Графични страници
PDF файл

band of their elders walk in front of the senators, dressed in tightly-fitting gaberdines. Races were instituted for horses, donkeys, and buffaloes, old men, boys, children, and Jews. They were given an abundant repast before starting, that the race might appear more ridiculous. The wretched men rau from the Arco Domiziano to the church of St. Mark at the end of the Corso, accompanied by the shouts of the Roman mob, while the Holy Father stood on a richly decorated balcony, and laughed heartily. From this date the Romans would not give up the Jews' race, and we find in Sprenger's “ Roma Nova” that the Jews ran naked, with only a girdle round their loins, just after the donkey race. For two centuries the Jews endured this disgrace, until Clement IX. Ruspigliosi listened to their prayers and freed them from it in 1668, on condition that they paid 300 scudi annually, and, instead of walking in the procession, they were to do homage to the conservator. On the first Saturday of the Carnival, the chiefs of the Jews appeared as a deputation before the conservators of the senate at the Capitol. They knelt down and offered a bouquet and 20 scudi, with the prayer that they might be expended in decorating the balcony in which the senate sat on the Piazza del Popolo. Thence they proceeded to the senator, and, kneeling before him, asked in the customary manner that they might be permitted to remain in Rome. The senator placed his foot on their foreheads, then ordered them to rise, and said that they had no claim to reside in Rome, but were tolerated through a merciful motive. This humiliation has also been abolished; but, on the first Saturday of the Carnival, the Jews have still to appear at the Capitol and do homage, while they hand over the tribute for the prizes which they have to pay in memorial that horses are allowed to run in their stead.

With the papacy of Paul IV. the Jews began to suffer a martyrdom, compared with which all their past misery had been an Elysium. This Neapolitan monk, of the fanatic family of the Caraffas, a Theatine, inquisitor, establisher of the martyr-cells and the censorship in Rome, and a merciless reformer, had scarce ascended the papal throne in 1555, ere he issued the bull “Cùm nimis absurdum," to regulate the position of the Hebrew community in Rome. He withdrew all their privileges and increased their tribute, while, to prevent any mistake, he ordered that no Jew should appear in public except in a yellow bat. To this pope, too, the Jews owe their confinement in the Ghetto. Till this period they had generally resided in the Trastevere, and on the banks of the river as far as Hadrian's bridge. The pope, imitating the example of the Venetians, allotted them a distinct quarter, comprising a few narrow and unhealthy streets on the river's bank, and extending from the bridge Quattro Capi to the present place of Tears. Walls or gates that could be guarded enclosed the Jews' Suburb. It was at first called “ Vicus Judæorun," then the name of " Ghetto" was substituted, which does not seem to have any connexion with the Venetian Giudecca, but is probably derived from the Talmudic word ghet, signifying separation. On the 26th July, 556, the Jews entered the Ghetto, weeping and lamenting, like their ancestors when led away into captivity.

On the death of this modern Pharaoh, in 1559, the Roman populace vented its fury upon him, and plundered the Inquisition and the Domipican monastery the Minerva. The Jews, generally so timid, and who had taken no part in Cola Rienzi's insurrection, rushed from the Ghetto

and displayed an unwonted spirit. One of them even dared to place the yellow hat on the papal statue at the Capitol; the populace laughed, destroyed the statue, and dragged the head, with the papal crown still upon it

, through the mud. But the Inquisition soon took its revenge on the unfortunate Jews, and many of them were burnt on the Campo dei Fiori, in front of the Minerva monastery, where the autos-da-fè were held.

When the Jews migrated to the Ghetto, they were found to inhabit houses belonging to Romans, and a law was consequently passed by which the houses were let to the Jews for a certain rental, which could not be raised under any pretext. This law was, and still is, called the Jus Gazzagà, and is regarded as a very valuable privilege : the Jews being at liberty to sell their leases or leave them to their children. A Jewish maiden who possesses a gazzagà need not have any apprehensions about obtaining a husband. Paul's bull was confirmed by Pius V. in 1566, and the Jews were ordered to return to the Ghetto by nightfall. After Ave Maria the gates were inexorably closed, and any person found outside was punished, unless he could bribe the watchman. In 1569, the same pope forbade the Jews dwelling in any other cities than Rome and Ancona, though they had hitherto been tolerated in Benevent and Avignon. Fortunately for the Jews, his successor, Sixtus V., was a merciful man, and restored them all their privileges, and strove to protect them from insult. But, a few years after his death, Clement VIII. revived all the old decrees, and the Jews were worse off than ever. Through the whole of the seventeenth century they were wretched outcasts, and the edicts of Clement XI. and Innocent XIII. during the eighteenth century only added to their misfortunes. The latter revived Pius IV.'s bull, and decreed that the Jews should have no other trade or profession than in old clothes, rags, and broken iron, which was called stracci ferracci. In 1740, Benedict XIV., by an apostolic breve, allowed them to add to this the trade in new cloth wares, which they carry on to the present day.

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, during which the Medici gave such concessions to the Jews in Tuscany, were probably the season of the greatest oppression the Ghetto Jews endured." In a pamphlet published at Rome in 1667, and called “Stato degli veri Ebrei in Roma,” Stamperia del Varese-it is stated that “the number of Jews in Rome amounted at that date to four thousand five hundred, among whom were two hundred families in comfortable circumstances.” The author of this book says that the Ghetto during the sixteenth century had to pay a tribute of 4861 scudi ; while in the seventeenth it only amounted to 3207 scudi. Although the whole book breathes that hostility to the Jews so national at the period, it would be unjust to say that it was utterly untrue. For instance: the author states that, “despite the complaints of the Jews, the Ghetto was rich, and that, after payment of all imposts, it laid by 19,470 scudi every five years, and that it possessed a fortune of at least a million.” Doubtlessly, there were rich Jews in Rome ; for among the receivers, accomplices of thieves, and necromancers of the Ghetto, lived the usurers, the arch-rogues, who piled up interest on interest. No pope was able to suppress usury; the impoverished nobili protected the Jews, and while the Ghetto was the mark of scorn, the Roman noble received the Hebrew money-lender secretly into his palace The author of the above-quoted work says: “ The Jews have made


235,000 scudi out of the Christians, and not an evening passes but that at least 800 scudi are carried off from poor Christian pockets into the Ghetto." It is evident that the crafty nation employed all its talent to make money;

and this usury only inflamed the hatred of the Christians. John de Capistrano had once offered Eugene IV. a fleet to carry the Jews in a body over the sea. “ Now that he is dead," writes our author, “it is to be wished that he would send Pope Clement IX. a fleet from heaven to remove all these thieves from Rome.” The Jewish usurers received eighteen per cent. for their moneys ; and this was the revenge they took for all insults.

During the whole eighteenth century it was a strict rule that the Jews should visit a certain church on certain days to listen to sermons on the Christian religion. Gregory XIII., so far back as 1572, issued a decree that the Jews should be forced to hear a sermon weekly. A Jewish convert introduced this custom. On the Jewish sabbath the police proceeded to the Ghetto, and drove the Jews to church with whips. women, and children-if the latter were above twelve



agemust appear to the number of one hundred males and fifty females, but the number was eventually raised to three hundred. At the church door an inspector counted the persons who entered, while in the church itself the sbirri made the people attentive, and if any Jew was careless or sleepy he was roused by blows and kicks. A Dominican generally preached, and took care to select a text from the lesson the Jews had just before heard in the synagogue. The host was always carefully removed from the altar on these occasions. These services were, at the outset, held in the church of San Benedetto alla Regola, but afterwards in the church of San Angelo, in Pescaria, which is built on the ruins of the Aula Octavia, and is the spot where Cola Rienzi first held his enthusiastic addresses to the Romans. Eventually, the service was limited to five times a year, and the custom was dying a natural death, when Leo XII. Genga revived it in 1824. It was finally abolished in the first year of Pio

The Jews who were converted to Christianity were naturally rewarded by release from the Ghetto, and by civil rights and privileges. It was frequently the case for Jews to be converted, and then, as a natural consequence, they were more fanatic than their converters.

On a chapel opposite the Ghetto, on the bridge Quattro Capi, may still be seen a picture of the Crucifixion, with the following verse from Isaiah in Latin and Hebrew : “ I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good.”

This was a warning to the Jews which a converted Jew, in order to flatter his new creed, had painted on the outside of the chapel. According to mediæval custom, the Jewish neophytes received the names of their sponsors, and as these were selected from among the first Roman families, the Jews contrived by degrees to smuggle themselves into society. As we have already seen, an anti-pope was of Hebrew origin, and many baptised Jews called themselves after the names of the barons who had been their sponsors. Hence there were Jewish Colonnas, Massimis, and Orsinis, and it is even asserted that many a proud Roman family has died out, and been continued by Jews from the Trastevere.*

* If this rumour be true, it may remove the slur which a recent awful event has thrown on the name of a great Roman family. We could almost wish

Nono's papacy;

Leo XII., who, as we have said, was no friend of the Jews, granted them, however, the privilege of owning house property, if they were amenable to the jus Gazzagà. He also enlarged the limits of the Ghetto, and gave it eight gates, which were guarded and closed every night. During the French occupation of Rome under the first Empire, the Ghetto was thrown open, and the Jews were allowed entire liberty to reside in the city and carry on any trade they pleased. Pius VII., however, closed the Ghetto again on his return in 1814, and things remained in the old state till the present pope mounted the throne. It redounds to the honour of Pio Nono that he proved himself more philanthropic and liberal than his predecessors. He pulled down the walls of the Ghetto before the revolution broke out, Cicerovacchio taking part in the good work. The Jews are now at liberty to reside where they please in Rome, and carry on any trade; but the Ghetto still remains the most wretched district in Rome, a lurking place for dirt and poverty; and the Jews have displayed no great inclination to take advantage of their newly acquired liberty, for the prejudices to which they have ever been victims are irradicable.

The political reform of 1847 may be regarded as indicating the end of that fearful slavery which the Jews endured for so many centuries in Rome, and we may hope that the power of public opinion will be stronger than prejudice, and that the slight liberty the Jews have now gained will extend so widely as to ensure them a fair share of the blessings of civilisation. The prospect is certainly distant, but, at any rate, there is hope.

In conclusion, we may add that, at the present day, the total population of the Ghetto district is estimated at 3800 beings, a disproportionate number, regard being had to the restricted limits of the Ghetto. The entire Jewish community (università degli Ebrei) is governed by the supreme congregation of the Inquisition, and the special magistracy for all criminal and civil affairs is the Cardinal-Vicariat. The tribunal to which these are referred is composed of the cardinal-vicar, the prelatevicegerentė, the prelate-luogotenente, and the criminal lieutenant. Local police affairs are entrusted to the president of the district of San Angelo and Campitello. The Hebrew community have also the privilege of regulating their internal administration by three fattori del Ghetto, who are elected twice a year. These officers look after the proper cleansing of the streets, the lighting and fountains, arrange the taxes pro ratâ, administer the hospitals, charitable donations, &c. The Ghetto pays annually to the state and the various religious bodies the sum of 5201.

We will offer our readers no apology for giving them these somewhat dry details, for the Jewish question has been so long before them in their own free country, that we think our bede-roll of Hebrew persecution will furnish them a useful lesson in toleration. It is hoped that the Jewish question is finally solved : if so, we ought to feel a pride in proving that we will not be outstripped in generosity by the most bigoted government on the Continent. If Pio Nono has found himself forced to make concessions which aim a fatal blow at intolerance, surely we, as the liberal nation par excellence, cannot regret the compromise which has at length allowed Baron Rothschild to take his seat. were so for the sake of the sangre azul, which, according to the French proverb, "never denies itself.”



FIVE-AND-TWENTY years ago South Australia was tenanted solely by the scattered aboriginal tribes and the objects of their chase. The kangaroo bounded, the emu ran, the wallaby, the opossum, the ornithorinchus, and all the many-coloured feathered tribes were as yet undisturbed by the white man's gun. The wild corrobary was danced on the banks of the Torrens, where now stand the streets, the railway stations, the Houses of Parliament, and the gubernatorial palace and offices of a wealthy city. The cooey of the savage was often heard where now are reared temples to the Creator: now many a

Pealing anthem swells the note of praise, where five-and-twenty years ago all was of the darkness and desolation of heathendom.

The first British ship that sailed from England on the great work of colonising this beautiful country was the John Pirie, which left London on the 22nd of February, 1836-a pioneer of many others to the “great South land.” She was outstripped, however, by the Duke of York, which left two days after her, and arrived in the colony on the 27th of July, having made the passage in 153 days.

Everybody knows the improvement that has been made in the construction of ships and the inci sed attainments of our masters in navigation of late years.


many to append a list from authentic sources of the first twenty-seven ships that sailed from London to Adelaide, with the length of time each occupied on the voyage. They all sailed in 1836 and 1837 : Days.

John Pirie . .


Duke of York.

K. S. Forbes


Lady Emma

Lady Mary Pelham


. 169

Royal Admiral . . 115

. 111

Lord Goderich . . 181
. 127

H.M.S. Buffalo . 158


135 William Hutt. . 157



. 134

Saral and Elizabeth

Henry Porcher.

125 John Renwick. . 115


South Australian . 121

Total 3768
Hartley ·


Average 137 days. It must be confessed that, had this average of a ship’s voyage to Adelaide continued, it might discourage those who otherwise would trust themselves to the waste of waters. To pass a hundred and thirty-seven days at sea, even in the best-appointed ship, is, to say the least, tedious work, although if, as frequently happens, the wind never blow a gale the entire distance, it is little more trying than a pleasure trip in a taut yacht in the Mediterranean.

Seventy days and under is now frequently the extent of the voyage by


. 153

. 122

· 100



Shah .


« ПредишнаНапред »