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The Confirmation of the Worst Fears: James Bryce, British Diplomacy and the Armenian Massacres of 1894-1896

La confirmation des pires craintes : James Bryce, la diplomatie britannique et les massacres de 1894-1896
Oded Y. Steinberg
p. 15-39

Résumés

Le diplomate, juriste et historien James Bryce (1838-1922) a été le plus grand avocat de la cause arménienne en Grande-Bretagne pendant plusieurs décennies. Cet article retrace un itinéraire militant depuis les années 1870, mettant l’accent sur le tournant constitué par les années 1894-1896, lors desquelles ses appels en faveur des Arméniens et d’une intervention auprès de la Sublime Porte remportèrent un grand écho, non seulement en Grande-Bretagne mais aussi aux États-Unis.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 C.H. Papasian to Bryce, Bodleian Library Special Collections [Bod.], Oxford, Ms. Bryce 195/28-35, 4 (...)

Oh dear Mr. Bryce, these are facts that I am stating to you and I do not hesitate to say, that it is not the right way, it is a crime to play with a state of a nation [Armenia] however small that nation may be.1

  • 2 C. Harvie, 2004.
  • 3 J. Bryce, 1896 [1877].
  • 4 J. Bryce, 1916.

1With these words, C.H. Papasian, an Armenian merchant from Manchester, expressed his utter fury and disappointment with Great Britain’s policy towards the Armenian communities of Asia Minor. The recipient of the letter, as stated, was James Bryce (1838-1922), a Liberal MP and Regius Professor of Civil Law in Oxford.2 Following Bryce’s travels in Eastern Anatolia during the autumn of 1876, he became a lifelong benefactor of the Armenian communities.3 Concerning his Armenian engagements, Bryce is mostly remembered for the famous Blue Book reporting on the Armenian Genocide he and Arnold Toynbee co-edited in 1916.4

  • 5 M. Tusan, 2009, p. 121-129; Id., 2014, p. 47-77.
  • 6 M. Tusan, 2017, p. 3. On the American response to the 1894-1897 massacres and Armenian Genocide, se (...)
  • 7 Another detailed study of the pre-genocide humanitarian activism is given in D. Rodogno, 2012. In c (...)
  • 8 M. Tusan, 2017, p. 129-150.
  • 9 P. Balakian, 2004, p. 117-119.
  • 10 G. Giannakopoulos, 2017, p. 307-310.
  • 11 On Bryce’s contacts with the Armenian communities in Manchester and London and his pro-Armenian act (...)

2Attention given to the 1915 genocide has resulted in renewed interest in Bryce’s activities in relation to the Blue Book.5 Although growing, that scholarly interest remains insufficient with reference to Bryce’s actions before and during the Armenian massacres of 1894-1896. Michelle Tusan in her most recent and comprehensive book, The British Empire and the Armenian Genocide: Humanitarianism and Imperial Politics from Gladstone to Churchill (2017), looks into this rather neglected research question: the British response to the Armenian genocide. Most studies, Tusan correctly notes, delve into the American response to the genocide.6 Tusan proposes an insight into the humanitarian activism before, during and mainly after the genocide of 1915.7 The protagonists of this humanitarian aid were several Liberal figures, such as Bryce, who following the example of W.E. Gladstone, had acted since the 1870s on behalf of the suffering Armenians. Tusan, indeed, dedicates an excellent discussion to Bryce’s activities, especially subsequent to the publication of his Blue Book. As Tusan exemplifies, they included Bryce’s attempts to reach out to the American public following the genocide.8 This point is very much relevant to this current essay since, as will be shown, Bryce had already made a similar attempt to influence the American public during the massacres of 1894-1896.9 A very recent and insightful essay by Georgios Giannakopoulos also concentrates on Bryce’s early Armenian engagements. The essay, like Tusan’s book, studies the emerging humanitarian involvement in the late nineteenth century.10 In both works, as well as in other studies, Bryce’s nineteenth century – and not only twentieth century –, efforts on behalf of the Armenians are dealt with.11

  • 12 D. Bloxham, 2005, p. 51; F.M. Göçek, 2014, p. 125-150.

3The following essay is meant to add to these existing studies. More than other studies, it will focus on Bryce’s activity during the 1894-1896 Armenian massacres that, according to some estimates, caused the death of over 100,000 Armenians.12 Bryce’s actions do not merely illustrate how an individual embarked on a personal “crusade” to aid suffering Armenians. Through Bryce’s correspondence, writings and endeavours, it is possible to obtain a fuller picture of how the British public “sphere”, or “spheres”, viewed the Armenians in the massacres of 1894-1896; what considerations and constraints shaped the British “discourses”; and whether Bryce’s Liberal Party really adopted a pro-Armenian stance – and who opposed Bryce’s pro-Armenian stance.

  • 13 For the most recent studies on the Eastern Question, see S. Prévost, 2010; M. Ković, 2011; L. Frary (...)
  • 14 A.J. Kirakossian, 2003, p. 73-78.

4This article argues that the key to understanding the treatment of the Armenians in the late nineteenth century British sphere is through three, albeit sometimes conflicting, prisms: realpolitik, jurisprudence and Christian affinity. Some of the political and economic circumstances of the late nineteenth century emerged from the “Eastern Question”, namely the European powers’ struggle over the former territories of the Ottoman Empire.13 For Benjamin Disraeli, as for many other Tories as well as Liberals, the Ottoman Empire, although a crumbling entity, was still an important power that prevented Tsarist Russia from obtaining greater influence. Fearing for its own control of the trade routes and loss of dominance, Britain thus aimed to maintain the status quo amidst turmoil. It seems that Britain did reach a certain status quo following the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1878) and the treaties of San Stefano (March 1878), Berlin (July 1878), and finally with the originally secret Anglo-Ottoman (Cyprus) Convention of 1878. The latter, as well as the Berlin treaty (especially Article 61) stated clearly that concerning the Christians of the East, the Sublime Porte had to implement substantial reforms. A running thread of this essay will be to emphasize that while in the San Stefano treaty (Article 16), Russia was accountable for the well-being of Christians of Asia Minor, many argued that following the Cyprus Convention, such a responsibility was mainly Britain’s.14

  • 15 The “Horrors” refer to the violence in Batak where it is estimated that irregular Ottoman soldiers (...)
  • 16 Bryce was also active, together with his Liberal colleagues J.R. Green, William Morris and George Y (...)

5To a certain extent, especially with reference to the Cyprus Convention, the repeated demand for reforms was a result of Christian-humanitarian concerns that emerged among the British public following what was identified as the Porte’s anti-Christian policy – as displayed during the 1876 “Bulgarian Horrors” episode.15 In response to this, as well as to later persecutions, many Christian individuals, such as Bryce and E.A. Freeman (1823-1892), and organizations operated for the welfare of Bulgarians, Armenians and other Ottoman Christian communities.16 These individuals/organizations urged Britain to adopt harsh measures against the Ottoman Empire, while standing alongside the suffering Christian communities living under Ottoman rule. Back in the late 1870s, especially in the context of the 1877-8 Russo-Turkish war, Armenians had already suffered from Ottoman oppression and Kurdish raids, which was often presented as the result of centuries of Islamic tyranny. Due to this, many regarded the Armenians as the bulwark of Christianity and in desperate need of Christian aid. The Armenians, hence, were, imagined as affiliated to a greater Christian unity.

Attempting to Raise British Awareness

6Papasian’s critical statement of Britain’s “Eastern” policy (quoted in the opening of this article) predated the outbreak of the Armenian massacres in Sasun [Sassoun; South-Eastern Turkey] during the summer of 1894 by approximately six months. Naturally, Papasian could not foreshadow the approaching catastrophe, but still warned Bryce about the alarming situation. Ottoman Armenians were “left” to their own fate mainly because Britain and the other Great Powers did not act upon their own signed commitments, Papasian pressed. In a December 1893 letter to Bryce, he vituperated that Britain should follow an independent course and act immediately:

  • 17 Papasian to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 195/28-35, 4 December 1893.

If the great powers of Europe which signed the treaty of Berlin, refuse, to their great shame, to support you [Britain] at Constantinople, let the British government, who signed the treaty of Berlin, and the Anglo-Turkish convention, come forward and honestly declare to Europe that in spite of the refusal of the great powers to join you, the Queen’s government wish and will fulfil this agreement by seeing that the Reforms which were promised in the Treaty of Berlin are carried out in Armenia.17

  • 18 Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates [HC Deb.], vol. 254, col. 1261, 23 July 1880.
  • 19 Bryce quoted in M.S. Gabriel, “The Armenians in Turkey,” Christian Union, 4 September, p. 312.

7Papasian was somehow preaching to the choir, as from the late 1870s, Bryce had endeavoured to elevate the condition of the suffering Armenians. Already during a parliamentary speech in 1880, Bryce proposed to nominate a Christian governor with a local Armenian militia to the vilayets of Van, Erzurum, Diyarbakir and Kharput.18 Later, in the late 1880s-early 1890s, Bryce attempted to raise British awareness following the attacks of Moussa Bey, a local Kurdish tribal leader, against the Armenians in Muş and Bitlis. As Bryce, following the attacks, stated in 1890: “No nation has more claim on the sympathies of Englishmen and Americans as Christians and lovers of freedom than your nation [Armenia], which has borne centuries of misfortune with such unbroken constancy”.19

  • 20 In a February 1888 letter, Papasian complained to Bryce that a few ‘reckless’ individuals in the Lo (...)

8Returning to Papasian’s letter to Bryce (Dec. 1893): wasn’t Papasian aware of Bryce’s ceaseless efforts to assist the Armenian communities? Why did he stress the poor state of the Armenians to Bryce, of all people? The answer is that Papasian knew very well of Bryce’s unyielding activity on behalf of Armenians. The two were in close contact from the beginning of the 1880s and Papasian even attempted to convince Bryce that he [Papasian] was the perfect candidate to act as the future British Consul in (the not yet established) Armenia.20 Papasian, in fact, wrote to Bryce in December 1893 exactly because of the latter’s publicly acknowledged “Armenian affinity”. Through Bryce, who was then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in Gladstone’s Liberal Cabinet, Papasian hoped to influence the policy of the government by appealing directly to Bryce, it seems. Papasian also wished to express his great disappointment and even feeling of betrayal towards Gladstone’s fourth government (1892-1894). In the former’s opinion, Liberals were not keeping their promises. Worse, they maintained the same harmful strategy as the Tories – perhaps because after all, whether or not the Sultan did not implement promised reforms, the Porte remained Britain’s greatest ally:

  • 21 Papasian to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 195/28-35, 4 Dec. 1893.

You remember what W. Gladstone said when in opposition – he said: “the Sultan would be given plainly to understand that under no circumstance will misdeeds in Armenia will be tolerated”. Can a man speak more plainly! Well now that he is in power and at the head of the government. How can he tolerate misdeeds in Armenia? These are plain words I am writing and you will kindly pardon me if I am speaking too plainly. But you will easily understand, that these eloquent expressions of W. Gladstone, full of humane and noble feelings, have erected in the bosom of the Armenian population great hopes, and they suspect that he being now in power, will do something to alleviate their condition.21

  • 22 Ibid.

9Papasian further protested and claimed that politicians tend to “forget” their own former promises while in power: “There are simple truths, which you [Bryce] above all understand perfectly well. However, it is possible that you politicians think and judge things differently”.22 Papasian, it seems, also directed his arrows at Bryce. His accusations point to a central dilemma that befell upon Bryce and other pro-Armenian British individuals. That is, how could one “translate” their Christian sympathy towards the Armenians into practical terms? British interests and abilities of Britain, it appears, did not always converge with the noble cry to help the Armenians.

  • 23 J.T. Seaman, 2006, p. 80.
  • 24 “Cruelties in Armenia,” HC Deb., vol. 336, col. 1316, 28 May 1889.
  • 25 See Bryce James, “The Armenian Question,” Century Illustrated Magazine, November 1895, p. 150-154.

10When acting as a regular MP (from March 1880) – and even prior to his parliamentary mandate –, Bryce harshly criticized the British Near East policy, especially that of Conservatives. Consider, for example, Bryce’s attacks against Disraeli in the 1870s.23 Or, later, his parliamentary speeches of 1889, given in response to the Kurdish raids on the Armenian villages, in which Bryce blamed the Tories’ shameful policy: “I warn the Government that the continued neglect of this question tarnishes the fair fame of England, and may result in consequences which all would deplore”.24 Interestingly, while Bryce acted as a Liberal cabinet member during the 1894 massacres and later when he once again became a regular MP, he often presented the Armenian question as a non-partisan issue. In addition, following the massacres, Bryce identified the other Great Powers, and not necessarily Britain, as responsible for the situation in Armenia.25 As if he suddenly understood in the limits within which Britain operated at the international level (the Concert of Europe) and her inability to act independently of Russia, Germany, etc. Bryce’s stance does not mean that he completely stopped accusing the Conservatives regarding the condition of Armenians. It does, however, signify that during the 1894-6 massacres, Bryce presented the Armenian question as an intricate geopolitical issue, that could not be reduced to the Conservatives’ faults.

The Massacres – Realpolitik, Jurisprudence and Christian Affinity

  • 26 A.J. Kirakossian, 2008, p. 35
  • 27 “Armenian Christians,” HC Deb., vol. 38, col. 68, 3 March 1896.
  • 28 Millingen to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce, 195/126, 19 November 1894.

11The reports about the massacre in Sasun (12 August - 10 September) reached the British public in early November 1894, a month or so after their apex. In early October, Vice-Consul C.M. Hallward had already briefed the Foreign Office, and through it the Liberal government, that there were rumours of a massacre in Sasun.26 The exact details of the massacre, in any case, arrived rather late and remained obscure for a very long time. As the Liberal politician and future Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey retrospectively declared to Parliament in March 1896: “The one great event standing out alone, which had stood out beyond all others, was the massacre at Sasun. We did not receive the news until some six weeks after the occurrence”.27 Despite hazy accounts, Sir Grey still announced in the same parliamentary speech that Liberals, unlike the incumbent Conservative government (in power since July 1895), responded appropriately to the massacre. Bryce himself had been privately informed about the massacre through a letter (dated 19 November) by the British Constantinople-based scholar and professor of history at Robert College, Alexander van Millingen. It included the testimony of Henry O. Dwight, an American missionary, who informed Millingen on 12 November about the death toll in Sasun and explained to him that the reports on the massacre arrived late, due to the pre-emptive actions of the Turkish government.28

  • 29 A.J. Kirakossian, 2008, p. 36; D. Rodogno, 2012, p. 193.

12There was, some assumed, another reason for the late arrival of the reports. Lord Rosebery, the British Liberal Prime Minister, and Lord John Kimberley, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, were accused by a few weeklies, such as the Spectator, of intentionally delaying the publication of the story in the British media. Rosebery’s and Kimberley’s goal, it was argued, was to prevent public unrest before deciding on the government’s response. Their measures, however, appeared to be counterproductive because a great public protest arose following the publication of the massacre’s details in the media.29

  • 30 “Professor Bryce M.P., and the Armenians in England,” The Manchester Guardian, 23 July 1889.
  • 31 “Mr. Chamberlain ended his speech by the declaration that it was unfair of Mr. Bryce to attack this (...)
  • 32 S. Dinçer, 2013, p. 20-45.
  • 33 “The Late Government and the Armenian Atrocities: Statement by Mr. Bryce,” The Manchester Guardian, (...)

13As a member of Rosebery’s Liberal Cabinet, Bryce found himself in a very awkward position. The man who had been once referred to as the “Byron of Armenia” was part of a government that apparently undermined his own lifelong Armenian agenda.30 How did Bryce react? Did he officially and openly express disagreement of his own government’s actions? As a matter of fact, the answer is no: Bryce did not criticise the policy of the Liberal government, be it publicly or in private correspondence. For him, it seems, there was no intentional attempt or a hidden strategy to “tone down” the reports on the massacres. Like Sir E. Grey, Bryce supported the actions of the Liberal government during the Sasun crisis. Later in 1896, when Bryce was in the Opposition, Joseph Chamberlain (1836–1914), then Secretary of State for the Colonies, claimed that the Conservative government merely pursued the Armenian policy of the former Liberal government.31 Bryce refuted Chamberlain’s claims. While Conservatives insisted on a joint action on the part of the Concert of Europe, Gladstone and later Rosebery never specified the consent among all the Great Powers as a prior condition for Britain’s involvement in Ottoman Armenia. Apart from the Sasun massacre of 1894, Bryce continued, all later massacres occurred under Conservative watch. Furthermore, while the exact details – especially the number of victims – of the Sasun massacre remained unclear for long, later massacres were more readily documented, thus making it easier for European chancelleries to react. In particular, European diplomats in the Ottoman capital, as well as European press correspondents there were first eye-witnesses to the hostilities in Istanbul of September 1895, and again of August-September 1896.32 Thus, in this instance, Bryce aimed to differentiate between the policies of the two governments and in fact supported the actions of his former Liberal government.33

  • 34 “Mr. Bryce on Foreign Policy, Glasgow Herald, Tuesday, 22 December 1896.

14Britain’s crucial historical misdeed, Bryce argued, was the signing of the 1878 Anglo-Turkish Convention under Disraeli’s Conservative government. Following the Convention, Disraeli and his Foreign Secretary Salisbury “secured” Britain’s loyalty to the Porte. From hereafter, Britain almost became solely responsible for the Armenians. Eighteen years later, the same Salisbury headed a Conservative government. Bryce intimated that the latter was actually repeating grave mistakes of past British diplomacy: “We all abstained three months ago from censuring the Government, for we desired, and desire still, to keep this question away from party. But assuredly we did not mean to express any confidence in the diplomacy which he directs”.34

  • 35 Ibid.
  • 36 HC Deb., vol. 36, col. 468, 21 August 1895.

15Despite his criticism and in many other occasions, Bryce still urged his Liberal fellows to observe the Armenian question as a matter of public unity, situated above the shallow water of party politics: “Some of you may ask whether we ought now to begin a party agitation against the Government on this question, as I see certain Liberals in England propose to do. Personally, I see nothing to be gained for the Armenians by any such agitation. It is of Armenia, not of British parties, that we have to think first, and no attacks on the Government will help them”.35 Bryce voiced this non-partisan view frequently, from the establishment of the Conservative government (June 1895) until the end of the massacres. Already on 21 August, he declared in Parliament: “This question of the treatment of the Eastern Christians had never been regarded in this House as a matter of party controversy […] [‘Hear, hear!’]”.36 Bryce’s dilemma on how exactly to respond to the Conservative’s policy was sincere. Criticizing their policy might be counterproductive because Bryce and other Liberals would be portrayed as cynical politicians, exploiting the difficulties in Asia Minor for their own party needs. Yet, the alternative was perhaps worse since without any action or public outcry the extermination of the Armenians would endure:

  • 37 Bryce to Grosvenor, Bod. Ms. Bryce 197/1-2, 6 January 1895.

Those of us who are anxious to rouse public feeling to support the government in taking more decided action than they have yet taken are in a position of some difficulty. We are anxious to avoid the least appearance of using the question politically against the Ministry. Personally, that is the last thing I should desire. But how can we remain silent when we see a Christian nation deliberately exterminated under our own eyes, and when we remember that England is primarily responsible for the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire and for the placing of the Eastern Christians under the protection of the Treaty of Berlin instead of the Treaty of San Stefano?37

  • 38 Papasian to Bryce, Bod. Ms. Bryce 195/44-69, 28 December 1894.

16Furthermore, Bryce knew only too well that the blames against Britain’s futile attitude could also fall on the doorstep of the preceding Liberal government he had been part of. Although Bryce himself did not admit the Liberals’ faults, he did receive growing complaints from various pro-Armenian individuals, who accused them of betraying Armenia. For instance, Papasian told Bryce in December 1894: “How very heart-breaking it is to witness the extermination of your countrymen and how very painful becomes that grief when we find ourselves left alone to our fate by Great Britain whom we loved so much […]”.38 Thus, together with the fear of extermination, Papasian again expressed his feeling, just as in his December 1893 letter, that Britain had betrayed the Armenians. For those who were sympathetic to the Armenian cause, Bryce, as a Cabinet member, was then a key figure in their attempts to influence or even protest against the policy of the Liberal Government. For instance, after the details of Sasun became known, Vartabed Baronian, another Mancunian Armenian merchant, fulminated to Bryce:

  • 39 Baronian to Bryce, Bod. Ms. Bryce 195/129-133, 20 November 1894.

[…] England, who is boasting that she stays at the top of the ideal civilization , as well as at the summit of material power too, is flattering with all respect and deference (for a general shame), a gang, nothing less than, of real brigands […], by calling them a fellow government [Ottomans], and their head [Abdulhamid II] a majesty(!), the man the most hypocrite, the most selfish, the most wilfully cruel and inhuman, the most cunning, and the most coward too!,–the England, I say, does it, which is before all the consciences and before the documented history, responsible for ever of all what happens in Armenia and what we suffer. I could understand the Beaconsfieldian politic, who was till his narrow-bones a real Jew [Disraeli], perhaps an Islam too [sic.], but I could never dream that the Gladstonian, I mean the real English politics would be perhaps worse […]39

  • 40 E.A. Freeman, 1877, p. xix. On Freeman’s perception of the East and racial perceptions. See V. Morr (...)

17The identification of Disraeli’s Jewish roots as an explanation for England’s pro-Islamic/Ottoman policy is loaded with anti-Semitic denotations. This is to suggest that Disraeli and all other British Jews were not loyal to England, but rather to their Semitic ancestry. Baronian was hoping to strike a sensitive chord when evoking Disraeli’s Jewish background, as in the late 1870s, Bryce, together with a few Liberal figures, had adopted anti-Semitic arguments against what they regarded as Disraeli’s pro-Turkish policy. As Bryce’s lifelong friend, E.A. Freeman wrote: “But we cannot sacrifice our people, the people of Aryan and Christian Europe, to the most genuine belief in an Asian mystery. We cannot have England or Europe governed by a Hebrew policy […] Lord Beaconsfield is the active friend of the Turk. The alliance runs through all Europe. Throughout the East, the Turk and the Jew are leagued against the Christian”.40 The feeling, rather than emotion, of Christian “neglect” or of Christian “betrayal” surfaces in both Freeman’s and Baronian’s above-quoted words. Baronian claims that even the “real” Anglican and Liberal England – that of Gladstone – had deserted the Armenians. For Baronian, as well as for many of his fellow British Armenians, “neglect” is tightly linked to England’s betrayal of its Christian obligations.

  • 41 HC Deb., vol. 336, col. 1312, 28 May 1889.

18Furthermore, it appears that after Sasun, Bryce ardently voiced the thesis that the Ottoman regime aimed to exterminate the Armenians as part of a premeditated plan. Bryce’s warnings against the Porte’s intentions were not totally new and had already appeared in his 1880s statements, such as in the following 1889 parliamentary speech: “[…] The whole policy of the Turkish Government would make one believe that they were following out the principle laid down by a Turkish Prime Minister some years ago, when he said that the way to get rid of the Armenian question was to get rid of the Armenians”.41 Yet, following the Sasun massacre, Bryce stated his thesis more frequently that the Sultan conspired to exterminate the Armenians.

In the wake of Sasun

  • 42 J. Bryce, 1896, p. 471.
  • 43 J. Bryce, November 1895, p. 86.

19According to him, the massacres of 1894-1896 were not isolated incidents but belonged to a series of persecutions linked to the ultimate, continuous goal of Abdul Hamid II to annihilate the Armenians. The Sultan devised this strategy following the powerlessness of the European Concert to impose Article 61 on the Ottoman Empire. For Bryce, the Sultan, especially through the Kurdish and Circassians tribes, adopted an anti-Christian policy in the 1880s that later developed into a full-fledged scheme to exterminate Armenians: “Then the Sultan saw his opportunity, and began with growing boldness to carry out his new policy towards the Armenians. It was a new policy, quite different from the mere sluggishness and indifference of previous monarchs. It was systematic, and based on a principle. It was a policy of deliberate oppression, which ripened at last into a policy of extermination”.42 The Sultan’s troops, Bryce emphasized, were directly involved in the massacres. The attacks of the Kurdish Hamidiye corps against the Armenians in Sasun paled in comparison to the actions of the regular Ottoman troops: “Nor were the Kurds the guiltiest parties. All they did was surpassed by the ferocious cruelties of the regular troops directed by Turkish officers”.43

  • 44 Baronian to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 195/129-133, 20 November 1894.
  • 45 “Mr Bryce at Aberdeen: The Position of the Liberal Party,” The Manchester Guardian, 5 June 1895.
  • 46 Bryce to Gladstone, Bod., Ms. Bryce 12/169-173, 5 June 1895.

20The letters and testimonies Bryce received from his Armenian friends and other first eye- witnesses, especially missionaries, contained horrific accounts of pain that probably further strengthened his “extermination thesis”. For instance, Baronian painfully foreshadowed that the Ottomans devised to exterminate all the Armenians of Asia Minor: “I am continually in moral pains for the ceaseless and unlimited oppressions, cruelties and all kind of injustices, as you know, of the Turkish government on my wretched countrymen. There is no doubt that it intends not to weaken them morally and materially, but to exterminate them totally”.44 On 5 June, Bryce, while speaking to his constituency of Aberdeen, echoed Baronian’s warning: “The massacres of Sasun were only an instance on the larger scale of the oppressions and cruelties which had been going on in the interior for many years, and which would end, if Europe did not interfere, in the total extermination of an ancient and progressive race which had clung to its Christianity for fifteen centuries […]”.45 Four days later (9 June), Bryce, who constantly informed Gladstone about the situation in Ottoman Armenia, wrote to the former Prime Minister: “[…] There can be no doubt that the Turks have deliberately set themselves to exterminate their Christian subjects. The Sasun massacre looks part of a plan […] for of course it was his [Abdul Hamid II] cherished policy for the last seventeen years”.46

  • 47 Bryce to Gladstone, Bod., Ms. Bryce 12/173-175, 26 July 1895.
  • 48 W.E. Gladstone, 1876.
  • 49 Bryce to Gladstone, Bod., Ms. Bryce 12/165-168, 3 May 1895.
  • 50 “An Armenian Testimonial,” Los Angeles Times, 30 December 1894.
  • 51 “Mr. Gladstone on the Armenian Question: A Warning to the Sultan Important Speech,” The Manchester (...)
  • 52 In 1891 Abdul Hamid II integrated the Kurdish tribes into the Ottoman army under the official statu (...)
  • 53 Bryce to Gladstone, “Some Observations on the Armenian Question,” Bod., Ms. Bryce 12/181-182, 2 Aug (...)
  • 54 Ibid.

21In his letters to Gladstone, Bryce frequently urged the latter to publicly speak on the Armenian question. Public support and even pressure were badly needed since through those, Bryce and others hoped, the British government would eventually have no other alternative but to enforce the reforms on the Porte.47 Gladstone, Bryce argued, retained dramatic influence on British public opinion. The public stature of the Liberal leader was most evident in Gladstone’s past efforts on behalf of the Bulgarians following the incidents in Batak (1876).48 The recent massacre of Armenians, both Bryce and Gladstone asserted, resembled 1876 Ottoman atrocities against Bulgarians. The Sultan himself, Bryce informed Gladstone, was “terrified” of Gladstone’s stature and therefore ordered his representatives in Britain “to induce you [Gladstone] not to speak or write on the subject! He is in such terror of your words as to make me feel more than ever how extremely valuable was what you said last December […]”.49 Bryce referred here to Gladstone’s public interventions given in December 1894 in which he expressed his great concern and affinity towards the Armenian communities.50 On 7 August, Gladstone aged 86, perhaps following the repetitive requests of Bryce, delivered a “momentous speech” in the Chester town hall.51 In his speech, Gladstone repeated some of the points that Bryce had sent him in a memorandum just a few days before (on 2 August). The memorandum’s title “Some Observations on the Armenian Question” included a summary of Bryce’s overall position concerning Armenia. The situation in Armenia was an ongoing affair that had become “steadily worse” over the past few years, especially following the establishment of the Kurdish Hamidiye corps in 1891.52 Sasun only represented the lowest ebb of an endless tragedy: “The horrible massacre at Sasun, which was absolutely unprovoked, is only the culmination of a series of outrages and oppressions. It was not an accident but the result of a deliberate purpose to exterminate the best part of the Armenian nation”.53 The Ottoman regime orchestrated the Hamidiye attacks and the local Ottoman governors actively assisted the perpetrators: “The wolves have been armed against the sheep”.54

  • 55 Ibid.
  • 56 “Armenian Christians”, HC Deb., vol. 38, col. 48-60, 3 March 1896.
  • 57 Ibid.
  • 58 Ibid., col. 84.

22In that August 1895 correspondence to Gladstone, Bryce insisted that the Ottomans were “absolutely unprovoked” by the Armenians in Sasun – a point that resurfaces in Bryce’s other writings throughout the massacres. On many occasions, the Porte’s claim was that in Sasun, and later in other places, the bloodshed was in fact a consequence of an Armenian mutiny led by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnaksutyun) and the Henchak party [Hintchak], the two leading Armenian nationalist parties: “[…] when the massacre became known, the Turks denied the accounts. Then tried to represent it as an Armenian rising”.55 Beside the Porte, certain pro-Ottoman British politicians and newspapers also supported the “provocation” claim. Conservative politician Sir Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, perhaps the most prominent pro-Turkish MP, criticized the abusive language used against the Sultan and “the government of a friendly state” in a parliamentary debate on 3 March.56 For him, the death toll, in what he named the “so-called Sasun atrocities”, were exaggerated through the false reports of the Armenian nationalists and the dubious sources of the Anglo-Armenian Association.57 The Association, it should be noted, had been founded by Bryce and since 1892 was headed by Francis S. Stevenson, a Liberal MP. Ashmead-Bartlett identified the Association and its parliamentary representatives as conveying false information. Furthermore, he personally attacked the objectivity of the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Sir Philip Currie, who, in the Blue Book of 1896, reported 25,000 casualties ‘for the massacres of October, November and December of the previous year’.58 Ashmead-Bartlett overtly doubted this number while accusing the Armenian Hintchak party as responsible for most of the violence, especially in Constantinople on 30 September:

  • 59 “Armenian Christians”, HC Deb., vol. 38, col. 53, 3 March 1896.

That was a deliberate attempt at civil war made by the Armenian revolutionary societies in the very heart of the Turkish Empire. What would be the state of excitement in London if any sort of mob-Irish or German, for instance-were suddenly to rise and move to Whitehall, shooting down the chief of police and killing and wounding 40 of his men? The report of the occurrence at Constantinople went like wildfire through Asia Minor, and reprisals were the result. Our Ambassador at Constantinople does not attempt to deny the plots and evil deeds of the Armenian Hintchak Society.59

  • 60 HC Deb., vol. 36, col. 475, 21 August 1895.
  • 61 Ibid.
  • 62 Ibid., col. 478.

23Thomas Gibson Bowles was another Conservative MP who distrusted the accuracy of the reported number of victims. In a parliamentary debate during August 1895, Bowels attacked Bryce and Stevenson for their “extraordinary exaggerations” and reliance on Armenians as reliable sources: “The right hon. Member for Aberdeenshire [Bryce] had said that a clearer case for the intervention of the European powers could not be imagined, and yet these accounts were those of men who rarely professed to date from the place; they came from the Russian frontier, and bore an unmistakable Russian postmark”.60 Bowels denied Bryce’s statement that a special obligation (in the guise of the 1878 Anglo-Turkish Convention) bound Britain to the fate of the Armenians. Britain should not compromise its strategic and enduring alliance with Turkey based on unauthorized reports. Bowels maintained that the ultimate and almost only goal was to maintain British interests in the region: “The hearsay evidence which had been produced was insufficient ground for the reversal of the ancient policy of this country. Then they were told that England was under a special obligation to deal with this matter, and eminent statesmen went about the country denouncing the Turkish Government and people. The right hon. Member for Aberdeenshire [Bryce] said we had no selfish interest in the matter; and that was enough for him, for in regard to Foreign affairs all our interests were selfish”.61 Bowels specified that many, in response to the current affairs, acted hypocritically and treated the Ottoman Empire unfairly. This treatment was also a result of widespread Islamophobia. Bowels went even further and argued that even if the reports regarding the number of dead were validated, Britain should not intervene: “But was England always going to interfere when insurrection in a foreign country was put down with unnecessary severity? Had we interfered with Russia because of her treatment of the Jews, or with the United States because of the proceedings of Judge Lynch in that country? No. Our policy of the strong hand appeared to be reserved for a weak Power, for a Power which had always been a faithful ally, and which, as long as we kept India, would remain a necessary ally for us”.62

  • 63 For a minute analysis of the scope of the 1894-1896 Armenian agitation in Britain, see S. Prévost, (...)
  • 64 “Armenian Christians,” Tuesday, 3 March 1896.

24Bryce’s unconditional support of the Armenians was, therefore, contested in Parliament. Nevertheless, as Bryce reemphasized, a majority of MPs in both sides of the House together with most of the public seemed to express growing empathy towards the suffering Armenians.63 As the Liberal MP Samuel Smith asserted: “There was no difference of opinion on this point, except among some crazy Philo-Turks”.64 The vast public support and the dominant acknowledgment of Britain’s Armenian responsibility, led Rosebery’s Liberal government to demand the implementation of reforms by the Porte. In May 1895, Britain, Russia and France presented a set of reforms to the Sultan. The reforms included the appointment of a new governor, release of prisoners, return of refugees and compensation to the victims. However, the conflicting interests of the Powers and the fear of a European war prevented any punitive action against the Ottomans. The reforms were not implemented therefore and for this reason, many pro-Armenians expressed their distrust towards Britain.

  • 65 Ibid.
  • 66 Baronian to Bryce, Ms. Bryce 196/116-117, 17 May 1895.
  • 67 Ibid.

25Despite the criticism of Britain, most letters still praised Bryce for his own Armenian endeavours. After harshly attacking Britain’s Near Eastern strategy, Baronian told Bryce: “[…] I hope my dear sir [Bryce], I have not abused you in writing this […] to a person whom I consider the most sympathetic and friendly with all the unjustly approved people”.65 In March 1895, Baronian stressed again the hiatus between Bryce’s noble sentiments and Britain’s hypocrisy. While Armenians were murdered, Baronian attacked, Britain was willing to act with force against Nicaragua following the latter’s refusal to compensate Britain for the occupation of the Mosquito reserve: “All those wretched Christians massacred people are not even worth the 25,000 pounds of Nicaragua! Oh your English interests […] there is nothing sacred in the world!”66 Once again, Bryce was exempted of any wrongdoing: “I don’t address these expressions to you personally, my dear Mr. Bryce, I know you; I respect you, as I respect a good deal of other English individuals”.67

  • 68 Greene to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 196/10-11, 14 January 1895.
  • 69 F.D. Greene, 1896.
  • 70 Ibid., p. xv.

26The distinction between Bryce’s efforts and Britain’s neglect of the Armenian communities did not only emerge in the British-Armenian diasporic discourse. This distinction is also evident in the correspondence of Bryce with the American missionaries in Asia Minor. In January 1895, Frederick D. Greene, a Protestant American missionary active in Van between 1890 and 1894, informed Bryce about his resignation from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the major American missionary organization in the region. Greene’s resignation, as he told Bryce, resulted from the fact that Greene wished to devote all his efforts to the Armenian cause without jeopardizing the missionary activity of the Board in Asia Minor.68 Indeed, Greene became involved with the Armenians and eventually published one of the most detailed accounts on the massacres. In the account entitled The Armenian Massacres: or The Sword of Mohammed (1896), Greene accused England of violating its own signed treaties and deserting the Armenians.69 Bryce, however, remained a righteous man among many “sinners” as he acted relentlessly for the Armenians: “The author [Greene referring to himself] does not ignore the repeated and earnest efforts that have been made for years, by such individual Englishmen as the Hon. James Bryce, to call attention to the condition of Armenia. Their protests have kept alive Armenian hope that England at least would not entirely repudiate her obligations. But the futility of these same protests has also given assurance to the Sublime Porte in carrying out its policy of repression and extermination in Armenia”.70 Again, as Baronian or Papasian, Greene stressed two key points: the feeling that Britain let down Ottoman Armenians and the ultimate plan of the Ottoman Empire to annihilate the Armenians.

Approaching America

  • 71 J. Bryce, 1896, p. 467.
  • 72 J. Bryce, 1888.

27Greene and others, mainly American missionaries, were very important to Bryce since together with European diplomats, they provided testimonies on the escalating situation in Armenia. Bryce praised the deeds of the American missionaries and regarded them as invaluable local witnesses: “I cannot mention the American missionaries without a tribute to the admirable work they have done. They have been the only good influence that has worked from abroad upon the Turkish Empire […]. From them alone, if we except the British consuls, has it been possible during the last thirty years to obtain trustworthy information regarding what passes in the interior”.71 Bryce himself was a well-known figure in America. From the early 1880s, he had visited America several times, writing occasionally in American newspapers as he was considered an expert of American politics, history and law. His American expertise was mainly acknowledged due to the publication of his American Commonwealth (1888) – a very popular and lauded study on the evolution of the American constitution.72 Bryce’s celebrated American associations were later fully acknowledged when he served as the British Ambassador to Washington (1907-1913).

  • 73 R. Stein, Bod., Ms. Bryce 196/63-84, 28 March 1895.
  • 74 Stein to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 196/63-64, 28 March 1895.
  • 75 Ibid.

28During the 1894-6 massacres, Bryce approached the American public regularly to raise their support for suffering Armenians. Bryce’s appeals were given momentum by his stature in America and were also probably a consequence of his failure to dramatically alter the British course of action towards the Porte. Hence, Bryce sought for new ways for solving or at least easing the Armenian crisis. In March 1895, Robert Stein, a German-American explorer and writer, sent Bryce a letter informing him about a plan to send a pro-Armenian petition to every church in America and Europe. The petition demanded the nomination of a European (and not a Muslim) governor to Armenia. According to Stein, while chaos reigned under Muslim rule, a Christian governor was vital for peace, as exemplified in Lebanon and the Caucus.73 The demand for a Christian governor was in accordance with Bryce’s long-lasting call to implement such a measure. In Stein’s opinion, such a petition would be better received if it were addressed by someone who was not directly affiliated with the American government: “because of its [America] time-honoured policy of non-interference in affairs outside of America”.74 Due to his popularity in America, Bryce was the most suitable figure for this mission: “Now I know of no man in England or anywhere to whom these petitions from America could be more appropriately addressed than to you. On the one hand, there is hardly an Englishmen who is so popular in the United States as you are; and on the other hand, no one else has so prominently figured as a defender of the Armenians”.75

  • 76 Bryce, 1895, p. 180-184.
  • 77 Blackwell to Bryce, Bod. Ms. Bryce 196/159-70, 23 July 1895.

29Partly due to Bryce’s efforts, the American public became increasingly empathic towards the Armenians.76 Later in 1895, Alice Stone Blackwell, a famous feminist and suffrage activist, wrote to Bryce that his actions inspired her to act on behalf of the Armenian cause. Although lacking proficiency in the Armenian language, Blackwell managed through the assistance of her American-Armenian friends to translate several Armenian poems. She informed Bryce that by introducing the Armenian literature to the American public, she managed to overcome the “great ignorance” towards the Armenians: “we have found this useful, in convincing people that the Armenians are not savages, but an intelligent and gifted race”.77

  • 78 For Britain’s imagination of Armenia and Armenians, see J. Laycock, 2009.
  • 79 J. Bryce, November 1895.
  • 80 Ibid.

30Blackwell’s words refer to a certain mental and geographical gap that separated the “Oriental” Armenians from the “Western public”.78 Bryce, Blackwell and other Armenian activists strove to bridge this gap by stressing the Christian ties between the Armenians and the British/American public. Consequently, Blackwell published the Christian-Armenian songs and Bryce constantly stressed the religious oppression of the Armenians. Through these Christian narratives, also including anti-Islamic tendencies, it was possible to acquire substantial public support. In an 1895 article addressed to the American readership, in which he first praised the noble actions of the American missionaries, Bryce claimed that the aspirations of the Sultan to become Caliph, that is the grand ruler of the whole Muslim community, formed a new kind of fanaticism among the Muslims.79 The Sultan’s scheme obtained a wide public support among Ottoman Muslims and as a result, fellow Armenians severely suffered for their Christian faith.80

  • 81 Each year the American government contributed half a million dollars to the missionary work in Asia (...)
  • 82 “Red Horrors in the Sasoun”, Los Angeles Herald, 3 February 1895.
  • 83 The Spectator, 1 February 1896.

31Bryce noted, America could have a leading role in promoting a solution for Armenia. Unlike the European powers, America was situated outside the deadlock of European diplomacy and was not part of past treaties. While Britain was steadily accused of having a hidden agenda in the region, America seemingly presented a totally different case. Officially, it possessed no immediate political or geographical interests in the Mediterranean and the American government’s concern was the well-being of the missionaries in the region.81 Bryce concluded his article that it was now time for the United States to demonstrate their power and deploy warships to the region, as this would be crucial in ending the atrocities. Other British and American individuals spoke similarly and even claimed that Britain and America had to act together in the name of Christianity. As an anonymous author argued in the Los Angeles Herald: “It is the difference of religion that is the basis of all this injury, oppression and wrong. What will the practical Christianity of England and America do about it?”.82 Concerning the Armenian agitation, the Christian moral cooperation between Britain and America was sometimes situated above political differences. In a speech to an American audience, J. Chamberlain, who was a Cabinet member of Salisbury’s government, announced that he desired a moral union between Britain and America and expressed “the hope that America might take action in regard to the Armenians, and spoke of the possibility of the Stars-and-Stripes and the Union-Jack floating together in defence of a common cause sanctioned by humanity and justice”.83

*

  • 84 A.M. Wilson, 2009, p. 32.

32Although reluctant to embroil America in Asia Minor affairs, President Cleveland seemed to be succumbing to the growing public pressure by 1895. He addressed the Armenian crisis, contributed funds and even did consider deploying warships to the region.84 Despite these new intentions, America eventually did not use military force against the Porte. As in Britain, there was a substantial discrepancy between the vast public support for Ottoman Armenians and the government’s implemented policy. This essay insists that Realpolitik retained the upper hand and prevented any punitive action against the Ottomans. Bryce partly acknowledged Britain’s limitations and shortcomings, including while acting as a Liberal Cabinet member. Without the support of the other Great Powers and due to Britain’s own domestic constraints, he was indeed in dire straits.

33Bryce was able – and this is perhaps one of the central points here – to move the Armenian question to the forefront of public discourse in both Britain and America. The numerous newspaper articles, parliamentary debates and the prolific pro-Armenian network that was formed around Bryce testify to the impact of his activities. The attempts to portray the Armenians as belonging to a broader sympathising Christian world were at the core of his engagements. Bryce managed to develop a sentiment of affinity towards suffering Armenians through expressions of Christian empathy and sympathy, while accentuating the threat of Islam. This support however remained insufficient to either alter Britain’s or America’s policies.

  • 85 Bryce, 1916, p. xxvi.
  • 86 J.J. Rousseau, 1964, p. 480.

34Although the main focus of the essay was the 1894-1896 massacres, Bryce’s role in the Armenian Question is much broader, as the review of his early Armenian engagements demonstrates his persistent preoccupation with warning against a plan to exterminate Ottoman Armenians. With the 1894-6 Hamidian massacres, Bryce’s “extermination thesis” became more neatly foregrounded and led him to trace a long anti-Christian Ottoman hostility applied against the Greeks (1820s), Bulgarians (1870s) and Armenians (1894-1896 and 1915). To Bryce, there was a special and continuous path of Ottoman anti-Armenian policy that fed on Ottoman accusations that the Armenians were, in fact, responsible for the violence. The repeated charges that they provoked the Young Turks during the 1915 Genocide, as they had done before at the time of the Hamidian massacres and in earlier incidents, served to convince Bryce that the (Ottoman) Turks adopted a certain pattern of conduct against the Armenians. As he stated later in the Blue Book: “all that happened in 1915 is in the regular line of Turkish policy […]”.85 In the clash between lofty values and political interests, the latter prevailed – or in the words of the ageing Enlightenment thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “I have understood that everything is drawn absolutely from politics”.86

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Notes

1 C.H. Papasian to Bryce, Bodleian Library Special Collections [Bod.], Oxford, Ms. Bryce 195/28-35, 4 December 1893.

2 C. Harvie, 2004.

3 J. Bryce, 1896 [1877].

4 J. Bryce, 1916.

5 M. Tusan, 2009, p. 121-129; Id., 2014, p. 47-77.

6 M. Tusan, 2017, p. 3. On the American response to the 1894-1897 massacres and Armenian Genocide, see: P. Balakian, 2004; A.M. Wilson, 2009, p. 27-44; J. Winter (ed.), 2003. On the German treatment of the Armenian question since the late 1870s, see S. Ihrig, 2016, p. 19-58.

7 Another detailed study of the pre-genocide humanitarian activism is given in D. Rodogno, 2012. In chapter eight, Rodogno describers the passivity of the European Powers concerning the suffering of the Ottoman Armenians. Although the chapter mentions Bryce, his actions in this period are not thoroughly discussed. See D. Rodogno, 2012, p. 205, 316 (note 53). On the massacres and humanitarian aid see also K.D. Watenpaugh, 2014, p. 63-69.

8 M. Tusan, 2017, p. 129-150.

9 P. Balakian, 2004, p. 117-119.

10 G. Giannakopoulos, 2017, p. 307-310.

11 On Bryce’s contacts with the Armenian communities in Manchester and London and his pro-Armenian activities during the pre-massacre era, see J. George, 2002, p. 34 ff. In a recent edition of the Journal of Levantine Studies (2015), Bryce’s lifelong Armenian engagements and writings – not only concerning the Armenian genocide – were given greater focus. See O.Y. Steinberg, 2015, p. 13-33.

12 D. Bloxham, 2005, p. 51; F.M. Göçek, 2014, p. 125-150.

13 For the most recent studies on the Eastern Question, see S. Prévost, 2010; M. Ković, 2011; L. Frary et al., 2014; R.L. Schumacher, 2014, p. 64–80.

14 A.J. Kirakossian, 2003, p. 73-78.

15 The “Horrors” refer to the violence in Batak where it is estimated that irregular Ottoman soldiers massacred between 3,000-5,000 Bulgarians. The massacre’s details arouse great public unrest in Britain after they were published in accounts such as J.A. MacGahan, 1876, p. 9-15.

16 Bryce was also active, together with his Liberal colleagues J.R. Green, William Morris and George Young in the Eastern Question Association [EQA]. The EQA was founded during a London conference (8 December 1876) on the Bulgarian atrocities. In the late 1870s and later during the massacres of 1894-1896 the EQA published several pamphlets on the condition of the Christians under Ottoman rule. See J.L. Davies, 1877, p. 1-14; R. Shannon, 1963, p. 241-242; D. Rodogno, 2012, p. 154-157; M. Tusan, 2017, p. 132.

17 Papasian to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 195/28-35, 4 December 1893.

18 Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates [HC Deb.], vol. 254, col. 1261, 23 July 1880.

19 Bryce quoted in M.S. Gabriel, “The Armenians in Turkey,” Christian Union, 4 September, p. 312.

20 In a February 1888 letter, Papasian complained to Bryce that a few ‘reckless’ individuals in the London Armenian community harmed the Armenian cause by publishing the journal Haiasdan [Armenia]. Papasian, an important member of the Armenian community in Manchester, mainly endeavoured to maintain the Armenian-Mancunian hegemony and was ‘less’ enthusiastic about the activity in London. The complaints about the journal even reached the Parliament. See Bod. Ms. Bryce 193/77, 12 February 1888; HC Deb., vol. 334, col. 493, 22 March 1889; J. George, 2002, p.51-67; S. Prévost, 2016, podcast.

21 Papasian to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 195/28-35, 4 Dec. 1893.

22 Ibid.

23 J.T. Seaman, 2006, p. 80.

24 “Cruelties in Armenia,” HC Deb., vol. 336, col. 1316, 28 May 1889.

25 See Bryce James, “The Armenian Question,” Century Illustrated Magazine, November 1895, p. 150-154.

26 A.J. Kirakossian, 2008, p. 35

27 “Armenian Christians,” HC Deb., vol. 38, col. 68, 3 March 1896.

28 Millingen to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce, 195/126, 19 November 1894.

29 A.J. Kirakossian, 2008, p. 36; D. Rodogno, 2012, p. 193.

30 “Professor Bryce M.P., and the Armenians in England,” The Manchester Guardian, 23 July 1889.

31 “Mr. Chamberlain ended his speech by the declaration that it was unfair of Mr. Bryce to attack this Government for not intervening in Armenia when Lord Rosebery’s Government might have intervened, but did not intervene”. See: “The passage in Mr. Chamberlain’s speech which dealt with the […],” The Spectator, 1 February 1896.

32 S. Dinçer, 2013, p. 20-45.

33 “The Late Government and the Armenian Atrocities: Statement by Mr. Bryce,” The Manchester Guardian, 30 January 1896.

34 “Mr. Bryce on Foreign Policy, Glasgow Herald, Tuesday, 22 December 1896.

35 Ibid.

36 HC Deb., vol. 36, col. 468, 21 August 1895.

37 Bryce to Grosvenor, Bod. Ms. Bryce 197/1-2, 6 January 1895.

38 Papasian to Bryce, Bod. Ms. Bryce 195/44-69, 28 December 1894.

39 Baronian to Bryce, Bod. Ms. Bryce 195/129-133, 20 November 1894.

40 E.A. Freeman, 1877, p. xix. On Freeman’s perception of the East and racial perceptions. See V. Morrisroe, 2011, p. 25-45; O.Y. Steinberg, 2016, p. 1-29.

41 HC Deb., vol. 336, col. 1312, 28 May 1889.

42 J. Bryce, 1896, p. 471.

43 J. Bryce, November 1895, p. 86.

44 Baronian to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 195/129-133, 20 November 1894.

45 “Mr Bryce at Aberdeen: The Position of the Liberal Party,” The Manchester Guardian, 5 June 1895.

46 Bryce to Gladstone, Bod., Ms. Bryce 12/169-173, 5 June 1895.

47 Bryce to Gladstone, Bod., Ms. Bryce 12/173-175, 26 July 1895.

48 W.E. Gladstone, 1876.

49 Bryce to Gladstone, Bod., Ms. Bryce 12/165-168, 3 May 1895.

50 “An Armenian Testimonial,” Los Angeles Times, 30 December 1894.

51 “Mr. Gladstone on the Armenian Question: A Warning to the Sultan Important Speech,” The Manchester Guardian, 7 August 1895.

52 In 1891 Abdul Hamid II integrated the Kurdish tribes into the Ottoman army under the official status of Hamidiye (the ones belonging to Hamid). See: M.S. Anderson, 1966, p. 254.

53 Bryce to Gladstone, “Some Observations on the Armenian Question,” Bod., Ms. Bryce 12/181-182, 2 August 1895.

54 Ibid.

55 Ibid.

56 “Armenian Christians”, HC Deb., vol. 38, col. 48-60, 3 March 1896.

57 Ibid.

58 Ibid., col. 84.

59 “Armenian Christians”, HC Deb., vol. 38, col. 53, 3 March 1896.

60 HC Deb., vol. 36, col. 475, 21 August 1895.

61 Ibid.

62 Ibid., col. 478.

63 For a minute analysis of the scope of the 1894-1896 Armenian agitation in Britain, see S. Prévost, 2015 and 2016.

64 “Armenian Christians,” Tuesday, 3 March 1896.

65 Ibid.

66 Baronian to Bryce, Ms. Bryce 196/116-117, 17 May 1895.

67 Ibid.

68 Greene to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 196/10-11, 14 January 1895.

69 F.D. Greene, 1896.

70 Ibid., p. xv.

71 J. Bryce, 1896, p. 467.

72 J. Bryce, 1888.

73 R. Stein, Bod., Ms. Bryce 196/63-84, 28 March 1895.

74 Stein to Bryce, Bod., Ms. Bryce 196/63-64, 28 March 1895.

75 Ibid.

76 Bryce, 1895, p. 180-184.

77 Blackwell to Bryce, Bod. Ms. Bryce 196/159-70, 23 July 1895.

78 For Britain’s imagination of Armenia and Armenians, see J. Laycock, 2009.

79 J. Bryce, November 1895.

80 Ibid.

81 Each year the American government contributed half a million dollars to the missionary work in Asia Minor. See A.J. Kirakossian, 2004, p. 35. See also J.L. Grabill, 1971 and C. Laderman, forthcoming.

82 “Red Horrors in the Sasoun”, Los Angeles Herald, 3 February 1895.

83 The Spectator, 1 February 1896.

84 A.M. Wilson, 2009, p. 32.

85 Bryce, 1916, p. xxvi.

86 J.J. Rousseau, 1964, p. 480.

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Oded Y. Steinberg, « The Confirmation of the Worst Fears: James Bryce, British Diplomacy and the Armenian Massacres of 1894-1896 », Études arméniennes contemporaines, 11 | 2018, 15-39.

Référence électronique

Oded Y. Steinberg, « The Confirmation of the Worst Fears: James Bryce, British Diplomacy and the Armenian Massacres of 1894-1896 », Études arméniennes contemporaines [En ligne], 11 | 2018, mis en ligne le 15 octobre 2018, consulté le 13 novembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/eac/1913 ; DOI : 10.4000/eac.1913

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Auteur

Oded Y. Steinberg

Post-Doctorate Fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Center for Social Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

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Bibliothèque Nubar de l’UGAB

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