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dim. « The reformation thus extended, » Mr. Finn concludes, . by Moses Bar-Maimon is practically felt to the present day. • Another such stride would emancipate the people from most « of the rabbinical shackles, by which free investigation is im« peded or punished.”
Our limits will not permit us to enter upon another interesting portion of the annals of the Sephardim, -the extensive travels of the Jews in the middle ages, for which their active commerce and national affinities in all places of their dispersion afforded them unusual facilities. The name of Benjamin of Tudela is however in some degree European ; and his 'Itinerary,' although in ill repute for the ignorance or carelessness of the author whenever he writes of the Gentiles, is singularly «graphic and full on all points relating to the numbers, condition and customs of his own nation. The Itinerary' indeed, as a whole, is not more fabulous than the narratives of Sir John Mandeville, Rubruquis, or even Marco Polo. In it, as in them, many objects familiar to the modern traveller are related with the infantine wonder of inexperience, and many are purposely disguised or symbolized to elude the gaze of a semi-barbarous and bigoted age. Rabbi Benjamin's greatest defect is perhaps his national vanity. The further he advances from home the more wonderful are bis reports of the numbers, the wealth and the dignity of the Jews. And these considerations have induced his Latin, French and English translators to beljeve that he never quitted Spain, but compiled all the travellers’ tales he could meet with concerning other lands. «But,» as Mr. Finn remarks, «the Itine#rary” would probably have met with a kinder reception, • even as a piece of curiosity, had not the relation of the state * and glory of the Prince of the Captivity at Bagdad provoked
the church to condemm it ;» for all who have examined the book are willing to acknowledge, that many incidental allusions to ancient manners, and glimpses of true history, may be collected from it, though not forming the author's chief subject.
Rabbi Benjamin's account, in Mr. Finn's pages, of the Prince of the Captivity is too long for extraction, and does not im
mediately relate to the Sephardim. The following specimens however may convey some idea of the worth and character of the • Itinerary...
«The mighty Rome, which is the metropolis of Edomites. About 200 Jews reside in this city, honourable men, who pay tribute to no power whatever. Several are in the service of Pope Alexander, who is a very great prince, and chief of the Edomitish religion. Here are to be met some very wise men, the principal of whom áre, the great R. Daniel and R. Jehiel the Pope's minister, a handsome young man, wise and prudent, frequenting the palace as first steward, or manager of the pope's affairs. There is to be seen without Rome the palace of Titus, who was rejected by 300 senalors for his disobedience, having spent three years more in the siege of Jerusalem than they had decreed for that purpose. »
The last sentence shows that Benjamin was no. reader of Josephus ; and the account he gives of the favour which his countrymen enjoyed with the Pope corresponds with a shrewd observation of Fuller's :
«They (the Jews) are thick in the Pope's dominions, where they are kept as testimonies of the truth of the Scriptures, and soyl to Christianitie, but chiefly in pretense to convert ihem. But his Holinesse bis converting facultie worketh the strongest at the greatest distance; for the Indians he turneth to his religion, and these Jews he convertelh to his profit.»
The synagogues at Paris he cannot sufficiently commend:
«Here are such disciples of wisdom as are nowhere else to be met with throughout the world, who give themselves up to the study of the law both day and night. They are hospitable to strangers, and behave as brelbren to all their kindred and people... Germany does not greatly attract him :
« This country is full of hills and mountains, in which all the Jewish congregations dwell towards the great river Rhine.»
The rabbi's notice of Jerusalem is curious and characteristic :
«Here is, moreover, that great high place called the sepulchre. of the MAN, which is visited by all who are bound to do so.»
Passing over Mr. Finn's enumeration of the Jewish astronomers and physicians, who in the middle ages made the Spanish universities among the most celebrated in Europe, and attracted to their lecture-rooms crowds of both Gentile and Hebrew students, we must now return to the political
history of the Sephardim. The circumstances of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were generally favourable to the Jews. The Mohammedan dominion was on the wane, but the Christian rulers were not sufficiently established in the peninsula to listen obediently to the suggestions of ecclesiastical jealousy, and the Sephardim were serviceable to the state as ministers of finance, and from the vigour they imparted to foreign and domestic trade. The possession of Syria by the Turks and the Norman pirates in the Mediterranean had indeed seriously affected their distant commerce ; while at home they were shackled by the restrictions of the Cortes,—who had made as little advance in the science of free-trade as the legislators of our own days,-by the increasing corporate privileges of the towns, and perhaps by the general progress and pressure of Christian civilization. Nevertheless the Sephardim enjoyed great privileges, and some peculiar to themselves : as ministers of finance, the currency was regulated and the rate of exchange in some measure determined by them. Although again thrown upon the resource of money-lending, usury was less dishonourable in Spain than elsewhere, and interest was fixed and recoverable by law. They were general bankers, but Mr. Finn is mistaken in his supposition that they invented bills of exchange : these had long before been employed by the Carthaginians, and transmitted by them to the Greek brokers of the empire. The evidence of the Sephardim was received in courts of law : they were themselves exempt from imprisonment for debt, and held considerable landed property,
-at one time, it is said, to the amount of a third of the Peninsula ; and in the principal cities they exercised their own judicature, bolh in civil and criminal causes.
Still, in these centuries, and especially in the latter, Spain began to develope those peculiar social features, which were matured under the Austrian dynasty, and have left, in the principle of rigidly exclusive bigotry, an indelible impress on her national character. Three religions, whose mutual hostility was cherished rather than repressed by their casual affinities, struggled through many centuries within her bosom ; and the various elements of ber population, -- the fierce and susceptible Saracen, the grave and inflexible Goth, the alternately proud and passive Sepbardim, gave new intensity to her religious contests. As the Christian kingdoms gradually absorbed the Moorish provinces, the Moors themselves resumed much of their earlier fanaticism ; and the Jews, who, as subjects to both, might respectively betray their immediate rulers, were by both regarded with increasing jealousy and alarm. The Crusades, familiarizing the European mind with the idea of military apostleship against infidels, though directed primarily against Islamism, could not fail to re-act unfavourably on Judaism ; and both the Ashkenazim and Sephardim felt the presence of the « red-cross » harmless without the power of retaliating, like their Eastern brethren, the evils they endured. The terrible cry of « Hep, - the signal for the massacre of the Jews — supposed to be an' abbreviation of «Hierosolyma est perdita » - was raised in the Spanish cities as well as on the banks of the Rhine. In February 1218 the Crusaders of the West , an immense host , were encamped in the royal parks on the banks of the Tagus.
«Conceiving that the first-fruits of their valour would be an acceptable offering to heaven, if waged upon the unarmed Jews, they proceeded most religiously to plunder that race of infidels. There was no massacre, for the nobles of Castile armed themselves to defend the synagogues; but the terror inspired in the victims was so great, as to cause the emigration of immense numbers. ;)
In the former half of the fourteenth century, says Mr. Finn, «a rabble crusade was preached among the shepherds in the South of France, by one Roar, likewise a shepherd, who gave out that he had received revelations from a dove, which changed itself into à beautiful virgin, charging him to extirpate the infidels, and, for a token, wrote the terms of his commission, or, as some said, the form of a cross, upon his arm. Thousands flocked to the novel champion, and proposed lo march immediately on Granada. One however, more prudent than the rest, represented the difficulty of overcoming welltrained and well-armed warriors, or walled towns, with an undisciplined multitude in want of arms; and was of opinion the commission would at first be sufficiently obeyed by assaulting the Jews. His advice was adopted ; and after a massacre of 120 synagogues in Languedoc, despite the royal proclamation, the arming of the barons, and the pope's excommunication, they crossed the Pyrenees into Arragon, but were repulsed by the king just in time to rescue the
cily of Huesca. They marched into Navarre, entered Pamplona ; but at Montreal, three leagues distant, were driven back by the Jews themselves.
The temporal powers' on both these occasions maintained the laws, the rights of humanity and the public peace. But with the progress of Catholicism in the Peninsula, the spiritual powers asserted their privilege of enforcing orthodoxy, and the edicts and temper of the Toledan Councils revived: Bigotry was so congenial to the Spanish character, that Lope de Vega expressed the general feeling when he gave his poetical applause to the enactments of the Gothic synods :
«Vedando el concilio Toledano
Tomar el cetro al Re sin que primero
Lirigo con propre que le sue imprime.
De la cizäna vil que le suprime j i
La Santa Ley en la corona imprime. i . And unfortunately for the Jews, « the influence of the clergy « with the rabble at command was set entirely and perseverw ingly against them.. At the beginning of the thirteenth century the Hebrew colony in Toledo alone was 12,000 strong, and their wealth and intelligence were in proportion to the protection they had long enjoyed. Roderick, the archbishop of the city, was eminent for his popularity as a preacher and for his intrigues as a statesman. An indefatigable agitator for the Crusades, his frequent harangues were so many invectives against the Moors and the Jews, till, on one occasion, heading his flock, he rushed into the synagogues, routed the congregations, and pursued them to their houses for plunder. Since the time of Sisebut, indeed, papal authority and the general sentiment had discountenanced compulsory baptism; but besides the licence assumed by bishops and friars to pillage and murder recusants, civil restrictions and penalties were again multiplied. The laws affecting the marriage, property, and peculiar customs of the Sephardim were gradually revived, and the «Siete Partidas » of Alonzo X., passed between the years 1250 and 1280, added new circumstances of degradation. By the eleventh law of the sixth « Partida , » it was enacted that