28 JANUARY 1882, Page 11


[To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."] SIR,—The attitude which the Spectator has for some time past taken concerning the Jews seems to have reached a culminating

point in last week's article, on the causes of the persecution. It almost forces on thoughtful minds the question whether the Spectator, which so bravely fights the battle of the poor, dumb, tortured creatures, has a graduating scale of sympathy, in which Jews find no place. Surely, even a hardened viviec-

tioniAt envy the philosophic calm with which the writer of this article coolly proceeds to analyse causes, whilst the rest of the English Press, to its honour and our gratitude, is hotly indignant with effects.

Your assertion that the Jews are unproductive and un- originating, although affording no sufficient reason for their being hated or outraged (for if so, how many would escape ?) is disproved by abundant facts. In Russia and Poland, where there is most persecution, a great part of the Jewish population is engaged in agricultural pursuits. In France and Holland, where they have enjoyed freedom longest, they are fully repre- sented among artisans and manufacturers. Indeed, as early as 1825, apprenticeship schools for Jewish youths existed in France. In England, numbers of them are engaged in various handi- crafts, the pursuit of which does not interfere with the observ- ance of their Sabbath. As for their being unoriginating, it is only necessary to refer to Heine, the parent of German Liberal- ism, and to Spinoza, the father Of modern philosophy, to dis- prove your statement.

It is difficult to believe in a writer's seriousness, when he speaks of the Jews of Europe as "Asiatic foreigners." For- eigners or aliens, unfortunately, they are, where they are made so, as in Russia, by arbitrary laws. But although the Jews of England have been here only two centuries, and are being con- tinually recruited from the Continent (not from Asia), none are more English than they. To speak of the Jews as Asiatics is completely to ignore history, which shows how many cen- turies have rolled by since the Jews left Asia, and how com- pletely they have always, when in the enjoyment of freedom, -assimilated themselves to the conditions of the country in which they have lived. The causes of the persecution are not to be found in the unestablished fact you have put forth. Future historians may possibly seek them in the miserable state of Russian rule, and in the generally diffused irritation of a semi- civilised people, chafing under oppressive laws. It certainly did not enter into the minds of the Warsaw rioters, who invented a false charge as pretext for wrecking Jewish homes, that the motive of these outrages was to inflict punishment on unpro- ductive, unoriginating, Asiatic foreigners. Even had it been 80, where was the excuse am, Sir, &c., KATIE MAGNUS.

48 Gloucester Place, Portman Square, W., January 241h.

[Would our correspondent deny that negroes settled in America for centuries are "Africans" still ? The Jews are Asiatics not only in look but thought, having never mixed their blood. An American of the Mayflower descent of unmixed blood is a European. The statement about Jewish agricultur- ists in Russia is denied, even by Jewish writers, who attribute the non-agricultural habits of the Jews to repressive laws. We never dreamt of excusing the outrages, and have steadily pressed -on the Russian Government the total abolition of all disabili- ties.—En. Spectator.]