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Stand By The Flag!

Jewish Messenger, December 28, 1860:
editorial by Samuel Mayer Isaacs
The Union...has been the source of happiness for our ancestors and ourselves. Under the protection of the freedom guaranteed us by the Constitution, we have lived in the enjoyment of full and perfect equality with our fellow citizens. We are enabled to worship the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, we can maintain the position to which our abilities entitle us, without our religious opinions being an impediment to advancement. This Republic was the first to recognize our claims to absolute equality, with men of whatever religious denomination. Here we can sit 'each under his vine and fig tree, with none to make him afraid.'
Jewish Messenger. April 26, 1861


It is almost a work of supererogation for us to call upon our readers to be loyal to the Union, which protects them. It is needless for us to say anything to induce them to proclaim their devotion to the land in which they live. But we desire our voice, too, to be heard at this time, joining in the hearty and spontaneous shout ascending from the whole American people, to stand by the stars and stripes!

Already we hear of many of our young friends taking up arms in defense of their country, pledging themselves to assist in maintaining inviolate its integrity, and ready to respond, if need be, with their lives, to the call of the constituted authorities, in the cause of law and order.

The time is past for forbearance and temporizing. We are now to act, and sure we are, that those whom these words may reach, will not be backward in realizing the duty that is incumbent upon them—to rally as one man for the Union and the Constitution. The Union—which binds together, by so many sacred ties, millions of free men—which extends its hearty invitation to the oppressed of all nations, to come and be sheltered beneath its protecting wings—shall it be severed, destroyed, or even impaired? Shall those, whom we once called our brethren, be permitted to overthrow the fabric reared by the noble patriots of the revolution, and cemented with their blood?

And the Constitution—guaranteeing to all, the free exercise of their religious opinions—extending to all, liberty, justice, and equality—the pride of Americans, the admiration of the world—shall that Constitution be subverted, and anarchy usurp the place of a sound, safe and stable government, deriving its authority from the consent of the American People?

The voice of millions yet unborn, cried out, 'Forbid it, Heaven!' The voice of the American people declares in tones not to be misunderstood: `It shall not be!'

Then stand by the Flag! What death can be as glorious as that of the patriot, surrendering his life in defense of his country—pouring forth his blood on the battlefield—to live forever in the hearts of a grateful people. Whether native or foreign born, Gentile or Israelite, stand by it, and you are doing your duty, and acting well your part on the side of liberty and justice!

We know full well that our young men, who have left their homes to respond to the call of their country, will, on their return, render a good account of themselves. We have no fears for their bravery and patriotism. Our prayers are with them. G-d speed them on the work which they have volunteered to perform!

And if they fall—if, fighting in defense of that flag, they meet a glorious and honorable death, their last moments will be cheered by the consciousness that they have done their duty, and grateful America will not forget her sons, who have yielded up their spirit in her behalf.

And as for us, who do not accompany them on their noble journey, our duty too, is plain. We are to pray to Heaven that He may restore them soon again to our midst, after having assisted in vindicating the honor and integrity of the flag they have sworn to defend; and we are to pledge ourselves to assume for them, should they fall in their country's cause, the obligation of supporting those whom their departure leaves unprotected. Such is our duty. Let them, and all of us, renew our solemn oath that, whatever may betide, we will be true to the Union and the Constitution, and


Response to above editorial by the Shreveport, Louisiana Jewish community, printed in Jewish Messenger, June 7, 1861:

TERRIBLE CENSURE.— We have refrained from publishing the many extraordinary letters we have recently received from the South, though we have carefully laid them by for future reference. But the following "resolutions" are so peculiarly rich, especially considering that we have only one subscriber in Shreveport, and he has not paid for two years, that we cannot resist the temptation of putting them in print:

WHEREAS, we received the "Jewish Messenger" of the 26th of April, a paper published in New York, in which an appeal has been made to all, whether native or foreign born, Christian or Israelite. An article headed "Stand by the Flag!" in which the editor makes an appeal to support the Stars and Stripes, and to rally as one man for the Union and the Constitution.

Therefore be it

RESOLVED, That we, the Hebrew congregation of Shreveport, scorn and repel your advice, although we might be called Southern rebels; still, as law-abiding citizens, we solemnly pledge ourselves to stand by, protect, and honor the flag, with its stars and stripes, the Union and Constitution of the Southern Confederacy with our lives, liberty, and all that is dear to us.

RESOLVED, That we, the members of said congregation, bind ourselves to discontinue the subscription of the "Jewish Messenger", and all Northern papers opposed to our holy cause, and also to use all honorable means in having said paper banished from our beloved country.

RESOLVED, That while we mistook your paper for a religious one, which ought to be strictly neutral in politics, we shall from this out treat it with scorn, as a black republican paper, and not worthy of Southern patronage, and that, according to our understanding, church and politics ought never to be mingled, as it has been the ruination of any country captivated by the enticing words of preachers.

RESOLVED, That we, the members of said congregation, have lost all confidence and regard to the Rev. Samuel Mayer Isaacs, editor and proprietor of the "Jewish Messenger", and see in him an enemy to our interest and welfare, and believe it to be more unjust for one who preaches the Word of G-d, and to advise us to act as traitors and renegades to our adopted country, and raise hatred and dissatisfaction in our midst, and assisting to start a bloody civil war amongst us.

RESOLVED, That we believe, like the Cohanim of old the duties of those who preach the Holy Word to be first in the line of battle, and to cheer up those fighting against their oppressors, in place of those who are proclaiming now, from their pulpits, words to encourage an excited people, and praying for bloody vengeance against us.

RESOLVED, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the editor of the "Jewish Messenger."

RESOLVED, That papers friendly to the Southern cause are politely requested to publish the foregoing resolutions.

M. Baer, President

Ed. Eberstadt, Secretary, pro tem.

JM, July 12, 1861:

We have been subjected to considerable annoyance by the ungentlemanly letters received from the South, in consequence of our adopting the course we thought right on the question agitating the nation. We therefore rejoiced when the mails were stopped, thinking that one source of annoyance was closed. Now however we are daily in receipt of letters containing our accounts against delinquent debtors very courteously returned from the Dead Letter Office in Washington where they had lain for the last 6 weeks, and we are mulcted in the sum of 4¢ for each bill returned. It is rather aggravating is it not!