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in consequence of it, to be conducted to Ge-ho in Tartary, there to remain a prisoner, and to be debarred from any communication with the Tartars in that neighbourhood. Several of the Chinese, who had been seduced by this European, were found guilty. One of them, a private of infantry, who had been discovered teaching the Christian doctrine in a church; four others who superintended congregations of Christians, or were otherwise active in extending their sect; a female peasant who superintended a congregation of her own sex; and a soldier who had contumaciously resisted the exhortations made to him to renounce his errors, are banished to Eluth, and condemned to become slaves among the Eluths. Three soldiers who had been converted to Christianity are declared unworthy to be considered as men, and their names ordered to be erased from the list of the army. Several who had renounced their errors are discharged from confinement, but a strict watch is to be kept over them, lest they should relapse. The various civil and military officers, through whose remissness these foreign doctrines have been propagated, are to be cashiered; and the books containing these doctrines are without exception to be committed to the flames, together with the printing blocks from which the impressions were taken. It is further declared, that all who shall hereafter frequent the Europeans, in order to learn their doctrines, will be punished with the utmost rig our of the law.
native who lives with him, whom he intends to instruct in the art of weaying.
A Sultan, named Ali, who used often to visit the missionaries, died lately. Before his death he asked his friends to carry him to Karass. But this request they rejected with indig nation. They suspected that he died a Christian, and on that account hesitated about burying him. He left a
widow and three children whom he wished to be committed to Mr. Brunton's care. But they all died soon after him of the plague, which was then raging in the district where they resided.
The Karmans are a numerous family among the Kabardians who live near Karass. The missionaries have had many conversations with them about religion, and not long ago a Tartar Effendi wrote to the Kabardian Mahkemma, or Parliament, accusing the Karmas of being Christians at heart, and of practising Christian usages secretly.
The Russians are gone to war with a 'mountain tribe not far from Karass, called the Tshitshins. These tribes are exceedingly restless and faithless. It is said that the Circassians are to join the Russians, and it was reported among the Tartars that the Tshitshins had killed a number of Circassians who were on their way to the Russian head quarters.
Dr. Herschel, the Jewish Rabbi, has addressed a second exhortation to his brethren, in which, after stating that the plan formed by the Missionaary Society, of an institution for educating Jewish youth, "is but an inviting snare, a decoying experiment to undermine the props of their relig ion," and "to entice innocent Jewish children from the observance of the law of Moses," requires the congregation to send no child to any such seminary, on pain of being considered as having forsaken their religion, as having lost all title to the name of Jews, and forfeited all claims on the congregation both in life and death.
The general assembly of the church of Scotland, to their honour, came to
an unanimous resolution at their last meeting to thank his Majesty for the abolition of the Slave Trade. The following extract from their address to the King expresses their sentiments on this subject.
"In recollecting your Majesty's unifm zeal for the interests of religion, justice, and humanity; the many public measures for the promotion of these great interests by which your Majesty's reign has been distinguished; and the exalted character which, under your Majesty's government, the British nation has acquired; it is with heartfelt satisfaction that we congratulate your Majesty on the final abolition of the African Slave Trade, which had so long polluted the commerce, and tarnished the honour of the British name. We feel, in common with the great body of our fellow subjects, that the acts of the last session of parliament, which prohibited the farther importation of slaves into the West India Colonies, will ever be regarded as one of the most splendid events of your Majesty's reign. And while it proclaims to the world the justice of the British character, will send the tidings of peace and benevolence to the injured natives of Africa." [Ch. Obs.
TRANSACTIONS OF THE PARISIAN SANHEDRIM.
The following account of the late singular movement among the Jews, in France, which has excited such general curiosity in the public mind, is taken from a late publication, entitled, "Transactions of the Parisian Sanhedrim, or Acts of the Assembly of Israelitish Deputies of France and Italy, convoked at Paris by an Imperial and Royal Decree, dated May 30, 1806. Translated from the Original published by M. Diogene Tama, with a Preface and illustrative Notes by F. D. Kirwan, Esq." 8vo. pp. 350. pr. 88. Taylor. 1807.
Few objects can so justly claim our attention as the subject of the present work. "The novelty of a Jewish assembly," says the translator of this volume, "deliberating on the national interests of a people which has so
long ceased to be numbered among nations, induces us to offer an account of its proceedings to the English public. The French Jewish editor, M. Diogene Tama, in an advertisement prefixed to his collection, expatiates with wonderful complacency on the immense utility of his publication. Without being quite so sanguine in our expectations, we cannot help expressing our conviction, that it will prove highly gratifying to that curiosi ty which has been excited by the first mention of the meeting of such an assembly."
In the preface the translator gives a clear and concise account of the advantages enjoyed by the Jews under the old monarchy, and states various circumstances, by which it appears that their condition was pref erable to that of the Protestants, and afterwards offers a few shrewd surmises as to the real views of Bonaparte in calling the present assembly.
The work commences with a Collection of Writings and Acts relating to the former Condition of Individuals professing the Hebrew Religion in
The reader's attention will be particularly arrested by a letter of M. Berr-Isaac-Berr, a Jew, resident at Nancy, to his brethren, on the rights of active citizens being granted to the Jews. It contains a fund of good sense and sound reasoning, which do the writer very great credit: its great length hinders us from extracting it.
MM. Poujol and Bonald, having, in 1806, written against the interests of the Jews, the writer of this work enters into an elaborate defence of that nation, which is inserted under this head.
To this succeeds the Imperial De cree by which the assembly was convoked. The number of Deputies sent by each district, with their names and occupations follow, and then the minutes of the various sittings, which took place, from the first sitting, July 26, 1806, to the last, February 7, 1807.
We cannot follow the author through the mass of interesting, instructive, and novel materials included in the work. It will par ticularly engage the attention of those persons who entertain an idea of the
re-establishment of the Jews in Palestine, as it furnishes many obscure hints in support of this opinion.
A considerable part of the work is occupied by the Questions proposed by the Commissioners of the French Emperor, and the answers given by the assembly, including some of the speeches and opinious of the Rabbies and principal Deputies.
The ostensible reason for calling this assembly, it will be remembered, was the usurious extortions of some of the Jews of the northern departments. The answers to the questions relative to this subject are particularly curious. They are as follow.
Does the law forbid the Jews from taking usury from their brethren ?
Deuteronomy, ch. xxiii. verse 19, says ** thou shalt not lend upon interest (English translation, usury) to thy brother, interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing that is lent upon interest."
The Hebrew word nechech has been improperly translated by the word usury in the Hebrew language it means interest of any kind, and not usurious interest. It cannot then be taken in the acceptation now given in the word usury.
It is even impossible that it could ever have had that acceptation; for usury is an expression relative to, and compared with, another and a lawful interest; and the text contains nothing which alludes to the other term of comparison. What do we understand by usury? Is it not an interest, above the legal interest, above the rate fixed by the law? If the law of Moses has not fixed this rate, can it be said that the Hebrew word means an unlawful interest? The word nechech in the Hebrew language answers to the Latin word fanus: to conclude that it means usury, another word should be found which would mean interest; and, as such a word does not exist, it follows, that all interest is usury, and that all usury is
What was the aim of the lawgiver in forbidding one Hebrew to lend up." Vol. 111. No. 5.
on interest to another? It was to draw closer between them the bonds of fraternity, to give them a lesson of reciprocal benevolence, and to engage them to help and assist each other with disinterestedness.
The first thought has been to establish among them the equality of property, and the mediocrity of private fortune; hence the institution of the sabbatical year, and of the year of jubilee; the first of which came every fifty years. By the sabbatical year all debtors were released from their obligations: the year of jubilee brought with it the restitution of all estates sold or mortgaged.
It was easy to foresee that the dif ferent qualities of the ground, greater or lesser industry, the untowardness of the seasons, which might effect both, would necessarily make a difference in the produce of land, and that the more unfortunate Israelite would claim the assistance of him whom fortune should have better favoured. Moses did not intend that this last should avail himself of his situation, and that he should require from the other the price of the service he was soliciting; that he should thus aggravate the misery of his brother, and enrich himself by his spoils. It is with a view to this that he says, "Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother." But what want could there exist among the Jews, at a time when they had no trade of any kind? It was, at most, a few bushels of corn, some cattle, some agricultural implements; and Moses required that such services should be gratuitous; his intention was to make of his people a nation of husbandmen. For a long time after him, and though Idumea was at no great distance from the sea shore, inhabited by the Tyrians, the Sidonians, and other nations possessing shipping and commerce, we do not see the Hebrews much addicted to trade; all the regulations of their lawgiver seemed designed to divert their attention from commerce.
The prohibition of Moses must therefore be considered only as a principle of charity, and not as a commercial regulation. According to the Talmud, the loan alluded to
is to be considered almost as a family loan, as a loan made to a man in want; for in case of a loan made to a merchant, even a Jew, profit adequate to the risk should be considered as lawful.
Formerly the word usury carried no invidious meaning; it simply implied any interest whatever. The word usury can no longer express the meaning of the Hebrew text; and accordingly the Bible of Osterwald, and that of the Portuguese Jews, call interest, that which Sacy, from the Vulgate, has called usury.
The law of Moses, therefore, forbids all manner of interest on loan, not only between Jews, but between a Jew and his countryman, without distinction of religion. The loan must be gratuitous whenever it is to oblige those who claim our assistance, and when it is not intended for commercial speculation.
We must not forget that these laws, so humane and so admirable at these early periods, were made for a people which then formed a state and held a rank among nations.
If the remnants of this people, now scattered among all nations, are attentively considered, it will be seen that, since the Jews have been driven from Palestine, they no longer have had a common country, they no longer have had to maintain among them the primeval equality of property. Although filled with the spirit of their legislation, they have been sensible that the letter of the law could no longer be obeyed when its principle was done away; and they have, therefore, without any scruple, lent money on interest to trading Jews, as well as to men of different persuasions.
bidden, always on the score of charity, to lend upon interest to our fellow citizens of different persuasions, as well as to our fellow Jews.
The disposition of the law, which allows to take interest from the stranger, evidently refers only to nations in commercial intercourse with us; otherwise there would be an evident contradiction between this passage and twenty others of the sacred writings.
"The Lord your God loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment; love ye therefore the stranger, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." Deut. x. 18, 19: "One law shall be to him that is homeborn and to the stranger." Exod. xii. 49. "Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him." Deut. i. 16. "If a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, you shall not vex him." Lev. xix. 33. "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." Exod. xxii. 21. "If thy brother be waxen poor, or fallen in decay with thee, thou shalt then relieve him; yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner." Lev.
Thus the prohibition extended to the stranger who dwelt in Israel: the Holy Writ places them under the safe guard of God; he is a sacred guest, and God orders us ta treat him like the widow and like the orphan.
It is evident that the text of the Vulgate, "Extranei fænaberis et fratri tuo non fanaberis," can be understood only as meaning foreign na. tions in commercial intercourse with us; and, even in this case, the Holy
Does it forbid, or does it allow to Writ, in allowing to take interest take interest from strangers?
We have seen, in the answer to the foregoing question, that the prohibition of usury, considered as the smallest interest, was a maxim of charity and of benevolence, rather than a commercial regulation. In this point of view it is equally condemned by the law of Moses and by the Talmud. We are generally for
from the stranger, does not mean an extraordinary profit, oppressive and odious to the borrower. "Non licuisse Israelitis," say the doctors, "usuras immoderatas exigere ab extraneis, etiam divitibus, res est per se nota."
Can Moses be considered as the Tawgiver of the universe, because he was the lawgiver of the Jews? Were the laws he gave to the people, which God had entrusted to his care, likely
to become the general laws of mankind "Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother." What security had he, that, in the intercourse which would be naturally established between the Jews and foreign nations, these last would renounce customs generally prevailing in trade, and lend to the Jews without requiring any interest? Was he then bound to sacrifice the interest of his people, and to impoverish the Jews to enrich foreign nations? Is it not absolutely absurd to reproach him with having put a restriction to the precept contained in Deuteronomy? What lawgiver but would have considered such a restriction as a natural principle of reciprocity?
How far superior in simplicity, generosity, justice and humanity, is the law of Moses, on this head, to those of the Greeks, and of the Romans? Can we find, in the history of the ancient Israelites, those scandafous scenes of rebellion, excited by the harshness of creditors towards their debtors; those frequent abolitions of debts to prevent the multitude, impoverished by the extortions of lenders, from being driven to despair?
The law of Moses and its interpreters have distinguished, with a praiseworthy humanity, the different uses of borrowed money. Is it to maintain a family? Interest is forbidden. Is it to undertake a commercial speculation, by which the principal is adventured? Interest is allowed, even between Jews. "Lend to the poor,' says Moses. Here the tribute of gratitude is the only kind of interest allowed; the satisfaction of obliging is the sole recompense of the conferred benefit. The case is different in regard to capitals employed in exten. sive commerce: there, Moses allows the lender to come in for a share of the profits of the borrower; and as commerce was scarcely known among the Israelites, who were exclusively addicted to agricultural pursuits, and as it was carried on only with stran gers, that is, with neighbouring nations, it was allowed to share its profits with them.
It is in this view of the subject that M. Clermont Tonnere made use of
these remarkable words in the first National Assembly: "It is said that usury is permitted to the Jews; this assertion is grounded only on a false interpretation of a principle of benev olence and fraternity which forbade them from lending upon interest to one another."
This opinion is also that of Puffendorf and of other writers on the law of nations. The antagonists of the Jews have laid a great stress on a passage of Maimonides, who seems to have represented as a precept the expression anochri tassih, (make profit of the stranger.) But although Maimonides has presumed to maintain this opinion, it is well known that his sentiments have been most completely refuted by the learned Rabbi Abarbanel. We find, besides, in the Talmud, a treatise of macot, (perfection) that one of the ways to arrive at perfection, is to lend without interest to the stranger, even to the idolator. Whatever besides might have been the condescension of God to the Jews, if we may be allowed the expression, it cannot be reasonably supposed that the common Father of mankind, could, at any time, make usury a precept.
The opinion of Maimonides, which excited all Jewish doctors against him, was principally condemned by the famous Rabbies Moses de Gironda and Solomon Benadaret, upon the grounds, first, that he had relied on the authority of Siffri, a private doctor, whose doctrine has not been sanctioned by the Talmud: for it is a general rule that every rabbinical opinion that is not sanctioned by that work is considered as null and void. Secondly, because if Maimonides understood that the word nochri (stranger,) was applicable to the Canaanean people doomed by God to destruction, he ought not to have confounded a public right, arising from an extraordinary order of God to the Israelites, considered as a nation, with the private right of an individual towards another individual of that same nation.
It is an incontrovertible point, according to the Talmud, that interest, even among Israelites, is lawful in commercial operations, where the lender, running some of the risk of