before proceeding to further exploits, All the hated race who could be found were immediately massacred. Six thousand met their death in the town of Estella..
"Where they could they fled to the fortified places. Five hundred made their escape to Verdun on the Garonne; the governor gave them a tower to defend; the shepherds assailed them, set fire to the gates; the desperate Jews threw their children, in hopes of mercy, down to the besiegers, and slew each other to a man."
Everywhere, even in the great cities, the Jews were left to be remorselessly massacred and their property pillaged. From the walls of Avignon the Pope might have seen the slaughter, but John XXII launched his excommunication, not against the murderers of the inoffensive Jews, but against all who presumed to take the Cross without warrant of the Holy See.
"Even the same year he published violent bulls against the poor persecuted Hebrews, and commanded the bishops to destroy the source of their detestable blasphemies, to burn their Talmuds."
The same historian says that:
"The Papal sanction was thus given to the atrocities which followed. In many provinces, says a chronicler, especially in Aquitaine, the Jews were burned without distinction. At Chinon a deep ditch was dug, an enormous pile raised, and one hundred and sixty of both sexes burned together. Many of them plunged into the ditch of their own accord, singing hymns, as though they were going to a wedding. Many women, with their children, threw themselves in to escape forcible baptism."
The outbreak of the plague known as the Black Death (1348) was the signal for renewed outrages against the people of Israel, whose isolation and stricter dietary probably rendered them less susceptible to the disease. Many Jews were physicians, and were accused of using their arts to destroy the Christians. Numbers were put to the torture, and worthless confessions of guilt were extorted from them. As the plague spread throughout Europe, the
ferment against the Jews became general. They were accused of poisoning the wells, and bags of offensive matter were sometimes found in such places, thrown there by Christians who sought a pretext for plundering the hated Hebrews. The persecution, which began at Chillon, soon spread to all parts. Hecker, the medical historian, says:
"The noble and mean bound themselves by an oath to extirpate the Jews by fire or sword, and to snatch them from their protectors, of whom the number was so small that throughout all Germany few places can be mentioned where they were not regarded as outlaws, and martyred and burnt. ... All the Jews in Basle, whose number could not have been inconsiderable, were enclosed together in a wooden building, constructed for the purpose, and burned together with it, upon the mere outcry of the people, without sentence or trial, which indeed would have availed them nothing. Soon after the same thing took place at Freyburg."
At Frankfort all the Jews in the city were put to death except a few who escaped to Bohemia. Wherever the Jews were not burnt they were banished; and being compelled to wander about, they fell into the hands of the country people, who persecuted them with fire and sword. At Ulm all the Jewish inhabitants, were burnt, and Basnage says there was no place of safety except Lithuania, where Casimir the Great sheltered them, because he was in love with a handsome Jewess named Esther "like the old deliverer of God's people." In Mayence alone twelve thousand Jews are said to have been cruelly massacred.
"At Spires, the Jews, driven to despair, assembled in their own habitations, which they set on fire, and thus consumed themselves with their families. The few that remained were forced to submit to baptism; while the dead bodies of the murdered, which lay about the streets, were put into empty wine casks and rolled into the Rhine, lest they should infect the air ... At Strasburg, two thousand Jews were burnt alive in their own burial-ground, where a large scaffold had been erected; a few who promised to embrace Christianity were spared, and their children taken from the pile.
The youth and beauty of several females also excited some commiseration, and they were snatched from death against their will. Many, however, who forcibly made their escape from the flames were murdered in the streets."
From the year 1349 all residence in that city was forbidden them, and (with the exception of a few families) no Jew was suffered after nightfall in Strasburg until the end of the French Revolution, more than four hundred years later.
At Eslingen the whole Jewish community burned themselves in their synagogue, and mothers were seen throwing their children on the pile, to prevent their being baptised, and then precipitating themselves into the flames. Milman says:
"No fanatic monk set the populace in commotion, no public calamity took place, no atrocious or extravagant report was propagated, but it fell upon the heads of this unhappy caste. Fatal tumults were caused by the march of the Flagellants, a set of mad enthusiasts, who passed through the cities of Germany preceded by a crucifix and scourging their naked and bleeding backs as they went, as a punishment for their offences and those of the Christian world. These fanatics atoned, as they supposed, rather than aggravated their sins against the God of mercy, by plundering and murdering the Jews in Frankfort and other places."
A fresh outbreak against the Hebrews took place at the end of the fourteenth century. They were expelled from Nurenburg in 1390, and from Prague in the following year. Of the means by which the general hatred was fomented we select one legend, which Milman assures us was commemorated in the city of Brussels at the time when he wrote. A Jew, it was alleged, stole the consecrated host, and took it into the synagogue of Brussels on a Good Friday, where it was treated with the grossest insults and pierced with knives. The blood poured forth profusely, but the obdurate Jews, unmoved by the miracle, dispersed tranquilly to their homes. They resolved to send the holy wafer to Cologne. The woman
selected as bearer was secretly a Christian, and denounced the sacrilege.
"The consequences may be anticipated: all the Jews were arrested, put to the torture, convicted, condemned to be torn by red-hot pincers, and then burned alive. The picture of their sufferings as they writhed on the stake is exhibited with horrid coolness, or rather satisfaction, in the book of the legend. And this triumph of faith, supported, as it is said, by many miracles, is to the present day commemorated in one of the first Christian cities of Europe."
The miraculous wafer is still kept and adored in the church of St. Gudule at Brussels, a memorial of the atrocious cruelties perpetrated in the name of Christianity, and a proof that the Church feels neither shame for its impostures nor compunction for its crimes.
Another monstrous charge was that of slaughtering a Christian child at the Paschal feast, an accusation which has lasted till our own time, when in the celebrated Tisza-Eszlar trial in Hungary the case against the Jews utterly broke down. Yet upon the faith in such stories the names of numerous martyred saints have been added to the Christian calendar.
The Jews were again expelled from France in 1394 on account, it was said, of having killed a convert to Christianity at Paris. For this alleged offence four of the most wealthy Jews were scourged on two successive Sundays at all the cross-roads of Paris, and the synagogue was fined eighteen thousand crowns. This punishment, however, did not satisfy the Christian sentiment, and the Jews were banished for ages. Some appear to have returned in 1550, but they held the privilege of domicile by a precarious tenure, being expelled again in 1615. It was not until the outbreak of the French Revolution that they received the rights of citizenship. They were placed on an equality with Christians by the French Republic in September, 1791.
In the Middle Ages, Spain was a second Palestine to the Jews, for in that country they were long defended by the wise policy of the
kings, both in Castile and Arragon, from the implacable animosity of the clergy. This protection of the Jews was charged as a crime against Pedro the Cruel by his brother, Henry of Transtamare. Bertrand du Guesclin and his followers, when they marched into Spain to dethrone Pedro, assumed a white cross as the symbol of a holy war, and announced their resolution to exterminate the Jews. "Pedro," said Bertrand to the Black Prince, "is worse than a Saracen, for he holds commerce with the Jews." They acted up to their declaration; no quarter was given to Moor or Jew. "Kill all like sheep and oxen," was the relentless order, "unless they accept baptism."
Martinez, a fanatical archdeacon of Seville, in 1391 denounced the Jews in the public square. The populace, goaded to frenzy, rushed on the Hebrew quarter, destroying, pillaging, and massacring, in every direction. No less than four thousand of the hated race fell victims in this barbarous onslaught. Lindo says: "Amidst the yells of the savage mob and the groans of the dying, was heard the voice of the archdeacon, encouraging them in those horrible scenes of carnage and extermination."
Hardly three months later these horrid scenes were repeated, and the slaughter was equally great. Some succeeded in effecting their escape, while numbers were sold into slavery to the Moors. Many sought safety by submitting to baptism. Of the thirty thousand Jewish inhabitants of Seville scarcely any remained.
These atrocities were repeated in other towns in Spain. Over fifty thousand were massacred. A number of feigned conversions resulted, till early in the fifteenth century the number of Marranos, as they were called, reached two hundred thousand. Upon the Jews the legislative enactments were severe. They were prohibited from becoming vintners, grocers, taverners, and especially from being apothecaries, physicians, and nurses.
The antipope, Benedict XIII, who was acknowledged in his native country of Arragon, held a solemn disputation between Christians and Jews.
"The pope assisted his advocate by a summary mode of argument. He issued an edict, commanding the Talmud, the bulwark of his antagonists, to be burned, and all blasphemers against Christianity to be punished. The Jews were declared incapable of holding civil offices -- one synagogue alone was to be permitted and after some other enactments it was ordered that all Jews should attend Christian sermons three times a year."
Such was the conditions of the Jews when, in 1474, Ferdinand and Isabella succeeded to the united crowns of Arragon and Castile. Torquemada, the confessor to the Queen, established in Spain the Holy Office of the Inquisition, an institution which will receive our attention in a future chapter. It was chiefly directed against the enforced Christians or Marranos. Of the prodigious number who suffered under the Inquisition, Southey says: "The greater part suffered upon the charge of Judaism: it is within the mark to say nineteen out of twenty."
According to Milman: "In one year two hundred and eighty were burned in Seville alone; eighty-nine were condemned to perpetual imprisonment in their loathsome cells; seventeen thousand suffered lighter punishment." In the following year it is said that not less than two thousand were burned." It was considered a presumptive proof of Judaism if a Marrano wore better clothes on Saturday, or omitted to light a fire, or if he gave Hebrew names to his children, which Prescott calls "a provision most whimsically cruel since, by a law of Henry II, he was prohibited under severe penalties from giving them Christian names." In 1486 the Inquisitors of Toledo compelled the rabbis of the synagogue to declare what converts had returned to Judaism. Twenty-seven were burned alive, and over two thousand condemned to other penalties. But this was insufficient. The clergy continued to excite odium against the Jews for seeking to reconvert the Marranos; and Ferdinand and Isabella, having subdued the Moors of Grenada, determined that the air of Spain should no longer be breathed by any one who did not profess the Christian faith. An edict for expelling the Jews was signed by these pious rulers at Grenada on March 30, 1492. It ordered all unbaptised Jews to
leave the kingdom by the end of July. Any one harboring them after that time was to have all his goods confiscated. It permitted the Jews to sell their property, but they were allowed to take neither gold nor silver with them. Isaac Abrabanel, a learned Jew of unblemished reputation, threw himself at the feet of the king and queen, and offered in the name of his nation an immense sum to recruit the finances exhausted by the wars of Grenada.
"The Inquisitors were alarmed. Against all feelings of humanity and justice the royal hearts were steeled, but the appeal to their interests might be more effectual. Thomas de Torquemada advanced into the royal presence bearing a crucifix. 'Behold,' he said, 'him whom Judas sold for thirty pieces of silver. Sell ye him now for a higher price, and render an account of your bargain before God.' The sovereigns trembled before the stern Dominican, and the Jews had no alternative but baptism or exile."
No charge was alleged against the Jews save that of seeking to reconvert their Christianised brethren. The number of those expelled has been variously estimated at from one hundred and sixty thousand to eight hundred thousand. Probably the number mentioned by Abrabanel, of three hundred thousand, is nearer the mark than either extreme.
Bernaldez, another contemporary and eye-witness, says:
"Within the term fixed by the edict the Jews sold and disposed of their property for a mere nothing; they went about begging Christians to buy, but found no purchasers; fine houses and estates were sold for trifles; a house was exchanged for an ass; and a vineyard given for a little cloth or linen."
Terrible incidents are related of their sufferings. On board a ship conveying a great number to Africa the plague broke out. The captain ascribed the infection to his circumcised passengers, and set them all on a desert coast without provisions. A mother carrying two infants, walking with her husband, expired on the road; the father, overcome with fatigue, fell fainting near his two children, and on awaking found them dead with hunger. A girl
was forced before the eyes of her parents, and then her throat was cut lest she should conceive and give birth to a Jew.
"The misery suffered by the unfortunate exiles is almost indescribable. Some of the vessels took fire, and they either perished in the flames or were drowned; others were so overloaded that they sank. Many were wrecked on barren coasts and perished with hunger and cold; those who survived were exposed to further troubles and misfortunes. Some captains purposely prolonged their voyage, to force them to buy water and provisions at any price they chose to exact from their unfortunate victims."
Many killed themselves in despair. Some reached the coast of Genoa in a famishing state, and lay perishing on the shore. The clergy approached, with the crucifix in one hand and provisions in the other. Nature was too strong for faith; they yielded and were baptised. At Salee, the crew of a large vessel enticed a hundred and fifty children on board, with promises of bread, and then set sail to sell them into slavery, while their frantic mothers implored from the beach the restoration of their only treasure.
"A Spanish pilot entered upon a resolution of murdering all the passengers, to revenge, as he said, by their death the blood of Jesus Christ, which they had shed. But he was told that Christ who had shed his blood for man's redemption, did not require a sinner's death. Softened by this remonstrance, he contented himself with stripping them and throwing them upon the shore, where they had fresh miseries to contend with."
Many were permitted to pass through Portugal upon payment of a tax. Those who could not pay, or, instead of making their way to the ports, remained in the country, had their children between the years of three and ten wrested from them, to be transported and brought up as Christians in the newly-discovered islands of St. Thomas, then swarming with alligators and beasts of prey. Six hundred of the richest families of the Spanish Jews purchased the right to remain in Portugal on payment of sixty thousand gold pieces.
The Portuguese Jews were in turn to experience the effect of Christian charity. Shortly after Don Emanuel came to the throne he sought the hand of the eldest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. It was made a condition of his marriage that he should banish from his dominions all Mohammedans and Jews. In December, 1496, Emanuel issued a proclamation ordering that all non-converted Jews should leave Portugal within ten months under pain of confiscation, and that the property should fall to the informer. This was not all. On the following Passover, when all the Jews who had chosen exile rather than a lying conversion were assembled in family, it was ordered that all their children under fourteen should be forcibly taken from the parents and brought up in the saving knowledge of the Christian faith. The state of desperation and agony into which the Jews were plunged may be imagined. A contemporary historian, cited by Lindo, says:
"It was a horrid and wretched spectacle to see tender children torn from the arms and breasts of their distressed mothers; fathers, who fondly held them in their embrace, dragged about to force them from their arms. To hear the cries, sighs, groans, lamentations, and female shrieks that filled the air was dreadful. Some were so distracted that they destroyed their children by casting them into wells; others, in fits of despair, made away with themselves."
Many children were hidden by their parents, but were ferreted out, dragged to the font, and baptised in the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. A wretched mother, from whom six children had been taken, cast herself before the king's carriage, and entreated that the youngest might be restored to console her for the loss of the others. The king, inhumanly smiling at her distress, ordered her to be removed, while his courtiers ridiculed her motherly affliction.
By a fresh act of Christian perfidy, Don Emanuel suddenly revoked the order for their embarkation at two of the ports (Oporto and Setubal) which had been named. Many were thrown back upon Lisbon, and the delay made them amenable to the law.
More than twenty thousand Jews were lodged in a vast barrack, called the Estáos, where every means of fair promise and foul intimidation was used to make them renounce Judaism. Milman says: "The more stedfast in their faith were shipped off as slaves, but the spirits of many were broken."
"A fresh edict now went forth, that all children between fourteen and twenty should also be taken from their parents and baptised, and multitudes were dragged forcibly by their hair and by their arms into the churches, and compelled to receive the waters of baptism, together with new names, being afterwards given over to those who undertook to instruct them in the Catholic faith. Next, the parents themselves were seized, and were offered to have their children restored to them if they would consent to be converted; in case of their refusal, they were to be placed in confinement for three days without food or drink. It is indeed wonderful that any mortals could be proof against so terrible and fiendish an ordeal; yet, to the glory of the Hebrew race, very many still remained unmoved. Resistance was, however, not to be tolerated, and it was therefore decreed that the same fate was to be meted out to the adults and to the aged, as had already been the portion of the younger members of the race of Israel. Amid the most heart-rending cries and the most determined resistance, men and women in the flower of their days, or the decrepitude of age, were dragged into the churches and forcibly baptised, amid the mocking and exultation of an excited populace."
Ten years afterwards some of these converts were detected celebrating the Passover. This inflamed the popular resentment against them. It happened that a monk was displaying a crucifix, having a piece of red glass to represent the wound in the Savior's side, upon which a light played, which he declared a manifestation of Deity. The devout multitude cried, "A miracle! a miracle!" One man smiled, and said that, as it was a season of drought, it would be better if God manifested himself in water. The scandalised crowd recognised a Marrano. They dragged him to the market-place and murdered him; and his brother, who stood wailing over his body, shared his fate.
"From every quarter the Dominicans rushed forth with crucifixes in their hands, crying out 'Revenge, revenge; down with the heretics; root them out; exterminate them.' A Jewish authority asserts that they offered to everyone who should murder a Jew that his sufferings in purgatory should be limited to a hundred days. The houses of the converts were assailed: men, women, and children involved in a promiscuous massacre -- even those who fled into the churches, embraced the sacred relics, or clung to the crucifixes, were dragged forth and burned."
It was only at the end of the third day, when more than three thousand victims had been sacrificed to Christian fury, that the tardy intervention of the law secured a semblance of order. But Judaism still lurked in many hearts in the peninsula, and the forced converts were continually persecuted for betraying signs of their ancient faith.
In 1504 the Jews were banished from Naples and Sicily. These states sustained a loss by the expulsion of the industrious though usurious Jews; and the decline of Spain can be largely traced to the same cause.
In Italy their fortunes were as various as the dispositions of the popes, many of whom found an interest in favoring them for a consideration. Others were not so lenient. Pope John XXIII persecuted them himself, issuing many edicts to force them to become Christians, and also inciting the Spaniards against them, so that sixteen thousand were forced to abjure their religion. Pope Eugenius IV (1442) prohibited them from eating and drinking with Christians, excluded them from almost every profession, and forced them to wear a badge and pay tithes. Julius III served the Talmud as some of his predecessors had served the writings of the heathen philosophers. So strict a search was made for their literature that all the books of the Gemara in Italy are said to have been burnt. This policy was continued under his successor, Paul IV. At Cremona there was a large Jewish academy, with a valuable library. Its destruction was ordered in 1559, and Sextus of Sienna was despatched for the purpose. The fanatical
Dominican condemned twelve thousand volumes to the flames, and, had he not been restrained by the more enlightened Italian princes, he would not have spared a single Hebrew book; for he regrets "that the avarice and weakness of princes permitted them to retain Talmudical works."
Paul IV taxed the Jews for the support of their brethren who abjured their religion. He confined them to the Ghetto, a separate quarter of the towns in which they were settled, the gates being shut at sunset. They were allowed but one synagogue in each city, and ordered to wear a distinctive badge. They were forbidden to trade with the Christians except in old clothes, and compelled to sell all their lands within six months, which reduced the price below a fifth of their value. Munday, who visited Rome in the middle of Elizabeth's reign, says that they were locked up at night, and "that the Jewes may be knowne from any other people, every one weareth a yellow cap or hatte; and if he goe abroade without it they will use him very yll-favouredly." He adds that on the first day of the carnival they were obliged to run races from the Porta Popolo "starke naked."
That fierce bigot Pius V sent out a roaring Bull against them, accusing them of magic, of hating the Christians, and of ruining the ecclesiastical state. Finally he expelled them from all places in his dominions except Rome and Ancona. This exception casts doubt on the charges. Two reasons were assigned for the exception; one, that of a Pope, the other, that of a politician. The first was that he retained them in his capital that Christians by seeing them might be put in mind of the passion of the Son of God, and that they might become less wicked by being in the neighborhood of the Holy See. The other and true reason was that they were useful in carrying on the trade with the East and in replenishing the papal exchequer.
Gregory XIII pursued the same course. A Bull was published and suspended at the gate of the Jews' quarter, prohibiting the reading of the Talmud, blasphemies against Christ, or ridicule of the ceremonies of the Church. All Jews above twelve years were
bound to attend in turn at the weekly sermons preached for their conversion. Special preachers were appointed to expound the alleged prophecies of Jesus as the Messiah who had abolished the Law; and to dilate upon the long misery the Jews had suffered from adhering to a different interpretation. The listeners admitted the facts, but rejected the inference. They laughed and spat during the sermon, and to abate the scandal Pope Innocent XI ordered it to be preached in unconsecrated buildings.
"He obliged the preacher to make a prayer to God, but lest the names of Jesus and Mary should scare them it was to be pronounced softly. He appointed an office of Inspector to impose silence upon the talkers. In effect, a man with a long pole goes through the ranks and strikes the fingers of those who laugh or talk. But all in vain, the incredulous Jews will not be converted; and Cardinal Barberini, who was at a great expense to forward these instructions, acknowledged before his death that the conversions made by dint of money are feigned and insignificant."
Two other circumstances may be noted in the Papal treatment of the Jews, as the pontiffs have often been praised for affording them protection. One is that they were obliged to give public homage to each new Pope; the other that when they are prayed for yearly on Good Friday, this ceremony is performed without kneeling "because the Church designs to express thereby the horror it preserves for what their ancestors did the same day in falling on their knees before Jesus Christ to mock him."
The Reformation did little to alleviate the condition of the Jews. Luther frequently spoke of them with hatred. In his Table Talk he says:
"There are sorcerers among the Jews, who delight in tormenting Christians, for they hold us as dogs. Duke Albert of Saxony well punished one of these wretches. A Jew offered to sell him a talisman covered with strange characters, which he said effectually protected the wearer against any sword or dagger thrust. The duke replied: 'I will essay thy charm upon thyself,
Jew,' and putting the talisman round the fellow's neck, he drew his sword and passed it through his body."
According to Seckendorf, one of Luther's apologists, he said, "Their synagogues ought to be destroyed, their houses pulled down, their prayer-books, the Talmud, and even the books of the Old Testament, to be taken from them; their rabbis ought to be forbidden to teach, and be compelled to gain their livelihood by hard labor." McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia admits that "it is a fact that all through Germany, where the Protestant element, if anywhere, was strong in those days, their lot actually became harder than it had ever been before." They were ground down with extra taxes, and kept in assigned quarters or hunted from place to place. The theologians of Germany urged the destruction of all Hebrew literature with the exception of the Old Testament, and the proposition was approved by the University of Paris. It required the influence of Reuchlin to avert this wholesale proscription.
The Jews were driven out of Brandenburg in 1573, as from Bavaria forty years before. A similar fate befell them in other German states. Hunted from one territory, they purchased refuge in another, and even preserved a certain autonomy by agreeing to the decision of their chief rabbis in all disputes, for it was hopeless to expect justice from a Christian tribunal. They were driven from Vienna in 1699, and their synagogue was turned into a church. At Prague a crucifix was erected on the bridge dividing the two cities, to which they were compelled to render homage every time they passed.
But in Holland they were tolerated, and numbers of Jews flocked there from Spain and Portugal. From the latter country came the family which gave birth to Spinoza, the greatest of modern Jews, whose life was worthy of his words. This noble thinker was, however, excommunicated and persecuted by his Jewish brethren, who showed in this case, as in many others, that they also retain the ancient bigotry of their faith.
In the time of Charles V the Hebrews offered an immense sum for permission to return to Spain, but Cardinal Ximenes intervened, declaring, like Torquemada, that to favor the Jews for money was to sell Christ.
The Freethinker, John Toland, was foremost in England in advocating for Jews the rights of citizenship. Their naturalisation was proposed in the last century, but was vehemently opposed by the leading churchmen. Yet a Naturalisation Bill was passed in 1753, though the outcry was so great that it was repealed in the following year. Even so late as 1830, Macaulay was obliged to rebuke the bigotry of Christians. The municipal disabilities of the Jews were removed in 1846; the parliamentary disabilities were not removed till 1860, after many years of acute struggle. Ten times the Liberal party in the House of Commons carried an Emancipation Bill, but each time it was thrown out by the Lords, including the spiritual peers who represented the Church. Jewish worship was placed on the same footing as that of Dissenters in 1855, and they were relieved from Sunday observance in 1871.
The Pope in 1825 revived the old laws against the Jews, compelling them to dwell in a certain quarter of Rome, and to wear a distinguishing badge. So late as 1858 the officers of the Inquisition dragged from his home, in a respectable Jewish family at Bologna, a child seven years of age, under the plea that he had been secretly baptised by a servant girl, and so belonged to the Church. Despite the utmost exertions on the part of his friends, Edgar Mortara was never given up. The priests at Rome mockingly told the parents that if they would become Christians they might regain their child.
In Turkey and Poland the Jews long enjoyed toleration. But thirty-five thousand were hunted from Russia by the Empress Elizabeth. They were re-admitted by Catherine II., but their ill-treatment has been continued to the present. The numerous Jews in Roumania have been similarly ill-used. So late as 1872 a number of their houses were wrecked. The violent outbreak in
Russia at the beginning of 1882 will be fresh in the recollection of all.
In persecuting Judaism as a religion the Christians have stereotyped the Jews as a caste. But as the persecution ceases, the caste, as Spinoza saw, will be broken down by their absorption into the surrounding populations. Judaism as a religion will probably die as the caste is extinguished. This process will take many years to consumate, but it is powerfully assisted throughout Europe by the spread of Freethought. Meanwhile the ill-treatment of the Jews remains a scandal to civilisation, as the history of their fifteen centuries' persecution is an ineffaceable shame to Christianity