PP/GC/CA/168 Letter from Sir S.Canning to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, about the possibility of a mission to England on the Schleswig-Holstein problem, the King of Prussia's opinion of the King of Sardinia and Posen and the Prussian Diet, 6 April 1848
Letter from Sir Stratford Canning, [British minister on a special mission to Prussia], Berlin, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript:] "A few days ago, Baron d'Arnim consulted me privately on the subject of sending a special minister to England with reference to the question of Sleswick and Holstein. He named Prince Valdemar as the individual likely to be selected. I did not encourage him in this idea, conceiving that little good [f.1v] was to be expected from it, and fearing that it might even prove a cause of embarrassment to your lordship. It did not seem at all necessary in order \ to / give effect to the proposed mediation, should that proposal be acceptable in England; and the Chevalier Bunsen could be empowered to act without giving rise to the suspicion of any other object of concert between the two courts. Expressions which have fallen from the King convince me that Sleswick will not long be respected by the Prussians, except [f.2r] from consideration for England, and the recent decision of the Diet at Frankfort will naturally stimulate the Court to exert itself for the accomplishment of an object agreeable to Germany, and conducive to views of its own. An arrangement might possibly be founded on the separation of Ducal from Royal Sleswick, though the line between them does not exactly coincide with that of the districts in which the respective languages, German and Danish, are spoken. I hear that the selection of General Pfuel for a confidential mission to Petersburgh is criticised under an [f.2v] impression that he will not be personally agreeable to the Emperor of Russia. The King, with whom I had the honour of dining privately in the neighbourhood of Potsdam yesterday, expressed himself in strong terms of animadversion against the King of Sardinia. He characterised the invasion of Lombardy as `infamous'. His Majesty also adverted to Posen in the course of conversation, saying that in Polish part of the Grand Duchy the peasants were engaged in attacking the chateaux of the nobility. It seems that the town of Posen has been declared to be in a state [f.3r] of seige. His language respecting the state of public opinion, both here and at Frankfurt, confirms the view which I have taken in my ostensible dispatch of the 3rd instant, and Lord Westmorland's reports of the last proceedings of the Diet now sitting in this capital and of the renewed indications of excitement among the lower classes of its population will, no doubt, help to satisfy your lordship that my apprehension of the dangers, which threaten the future welfare of Prussia, is not unfounded. [f.3v] The cunning of the Prussian Diet in yielding to the popular wish that menials should be included in the number of primary electors, its speculation being that such individuals will find their interest in voting for their employers, - seems to be at best a short-sighted policy. Surely, a temporary advantage is dearly purchased by the admonition of a wrong and dangerous principle. It appears to be very doubtful whether Baron d'Arnim will long remain [f.4r] at the head of the Foreign Department. I hear that M. Usedom, the King's minister at Rome, is not unlikely to be his successor in the event of a change." 6 Apr 1848 This letter is marked: "Private and confidential".
Two papers
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Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British minister on a special mission to Prussia
Alexander Heinrich, Baron von Arnim Suckow, Prussian Minister for Foreign Affairs
Prince Frederick Willhelm Waldemar, alias Valdemar
Chevalier Christian Karl Josias Bunsen, Prussian ambassador plenipotentiary at London
General Pfuel
Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia
Frederick William IV, King of Prussia
Revolution: Prussia, Poland
Charles Albert Amedee, King of Sardinia
General John Fane, eleventh Earl of Westmorland, British minister plenipotentiary to Berlin
Prussia: enfranchisement, parliamentary representation
Von Usedom, Prussian minister at Rome
Petersburgh, alias St Petersburg, Russia
Schleswig-Holstein, alias Sleswick
Potsdam, Prussia, later Germany
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