81 179 DE LEON, EDWIN (1819-91). Diplomatic Report Signed, written to the American Minister in Constantinople, Carroll Spence. * AND: Introductory letter for a petition by Egyptian-Greeks to Mahmoud Bey. Copies retained for US government archives. Six pages and three pages. 4to. Alexandria, Egypt, , April 20th & 29th, 1854. $2000 - $3000 ❧ These letters show the efforts undertaken by Edwin de Leon, American Consul General in Egypt, on behalf of Greek Christians, who were to be expelled from Egypt as a result of Greek uprisings in Ottoman territories. A contingent of ethnic Greeks who had been resident in Egypt for generations approached De Leon to deliver their petition to Mahmoud Bey, the “Governor of Alexandria,” and also “acting Minister of Foreign Affairs.” De Leon argues that they should be spared “from the consequences of acts in which they had no part, and of which they are about being made the innocent victims.” De Leon offers flattery, pointing out that “a higher compliment could not be paid to His Highness than this mark of confidence in his justice and magnanimity and their preference for Egypt as a residence over the land of their nativity.” He also reminds that eyes are watching, and hints at greater rewards by rescinding the expulsion: “it would exalt his name throughout the whole Western World.” In De Leon’s report to Carroll Spence, the American Consul General in Constantinople, he describes the dismay of the Greeks: “The blow was so unexpected that the Greek residents in Egypt seemed entirely stunned by it, and were incredulous as to its execution.” De Leon’s report appears in: Executive Documents Printed by Order of the House of Representatives During the Second Session of the Thirty-Third Congress, 1854-55 (Washington, 1855). Edwin de Leon was a scion, on both sides, of Colonial American Jewish families from South Carolina. President Franklin Pierce appointed de Leon Consul General in Egypt in 1853 where he served at this post for eight years, resigning upon the outbreak of the Civil War. De Leon returned home and joined the Confederate government, receiving a diplomatic mission to Europe from Jefferson Davis. Otherwise described by Joseph Rader Marcus as “that brilliant Jewish assimilationist” an interesting episode in his public life may hint at some Jewish pride: King Otto of Greece (1815-67) sought to award de Leon the Cross of His Royal Order of the Saviour for his activities on behalf of Greeks, but De Leon declined it. 180 ECKMAN, JULIUS (1805-74). Autograph Letter Signed, written to Isaac Leeser, in English and few words in Hebrew. Julius Eckman was the founder and editor of The Weekly Gleaner, the first Jewish newspaper on the West Coast. He writes Leeser, editor to editor, explaining that he meant no injury by calling him “unpractical” in the pages of the Gleaner - he is “unpractical” himself! The letter goes on to contain the mysterious remark that “Henry does mischief great mischief” presumably referring to Henry A. Henry, a fellow-rabbi in San Francisco (see Lot 188). Eckman closes by complaining about the dissolute behavior of some Jews in California, referring to a court case, and “a similar scandal at San Diego.” He wishes that “our people must learn to understand what liberty means - they must learn to obey authority” and then paraphrases Exodus 32:25 in Hebrew. Ruled paper. One page. 4to. San Francisco, 31st October, 1859. $3000 - $5000 ❧ What had happened in San Francisco and San Diego was that Jews had been served in the synagogue with a subpoena to appear before a Grand Jury on Yom Kippur and give testimony. In the San Diego case there had been exactly ten men for the minyan. The men refused to leave and had been found in contempt of court. Eckman thought this disobedience to authority was a misunderstanding of liberty and made Jews look bad - they should have gone to court and done their duty as upstanding citizens. If Eckman had a point, Leeser took the opposite stance: “The editor of the Gleaner seems to take the thing very coolly, as though it was a matter of course that a popular government could have no other effects than popular injustice… We will yield to no man in respect for the law of the land and its expounders; but there is something due also to the rights of conscience for Israelites no less than their gentile neighbors.” Leeser believed that the application of the law showed disrespect to the Jews and should have waited until after the holy day, as they would have certainly done with Christians at prayer in church on the holiest day of their calendar. It can be suggested that the stances of these two men corresponded with their degree of Americanization. Leeser had resided in America for twenty years longer. Leeser’s English was perfect, Eckman’s contained mistakes and was very Germanic. For the perspective of The Occident on the circumstances of this letter, see The Occident Vol. 17:39, December 22, 1859, pp. 229-230. Prussian-born, Julius Eckman emigrated to America in 1846 and became a pioneering rabbi in the Pacific West however he opposed reforms which his congregation wished him to implement. He did succeed in establishing a Hebrew school in San Francisco called Hephtsi-Bah. The traveler Benjamin II visited the school and reported on it. See I.J. Benjamin, Three Years in America, 1859-1862 (JPS, 1956) pp. 230-31. Lot 179 Lot 180