By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
Here Wolff mentions Curdistan as situated between Persia and Georgia. This suggests the Kurds inhabited the Zagros mountains from south to north.
JOSEPH WOLFF'S APPEAL
To his Brethren, the Jews of Great Britain
My dear Brethren – You will probably have heard that I returned two months ago from the land of our forefathers, from the land of Persia; my feet stood within the gates of Jerusalem, whither the tribes went up, the tribes of the Lord! And I saw that city which was so highly favoured by the Lord, now sitting solitary. Our poor brethren are going every Friday to a wall on the west side of the Temple, which wall they believe to be a remnant of the ancient Temple, where they sit down and weep, and put off their shoes, and read portions of Moses and the Prophets. I saw there an old blind Jew sitting at the Temple; I asked him, "Why do you come here?' He replied, "On this spot resided David our King, and Solomon our King. Now on account of the abundance of our sins, all ye that pass by, behold and see!" I was kindly received by many of them, and I proclaimed to them Jesus of Nazareth, and exhorted them to look on Him whom they have pierced, and mourn. I went into their houses and sang with them their Hebrew hymns, and walked about with the literal children of Sion, upon the literal Mount Sion, and went with them to the sepulchres of Rachael our Mother, & of the prophets Zachariah, Haggai, and Malachi, and to the Court of the prison of Jeremiah, and read with them the Prophets, and endeavoured to prove to them that Jesus of Nazareth was that child which was born, and that son which was given us, whose name is Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace; Isaiah, ix. 6. I conversed with them not he dispensation of God with his people in ancient time, how the Lord our God appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and revealed to themes plans of choosing their descendants as his people beloved, and by manifesting himself in the flesh, and giving his life a ransom, to become the salvation of all the ends of the earth. I sympathised with our brethren about the disobedience and stubbornness of our nation, and how from year to year Jerusalem was disgraced and decayed in her glory; and then I exhorted them to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. I went next to Ur of the Chaldees, the birth-place of Abraham, & from thence to Nineveh and to Babylon, and from Babylon to Persia, and from Persia to Curdistan, and from Curdistan to Georgia; every where exhorting Jews to look on Jesus our Brother, and our God, whom our ancestors have pierced, and mourn – and every where exhorting Gentiles not to boast against you, the nature branches, but rather to behold in you the severity of God; though towards them (the Gentiles) the goodness of the Lord, if they continue in his goodness, if not, they shall likewise be cut off. [This sentence did not quite make sense to me.] And then I came to Ireland, where I saw a Christian Church polluted and defiled – a Church which believes herself to be rich while she is poor and miserable. I saw there a church of the new dispensation which has sunk, and has been cut off for the very same reason for which our church – the church of Judea – has been cut off; for, alas! just as the church of Judea began to be proud of the magnificence of her Temple, and forgot the Lord of the Temple; thus the Romish church every where boasts of her church, and has forgotten the Lord and Head of the Church; so the church of Judea began to neglect the commandments of God, and to substitute for them the precepts of men; in like manner the church of Rome neglected and perverted the pure word of the Gospel, and substituted for it cunningly-devised fables, invented by her doctors; and just as the Rabbies of old attributed to themselves infallibility, so the doctors of the Church of Rome do the same, and more; they have defiled their temples, where the Lord Jesus Christ was worshipped in the first centuries of Christianity in spirit and in truth, with pagan superstition and pagan idolatry.
I saw the Popish Church in Ireland, and exhorted her members to return to Jesus, her bridegroom, and to come out of Babylon and be separate. And now, having arrived again in England, after an absence of five years and six months, I beseech you, my dear brethren, for the sake of the promise given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – for the sake of the prophecies predicted respecting Jesus of Nazareth – for the sake of the precious blood of Jesus Christ which he has shed for us on the Cross, by which blood you receive forgiveness of sins, and which blood speaks better thins than the blood of Abel – and fort he sake of your own souls, your immortal souls, hear the voice of your brother coming from Palestine, and return to Jesus, the Lord our God – "Kiss the son, lest he be angry" – return – return – and it shall be well with you all the days of your life, it shall be well with you at the hour of death, and it shall be well with you in eternity. First, it shall be well with you in life; for being justified by faith in Jesus Christ, you will have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall rejoice in hope of the glory of God; and not only so, but you shall glory in tribulation also – you shall joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ! – Christ shall be with you in death! for hear the comfortable words of the Spirit dictated to the pen of our brother Paul: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the las trump; for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed; for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality; so when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written – Death is swallowed up in Victory! – O Death, where is thy Sting! – O Grave, where is thy Victory!"
Such thoughts will be consolation to you, my brethren, in the hour of death, if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the resurrection and the life, and whosoever liveth and believeth in Him shall never die.
And it shall be well with you in Eternity! for you shall be with Christ, the Lamb of God, the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity! You shall enjoy a blessed Eternity; where all tears are wiped away, and sorrow is unknown! You shall walk in the light, for Jesus Christ shall be your light! You shall have life, and Jesus Christ shall be your life!
And you shall be a royal diadem in the hand of the Lord!
My dear brethren! – When a boy, my father taught me to pray in the evening time, to "the Angel who has redeemed me from all evil!" Jesus Christ, my brethren, is that Angel, who has redeemed me from all evil, and he went before me in the wilderness of Arabia, and among the wild Arabs. It was a joy to me to know, that that Angel of the Covenant is with me and watcheth over me! and that Angel in the wilderness has brought me back to England, to call on you to rise from your spiritual slumber, before you enter that doleful city – the city of everlasting woe – with that people lost for ever, where hope never comes.
Arise thou sleeper, and call on Jesus Christ thy God! Brethren, I saw those Jews at Aleppo and Antioch, who were taken away by an earthquake in a moment – in a moment when they were not awake – they had no longer time to read, to search Moses and the Prophets! they were taken away and carried before the great Judge – and their being sons of Abraham will not save them, if their hearts, which were without form and void, were not enlightened by the Spirit, and created anew, and sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ!
Children of Israel, scattered throughout England, Ireland, and Scotland! it is time, for the day is far spent, and the night is at hand – hear the voice of the watchman of the tower! – "Return ye! come! come to our Lord Jesus Christ, for His kingdom will come, and His will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven!"
Missionary for Palestine and Persia.
This is interesting for how it perceives Kurds in an unclear way but clearly as wandering nomads. This reinforces the narrative of Kurds being an uncertain cultural entity to be encountered but not really grasped in more detail. They were however on the radar. They were the subject of individual anecdotes without any clear overall study. They also appear to have clearly been a compact minority – that is, one particular to a particular geographic area.
GYPSIES. – A gypsy encampment on the banks of the Ganges must certainly be a picturesque and interesting thing. It is extremely curious that these wandering tribes should be found to speak the Hindoostanee language: – "On the other side of the river was a large encampment of wretched tents of mats, with a number of little hackeries, panniers, ponies, goats, &c. so like gypsies, that on asking what they were, I was not much surprised to hear Abdullah say they were gypsies; that they were numerous in the upper provinces, living exactly like the gypsies in England; that he had seen the same people both in Persia and Russia, and that in Persia they spoke Hindoostanee the same as here. In Russia he had had no opportunity of ascertaining this fact; but in Persia, by Sir Gore Ousley's desire, he had spoken with some of the wandering tribes, and found that they understood and could answer him. I told him of Lord Teignmouth's conversation in Hindoostanee with the old gypsy on Northwood, and he said that in Persia it was not every gypsy who spoke it, only old people. He said they were so like each other in all the countries where he had seen them, that they could not be mistaken, though in Persia they were of much better caste, and much richer than here, or in England, or Russia. But he added, 'I suppose in Russia, before Peter the Great, all people were much like gypsies.' There were many curious circumstances which I deduced from his information: first, the identity of the gypsy race in Europe and India, and their connecting link seemed established by a very observant witness, and certainly one unprejudiced by system. Secondly, on further enquiry, I found the people whom he identified with our gypsies in Persia, were the wandering tribes of Louristan, Curdistan, &c. whom he described with truth as being of 'good caste,' valiant, and wealthy. It therefore follows, that these tribes, whose existence in Persia seems to be traced down from before the time of Cyrus, and whose language is generally understood to differ from the Persians of the plains and cities, resemble in countenance and person the gypsies, and that their ancient language has been a dialect of Hindoostanee. The probability is, indeed, that Persia, not India, has been original centre of this nomadic population." – Bishop Hober's Narative. – [Some weeks since we inserted the substance of a paper, read to the Literary and Philosophical Society of this town, by Mr. Edward Gibson, on the same subject as the above, with a notice of the discussion which ensued. The reader will observe in the account now quoted, a strong corroboration of the hypothesis supported by Mr. G. upon the occasion referred to. The narrative of Dr. Heber, of a journey through the upper provinces of India, just published, is replete with interesting information, and displays, at every page, the acuteness, inquisitiveness, and happy talent for picturesque description, of its amiable and lamented author.]