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February 23.

St. Serenus, A.D. 307. St. Milburge. B. Dositheus. St. Peter Damian, Card. Bp. A.D. 1072. St. Boisil, Prior of Melross.

St. Milburge, 7th Cent.

She was sister to St. Mildred, wore a hair cloth, and built the monastery of Wenlock, in Shropshire. One day being at Stokes, a neighbouring village, brother Hierome Porter says, that "a young gallant, sonne to a prince of that countrey, was soe taken with her beautie, that he had a vehement desire to carrie her away by force and marrie her." St. Milburge fled from him and his companions till she had passed a little brook, called Corfe, which then suddenly swelled up and threatened her pursuers with destruction, wherefore they desisted. She ordered the wild geese who ate the corn of her monastic fields to be gone elsewhere, and they obeyed her as the waters did. After her death, her remains were discovered, in 1100, by two children sinking up to their knees in her grave, the dust whereof cured leprosies, restored the sight, and spoiled medical practice. A diseased woman at Patton, drinking of the water wherein St. Milburge's bones were washed, there came from her stomach "a vilthie worme, ugly and horrible to behold, having six feete, two hornes on his head, and two on his tayle." Brother Porter tells this, and that the "worme was shutt up in a hollow piece of wood, and reserved afterwards in the monasterie, as a trophie, and monument of S. Milburg, untill by the lascivious furie of him that destroyed all goodnes in England, that, with other religious houses, and monasteries, went to ruine." [1] Hence the "filthie worme" was lost, and we have nothing instead but the Reformation.


Apricot. Prunus Armeniaca.
Dedicated to St. Milburge.


If ice still remain let those who tempt it beware:—

The frost-bound rivers bear the weight
     Of many a vent'rous elf;
Let each who crowds to see them skate
     Be careful for himself:

For, like the world, deceitful ice
     Who trusts it makes them rue:
'Tis slippery as the paths of vice,
     And quite as faithless too.


Stoning Jews in Lent

Stoning Jews in Lent.—A Custom.

From the sabbath before Palm-Sunday, to the last hour of the Tuesday after Easter, "The Christians were accustomed to stone and beat the Jews,"* [2] and all Jews who desired to exempt themselves from the infliction of this cruelty, commuted for a payment in money. It was likewise ordained in one of the Catholic services, during Lent, that all orders of men should be prayed for except the Jews.† †[3] These usages were instituted and justified by a dreadful perversion of scripture, when rite and ceremony triumphed over truth and mercy. Humanity was dead, for superstition Molochized the heart.

From the dispersion of the Jews they have lived peaceably in all nations towards all, and in all nations been persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and put to death, or massacred by mobs. In England, kings conspired with their subjects to oppress them. To say nothing of the well-known persecutions they endured under king John, the walls of London were repaired with the stones of their dwellings, which his barons had pillaged and destroyed. Until the reign of Henry II., a spot of ground near Red-cross-street, in London, was the only place in all England wherein they were allowed to bury their dead.

In 1262, after the citizens of London broke into their houses, plundered their property, and murdered seven hundred of them in cold blood, King Henry III. gave their ruined synagogue in Lothbury to the friars called the fathers of the sackcloth. The church of St. Olave in the Old Jewry was another of their synagogues till they were dispossessed of it: were the sufferings they endured to be recounted we should shudder. Our old English ancestors would have laughed any one to derision who urged in a Jew's behalf, that he had "eyes," or "hands," "organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions;" or that he was "fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is." They would have deemed a man mad had one been found with a desire to prove that

———the poor Jew,
In corporal sufferance feels a pang as great
As when a Christian dies.

To say nothing of their more obvious sufferings for many centuries, the tide of public opinion raged against the Jews vehemently and incessantly. They were addressed with sneers and contumely; the finger of vulgar scorn was pointed at them; they were hunted through the streets in open day, and when protected from the extremity of violence, it was with tones and looks denoting that only a little lower hate sanctuaried their persons. In conversation and in books they were a by-word, and a jest.

A work printed in 1628, for popular entertainment, entitled "A Miscellany of Seriousness with Merriment, consisting of Witty Questions, Riddles, Jests," &c. tells this story as a good joke. A sea capatin on a voyage, with thirty passengers, being overtaken by a violent tempest, found it necessary to throw half of them overboard, in order to lighten the vessel. Fifteen of the passangers were Christians, and the other fifteen were Jews, but in this exigency they unanimously agreed in the captain's opinion, and that he should place the whole thirty in a circle, and throw every ninth man over till only fifteen were left. To save the Christians, the captain placed his thirty passangers in this order, viz.: four Christians, five Jews; two Christians, one Jew; three Christians, one Jew; one Christian, two Jews; two Christians, three jews; one Christian, two Jews; two Christians, one Jew. He began to number from the first of the four Christians thus:


By this device, the captain preserved all the Christians, and deeped all the Jews.

Selden says, "Talk what you will of the Jews, that they are cursed, they thrive wherever they come: they are able to oblige the prince of their country by lending him money; none of them beg; they keep together; and for their being hated, my life for yours, Christians hate one another as much." This was true, but it is also true that three quarters of a century have not elasped [sic] since hatred to the Jews was a national feeling. In 1753, a bill was brought into the House of Lords for naturalizing the Jews, and relieving them from persecuting disabilities. It passed there on the ground that it would operate to the public advantage, by encouraging wealthy persons professing the Jewish religion to remove hither from foreign parts to the increase of the capital, commerce, and credit of the kingdom. The corporation of London in common council assembled, petitioned against it on the ground that it would dishonour the christian religion, endanger the constitution, and prejudice the interest and trade of the kingdom in general, and London in particular. A body of London merchants and traders also petitioned against it. Certain popular orators predicted that if the bill passed, the Jews would multiply so fast, become so rich, and get so much power, that their persons would be revered, their customs be imitated, and Judaism become the fashionable religion; they further alleged that the bill flew in the face of prophecy, which declared that the Jews should be scattered without a country or fixed habitation till their conversion, and that in short it was the duty of Christians to be unchristian. But the bill passed the commons after violent debates, and received the royal sanction. The nation was instantly in a ferment of horror and execration; and on the first day of the next session of parliament, ministers were constrained to bring in a bill to repeal the act of naturalization, and to the foul dishonour of the people of England at that period, the bill was repealed. From that hour to the present, the Jews have been subjected to their old pains, penalties, disqualifications, and privations. The enlightenment of this age has dispelled much of the darkness of the last. Yet the errors of public opinion then respecting the Jews, remain to be rectified now by the solemn expression of a better public opinion. Formerly, if one of the "ancient people" had said in the imploring language of the slave, "Am I not a man, and a brother?" he might have been answered, "No you are not a man, but a Jew." It is not the business of the Jews to petition for justice, but it is the duty of Christians to be just.

In the "General Evening Post" of June 21, 1777, a paragraph states, that "the following circumstance is not more ridiculous than true;" and it proceeds to relate, that some years before, at Stamford, in the province of Connecticut, America, it was determined to build a church; but "though the church was much wanted, as many people in that neighbourhood were at a loss for a place of public worship, yet the work stood still a considerable time for want of nails (for it was a wooden building;) at last, a Jew merchant made them a present of a cask, amounting to four hundred weight, and thus enabled the church to proceed." Such an act might make some Christians exclaim, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Jew rather remain a Jew-oppressor under the name of a Christian." It is not, however, on private, but on open grounds and high principle, that justice should spontaneously be rendered to the Jews. The Jew and the Christian, the Catholic and the Protestant, the Episcopalian and the Dissenter, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Baptist and the Unitarian, all persons, of all denominations, are willed and empowered by their common document to acts of justice and mercy, and they now meet as brethren in social life to perform them; but the unsued claim of their elder brother, the Jew, is acknowledged no where, save in the conscience of every "just man made perfect."

To extend the benefits of Education to the children of the humbler classes of Jews, is one of the first objects with their opulent and enlightened brethren. The "Examiner" Sunday newspaper of the 4th of February, 1825, cooperates in their benevolent views by an article of information particularly interesting:—

"On Friday last, the Jews held their anniversary, at the London Tavern, Bishopsgate-street, to celebrate their plan for the education of 600 boys and 300 girls, instituted April 20, 1818, in Bell-lane, Spitalfields. It was gratifying to contrast the consideration in which the Jews are now held in this country with their illiberal and cruel treatment in former times; and it was no less gratifying to observe, that the Jews themselves are becoming partakers of the spirit of the present times, by providing for the education of the poor, which, till within a very few years past, had been too much neglected; another pleasing feature in the meeting was, that it was not an assemblage of Jews only, but attended by people of other denominations, both as visitors and subscribers. Samuel Joseph, Esq. the president, was in the chair. Some loyal and patriotic toasts were given, appropriate addresses were delivered by different gentlemen, and the more serious business, of receiving and announcing new subscriptions, was much enlivened by a good band of vocal and instrumental music. Among the subscriptions referred to, one was of a peculiarly generous nature. An unknown hand had forwarded to the treasurer on the two last meetings a sum of 200l. This year he received instructions to clothe all the children at the expense of the same generous donor. The procession of the children round the hall, was an agreeable scene at this important meeting. A poetical address in the Hebrew language was delivered by one of the boys, and an English translation of it by one of the girls, each with propriety of accent, and much feeling."

A record testifying the liberal disposition and humane attention of the Jews to the welfare of their offspring, is not out of place in a work which notices the progress of manners; and it is especially grateful to him who places it on this page, that he has an opportunity of evincing his respect for generous and noble virtues, in a people whose residence in all parts of the world has advantaged every state, and to whose enterprise and wealth, as merchants and bankers, every government in Europe has been indebted. Their sacred writings and their literature have been adopted by all civilized communities, while they themselves have been fugitives every where, without security any where. They are

————a people scatter'd wide indeed,
Yet from the mingling world distinctly kept:
Ages ago, the Roman standard stood
Upon their ruins, yet have ages swept
O'er Rome herself, like an o'erwhelming flood,
Since down Jerus'lem's streets she pour'd her children's blood,
And still the nation lives! [4]

Mr. Bull's Museum.


Notes [All notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated.]:

1. Porter's Flowers of the Saints. [return]

2. Mr. Fosbroke's Brit. Mon. [return]

3. Ibid. [return]

4. See also, vol. 2, January 31, note 2. -- KG [return]