PP/GC/CA/193 Letter from Sir S.Canning to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning steps taken on the question of the Hungarian refugees in Turkey and Palmerston's earlier suggestions on the topic, 25 November 1849
Letter from Sir Stratford Canning, [British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople] Therapia, [Turkey], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "Your letter of the 9th did not reach me in time to have any effect on the second act of our refugee drama. I trust, however, that on the whole your ideas have been anticipated with respect to Russia, and, though you say nothing of Austria, I venture to think that you will not disapprove the line which has been followed. [f.1v] My landmarks in counselling the Porte were those which appear to have been present to your mind when you wrote to me on the 28th October. Nothing, I conceive, has been denied that could be reasonably, fairly, or honourably, conceded. The only points, on which a stand has been made, are those which the Porte cannot yield without doing to herself, and to those who are thrown upon her humanity, an injury greater than the benefit which either of the Imperial governments can derive from her compliance. How far the vexation and ill humour [f.2r] generated at Petersburgh may operate to produce a fresh complication you are best able to judge. Here we are under favorable impressions in that respect, although appearances and opinions of a contrary description are by no means wanting, and there is nothing like that kind of certainty which would justify a total abandonment of vigilance and precaution. For my own part, I agree with Reschid Pasha in proposing the continuance of the squadrons in this neighbourhood for the present, not only against the contingency of a fresh gathering of clouds, but as affording encouragement to those among the Turkish minsters whose [f.2v] votes are wanted for the adoption of more effectual measures in the way of national defence and improvement. Of those who need the continuance of encouragement from without, I suspect that our Padishah [Sultan] is the chief. Tomorrow I hope to be strenuously at work with Reschid Pasha in concerting means for carrying out with some degree of vigour and system those objects to which you justly attach the highest importance. The difficulty of bringing our common views into the shape of positive engagements, such as may be palatable at [f.3r] home, and capable of execution here, is rather appalling. But I would not willingly give up the hope of doing, in some way or other, enough to steady the Porte in its new and improved position towards Russia. Without a firm and well-compacted stay to prevent the wheel from running back, we may yet have to repeat the generous effort by which a mass so naturally prone to gravitate has been lifted to an elevation which seemed impossible in the days of Grabbe. For purposes of negotiation in [f.3v] this, we have little need of French co-operation, and if anything real is to be done, it is fortunate, perhaps, that the present uncertainty of things in France diminishes the Grand Vizier's propensity to make up his cordials by an equal admixture of strong waters from London and Paris. Hitherto, all has been in favour of English ascendancy, and France has appeared to follow in your wake from the impossibility of remaining entirely behind without a tempest of popular indignation." 25 Nov 1849 The letter is marked: "Private".
Two papers, punched with holes for disinfection.
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Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople
Turkey; Ottoman empire; Sublime Porte
Hungary, Magyars, invasion by Russia
Refugees, exiles, fugitives from Hungary
General Grabbe, Russian special envoy at Constantinople
Reschid Mustapha Pasha, alias Reshid Mustafa Pasha, Grand Vizier
Abdul Mejid, alias Abd al-Majid, Ottoman Sultan
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