Sunday, December 19, 2010

The 17th century 'coexistence' of master and slave


Beware contemporary historians who are busy rewriting the history of the Jews, especially in Morocco, to make it seem that Jews and Muslims always lived together in symbiotic harmony. This little gem, written by a 17th century English visitor called Addison (no philosemite, he), was unearthed by Elder of Ziyon blog. It conveys the impression that Jews were little more than slaves: "The Present State of the Jews," by Lancelot Addison, written in 1676:

He starts off with a description of how the Jews live in the Barbary States:

"When I looked into the great number of Jews in Barbary, and saw how they were lorded over by the imperious and haughty Moor, I could not but resent their Condition, and wish their Deliverance from that direful imprecation, His Blood be upon us and our Children. One effect whereof may be seen in their present Condition under the Moresco Government, which is no other than a better sort of Slavery. For even in those places where they have permission to inhabit, they are not only Tributary, but upon every small disgust, in danger of Ejectment. Insomuch that they cannot promise to themselves either any durable Settlement or Security. Indeed their calmest state is sufficiently stormy, and when they seem to enjoy the greatest peace, they are vilely Hector'd by the Moors, against whom they dare.not move a finger, or wag a tongue in their own defence and vindication , but with a Stoical Patience support all the Injuries and Contumelies to which they are dayly exposed. For in the midst of the greatest abuses, you shall never see a Jew with an angry countenance, or appearing concerned, which cannot be imputed to any Heroick Temper in this People, but rather to their customary suffering, being born and Educated in this kind of Slavery. By reason whereof, they were never acquainted wich the Sentiments of an ingenuous and manly Usage. It is very common with the Morisco-Boys to rally together, and by way of pastime and divertisement, to beat the Jewish Children: which later, though they should far exceed the former in numbers and age, yet dare not give them the least resistance or opposition."

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1 comment:

Daphne Anson said...

By coincidence, I did a little post this morning on Jews in Morocco, taken from a newspaper extract of 1845.
My post is called "The Heroine from the Harem - and Jewish Dhimmitude in Old Barbary"