PP/GC/CA/215A Letter from Sir S.Canning to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning his relations with the Porte, the slow progress of Turkish reform, and complaints about the treatment of the Hungarian refugees, 5 June 1850
Letter from Sir Stratford Canning, [British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at] Constantinople, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "I hope that you will not think me too adventurous with the Sultan. Be assured that nothing worth doing in the way of improvement or defence will be done without a strenuous impulse from this embassy. Reschid has been very shaky of late. The Sultan's two brothers in law are deep in expense and corruption. They [f.1v] promise good faith towards their chief, but what can stand against cupidity within sight and reach of its object ? The Sultan is aware of their practices, but fears the influences which they enjoy in the two powerful departments of the army and artillery. Reschid gives me clearly to understand that the Sultan's timidity and vacillation are the real difficulties in his way. I hope, on the Sultan's return, to bring this point to the test; but in such a manner that if good cannot be done, evil will at least be avoided. If you approve [f.2r] the line I am taking, you will not, perhaps, object to assist me, first, by an instruction in answer to my confidential dispatch of this day's date and, secondly, by expressing to Mehemet Pasha, for transmission to his government, how deeply you regret to observe the slow progress made by the Porte in effective improvements and preparations for defence, and the increasing signs of a corruption in officers high in the Sultan's confidence which cannot but sap the very foundations of Turkish power. [f.2v] Such ideas thus sanctioned by you and improved by your superior method of treating them might prove of essential use at a critical moment. Kossuth is employing his leisure in bitter complaining of the treatment experienced by the remaining refugees at Shumila. There is reason to a certain degree in his complaints, but there is also much exaggeration. The Porte has already made some arrangements in the way of redress and finish, and I hope [f.3r] to prevail on Aali Pasha to make them more complete and satisfactory. The final result shall be reported to you in due season. In the mean time you will be glad to know that Kossuth's children are here at last, and that he will soon have the consolation of seeing them at Kutahia. Ismail Pasha has been sent with the Sultan, as I strongly suspect, in order to watch over the proceedings of the [f.3v] two intriguing brothers in law. We are all in great anxiety to know the result of your differences with the French ambassador. The Porte is in downright alarm at the bare prospect of even a diplomatic rupture between the two powers, to whose union she looks for support, and whose misunderstandings could not ripen into a quarrel without exposing the peace of every country in Europe to immediate danger." 5 Jun 1850 The letter is marked: "Private".
Two papers
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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; Constantinople: reform, defence
Reschid Mustapha Pasha, alias Reshid Mustafa Pasha, Grand Vizier
Abdul Mejid, alias Abd al-Majid, Ottoman Sultan
Tanzimat; Turkish reform movement; westernisation; administration, trade
Damat Mehemet Ali Pasha, brother-in-law of the Ottoman Sultan
Damat Ahmed Fethi Pasha, brother-in-law of the Sultan, head of artillery
Mehemed or Mehemet Pasha, Turkish ambassador at London
Louis Kossuth, alias Lajos Kossuth, Hungarian nationalist
Refugees, exiles, fugitives from Hungary
Ali Pasha, alias Aali Pasha, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs
Ismail Pasha, Turkish minister of commerce and agriculture
Edouard Drouyn de Lhuys, French ambassador at London: recalled due to a dispute with Britain about Greece
Kutahya, alias Kutahia, Turkey
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