THE JEW AS A LAWYER
"At the death of Moses," says the author of The Book of Enoch, "the sun was eclipsed, and the Written Law lost its splendor. At the hour of King David's death, the light of the Moon diminished and the radiance of the Oral Law was tarnished. The consequence was that discussions and controversies began among the sages so that the joy in the study of the Law has ceased for all future generations."
Nothing seems to me more natural than that Jews should be attracted to the study of Law. But, in view of what they have done with the laws of mankind, no other people would seem to me to be less fit to administer them - for the world and even for themselves. And nothing seems to me so monstrously ironical as the liberalness with which the major peoples of the earth continue to admit Jews to the practice of the two cardinal professions - law and medicine: the one governing the affairs of men, the other guarding them against the evils of their mortal origin.
Consult your average business man in England, in France, in Germany or even in liberal America. Ask him why he invariably refuses to employ a Jew in a position of trust. He will make reply and, out of an old habit, defend himself against your question or rather its implication of bigotry. "It's not race prejudice," he will plead. "I simply feel that the Jew's habit is to mind his own business, which is not always, unfortunately, the business of his employer."
Apparently, it is too much to ask the average business man to let a Jew keep his books, run his factory, sell his wares behind a counter, manipulate his cash-register or receive deposits at a teller's window in a bank. But there is no objection to making him an officer of the court. There is no harm in entrusting the Jew with his life and the health of his family.
This is going to be a book of revelations to many. We live on this continent in a Jew-made civilization. So deeply have our institutions been impressed with the stamp of the Jewish mind and temperament, that I find it necessary (if I am to meet my reader on something like a common ground of understanding) to establish definitions for our most elementary institutions.
There is the Law and its administrator the lawyer. We understand, fairly enough, that the Law is a code by which civilized people conduct their individual affairs in a community, with a maximum of gain for the community and a minimum loss to the individual in it. But what is our conception of the lawyer, the man whom we entrust with the work of administering the code for us?
The American idea of a lawyer is something like this. If you have a contract to make or break, a man to sue or a suit to defend, or if you or someone close to you falls into a legal tangle involving possible loss of property or liberty, you go to a lawyer, a man reputed to have a working knowledge of the laws of your community and country, and bargain out with him the conditions on which he is to defend you or serve your interests. Whether you win or lose will depend, you feel, not so much on whether you are right or wrong, but on what kind of lawyer you retain. From the American point of view, it has become more important, in a legal dispute, to have a good lawyer than to be in the right.
If a Christian in New York City pauses to meditate on the fact that more than half of the four thousand lawyers in their telephone directory are Jews, it is only to reflect that the Jews are certainly smart to have managed it. It does not occur to him to think that there may be, because of that, some fifteen hundred more lawyers in his community than can legitimately make a living, and that the presence of such an over-population of lawyers may have a very serious effect on the practice of the laws in the courts to which he has come for rectification of his affairs. Not infrequently, because he regards the Jew as a particularly astute fellow, the gentile will hire a Jewish lawyer to defend him or to extend his commercial interests - in preference to hiring a gentile lawyer who is likely to be more conservative and less enterprising. In the mind of the average American the spectacle of laws, courts and lawyers is somewhat anarchic, a game of catch-as-catch-can in which the smarter lawyer catches the biggest prizes.
This is the picture, and a very bad one. But how, you will ask, do I, a Jew and a foreigner, take it upon myself to say what is the right attitude towards the law? I happened to have spent the first nine years of my life in a gentile civilization, and I can still remember that the lawyer, or advocat as he was there called, was looked upon not as a salesman of legal services but as an officer of the court to whom you were privileged to tell, in perfect security, your side of the story, the difficulty you were in. People paid this advocat not for his ability to put a fraudulent contract over on their clients' business associates, but for his shrewdness in interpreting the laws in their favor. The old-world lawyer regards himself primarily as an officer of the court. If the American lawyer realizes that he is an officer of the court, he certainly does not take this phase of his function seriously. This callousness is the result of the practice of the Jewish lawyer who swarms the American courts in such numbers that the average lawyer's office has become about as safe, for the poor layman, as a nest of rattlesnakes.
I began to know Jewish lawyers through Nathan Maggog, a Jewish attorney who lives in Manhattan Island and is privileged to practice law in the courts of the State of New York. Of medium height, distressingly stout, he is habitually mopping his florid face with a handkerchief. He gathers his clientele in the home voting district in which he has successfully brought in a safe majority for his political organization for more than twenty years. I became acquainted with Maggog when he was still a young man, before it ever occurred to him to study the law. He was then about twenty-five years old, maybe thirty; and in return for bringing in the vote, he was content with a job of inspector of weights and measures in the local meat and fish markets. That Maggog collected more fines than did the courts from the merchants whose scales did not pass the test of honesty, goes without saying. But I never knew him to be particularly bright. What put it into his fat head to give up such an easy graft for the dubious laurels of being a lawyer on the east side?
The answer is probably in Maggog's first marriage. He married one of those dark skinny little Jewesses whose eyes shine with the lust of the social climber. She it was who must have nagged the slothful Nathan into taking the night-school course which led to his admittance to the New York Bar. It is also possible that he received some encouragement from local political leaders who are always in need of dependable go-betweens between themselves and criminals in the criminal courts. In that, they have found the Maggogs to be their best servants.
Maggog's practice of law is a very simple one. When a pickpocket in his district gets into serious difficulties with the law, his mother brings a hundred, or two hundred, or a thousand dollars (depending both on the seriousness of the offence, and the pickpocket's wealth) to Maggog's office, and turns the case over to him. The next morning Maggog calls up his district leader, and the district leader looks up the magistrate who is to preside over the hearing on the case. If the magistrate is one who is not friendly to this arrangement, the case is postponed till it comes before one who is. When the case is finally called, the pickpocket is either fined or dismissed. Or, according to the gravity of the charge, he is given a light sentence. Maggog splits fifty-fifty with the district leader who, in turn, splits fifty-fifty with the higher ups. The Maggogs take naturally to this sort of law-practice; from their aptness in it, I suspect that they invented it.
I myself came to Maggog (years after my first meeting with him) because I was in need of the political influence which is his stock-in-trade. I spent, thereafter, many evenings in his home on the east side, where he conducts his most profitable business. I saw clients come to him from every part of his district - always on petty matters connected with the criminal courts. Mostly, they were the women of the men who had got into some moral difficulty. Often they were women who had themselves fallen into the traps of the law. They came to him not because they respected his knowledge of the law, or because they had been attracted by his ability as a pleader, for he had as little of the one as of the other. They came to him because they knew that he represented an organization which sold influence in the courts like so much meat on the table.
Maggog's attitude towards his clients was quite as cynical as was their attitude towards himself. One night, I remember, a poor bedraggled woman in her early sixties came in and counted out ninety one dollar bills on the table before him "It's all the money I have and am able to borrow," she explained. "But with it you must promise me that you'll do something for my boy."
I don't think I have witnessed in my life many tragedies as poignant as the counting out of that ninety dollars on Maggog's table. Each bill had the appearance of having had a career all its own, as do the bills owned by very poor people who handle them and finger them over and over again before parting with them. Thousands of people, as it seemed to me, must have owned those bills before they reached this poor woman. And she must have obtained them from at least twenty different sources.
Maggog pocketed the money briskly, told her he would do his best for her son and advised her to stop worrying.
When the old woman had curtsied and gone out, Maggog told me the pitiful story. Her son was coming up next morning for sentence. The case against him, grand larceny, was the fourth felony of which he stood convicted. Under the laws of the State of New York, it was mandatory on the part of the judge to send him to jail for the rest of his natural life.
"Well, then, you can't do anything for him!" I said.
Maggog shrugged. "Certainly not."
"But that money - what is that for?"
He smiled. "Somebody had to take it. Why not I?"
Leolom Tickach. Always take.
I have chosen Maggog as an example of a Jewish lawyer, for two reasons. In the first place he is the sort of lawyer most prevalent wherever there is a corrupt machine preying on the populace through the courts. In the second place, it was a lawyer of Maggog's type who is responsible for the three convictions I have sustained in the criminal courts of the State of New York. Since you will hear a great deal about this from my enemies, you might as well get the truth from me.
Once before, when I dared expose the life of a very powerful man, the only answer he would give to my charges was that since I had three convictions against me I was not to be believed. Neither he nor his numerous journalistic friends who were paid to defend him against the things he was charged with, undertook to explain how the convictions against me were obtained. If they did, it would have become apparent that if I am a criminal it is in the same sense in which Cervantes, Bruno, Jesus and many other men of ideals and courage before me became criminals in their days.
Towards the end of 1927, in the midst of the controversy over the publication of Ulysses in Two Worlds Monthly which I edited and published, and when the finances of my publishing company had fallen so low that it had even lost its bank account, a Jew who will here remain nameless came to me with the following proposition. He had, he said, three hundred copies of The Perfumed Garden, a book on the physiological aspects of love written by the Cheikh Nefzaoui in Arabian about four hundred years ago. The book had been published at thirty-five dollars a copy. If I sent out a circular on it to the people on my subscription list, I would surely sell them out. And as the price per copy to me would be only two dollars, I stood to make almost ten thousand dollars on the transaction - enough to rehabilitate me financially.
Every publisher with a select list of book buyers receives such propositions. I had received them before and turned them down. And I was not particularly inclined towards this one. I knew the contents of The Perfumed Garden, and there was no doubt in my mind as to what would be the attitude of the Post Office towards selling it through the mails. But I was very badly in need of money, and this bookseller was very persuasive. "You need have absolutely nothing to do with the circularizing end of it," he assured me. "Get yourself a fictitious name at a temporary address. I'll mail out the circulars for you. You will receive the orders and the money, and I will supply you with the books as you need them. If there's any trouble, I'll take the blame."
Within a week, on the complaint of the local vice crusader who received one of the circulars through an agent of his on my list with a Long Island address, I was apprehended by two postal inspectors as I was in the act of receiving returns from the circular. One of the agents opened an envelope and showed me the circular which, up to that time, I had not yet seen. It was not only an obscene description of The Perfumed Garden, it contained a really obscene drawing that was supposed to be a specimen of a series of such drawings illustrating the book.
My bail was set at five thousand dollars. I had barely money to pay a bondsman. As for a lawyer, I remembered a Jewish lawyer I once knew. He was not a particularly good lawyer, but he had a reputation for having political connections. He would, at any rate, be able to advise me through the first steps of this catastrophe, for I had never before been inside a criminal court. "How much money can you raise?" he asked me abruptly.
I replied that I could raise a hundred dollars; maybe more, later, if I needed it.
"Get the hundred first," he said.
A few days later I brought him the money. He pocketed it and looked long and lingeringly at me. "That story of yours about somebody else sending those circulars out for you won't go," he said, "unless you can get the man who did it to come to court and take the blame."
I told him that a course of action along those lines was impossible. The sort of rat who played that kind of trick was not likely to take the blame for it. As a matter of fact, he was already half way across the continent towards California.
"There's only one thing left for you to do, then," he said. "Plead guilty. I think I can arrange for you to get a suspended sentence. Another hundred dollars for the assistant D.A. will probably do that."
"But since I'm not guilty," I suggested, "don't you think I'd do better to take a chance and tell my story to a jury?"
"No," he replied. "You can't afford to take a chance with a jury. If they find you guilty, it might mean prison for a year. If you take a suspended sentence, it will be as if nothing had happened to you."
I believed him, as millions of poor people believe such lawyers and such arguments. But how was I to know that he advised me to plead guilty because he felt incapable of trying the case himself and he was too greedy to share my fee with someone who might be able to do it? Furthermore. Instead of letting me believe that a suspended sentence would leave me "as if nothing had happened to me," he should have warned me that it meant the beginning of a criminal record. He should have emphasized to me the grave fact that to have a criminal record would mean that I would never again be able to testify in any suit, civil or criminal, without some shyster like himself rising to nullify my evidence merely by asking me if I had ever sustained a conviction.
Sentence was suspended on me, as promised. But I was also fined five hundred dollars and placed on probation for two years. The fine was most unjust because it was to take me nearly a year to pay it back to the people I borrowed the money from. As for the probation, it was not as good as the intention of the court in imposing it on me. The probation system is probably alright when the government remains in complete charge of the prisoner. But I walked out of Judge Knox's court straight into a net laid for me by the local vice crusader. I could turn nowhere without being accosted by one of his agents, and a more evil-looking, foul-smelling lot of men I have never encountered in my life. Eventually, within less than a year, they found the Jew to get me with.
The name of this Jew was Henry Klein, a merchant in books, whose hobby was the manufacturing and wholesaling of pornography. As I'm writing this he is serving his third or fourth sentence on Welfare Island. He had always seemed to me an amiable sort of lunatic, and I went out of my way many times to be nice to him. Only a few days before he sold me out, I had helped substantially to get bail for him on one of the occasions on which he was caught with a car-load of obscene books. His only business with me was to supply my wife with sets of the English and American classics which she placed on sale in her store. The Book Auction at 28 E. 12th Street.
One morning, in the midst of an advertised book auction, the vice crusader, accompanied by five men from the Vice Squad, came in, closed the doors of the shop, and instituted a search. I happened to be present, to help an unlettered auctioneer in the matter of describing the books put up for sale. The visit of the vice crusaders was not at all surprising, for I knew well his anxiety to get me into trouble and so make it appear before Judge Knox that I had violated my parole. But I was surprised when he fished a package of obscene photographs and drawings out of the dust-bin in the back of the shop. I was arrested once more, and remanded for trial before the Court of Special Sessions.
On getting out on bail, I investigated the mysterious package in the dust-bin and learned that the day before its discovery by the vice crusader, the Jew Klein had brought it into the shop. He had chosen a time when I was not there, and, leaving it with my wife's secretary, he told her that it was something to be put up for sale. On it being opened by my wife, and its vile contents noted, it had been deposited where it was discovered the next day. Ordinarily such a package would have been thrown out. But my wife and her secretary had thought it would be kinder to Klein to keep it for him and return it to him. This additional kindness cost me nearly a year of confinement.
This time my Jewish lawyer was certain that I was entirely in the right. All I had to do, he said, was get him two hundred and fifty dollars. A certain political leader of his would fix things up for me, even if he himself did not make such a good impression before the judges.
The trial was the most farcical I have ever witnessed or read about. It was more simple in its comic relief than that case in Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris which was argued before a deaf judge. The chief legal point in my case was that I did not even own the store in which the objectionable pictures had been found. To my amazement the District Attorney prosecuting the case, a young perspiring Irishman named Hogan, successfully objected to every effort on the part of my attorney to establish this. My lawyer was so accustomed to having the results of his court cases dictated by a political boss, that he hadn't the remotest idea on how to present one. In this case he must have decided to pocket all the money, too, for there was no trace of political interference visible. Without giving the matter a second thought the three presiding justices found me guilty and sentenced me to three months on Welfare Island. Some time afterwards, on the theory that I had violated my parole, I had to serve another four months in U.S. Detention Headquarters.
There you have the whole history of my criminal career. On the strength of this, you will be asked to discredit everything you read in this book. As it is, I cannot ever again appear as an effective witness in behalf of any case in a New York court. But Maggog, who has been married a second time, to another socially ambitious little Jewess who dangles strange lumps of fat on the most unexpected parts of her legs, arms and head, is trying to raise money enough to buy him a temporary magistracy which will enable him to call himself Judge Maggog for the rest of his life.
One of the minor dangers of taking your legal difficulties to the office of one of the Maggogs, is that if Maggog finds that he cannot make enough money out of handling your case for you, ha has no scruples whatever in trying to make up for it by offering his services to your opponent. When my business was thrown into bankruptcy one of my creditors induced me to hire the services of a Jewish lawyer friend of his who, he said, would do the whole thing for me for a hundred dollars. A few days after I had given him the money I discovered him working against me with the attorney of the people who had defrauded me. I threatened him with the New York Bar Association.
He laughed. "You can go to them," he said. "But you wont get very far. They know that a lawyer has to make a living somehow."
The Maggogs are the authors of the most evil malpractice of law imposed on the poor of America.
Everyone knows how powerfully organized American courts are against litigation over small amounts - the very amounts which mean everything in the lives of ninety percent of the population of the continent. It has become an accepted article of faith amongst us that legal action is so long-drawn-out and expensive, it does not pay to sue for a small amount or to defend a suit against it.
The Maggogs have found a charmed way out of this difficulty. Bring to a Maggog a case for, say twenty seven dollars. He will not only take it, but I promise you that he will make money on it - practically without leaving his office. He has a subpoena server ready to swear that he has served the defendant with a summons. This makes it possible for to get judgment, and, if the defendant has property which is not directly under his eyes, he has also a marshal ready to swear that he levied on the property lawfully and sold it out for even less than the small judgment obtained. I have been robbed that way many times - always by Jews. Once, when I had absolute proof that I had not been served, I took the matter to court. I managed to get the judgment so fraudulently obtained set aside. But it cost me nearly three hundred dollars in legal fees.
But this, you may object, is perjury. Surely that's too great a risk to take for twenty seven dollars. Twenty seven dollars may seem like a small sum of money to you, but there is no such thing as a small sum of money to a Maggog. If it's money it's worth lying and fighting for. Besides, it is almost impossible to prove perjury in an American court. The Maggogs have seen to that, too.
The recent Seabury investigation into the magistrate court of the City of New York brought into the limelight the nefarious activities of a group of lawyers and bondsmen who fattened on the poor and the unfortunate of this great city. Nearly all of them were Maggogs.
Divorce, intended by lawmakers to be a healing to the domestic life of mankind, has been made into a racket by the unscrupulous Maggogs. Every once in a while a metropolitan newspaper hints the presence of a "divorce mill." When it is thrown open, at least, a swarm of Maggogs will be found fattening in it.
Bankruptcy, the poor man's refuge from the claws of debt, has been turned by these Maggogs into such a high-handed game that a poor man can no longer afford the relief it offers. Look at any list of lawyers practicing in Bankruptcy Court. Occasionally the Maggogs have changed the spelling of their names, but never their evil natures.
"The Jew can plead equally well for either side, especially for the side which pays best," says Professor Werner Sombart in that strangely powerful work The Jew in Capitalism. I had an excellent chance of seeing this in practice. The lawyer was perhaps the most famous Maggog in the criminal courts of New York. A year ago he was defending a great banker against the charges of a singer of my acquaintance who claimed that, after seducing her with the promise of help in her career, the Jew had sent her on a fake concert tour abroad. When she found herself in Europe without any real engagements she tried to get back to the United States, and managed to do so only with great difficulty because the authorities at Ellis Island had been influenced by the banker against her. In order to frighten the poor woman into accepting a small settlement (only a fraction of what he was getting from the banker as his fee) he opened his case against her by calling her every conceivable distasteful name before the jury. And only a few weeks ago, this same Maggog was in court trying to get a large settlement for one rich woman from another on the charge that the affections of her husband had been alienated, and he wept within full sight of the court as he brought out the fact that this woman had wantonly pulled out the man's shirt tails in his wife's presence.
But there are so many Maggogs in America they are really not in a position to pick their cases - not even the most famous of them. To meet this situation they have developed a series of very extraordinary methods of making every little case which comes into their offices pay and pay and pay.
Here is an example of how such a matter is handled.
Jake Bernstine, on his way to work slips and falls on the pavement of an apartment house owned by Abe Rubinsack. In the factory the worker next to Bernstine notices the discolored flesh on Bernstine's hand and asks him what happened. Then he tells Bernstine that it might turn out to be a very lucky thing. If he would go to the office of a lawyer by the name of Elias Kone, Kone would charge him nothing and maybe get him fifty dollars for the accident.
Jake Bernstine goes to the office of Elias Kone. There is obviously no retainer in this case, Kone sees that quickly enough. But since there is a landlord in the matter, and what can he lose by it, he takes the case. Just for observation, he says to himself. Fancy his delight on further observation, to find that Rubinsack has retained Nathan Maggog to defend him. Something like the following telephone conversation takes place.
"Hello, That you, Nathan?"
"Oh, hello Elias. How's tricks?"
"Rotten. About that Jake Bernstine case, tell me. What's your client's idea about it?"
"Oh, his idea is to give him twenty five dollars and tell him to forget about it."
"Lucky devil. You always get rich clients."
"Lucky, hell. If that guy has money he's not letting me in on it. "What's your idea?"
"Say, if I told this Bernstine fellow that there's ten or fifteen dollars in it for him he'd be tickled silly and kiss my hand into the bargain. But what's there in it for us for settling it that way?"
"That's right. Go on."
"My idea, Nathan, is that it's in the wrong court. Get me? I'll find some criminal negligence on Rubinsack's part and transfer the case to Magistrate's Court. Then you ask Rubinsack for a hundred and fifty dollars - a hundred dollars for fixing the case so he don't go to jail for criminal negligence, and fifty dollars for Bernstine. Tell him it's an insult to offer a man less than fifty dollars in a criminal court. We give Bernstine ten dollars and make him happy, and we split a hundred and forty dollars between us. What say?"
"OK., Elias. You're smart."
That's one way Elias gets money out of a client. There are a thousand other tricks practiced by him and Maggog, tricks equally conscienceless and devastating. I know one such lawyer, a socialist of long standing. As a boy he got from two to three dollars a day for making soap-box speeches for the Socialist Party. Today he draws a large clientele from the labour unions. He usually takes cases because, he tells his clients, their grievances appeal to him from the point of view of justice. Not that he hopes to make money by them.
But at every little stage in the progress of a suit, this socialist calls in his client and makes a touch for a small sum of money - five or ten dollars, sometimes, if his client is destitute, as little as fifty cents.
"But I told you I had no money," whines the client.
"I must eat, too, mustn't I?" replies the socialist lawyer.
He has very little knowledge of the law, as he has proved to my complete satisfaction. His knowledge of court procedure is almost nil, too. His court room voice and manner made raucous and vulgar by his years of practice as a soap-box orator, are so exasperating that no judge can listen to him with any degree of patience. But you have no idea what wonders that little argument "I must eat" accomplishes for him. What can a poor man say to it except to take out whatever change he has in his pocket and offer it to him?
By dragging out his cases, therefore, this socialist lawyer gets more out of a client than if he'd have been able to tax him with a big retainer, to begin with. In unguarded moments he confesses to a substantial bank account.
I knew this socialist lawyer, too, before he began to practice law. We were boyhood friends. When my business affairs ran well I would give him a small case and pay him liberally for his services. He happened to be present in my office during certain business transactions involving the stealing of my business from me, and so, in one of the minor litigations connected with the case, I needed him as a Witness. When I came to him and broached the matter he did not mince words.
"I know all about it, " he said to me. "The other side came to me last week and offered me twenty-five dollars if I would promise not to testify against them."
"Did you accept?" I asked.
"Well, no, I wanted to hear what you'd have to say."
"Is this a hint for me to make an offer?"
"No. But you still owe me thirty-nine dollars from the last case. I've got to eat, and the only way I can eat is to get money out of my clients. I'll testify if you'll pay me what you owe me."
"I'm in rather narrow straights financially," I told him. "But if that's your condition I'll fulfill it. I might subpoena you, of course."
"Sure. But how do you know what my testimony would then be?"
"And if I pay up the thirty-nine dollars?"
"I'll tell exactly what happened."
That was all I wanted to know, I told him. I got the money for him in a few days, and when the matter came up in court he testified. He told the truth strictly - only that he left out just enough of it to lose the case for me. Do you think he earned that other twenty-five dollars too, or not?
It must have been the Maggogs and Kones of his town Mandeville had in mind when he wrote in his Fable of the Bees, the following lines:
"The lawyers, of whose art the basis
Was raising up feuds and splitting cases,
Opposed all registers, that cheats
Might make more work with dipt estates;
As 't were unlawful that one's own
Without a lawsuit should be unknown!
They put off hearings willfully,
To finger the refreshing fee;
And to defend a wicked cause
Examined and survey'd the laws
As burglars shops and houses do,
To see where best they may break through."
When I tell the story of the looting of my publishing business, I shall give a further account of my adventures among the Maggogs. But is it really necessary to expand the evidence? Has not every reader, in some folder of his own, memoirs of the sharp practice of this wily people? Why, I ask again, if they cannot be trusted with the most menial sort of jobs, is it lightly taken for granted that they can be trusted with the administration of the laws?
Has anyone reckoned out what financial havoc is caused yearly in our society by the letting loose of this swarm of vultures on a defenseless people? When you accuse them of the damage they do not deny it. They merely whine: "It's the only kind of work they let us do," and point to certain portraits of well known Jews in the legal profession, as a justification.
The question is: Are a dozen Brandeises and Cardozas - granting that there are so many - sufficient compensation for the looting of a continent?