When a Nation Cannot Pay Its Debts, What Then?

“The minister cannot pay the interest on the national debt – not an unprecedented circumstance, and has applied to us. I never permit any business of state to be transacted without my personal interposition; and so I must go up to town immediately.”

“Suppose you don’t pay it,” said Coningsby, smiling.

“If I followed my own impulse, I would remain here,” said Sidonia. Can anything be more absurd than a nation should apply to an individual to maintain its credit, and with its credit, its existence as an empire and its comfort as a people; and that individual one to whom its laws deny the proudest rights of citizenship, the privilege of sitting in its senate and of holding land; for though I have been rash enough to buy several estates, my own opinion is that by the existing law of England, an Englishman of the Hebrew faith cannot possess the soil.”

“But surely it would be easy to repeal a law so illiberal – “

“Oh! as for illiberality, I have no objection to it if it be an element of power. Eschew political sentimentalism. What I contend is that if you permit men to accumulate property, and they use that permission to a great extent, power is inseparable from that property, and it is in the last degree impolitic to make it the interest of any powerful class to oppose the institutions under which they live. The Jews for example, independent of the capital qualities for citizenship which they possess in their industry, temperance and energy and vivacity of mind, are a race essentially monarchical, deeply religious, and shrinking themselves from converts as from a calamity, are ever anxious to see the religious systems of the countries in which they live, flourish; yet since your society has become agitated in England and powerful combinations menace your institutions, you find the once loyal Hebrew invariably arrayed in the same ranks as the leveller and the latitudinarian, and prepared to support the policy which may even endanger his life and property, rather than tamely continue under a system which seeks to degrade him. The Tories lose an important election at a critical moment; ‘tis the Jews come forward to vote against them. The church is alarmed at the scheme of a latitudinarian university, and learns with relief that funds are not forthcoming for its establishment; a Jew immediately advances and endows it. Yet the Jews, Coningsby, are essentially Tories. Toryism indeed is but copied from the mighty prototype which has fashioned Europe. And every generation must become more powerful and more dangerous to the society which is hostile to them. Do you think that the quiet humdrum persecution of a decorous representative of an English university can crush those who have successively baffled the Pharaohs, Nebuchadnezzar, Rome, and the feudal ages? The fact is that you cannot destroy a pure race of the Caucasian organisation. It is a physiological fact; a simple law of nature, which has baffled Egyptian and Assyrian kings, Roman emperors and Christian inquisitors. No penal laws, no physical tortures, can effect that a superior race should be absorbed in an inferior, or be destroyed by it. The mixed persecuting races disappear; the pure persecuted race remains. And at this moment, in spite of centuries, of tens of centuries of degradation, the Jewish mind exercises a vast influence on the affairs of Europe. I speak not of their laws which you still obey; of their literature, with which your minds are saturated; but of the living Hebrew intellect.
“You never observe a great intellectual movement in Europe in which the Jews do not greatly participate. The first Jesuits were Jews; that mysterious Russian diplomacy which so alarms Western Europe is organised and principally carried on by Jews; that mighty revolution which is at this moment preparing in Germany, and which will in fact be a second and greater Reformation, and of which so little is as yet known in England, is entirely developing under the auspices of Jews, who almost monopolise the professorial chairs of Germany. Neander, the founder of Spiritual Christianity, and who is Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Berlin, is a Jew. Benary, equally famous, and in the same University, is a Jew. Wehl, the Arabic professor of Heidelberg, is a Jew. Years ago, when I was in Palestine, I met a German student who was accumulating materials for the history of Christianity, and studying the genius of the place; then unknown, since become the first Arabic scholar, and the author of the life of Mahomet. But for the German Professors of this race, their name is legion. I think there are more than ten in Berlin alone.

I told you just now that I was going up to town tomorrow, because I always made it a rule to interpose when affairs of state were on the carpet. Otherwise I never interfere. I hear of peace and war in newspapers, but am never alarmed, except when I am informed that the sovereigns want treasure; then I know that monarchs are serious.

A few years back we wre applied to by Russia. Now there has been no friendship between the Court of St Petersburg and my family. It has Dutch connections which have generally supplied it, and our representations in favour of the Polish Hebrews, but the most suffering and degraded of all the tribes, has not been very agreeable to the czar.. However circumstances drew to an approximation between the Romanovs and the Sidonias. I resolved to go myself to St Petersburg. I had on my arrival an interview with the Russian Minister of Finance, Count Cancrin; I beheld the son of a Lithuanian Jew. The loan was connected with the affairs of Spain; I resolved on repairing to Spain from Russia. I travelled without intermission. I had an audience immediately upon my arrival with the Spanish minister, Senor Mendizabel; I beheld one like myself, the son of a Nuovo Christiano, a Jew of Aragon . In consequence of what transpired in Madrid, I went straight to Paris to consult the president of the French Council; I beheld the son of a French Jew, a hero, an imperial marshal, and very properly so, for who should be military heroes if not those who worship the Lord of Hosts?”

“And is Soult a Hebrew!”

“Yes, and others of the French marshals, and the most famous; Massena, for example; his real name was Manasseh; but to my anecdote. The consequence of our consultations was that some northerly power should be applied to in a friendly and mediative capacity. We fixed on Prussia, and the president of the Council made an application to the Prussian , who attended a few days after our conference. Count Arnim entered the cabinet and I beheld a Prussian Jew. So you see, my dear Coningsby, that the world is governed by far different personages to what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.”