|Vol. I, No. 8
Heshvan 5604, November 1843
The following letter of Mr. Crémieux, at Paris, to Judge Noah, of New York, relates to a most interesting subject, and has been transmitted to us for publication. Mr. Crémieux, it will be recollected, was associated with Sir Moses Montefiore, in the benevolent mission to the East, in relation to the fanatic and shocking outrages at Damascus, and while in Egypt, founded two schools for the instruction of Jewish children, and solicits aid from his brethren in the United States to sustain those two establishments, which have already been productive of the best results. Although the application comes at a time when constant assistance is required for poor emigrants who are flocking to this free country, nevertheless, it may be in the power of those who have been favoured by fortune, to transmit something in aid of the laudable object, particularly as the request emanates from one of the most distinguished and benevolent of our people, and who is constantly adding, as a jurist and distinguished member of the Chamber of Deputies, to the character and reputation of the Jewish nation. M. M. N.
Paris, June 26th, 1843.
The Hon. M. M. Noah, New York.
My dear sir and honoured co-religionaire—You will perhaps be surprised to receive a letter from one who has not the honour of your personal acquaintance, and who has not, until the present moment, had the opportunity of communicating with so distinguished a friend. But I am in need of assistance, in carrying out a great and pious work, from our brethren of the United States, and do not, therefore, hesitate in applying to one, whose name is connected with all that is noble and liberal among the Israelites.
You are undoubtedly acquainted with the particulars of my voyage to Egypt, on account of the unfortunate and calumnious affair at Damascus. During my long residence in Egypt, the cradle of Moses, and the tomb of Jacob, I perceived with great pain the physical and moral degradation into which the Jews of that country were plunged, and it appeared to me, that the best method to raise them from their debased condition, was to establish schools in the two principal cities, Alexandria and Cairo. I was the more readily induced to adopt this plan, by the joyful discovery I made, of the truly wonderful capacity with which the young Israelites were gifted. I found among them a remarkable degree of intelligence and quickness, requiring only an opportunity to be developed. I therefore, in behalf of the western Jews, and in their name, laid the foundation of two schools for boys, and two for girls, in each of the two great centres of Egyptian population. I promised pecuniary aid annually for three years, viz.: 8000 francs at Cairo, and 7000 at Alexandria; say 45,000 francs, besides 12,000 for the first outlay and contingent expenses. I thought I could safely pledge myself for 60,000 francs towards the support of those very important institutions. My plan and successful experiment were received in Egypt with transports of joy, and in Europe with acclamations. That part of Italy and Germany which I crossed on my return home, subscribed for such amounts as seemed to leave me no cause of uneasiness relative to the future; but the first zeal has cooled down, in consequence of new and unlooked-for misfortunes, such as the conflagrations at Hamburg and Smyrna, and the earthquake at Guadeloupe, which require new subscriptions, so that at this moment, I find myself without any means to meet the payment of the last 14,000 francs to complete the 60,000 promised by me.
I have thought that I might apply with propriety to my brethren of America and have taken the liberty of selecting you, sir, to help me in this work of philanthropy and religion. The schools have succeeded admirably; the improvements of the scholars are truly wonderful; already twelve have been selected and appointed government interpreters, at a salary of 300 Egyptian piastres each per month. Their very appearance improves daily.
Whatever may be the result of my application to our brethren of America, and to those of a few German towns to which I am about writing, I feel perfectly confident, that at least a part of what I am in need of will be granted by them. God will surely procure me the means of fulfilling my engagements I should be happy, sir, to see your name at the head of the list of benefactors of that unfortunate and interesting portion of Israel; happy do I feel, also, in becoming better acquainted with you in connexion with this noble cause. Permit me, dear sir, to express to you the satisfaction which I feel on the occasion, and to assure you of the high respect with which I have the honour to be your most humble and obedient servant,
Please direct to "M. Crémieux, Avocat, Membre de la Chambre des Deputies," under cover to "Monsieur le President de la Chambre des Deputies, Paris."
The foregoing will be read with interest in every part of our country, and we trust will awaken a proper spirit of liberality. It is advisable, therefore, for our friends to form committees in any part of the Union where this letter reaches, and raise subscriptions for the very interesting objects referred to; the schools are established in the most benighted portion of the world, near also to the Holy Land, and where, at no distant day, we hope, the services of enlightened and intelligent Jews may be required. We can do something to water the tree which our humane and benevolent friend has planted in Egypt, and I trust we shall be enabled to make up a portion of the funds deficient, and transmit them to him agreeably to his directions.