Page:Zionism 9204 Peace Conference 1920.pdf/24

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[No. 162
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

campaign, issued a proclamation to the Jews, calling upon them to join his army, and promising to give them the Holy Land. This campaign failed, but in 1807 Napoleon again proposed a solution of the Jewish question—from the opposite angle by summoning the Sanhendrin, which was to regulate Jewish custom and fit the Jews for French nationality.

Christians during this period were less lukewarm; and some there were who, believing the Biblical promises, sought to tempt the Jews back to the land of their fathers, generally with the expectation, express or implied, of their ultimate conversion to Christianity. Thus in 1806 a pamphlet[1] addressed to the Jews, after an examination of the prophecies under both Christian and Jewish dispensations, proceeds, 'As there is every reason to suppose that the restoration of the Jews is nigh at hand, I shall now conclude this address by congratulating them on the happy prospect before them in the beautiful language of Ezekiel', and so forth. Bickeno's 'Restoration of the Jews—the Crisis of all Nations' appeared in 1800, and Witherby's 'Attempt to Remove Prejudices concerning the Jewish Nation' in 1804, the latter being a plea both for the Jews' restoration to Palestine, and for their civil equality outside Palestine.

Once admitted to the society of the Gentile, as a citizen with all civil rights, the Jew could not help taking his place in literature and even in general politics. Cumberland's 'Jew' is no longer the crafty and cruel Shylock of dramatic tradition, but a good-hearted philanthropist, benevolent though rich. Byron's 'Hebrew Melodies' bewail the homelessness of Israel. The heroine of Scott's Ivanhoe is a Jewess, a perfect heroine of romance. Disraeli reflects—perhaps also deflects—the views of his time and his own impressions of a three years' visit to the East (1830–1) when he makes out of his aristocratic hero 'Tancred' a sort of prototype of Herzl, who tries to realize the Messianic ideal of and in Palestine.

  1. L. Mayer, Restoration of the Jews. 3rd ed. London, 1806.