PP/GC/CA/122 Letter from Sir S.Canning to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the dismissal of Zea as Prime Minister of Spain and a letter from Lord W.Russell concerning Portuguese firing on a French brig at Fort St Julian, Portugal, 25 January 1833
Letter from Sir Stratford Canning, [British minister on an extraordinary mission to Spain], Madrid, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: he very much hopes that Zea will really be dismissed, but even if he is, Canning's chances in the negotiation are still remote. The King had agreed to Zea going the previous Tuesday but there was a delay in him actually doing so and in the meantime, the King changed his mind. The Queen, however, has not changed her mind, but only waits a while in order not to agitate the King. Ofalia will probably replace Zea as Prime Minister, "not on account of any superiority in his politics over those of Zea, but because he has more flexibility of character". Ofalia's present post would be taken on by Insima y Piedre, the Minister of Finance, in addition to his current post. He [Piedre] "would probably be first in the Queen's favour". This new ministry will be more liberal and will support the Queen. Zea does occasionally make a speech in favour of Palmerston, "but there is an undercurrent, which betrays certain sore feelings that, perhaps, influence his conduct inspite of himself. This very morning he lamented that he had never been able to convince you of his sincerity as a minister." Whilst speaking contemptuously of Mina, Zea mentioned a French officer called Marchant, who was involved in the Irish unrest. The Spanish charge d'affaires in London will know more about Marchant. Zea is also worried about Joseph Buonaparte "giving trouble to the French government". When Canning told Zea about a scathing report in THE TIMES of the "farces" played by Bonaparte, Zea replied that Bonaparte was also involved in secret farces which were not contemptible: "des farces secretes, qui n'etaient pas meprisables. This may be all humbug: I tell the tale he told to me." Addington has sent his secretary, Alonzo, to Valencia; Canning has heard nothing to Alonzo's discredit. Addington defends the vice consul at Vigo [Menendez] who is also a suspected person, but he says that he is very useful and honest; and Colonel Sorell agrees in this opinion. "It is but fair to mention these palliating circumstances, when character, and perhaps livelihood is at stake." Canning is refraining from getting involved with Vigo and Cordova, "not liking to get into hot water on incidental points before I was fairly embarked in discussion on the main question. I cannot, however, augur good from Cordova's departure without seeing me. It is probably a part of the same system which keeps the ministers at a distance." It is not thought politic by the ministers to talk to Canning; when he called on the royal court, the Princess of Beira "chose to be ill". As for the ships sent to Vigo, as Sartorius has withdrawn from the Bayonne Islands as Spain does not seem to have any intention of interfering with Oporto or stopping Dom Pedro's ships or putting a stop to the export of provisions from British friendly ships, Canning cannot see that anything more can be done until Palmerston succeeds in overcoming the scruples of the King's advocate on the point of neutrality. Addington has written to Palmerston on this subject; Canning's views on it can only be second hand ones. He encloses an extract from a letter from Lord William Russell to explain his dispatch about the French commodore's demand for satisfaction at Lisbon. 25 Jan 1833 This letter is marked: "Private and most confidential" Enclosed is an extract, in the hand of a secretary, from a dispatch from Lord William Russell, Lisbon, to Sir Stratford Canning: [Transcript] [f.5r] "The French commodore, Matthieu, has demanded the dismissal of the governor of Fort St Julian, [Portugal], for firing on a French brig of war, and that an answer should be given on the 24th of this month. I am told the Portuguese government will not accede to his demand." 19 Jan 1833: contemporary copy
Four papers
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Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British minister on an extraordinary mission to Spain
Portugal, Spain: politics
Francisco Zea Bermudez, Spanish Prime Minister
Ferdinand VII, King of Spain
Maria Cristina, Queen of Spain
Narcisco de Heredia, Conde de Ofalia
General Francisco Espoz y Mina
Joseph Bonaparte, formerly declared Joseph II, King of Spain
Juan Roman Alonzo, consular agent and secretary to Henry Unwin Addington, British envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Madrid
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Stephen Sorell, later Sir Thomas Stephen Sorell
General Santiago Menendez, ?vice consul at Vigo, Spain
Luis Fernandez de Cordova, Spanish ambassador at Lisbon
Theresa, Princess of Beira, later second wife of Don Carlos
Dom Pedro, formerly Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil; formerly Pedro IV, King of Portugal
Captain George Rose Sartorius, later Sir George Rose Sartorius, of the Royal Navy, British officer commanding the fleet in support of Dom Pedro
Major General Lord George William Russell, British minister on a special mission to Portugal
Newspapers; press
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