What shall be done for the Russian Jews? It is both unwise and useless to undertake to dictate to Russia concerning her internal affairs. The Jews have lived as foreigners in her dominions for centuries and she fully believes that they are a burden upon her resources and prejudicial to the wellfare of her peasant population, and will not allow them to remain. She is determined that they must go. Hence, like the Sephardim of Spain, these Ashkenazim must emigrate. But where shall 2,000,000 of such poor people go? Europe is crowded and has no room for more peasant population. Shall they come to America? This will be a tremendous expense, and require years.
Why not give Palestine back to them again? According to God's distribution of nations it is their home, an inalienable possession from which they were expelled by force. Under their cultivation it was a remarkably fruitful land sustaining millions of Israelites who industrially tilled its hillsides and valleys. They were agriculturists and producers as well as a nation of great commercial importance -- the center of civilization and religion.
Why shall not the powers which under the treaty of Berlin, in 1878, gave Bulgaria to the Bulgarians and Servia to the Servians now give Palestine back to the Jews? These provinces, as well as Roumania, Montenegro and Greece, were wrested from the Turks and given to their natural owners. Does not Palestine as rightfully belong to the Jews? It is said that rains are increasing and there are evidences that the land is recovering its ancient fertility. If they could have autonomy in government the Jews of the world would rally to transport and establish their suffering brethren in their time-honored habitation. For over seventeen centuries they have patiently waited for such an opportunity. They have not become agriculturists elsewhere because they believed they were mere sojourners in the various nations, and were yet to return to Palestine and till their own land. Whatever vested rights, by possession may have accrued to Turkey can be easily compensated, possibly by the Jews assuming an equitable portion of the national debt.
We believe this is an appropriate time for all nations and especially the Christian nations of Europe to show kindness to Israel. A million of exiles, by their terrible suffering, are piteously appealing to our sympathy, justice, and humanity Let us now restore to them the land of which they were so cruelly despoiled by our Roman ancestors.
To this end we respectfully petition His Excellency Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States, and the Honorable James G. Blaine, Secretary of State, to use their good offices and influence with the Governments of their Imperial Majesties-
- Alexander III, Czar of Russia;
- Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Empress of India;
- William II, Emperor of Germany;
- Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austro-Hungary;
- Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey;
- His Royal Majesty, Humbert, King of Italy;
- Her Royal Majesty Marie Christiana, Queen Regent of Spain;
and the Government of the Republic of France and with the Governments of Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Roumainia, Servia, Bulgaria and Greece. To secure the holding at an early date, of an international conference to consider the condition of the Israelites and their claims to Palestine as their ancient home, and to promote, in all other just and proper ways, the alleviation of their suffering condition.
Washington, D. C., March 5,1891.
To His Excellency BENJAMIN HARRISON, President of the United States, And HON. JAMES G. BLAINE,
Secretary of State.
In presenting the Memorial asking your good offices with the Governments of Europe for an international Conference in behalf of the Russian Jews, the undersigned begs to state that he has not sought for a multitude of signatures, but only representative names, and the cordial endorsement which the Memorial has received, gives assurance that the signatures could be indefinitely multiplied.
That the Memorial is really an outgrowth of the Conference between Christians and Jews recently held in Chicago.
That it was not deemed wise to hold further public meetings, or in any way, protest against the course being pursued by the Russian Government, and that therefore he undertook the task of presenting the Memorial personally to the signers.
That he is peculiarly gratified to find the plan proposed, commended by most eminent Jewish and Christian individuals, after carefully scrutinizing it in all its bearings.
That he spent several weeks in Palestine and Syria in 1889 and has somewhat carefully studied the conditions of the Jews there and in Europe and in America, and that he believes the project of restoring the autonomy of government of Palestine to them to be both feasible and politic.
That while a very few, of what are termed ultra radical, reformed, Jewish Rabbis have renounced their belief in ancient Scriptures, and openly proclaim that the Jews should amalgamate with the various nations, wherein they are scattered, the great body of the Jews, both clergy and laity, still cling to their time honored hopes of national restoration and will quickly respond to any such opportunity with abundant energy, means, and enthusiasm.
That the land of Palestine is capable of remarkable development, both agriculturally and commercially. Its geographical situation, as the half way house between Europe and Asia, is unequaled. That the Railroad now building from Joppa to Jerusalem, if extended via Damascus, Tadmor and the Euphrates valley, could not fail to become an international highway.
That while the Turkish government has lately shown some improvement, and has fostered the building of excellent common roads and given greater freedom for the activity of foreigners, still it is marvelously behind the times in which we live, and no great development can be expected under it.
That in support of this statement he would mention the unreasonable tax upon olive trees, and also the fanaticism which, because of a little cemetery on the shore at Joppa, prevents the excavating and dredging out of the ancient remarkable harbor, so greatly needed for commercial purposes.
That all the great European powers are jealous of each other's influence in, or possible occupation of, Palestine, and that this favors the giving of it to such an energetic small nation as the Jews under international guarantees and protection.
That the powers have already taken somewhat similar action by the appointment of a Christian governor over the Lebanon district of Syria.
That the poverty of the Turkish Government, makes the possible funding of a portion of the National debt by rich Jewish bankers, an important factor in the case.
That the unsettled indemnity claimed by Russia against Turkey is another significant item, which may be favorably used to promote the accomplishment of this plan.
That all the European nations sympathizing with the sad condition of the Jews in Russia, and yet not wishing them to be crowded into their own countries, will, he believes, cheerfully assent to this restoration to Palestine as the most natural alternative.
That he has special reasons for believing such sentiment already prevails, to a large extent, in Great Britain, and it seems to appeal to all classes of Christians as a magnificent humanitarian movement.
That only peaceable diplomatic negotiation is necessary, he believes, to accomplish the object, and that all private ownership of land and property should be carefully respected and protected.
That being on such friendly terms with Russia and having no complications in the Orient, it is most fitting and hopeful that our government should initiate this movement.
That there seem to be many evidences to show that we have reached the period in the great roll of the centuries, when the ever living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is lifting up His hand to the Gentiles, (Isa. 49:22) to bring His sons and His daughters from far, that he may plant them again in their own land, Ezk. 34, &c. Not for twenty-four centuries, since the days of Cyrus, King of Persia, has there been offered to any mortal such a privileged opportunity to further the purposes of God concerning His ancient people,
May it be the high privilege of your Excellency, and the Honorable Secretary, to take a personal interest in this great matter, and secure through the Conference, a home for these wandering millions of Israel, and thereby receive to yourselves the promise of Him, who said to Abraham, "I will bless them that bless thee," Gen. 12:3.
Your humble servant,
WM. E. BLACKSTONE.
(Followed by approximately 400 signatures)
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H. N. Higinbotham Mrs. Nettie F. McCormick 135 Rush Street. Emmons Blaine B. F. Jacobs Chairman International S. S. Ex. Com. Cyrus H. McCormick President McCormick Harvester Machine Company. Marvin Hughitt President Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company. James B. Hobbs 97 Washington Street. E. Mandel 2960 Michigan Avenue. Philip D. Armour W. C. Goudy Fred W. Peck Potter Palmer P. A. Feehan Archbishop, Chicago. P. J. Muldoon Secretary, Chicago. E. J. Dunne Chicago. ADDENDA. - Several petitioners wish it stated that the Jews have not become agriculturists because for centuries they were almost universally prohibited from owning or tilling land in the countries of their dispersion. Isaac S. Moses Rabbi of Cong'n Anshe Maarab. A. J. G. Lesser Rabbi Beth Hamdrash Hajadol U'bre Jacob. Aron J. Messing Rabbi Cong'n Bnay Sholom. A. R. Levy Rabbi Cong'n Bnai Abraham. Liebman Adler The retired Rabbi of Cong'n Kehelath Anshe Maarab. B. Felsenthal Retired Rabbi of Zion Congregation. Joseph Stolz Rabbi of Zion Congregation. E. Rubovitz 120 Randolph Street. Julius Rosenthal Attorney. Simeon Straus Attorney. B. Lowenthal President International Bank. D.S. Greenbaum 92 La Salle Street. Henry Greenbaum 92 La Salle Street. Herman Felsenthal 108 La Salle Street. Jacob Dauch Rabbi Beth El Congregation. BOSTON Chas. H. Taylor The Daily Globe. John H. Holmes The Boston Herald. W. W. Clapp The Boston Journal. A. E. Winship The Daily Traveller. F. B. Whitney Boston Transcript.
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Arthur Mitchell F. F. Ellingwood Jno. Gillespie Howard Crosby Pastor Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Wm. M. Taylor Pastor Broadway Tabernacle. Samuel McBride Pastor Centennial Baptist Church, Brooklyn. Ensign McChesney Pastor of Madison Avenue M. E. Church. R. S. MacArthur Pastor Calvary Baptist Church. Edward G. Andrews Bishop Methodist Episcopal Church. H. Kendall Secretary Board of Home Missions, Presbyterian. Dr. K. Kohler Rabbi Temple Beth-El. H. Pereira Mendes Minister of the Sephardim Congregation, Secretary New York Br. Alliance Israelite Universell. Bernhard Drachman Rabbi Congregation Zichron Ephraim. F. de Sola Mendes Rabbi Congregation Shaarag Tefila, Secretary Jewish Ministers Association of America. Henry S. Jacobs, D. D. Rabbi of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Chairman of New York Board of Jewish Ministers, Vice President New York Branch of the Alliance Israelite. Richard S. Storrs Pastor Church of the Pilgrims, Brooklyn. Wm. S. Langford Clergyman of the Episcopal Church. Joshua Kimber Presbyter Protestant Episcopal Church. A. S. Hunt Minister of the M. E. Church. Josiah Strong General Secretary Evangelical Alliance for the U. S. Alex. McLean Edward W. Gilman Corresponding Secretary American Bible Soc. M. D. C. Crawford 129 West Eighty-Second Street. C. S. Harrover 60 Seventh Avenue. Geo. H. McGrew Pastor St. Paul's M. E. Church. J. E. Price Abbott E. Kittredge Pastor Madison Avenue Reformed Church. Philip Schaff Union Theological Seminary. Thos. S. Hastings Union Theological Seminary. A. F. Schauffler New York City Missions. Charles F. Deems Church of the Strangers. Officials Hugh J. Grant Mayor New York City. W. H. Clapp Corporation Counsel, New York city. BUSINESS MEN Chauncey M. Depew Grand Central Depot. Daniel F. Hoag American Savings Bank. J. Paton 52 William Street.
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Dr. E. Morwitz, & J. Morwitz Philadelphia Democrat. Chas. J. Young, pub. Philadelphia Volksblatt. Chas. E. Warburton Evening Telegraph. Gibson, Peacock & Co. The Evening Bulletin. H. L. Wayland The National Baptist H. Clay Trumbull The Sunday School Times. Collins& Cooley, by D. W. Collins The Christian Instructor. Samuel Ashhurst The Episcopal Recorder. T. P. Stevenson, editor The Christian Statesman. W. B. French The Standard of the Cross and the Church. E. I. D. Pepper The Christian Standard. Howard M. Jenkins Friends' Intelligencer and Journal. R. M. Patterson The Presbyterian Journal. G. W. Frederick The Lutheran. Charles Hoffman The Jewish Exponent. CLERGYMEN O. W. Whitaker Bishop of diocese of Pennsylvania. Joseph N. Blanchard Rector St. James Church. W. N. McVickar Rector of Holy Trinity Church. Wm. R. Nicholson Bishop of New York and Philadelphia Synod. Thomas A. Hoyt Pastor of Chambers Presbyterian Church. A. J. Kynett Corresponding Secretary Board of Church Extension M.E. Church and editor of Christianity in Earnest. S. A. Mutchmore Editor and proprietor of the Presbyterian. Cyrus D. Foss Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. S. W. Thomas Presiding Elder of North Philadelphia district. M. Jastrow, Ph. D. Rabbi Cong. Rodef Shalom. Jas. Hepburn Hargis Presiding Elder West Philadelphia district. John S. James McConnell Recording Secretary Board of Church Extension M. E. Church. Jas. Long E. K. Lanng Pastor Grace M. E. Church. J. T. Meredith Presiding Elder of Northwest Philadelphia district. T. B. Neely Presiding Elder M.E. Church. Wm. Swindells Pastor Kensington M. E. Church. Jno. MacIntosh Pastor Second Presbyterian Church. Robert C. Matlock Sec'y of Education Protestant Episcopal Church. Charles A. Dickey Pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church. P. J. Ryan Archbishop of Philadelphia. Ignatius F. Horstman Chancellor of Archdiocese of Philadelphia. PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESSMEN Edwin H. Fitler Mayor of Philadelphia. John Field Postmaster.
William Pepper Provost of University of Pennsylvania. Lemuel Coffin 1910 Spruce Street. Geo. C. Thomas Chestnut and Fifth Streets. Mayer Sulzberger Chestnut and Sixth Streets. Simon Muher 629 Chestnut Street. Wm. B. Hackenburg 25 North Third Street. I. G. Rosengarten 532 Walnut Street. Alex. Brown Nineteenth and Walnut Streets. Simon A. Stern 135 South Fourth Street. B. B. Comegys 423 Chestnut Street. BALTIMORE Felix Agnus Baltimore American. James R. Brewer Baltimore Daily News. Edward Raise German Correspondent. A. Bechofer, Proprietor Baltimore Herald. C. M. Purdy, Managing Ed. The World. T. A. Connelly The Catholic Mirror. E. J. Drinkhouse The Methodist Protestant. Augustus Davidson The Episcopal Methodist. W. Maslin Frysinger Baltimore Methodist. L. M. Cross Baltimore Baptist. Robert C. Davidson Mayor of Baltimore. J. Cardinal Gibbons Archbishop of Baltimore. Rev. Jno. T. Whelan I. B. B. Hodges Rector St. Paul's Parish. WASHINGTON Frank Hatton The Washington Post. Richard Weightman The Washington Critic. S. H. Kauffman, president The Evening Star. T. B. Reed Speaker House of Representatives. Robert R. Hitt Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs. R. Q. Mills M. C., Texas. (MEMBER OF CONGRESS) Wm. S. Holman M. C., Indiana. (MEMBER OF CONGRESS) Wm. McKinley M. C., Ohio. (MEMBER OF CONGRESS) (Pres. 1897-01) Nathan Frank M. C., Missouri. (MEMBER OF CONGRESS) Wm. W. Morrow M. C., California (MEMBER OF CONGRESS) Wm. Vandever M. C., California (MEMBER OF CONGRESS) Edward McPherson Clerk House of Representatives. J. W. Douglass President Board of Commissioners, D. C. Simon Wolf (Additional if any, names by telegraph can be inserted here) S. E. Payne M. C., New York. (MEMBER OF CONGRESS) John Dalzell M. C., Pennsylvania. (MEMBER OF CONGRESS) G. H. Corey Pastor Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church. Louis Stern Minister Washington Hebrew Cong. Tunis S. Hamlin Pastor Covenant Presbyterian Church. John F. Hurst Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Respectfully presented by Wm. E. Blackstone, chairman of the Conference of Christians and Jews lately held in Chicago.