§6. Montefiore, Shaftesbury, and Mordecai Noah
In 1827 the famous centenarian Sir Moses Montefiore paid the first of his seven pilgrimages to Palestine. His wife's diary pictures the ruin and abject misery produced by tyranny and misrule, but ends with a note of hope for the 'return to Zion with songs'. The conquest of Syria by Mehemet Ali in 1832 caused Jew and Gentile to turn their thoughts to Palestine. Many Jews ﬂocked thither, and we are told of 30,000 Polish Jews who petitioned Tsar Nicholas to he allowed 'to proceed to Palestine in a body and await there during three years the coming of the Messiah'. Before 1840 there were supposed to be forty thousand Jews settled, especially in the four 'holy' cities. Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and Tiberias, mostly poor and dependent on their richer brethren in Europe for support. In 1838 Sir Moses paid his second visit with the special object of submitting to Mehemet Ali a scheme for Jewish colonization in Syria. During this journey he investigated the prospects of local agriculture. After nine years, Mehemet Ali was ousted from Syria, which was restored to the Porte, largely owing to the armed intervention of Great Britain.
Already in 1838, Lord Shaftesbury was 'anxious about the hopes and destinies of the Jewish people. Everything seems ripe for their return to Palestine.' He prepared a memorandum for the Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, suggesting their settlement there under the guarantee of the Great Powers. These views he elaborated in an anonymous article in the Quarterly Review for January 1830. Palmerston was not unfriendly, but there was no Jewish organization capable of handling so big a matter, and so the ambitious project
- The Appendix to Lady Montetiore's Notes from a Journal (London. 1844) contains Extracts from Reports, Letters, and Addresses on Agriculture in the Holy Land presented to Sir Moses during his sojourn there.
- Hodder's Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, i. 310, quoted by N. Sokolov in his work, The History of Zionism (2 vols, 1919.).