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Montefiore, Moses, Sir / Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, Volume I Comprising Their Life and Work as Recorded in Their Diaries From 1812 to 1883
file made from images generously made available by Seforim










YEAR 1840).


In Two Volumes




_explained on page 6_.]

(_The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved._)

Copyright--Belford-Clarke Co., Chicago.


In submitting to the public the Memoirs, including the Diaries, of Sir
Moses and Lady Montefiore, I deem it desirable to explain the motives
by which I have been actuated, as well as the sources from which most
of my information has been drawn.

The late Sir Moses Montefiore, from a desire to show his high
appreciation of the services rendered to the cause of humanity by
Judith, Lady Montefiore, his affectionate partner in life, directed
the executors of his last will "to permit me to take into my custody
and care all the notes, memoranda, journals, and manuscripts in his
possession written by his deeply lamented wife, to assist me in
writing a Memoir of her useful and blessed life."

The executors having promptly complied with these instructions, I soon
found myself in possession of five journals by Lady Montefiore,
besides many valuable letters and papers, including documents of great
importance, as well as of no less than eighty-five diaries of Sir
Moses Montefiore, dating from 1814 to 1883, all in his own

In addition to such facilities for producing a Memoir, I had the
special advantage of personally knowing both Sir Moses and Lady
Montefiore for many years. There is an entry in the diaries referring
to a dinner at the house of one of their relatives on the 27th of
November 1835 (where I met them for the first time), and to a visit I
subsequently paid them at East Cliff Lodge, Ramsgate, by special
invitation, from the 3rd to the 13th of December of the same year.

I also had the privilege of accompanying them on thirteen
philanthropic missions to foreign lands, some of which were undertaken
by both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and others by Sir Moses alone
after Lady Montefiore's death. The first of these missions took place
in the year 1839, and the last in 1874.

A no less important circumstance, which I may perhaps be allowed to
mention, is, that I was with Sir Moses on the last day of his life,
until he breathed his last, and had the satisfaction of hearing from
his own lips, immediately before his death, the expression of his
approval of my humble endeavours to assist him, as far as lay in my
power, in attaining the various objects he had in view.

However desirous I might have been to adhere strictly to his wishes, I
found it impossible to write a Memoir of Lady Montefiore without
making it, at the same time, a Memoir of Sir Moses himself, both of
them having been so closely united in all their benevolent works and
projects. It appeared to me most desirable, therefore, in order to
convey to the reader a correct idea of the contents of the book, to
entitle it "The Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore."

In order, however, to comply with the instructions of the will, I
shall, in giving the particulars of their family descent, first
introduce the parentage of Lady Montefiore.

To assist the reader in finding the exact month and year referring to
Hebrew Communal affairs, I have always given the Hebrew date
conjointly with that of the Christian era, more especially as all the
entries in the diaries invariably have these double dates.


1 Oscar Villas, Broadstairs, Kent,
_21st June 1887_ (5647 A.M.).



Birth of Sir Moses Montefiore at Leghorn--His
Family--Early Years 1


Early Education--Becomes a Stockbroker--His Marriage 12


Extracts from the Diaries--Financial Transactions--Public
Events before and after Waterloo--Elected President of
the Spanish and Portuguese Hebrew Community 19


Daily Life--Death of his Brother Abraham--An early
Panama Canal Project 25


First Journey to Jerusalem 36


Mr and Mrs Montefiore leave Alexandria--A Sea Voyage
Sixty Years ago 47


Arrival in England--Illness of Mr Montefiore--The
Struggle for Jewish Emancipation 55


Lady Hester Stanhope--Her Eccentricities--Parliament
and the Jews 63


Mr Montefiore presented to the King--Spanish and
Portuguese Jews in London in 1829 69


Interview with the Duke of Wellington in furtherance of
the Jewish--Cause--The Duke's Dilatory Tactics--Laying
the Foundation-stone of the Synagogue at Hereson 78


Lord Brougham and the Jews--The Jewish Poor in
London--Mr Montefiore hands his Broker's Medal to his
Brother--Dedication of the Synagogue at Hereson--The
Lords reject the Jewish Disabilities Bill 86


Illness of Mr Montefiore--His Recovery--Sir David
Salomons proposed as Sheriff--Visit of the Duchess of
Kent and Princess Victoria to Ramsgate--Mr Montefiore's
Hospitals--Naming of the Vessel _Britannia_ by Mrs
Montefiore--A Loan of Fifteen Millions 93


Death of Mr N. M. Rothschild--Mr Montefiore visits
Dublin--Becomes the First Jewish Member of the Royal
Society--Death of William IV.--Mr Montefiore elected
Sheriff 103


The Jews' Marriage Bill--Mr Montefiore at the Queen's
Drawing-Room--His Inauguration as Sheriff 111


Death of Mr Montefiore's Uncle--Mr Montefiore rides in
the Lord Mayor's Procession--Is Knighted--His Speech at
the Lord Mayor's Banquet--Presents Petition on behalf
of the Jews to Parliament 119


Destruction of the Royal Exchange--City
Traditions--"Jews' Walk"--Sir Moses dines at
Lambeth Palace 130


Another Petition to Parliament--Sir Moses intercedes
successfully for the Life of a Convict--Death of Lady
Montefiore's Brother 137


Bartholomew Fair--Sir Moses earns the Thanks of the
City--Preparations for a Second Journey to the Holy
Land--The Journey--Adventures on Road and River in
France 145


Genoa, Carrara, Leghorn, and Rome--Disquieting
Rumours--Quarantine Precautions--Arrival at
Alexandria--Travel in the Holy Land 153


Reception at Safed--Sad Condition of the People--Sir
Moses' Project for the Cultivation of the Land in
Palestine by the Jews--Death of the Chief Rabbi of the
German Congregation in Jerusalem--Tiberias 162


Invitation from the Portuguese Congregation at
Jerusalem--Sanitary Measures in the Holy City--The Wives
of the Governor of Tiberias visit Lady Montefiore--A
Pleasant Journey--Arrival at Jerusalem 171


The Tomb of David--Spread of the Plague--Mussulman
Fanaticism--Suspicious Conduct of the Governor of
Jerusalem--Nayani, Beth Dagon, Jaffa, Emkhalet, and
Tantura 180


Encampment near Mount Carmel--State of the Country--Child
Marriages in the Portuguese Community at Haifa--Arrival
in Beyrout 188


On Board the _Acheron_--Sir Moses' Plans on behalf
of the Jews in Palestine--Interview with Boghoz
Bey--Proposed Joint Stock Banks in the East 196


Arrival at Malta--Home again--Boghoz Bey returns no
Answer--Touching Appeal from the Persecuted Jews of
Damascus and Rhodes--Revival of the old Calumny about
killing Christians to put their Blood in Passover Cakes 204


Indignation Meetings in London--M. Crémieux--Lord
Palmerston's Action--Sir Moses starts on a Mission to
the East--Origin of the Passover Cake Superstition 213


Arrival at Leghorn--Alexandria--Sir Moses' Address to
the Pasha--Action of the Grand Vizir 222


Authentic Accounts of the Circumstances attending the
Accusations against the Jews--Terrible Sufferings of
the Accused--Evidence of their Innocence--Witnesses in
their favour Bastinadoed to Death 229


Affairs in the East--Ultimatum from the Powers--Gloomy
Prospects of the Mission--Negotiations with the
Pasha--Excitement in Alexandria--Illness of Lady
Montefiore 240


The English Government and the Pasha--Mohhammad Ali and
the Slaves--The Pasha promises to release the Damascus
Prisoners--He grants them an "Honourable Liberation" 248


Interview with the Pasha--Liberation of the Jews of
Damascus--Public Rejoicings and Thanksgiving--Departure
of Sir Moses for Constantinople 256


Constantinople--Condition of the Jewish
Residents--Interview with Rechid Pasha--Audience with
the Sultan--He grants a Firman 266


Distress among the Jews at Salonica--Oppressive Laws
with regard to them--Text of the Firman--Its
Promulgation 275


Departure from Malta--Naples--Rome--A Shameful
Inscription--Prejudices against the Jews at the Vatican 282


Monsignor Bruti and his Hints--Cardinal
Riverola--Ineffectual Attempts to Interview the
Pope--Returning Homewards--Alarming Accident--The
Governor of Genoa--Interview with King Louis Philippe 289


Home again--Sir Moses presents a Facsimile of the
Firman to the Queen--Her Majesty's Special Mark of
Favour--Reform Movement among the London Jews--Appeal
for English Protection from the Jews in the East 298


Presentation from Hamburg--Sir Moses meets the King of
Prussia--Address to Prince Albert--Attempt on the
Queen's Life--Petitions to Sir Moses from Russia 305


Address and Testimonial from the Jews--Sir Moses'
Speech in reply--Death of the Duke of Sussex--The
Deportation Ukase in Russia--Opening of the New Royal
Exchange--Sir Moses made Sheriff of Kent 313


Affairs in Morocco--Letter to the Emperor--His
Reply--Deputation to Sir Robert Peel--Death of Lady
Montefiore's Brother Isaac--Sir Moses sets out for
Russia 320


Perils of Russian Travelling in Winter--Arrival at St
Petersburg--Interviews with Count Nesselrode and the
Czar--Count Kisseleff's Prejudices 328


Count Kisseleff is more Conciliatory--Sir Moses sets
out for Wilna--Arrival at Wilna--The Jews' Answers to
the Charges of Russian Officials 339


The Jewish Schools at Wilna--Wilcomir--Deplorable
Condition of the Hebrew Community in that
Town--Kowno--Warsaw 344


Deputation from Krakau--The Polish Jews and their
Garb--Sir Moses leaves Warsaw--Posen, Berlin, and
Frankfort--Home 351


Sir Moses receives the Congratulations of his English
Co-religionists--His Exhaustive Report to Count
Kisseleff--Examination of the Charges against the
Jews--Their Alleged Disinclination to engage in
Agriculture 359


Report to Count Ouvaroff on the State of Education
among the Jews in Russia and Poland--Vindication of
the Loyalty of the Jews 374


Report to Count Kisseleff on the State of the Jews in
Poland--Protest against the Restrictions to which they
were subjected 381


The Czar's Reply to Sir Moses' Representations--Count
Ouvaroff's Views--Sir Moses again writes to Count
Kisseleff--Sir Moses is created a Baronet 385

Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore



The neighbourhood of the Tower of London was, a hundred years ago, the
centre of attraction for thousands of persons engaged in financial
pursuits, not so much on account of the protection which the presence
of the garrison might afford in case of tumult, as of the convenience
offered by the locality from its vicinity to the wharves, the Custom
House, the Mint, the Bank, the Royal Exchange, and many important
counting-houses and places of business. For those who took an interest
in Hebrew Communal Institutions, it possessed the additional advantage
of being within ten minutes or a quarter of an hour's walk of the
Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue and the Great German Synagogue,
together with their Colleges and Schools, and several minor places of

Tower Hill, the Minories, and the four streets enclosing the Tenter
Ground were then favourite places of residence for the merchant; and
in one of these, Great Prescott Street, lived Levi Barent Cohen, the
father of Judith, afterwards Lady Montefiore.

He was a wealthy merchant from Amsterdam, who settled in England,
where fortune favoured his commercial undertakings.

In his own country his name is to this day held in great respect. He
not only during his lifetime kept up a cordial correspondence with his
friends and relatives--who were indebted to him for many acts of
kindness--but, wishing to have his name commemorated in the House of
Prayer by some act of charity, he bequeathed a certain sum of money to
be given annually to the poor, in consideration of which, he desired
to have some of the Daily Prayers offered up from the very place which
he used to occupy in the Synagogue of his native city.

He was a man, upright in all his transactions, and a strict adherent
to the tenets of his religion. He was of a very kind and sociable
disposition, which prompted him to keep open house for his friends and
visitors, whom he always received with the most generous hospitality.
He was first married to Fanny, a daughter of Joseph Diamantschleifer
of Amsterdam, by whom he had three children: two sons, Solomon and
Joseph, and one daughter, Fanny.

Solomon became the father-in-law of the late Sir David Salomons, and
Joseph the father of the late Mr Louis Cohen. Fanny married Salomon
Hyman Cohen Wessels, of Amsterdam, a gentleman who was well known at
that time for his philanthropy, and whose family, at the period of
Napoleon I., was held in great esteem among the aristocracy of

Mrs Levi Barent Cohen unfortunately died at an early age, and Mr Cohen
married her sister Lydia, by whom he had seven children: five
daughters--Hannah, Judith, Jessy, Adelaide, and Esther; and two
sons--Isaac and Benjamin.

Hannah became the wife of Mr N. M. Rothschild; Judith was married to
Mr Moses Montefiore; Jessy to Mr Davidson; Adelaide to Mr John
Hebbert; and Esther to Mr S. M. Samuel, the father of Mr George
Samuel, and grandfather of Baron Henry de Worms, M. P. Isaac became
the father-in-law of Baron Meyer de Rothschild, and Benjamin the
father of Mr Arthur Cohen, Q. C., and Mr Nath. B. Cohen.

Judith, one of the subjects of these Memoirs, was born, according to
the entry in one of Sir Moses' Diaries, on the 20th February 1784; her
birthday, however, was generally celebrated at East Cliff Lodge in the
month of October, in conjunction with another festivity held there on
the first Saturday after the Tabernacle Holidays.

With regard to most persons noted for their character or ability,
there exists a tradition of some unusual occurrence happening during
their early life. In the case of Lady Montefiore, there is an event
which she once related to me herself.

"When I was a little girl," she said, "about three or four years old,
I fell over the railing of a staircase, quite two storeys high, into
the hall below. Everybody in the house thought I must be killed, but
when they came to pick me up they found me quietly seated as if
nothing in the world had happened to me."

It was a characteristic of hers which was subsequently much noticed by
those around her, that, no matter in what circumstances she was
placed, when others were excited or depressed by some painful event or
the fear of approaching peril, she would remain calm, and retain her
presence of mind. She would endeavour to cheer and strengthen others
by words of hope, and where it was possible to avoid any threatened
danger, she would quietly give her opinion as to the best course to be

She received from her earliest childhood an excellent English
education, and her studies in foreign languages were most successful.
She spoke French, German, and Italian fluently, and read and
translated correctly the Hebrew language of her prayers, as well as
portions of the Pentateuch, generally read in the Synagogues on
Sabbaths and Festivals.

Nor were the accomplishments of music and drawing neglected; but that
which characterised and enhanced the value of her education most was
"the fear of God," which, she had been taught, constituted "the
beginning of knowledge."

By the example set in her parents' house, this lesson took an
especially deep root in her heart. One day at Park Lane the
conversation happened to turn on the practice of religious
observances, and Lady Montefiore related what had occurred when she
was still under the parental roof.

"Once," she said, "on the fast-day for the destruction of Jerusalem,
we were sitting, as is customary, in mourning attire, on low stools,
reciting the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Suddenly the servant entered
the room, closely followed by Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, and several
other gentlemen. My sisters became somewhat embarrassed, not liking to
be thus surprised in our peculiar position, but I quietly kept my
seat, and when Sir Sidney asked the reason of our being seated so low,
I replied, This is the anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem,
which is kept by conforming Jews as a day of mourning and
humiliation. The valour exhibited by our ancestors on this sad
occasion is no doubt well known to you, Sir Sidney, and to the other
gentlemen present, and I feel sure that you will understand our grief
that it was unavailing to save the Holy City and the Temple. But we
treasure the memory of it as a bright example to ourselves and to all
following generations, how to fight and to sacrifice our lives for the
land in which we were born and which gives us shelter and protection."

"Sir Sidney and the other gentlemen," she said, "appeared to be much
pleased with the explanation I gave them; they observed that it was a
most noble feeling which prompts the true patriot to mourn for the
brave who have fallen on the field of battle for their country; and
that the memory of the struggles of the Jews in Palestine to remain
the rightful masters of the land which God had apportioned to them as
an inheritance, would ever remain, not only in the heart of every
brave man in the British realm, but also in that of every
right-thinking man in all other parts of the world as a glorious
monument of their dauntless valour and fervent devotion to a good and
holy cause."

Lady Montefiore not only appreciated the education she received, but
also remembered with deep gratitude all those who had imparted
instruction to her. Her friends have often been the bearers of
generous pensions to gentlemen who had been her teachers when she was
young, and they never heard her mention their names without
expressions of gratitude.

In addition to her other good qualities, there was one which is not
always to be met with among those who happen to be in possession of
great wealth, and with whom a few shillings are not generally an
object worth entering in an account-book. With her, when her turn came
among her sisters to superintend the management of the house, the
smallest item of expense was entered with scrupulous accuracy, and
whilst ever generous towards the deserving and needy who applied to
her for assistance, she would never sanction the slightest waste.

I shall presently, as I proceed in my description of her character,
have an opportunity of showing how, in her future position as a wife
and philanthropist, all the excellences of her character were turned
to the best account for the benefit of those to whom she and her
husband rendered assistance in times of distress.

The reader being now in full possession of all that is necessary for
him to know of the parentage and education of Miss Judith Cohen, I
propose to leave her for the present under her parental roof, in Angel
Court, Throgmorton Street, with a loving father and a tenderly
affectionate mother, and surrounded by excellent brothers and sisters;
some of them employed in commercial pursuits, others in study, but all
united in the contemplation and practice of works of brotherly love
and charity towards their fellow-beings. To proceed with the lineage
of Sir Moses.

Sir Moses Montefiore was born at Leghorn, whither his parents happened
to repair, either on business or on a visit to their relations, a few
weeks before that event took place.

According to an entry in the archives of the Hebrew Community of that
city, he first saw the light on the 9th of Héshván 5545 A.M.,
corresponding to the 24th of October 1784.

During his visit to Leghorn in the year 1841, an opportunity was
offered to him, when visiting the schools of the community, to inspect
the archives in my presence, and he expressed his satisfaction at
their accuracy.

Some doubt having been entertained by several of his biographers of
the correctness of the date of his birth, and Sir Moses having
generally received and accepted the congratulations of his friends on
the the 8th of Héshván, it will not be out of place to give here an
exact copy of the original entry in the archives in the Italian
language, just as it has recently been forwarded to me by the
Cavaliere Costa of Leghorn.

It reads as follows:--

"_Nei registri di Nascite che esistone nell' archivìe
delle Università Israelitica a C. 8, si trova la
seguente nascita_:--

"9 Héshván, 5545--24 Ottobre 1784.


"A Joseph di Moise Haim e Raquel Montefiore un figlio,
che chiamarone Moise Haim."


"In the registers of births, which are preserved in the
archives of the Hebrew community, there is to be found
on p. 8 the following entry of birth:--

"9th Héshván 5545 A.M., 24th October 1784.


"Unto Joseph, son of Moses Haim, and Rachel Montefiore,
a son was born, whom they call Moses Haim."

Sir Moses never signed his name "Haim," nor did his mother in her
letters to him ever call him so. His father Joseph, after recovering
from a dangerous illness, adopted the name of Eliyáhoo (the Eternal is
my God) in addition to that of Joseph.

Various opinions have been expressed respecting the early history of
Sir Moses Montefiore's ancestors, and the place whence they originally
came, to Modena, Ancona, Fano, Rome, and Leghorn.

A manuscript in the library of "Judith Lady Montefiore's Theological
College" at Ramsgate--containing a design of the original armorial
bearings of the Montefiore family, surrounded by suitable mottoes, and
a biographical account of the author of the work to which the
manuscript refers--will greatly help us in elucidating the subject.

The manuscript is divided into two parts: one bears the name of "Kán
Tsippor" ([Hebrew]), "The bird's nest," and treats of the Massorah
of the Psalms, _i.e._, their divisions, accents, vowels, grammatical
forms, and letters necessary for the preservation of the text; and the
other, the name of "Gán Perákhim" ([Hebrew]), "The garden of
flowers," containing poems, special prayers, family records, and
descriptions of important events.

The hereditary marks of honour which served to denote the descent and
alliances of the Montefiore family consisted of "a lion rampant," "a
cedar tree," and "a number of little hills one above the other," each
of these emblems being accompanied by a Hebrew inscription. Thus the
lion rampant has the motto--


"Be strong as a lion to perform the will of thy Father
in Heaven."

The hills bear the motto--


"(When) I lift up mine eyes unto the hills (I ask)
whence cometh my help? [Answer] My help cometh from the

And the cedar tree--


"The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree; he shall
grow like a cedar in Lebanon."

These emblems are precisely the same as those which Sir Moses had in
his coat-of-arms, with the exception of the inscriptions. Probably he
thought they were too long to be engraved on a signet, and he
substituted for them the words "Jerusalem" and "Think and Thank."

The author of the manuscript bears the name of Joseph, and designates
himself, on the title-page, as the son of the aged and learned Jacob
Montefiore of Pesaro, adding the information that he is a resident of
Ancona, and a son-in-law of the Rev. Isaac Elcostantin, the spiritual
head of the Hebrew congregation in that place. The manuscript bears
the date of 5501 A.M.--1740.

In his biography, the author, after rendering thanks to Heaven for
numerous mercies which had been bestowed on him, gives the following
account of himself and family:--

"I was eleven years old when I was called upon to assist, conjointly
with my three brothers, Moses, Raphael, and Mazliakh, and five
sisters, in providing for the maintenance of the family." Moses, the
eldest of his brothers, died at the age of thirty-two, and Joseph (the
biographer) entered the business of Sabbati Zevi Morini of Pesaro.
Being prosperous in his commercial pursuits, he provided for his
sisters, probably by giving to each of them a suitable dowry. One of
them, Flaminia by name, became the wife of a celebrated preacher,
Nathaniel Levi, the minister of the congregation of Pesaro.

The father, Jacob Montefiore, died at the age of eighty-three, and his
sons went into business with a certain Cartoni of Lisina. They appear
at first to have met with success, but the sudden death of the head of
the firm caused the collapse of the business.

Joseph Montefiore subsequently married Justa or Justina, the
granddaughter of the Rev. Abraham Elcostantin of Ancona. With a view
of carrying on their business to greater advantage the brothers
separated and removed to different parts of Italy, and Joseph himself,
guided by the counsel of his wife, left Pesaro for Ancona for a
similar purpose.

His brother-in-law died at that time in Modena, and Joseph was in a
sufficiently prosperous position to be able to assist the widow and
her children.

The latter grew up and married. One of them, a daughter, went with
her husband, Samuel Nachman, to Jerusalem, where, from religious
motives, they settled.

One of his nephews, Nathaniel Montefiore, became a distinguished poet,
and the manuscript in question contains a very beautiful composition
of his in praise of the book (Kán Tsippor) and its author.

Joseph Montefiore resided for some time in Rome, also in Fano. There
are prayers in the book which he composed during his stay in each of
those places.

From these statements it would appear that the family of Montefiore,
from which Sir Moses descended, first came to Pesaro.

Signor P. M. Arcantoni, the Syndic of the Municipality of Montefiore
dell'aso, in the province of Ascoli-Picerno, expressed his strong
belief, on the occasion of his offering to Sir Moses the
congratulations of the commune on his completing the hundredth year of
his life, that the ancestors of Sir Moses had settled in that place.

From Ancona, as has been stated, several members of the Montefiore
family came to Leghorn, from which city at a very early period they
emigrated to England.

The grandfather of Sir Moses, Moses Haim (or Vita) Montefiore, and his
grandmother, Esther Racah, a daughter of Mássa'ood Racah of
Leghorn, also left Italy and settled in London, where their son Joseph
(born 15th October 1759, died 11th January 1804) married Rachel, the
daughter of Abraham Lumbroso de Mattos Mocatta, who became the mother
of Sir Moses.

They resided after their marriage at No. 3 Kennington Terrace,
Vauxhall, and were blessed with eight children, three sons, Moses (the
subject of these memoirs), Abraham, and Horatio, and five daughters,
Sarah, Esther, Abigail, Rebecca, and Justina.

Abraham first married a daughter of Mr George Hall, of the London
Stock Exchange; on her death, he married Henrietta Rothschild, a
sister of the late N. M. Rothschild, by whom he had two sons, Joseph
Meyer of Worth Park, and Nathaniel Meyer of Coldeast, and two
daughters, Charlotte and Louise. The latter became the wife of Sir
Antony de Rothschild.

[Illustration: House at Leghorn in which Sir Moses was born. _See Vol.
I., page 9._]

Horatio married Sarah, a daughter of David Mocatta, by whom
he had six sons, one of whom (Mr Emanuel Montefiore) is now a
lieutenant-colonel in the British Army, and six daughters. After her
death he married a daughter of Abraham Montefiore.

Sarah, the eldest daughter of Joseph and Rachel Montefiore, became the
wife of Mr Solomon Sebag, and was the mother of Mr Joseph Sebag (now
J. Sebag-Montefiore) and of Mrs Jemima Guadalla, who is married to Mr
Haim Guadalla. After the death of her husband, Mrs Sebag married Mr
Moses Asher Goldsmid, the brother of Sir Isaac Goldsmid.

Esther, the second daughter, unfortunately lost her life at the age of
fifteen through an accident she met with during a fire that broke out
in the house.

Abigail, the third, married Mr Benjamin Gompertz, a distinguished

Rebecca, the fourth, married Mr Joseph Salomons, a son of Levi
Salomons, of Crosby Square, father of the late Sir David Salomons,

Justina, the fifth, became the wife of Mr Benjamin Cohen, the brother
of Lady Montefiore, and mother of Mr Arthur Cohen, Q. C., M. P., and
Mr Nathaniel B. Cohen.

The reader is now invited to retrace his steps, for it is to Moses,
the first-born son of Joseph and Rachel Montefiore, that I have to
direct his attention. He must leave No. 3 Kennington Terrace and
follow me in imagination to Leghorn.

Mr Joseph Montefiore having some business in that city, informed his
wife of his intention to proceed to Italy, and Mrs Montefiore
prevailed upon him to take her with him.

After they arrived at Leghorn, we find them in the house of Signer
Moses Haim Racah, celebrating the happy event of the birth of a son,
destined to become the champion of Israel.

The festivity on the day of naming (the eighth day after the birth of
a son) is generally an occasion which brings together relatives,
friends, heads of the congregation, and officers of the Synagogue.
Offerings are made by all present for charitable institutions, and
prayers recited for the life and prosperity of the child. It is
therefore not a matter of surprise that there was a large assembly of
the Hebrew community of Leghorn on that occasion.

Signor Racah, being his great-uncle, performed the duties of
godfather and ever from that day, and up to the year of his death, he
evinced the liveliest interest in the welfare of his godson; when the
latter was grown up the affection proved mutual.

Sir Moses when speaking of him used to say that he had greatly
endeared himself to the people in Leghorn by his abilities and high
character. He cherished the most benevolent feelings towards all good
and honest men, and often, in times of grief and calamity, rendered
help and consolation to all classes of the community. Sir Moses held
him in great veneration, and during his stay in Italy gave special
orders to have a copy of his likeness procured for him. A facsimile of
the portrait is here given, with an inscription in Sir Moses' own

In his will, Sir Moses, referring to him and to the Synagogue at
Leghorn, thus expresses himself--

"To the trustees of the Synagogue at Leghorn in Italy, of which my
honoured godfather (deceased) was a member, in augmentation of the
fund for repairing that building, I bequeath £500; and to the same
trustees, as a fund for keeping in repair the tomb of my said
godfather and my godmother, Esther Racah, his wife, £200."

Two or three years before his death, Sir Moses ordered a coloured
drawing of these tombs, with a complete copy of the epitaphs, to be
sent to him, and it is now preserved in the library of the College at

After a stay of several months at Leghorn, Mr and Mrs Montefiore
returned to England. I have often heard descriptions of that homeward
journey from Mrs Montefiore, when she used to visit her son at Park

"Moses," she said, "was a beautiful, strong, and very tall child, but
yet on our return journey to England, during a severe winter, I was
unwilling to entrust him to a stranger; I myself acted as his nurse,
and many and many a time I felt the greatest discomfort through not
having more than a cup of coffee, bread and butter, and a few eggs for
my diet." "No meat of any description," she added, "passed my lips; my
husband and myself being strict observers of the Scriptural
injunctions as to diet." "But I am now," she said, with a pleasant
smile, "amply repaid for the inconvenience I then had to endure."
"What I thought a great privation, in no way affected the state of my
health, nor that of the child; and I feel at present the greatest
satisfaction on account of my having strictly adhered to that which
I thought was right."

[Illustration: Moses Racah of Leghorn, Godfather and Great Uncle of
Sir Moses. _See Vol. I., page 10._]

In the course of time several more children were born to them, all of
whom they reared most tenderly, and over whose education they watched
with the greatest care. They had the happiness of seeing them grow up
in health and strength, endowed with excellent qualities, Moses, the
eldest, and the subject of these memoirs, being already conspicuous
for his strength of understanding and kindness of disposition. They
continued for many years to reside at Kennington Terrace, Vauxhall, in
the same house in which they took up their residence immediately after
their marriage. After their death it was occupied by members of their
family till a few years ago, when it passed into the hands of

It was there that Mr Benjamin Gompertz (the author of the "Principles
and Application of Imaginary Quantities") resided and the mother of
Sir Moses breathed her last.

Joseph Eliahu, his father, was a well educated and God-fearing man,
upright in all his dealings. He was extremely fond of botany and
gardening. There is still in the library of Lady Montefiore's
Theological College at Ramsgate, a book which formerly belonged to
him, and in which remarks on the cultivation of plants are written in
his own handwriting.

Sir Moses, when speaking of him, used to say, "He was at one time of a
most cheerful disposition, but after he had the misfortune to lose one
of his daughters at a fire which occurred in his house, he was never
seen to smile."



At an early age, we find young Moses Montefiore attending school in
the neighbourhood of Kennington. After he had completed his elementary
studies, he was removed to a more advanced class in another school,
where he began to evince a great desire to cultivate his mind,
independently of his class lessons. He was observed to copy short
moral sentences from books falling into his hands, or interesting
accounts of important events, which he endeavoured to commit to

Afterwards, as he grew up in life, this became a habit with him, which
he did not relinquish even when he had attained the age of ninety
years. His diaries all contain either at the beginning or the end of
the record of his day's work, some beautiful lines of poetry referring
to moral or literary subjects: mostly quotations or extracts from
standard works. Young Montefiore showed on all occasions the greatest
respect for his teachers, bowing submissively to their authority in
all cases of dispute between his fellow-students and himself.

He was acknowledged to be most frank and loyal in all his intercourse
with his superiors. The respect due to constituted authorities he
always used to consider, when he had become a man in active life, as a
sacred duty. He was in the habit of saying, in the words of the royal
philosopher, "Fear thou the Lord and the King, and meddle not with
them that are given to change." Whatever might be his private opinion
on any subject, he would in all his public and private transactions be
guided only by the decision of an acknowledged authority.

Montefiore did not remain many years at school. There was at that time
no prospect for him to enter life as a professor at a university, or
as a member of the bar. There was no sphere of work open to him in
any of the professions; and even to enter the medical profession would
have been difficult. There was nothing left for him, therefore, but to
enter a commercial career. He used often to speak about the days of
his apprenticeship in the business of one of their neighbours in
Kennington, and how hard he had to work; when subsequently he was in a
counting-house in the city, the hours were late, and he sometimes had
to take letters to the post on the stroke of midnight. There were no
copying machines, and all letters had to be copied by hand. He also
spoke of the great distance he had to walk every night from the city
to Kennington Terrace, during the cold winter months as well as in the
summer time. There were then no omnibuses or other conveyances at hand
such as we have now, and if there had been, he was of too saving a
disposition to make any unnecessary outlay on his own person; he used
to keep a strict account of the smallest item of his expenses. It was
not with the object of complaining, or of regretting his early mode of
life that he gave his friends these descriptions; his object was to
impress on the mind of the rising generation the necessity of working
hard and spending little, in order to make their way in the world.

By his habits of industry, by his strict compliance with the
instructions of his superiors, and more especially by his own clear
judgment in all matters connected with the business entrusted to him,
he soon succeeded in obtaining promotion.

Having had the opportunity of seeing business transactions among
brokers on the Stock Exchange, he decided upon securing for himself
the privilege of being one of the limited number of Jewish brokers.
According to the law of England at that time only twelve such brokers
could be admitted, but Moses Montefiore had the satisfaction of soon
seeing himself in possession of the much-coveted privilege.

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Main -> Montefiore, Moses, Sir -> Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, Volume I Comprising Their Life and Work as Recorded in Their Diaries From 1812 to 1883