Re: Jews in Regency
Posted by Leanne S on March 16, 1998 at 18:39:01:
In response to Jews in the Regency, written by JW on March 16, 1998 at 17:32:36
] ] Was there any ostracism of Jews in the Regency? Were they unwelcome in Austen's social circle (the landed gentry) or higher echelons? Did money or royal favour pave the way for any? Did any "make little" or hide their Jewishness?
] JW: The position of Jews in England was a contradictory one. On the one hand eminent families like the Rothschilds stood as high as any--they had financed the campaign against Napoleon in Spain and elsewhere in Europe. However, Jews were in practice excluded from many posts and functions. This was not due to anti-Semitism as such but to the fact that taking office,as an MP for example, involved taking a Christian oath, and observant Jews would not. There were also a group of Jews who had converted to the Church of England, of whom the most famous was Disraeli who became Prime Minister. There is little evidence of systematic anti-Jewish feeling in Britain at that time--indeed many European Jews immmigrated because of the lack of discrimination. But there was undoubtedly a good deal of informal prejudice.
So socially, the Rothschilds and other Jewish banking families would be visible in genteel social circles? If not Almack's, then they would be present at other soirees held during the London Season?
Thanks for the info, JW!
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