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Title: The activities and influence of David Urquhart 1833-56, with special reference to the affairs of the Near East.
Author: Jenks, Margaret H.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3590 1421
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1964
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David Urquhart first went out to the Near East in 1827 as an enthusiastic Philhellene, but while he was there he suffered a change of heart and became an ardent admirer of the Turks. Urquhart also became very suspicious of Russian ambitions throughout the Near and Middle East, and thought that Britain should intervene, with force if necessary, to support the Turkish empire and to defend her own interests. Until 1837, Urquhart was in a position to try to persuade the British government to adopt this course through his contact with the King, Lord Palmerston and other Foreign Office officials and with Lord Ponsonby, the British ambassador in Constantinople. Although Palmerston was also suspicious of Russia, he would not be persuaded to take any provocative action against her. Urquhart gave some help in the negotiations which were conducted in London in 1835/36 for a new commercial treaty between Great Britain and Turkey. In July 1836 2 he returned to Constantinople as secretary of embassy, but he and Ponsonby quickly became involved in a bitter quarrel and Urquhart was recalled. It was the end of his diplomatic career as his previous influential friends and supporters had become disillusioned by the increasingly irresponsible and megalomaniac nature of his conduct. Urquhart therefore turned to appeal to public opinion in Great Britain. By his previous writings he had already won a reputation as an expert on Near Eastern affairs and he had greatly stimulated the growth of anti-Russian feeling in England. His anti-Russian views continued to attract sympathy and there was some support for his general criticisms of British foreign policy, but there was no popular acceptance of the view, which, from 1839 onwards, became the main theme of his speeches and writings, that Palmerston was a traitor in the pay of Russia. His only success in this respect was during the Crimean War when he founded the Foreign Affairs Committees amongst small sections of the working classes. After 1856, Urquhart was never again in a position to exercise any influence upon British policy or public opinion with regard to the Near East.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available