The particular phase of the Jewish question which forms the subject of this paper deals with the diplomatic efforts made by England during the middle of the nineteenth century to establish the principle of equality in Switzerland without any distinction based upon divergent religious belief. These efforts are the more noteworthy when it is remembered that they were made before the political emancipation of the Jews in England had been fully obtained. The material upon which this paper is based comes from the hitherto unpublished Foreign Office correspondence which is available in manuscript form at the Public Record Office. No use appears to have been made of these original sources, and there is only one reference to the existence of this material in the printed literature on the subject.1
Switzerland came into diplomatic conflict with the U.S.A. and France, besides England, because of the attitude adopted by the Federal Government towards the Jewish citizens of these countries, an attitude which reflected the treatment that was meted out to Jews born within the Swiss Confederation itself. The dispute assumed an international significance as a result of the treaties of commercial reciprocity which Switzerland attempted to negotiate with England, France and the U.S.A. In the course of these negotiations the anti Jewish policy of the Swiss Confederation was clearly disclosed, though, as a matter of fact, the first signs of religious differentiation were to be found in the Franco-Swiss commercial treaty of 1827.2 Not without intention, a clause was inserted which allowed each canton to deal as it pleased with French citizens of the Jewish persuasion, though French? men of other denominations obtained full reciprocal privileges. After the change in government which took place in France in 1830, such discrimination adversely affecting the French Jew was not allowed
1 Wolf, Notes on the Diplomatic History of the Jewish Question, p. 67, quoting from vol. xi. p. 36 of the American Jewish Historical Society's Publications.
2 Wolf, ibid. p. 71.
to pass unchallenged. Louis Philippe in 1835 suspended for a short time the 1827 treaty because of the unfair treatment meted out to French Jews in the Bale canton and severed diplomatic relations between the French Government and that particular canton. Ten years later, the attention of French public opinion was again drawn to the status of French Jews in Switzerland, as a consequence of several expulsions which had recently taken place in Chaux-des-Fonds. When, however, the excitement of 1848 threw the whole of Europe into confusion, it was the U.S.A. which took up the role of opposing anti Jewish discrimination in Switzerland. The effortsm ade by the U.S.A. in this matter have been ably described and well documented by Messrs. Stroock and Adler in the publications of the A.J.H.S., who between them supply the greater part of the American official correspondence on the subject.3 The senate refused to ratify a treaty between the U.S.A. and Switzerland which was signed at Berne in 1850 because American citizens of the Jewish persuasion were not given the same rights