Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The purpose of this thesis is to prove the existence and strength of mid-Victorian humanitarian sentiment. The British government's policy and response to the Syrian massacres and the Cretan rebellion serve as vehicles to show the vitality and power of humanitarianism that was a part of the Evangelical revival. This study will further document the attempted reconciliation of this humanitarian sentiment and Britain's policy in the Near East.

In a general characterization of the unique mid-Victorian period of British history, humanitarianism will be isolated. A humanitarian desire to help will oe shown to be a basis for the British government's response to the Syrian massacres and to France's proposal to intervene directly. A motivating force in Russell's decision to cooperate with the French was the fear of offending mid-Victorian humanitarian sentiment. The thesis will also discuss Lord Stanley's claim that non-intervention in the Cretan rebellion was more humanitarian than intervention or refugee removal.

The debates in the British Parliament, the correspondence of the principals, and the Sessional Papers of the House of Commons will document the government's attempts to cloak its self-interested policies with the mantle of humanitarianism. The feasibility of such a maneuver will be demonstrated by the success of both Russell and Stanley in the defense of their respective policies.