James Bryce, one of the most significant activists of phil-Armenian movement, a jurist and a historian, was born on May 10, 1838, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He studied at the University of Glasgow and Trinity College, Oxford. Later James Bryce held responsible positions in British cabinet - Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, President of the Board of Trade, and Chief Secretary for Ireland. Bryce was the Ambassador of Great Britain in the USA in 1907-1913.
The first visit of Bryce to Historical Armenia was in 1876 to climb the peak of Biblical Mount Ararat, after which he published the book “Transcaucasia and Ararat” (London, 1877). It’s a narrative of travel notes with several political observations and conclusions. In 1878 , after his voyage to Armenia, James Bryce established the “Anglo-Armenian Association” the first phil-Armenian organization, with Lord Carnarvon as its president and Bryce as its secretary. In 1880 Bryce traveled to Historical Armenia for the second time, visiting also Smyrna and Constantinople.
In 1893 James Bryce initiated the formation of the new “Anglo-Armenian Association” the first president of which was F. Stevenson , a member of British Parliament.
The new rise of the phil-Armenian movement in Great Britain started after the Hamidian massacres of 1894-1896. Lord Bryce joined other leading European statesmen publishing his pro-Armenian articles in British and American press.
In 1896 Bryce published the fourth edition of his volume “Transcaucasia and Ararat” with a supplementary chapter titled “Twenty Years of the Armenian Question”.
Lord Bryce was one of those first to raise his voice of protest during WWI (1914-1918) against the policy of extermination of Armenians implemented by the Young Turkish government in the Ottoman Empire. He had raised that issue in British parliament repeatedly. James Bryce also participated in creation of British Armenian Red Cross and Refugee Fund.
“Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915–1916” (“Blue Book”) of Arnold Toynbee was published in 1916 edited and with an introduction by Bryce, which has been one of the most important primary sources for Armenian Genocide studies so far. The documents presented in the book mostly are testimonies of eyewitnesses from neutral countries and Germany on the deportation and massacres of the Armenians.
In 1918 Lord Bryce published his article “The Future of Armenia” in “The Contemporary Review”. In his article James Bryce represents the Hamidian massacres of 1894-1895, Adana massacres of 1909 and the deportation and mass massacres of the Armenians in 1915.
Bryce condemned also the policy of the Kemalists that succeeded the Young Turks. In February, 1920, during his speech in the House of Lords he blamed the Kemalists for unleashing new massacres of Armenians in Cilicia.
Lord Bryce passed away on January 22, 1922, endeavoring till the end to lessen the suffering of the Armenians.