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Russia and the Jews


The intimation which we threw out in our December number. (p. 472), when speaking of Dr. Lilienthal’s arrival in this country, seems to have been at the moment of our writing it, though of course, unknown to us, but too well-founded by the actual state of the Russian Jews. We are utterly at a loss to understand the movements of Nicholas, with regard to our unfortunate people. One day he seems to desire that they should be educated, and that their condition should be improved; and barely is the ink dry with which he has affixed his signature to the decree, than another is promulgated which would disgrace a Haman or a Nero. It is perfectly useless for us to offer any comments upon the subjoined article, from the Voice of Jacob, No. 118, received since our January number was printed, the substance of which, is taken from the Zeitung des Judenthums, of Dr. Philippson. Our readers will see that the Voice of Jacob thinks it dangerous for the poor oppressed inhabitants of Russia, that any invectives should be uttered against the tyrant in countries, where, thank God! we dare to breathe freely; since such comments might dispose the Autocrat to increase their burdens still farther. The same intimation has been conveyed to us from a gentleman, now in America, who has had ample opportunities to know the manner of doing justice in Russia. But surely Israelites in America, England, France, and Holland, will not thereby be prevented from expressing their sympathy with the oppressed, and their detestation of their oppressor. Yet such proceedings will not relieve them. What can be done? Dr. Frankel, the distinguished Rabbi of Dresden, according to the Voice of Jacob, of January 30th (No. 121), proposes settling them as colonists in more friendly lands. The Editors of the A. Z. d. J., (Dr. Philippson,) of the Voice of Jacob, and the Universal Israelite, coincide in the plan; and America, Palestine, Australia, and other South Sea Islands, are mentioned as the countries whither they should be transplanted, so only that they quit Russia for ever. Gladly would we see them freed from their worse than Egyptian bondage; but how is it to be effected? How are the funds so necessary for this undertaking to be raised? But more than all—how are they to obtain the consent of Nicholas to emigrate? Those who know aught of Russian politics must have learned that it is next to impossible to quit the country without a passport, and one for emigration is not more easily obtained than for a suspected foreigner to obtain entrance into that country. What then is to be done? Can there be any hope to soften the Emperor’s heart, by an appeal to his mercy from the Jews all over Europe and America, for their fellow Israelites in his dominions? We fear that the petition would not be received; there are too many minions around him, who prevent the cry of justice to reach his ears, if they can prevent it; and what is not in their power in an empire where one man is the sole ruler, and where, under his name and sanction, barbarities are committed by the great against the poor, against which they dare not complain! Let our readers think well on this subject, and we shall be glad to receive their suggestions, in order that we in America may also offer our aid to relieve those whose case is one of hardships, against which the state of the much pitied African bondmen in America is care of absolute happiness. More anon.—Ed. Oc.

Note.—The remainder of this article is crowded out till our next.