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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0122 Feb 2018 12:25 p.m. PST

… Aid to Sweden During the Napoleonic Wars.

"The London-based Committee for Relieving the Distressed Inhabitants of Germany, and Other Parts of the Continent is an early example of a large-scale voluntary relief programme that has gone unappreciated in the annals of humanitarianism. The present article examines the period in 1808 and 1809 when this committee redirected its relief efforts to Sweden. The case highlights many issues that beset humanitarianism today. With well-preserved recipient records, it offers insight to aspects of humanitarian encounters that have been markedly under-researched. It examines how foreign-policy interests fostered mis-conceptions about those in need and how such misconceptions resulted in corrupt distribution structures. It shows that asymmetries in the development of civil society impeded the relief effort and that the divergent interests of donors and distributors caused the forms of relief to be inadequate and agency to be lost. Moreover, it illustrates how local elites resisted advice from abroad and how the individual personalities involved shaped policy outcomes. These factors remain issues at the present time and the case of two Protestant European countries with a cultural affinity illustrates how significant they are.

The history of cross-border humanitarian causes in the early nineteenth century is not confined to advocacy issues such as the abolitionist movement. The London-based ‘Committee for Relieving the Distressed Inhabitants of Germany, and Other Parts of the Continent' is an early example of a large-scale voluntary relief programme that has gone unappreciated in the annals of humanitarianism.1. The case is discussed in a recent article, N. Götz, ‘Rationales of Humanitarianism: The Case of British Relief to Germany, 1805–1815', Journal of Modern European History, xii, no. 2 (2014), 186–99. For earlier literature see O.J. Greenwood, Quaker Encounters, vol. 1: Friends and Relief (York, 1975), 11–7, and E.J. Gurlt, Zur Geschichte der internationalen und freiwilligen Krankenpflege im Kriege (Leipzig, 1873), 800–21; an unreliable account is given by C. Niedner, ‘Rudolph Ackermann und die englischen Hilfsaktionen 1807 und 1813ff', Neues Archiv für sächsische Geschichte und Altertumskunde, lxii (1921), 242–55.View all notes The initiative for this campaign was taken in late 1805 by Karl Friedrich Adolf Steinkopf, minister of the German Lutheran chapel in the Savoy and foreign secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society. By the time the continental blockade made the remittance of relief difficult and unattractive for British donors in early 1807, more than £20,000.00 GBP had been collected from all parts of the United Kingdom and distributed to various German states and Moravia. By autumn 1808 another £4,000.00 GBP had been added. While the committee was initially populated solely by activists from the Bible Society, it broadened its social outreach when the campaign was revived in early 1814. Within a year's time, the committee for suffering Germans collected almost £114,000.00 GBP At the same time a related association collected nearly £12,000.00 GBP, and the British Parliament issued a grant for another £100,000.00 GBP All of these relief funds were distributed by the volunteer London committee and its German counterparts…"
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