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Objects of Charity: Britain and the Development of a Humanitarian Politics, 1690-1748

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This post has kindly been written for us by Catherine Arnold, Mellon Dissertation Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research.

When does a state’s treatment of its subjects warrant foreign intervention? As we do today, men and women in early eighteenth-century Europe struggled to answer this question. Throughout this period the British government received formal and informal petitions for aid from religious minorities across Europe. And, in many cases, British officials responded. Between the 1690s and the 1710s, British diplomats negotiated international treaties that guaranteed rights—including liberty of conscience—for Protestants residing in Catholic states. From the mid-1710s, British ministers also instructed diplomats to petition European rulers for redress of the grievances of non-Protestant minorities or granted these groups asylum in Britain and its empire. By the 1740s, British diplomats had interceded on behalf of Jansenists in France and Jews in Portugal, Bohemia and Moravia. In my dissertation I seek to explain why this was so. Why did the British government begin to intervene on behalf of Catholic and Jewish communities—while also negotiating on behalf of Protestant minorities—between the 1690s and the 1740s?

In 1745, the British ministry responded to a transnational lobbying campaign and interceded with the Queen of Hungary, Maria Theresa, in an effort to halt the expulsion of Ashkenazi Jews from Bohemia. This print, titled “Exodus of the Jews from Prague, 1745,” and published in the same year, shows the Jewish community of Prague leaving the city. See: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12329-prague

In 1745, the British ministry responded to a transnational lobbying campaign and interceded with the Queen of Hungary, Maria Theresa, in an effort to halt the expulsion of Ashkenazi Jews from Bohemia. This print, titled “Exodus of the Jews from Prague, 1745,” and published in the same year, shows the Jewish community of Prague leaving the city. See: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12329-prague

To answer this question, I’ve chosen to examine the British government’s interventions on behalf of five minority communities during the early eighteenth century: Huguenots, or French Protestants, in France and on the Continent; Vaudois, or Reformed Protestants, in the duchy of Savoy, in northern Italy; Jansenists in France; and Jews in Portugal and in the territories of the Habsburg monarchy, Bohemia and Moravia, in the present-day Czech Republic. I argue that British politicians’ negotiations on behalf of Protestant and non-Protestant minorities between the 1690s and the 1740s were, in large part, the result of extra-governmental diplomacy and lobbying. Protestant and non-Protestant minorities coordinated transnational lobbying campaigns intended to convince European governments, like Britain’s, to maintain their privileges and protect them against repressive policies.

In making the case for intervention, lobbyists, propagandists, diplomats and politicians in Britain and on the Continent frequently characterized government interventions as charitable projects and justified them on moral grounds. Minorities were often referred to as “objects of charity” rather than as Lutherans, Calvinists, Catholics, or Jews. Although justifications for intervention predicated on “compassion to those poor People,” as one of the British Secretaries of State put it in 1745, had sixteenth- and seventeenth-century antecedents, my research suggests that, during the early eighteenth century, these justifications were invoked with greater regularity. What’s more, these arguments were used to justify the British government’s intercessions on behalf of non-Protestant minorities, including Jansenists and Jews.

arnaud

Henri Arnaud (above) was a pastor of the Vaudois church. In 1699, when the Vaudois were forced to convert to Catholicism or leave the duchy of Savoy, Arnaud was deputized to lobby the English government for aid. See http://www.huguenot-museum-germany.com/huguenots/galleries/huguenot-portraits/a-b/arnaud-henri-1.php

How did these ‘objects of charity’ plead their cases to Britain, as well as to other European states? In my research so far, I’ve found that Protestant and non-Protestant minorities lobbied the British government by several routes. In some cases, a member of the community might be deputized to petition the British Secretary of State or a member of the royal family directly, either in writing or in person. In addition to this direct approach, communities arranged for influential British subjects to lobby on their behalf. To do so, deputies or other community members wrote to politicians, members of voluntary religious societies and members of early Enlightenment correspondence networks in Britain, asking them to plead their case to the British ministry. They also mobilized members of longstanding religious institutions across Europe—such as churches, consistories, and synagogues—to petition the British government in their favor. Communities even pressed other European governments to lobby Britain on their behalf. By convincing the British government’s constituents at home and its allies abroad to lobby on their behalf, while also conducting direct petitioning campaigns, minorities pressured the government to consider their appeals and intercede on their behalf.

As minorities mobilized acquaintances, fellow scholars, and co-religionists across Europe to lobby on their behalf, they also put pressure on European governments, like Britain’s, by publicizing their lobbying. When they lobbied the British government, members of these communities ensured that news of their appeals for aid—and, just as importantly, the ministry’s response to those appeals—circulated among European diplomats and politicians by presenting petitions to the Secretary of State in public audiences. At the same time, lobbyists often made these audiences known to a wider reading public, in Britain and in Europe, by selling printed copies of their formal petitions. News of minority grievances was also disseminated, at times, through sermons given by sympathetic clergymen or rabbis. And, not least, British and European newspapers, reported on the treatment of these communities and on their campaigns for aid, sometimes even printing letters that described minorities’ grievances or governments’ intercessions on their behalf. The public nature of these lobbying campaigns meant that the British government risked alienating sections of public opinion at home and abroad, as well as damaging its reputation at those European courts sympathetic to minorities’ grievances, by ignoring their petitions.

An example of a formal petition that also circulated in print. In 1712, as the British government began peace talks with France at the Congress of Utrecht, French Protestant “Refugees” in Britain asked the British ministry to insist that Louis XIV restore the Edict of Nantes, which had granted limited rights to French Protestants. Their petition and its accompanying memoranda (shown above) were printed and sold by French Protestant booksellers in London. Memoires, avec la garantie d’Angleterre, Presentez a son auguste Majesté la reine de la Grande Bretagne, par les François refugiez, pour obtent retablissement de l’edit de nantes. Londres, 1712. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. Yale University Library. 27 Apr. 2015

So why do these cases matter? My research suggests that, during the early eighteenth century, intercessions and lobbying constituted an increasingly differentiated sphere of international politics, one in which informal lobbying and private negotiating coexisted with, and gave direction to, governments’ formal diplomacy and policy-making on the issue of how to treat foreign minorities. On this issue, members of civil society and religious personnel from across Europe could influence British foreign policy and diplomacy through their lobbying. And, I believe, the same argument could be made for other European governments. I’ve found evidence that France, the Netherlands, the Evangelical Swiss Cantons, the Republic of Geneva, Prussia, Sweden, some German principalities, Portugal, Spain, and the Habsburg monarchy were involved in negotiations about minority communities in their own or in other states’ territories during the early eighteenth century. Over the next eight months, I will visit archives in Italy, Geneva, the Netherlands, and France to develop this argument further. At the moment, though, I argue that through these lobbying campaigns and state interventions questions of minorities’ civil and religious rights, repatriation, and asylum gradually became a part of early eighteenth-century international politics.

It’s been argued that the experience of the seventeenth-century confessional conflicts led to the emergence of the modern state system, founded on the principles of state sovereignty and nonintervention, during the late seventeenth century. My research indicates that although confessional military interventions ceased during this period – Protestant governments no longer formed leagues to defend their faith, for instance – states did continue to intervene in each other’s internal affairs. By the early eighteenth century, politicians in Britain and on the Continent had begun to undertake a type of diplomatic intervention, which was intended to protect minorities’ rights and justified on moral grounds. Transnational non-governmental organizations, including religious institutions, played a significant role in this transformation. Well before the so-called ‘humanitarian revolution’ of the later eighteenth century politicians, clergymen, and members of civil society across Europe debated whether foreign governments like Britain’s should aid repressed religious minorities in other states. By further exploring these interventions I hope to offer a new perspective on the development of modern international relations and elucidate the emergence of an international politics centered on humanitarian concerns.

 

 

New reviews: C16 Mexico and China, rural Indian technology, Venice and Dublin Press

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cortesWe start this week with a lively discussion between Felipe Fernandez-Armesto and Serge Gruzinski over the latter’s new work of comparative global history The Eagle and the Dragon: Globalization and European Dreams of Conquest in China and America in the Sixteenth Century (no. 1761, with response here).

Next up is Technology and Rural Change in Eastern India, 1830–1980 by Smritikumar Sarkar, and Amelia Bonea recommends a valuable book for anyone with an interest in the history of science and technology (no. 1760).

Then we have Rosa Salzberg’s Ephemeral City: Cheap Print and Urban Culture in Renaissance Venice, which Alexander Wilkinson believes is one of the best and most original works on book history to appear in recent years (no. 1759).

Finally we turn to Newspapers and Newsmakers: The Dublin Nationalist Press in the Mid-Nineteenth Century by Ann Andrews. Patrick Maume praises a useful contribution to the growing body of research on 19th-century Irish print media (no. 1758).

Jacobitism and the three Stuart kingdoms

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NPG D5066; Charles Leslie by George White, after  Unknown artist

 

This post has been written for us by Ralph Stevens, Jacobite Studies Trust Postdoctoral Fellow at the IHR, @HistoryRalph, ralph.stevens@ucd.ie

This coming September will mark the three-hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion, the unsuccessful attempt to restore to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland the male, Catholic, ‘Jacobite’ line of the Stuart dynasty, deposed in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688-9. Though the imminent anniversary will no doubt prompt scholarly interest in the Rebellion, as a Jacobite Studies Trust Fellow at the IHR I have looked not at the military aspect of Jacobitism, but rather at a cultural – and more specifically literary – facet of the movement. My focus has been on the life and works of the Irish Protestant clergyman and ardent Jacobite Charles Leslie (1650-1722) and my aim is to use Leslie’s Jacobite propaganda as a lens through which to explore the relationships in this period between political, religious, and national identities.

Leslie’s prolific literary output – 81 publications from 1691 onwards, not counting 397 issues of his periodical The Rehearsal (1704-9) – represented one of the most significant ideological challenges to the establishment in the decades after 1688. Not for nothing would he be characterised by Bishop Gilbert Burnet of Salisbury as the ‘violentest Jacobite in the nation’. One of the very few Irish Protestants and fewer Church of Ireland clergy unwilling to at least acquiesce to regime change in 1688-91, Leslie forfeited his Irish offices – Chancellor of Connor Cathedral and Justice of the Peace for Co. Monaghan – for his refusal to swear allegiance to William and Mary or their successors. He settled in London and emerged during the 1690s as a leading Jacobite polemicist, evading arrest for his clandestine interventions in what many historians regard as an emerging ‘public sphere’, a conceptual space in which authors and actors appealed to the increasingly influential force of public opinion.

In Queen Anne’s reign Leslie’s at first weekly and later biweekly periodical The Rehearsal (1704-9) presented Tory ideology with a Jacobite edge, pricking the consciences of conservative gentry and clergy by reminding them of political and religious certainties bent or broken in the Revolution of 1688-9. Week by week Leslie engaged in polemical back-and-forth with Daniel Defoe’s Review and John Tutchin’s Observator, periodicals orientated towards the Whig party, written by Presbyterians, and presenting interpretations of the constitution in Church and State which radically differed from Leslie’s. The Rehearsal was, however, suppressed by the then Whig-dominated government in March 1708. Facing prosecution for his subversive journalism, Leslie fled in 1711 to the Jacobite court in exile at Paris. He would accompany the ‘Pretender’ James Francis Edward Stuart across Europe to Lorraine, Avignon, and Rome, but, aware of his declining health, in 1721 he obtained permission from George I’s government to return to Ireland, where he died the following year.

My research has concentrated on issues of identity displayed in Leslie’s prodigious printed works and suggests that his political identity as a Jacobite, someone loyal to the exiled Stuart dynasty, was intimately linked to his understanding of the proper relationships between England, Scotland, and Ireland. Leslie understood the link between the Three Kingdoms as not only the person of a shared monarch, but also a shared Protestant episcopalian church settlement, a group of churches governed by bishops. He displayed in his works an intense concern with Scottish affairs and particularly with harassed Scottish episcopalian Protestants, whose troubles he placed before the readers of the Rehearsal week after week. North of the border the Revolution of 1688-9 had been an avowedly Presbyterian one, not only effecting regime change in favour of William of Orange but also deposing the bishops and securing purely Calvinist government in the Scottish national church. Though he is not known to have ever visited there, Leslie’s references to Scottish affairs in fact far outnumbered references to Ireland, his place of birth, education, and early career, but it is not difficult to locate the source of this fascination.

Though born in Ireland, Leslie was in effect a second-generation Scottish immigrant. His father John Leslie (1571-1671), a native of Aberdeenshire, had been a leading clergymen in the early-seventeenth-century Scottish church, then episcopalian in structure, and had risen to become Bishop of the Isles. Bishop John had in 1633 been transferred by Charles I to the northern Irish diocese of Raphoe and there organised military resistance to first the 1641 Catholic Rebellion and then at the end of the decade the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. Following the Restoration the elderly bishop had been rewarded for his loyalty to the Stuart dynasty by promotion to the more lucrative Ulster see of Clogher and established his family’s seat at Glaslough, Co. Monaghan. Charles Leslie, named by his father for the Stuart king ‘martyred’ the year before his birth, not only grew up in an atmosphere of fervent royalism, but partook in an ‘Ulster-Scots’ version of Irish identity, which was yet distinct in religious terms from that of the Presbyterian majority of the Scottish population settled in Ulster since the early seventeenth century. Leslie’s episcopalian Protestant identity, bound to notions of tradition, hierarchy and ceremony, transcended national borders and allowed him easily to assimilate an ‘Anglican Tory’ religious and political identity upon settling in England after the Revolution.

Leslie’s fascination with Scottish affairs suggests an explanation for his almost unique position among the clergy of the Church of Ireland, adhering to the Stuart dynasty in spite of the fact that in Ireland the brief reign of James II had been marked by a Catholic counter-revolution that threatened to overturn Protestant social and political ascendency. It seems that Leslie was a Jacobite, at the cost of his career and social standing in Ireland, as much from a desire to restore bishops to the Scottish church as from loyalty to the Stuart claimants to the throne. What differentiated Leslie from vast majority of Irish clergy, either actively supporting or acquiescing to regime change, was precisely his inherited ‘Scottishness’, for all that it was the Scottish identity of many other Ulster Protestants which made them some of William of Orange’s staunchest Irish supporters. Leslie’s intense concern for the state of the Scottish church highlights the often overlooked episcopalian strand within Ulster-Scots Protestantism, overshadowed in demographic and cultural terms by Presbyterianism, and suggests that Leslie should not be understood as an ‘Irish’ Jacobite so much as one whose identity and motivations were bound up with the politics and religion of all three Stuart kingdoms. Above all, his life and works illustrate the potential complexities of identity created by the interactions between England, Scotland, and Ireland in this period.

New reviews: US human rights, women and pre-modern law, strategy and latest VCH

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lgbtq_protest_480We start this week with Reclaiming American Virtue: The Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s by Barbara Keys. Umberto Tulli and the author discuss a book which offers a new interpretation and will pave the way for future historical scholarship (no. 1757, with response here).

Next up is Women, Agency and the Law, 1300-1700, edited by Bronach Kane and Fiona Williamson, and Sparky Booker finds these essays break new ground in the history of women, law and agency in the pre-modern period (no. 1756).

Then we turn to Lawrence Freedman’s Strategy: a History, which Marcel Berni believes belongs with the classics in the field of strategic studies (no. 1755).

Finally James Bowen reviews Victoria County History: Shropshire VI Shrewsbury, edited by William A. Champion and Alan Thacker, a beautifully presented addition to the VCH series, of interest to both local and national historians as well as urban historians (no. 1754).

Director’s Seminars – Junior Research Fellows, Spring 2015

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The_London_Institution,_Moorfields;_the_interior_of_the_lect_Wellcome_V0013227

This spring we will be holding a series of Extended Director’s Seminars, with papers given by Junior Research Fellows from the Institute. These will be held on Tuesdays, 11am-1pm, on the following dates: 21 April, 28 April, 5 May, 12 May, and 26 May. The full programme is below.

These seminars are an integral element of the Junior Research Fellowships programme at the IHR. They provide our Fellows with the opportunity of presenting before, and discussing their work with, their peers. They also offer the audience the chance of listening to engaging research being undertaken by a new generation of scholars.

We do hope you will be able to attend some of these seminars, which are open to all.

 

Junior Research Fellows’ seminar series

All seminars will be held in Wolfson II, on the lower-ground floor of the IHR. Coffee and tea will be served.

 Tues 21 April 11am – 1pm

Róisín Watson – Lutheran piety and visual culture in the Duchy of Württemberg, 1534–c.1700

Carolyn Twomey – Living Stone: Early Norman Baptismal Fonts of the Yorkshire East Riding

Tues 28 April 11am – 1pm

Courtney Campbell – ‘The 1954 Miss Universe Pageant, the City of Salvador, and the Tale of the Famous Two Inches’

Jordan Claridge – Managing Milk, Making a Living: Dairying and Dairypeople in Medieval England c.1250–1450

Caroline Nielsen – Disabled by the state: the pensioners of the Chest at Chatham and their communities, 1660–1807

 Tues 5 May 11am – 1pm

David Baillargeon – Slaving on the “Imagined Frontier”: Britain, Burma, and the Political Economy of Empire, 1795–1900

Will Pooley – Magic and the Law in France in the Long 19th Century

Tues 12 May 11am – 1pm

Kate Imy – Spiritual soldiers: masculinity and the body in the British Indian army, 1900–1940

Joshua Bennett – Baron Bunsen as historian

Tues 26 May 11am – 1pm

Catherine Arnold – Objects of charity: Britain and the development of a humanitarian politics, 1680–1748

May issue of Historical Research: vol. 88, no. 240

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Contents:

An unrealized cult? Hagiography and Norman ducal genealogy in twelfth-century England. Ilya Afanasyev

Two oaths of the community in 1258. Joshua Hey220px-William_Laud

Bishop William Laud and the parliament of 1626. Mark Parry

‘Now the mask is taken off’: Jacobitism and colonial New England, 1702–27. David Parrish

Religion, politics and patronage in the late Hanoverian navy, c.1780–c.1820. Gareth Atkins

Through French eyes: Victorian cities in the eighteen-forties viewed by Léon Faucher. Philip Morey

Representing commodified space: maps, leases, auctions and ‘narrations’ of property in Delhi, c.1900−47. Anish Vanaik

Herbert Read and the fluid memory of the First World War: poetry, prose and polemic. Matthew S. Adams

The creation of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance as seen from the Romanian archives. Elena Dragomir

 

 

Bismarck and the Wars of German Unification

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Next month, as you may have already heard, there will be a number of events held at the IHR to mark the bicentenary of Otto von Bismarck’s birth including an exhibition on the statesman and a lecture given by Prof. Jonathan Steinberg.

This is naturally, therefore, an opportune time to highlight some of the resources to be found in the library’s collections for those researching Bismarck and his impact on German and European politics. Given the central position Bismarck played in many different political arenas it would be feasible to write substantial guides on a number of different subjects (e.g. the nature of his relationship with Kaiser Wilhelm I, Friedrich III and finally Wilhelm II, the Kulturkampf, his attitude to the growth of German party politics, etc.). Yet here we concentrate on the three wars of the 1860s and early 1870s which would bring about the creation of a politically unified German state.

Text of Bismarck's famous "Iron and Blood" speech.

Text of Bismarck’s famous “Iron and Blood” speech.

Editions of speeches, letters and telegrams form the core of the library’s holdings on Bismarck where, understandably, one would find his words and thoughts on the prospect and viability of German unity and Prussia’s role within this process as well as the course of the wars with Denmark, Austria and France. The main editions include:

Die gesammelten Werke

Die politischen Reden des Fürsten Bismarck

Anhang zu den Gedanken und

Erinnerungen von Otto Fürst von Bismarck

Moving on from the library’s extensive German collection one can find works of relevance in the Diplomatic History and Military Collections, especially regarding the Franco-Prussian War (the library now has over 250 published works on the conflict thanks in part to a large bequest from Dr. Vincent Wright). Other relevant works in the Diplomatic and Military collection include:

Die auswärtige Politik Preussens 1858-1871

Quellen zur deutschen Politiks Österreichs 1859-1866

Der Feldzug von 1864

Der Feldzug von 1866

Les origines diplomatiques de la guerre de 1870-1871

Gesammelte Schriften und Denkwürdigkeiten des…Helmuth von Moltke

Additional material can also be found in some of the other national collections within the library. In the Scandinavian collection works on the war with Denmark currently include an account of the Battle of Dybbøl, the general work and source collection Manuel historique de la question du Slesvig and Den Danske Regering og Nordslesvigs geforening med Danmark by the Danish historian Aage Friis; a work about the repercussions of the war in Denmark. Besides the works already mentioned from the Diplomatic and Military collections additional material on the Austro-Prussian War can also be found in the Austrian collection, especially from the period of Richard Belcredi’s chancellorship. Additional sources on the Franco-Prussian War can understandably be found in the library’s French collection including a collection of the writings of Émile Ollivier, Prime Minister of France during the first few months of the war, as well as editions of Le Moniteur Universel from the years 1870-71.

 

For more information on the library’s German holdings see our guide on the collection or feel free to browse the shelves on your next visit (the German collection can be found on the second floor in the Peter Marshall and Past & Present rooms)

New reviews – Emotions, the end of the Iron Curtain, and Turkish heroin

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Darwin-expressionThis week we have a real treat for you, as we focus on Jan Plamper’s exciting new work The History of Emotions: An Introduction. There’s a lengthy review by Rob Boddice (no. 1752, with response here) and then a fascinating interview between Professor Plamper and our very own Jordan Landes (no. 1753).

Then we turn to another German work, and Eliten und Zivile Gesellschaft: Legitimitätskonflikte in Ostmitteleuropa by Helmut Fehr. Steven Jefferson believes this to be an impressive volume of detailed empirical research and careful analysis (no. 1751).

Finally, we have Ryan Gingeras’s Heroin, Organized Crime, and the Making of Modern Turkey, and Egemen Bezci reviews a remarkable contribution that paves the path for further studies on the topic (no. 1750).

Spiritual Soldiers: Masculinity and the Body in the British Indian Army, 1900-1940

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 Indian troops during a physical training. Copyright IWM (Q52701)


Indian troops during a physical training. Copyright IWM (Q52701)

This post has kindly been written for us by Kate Imy, Mellon Dissertation Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research.

Contemporary debates about “religion” often emphasize that which is supposedly “irrational,” metaphysical or anciently doctrinal, ignoring the intimate, ever-shifting, disciplined and resolutely global ways in which beliefs develop in certain places at certain times. In order to investigate these complexities, I examine the meanings and uses of the word “religion” within the British Indian Army—a resolutely cosmopolitan, multi-linguistic, interracial, multicultural and overwhelmingly “religious” force. This massive military establishment—which played a decisive role in most of the major armed conflicts of the first half of the twentieth century—is perhaps one of the most potent symbols of faded European empires. Despite being a paragon of disciplined, secular, and imperial rationality, the army used “religion” for everything from recruiting soldiers, to encouraging men to fight and die, to occupying “holy” lands. My project therefore attempts to see how the army used the concept of “religion” to assign value to certain bodily performances of masculinity at a definitive moment in late-colonial British and South Asian history. By focusing on the intimate encounters between British and South Asian men, and the ways in which soldiers and civilians made meaning of, represented and interpreted soldiers’ bodies, this project hopes to better understand the processes through which soldiers’ bodies—as both “religious” and “martial” beings—helped give birth to contemporary notions of masculinity and violence in the late and postcolonial world.

Memories and popular perceptions of the British Indian Army are often defined by imperial nostalgia or post-colonial regret. Both narratives hinge upon shifting concepts of masculinity and perceptions of British and South Asian bodies. For the former, the proud and glistening British and Indian men in impeccable dress, and the paternalistic relationship between British officers and Indian soldiers, was at once intimate and familial, while also laying important groundwork for India’s postcolonial army. The latter interpretation, however, focuses on the imbalances of colonial power and the restrictive theory of “Martial Races” which deemed some men worthy of becoming warriors, at the expense of those “emasculated” men who were not. This perspective locates service to the empire somewhere between slave-like servitude, necessitated by limited job prospects, or a mercenary labor force that begrudgingly sold its martial prowess to the highest bidder. My study falls within the purview of more recent interpretations which have moved beyond these powerful yet restrictive interpretations by focusing on the complex networks of ideas guiding attitudes toward spiritual beliefs, bodies and “selfhood” that made the British Indian Army a powerful international force until the Second World War.

During war and peace, “religious” concerns were central to the efficient functioning of the colonial army in India. British army officials recruited South Asian soldiers based on a matrix of region, caste, and religion, for instance praising Sikhism as having “martial value” because it discouraged so-called “caste prejudices” while celebrating martial strength and disciplined living. Meanwhile, British soldiers marched into church armed every Sunday to receive the divine wisdom from chaplains who encouraged them to live their lives free from sin—especially the debilitating and fiscally costly conditions of venereal disease and alcoholism. Fears of anti-colonial “sedition” among South Asian soldiers meant cultivating allies among “religious” leaders and appointing religious teachers to exert an educational, social and ceremonial influence among the men to prevent them from seeking wisdom and guidance from the outside world. During wartime, army officials played an active role in regulating soldiers’ bodies, shaping the performance of even pillars of Islam such as the fast of Ramzan (Ramadan) and the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). Each of these bodily interventions played a crucial role in demarcating which types of bodies and beliefs were most conducive to military order and discipline, limiting financial and social opportunities to certain subjects of the British Empire.

One of the most widely debated aspects of daily life in the British Indian Army was the relationship between food and “religion.” While military officials hoped to build strong bodies and encouraged recruitment through the promise of stable rations, many officials condemned “the contagion of Hinduism” for impeding military discipline by making group messing more difficult. In the twentieth century, this was largely dictated by the limited and faulty memories and stories of the 1857 Uprising, which was widely regarded as stemming from improperly adhering to “Hindu” and Muslim dietary practices. However, arrangements for a diverse range of British and South Asian soldiers required considerable attention. Military officials strongly discouraged British soldiers from consuming numerous goods, including bazaar fruits and non-packaged drinking water, and often condemned and ridiculed them for contracting “preventable” maladies such as enteric fever and diarrhea. Similarly, many Muslim soldiers worried about finding food that was prepared “halal,” or carrying out the fast of Ramzan, while Gurkha soldiers’ food was often subject to considerable scrutiny including inspection of water tanks on ships and the use of exclusively Brahmin cooks. While military officials were willing and able to cater to such dietary needs of the “Martial Races,” they condemned the so-called “prejudices” of Indian Hindus. These dietary debates revealed the unstable boundaries between science, health, “religion,” custom and personal preference. They solidified the importance food in defining martial masculinity and the unequal application of what was “religious” and what was merely “rational.”

By placing British and South Asian bodies and beliefs in conversation with one another, my project hopes to create a more varied portrait of the relationship between belief, martial prowess, masculinity and violence in the making of the modern world. By looking at a disciplined and highly centralized military force and the ways in which “religion” shaped and was shaped by a diverse range of British and South Asian actors, my dissertation suggests that concepts of masculinity and the body were both global and local—spiritual and secular—and forever influenced by the uncertainties, opportunities, inequalities and instabilities of the imperial world.

New Historical Research articles published online

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Recovering Charles I’s art collection: some implications of the 1660 Act of Indemnity and Oblivion. Andrew Barclay

After 1660 Charles II attempted to recover those royal goods which had been sold off by parliament following his father’s execution. The assumption has been that this was straightforward confiscation. The 1660 Act of Indemnity, however, contained a deliberate loophole protecting the rights of royal servants granted goods in lieu of arrears. A review of the legal cases arising from that act confirms that this was understood and accepted at the time. Yet many of those exempted goods are known to have re-entered the Royal Collection, raising the possibility that a significant number of them were returned voluntarily.

‘Such nonsense that it cannot be true’: the Jacobite reaction to George Lockhart of Carnwath’s Memoirs Concerning the Affairs of Scotland. Daniel Szechi

This article is a response to the critique of the Jacobite George Lockhart of Carnwath’s, Memoirs Concerning the Affairs of Scotland published by Christopher Whatley and Derek Patrick in the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies in 2007. Whatley and Patrick argued that Lockhart’s influential account of the Union has for too long been uncritically accepted by historians. This article builds on their use of contemporary whig reactions to its version of events by reviewing the text in light of critical Jacobite sources (Lockhart’s acerbic narrative also antagonized many of his comrades-in-arms). It nonetheless, concludes that neither whig nor Jacobite critics of the Memoirs diminish its usefulness as a source. Ultimately both bodies of criticism focus on particular moments, rather than on the Memoirs as a whole, and far from all the criticisms were valid. Thus if the text is handled according to the regular canons of historical evidence it more than retains its value for the historian.

Notable protests: respectable resistance in occupied northern France, 1914–18. James E. Connolly

This article introduces the notion of ‘respectable resistance’ as a way of conceptualizing French notables’ protests against German policies during the occupation of the département of the Nord in the First World War. It argues that this did constitute a form of resistance that was relatively widespread, occasionally organized, and legalistic. Although this opposition was largely unsuccessful in practical terms, it sometimes worked as a stalling tactic. Its real success was as a performative demonstration of the notables’ defence of compatriots, reinforcing their social/political status, and it was born of patriotism, a sense of duty, but also fears of future judgment.

 

 

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