Sir Frederick John Goldsmid (1818-1908) graduated King's College London and entered the Madras Army in 1839. He served in the
China War of 1840-41. He commanded Turkish troops in the Crimea, 1855-56. After a long career, he retired a Major-General in 1875.
Sir Frederick Goldsmid is best remembered for his services in exploration, surveying and peacemaking. He played a significant role
in negotiating the borders of Persia from Baluchistan and Afghanistan. He was awarded the K.C.S.I. (Knight Commander of The Most
Exalted Order of the Star of India), in 1871.
Sir Frederick John Goldsmid's sister married Henry Edward Goldsmid, the father of Albert Goldsmid.
Albert Goldsmid graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1866. He was four months short of his 20th
birthday when he was commissioned an officer of the 104th Foot (Infantry). 1871 he became the adjutant of the battalion
and Captain in 1878. He rose to major five years later in 1883, lieutenant-colonel in 1888 and colonel April 21, 1894 assuming
command of the Welsh regimental district at Cardiff. He served as assistant adjutant-general during the South African Boer war.
A young lieutenant in the India Service, Goldsmid learned of his Jewish heritage. Feeling that he had been improperly denied his
identity and the faith of his fathers, he converted to Judaism. His parents were dismayed. He was 24 years old. Twelve years later,
in 1882, he was asked about his conversion with the canard of "dual loyalty". Goldsmid responded through the London Jewish Chronicle
"Britain is my father and Israel is my mother." His noted in later life, his decision to convert never impacted his career
with the British army.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
George Eliot's Daniel Deronda appeared in serialized form in 1876. It was an instant, major success. It was an
extraordinary story of life, love, the importance of identity and purpose. Daniel Deronda is actually two stories united by
the title of the character.
The novel begins in August 1865 when Daniel Deronda encounters Gwendolen Harleth in Leubronn, Germany. Deronda raised as an
English gentleman, the alleged illegitimate son of Sir Hugo Mallinger, was traveling in Europe trying to find some purpose to his
life. Gwendolen and Daniel lock eyes. He is instantly attracted to, but wary of, the beautiful, stubborn and selfish Gwendolen. In
a show of arrogance and disregard she loses heavily at roulette, while eyeing Deronda.
The next day, Gwendolen receives a letter from her mother telling her that the family is financially ruined. She is asked to
return home. Realizing that she has irresponsibly lost all of her money, Gwendolen pawns a necklace to continue gambling and regain
In a fateful moment however, her necklace is returned to her by a porter. Daniel saw her pawn the necklace and redeemed it for
her. She returns home, Deronda continues on with his travels. The potential relationship is pregnant with possibilities but both
characters move for the time being in separate directions.
Gwendolen returns home and relocates to more modest living arrangement in the country with her family. She meets and reluctantly
agrees to marry Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt, the nephew and legal heir of Sir Hugo Mallinger. She agrees to marry Grandcourt to
provide for her family but also because of his great wealth and the material comforts that that would bring her. She marries him in
spite of the fact she learned Grandcourt has a mistress, Lydia Glasher and several children by her. Gwendolen enters into the
loveless marriage that is mutually manipulative and socially correct.
Daniel returns home and learns of Gwendolen's marriage to Grandcourt.
Out boating one day, he spots a woman attempting to drown herself. He immediately rescues her. Her name is Mirah Lapidoth. She
is a Jewess. Despondent, Mirah had run away from her father, whom she feared would force her into an arranged marriage. Her father
had kidnapped her after separating from her mother. He hoped to capitalize on Mirah as a singer. Mirah had gone to London hoping to
find her mother and brother. Unable to locate them, she despondedly made her decision to kill herself.
Deronda is moved by the tale and resolves to help Mirah find her mother and brother. He travels to London and is introduced to a
world he only vaguely heard of the Jewish immigrant world of London's East End.
Searching through a mysterious, confusing and at times repulsive world of Jewish life and poverty he meets a young consumptive
Jewish man. His name is Mordecai. Mordecai is a person of faith, not religious faith but of a passionate faith in a future, a
destiny linked to the proud past of the Jewish people. It is his vision that the Jewish people will once again return to Palestine to
restore their "Promised Land". They return to restore a home for the Jewish people. He is considered delusional, even a bit insane,
by the Jewish family that looks after him.
Mordecai looks after Ezra Cohen's book store when he is away. Deronda wanders in to the store to get off the street with a
quickly grabbed book to purchase. He is more interested in meeting the proprietor, Ezra Cohen. Ezra Cohen was Mirah's brother's name.
Mordechai sat behind the counter.
"You are a man of learning--you are interested in Jewish history?" This was said in a deepened tone of eager
"I am certainly interested in Jewish history," said Deronda, quietly, curiosity overcoming his dislike to the sort of
inspection as well as questioning he was under.
But immediately the strange Jew rose from his sitting posture, and Deronda felt a thin hand pressing his arm tightly, while a
hoarse, excited voice, not much above a loud whisper, said--
"You are perhaps of our race?"
Deronda colored deeply, not liking the grasp, and then answered with a slight shake of the head, "No." The grasp was
relaxed, the hand withdrawn, the eagerness of the face collapsed into uninterested melancholy, as if some possessing spirit which had
leaped into the eyes and gestures had sunk back again to the inmost recesses of the frame; and moving further off as he held out the
little book, the stranger said in a tone of distant civility, "I believe Mr. Ram will be satisfied with half-a-crown,
Mordecai sensed something about Deronda that Deronda did not about himself. Daniel did not want to say anything to Mirah
later but returned to the shop again, ostensibly, to do more business. He is invited to share in a Sabbath meal by the Cohen family.
To his surprise, Mordecai joins them.
"Then he (Ezra) held up his finger as a sign that conversation must be deferred. He, Mordecai and Jacob put on their hats, and Cohen
opened a thanksgiving, which was carried on by responses, till Mordecai delivered himself alone at some length, in a solemn chanting
tone, with his chin slightly uplifted and his thin hands clasped easily before him. Not only in his accent and tone, but in his
freedom from the self-consciousness which has reference to others' approbation, there could hardly have been a stronger contrast to
the Jew at the other end of the table. It was an unaccountable conjunction--the presence among these common, prosperous, shop keeping
types, of a man who, in an emaciated threadbare condition, imposed a certain awe on Deronda, and an embarrassment at not meeting his
No sooner had Mordecai finished his devotional strain, than rising, with a slight bend of his head to the stranger, he walked back
into his room, and shut the door behind him.
'That seems to be rather a remarkable man," said Deronda, turning to Cohen, who immediately set up his shoulders, put out his
tongue slightly, and tapped his own brow. It was clearly to be understood that Mordecai did not come up to the standard of sanity
which was set by Mr. Cohen's view of men and things
.Deronda, feeling that it would be hardly delicate to protract his visit beyond the settlement of the business
which was its pretext, had to take his leave, with no more decided result than the advance of forty pounds and the pawn-ticket in his
breast-pocket, to make a reason for returning when he came up to town after Christmas. He was resolved that he would then endeavor to
gain a little more insight into the character and history of Mordecai; from whom also he might gather something decisive about the
Returning to the bookstore, Deronda is drawn to Mordecai as Mordecai is to him. They agree to meet and talk. Mordecai latches on
"You will be my life: it will be planted afresh; it will grow. You shall take the inheritance; it has been gathering for
ages. The generations are crowding on my narrow life as a bridge: what has been and what is to be are meeting there; and the bridge
is breaking. But I have found you. You have come in time. You will take the inheritance which the base son refuses because of the
tombs which the plow and harrow may not pass over or the gold-seeker disturb: you will take the sacred inheritance of the Jew."
Deronda had become as pallid as Mordecai. Quick as an alarm of flood or fire, there spread within him not only a compassionate dread
of discouraging this fellowman who urged a prayer as one in the last agony, but also tie opposing dread of fatally feeding an
illusion, and being hurried on to a self-committal which might turn into a falsity
'Do you forget what I told you when we first saw each other? Do you remember that I said I was not of your race?'
'It can't be true,' Mordecai whispered immediately, with no sign of shock. The sympathetic hand still upon him had fortified the
feeling which was stronger than those words of denial. There was a perceptible pause, Deronda feeling it impossible to answer,
conscious indeed that the assertion "It can't be true"
You are not sure of your own origin.'
It was true. Deronda was not sure of his own origin.
Deronda is increasingly tormented not knowing who he really is and where he came from.
"I have never known my mother. I have no knowledge about her. I have never called any man father. But I am convinced that my
father is an Englishman.'
Deronda's deep tones had a tremor in them as he uttered this confession; and all the while there was an undercurrent of amazement
in him at the strange circumstances under which he uttered it. It seemed as if Mordecai were hardly overrating his own power to
determine the action of the friend whom he had mysteriously chosen.
'It will be seen--it will be declared, said Mordecai, triumphantly."
Deronda returns home to speak with Sir Hugo about his actions. He knows what Sir Hugo would say about Mordecai.
"A consumptive Jew, possessed by a fanaticism which obstacles and hastening death intensified, had fixed on Deronda as the
antitype of some visionary image, the offspring of wedded hope and despair: despair of his own life, irrepressible hope in the
propagation of his fanatical beliefs."
Yet Deronda is drawn back to Mordecai to continue his journey into the strange world of the Jews.
They meet again but have nowhere to meet to talk alone. Mordecai suggests that perhaps Daniel would enjoy joining him at a
Philosopher's Club meeting he attends regularly. "They are few--like the cedars of Lebanon--poor men given to thought." Afterwards
there may be time to speak privately.
Deronda is welcomed to the group, a mixed group of tradesmen, small merchants, both Jewish and not.
The evening's discussion is open but quickly turns to the meaning of nationality.
"Unless nationality is a feeling, what force can it have as an idea?"
"Granted, Mordecai," said Pash, quite good-humoredly. "And as the feeling of nationality is dying, I take the idea
to be no better than a ghost, already walking to announce the death."
"A sentiment may seem to be dying and yet revive into strong life," said Deronda. "Nations have
"That is a truth," said Mordecai. "Woe to the men who see no place for resistance in this generation!
But who shall say, 'The fountain of their life is dried up, they shall forever cease to be a nation?'
Who shall say it? Not he who feels the life of his people stirring within his own
"I don't deny patriotism" said Gideon, "but we all know you have a particular meaning, Mordecai
. "I'm a
rational Jew myself. I stand by my people as a sort of family relations, and I am for keeping up our worship in a rational way. I
don't approve of our people getting baptized, because I don't believe in a Jew's conversion to the Gentile part of Christianity. And
now we have political equality, there's no excuse for a pretense of that sort. But I am for getting rid of all of our superstitions
and exclusiveness. There's no reason now why we shouldn't melt gradually into the populations we live among. That's the order of the
day in point of progress. I would as soon my children married Christians as Jews. And I'm for the old maxim, 'A man's country is
where he's well off.'"
"That country's not so easy to find, Gideon," said the rapid Pash, with a shrug and grimace.
(Mordecai) "What I say is, let every man keep far away from the brotherhood and inheritance he despises. Thousands on
thousands of our race have mixed with the Gentiles as Celt with Saxon, and they may inherit the blessing that belongs to the Gentile.
You cannot follow them. You are one of the multitudes over this globe who must walk among the nations and be known as Jews, and with
words on their lips which mean, 'I wish I had not been born a Jew, I disown any bond with the long travail of my race, I will outdo
the Gentile in mocking at our separateness,' they all the while feel breathing on them the breath of contempt because they are Jews,
and they will breathe it back poisonously
.Is it not truth I speak, Pash?"
(Gideon) "I am for making our expectations rational."
. (Mordecai) "There is a degradation deep down below the memory that has withered into
superstition. In the multitudes of the ignorant on three continents who observe our rites and make the confession of the divine
Unity, the soul of Judaism is not dead. Revive the organic centre: let the unity of Israel which has made the growth and form of its
religion be an outward reality. Looking toward a land and a polity, our dispersed people in all the ends of the earth may share the
dignity of a national life which has a voice among the peoples of the East and the West--which will plant the wisdom and skill of our
race so that it may be, as of old, a medium of transmission and understanding."
. This was the genial and rational Gideon, who also was not without a sense that he was
addressing the guest of the evening. He said--
"You have your own way of looking at things, Mordecai, and as you say, your own way seems to you rational. I know you don't
hold with the restoration of Judea by miracle, and so on; but you are as well aware as I am that the subject has been mixed with a
heap of nonsense both by Jews and Christians. And as to the connection of our race with Palestine, it has been perverted by
superstition till it's as demoralizing as the old poor-law. The raff and scum go there to be maintained like able-bodied paupers, and
to be taken special care of by the angel Gabriel when they die. It's no use fighting against facts. We must look where they point;
that's what I call rationality. The most learned and liberal men among us who are attached to our religion are for clearing our
liturgy of all such notions as a literal fulfillment of the prophecies about restoration, and so on. Prune it of a few useless rites
and literal interpretations of that sort, and our religion is the simplest of all religions, and makes no barrier, but a union,
between us and the rest of the world."
"No," said Mordecai, "no, Pash, because you have lost the heart of the Jew
.I say that the effect of our
separateness will not be completed and have its highest transformation unless our race takes on again the character of a nationality.
.Then our race shall have an organic centre, a heart and brain to watch and guide and execute; the outraged Jew
shall have a defense in the court of nations, as the outraged Englishman of America. And the world will gain as Israel gains. For
there will be a community in the van of the East which carries the culture and the sympathies of every great nation in its bosom:
there will be a land set for a halting-place of enmities, a neutral ground for the East as Belgium is for the West. Difficulties? I
know there are difficulties. But let the spirit of sublime achievement move in the great among our people, and the work will
"Ay, we may safely admit that, Mordecai," said Pash. "When there are great men on 'Change, and high-flying
professors converted to your doctrine, difficulties will vanish like smoke."
Deronda, inclined by nature to take the side of those on whom the arrows of scorn were falling, could not help replying to Pash's
outfling, and said--
"If we look back to the history of efforts which have made great changes, it is astonishing how many of them seemed hopeless
to those who looked on in the beginning.
.."Amen," said Mordecai, to whom Deronda's words were a cordial
.. Let the torch of
visible community be lit! Let the reason of Israel disclose itself in a great outward deed, and let there be another great migration,
another choosing of Israel to be a nationality whose members may still stretch to the ends of the earth
Mordecai had stretched his arms upward, and his long thin hands quivered in the air for a moment after he had ceased to
"I justify the choice as all other choice is justified," said Mordecai. "I cherish
nothing for the Jewish nation; I seek nothing for them, but the good which promises good to all the nations. The spirit of our
religious life, which is one with our national life, is not hatred of aught but wrong. The Master has said, an offence against man is
worse than an offence against God.
. "I say that the strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. The sons of Judah have to
choose that God may again choose them. The Messianic time is the time when Israel shall will the planting of the national
." The divine principle of our race is action, choice, resolved memory. Let us
contradict the blasphemy, and help to will our own better future and the better future of the world--not renounce our higher gift and
say, 'Let us be as if we were not among the populations;' but choose our full heritage, claim the brotherhood of our nation, and
carry into it a new brotherhood with the nations of the Gentiles. The vision is there; it will be fulfilled."
"With the last sentence, which was no more than a loud whisper, Mordecai let his chin sink on his breast and his eyelids fall. No
The evening ended. Deronda was in deep disturbing thought about Mordecai, about himself about who he was. His quest to help
Mirah had not been resolved. He had not located her mother or her brother.
At a later visit with Mordecai an innocent comment suddenly shook Daniel. Mordecai revealed his real name. "Mordecai is
really my name--Ezra Mordecai Cohen." Ezra was Mirah's brother's name but there were many Jews named Ezra.
They were talking of their families and how "fate" brought Daniel to the bookshop. Mordecai spoke of his sister Mirah. Daniel is
dumbstruck. He knew that Mirah's real name was changed, for stage and anti-Semitic reasons, from Cohen to Lapidoth.
Mordecai was Mirah's brother.
Daniel brought Mirah to Mordecai. The lost brother and sister were reunited.
Deronda's own life was still uncertain, undetermined, undefined until a letter arrived at Sir Hugo's. Daniel was summoned.
"This was the letter which Sir Hugo put into Deronda's hands:--
TO MY SON, DANIEL DERONDA.
My good friend and yours, Sir Hugo Mallinger, will have told you that I wish to see you. My
health is shaken, and I desire there should be no time lost before I deliver to you what I have long withheld. Let nothing hinder you
from being at the Allegro dell' Italia in Genoa by the fourteenth of this month. Wait for me there. I am uncertain when I
shall be able to make the journey from Spezia, where I shall be staying. That will depend on several things. Wait for me-- the
Princess Halm-Eberstein. Bring with you the diamond ring that Sir Hugo gave you. I shall like to see it again.--Your unknown
LEONORA HALM-EBERSTEIN. "
Sir Hugo confirmed that he was not Daniel's father. He was to go see him mother in Genoa
where all would be revealed to him.
Daniel's life is in a turmoil. Gwendolen Grandcourt's life is also in turmoil. She
resolves to leave her husband if her true friend Deronda will but stay with her. Before she can make the change Daniel leaves for
Genoa and Grandcourt announces to Gwendolen they will be departing immediately to sail the Mediterranean.
Arriving in Genoa, Daniel waits to be called to his mother's home. He feelings are mixed,
confused, anxious, eager and afraid.
"When Deronda presented himself at the door of his mother's apartment in the
Italia he felt some revival of his boyhood with its premature agitations. The two servants in the antechamber looked at him
markedly, a little surprised that the doctor their lady had come to consult was this striking young gentleman whose appearance gave
even the severe lines of an evening dress the credit of adornment. But Deronda could notice nothing until, the second door being
opened, he found himself in the presence of a figure which at the other end of the large room stood awaiting his approach."
"You are a beautiful creature!" she said, in a low melodious voice, with syllables which had what might be called a
foreign but agreeable outline. "I knew you would be." Then she kissed him on each cheek, and he returned the kisses. But it
was something like a greeting between royalties."
"I used to think that you might be suffering," said Deronda, anxious above all not to wound her. "I used to wish
that I could be a comfort to you."
"I am suffering. But with a suffering that you can't comfort," said the Princess, in a harder voice than before,
moving to a sofa where cushions had been carefully arranged for her
"Deronda seated himself and waited for her to speak again. It seemed as if he were in the presence of a mysterious Fate rather
than of the longed-for mother.
"No," she began: "I did not send for you to comfort me
I have not the foolish notion that
you can love me merely because I am your mother, when you have never seen or heard of me in all your life. But I thought I chose
something better for you than being with me. I did not think I deprived you of anything worth having."
."I did not want to marry. I was forced into marrying your father--forced, I mean, by my
father's wishes and commands; and besides, it was my best way of getting some freedom. I could rule my husband, but not my father. I
had a right to be free. I had a right to seek my freedom from a bondage that I hated."
"And the bondage I hated for myself I wanted to keep you from. What better could the most loving mother
have done? I relieved you from the bondage of having been born a Jew."
"Then I am a Jew?" Deronda burst out with a deep-voiced energy that made his mother shrink a little backward
against her cushions. "My father was a Jew, and you are a Jewess?"
"Yes, your father was my cousin,"
"I am glad of it," said Deronda
"Why do you say you are glad? You are an English gentleman. I secured you that."
"You did not know what you secured me. How could you choose my birthright for me?" said Deronda."
"I chose for you what I would have chosen for myself. How could I know that you would have the spirit of my father in you?
How could I know that you would love what I hated? --if you really love to be a Jew." The last words had such bitterness in them
that any one overhearing might have supposed some hatred had arisen between the mother and son."
She told Daniel about Sir Hugo. He had loved her once. She asked only that he take her son and raise him as an English Gentleman
never knowing he had been born a Jew. Sir Hugo had done his duty. His mother had remarried and was baptized. She had a new life as
a princess but was haunted by her past and needed to make some sort of peace with her son as death grew near for her. She could not
bring him into her life. He was part of her but not part of her.
"Is it not possible that I could be near you often and comfort you?" said Deronda. He was under that stress of pity that
propels us on sacrifices.
"No, not possible," she answered, lifting up her head again and withdrawing her hand as if she wished him to move away.
"I have a husband and five children. None of them know of your existence."
Deronda felt painfully silenced. He rose and stood at a little distance."
"Then are we to part and I never be anything to you?"
"It is better so," said the Princess, in a softer, mellower voice.
..After pausing a little, she added, abruptly, "And now tell me what you shall do?"
"Do you mean now, immediately," said Deronda; "or as to the course of my future life?"
"I mean in the future. What difference will it make to you that I have told you about your birth?"
"A very great difference," said Deronda, emphatically. "I can hardly think of anything that would make a greater
"What shall you do then?" said the Princess, with more sharpness. "Make yourself just like your grandfather--be
what he wished you--turn yourself into a Jew like him?"
"But I consider it my duty--it is the impulse of my feeling--to identify myself, as far as possible,
with my hereditary people, and if I can see any work to be done for them that I can give my soul and hand to I shall choose to do
"Good-bye, my son, good-bye. We shall hear no more of each other. Kiss me."
He clasped his arms round her neck, and they kissed each other.
Deronda did not know how he got out of the room. He felt an older man. All his boyish yearnings and anxieties about his mother had
vanished. He had gone through a tragic experience which must forever solemnize his life and deepen the significance of the acts by
which he bound himself to others."
Daniel at long last knew who he was and where he was from. He knew whom he loved, Mirah and not Gwendolen. He understood his
future and the purpose of his life his people.
Parallel to the story of Deronda meeting his mother, Gwendolen Grandcourt and her husband went sailing alone in a small boat. An
unforeseen wind kicked up and Grandcourt was knocked into the water. Gwendolen hesitated, and then tried unsuccessfully to save her
husband. He drowns in the boating accident. Gwendolen is suffering from mild shock. Deronda comes to consol her and let her know he
would be by her side as a friend.
After meeting his mother, Daniel travels to Mainz to meet an old friend of his father, Joseph Kalonymos and retrieve a chest of
papers of his fathers.
He tells Kalonymos:
"But I will not say that I shall profess to believe exactly as my fathers have believed. Our fathers themselves changed the
horizon of their belief and learned of other races. But I think I can maintain my grandfather's notion of separateness with
communication. I hold that my first duty is to my own people, and if there is anything to be done toward restoring or perfecting
their common life, I shall make that my vocation."
"Ah, you argue and you look forward--you are Daniel Charisi's grandson," said Kalonymos, adding a benediction in
Daniel returns to London. He seeks out Mirah and declares to her:
"Seest thou, Mirah," he said once, after a long silence, "the Shemah, wherein we briefly confess the divine
Unity, is the chief devotional exercise of the Hebrew; and this made our religion the fundamental religion for the whole world; for
the divine Unity embraced as its consequence the ultimate unity of mankind. See, then--the nation which has been scoffed at for its
separateness, has given a binding theory to the human race.
Daniel tells Mordecai:
"And you were right. I am a Jew."
."We have the same people. Our souls have the same vocation. We shall not be separated by life or by
'Our religion united us before it divided us--it made us a people before it made Rabbanites
and Karaites.' I mean to try what can be done with that union--I mean to work in your spirit. Failure will not be ignoble, but it
would be ignoble for me not to try."
Daniel slowly wraps up the pieces of his old life. He visits Gwendolen at her home to consol and separate from her. He has a
different path to follow.
"What makes life dreary (he tells her) is the want of motive: but once beginning to act with that penitential, loving purpose you
have in your mind, there will be unexpected satisfactions--there will be newly-opening needs--continually coming to carry you on from
day to day. You will find your life growing like a plant."
"This sorrow, which has cut down to the root, has come to you while you are so young--try to think of it not as a spoiling
of your life, but as a preparation for it.
.You can, you will, be among the best of women, such as make
others glad that they were born."
The words were like the touch of a miraculous hand to Gwendolen.
"What are you going to do?" she asked, at last, very mildly. "Can I understand the
ideas, or am I too ignorant?"
"I am going to the East to become better acquainted with the condition of my race in various countries there," said
Deronda, gently--anxious to be as explanatory as he could on what was the impersonal part of their separateness from each other.
"The idea that I am possessed with is that of restoring a political existence to my people, making them a nation again, giving
them a national center, such as the English has, though they too are scattered over the face of the globe. That is a task which
presents itself to me as a duty; I am resolved to begin it, however feebly. I am resolved to devote my life to it. At the least, I
may awaken a movement in other minds, such as has been awakened in my own."
He tells Gwendolen of his plans to marry Mirah.
Sobs rose, and great tears fell fast
.. At last she succeeded in saying, brokenly--
"I said--I said--it should be better--better with me--for having known you."
Mirah and Daniel marry.
"So, when the bridal veil was around Mirah it hid no doubtful tremors--only a thrill of awe at the acceptance of a great gift
which required great uses. And the velvet canopy never covered a more goodly bride and bridegroom, to whom their people might more
wisely wish offspring; more truthful lips never touched the sacrament marriage-wine; the marriage- blessing never gathered stronger
promise of fulfillment than in the integrity of their mutual pledge. Naturally, they were married according to the Jewish
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Hovevei Zion ( , Lovers of Zion), were small, primarily Eastern European Student organizations that became the
forerunners and foundations of the modern Zionist movement. First appearing about 1880-1882, their central purpose was to
solve the Jewish Problem by returning to the ancient land of Israel as agriculturalists even though it was part of the Ottoman
Empire. Earlier Jewish return to the land movements in Russia had failed, crushed by unrelenting anti-Semitism. Without the
financial generosity of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the idealistic, poorly prepared, equipped and naïve immigrants also would
By 1882, three small, very tenuous settlement efforts existed in Palestine. The first and most notable was Rishon Le Zion (First
in Zion). Two years later the loosely organized Hovevei Zion movement was formally structured. 34 delegates met in Katowice, Poland.
They elected Dr. Leon Pinsker chairman and Rabbi Samuel Mohilever president. Dr. Pinkser was the author of Auto-Emancipation
an early "Zionist" solution to the Jewish problem. Rabbi Mohilver was an early advocate of what came later to be understood as
Even before the meeting of the Katowice convention, even before the first publication of Auto-Emancipation by Pinsker, Albert
Goldsmid followed the tiny, budding efforts at Jewish return to Palestine. He recognized the precarious and undefended nature of the
settlements. He understood that no one would come to their aide if threatened or physically attacked.
Albert Goldsmid followed, with deep interest and serious concern, the nascent effort at Jewish return to Palestine. He understood
that, certainly not the Ottomans, no one would protect and defend the tiny agricultural efforts. In May and June of 1882, he wrote
to the Belfast editor of the London Jewish Chronicle demanding that the settlement effort be controlled and supported by Jews in
Western Europe to prevent crises and catastrophes. He further suggested a formation of a quasi self defense force for the
colonies. "It is a task I should not hesitate to undertake were it confided to me and it would be to me a labour of love."
1883, Colonel Goldsmid took a year leave from the British army to travel to Palestine. He wanted to see as Daniel Deronda explained
to Gwendolen Grandcourt, "I am going to the East to become better acquainted with the condition of my race in various countries
In Palestine, Goldsmid linked up with Sir Laurence Oliphant. Oliphant, (18291888), was an English Gentleman, a traveler,
writer, Christian mystic, and active supporter of the return of the Jewish people to Palestine. He was one of the most important
Christian figures of Victorian England supporting the idea of the Jewish Restorationism. They toured and observed the Hovevei Zion
efforts and Palestinian conditions for Jewish return. Oliphant's Jewish aide, Naphtali Herz Imber, was a Ukrainian who had moved to
Palestine. He would later write the Jewish National Anthem the Hatikvah.
Stirred by the experience, Colonel Goldsmid returned to England and did all he could to establish British Jewish awareness for the
Jewish return to the land movement. Goldsmid was convinced that only Palestine could be considered as the solution of the Jewish
Progress in Britain was slow. Jewish acceptance of Jewish return to Palestine was met with strong resistance by the established
Jewish community. Goldsmid's message was considered romantic, even insane. Still he made progress and the movement grew slowly.
1890, the Russian government legitimized the Hovevei Zion movement. The French Hovevei Zion movement was brought together in 1891
by Elim Henry d'Avigdor. The English Hovevei Zion movement achieved a unifying structure when Colonel Goldsmid became the
Chief. It was modeled on military lines with Statutes of organization for executive, president, chairman and individual
chapters he called "Tents". Goldsmid traveled, energetically throughout Great Britain and Ireland organizing and building support
for the Jewish return to Palestine.
Goldsmid recognized a fundamental flaw in the return movement in Palestine. There was no national language of the Jewish people.
Language was a polyglot of Turkish, Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian, Yiddish and German, etc. The lingual bond of Israel, the
common denominator of people-hood and national identity, was missing. The ancient language that knit the people of ancient Israel to
the land, to the bible and to the ghetto of his day was not spoken as a living language. Colonel Goldsmid suggested a solution. His
suggestion was to return Hebrew as a living language that would bind the nation of Israel in Palestine together.
Terror and horror, murder, rape, confiscation, oppression and legal tyranny was the fate of Russian Jewry in the 1880's. It made
international news. Even across the Atlantic in America, a major petition to President Henry Harrison was assembled by the Reverend
William E. Blackstone (1891). It was signed by over 400 of America's leading personages calling for a solution to the Jewish problem
a return to Palestine. Nothing was being done of a practical response except by the Hovevei Zion who continued buying small
pieces of land, dreaming of resettlement and hoping for support from the great Jewish philanthropists such as Baron de Hirsch and his
Jewish colonization efforts around the world.
With the death of his only son Lucien, Edmund de Hirsch resolved to create a lasting legacy to help the Jewish people. The
Jewish Colonization Association was incorporated in London under the Companies Acts of 1862-90. The controlling shares were
deliberately subscribed almost entirely by Baron de Hirsh when he purchased 19, 993 non-dividend accruing shares of the initial
20,000 shares solicitation at 100 pounds a share. Lord Rothschild, Sir Julian Goldsmid, E. Cassel, F. D. Mocatta, and Benjamin S.
Cohen of London, and S. H. Goldschmidt and Solomon Reinach of Paris subscribed for one share each to ensure board voting
representation. The Society had a capital base of 2,000,000 pounds; an enormous amount of capital all focused on resettling Jews,
but not in Palestine.
The Society's purpose was defined in its statues.
"To assist and promote the emigration of Jews from any parts of Europe or Asia, and principally from countries in which they
may for the time being be subjected to any special taxes or political or other disabilities, to any other parts of the world, and to
form and establish colonies in various parts of North and South America and other countries for agricultural, commercial, and other
purposes." "To establish and maintain or contribute to the establishment and maintenance in any part of the world of
educational and training institutions, model farms, loan-banks, industries, factories, and any other institutions or associations
which in the judgment of the council may be calculated to fit Jews for emigration and assist their settlement in various parts of the
world, except in Europe, with power to contribute to the funds of any association or society already existing or hereafter formed and
having objects which in the opinion of the council may assist or promote the carrying out of the objects of the