereft of employments, he found ways to make money, even ways to get rich. Also ways to invest his takings well, for usury was not denied him. In the hard conditions suggested, the Jew without brains could not survive, and the Jew with brains had to keep them in good training and well sharpened up, or starve. Ages of restriction to the one tool which the law was not able to take from him – his brain – have made that tool singularly competent; ages of compulsory disuse of his hands have atrophied them, and he never uses them now. This history has a very, very commercial look, a most sordid and practical commercial look, the business aspect of a Chinese cheap-labor crusade. Religious prejudices may account for one part of it, but not for the other nine.

Protestants have persecuted Catholics, but they did not take their livelihoods away from them. The Catholics have persecuted the Protestants with bloody and awful bitterness, but they never closed agriculture and the handicrafts against them. Why was that? That has the candid look of genuine religious persecution, not a trade-union boycott in a religious disguise.

The Jews are harried and obstructed in Austria and Germany, and lately in France; but England and America give them an open field and yet survive. Scotland offers them an unembarrassed field too, but there are not many takers. There are a few Jews in Glasgow, and one in Aberdeen; but that is because they can’t earn enough to get away. The Scotch pay themselves that compliment, but it is authentic.

I feel convinced that the Crucifixion has not much to do with the world’s attitude towards the Jew; that the reasons for it are older than that event, as suggested by Egypt’s experience and by Rome’s regret for having persecuted an unknown quantity called a Christian, under the mistaken impression that she was merely persecuting a Jew. Merely a Jew – a skinned eel who was used to it, presumably. I am persuaded that in Russia, Austria, and Germany nine-tenths of the hostility to the Jew comes from the average Christian’s inability to compete successfully with the average Jew in business – in either straight business or the questionable sort.

In Berlin, a few years ago, I read a speech which frankly urged the expulsion of the Jews from Germany; and the agitator’s reason was as frank as his proposition. It was this: that eighty-five per cent. of the successful lawyers of Berlin were Jews, and that about the same percentage of the great and lucrative businesses of all sorts in Germany were in the hands of the Jewish race! Isn’t it an amazing confession? It was but another way of saying that in a population of 48,000,000, of whom only 500,000 were registered as Jews, eighty-five per cent. of the brains and honesty of the whole was lodged in the Jews. I must insist upon the honesty – it is an essential of successful business, taken by and large. Of course it does not rule out rascals entirely, even among Christians, but it is a good working rule, nevertheless. The speaker’s figures may have been inexact, but the motive of persecution stands out as clear as day.

The man claimed that in Berlin the banks, the newspapers, the theatres, the great mercantile, shipping, mining, and manufacturing interests, the big army and city contracts, the tramways, and pretty much all other properties of high value, and also the small businesses, were in the hands of the Jews. He said the Jew was pushing the Christian to the wall all along the line; that it was all a Christian could do to scrape together a living; and that the Jew must be banished, and soon – there was no other way of saving the Christian. Here in Vienna, last autumn, an agitator said that all these disastrous details were true of Austria-Hungary also; and in fierce language he demanded the expulsion of the Jews. When politicians come out without a blush and read the baby act in this frank way, unrebuked, it is a very good indication that they have a market back of them, and know where to fish for votes.

You note the crucial point of the mentioned agitation; the argument is that the Christian cannot compete with the Jew, and that hence his very bread is in peril. To human beings this is a much more hate-inspiring thing than is any detail connected with religion. With most people, of a necessity, bread and meat take first rank, religion second. I am convinced that the persecution of the Jew is not due in any large degree to religious prejudice.

No, the Jew is a money-getter; and in getting his money he is a very serious obstruction to less capable neighbors who are on the same quest. I think that that is the trouble. In estimating worldly values the Jew is not shallow, but deep. With precocious wisdom he found out in the morning of time that some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power, some worship God, and that over these ideals they dispute and cannot unite – but that they all worship money; so he made it the end and aim of his life to get it. He was at it in Egypt thirty-six centuries ago; he was at it in Rome when that Christian got persecuted by mistake for him; he has been at it ever since. The cost to him has been heavy; his success has made the whole human race his enemy – but it has paid, for it has brought him envy, and that is the only thing which men will sell both soul and body to get. He long ago observed that a millionaire commands respect, a two-millionaire homage, a multi-millionaire the deepest deeps of adoration. We all know that feeling; we have seen it express itself. We have noticed that when the average man mentions the name of a multi-millionaire he does it with that mixture in his voice of awe and reverence and lust which burns in a Frenchman’s eye when it falls on another man’s centime.

Point No. 4.

“The Jews have no party; they are non-participants.”

Perhaps you have let the secret out and given yourself away. It seems hardly a credit to the race that it is able to say that; or to you, sir, that you can say it without remorse; more than you should offer it as a plea against maltreatment, injustice, and oppression. Who gives the Jew the right, who gives any race the right, to sit still, in a free country, and let somebody else look after its safety? The oppressed Jew was entitled to all pity in the former times under brutal autocracies, for he was weak and friendless, and had no way to help his case. But he has ways now, and he has had them for a century, but I do not see that he has tried to make serious use of them. When the Revolution set him free in France it was an act of grace – the grace of other people; he does not appear in it as a helper. I do not know that he helped when England set him free. Among the Twelve Sane Men of France who have stepped forward with great Zola at their head to fight (and win, I hope and believe ^*) the battle for the most infamously misused Jew of modern times, do you find a great or rich or illustrious Jew helping? In the United States he was created free in the beginning – he did not need to help, of course. In Austria and Germany and France he has a vote, but of what considerable use is it to him? He doesn’t seem to know how to apply it to the best effect. With all his splendid capacities and all his fat wealth he is to-day not politically important in any country. In America, as early as 1854, the ignorant Irish hod-carrier, who had a spirit of his own and a way of exposing it to the weather, made it apparent to all that he must be politically reckoned with; yet fifteen years before that we hardly knew what an Irishman looked like. As an intelligent force and numerically, he has always been away down, but he has governed the country just the same. It was because he was organized. It made his vote valuable – in fact, essential.

[Footnote *: The article was written in the summer of 1898. – Ed.]

You will say the Jew is everywhere numerically feeble. That is nothing to the point – with the Irishman’s history for an object-lesson. But I am coming to your numerical feebleness presently. In all parliamentary countries you could no doubt elect Jews to the legislatures – and even one member in such a body is sometimes a force which counts. How deeply have you concerned yourselves about this in Austria, France, and Germany? Or even in America, for that matter? You remark that the Jews were not to blame for the riots in this Reichsrath here, and you add with satisfaction that there wasn’t one in that body. That is not strictly correct; if it were, would it not be in order for you to explain it and apologize for it, not try to make a merit of it? But I think that the Jew was by no means in as large force there as he ought to have been, with his chances. Austria opens the suffrage to him on fairly liberal terms, and it must surely be his own fault that he is so much in the background politically.

As to your numerical weakness. I mentioned some figures awhile ago – 500,000 – as the Jewish population of Germany. I will add some more – 6,000,000 in Russia, 5,000,000 in Austria, 250,000 in the United States. I take them from memory; I read them in the Cyclopaedia Britannica ten or twelve years ago. Still, I am entirely sure of them. If those statistics are correct, my argument is not as strong as it ought to be as concerns America, but it still has strength. It is plenty strong enough as concerns Austria, for ten years ago 5,000,000 was nine per cent. of the empire’s population. The Irish would govern the Kingdom of Heaven if they had a strength there like that.

I have some suspicions; I got them at second-hand, but they have remained with me these ten or twelve years. When I read in the C. B. that the Jewish population of the United States was 250,000, I wrote the editor, and explained to him that I was personally acquainted with more Jews than that in my country, and that his figures were without a doubt a misprint for 25,000,000. I also added that I was personally acquainted with that many there; but that was only to raise his confidence in me, for it was not true. His answer miscarried, and I never got it; but I went around talking about the matter, and people told me they had reason to suspect that for business reasons many Jews whose dealings were mainly with the Christians did not report themselves as Jews in the census. It looked plausible; it looks plausible yet. Look at the city of New York; and look at Boston, and Philadelphia, and New Orleans, and Chicago, and Cincinnati, and San Francisco – how your race swarms in those places! – and everywhere else in America, down to the least little village. Read the signs on the marts of commerce and on the shops; Goldstein (gold stone), Edelstein (precious stone), Blumenthal (flower-vale), Rosenthal (rose-vale), Veilchenduft (violet odor), Singvogel (song-bird), Rosenzweig (rose branch), and all the amazing list of beautiful and enviable names which Prussia and Austria glorified you with so long ago. It is another instance of Europe’s coarse and cruel persecution of your race; not that it was coarse and cruel to outfit it with pretty and poetical names like those, but that it was coarse and cruel to make it pay for them or else take such hideous and often indecent names that to-day their owners never use them; or, if they do, only on official papers. And it was the many, not the few, who got the odious names, they being too poor to bribe the officials to grant them better ones.

Now why was the race renamed? I have been told that in Prussia it was given to using fictitious names, and often changing them, so as to beat the tax-gatherer, escape military service, and so on; and that finally the idea was hit upon of furnishing all the inmates of a house with one and the same surname, and then holding the house responsible right along for those inmates, and accountable for any disappearances that might occur; it made the Jews keep track of each other, for self-interest’s sake, and saved the government the trouble. ^*

[Footnote *: In Austria the renaming was merely done because the Jews in some newly acquired regions had no surnames, but were mostly named Abraham and Moses, and therefore the tax-gatherer could not tell t’other from which, and was likely to lose his reason over the matter. The renaming was put into the hands of the War Department, and a charming mess the graceless young lieutenants made of it. To them a Jew was of no sort of consequence, and they labelled the race in a way to make the angels weep. As an example, take these two: Abraham Bellyache and Schmul Godbedamned. – Culled from “Namens Studien,” by Karl Emil Franzos.]

If that explanation of how the Jews of Prussia came to be renamed is correct, if it is true that they fictitiously registered themselves to gain certain advantages, it may possibly be true that in America they refrain from registering themselves as Jews to fend off the damaging prejudices of the Christian customer. I have no way of knowing whether this notion is well founded or not. There may be other and better ways of explaining why only that poor little 250,000 of our Jews got into the Cyclopaedia. I may, of course, be mistaken, but I am strongly of the opinion that we have an immense Jewish population in America.

Point No. 3.

“Can Jews do anything to improve the situation?”

I think so. If I may make a suggestion without seeming to be trying to teach my grandmother how to suck eggs, I will offer it. In our days we have learned the value of combination. We apply it everywhere – in railway systems, in trusts, in trade unions, in Salvation Armies, in minor politics, in major politics, in European Concerts. Whatever our strength may be, big or little, we organize it. We have found out that that is the only way to get the most out of it that is in it. We know the weakness of individual sticks, and the strength of the concentrated fagot. Suppose you try a scheme like this, for instance. In England and America put every Jew on the census-book as a Jew (in case you have not been doing that). Get up volunteer regiments composed of Jews solely, and, when the drum beats, fall in and go to the front, so as to remove the reproach that you have few Massenas among you, and that you feed on a country but don’t like to fight for it. Next, in politics, organize you strength, band together, and deliver the casting vote where you can, and, where you can’t, compel as good terms as possible. You huddle to yourselves already in all countries, but you huddle to no sufficient purpose, politically speaking. You do not seem to be organized, except for your charities. There you are omnipotent; there you compel your due of recognition – you do not have to beg for it. It shows what you can do when you band together for a definite purpose.

And then from America and England you can encourage your race in Austria, France, and Germany, and materially help it. It was a pathetic tale that was told by a poor Jew in Galicia a fortnight ago during the riots, after he had been raided by the Christian peasantry and despoiled of everything he had. He said his vote was of no value to him, and he wished he could be excused from casting it, for, indeed, casting it was a sure damage to him, since no matter which party he voted for, the other party would come straight and take its revenge out of him. Nine per cent. of the population of the empire, these Jews, and apparently they cannot put a plank into any candidate’s platform! If you will send our Irish lads over here I think they will organize your race and change the aspect of the Reichsrath.

You seem to think that the Jews take no hand in politics here, that they are “absolutely non-participants.” I am assured by men competent to speak that this is a very large error, that the Jews are exceedingly active in politics all over the empire, but that they scatter their work and their votes among the numerous parties, and thus lose the advantages to be had by concentration. I think that in America they scatter too, but you know more about that than I do.

Speaking of concentration, Dr. Herzl has a clear insight into the value of that. Have you heard of his plan? He wishes to gather the Jews of the world together in Palestine, with a government of their own – under the suzerainty of the Sultan, I suppose. At the Convention of Berne, last year, there were delegates from everywhere, and the proposal was received with decided favor. I am not the Sultan, and I am not objecting; but if that concentration of the cunningest brains in the world were going to be made in a free country (bar Scotland), I think it would be politic to stop it. It will not be well to let the race find out its strength. If the horses knew theirs, we should not ride any more.

Point No. 5.

“Will the persecution of the Jews ever come to an end?”

On the score of religion, I think it has already come to an end. On the score of race prejudice and trade, I have the idea that it will continue. That is, here and there in spots about the world, where a barbarous ignorance and a sort of mere animal civilization prevail; but I do not think that elsewhere the Jew need now stand in any fear of being robbed and raided. Among the high civilizations he seems to be very comfortably situated indeed, and to have more than his proportionate share of the prosperities going. It has that look in Vienna. I suppose the race prejudice cannot be removed; but he can stand that; it is no particular matter. By his make and ways he is substantially a foreigner wherever he may be, and even the angels dislike a foreigner. I am using this word foreigner in the German sense – stranger. Nearly all of us have an antipathy to a stranger, even of our own nationality. We pile gripsacks in a vacant seat to keep him from getting it; and a dog goes further, and does as a savage would – challenges him on the spot. The German dictionary seems to make no distinction between a stranger and a foreigner; in its view a stranger is a foreigner – a sound position, I think. You will always be by ways and habits and predilections substantially strangers – foreigners – wherever you are, and that will probably keep the race prejudice against you alive.

800px-18960415_antisemitic_political_cartoon_in_Sound_Money

“History Repeats Itself”. “This is the U.S. in the Hands of the Jews”. Anti-Semitic USA political cartoon in 1896. Portrays Uncle Sam being crucified like Jesus. Two figures labeled “Wall Street Pirates” with caricatured Jewish features poke him with a spear and raise a poisoned sponge to his lips. The tub of poison is labeled “Debt”, the poisoned sponge “Interest on Bonds”, and the spear “Single Gold Standard”. Below, figures labeled “Republicanism” (Caricature of James G. Blaine) and “Democracy” (Caricature of Grover Cleveland) pick Uncle Sam’s pockets.

But you were the favorites of Heaven originally, and your manifold and unfair prosperities convince me that you have crowded back into that snug place again. Here is an incident that is significant. Last week in Vienna a hailstorm struck the prodigious Central Cemetery and made wasteful destruction there. In the Christian part of it, according to the official figures, 621 window-panes were broken; more than 900 singing-birds were killed; five great trees and many small ones were torn to shreds and the shreds scattered far and wide by the wind; the ornamental plants and other decorations of the graves were ruined, and more than a hundred tomb-lanterns shattered; and it took the cemetery’s whole force of 300 laborers more than three days to clear away the storm’s wreckage. In the report occurs this remark – and in its italics you can hear it grit its Christian teeth “. . . lediglich die israelitische Abtheilung des Friedhofes vom Hagelwetter ganzlich verschont worden war.” Not a hailstone hit the Jewish reservation! Such nepotism makes me tired.

Point No. 6.

“What has become of the Golden Rule?”

It exists, it continues to sparkle, and is well taken care of. It is Exhibit A in the Church’s assets, and we pull it out every Sunday and give it an airing. But you are not permitted to try to smuggle it into this discussion, where it is irrelevant and would not feel at home. It is strictly religious furniture, like an acolyte, or a contribution-plate, or any of those things. It has never been intruded into business; and Jewish persecution is not a religious passion, it is a business passion.

To conclude. – If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one per cent. of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star-dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in this world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

Postscript The Jew As Soldier

When I published the above article in Harper’s Monthly, I was ignorant – like the rest of the Christian world – of the fact that the Jew had a record as a soldier. I have since seen the official statistics, and I find that he furnished soldiers and high officers to the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War. In the Civil War he was represented in the armies and navies of both the North and the South by 10 per cent. of his numerical strength – the same percentage that was furnished by the Christian populations of the two sections. This large fact means more than it seems to mean; for it means that the Jew’s patriotism was not merely level with the Christian’s, but overpassed it. When the Christian volunteer arrived in camp he got a welcome and applause, but as a rule the Jew got a snub. His company was not desired, and he was made to feel it. That he nevertheless conquered his wounded pride and sacrificed both that and his blood for his flag raises the average and quality of his patriotism above the Christian’s. His record for capacity, for fidelity, and for gallant soldiership in the field is as good as any one’s. This is true of the Jewish private soldiers and the Jewish generals alike. Major-General O. O. Howard speaks of one of his Jewish staff-officers as being “of the bravest and best”; of another – killed at Chancellorsville – as being “a true friend and a brave officer”; he highly praises two of his Jewish brigadier-generals; finally, he uses these strong words: “Intrinsically there are no more patriotic men to be found in the country than those who claim to be of Hebrew descent, and who served with me in parallel commands or more directly under my instructions.”

Fourteen Jewish Confederate and Union families contributed, between them, fifty-one soldiers to the war. Among these, a father and three sons; and another, a father and four sons.

In the above article I was not able to endorse the common reproach that the Jew is willing to feed upon a country but not to fight for it, because I did not know whether it was true or false. I supposed it to be true, but it is not allowable to endorse wandering maxims upon supposition – except when one is trying to make out a case. That slur upon the Jew cannot hold up its head in presence of the figures of the War Department. It has done its work, and done it long and faithfully, and with high approval: it ought to be pensioned off now, and retired from active service.

Twain, Mark, “Concerning the Jews.” Harper’s Weekly, September, 1899.

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