A Sign of the Times

Cutting from a London newspaper entitled 'A sign of the times'. [1847]. RAL 000/235
The newspaper sees the election of Lionel de Rothschild as a matter of national pride.


The city of London has returned a distinguished member of the Hebrew persuasion to represent it in Parliament in conjunction with two Liberals and a Conservative professing the Protestant religion. It is a remarkable and an interesting event, much too significant of the spirit of the age to be passed over in silence.

From the first hour of the appearance of this paper, the claims [of] the Church Establishment to the love and respect of all good [su]bjects have been invariably asserted. Believing that the high [m]oral character for which Great Britain is distinguished among [th]e nations of the earth is ascribable to the holy influence of the Protestant religion, by whose tenets the great masses of Englishmen who exercise power at home and abroad suffer their lives to be regulated, it has been our undeviating practice to advocate the supremacy of the Church, and to extend, as far as in us lay, either by pen or pencil, the interest which the great bulk of the populace take in its permanency. We shall not, therefore, be for a moment suspected of heterodoxy when we say, that we are not displeased that the choice of a considerable section of the metropolitan constituency has fallen upon Baron Lionel de Rothschild. It would argue, indeed, a want of confidence in the solidity of the rock on which the Establishment is based, were we to suffer a single apprehension to enter our minds that the safety of the Christian religion is perilled by such and innovation upon usage as]the admission of a Jew into the councils of the empire.

On other than religious grounds, the practical recognition of the right of a large class of loyal subjects to a participation in the duties of legislation, must be hailed by every liberal mind with more than a negative satisfaction. In the first place it puts England in advance of the rest of the work in the practice of toleration. Everywhere we behold governments and nations taking steps to remove the disabilities under which the Jews have long and undeservedly laboured. [...]


In celebration of the important incident which has elicited the foregoing observations, we offer a portrait of Baron Lionel de Rothschild, who, if no legal difficulties are successfully urged, will be the first Hebrew to take his place in the House of Commons.

It must be highly gratifying to his feelings that he enjoys the suffrages of men of all varieties of creed, to whom the law accords the privilege of voting; and we feel thoroughly persuaded that his business habits, commercial knowledge, and liberal views will qualify him to return the compliment paid him by the first metropolis in the world, by steadily applying his talents to the advancement of the national welfare.