On February 9, 1903, Sir (then Mr.) Isidore Spielmann, C.M.G., F.S.A., delivered the following address as President of the Jewish Historical Society of England:-
Ladies and Gentlemen,?I must first express, however im? perfectly, my great appreciation of the honour you have done me in electing me President of this Society. When my friend, Mr. Lucien Wolf, first suggested the possibility of this distinction to me, I replied that I was ill-fitted for it, as my knowledge of the subject was inadequate, and that in Jewish history I was but a student.
" We are all students," was the prompt reply, and eventually I yielded, particularly, I must confess, through vanity, for I regard it as no slight honour to be President of this Society; partly on account of the pleasure and advantage I hope to gain by my renewed association with many old friends. But I would ask you to recollect that if in this study we are all students, I wish to claim membership merely of the preparatory school. And I feel my inferiority the more when I consider who our former Presidents have been: Mr. Lucien Wolf, the Chief Babbi, Mr. Joseph Jacobs, Mr. Claude Montefiore, and Mr. Frederic Mocatta?all men of learning who have made valuable contributions to this Society. Their addresses, too, were scholarly proofs of their suitability, as historians, to occupy this chair. I should like to say at once that it is not my intention in this respect to endeavour to follow7 their lead, bub rather to confine my remarks to a few suggestions which I hope may find favour with you, to adopt, or, at least, to consider. And if I may say one more word with reference to myself it would be in the nature of an explanation, which is indeed due to you. My being placed in the prominent position I now occupy here, may cause you to wonder why I have hitherto been so silent a member of the Society. It arose from the fears I first entertained with others, when the Society was first founded, that the history of the Jews of this country?the early history at least?might prove to be but a history of money-lending; I had no idea that so much valuable and interesting material was to be found. The work of our many friends shows that such fears were groundless.
The Society and its Work.
The Society has now entered upon the tenth year of its exist? ence. It is in a highly flourishing and healthy condition, and there is every prospect of its remaining so. The number of its members is now 250, and we are desirous of still further increas? ing our membership and extending the field of the Society's work. It should be made known that it is not essential to be either a Hebraist or a Talmudist in order to become a member of the Jewish Historical Society. The Society has already published three volumes of Trans? actions containing a vast amount of interesting