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an intense interest among the Jews. In 1897, a conference of those in favor of this movement was called to meet in Basle, Switzerland. It faced strong opposition, especially among the leading Rabbis of England and America. The commercial classes, as a rule, did not support it, but still it appealed strongly to the racial side of Jewish life. Zionism had its economic aspect, and Jewish economists were attracted by that. It had its religious aspect, and the orthodox Jews were attracted by that. It had its national aspect, and the young scholars from the universities were attracted by that. It offered an asylum for those of Roumania and Russia, who still feel the heavy hand of their oppressors, and they were attracted by that.
Thus we see how it appeals to every phase of Jewish character and nationality. In the beginning, the movement was radically opposed. It was called Hertzl’s folly. By some it was looked upon as something more serious than folly. It was thought that it would arouse old antagonisms, that the Turkish government would oppress the Jew, there being more than 60,000 of them already in Palestine. It was believed that Russia, which has so much interest in some of the sacred places of Palestine, would strongly oppose any concerted movement, and that by these oppositions new dangers would come to the unfortunate race.
However, the Zionists were not daunted. Another conference met in 1898. It manifested greater life, and showed that there was a spirit of conciliation among the orthodox Jews of every land. The German Jew, the Spanish Jew, the Arabic Jew were there from both hemispheres, and in the synagogue at Basle offered a prayer in the Hebrew tongue with an unanimity which betokened an enhtusiasm that the critics of this movement felt was entirely wanting. While the movement may have had its origin largely in a religious feeling, economic questions soon began to develop, and the third conference which was held in Basle, August 16th of this year, developed political aspects. The Christian powers were to be sounded; the Sultan of Turkey was to be approached; a colonial trust company was to be formed, and altogether the movement has now so grown as to give assurance of permanent life. A corporation has been organized in London under English law. A trust company is now to be established
carrying a capital of ten million dollars. Since June last more than a million of this sum has been contributed, not by the wealthy Jews but by the proletariat of America and Europe. Thousands and tens of thousands of Jews are taking stock in this company, which has a final object in the purchase of land in Palestine and the aid of those who are already there, and it will further undertake the establishment of factories as well as the development of the soil. The leaders assert their intention to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Sultan. They want autonomy for local government. They will ask for commercial freedom, but are willing to pay a royalty to the Sultan of Turkey.
So imbued have these Jews become with the idea of national life that they have already selected a national flag. It is to be the six-pointed shield of David, in blue, on a ground of white. The new societies aiding the Zionist movement have increased tenfold within the last two years, and whatever may be said about the universality of this movement, it is certain that it has already received strength sufficient to make itself felt and to direct its activities along lines of practical value. The number of Jews in Palestine at the present time is estimated all the way from sixty to eighty thousand. It is said also that in that country there are 600,000 inhabitants, but it may be doubted whether there is so large a number. A railroad has already been built from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and one must sooner or later be built from Haifa to the interior, and beyond the Jordan. Technical schools are established, and at the present time there is an energy and enthusiasm manifested among the Jewish race that have never been felt since its dispersion. There is behind all this movement, likewise, a moral force. The idea prevails among the Jews that they can promote the advancement of learning and morality by adherence to their ancient religion; that their sacred records have been the inspiration of Christians, and that a rejuvenated life and a return to those fundamental principles which made them great as a nation, will produce the same blessings and advantages to the future that the written word has furnished for the past.
It may be said in concluding, however, that there is no immediate intention of purchasing the Holy Land. The idea prevails that those who are there at the present time may be strengthened
in their position, that new land may be purchased, and that step by step, agriculture and manufacturing may go on, and that in the meantime, the Jews are sufficiently strong in the world to afford a market for the products of their brethren in the Holy Land. But it is doubtful if this gradual process can be carried on. If it is, it will be because of the difficulties which the Turkish government puts in the way of the movement. Many Jews will not wait for the action of the Turkish government. They will go there; they will make efforts on their own account, and if the progress of this Zionist movement is as vigorous in the next ten years as it has been in the past three, it is only a question of a few years before the transformation of the Holy Land shall begin, when its hillsides will be replanted by forests, when the streams will gush forth and pour their life-giving substance into the valleys below; and it is not beyond the possibilities of human reckoning to calculate that within the next two decades, five or six million Jews will find themselves established again in the land of their forefathers.
We are at the close of the nineteenth century. It is an age of electricity. It is an age of great financial schemes. Plans are barely made before they are carried into execution, and the new movement has an idea as well as an ideal, and in the long run, ideas shape themselves into history, and history is made so rapidly that we scarcely contemplate the possibilities before we are faced by the reality of great movements of this character. The Jew is in earnest. He has the energy, the wealth, and the intellect, and will soon attain the results of the present effort, and the conquest will be his. From this time on, the Zionist movement may be classed among the great problems of the world's history.
BY H. W. NAISBITT.
I linger 'mid the shadows flitting o'er this life's highway,
The mountain top, the widespread vales, have not that loving spell
All detail fades, at sea, on land, excess is mind o'erthrown;
In dreams of thought some see afar, dominions, thrones and kings;
This task, well done, will Heaven give, whate'er that bliss may be;
FIRST MISSION TO THE LAMANITES.
BY JOHN JAQUES, ASSISTANT CHURCH HISTORIAN.
The American Indians are of the house of Israel. The Book of Mormon is a history of their forefathers, whom it terms Lamanites and who came originally from Palestine to America. That book, revealed by an angel to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and by him translated into English by the power of God, and published to the world in 1830, says that the Lamanites once were “a white and delightsome people," and that they will be again through obedience to the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, their dark skins being a curse inflicted upon them by the Almighty for their sins many generations ago. That book also states that a great work will be done among the Lamanites in regard to the Gospel in the latter days.*
Since the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1830, numerous missions have been engaged in to and amongst the Indians, in different parts of North America, with varying success. In some instances many have believed in the Gospel restored through Joseph Smith, and have been baptized for the remissionion of their sins.
In the summer and fall of 1830, after the publication of the Book of Mormon, several of the Elders manifested a great desire concerning the Lamanites in the west, hoping the time had come when the promises of the Lord respecting them were about to be fulfilled. It was agreed that Joseph Smith should enquire of the Lord respecting the propriety of sending Elders among them,
*Read II Nephi 30: 3-6.