CANANDAIGUA, PUBLISHED BY BEMIS, MORSE & WARD.
No. 27 Vol. XXIII.]
Wednesday, October 5, 1825.
[Whole No. 1171.
The following is the entire speech of M. M. Noah, delivered at the
of the Corner Stone of the city of Ararat, to be located on Grand
will probably be read with interest by all persons feeling a desire
acquainted with the ancient and modern history of the
S P E E C H.
Brothers, Countrymen and Friends,
Having made known by proclamation the re-establishment of the Hebrew
government, having laid the foundation of a city of refuge, an asylum for
the oppressed in this free and happy republic, I avail myself of that portion
of my beloved brethren here assembled, together with this concourse of
my fellow citizens, to unfold the principles, explain the views, and detail
the objects contemplated in the great work of regeneration and
independence to which it has pleased the Almighty to direct my attention.
Truth and justice demand that I should candidly state the motives which
have induced me to aim at higher objects than mere colonization. The
world has a right to know what inducements have led to this declaration
of Independence, and what measures are contemplated to carry the design
into successful execution. The peace of mankind -- the security of persons
and property -- the changes incidental to the revival of the Jewish
government -- the progress and effect of emigration, and all those
vicissitudes arising from change of climate -- new laws and new society,
admonish me to be explicit in my declarations and candid in my statements.
I shall not deceive the expectations of the world.
Two thousand years have nearly elapsed since the dissolution of the
Jewish government, and no period has presented itself more auspiciously
than the present for its reorganization. Peace exists among civilized
powers, the march of learning and science has been rapid and successful,
and mankind are at this day better qualified to estimate the blessings of
toleration and liberal views, and better disposed and capacitated to
encourage and enforce them, than at any former time. Religion generally,
though divided and sub-divided into various sects, assumes a milder
aspect, and feelings of universal love and charity have superceded the
darkness and bigotry of former ages. The nations of the old and new
world including the children of Africa, have had their rights acknowledged,
and their governments recognised. The oldest of nations, powerful in
numbers and great in resources, remains isolated, without a home, a
country or a government.
The Jews have been destined by Providence to remain a distinct people.
Though scattered over the face of the globe they still retain their
homogeneousness of character -- the peculiarity of their tenet, the identity
of their faith. In their prosperity and adversity they have uniformly been
the chosen people -- proud of their God, proud of their distinction, and
even proud of their sufferings. Bending before the tribunals of power,
yielding to persecution and torture, tranquil in misfortune, and resigned
to fate, they patiently endured, not meanly surrendered, they bravely
defended their rights and the rights of their country, and have never
despaired of divine protection or given up hopes of human justice.
Looking forward to a period of regeneration and to the fulfillment of the
prophecies, the Jews have preserved within themselves the elements of
government in having carefully preserved the oracles of God assigned
to their safe keeping, and the time has arrived when their rights as a
nation can be recognized, when, in the enjoyment of independence, the
lights of learning and civilization, and the obligation of industry and
mortality, they can cultivate a friendly and affectionate understanding
with the whole family of mankind and have no longer enemies on earth.
In calling the Jews together under the American Constitution and laws,
and governed by our happy and salutary institutions, it is proper for me
to state that this asylum is temporary and provisionary. The Jews never
should and never will relinquish the just hope of regaining possession of
their ancient heritage, and events in the neighborhood of Palestine
indicate an extraordinary change of affairs.
The Greeks are almost independent of the Ottoman Porte. The Turkish
sceptre becomes weaker daily. Russia will march upon Constantinople.
The Egyptians are cultivating the useful arts, and are encouraging
commerce and agriculture. The Turks, driven beyond the Bosphorus
may leave the land of Canaan free for the occupancy of its rightful
owners, and the wealth and enterprize of the Jews may make it desirable
for them to reclaim their former possession by and with the consent of
the christian powers, who more enlightened, and consequently more
tolerant, may be duly impressed with a sense of justice due to an injured
and oppressed people.
Called together to the Holy Land by the slow but unerring finger of
Providence, the Jews, coming from every quarter of the Globe, would
bring with them the language, habits and prejudices of each country.
Assimilating only in religious doctrines, and divided on temporal
affairs, they would present innumerable difficulties in organizing under
any form of government, and the diversity of opinions and views would
create factions as dangerous and difficult to allay as those fatal ones which
existed in the time of the first and second Temples. It is in this country
that the government of the Jews must be organized. Here under the
influence of perfect freedom, they may study Laws -- cultivate their minds,
acquire liberal principles as to men and measures, and qualify themselves
to direct the energies of a just and honorable government in the land of
Conforming therefore to the constitution and Laws of the United States,
there is no difficulty in organizing and concentrating the Jewish nation.
Originally we were a race of shepherds; each man governed his own
family, and to the enjoyment of domestic happiness they added the
blessings of pure religion. Israel accumulating in strength was led to
Egypt, delivered from bondage and conducted to the promised land, by
the illustrious legislator of the Jews and the great benefactor of mankind.
Moral, political and ecclesiastical code of laws which the Almighty
through Moses, presented to the children of Israel, forms, even at this
day the basis of every civil and religious institution. The victorious
Joshua settled the Israelites in the land of Canaan, and divided it
according to tribes. -- After a short interregnum on his death, the
government of the Judges commenced, which existed 500 years until it
was merged in the kingdom which commenced with Saul and terminated
after a brilliant epoch in the captivity. The government of the High
Priests succeeded and continued 428 years, followed by the Maccabean
Kings of Judah, and the nation became finally dispersed under Herod
In selecting from the primitive, the judicial, the regal and sacerdotal
governments a form best adapted to the times, and also to the condition
of the Jewish people, I have deemed it expedient to re-organize the nation
under the direction of the judges.
The authority of the Judges extended to all religious, military and civil
concerns -- they were absolute and independent like the Kings of Israel
and Judah, with out the ensigns of Sovereignty. The Judges were
immediately from the people, mingling in their deliberations, directing
their energies, commanding their armies, and executing their Laws. The
office, which was not hereditary, conforms in some respect to that of
Chief Magistrate, and is in accordance with the genius and disposition
of the people of this country.
It is difficult at this period to decide with certainty on the manner and
forms adopted in choosing the Judges of Israel. Most of the distinguished
men who had filled that station were "raised up" by divine influence.
Their skill in war, and wisdom in peace, their valour and experience,
their capacity to govern, and incidental and necessary qualifications
calculated to excite public confidence, were passports to office.
Dispersed as the nation now is, and no possibility of concentrating the
general voice, there can be no just power to grant -- no right to withold
-- the office must be assumed by divine permission, and the power
exercised by general consent and approbation. He who assumes this
power, who takes the lead in the great work of regeneration and judges
righteously, will always be sustained by public opinion. By this test I
wish to be judged.
Born in a free country, and educated with liberal principles, familiar with
all the duties of government, having enjoyed the confidence of my
fellow-citizens in various public trusts -- ardently attached to the principles
of our holy faith, and having devoted years of labor and study to
ameliorate the condition of the Jews, with an unsullied conscience and
a firm reliance on Almighty God, I offer myself as an humble instrument
of his divine will and solicit the confidence and protection of our beloved
brethren throughout the world. If there be any person possessing greater
facilities and a more ardent zeal in attempting to restore the Jews to their
rights as a sovereign and independent people, to such will I cheerfully
surrender the trust.
I cannot be insensible to the many difficulties which may present
themselves in the successful progress of the great work of regeneration.
The attempt may be pronounced visionary and impracticable -- the
reluctance of some to countenance the effort -- the timidity of others, and
the apprehensions of all may be arrayed against an enterprize extraordinary
and interesting, but always feasible. -- I indulge in no chimerical views, I
know this country, its soil, climate and resources, and confidently embark
in the undertaking. Firm of purpose, when the object is public good, I
allow no difficulties to check my progress. Urged to its consideration by
strong and irresistible impulse, the project has always presented itself to
me in the most cheering light, in the most alluring colors; and if the
attempt shall result in ameliorating the condition of the Jews, and shall
create a generous and liberal feeling towards them and open to them the
avenues of science, learning, fame, honor and happiness, who shall say
that I have failed? I ask the trial -- and will abide the result.
The Hebrew nation, with its sublime Theocracy, its moral laws, its warlike
character and powerful government, originated in a family of shepherds.
From an ancestry not more illustrious, arose the heroes and sages of
Greece, and to the neglected children of the forest was Rome, once mistress
of the world, indebted for existence. From origins the most humble, and
from projects the most doubtful, the world has been indebted for signal
benefits and blessings. A few pilgrims, driven to our continent by European
persecution, have laid the foundations of a splendid empire. We have
less difficulties to encounter, because we are surrounded by civilization;
and a few Jews in this happy land admonished by the past, and stimulated
by anticipations of the future, may increase rapidly and prosperously, and
under good government and wholesome laws, may fall back in time
towards the Pacific Ocean, and possess a country the most fertile as it is
capacious and valuable. We have long been captives in a land of strangers;
we have long submitted patiently to oppression; we have long anxiously
expected a temporal deliverance; but throughout the most terrible periods
of calamity, we have done nothing for ourselves. The Almighty, who has
covered us with the shield of his personal love, has given us moral agents,
by which with his divine aid, we are to affect our own deliverance. We
have senses, judgements, powers of self-government, energy, capacity
and wealth. If, with all these great requisites we still "hang our harps
upon the willow," we still cover ourselves with sackcloth and ashes
and do not make one effort for independence, how can we reasonably
continue to supplicate God for our restoration, who made man in his
own image and proclaimed him free? -- Why should the parent of nations,
the oldest of people, the founders of religion, wander among the
governments of the earth, intreating succor and protection, when we are
capable of protecting ourselves?
The time has emphatically arrived to do something calculated to benefit
our own condition, and excite the admiration of the world, and we must
commence the work in a country free from ignoble prejudices and legal
disqualifications -- a country, in which liberty can be ensured to the Jews
without the loss of one drop of blood.
The present condition of our people throughout the world is not without
interest and instruction. The rightful possessors of Palestine are slaves
in their own territory, and the pious attachment of the resident Jews of
the Holy Land, gives them the highest claims on our charity and protection.
There are several hundred families in Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tiberius,
three of the most ancient congregations in the world, and the number in
the Holy Land may be computed at 100,000. Those on the borders of the
Mediteranean, are engaged in trade and manufactures; those in the
interior, and particularly in Jerusalem, are poor and dreadfully oppressed.
They are the great sentinels and guardians of the law and religion, and
amidst the severest privations and the most intense sufferings, they have
for centuries kept their eye upon the ruined site of the temple and said,
"the time will come -- the day will be accomplished." The Samaritan
Jews, which formerly were numerous and scattered over Egypt, Damascus,
Ascalon and Caesarea, are now reduced to a few hundred poor inoffensive persons,
principally residents of Jaffa and Naplouse. As there is no
essential difference between their doctrines and the rest of our brethren,
the distinction between them should cease. The Caraite Jews, who are
numerous, are principally residents of the Crimea and the Ukraine, and
are a respectable body of men. They reject the Talmud and rabbinical
doctrines, adhering closely to the precepts of our divine law. On the
borders of Cochin China, we have a large colony of black and white Jews.
Their numbers are computed at 10,000. -- The white Jews reside on the
sea coast and the blacks in the interior. The blacks, who call themselves
Beni Israel, must have existed at the time of the first temple. The
researches in the interior of Africa may, at some future period, give us
immense colonies of Jews, which emigrated at an early period from
Egypt. They are on the coast of Malabar and Coromandel, and in the
interior of India, a considerable number of wealthy and enterprising
Israelites. Measures will be adopted to ascertain their force and condition.
Upwards of a million and a half Jews reside in the dominions of the
Ottoman Porte, including the Barbary States. In Constantinople and
Salonichi, there cannot be less than one hundred thousand. They suffer
much from the oppression of the Turks -- are severely taxed, and treated
with undisguised severity; but their skill in trade and their general
quickness and intelligence as bankers, brokers and merchants, give them
the entire control of commerce and the command of important confidential
stations in the empire. The same character and condition may be likewise
attributed to those numerous Jews residing in Egypt and in Persia; they
have many wealthy men in Alexandria, Cairo, Ispahan, and the
numerous cities beyond the Euphrates.
From countries yet uncivilized, we turn to those, which still withholding
the rights of man from the descendants of the Patriarchs, are nevertheless
more mild and tolerant in their measures, more liberal and generous to
an afflicted people.
The settlement of the Jews in England was coeval with Julius Caesar; the
inroads of the Saxons and Danes have obliterated much of the chronicles
and traditions relative to their early existence in that country. William
the Conqueror brought with him a large colony from Normandy, and
for a stipulated sum of money conferred upon them certain commercial
privileges, and assigned them places to inhabit. It was in the feudal ages
that the Jews of Britain were the most enlightened, tolerant, and polished.
Opulent in circumstances and enterprising in the development of
resources, they gave an early impetus and direction to that trade and
commerce, which has since successfully extended itself to every quarter
of the globe. -- During the reign of William Rufus and Henry II, the Jews
were favored and protected, though always considered vassals of the
crown, to be tolerated or pillaged according to the caprice of government.
The cruelty practised towards them during the misguided periods of the
crusade, caused many of the most respectable to abandon the country.
Several families however, returned under an invitation from King John,
to be again pillaged, proscribed and murdered; and for five hundred years
their condition underwent no material change.
but too frequently oppressed, deprived of the natural rights of subjects
and citizens, it was not surprising if the Jews of England, during those
periods, acquired wealth without consideration, and power without
respect. -- During the reign of King George II a bill was introduced in
Parliament for the naturalization of the Jews, It was supported by the
ministry, though opposed with warmth by the people, and produced
great excitement in the public mind. It nevertheless became a law;
but such was the strenuous opposition manifested on the occasion,
that it was considered prudent to repeal it at the ensuing session. The
same legal disqualifications still exist in Great Britain; but it is
gratifying to know, that the government affords to Jews certain rights,
immunities and protection, and our people in that country in addition
to wealth and influence, are rapidly advancing in the career of learning
and civilization, of charity and liberal feelings.
The miseries inflicted upon our nation in England, during the Crusade,
extended their unhappy consequences to France. The Jews were among
the earliest settlers of Gaul, and by their superior talent and advantages,
endeavored to encourage and extend civilization among a rude and
barbarous people. Their sufferings, banishments and massacres during
the reigns of Philip Augustus, Lewis the ninth, Philip the Fair, Philip
the Tall, Charles the sixth and several successive kings, fill the sanguinary
pages of history, and present a list of enormities that makes humanity
shudder. In 1566, they were all banished the kingdom, and in the
succeeding year, only four families were permitted to return. In the 17th
& 18th centuries, they were gradually permitted to re-occupy their former
places of residence, though still exposed to the scorn of the ignorant and
the insults of the barbarians, and such feelings were encouraged and
perpetuated by an edict of the government compelling them to wear a
During the French Revolution the Jews claimed from the constituent
Assembly, the rights of citizens; many enlightened statesmen espoused
their cause, and the decree of 1790 gave them a legal existence. Among
the philanthropists of the age who raised his voice successfully in their
behalf, was my venerable and pious friends, the Bishop Gregoire, to
whom the Jews owe an incalculable debt of gratitude. The civil revolution
in the condition of our brethren in France, gave rise to the moral one,
which resulted from the proceedings of the Sanhedrin, convened at Paris,
by the decree of 1806, and which presented to the world a galaxy of talent
and learning which would do honor to any age or country. The Jews in
France are citizens, and the charter granted by the good king, Louis the
18th, confirmed all their rights. They are manufacturers, agriculturalists,
merchants and bankers, and many of them possess distinguished talents.
The history of our people in Spain is of peculiar interest. Spain was a
country dear to the Jews, and after their dispersion, the seat of learning
and the birth place of our greatest scholars.
The Jews first appeared in Spain, during the reign of Emperor Adrian,
and in his time were numerous and wealthy, but like our brethren in
Britain and France, their lives and property were held by a frail tenure,
and the Goths exercised a lucrative oppression over this proscribed
and unhappy people.
After the expulsion of the Jews from Syria and Egypt, they joined the
Saracens and aided them in the conquest of Spain. Favored by the Caliphs
and united by a reciprocal hospitality towards the christians, the Jews
found asylum and protection from the Saracen Monarchs, and the most
brilliant epoch in our history from the destruction of the temple, may be
traced to this period. In the early ages the Jews were enlightened and
learned in the Law, they were the foes of paganism, the enemies of idolators;
but it was under the Caliphs of Bagdad, and the Saracens of Spain that they
cultivated the sciences, and established Seminaries of learning, and
schools of literature and philosophy.
The revolutions in that country commencing in the eleventh century,
eventuated unfortunately for the Jews, and the war declared by
Ferdinand against the Saracens, was the commencement of their troubles
and calamities. -- During the eleventh and twelfth centuries many learned
Rabbis appeared, which did honor to the age and country. They were not
only deeply versed in cabalistical, allegorical and mystical interpretations
of the laws, but distinguished mathematicians, astronomers, masters of the
dead and living languages, and natural philosophers. In Toledo and
Andalusia they had colleges in the most flourishing condition, and the
piety and illustrious talents of Abraham Ben Esdra, Maimonides, Kimchi,
Jarchi Haleri, Abravenel, and others, attested the brilliancy of that epoch in
Jewish history. The fury of the Crusades was perhaps more severely felt by
the Jews in Spain than in any other part of the world, and more of our
people abandoned that country than were brought out of the land of Egypt
by Moses. Under the enlightened and liberal Moorish Kings, the Jews lived
prosperously in Spain, but the destruction of the Moors caused their ruin,
and to this day they have been banished from the country. Upwards of a
million of Jews speak the Spanish language, and will never cease to regret
the barbarous edicts which prohibit their residence in that beautiful but
neglected part of the globe.
Spain is a miraculous and providential instance of the impolity and impiety
of religious persecutions. She is weaker in resources, in character, in the
means of sustaining independence and national rights, in arts and in arms,
than when under the dominion of the Caliphs.
Portugal in ancient and modern times was not more liberal, tolerant, and
humane towards the Jews than Spain; they banished, tortured, and burnt
them, and Portugal from this proscriptive and cruel system is not more
happily conditioned than her neighbor.
The Jews have resided in Rome since they were brought captive to that
Capital, by Titus Vespasianous, yet, while subjected to the persecution of
the christian monarchs throughout Europe, it is pleasing to recollect and
grateful to acknowledge the kindness and protection afforded them by
several of the Roman Pontiffs, particularly Gregory the Great, Alexander
2d, Gregory the 9th, Clement the 5th, Clement 6th, Boniface 9th, Nicholas
2d. Alexander 6th, Paul 3d, &c. Men who practised the precepts which they
preached. In modern times the Jews have been tranquil residents of that
ancient City, yet at this day they are compelled to wear a distinctive badge,
to reside in a separate part of the town, and at periods to attend mass under
a certain penalty. In most of the cities in Italy, the Jews enjoy protection
and privileges; they are a cultivated people, far advanced in science and
polite literature, and I have long esteemed them as a learned and
distinguished branch of the nation.
Many of the emigrants from Spain and Portugal, took refuge in Holland,
which together with those from Germany, formed a considerable
congregation, and in the 17th century they were wealthy and flourishing.
The Jews in Amsterdam established colleges and academies, over which
some of the greatest men of our nation have presided. It is supposed that
there are nearly 100,000 Jews in Holland, mostly residents of Amsterdam.
-- In comparison with the cruelties inflicted upon our nation by other
powers on the continent, the Jews in Holland may have been considered
happy and protected, yet they were neither free by law, nor by public
opinion, and in many instances they were shut out from honorable and
Notwithstanding these prohibitory decrees and unfortunate internal
divisions existing among the nation, Holland has produced many eminent
physicians, counsellors and literary men, particularly since the adoption
of the constitution by the States in 1796, and the Jews are now held in
estimation by the government.
In the Austrian and Russian dominions, in Prussia, Sweden, Denmark and
the Hanseatic towns, and throughout Germany, there must be nearly two
millions and a half of Jews. Nearly a million of which were in Poland
previous to the partition in 1772. In all those countries their condition has
been ameliorated, yet they do not in all enjoy political rights, though their
personal deportment acquires consideration and respect, if merited. Of
late some strong edicts have been passed relative to the Polish & Russian
Jews, & it is to be lamented that they still labor under strong personal and
It will thus be perceived that with all the toleration of the times, with all
the favorable condition of the Jews, they suffer much, and are deprived of
many valuable rights.
Our religion imbraces all that is pure and upright, and all that is just and
generous. In temperance, in industry, in patience and in all the duties of
husband, father, friend and citizen, the Jews may claim an equal rank
with those of any other religious denomination. If there are some who
occasionally wander from the paths of rectitude, let it be remembered that
they are men, and subject to human frailties. If in the narrow and crooked
channels of traffic, in which persecution has driven some of them, they have
at times disregarded the high injunctions of purity and good faith, let us
call to mind that their virtues have never been accredited, while their faults
have been magnified. Shut out from more noble pursuits, they have been
left without that incentive to good actions, that encouragement to upright
conduct, that reward of merit which has been afforded to others.
Why should Christians persecute Jews? Sprung from a common stock, and
connected by human ties which should be binding; if those ties are empty
and evanescent, where is the warrant for this intolerance? not in the
religion which they profess; that teaches mildness, charity and good will
to all. I judge religion from its effects, and when I look round and see the
seminaries of learning and institutions of charity; when I see temperance
united to industry; virtue and wisdom, benevolence and good faith, existing
among Christians; if this be the result of their religion, God forbid that it
should be destroyed. Let it flourish, I will sustain that faith in its purity; but
let us be equally charitable to all. The Jews and Christians are only known
by their hostility towards each other. This hostility neither religion
recognizes. We should no more censure the Christians at this day for the
cruelties practised towards the Jews in the early ages, than the Jews should
now be made answerable for the facious policy of our ancestors 500 years
ago. Times have undergone an important change; we all begin to feel that
we are formed of the same materials, subject to the same frailties, destined
to the same death, and hoping for the same immortality. Here, then, in
this free and happy country, distinctions in religion, are unknown; here
we enjoy liberty without licentiousness, and land without oppression.
Among the many advantages which an asylum in this country promises,
the pursuits of agriculture are the most prominent, and of all pursuits the
The Jews were an agricultural people before they were a nation, the fruitful
vallies of Canaan, the plains of Nineva, Greece, Persia, Egypt, and in
modern times, Lithuania, the Ukraine, and Moldavia, exhibited their
devotion and attachment to this pursuit. In no country on earth can they
enjoy in this respect, equal advantages to those which we hold forth. Land
of a fertile quality, well wooded and watered, may be purchased on the most
reasonable terms; taxes are equalized and moderate; and by a recent act of the
Legislature of this state, aliens can hold any quantity, upon declaring their
intention of becoming citizens. -- This great privilege, which in other
countries is denied to the Jews, is here afforded, together with every personal
security. The lands they cultivate are their own; no sovereign or feudal lord,
or magistrate can wrest their property from them, no tithes, no exactions,
no persecutions await them; they will be called upon to contribute that
moderate support to the government, which is cheerfully yielded by every
good citizen. They will be themselves lords of the soil, and sovereigns in
their own right, eligible to office and honor, and acquiring that consideration
and respect which unavoidably await correct deportment, talents and
The state of New-York is far advanced in improvements of every kind.
There are upwards of six millions of acres of cultivated land, producing
grain in abundance, and every variety of fruit, and rich grazing meadows.
A farm of one hundred acres well cultivated, will, with industry, afford an
ample livelihood and corresponding happiness to a family, I again repeat,
agriculture is the natural and noble pursuit of man. Between the handles
of the plough, in felling the oak of the forest, in the harvest and in the season
of fruits, the farmer is still the same free and happy citizen, and has all the
resources of life within himself. His cattle are raised in his pastures, his
grain produce him bread, his sheep afford him wood, his trees sugar, his
fields flax, he is his own brewer and distiller, his forest affords him fuel, he
has all the comforts and frequently luxuries which wealth can give. He sees
the sun rise in glory and set in majesty. He who wishes to be truly religious
and surrounded with admonitions of piety, should be an agriculturalist.
To the man of capitol, the advantages held forth in this state, are numerous
and acknowledged. To the land proprietor there is plenty and happiness;
to the merchant and trader the most profitable facilities, and unceasing
encouragement as the manufacturer and mechanic.
The laws and customs in Europe, present many obstacles to the Jews
becoming mechanics. -- To be perfectly independent, they should learn
some branches of the mechanic art. In this country, our mechanics are
numerous, opulent and influential. Masons, carpenters, blacksmiths,
tailors, hatters, shoemakers, curriers, and the more light branches of
labor are always amply encouraged, and with the acquirement of a trade
in this country, no industrious man can possibly want.
The rising importance and value of our manufactories, should attract the
attention of Jewish capitalists. The Congress of the United States, has, by a
judicious revision of the Tariff, so regulated the duties on foreign fabrics,
as to give permanent encouragement to our own. The market value of
articles annually manufactured in this state alone, is computed at several
hundred millions of dollars, and the investments are principally in grist-
mills, saw-mills, oil-mills, fulling-mills, iron foundries, trip hammers,
distilleries, tanneries, asheries, breweries, &c.
Grand Island is surrounded by water power, and is admitted to be an
eligible spot for the erection of manufactories.
The organization of a system of Finance for the promotion of emigration,
affording aid to settlers, erecting and supporting institutions of charity,
establishing seminaries of learning, and for all the purposes of an efficient
and economical government, is not without some difficulty. Our means
are ample, but they are defused, spread over the globe, and not readily
A suitable person will be appointed to direct the finance department, and
likewise such other officers as are usually named in all well organized
governments. The Jewish capital throughout the world, may be estimated
at a vast amount. Since the termination of the wars on the Continent, a
great portion of the capital has returned to the coffers of its proprietors. A
few millions of dollars judiciously invested and thrown into the western
district of this state, would realize a reasonable profit, and be of immense
benefit to this thriving and populous section of our country.
During the European wars, many Jews joined the different armies, and I
learn have distinguished themselves in sundry campaigns; several have
been honored with important commissions, and given proof of valour
and fidelity. Such, who prefer a military life, and who at the present period
have arms in their hands, may continue in their ranks; their arms must
never be turned against the country they serve; but we have lost our ancient
military character, and the discipline, courage and constancy, of those who
have in modern times seen service, may be necessary to constitute the
materials from which future armies may be organized.
Wars are necessary in defence of national rights, when unjustly assailed.
So God has thought, and fought with us. So man now thinks. We may not
have again such generals as Joshua, David and Maccabees; but in blending
our people with the great American family, I wish to see them able and
willing to sustain its honor with their lives and fortunes. Time which
matures and brings forth many surprising events, may give to us a territory
beyond the lakes, great in extent and resources; we may occupy a position
of importance on the Pacific, and wherever providence may lead the nations,
I wish to have its rights manifestly sustained.
I have enjoined a strict neutrality between the Greeks and Ottoman Porte.
While it would afford me great happiness to aid any oppressed nation in a
contest for liberty, we must not jeopardize the safety of millions living under
the Mussulman Government, and who would be instantly sacrificed by
their relentless rulers, upon the least succour being afforded to the
revolutionists. While prudence, and a due regard to the safety of innocent
people enjoin us not to mingle in this contest, it is due to the cause of
freedom, not to throw obstacles in the way of its advancement.
The discovery of the lost tribes of Israel, has never ceased to be a subject of
deep interest to the Jews. The divine protection which has been bestowed
upon the chosen people, from the infancy of nature to the present period,
has, without doubt, been equally extended to the missing tribes, and, if as
I have reason to believe, our lost brethren were the ancestors of the Indians
of the American Continent, the inscrutable decrees of the Almighty have
been fulfilled in spreading unity and omnipotence in every quarter of the
globe. Upwards of three thousand years have elapsed, since the nine and
a half tribes were carried captive by Palamanazer, King of Assyria. It is
supposed they were spread over the various countries of the East, and by
their international marriages, have lost their identity of character. It is,
however, probable that from the previous sufferings of the tribes in the
Egyptian bondage, that they bent their course in a northwest [sic] direction,
which brought them within a few leagues of the American Continent. and
which they finally reached.
Those who are most conversant with the public and private economy of the
Indians, are strongly of opinion that they are the lineal descendants of the
Israelites, and my own researches go far to confirm me in the same belief.
The Indians worship one Supreme Being as the fountain of life, and the
author of all creation. -- Like the Israelites of old, they are divided into tribes
having their Chief, and distinctive Symbol to each. Some of their tribes it is
said are named after the Cherubinical figures that were carried on the four
principal standards of Israel. They consider themselves as the distinct people
of God, and have all the religious pride which our ancestors are known to
have possessed. Their words are sonorous and bold, and their language and
dialect are evidently of the Hebrew origin. They compute time after the
manner of the Israelites, by dividing the year into four seasons, and their
subdivisions are the lunar months, our new moons commencing according
to the ecclesiastical year of Moses, the first moon after the vernal equinox.
They have their prophets, high priests, and their sanctum sanctorum, in
which all their consecrated vessels are deposited, and which are only to be
approached by their archimagas or high priest. They have towns and cities
of refuge -- they have sacrifices and fastings -- they abstain from unclean
things, in short, in their marriages, divorces, punishment of adultery --
burial of the dead, mourning, they bear a striking analogy to our people. How
came they on this continent, and if indigenous, when did they acquire the
principles of the Jews? The Indians are not savages, they are wild and savage
in their habits, but possess great vigor of interest and native talent, they are
brave and eloquent people, with Asiatic complexion, Jewish features.
Should we be right in our conjectures, what new scenes are opened to the
nation -- the first of people on the old world, and the rightful inheritors of
the new? Spread from the confines of the northwest coast to Cape Horn, and
from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
If the tribes could be brought together, could be made sensible of their origin,
could be civilized, and restored to their long lost brethren, what joy to our
people, what glory to our God; how certain our dispersion, how miraculous
our preservation, how providential our deliverance.
It shall be my duty to pursue the subject by every means in my power.
I recommend the establishment of emigration societies throughout all
Europe, in order that proper aid may be afforded to those who are disposed
to visit this country, and also to ascertain the character and occupation of
each emigrant, and supplying them with passports and information.
Passage in all cases should be taken for New-York. It should be distinctly
understood by emigrants of limited means, that it will be necessary to have
at least, sufficient to support their families for six months, as in that time
they may be enabled to realize the fruits of enterprize and industry, and
a sufficient sum may at that period be paid into the general Coffers, to aid
them in their purchase of land. No mistaken impression should exist,
that the Jews must not labor in the country; we are all compelled to work.
but with the same portion of industry exercised in other parts of the world,
we realize a greater portion of happiness, tranquillity, and personal rights.
We shall not be prepared to receive emigrants on Grand Island, until the
ensuing summer, and this notice is given to prevent an indiscriminate and
hasty emigration which may defeat many good objects.
Our law prohibited the Kings of Israel from "multiplying to themselves
silver and gold." This prohibition was intended to preserve the people from
ruinous and oppressive taxation, and therefore limited the Sovereign to the
moderate exigencies of his Court: but it appears from our prophet Samuel,
and indeed from the ancient laws of Babylon, also in force among the
Greeks and Romans, that the jus regeum was computed at one tenth. The
tithes afforded to the High priest were of similar value in cattle, first fruits,
the harvest even to "Mint, Cummin and Anise." A considerable portion
was also secured to the Levites. It is, however, obvious that these exactions
were exorbitant, and while they gave splendour to the governments,
they tended to impoverish the people.
Taxes should be equalized and always levied in correspondence with the
wants of the nation. In organizing the Jewish Government, the poorest
should be enabled to participate in the great and glorious act; and with
this view I have imposed a capitation tax of three Shekels of silver,
which is equal to one Spanish dollar, to be paid annually, a sum within
the means of the poorest, and if paid and collected will be amply
sufficient to defray the expenses of the government in its incipient
organization. This small tax, however, does not prevent free will offerings
in our Synagogues, which the liberal and wealthy may make in the
furtherance of the great objects in view.
It is very desirable that education should be more generally diffused among
the Jews, it is the staff of their existence -- the star of their future happiness.
-- There is no part of our religion which should be altered, nothing should
be taken from the law, for if the power of innovation existed, there would
be no end to the pruning knife. Our religious demands from us many
temporal sacrifices, which should be cheerfully yielded, as a slight
acknowledgment for the protecting favors of the Almighty.
Although no law permits polygamy among the Jews, there is no religious
statute which prohibits it, and from this omission, an indulgence is
claimed in the eastern countries incompatible with morality. Having
personally witnessed the observance of this custom among the Jews in
Africa, I have deemed it important as one among the first acts of the
government, to protest against the practice, and abolish it forever. The
duties of Husband and Father can never be safely or honourably fulfilled,
when those duties are subjected to the caprices which sensuality produce.
Neither can a wife thus circumstanced ever receive that consideration,
affection and respect, to which virtuous and good wives, are always entitled.
Another and a serious evil is to be apprehended from the prevalence of this
custom, in the promiscuous, and probably incestuous marriages, which
accidental circumstances may produce among children of one father, and
several living mothers. In civilized communities, the laws which are
paramount, admit of no such privileges. Our religious divorces are too
loosely exercised, and demand the strong arm of authority; marriage is a
sacred tie, and such alliances should not be lightly dissolved.
I have made it imperative on parties contracting matrimony, to read,
write and comprehend the language of the country, which they respectively
inhabit. Early marriages among our people are enjoined by the strongest
principles of religion, and many of those important alliances are formed
even in infancy, and before the responsibility of the obligations can be
duly estimated. It is thus, that ignorance may become hereditary, and a just
policy calls for the adoption of measures, which may secure to children
at least that portion of intelligence and education, which the times demand,
and a future generation will by such means be progressively improved and
There are many subjects of great interest, which I reserve for future
Thus commences auspiciously, I hope, the attempt to revive the
Government of the oldest of nations, and lead them, if not to the promised,
still to the happy land.
The effort may be successful, but otherwise never can be injurious. It
directs public attention to the claims of an oppressed people -- it will
admonish Sovereigns to be just and generous to them -- it may produce a
better state of toleration and religious feelings -- it may place our people in
the road to honor and fame -- it opens to them the avenues of industry and
competence, in short it makes men and citizens of them, gives them a
name, a rank, an interest and a voice among the nations of the earth -- thus,
in fact, fulfilling the promises made to the descendants of the Patriarchs --
that the Lord God, may say to an admiring and astonished world, "Behold
my people Israel -- here is the nation, that I have sworn to protect -- I was
their Shepherd -- their Sun -- their Shade -- their Light and their right hand.
In the days of prosperity, they forgot me not, and in the hour of tribulation
I have not forgotten them." "In a little wrath I hid my face from thee, but
with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy
To Him who shelters and protects the whole family of mankind, the great
omnipotent God, do I commit the destinies of Israel, & pray that he may
have you all in his sage and holy keeping.