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The New York Jewish Chronicle  and its Agents


We some time since adverted to the contemptible procedure of the conversion organ of the United States against the deceased Doctor De La Motta, when notwithstanding our positive assurance, and we thought sufficient proof, of the falsehood of the society’s hired man’s report, the editor fancied that he discovered confirmation strong in our denial, and by his ipse dixit threw his editorial mantle over the apostate missionary, who must needs bring a report of some success with the dead, who cannot contradict in person any foul aspersion, whilst he utterly failed to have any influence over the living; since with all our general knowledge of the Israelites of this country, we have never known a single instance for a period of more than twenty years, of a conversion of a resident Jew through the action of the society or its agents. There have been apostacies, we are well aware, during this time; but they are traceable to other influences than the society’s labours, and if need be we could prove the whole of them to have been anything but conversions proper; whilst the Jews have received accessions to an equal, if not greater amount, from the ranks of the Christians, besides there being many whose application for admission into the Synagogue was declined by the persons in authority, for what they deemed good reasons. It might be, perhaps, instructive, if the various Jewish ministers were to give an account of the conversions to Judaism which have taken place in late years; only that it would be a positive breach of propriety to blazon about a mere matter of conscience which is evidently the business of every individual so acting solely, and with which the public has no concern. Christian ministers think and act differently since they parade every occurrence which has the appearance of a conversion to the admiring gaze of the devout; and where they fail of having something real, fancy is not rarely taxed to supply food for the wonder-loving multitude, who always love some strongly-seasoned food <<463>>of excitement to keep them in good humour, especially if there be occasion to stimulate an appeal to the pocket in order to fill an exhausted treasury. Our words may be plain, much plainer than it is customary with us to use; but it is impossible to notice in any manner whatever, the flagrant breaches of decorum by the paid men of the various conversion societies, without feeling and expressing the deepest horror at the base treachery of the apostates, who not alone sin themselves, almost we fear beyond forgiveness, but, like Jeroboam the son of Nebat, mislead Israel to sin. A political traitor is universally odious to all, even those who benefit by his treachery; and a Benedict Arnold was hated in England, where he obtained a pension from the British King for his attempted betrayal of his native land; he was shunned as a disgrace to society by the honourable men of the British array. And can a Jew then act otherwise than despise a man, if man he be, who obtains a living by going from town to town, and from house to house, to entrap a former brother in the snare of the same degradation in which he is steeped? Say that we are prejudiced, it matters little to us, our equanimity will not be ruffled in the least by the charge; nay, we acknowledge that we have prejudice, deep-rooted and insurmountable; but it is only that which a good man may and should feel against what is base and unworthy, and however dear the apostate may be to the managers of conversion societies, he must be odious for the selfsame reason to all true Israelites.

We would hardly have recurred to this disagreeable subject, which we avoid much oftener than any one can be aware of, where so many provocations are thrown in our way, and which demand almost a rejoinder or notice of some sort, were it not that the same travelling agent who aspersed Doctor De La Motta, acted lately in the same unkind manner to the memory of a young girl, who died last year at Savannah, in Georgia. We have had for some weeks past in our possession a letter from the brother of the deceased, which we, however, have been hitherto unable to find room for; but having cleared our table of much that demanded instant insertion, we cannot refuse the use of The Occident to a brother who is anxious to clear the memory of his sister from the least taint which the gossip-loving missionary has cast upon it. We give the letter in the words of  Mr. Hart, and its simple narrative will confute all that has been advanced and published to the Christian world as an evidence of the spread among us of Christianity.

<<464>>To the Editor of The Occident

Savannah, August 20th, 1847.

Dear Sir,—You would greatly oblige me by inserting in your valuable Jewish Journal the following as an act of justice to the dead.

In the August number of a periodical called the Jewish Chronicle, published in the City of New York, No. 2, vol. iv., for 1847, by John Lillie, Editor, page 54, title, Savannah, June 6, a portion of the Journal of Mr.——, I find the following: “It is also cheering to know, that since my visit last year, a young Jewish lady, seventeen years old, Miss H., died in the Christian faith. While sick, she sent for the Methodist minister, who came at her request, and prayed for her. She told her father she was no longer a Jewess; and every Christian that came to visit her during her illness, she asked to pray for her.” This I assert is a willful and malicious falsehood, conceived in the brain of some deranged fanatic, and calculated to defame the dead. The circumstances I will relate as briefly as possible. My sister, Miss H., was taken sick on Tuesday night, 29th September, 1846, (the eve of Yom Kippur,) and on Wednesday 30th, (Kippur,) the family physician was sent for quite early, who prescribed for her; my sister desired to fast, and actually refused to take anything, as violating the sanctity of the day, and we could hardly get her to taste the medicine, until she was told that after she got better she could appropriate another time to the observance of that day of atonement and fast, which she so anxiously desired to observe. My father, an orthodox Hebrew, said his prayers at home, and did not go to Synagogue on account of her sickness. He sung his prayers low, so as not to disturb and excite her; she sent her mother down stairs requesting him to sing louder, as she wanted to hear them, (the prayers.) During her sickness, she called for her father several times to say prayers for her, and on Sunday night, the 4th of October, she called again for him to pray for her, which he did both in Hebrew and English, when she was observed to repeat word for word, that part of the confession of the sick: “Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.  The Lord, he is God. The Lord he is God.” And on Monday afternoon, 5th October, (the time she died,) a few hours before her death, my father and another gentleman were saying the confession of the sick; she followed them by repeating the Shemang, and died sensible to the last. Thus she lived, thus she died, and as a Jewess was she buried.

(To be continued.)