PP/GC/CA/160 Letter from Sir S.Canning to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, regarding his mission to Switzerland and reconciling the Diet to French minister there, 11 December 1847
Letter from Sir Stratford Canning, [British minister on an extraordinary mission to Switzerland], Berne, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "Our friends in this part of the world are sad Goths, but they are in tolerable good humour with us just now and, though I shall get but little, I do not quite despair of getting something, out of them in favour of the defeated. If they have a [f.1v] grain of wisdom they ought to perceive the advantage of the moment and so accept my counsel as to take away all pretext for intervention. It requires a little time to gain their confidence and to make them understand that, if they wish to enjoy our good opinion, they must be honest as well as moderate. I have sounded the President [Ochsenbein] about a reconciliation with Bois le Comte and I regret to say that their Excellencies [f.2r] are incompatible. Indeed the President confided to me that he means to apply for the ambassador's recall, and as Guizot has no wish to have his representative at Berne, the case would seem to be hopeless. For Bunsen's edification I enclose a confidential letter from myself to the President, pleading the cause of Neuchatel against `the hands just raised to shed its cash'. It is difficult to imagine how far the bleeding might have gone [f.2v] without it. The variations in M. Sydow's `identic' appear to have been of no consequence. He tendered me a postscript, as I passed through Neuchatel, but as his Austrian colleague had already declined it, and I was not even to present the letter [underlined in the manuscript], I thought it advisable to refer him to future instructions. I mean to push hard at the proscriptions in Fribourg and Lucerne, though forms come in aid of party feelings to defend them." 11 Dec 1847 This letter is marked: "Private" and was received in London on the 18 Dec 1847. Enclosed is a copy, in the hand of a secretary, of a letter, in French, from Sir Stratford Canning, Hotel du Faucon, Berne, to [Ulrich Ochsenbein], President of Berne and Switzerland, concerning the reparations paid by the subdued Neuchatel, of which he had already spoken to Ochsenbein. The sum of 250,000 Swiss francs asked for by the victors seems a great deal for a canton with a population of not more than sixty thousand people. It is equal to two thirds of the annual defence budget of Neuchatel and nearly half of that of the whole confederation. The Diet should not lean too hard on any one member of the confederation. In the interest of national Swiss independence one should arrange for the well being of each integral part of the Swiss whole. He also mentions that in Neuchatel the true friends of Switzerland are being squeezed with pain needlessly and outside people are supporting the oppressed. Neuchatel is complaining to the King of Prussia and he is not indifferent to those complaints especially as it has atoned for that of which it is accused. Although this letter is written in confidence, it would be a good idea to show it those who can decide about this matter. 9 Dec 1847: contemporary copy
A copy of this letter is in the Public Record Office: FO352/30.
Two papers
All images are copyright. Please contact Archives@soton.ac.uk if you wish to reproduce this material
Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British minister on an extraordinary mission to Switzerland
Switzerland; civil war; Sonderbund; Diet
Ulrich Ochsenbein, President of Berne and Switzerland
Charles Edmond Boislecomte, Comte de Boislecomte, French minister to Switzerland
Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot, French Prime Minister
Chevalier Christien Karl Josias Bunsen, Prussian ambassador plenipotentiary at London
Rudolf von Sydow, Prussian minister to Switzerland
Maximillien, Baron von Kaiserfeld, Austrian envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Switzerland
Frederick William IV, King of Prussia
Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Delicious Digg RSS