The history of relief work is in its infancy. This book draws on new archival research to reveal the priorities of nineteenth-century relief workers, and the legacies of their preoccupations for relief work today. It first explores the inauguration of the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War (NAS) at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 under the figurehead of Loyd Lindsay. Then, the book sees the revival of the NAS for work in the Balkans during a period of nationalist violence and Ottoman counter-insurgency which culminated in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. It also follows the staff of relief committees as they dispensed aid in British colonial wars. The book examines the critiques of British policy in the Boer War (1899-1902) emanating from intersecting circles of Quakers, New Liberals and ethicists, and considers these groups' offer of aid to Boer civilians. Further, the book concentrates on the methodologies of relief for Boer inmates of British concentration camps in South Africa and on the implications of this relief for its intended recipients during and after the war. It concentrates on aid to British soldiers. The book closes by tracing continuities in vocational practices and dispositions to emerging areas of concern in the post-war period, in particular child welfare, and briefly considers their implication for relief work today.
phenomenon supposed. Nineteenth-centuryreliefworkers
were not above scrutiny or suspicion, however secure in their own
worthiness. The war correspondent took aid agencies to account:
accusations of wastage, pilfering, dilettantism and even espionage
abounded in the nineteenth-century press. (Something of this
tradition of public scrutiny is evident today in hard-hitting books
and impartiality may have been heard over and again among
late nineteenth-centuryreliefworkers, but it would be a mistake to
assume that this arose from a common imperative or a shared response to
human suffering. Many a time, instances of suffering that prompted Sir
John Furley and his knights-errant to pity left others cold.
the core of this book there rests an inquiry: why, at this historical