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every sphere of philanthrophy. Few lives are more busy; for, besides being much in Society, Mr. RichardsonGardner represents the Royal Borough; and, as we have before remarked, is always in his place in the House of Commons when his attendance is a necessity. He knows the value of time too much, however, to dolce far niente it away by sleeping through a dreary debate, so that he might be able to say “he was in his place in Parliament.” He attends at the right time; speaks at the right time; and votes in the right way; at least, so think his Berkshire constituents, and they have thought so since 1874.
FREDERIC DAVID MOCATTA.
The ancient family of Mocatta-supposed to have come from the East with the Moors into Spain--settled in that country until the expulsion of the Jews by Ferdinand and Isabella. About the end of the 15th century, a part of the family passed into Italy, and a part into Holland from which latter place this branch of the Mocattas established themselves here in England. This was about the end of the 17th century. Shortly afterwards the Mocattas founded the house of business, and which has now been known for more than a century, by the title of Mocatta and Goldsmid, Of this historical firm the subject of our sketch was a member for many years, but in 1875 he retired from all commercial pursuits.
Mr. Frederic David Mocatta was born on January 15th, 1828, in London, his father being the late Abraham Mocatta. The mother of the subject of this memoir was the daughter of the late Gabriel Israel Brandon. Mr. Mocatta was educated by private tutors, and at an early age travelled extensively throughout Europe, Egypt, and the Holy Land. As we have seen, Mr. Mocatta was associated with the old firm bearing his name, but notwithstanding this he ever occupied his time in philanthropic and cognate work. How he found opportunity to accomplish so much and yet to be in daily attendance in the City we know not. With regard to matters of education and other charitable effort—especially in connection with Jewish education, Mr. Mocatta at that period of his career identified himself, although during later years his efforts have been confined to no particular race or creed, taking a warm interest in everything which has for its object the social progress of mankind. In the work of the Charity Organisation Society Mr. Mocatta has always evinced the deepest interest, and has ever advocated the strictest investigation in matters of charity. He is also a consistent and constant opponent of the system of election to charitable institutions by voting, being anxious to supersede the irresponsible selection of cases (by persons who usually know nothing of the circumstances), by the rigid investigation by the various bodies themselves. Mr. Mocatta has also supported that noble institution, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and has done much to spread similar work in other countries, by stimulating the movement abroad. Referring to the memoir of Robert Richardson-Gardner, M.P., at another page, Mr. Mocatta is much interested in the welfare of the blind as well as in that of the deaf and dumb. He has considerably aided the Normal College for the Blind at Norwood, which is so ably directed by Principal Campbell, and frequently pays that institution a visit, entering heartily with the professor into the minutest details. Mr. Mocatta has also been a persistent advocate of the oral instruction of the deaf and dumb.
Among other works accomplished by Mr. Mocatta may be mentioned the completion of the amalgamation of the Jews' Hospital and the Jews' Orphan Asylum. These two institutions are now one, and work far more satisfactorily Mr. Mocatta has also been instrumental in amalgamating many other minor charities which existed for objects kindred to each other.
It is somewhat erroneously supposed that there is always a certain measure of incongruousness between the mission of the litterateur and that of the man of business. However this view may hold in the majority of cases, the exceptions, especially of late, have become so numerous that the faith of the thoughtful observer in this dictum is considerably shaken. It was not until 1875, that Mr. Mocatta absolutely abandoned the career of commerce, but his rare intervals of leisure have always been devoted to a wider cultivation of the knowledge of the world, of geography, and of history, not forgetting art. As a philologist, Mr. Mocatta has some pretensions. In 1877, he published a very thoughtful and instructive volume (Longmans) entitled “The Jews of Spain and Portugal and the Inquisition.” The work was originally composed as a lecture to some Jewish working men at the East end of London, and, as may be supposed, the subject was, to Mr. Mocatta, a very interesting one, no less from a national than from a family point of view. The position of the Jews in Spain and Portugal during a great part of the middle ages forms an exceptionally bright spot in their dark and chequered history, and developed some striking intellectual and moral features in an age when a great part of what now constitutes Civilisation, was wrapped in mental darkness.
The favoured position of the Jews in the Peninsula induced a vast Hebrew population to settle there; and although it became evident, after a time, that their prosperity, attracting, as it did, the jealousy of the bulk of the people, would lead to their ultimate ruin, this could only be effected in a long and gradual manner, and could only be consummated by a cruel and violent measure—their forced expulsion. The struggles of the Mohammedans and the Christians for supremacy, had for centuries excited the minds of the Spaniards, and imbued them with a crusading spirit which would tolerate no dissidence in matters of religion; and this feeling was easily worked upon by certain of the clergy, in regard to a numerous and thriving community, which remained utterly without the pale of the Christian Church. The measures of restriction (which were followed by efforts at conversion on a scale of unprecedented magnitude, and which, in their turn, were succeeded by a persecution, culininating in the edict of banishment) form the theme of Mr. Mocatta's historical narrative, and in graphic and nervous English his pages thrill the most indifferent to the Jewish people. The very fact of the expulsion of his ancestors by Ferdinand and Isabella would in itself probably make him write feelingly, but from a careful perusal of the book we distinctly assert that he has not travelled beyond the truth of history, whilst his conclusions are eminently fair and his language always moderate. As an instance of the equitable temper of the work we subjoin an extract from the Preface:
“Had the Jews” (writes Mr. Mocatta) “possessed more tact during the earlier stages of their troubles, and adhered
more closely to their scientific and literary pursuits than to the acquisition of wealth, they might probably have retarded, and possibly have averted, the final doom. It is, however, hardly likely that a population of little less than a million Jews would ever have been allowed to dwell in peace in a land ruled by monarchs as bigoted as Philip II., and his successors, and which, almost till our time, permitted a court as arbitrary
as the Inquisition to hold an undisputed sway. The installation of this Tribunal under Ferdinand and Isabella forms an epoch in the history of Spain, and weighing as an incubus on all freedom of thought and action, was one of the main causes of the decadence of that great country, the effects of which are now
visible. In expelling the Jews, Spain gave the greatest blow to her commerce, as, in driving out the Mohammedans, she did to her agriculture."
It has been wondered why Mr. Mocatta, like his brotherin-law, Sir Julian Goldsmid (for memoir of whom see JULY number), never sought a place in the House of Commons He has almost studiously avoided any political question, as a matter of fact; and it would be difficult to say, had he been desirous of Parliamentary honours, on which side of the House he would have taken his seat. He is inclined, however, to Liberal rather than to Conservative principles. As we have already stated, Mr. Mocatta's time is sufficiently occupied with what we may term his characteristic pursuits -namely in study and philanthropy. In addition to being actively associated with the institutions already named, Mr. Mocatta is Vice-President of the Anglo-Jewish Association, which is mainly employed in promoting education among the Jews in semi-civilized countries. He also travels several months during the year, and as an impartial observer once remarked to the editor of this work, "his continental journeys are pilgrimages of philanthropy."
Mr. Mocatta married in 1850, Mary Ada, daughter of the late Frederick David Goldsmid, M.P. for Honiton, and sister of Sir Julian Goldsmid. He has had no issue by his marriage.
SIR DONALD CURRIE, K.C.M.G., M.P.
THE subject of this biography—Sir Donald Currie—was born in Greenock, in 1825, where he commenced his business career in a shipowner's office. About the age of eighteen he went to Liverpool, and in a short time was placed on the staff of the Cunard Company, and in 1849, upon the abrogation of the Navigation Laws in this country, when reciprocity was accorded by the United States, he was appointed agent of the Company mentioned in Havre and Paris. The special object aimed at was the establishment of a line of steamers between Havre and Liverpool, for the purpose of taking traffic from France to America via Liverpool, and direct to America, in opposition to the direct American steamers which then, under the navigation laws of the States, enjoyed the monopoly of the traffic. The enterprise was eminently successful, and the Cunard Company to this day hold their footing in France in connection with the trade to the American continent.
After spending six or seven years in Havre, Sir Donald Currie returned to Liverpool in order to assist in the active management of the Cunard Company's business there, his brother, Mr. John Martin Currie, carrying on the agencies in France.
In 1851, Sir Donald Currie married Margaret, daughter of John Miller, Esq., of Liverpool, and Ardencraig, Bute.
About the year 1862, Sir Donald retired from the Cunard Company, and established his “Castle" line of sailing ships between Liverpool and Calcutta, sailing these vessels on fixed advertised days (a novelty at that time in sailingship enterprise), and after two years' successful work he came to London, the return of the vessels from India with cargo to London rendering it advantageous to make the capital the headquarters of the business. He also became a partner in the Leith, Hull and Hamburg Steam Packet Company, one of the most important shipping companies in Scotland, and in other steamers under the management of his firm, trading between Liverpool and Hamburg.
It was in 1872 that Sir Donald Currie established the famous “Castle” line of steamships between England and South Africa, with which his name has since been closely identified. He resisted, through the House of Commons, an attempt made to continue the monopoly of the Union