Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/661

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Montagu
Montagu
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Decimal Association, of tho principles of which he was an ardent advocate. In 1888 he was a member of the select committee of tho House of Commons on alien immigration, which in the interest of persecuted foreign Jews he was avenue from restricting unduly.

With the public work of the Anglo-Jewish community Montagu from an early period intimately identified himself, but he had many differences with leading fellow-workers. He was a life member of the council of tho United Synagogue, but disagreement the Lord Rothschild led him to forgo active association. For some years he was a prominent member of the Jewish board of deputies, of the Jewish board of guardians, and of the Religious Education Board, but from the two latter bodies he withdrew before his death. In 1870 he founded in Aldgate, and became president of, the Jewsh Working-men's Club. He was until 1909 president of the Shechita board (for supervising the slaughtering of animals according to Jewish ritual), and was chairman of the building committee of the New West End Synagogue in Bays water (his own place of worship), of which he was first warden. One of his greatest services to the Jewish community was his successful effort to form in 1887 the federation of the smaller East End S3niagogues. By insisting on English being the official language at meetings of the members of these synagogues he helped to anglicise the foreign Jewish population.

His efforts on behalf of the East London poor, both Jewish and Christian, were imremitting. He was treasurer of the Jews' Temporary Shelter. To facilitate the distribution of working Jews among the leas populated provincial districts he founded without much success the Congregational Union and Dispersion Committee. In 1887 he established the East London Apprenticeship Fund, of which he was president. He was also a trustee of the People's Palace at Mile End, a member of the house committee of the London Hospital, and a director of the Four per Cent. Industrial Dwellings Company. On 28 July 1903 he gave 10,000l. to the London County Council for its housing scheme for the poor of Tottenham.

He frequently travelled abroad in the interests of his oppressed co-religionists. In 1875 he visited the Holy Land and subsequently founded with Lord Rothschild the first secular and industrial school in Jerusalem. On tho outbreak, in 1882, of the violent Jewish presentation to he went to the Continent, at the request of the Mansion House Committee for the Russian Jews, to control and direct the ensuing stream of emigration. Two years later he unted the United States to assist in the establishment of Jewish agricultural colonies in the Far West. In 1886 he visited all the ohief towns of Russia, investigating the conditions of the Jews there and discourging emmigration. He was well received, until on his arrival at Moscow the Ressian government's suspicions were arroused and 'the Jew Montagu' was ordered to leave the country in 48 hours (Hansard, 1886, ccoviii. 263-4). The Mansion House Fund developed into the Russo-Jewish Committee, of which Montagu was president from 1896 until 1909. The fund rendered inestimable services to persecuted Russian Jews.

Montagu, who was a collector of of art, was a member of the Fine Arts Club, and was elected F.S.A. on 14 Jan. 1897. He was a frequent exhibitor at the Old Masters' Exhibitions of the Royal Academy, the Burlington Fine Arts Club, Guildhall, Whitechapd, and elsewhere. Besides possessing many choice pictures, he was a discriminating purchaser of old English silver. His notable collection included the earliest known 'font-shaped' cup, two mazer bowls, early silver-mounted stoneware flagons, Tudor and Jacobean tankards, salts, steeple cups, and Lamerie plate.

Montagu, who was made a baronet on 23 June 1894, retired from the representation of Whitechapel in the House of Commons in 1900, and was succeeded there by his nephew and partner, Mr. Stuart Montagu Samuel, who was created a baronet in 1912. Montagu, however, unsuooessfully contested the central division of Leeds against Mr. Gerald Balfour at the general election of 1900. On 18 July 1907, on Campbell-Bannerman's recommendation, he was raised to the Baron Swaythling, taking his title Swaythling near Southampton, where he had a country residence.

A man of great tenacity of purpose and opinion, Swaythling was long a pillar of conservative Judaism and warmly deprecated any breach of Jewish custom on the part of his family or of the Jewish community. At the same time he was a vigorous opponent of the Zionist movement for the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine. He retired from active business life in September 1900, and died