PP/GC/CA/225 Letter from Sir S.Canning to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the vacillation of the Porte and Reschid Pasha on the proposed reforms and financial improvements, bedouin revolts, rights for protestant Christians in Turkey, the Hungarian refugees, the border dispute between Turkey and Persia and the Lord Mayor of London's presentation to the Sultan, 5 November 1850
Letter from Sir Stratford Canning, [British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople], Therapia, [Turkey], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "I am seriously apprehensive that mischief will overtake our friends Reschid and company, if they are not more active in repressing the fanatics, restoring their finances and carrying out an effective system of improvement. The late explosion, and the outbreak at Aleppo are nuts for their opponents. My colleagues, I find, are eloquent on the subject of their [f.1v] deficiencies, and indeed, we have all more than ever reason to be put out of humour by the interminable delays of public business at the Porte. The Grand Vizier's language, whenever I see him, is friendly and promising; but nothing satisfactory is performed, the meetings to be held on my memorandum are constantly deferred, and frequent allusions are made to the Sultan's timidity and the insatiable cupidity of his two brothers-in-law. This looks rather too much like a preparation for failure. The humbug, however, if [f.2r] such it be, can hardly last much longer and I shall do my best to bring Reschid to the Porte without further delay. His last promise of a cabinet meeting stands for tomorrow. In the mean time I hope to have secured one important point, a comprehensive imperial firman in favour of protestant Rayahs, giving them an agent of their own selection, and placing them virtually on a par with the principal Christian communities of ancient date. This affair of Aleppo, if handled with spirit and success, may ultimately lead [f.2v] to good, by forcing the government to act with decision against the fanatics. What I most fear is disorder in the revenue. Aupick has an idea that the Sultan himself is borrowing; but I am [`am' repeated in text] slow to believe it, on account of his immense civil list, though he is certainly very expensive in his buildings, and too easy, perhaps, in his outlays of every kind. I cannot boast of any success on behalf of the refugees at Kiutahia. I do not despair; but it is uphill work. [f.3r] Madame Batthyany returned to her husband's place of exile this morning. It grieved me to see her go away with so little comfort. You may depend upon a continence of my best exertions. There is no prospect, I think, of a liberation at present. The Turkish ambassador appointed to Vienna, one Arif Effendi, is preparing to start, and a fresh attempt will be made by his means to soften Prince Schwartzenberg. The attempt will, no doubt, fail, and a strenuous effort at emancipation may then have a better [f.3v] chance of success. In the meantime a transfer of the exiles for Kutahia * may possibly * \ to / Broussa may, perhaps, be accomplished, and that would be a very decided improvement in their situation. We are already, however, in cold weather, and the operation, if granted, might prove a difficult one. I am still unable to write officially about the affairs of Turco-Persian frontier. Aali Pasha wanted to evade a written answer; but Titoff joined me in pressing for it and we are waiting [f.4r] for the performance of the \ extorted / promise. The conduct of the Porte is most reprehensible upon every part of that complicated question, and it will be necessary, I think, before long to bring in the Sultan, who is more to blame than his ministers in the business, and his ministers themselves to book. As soon as we get Aali's answer, I will consult with Titoff, and bring the whole subject under your special consideration. Some communication of interest appears to have been brought to my Russian colleague by the last Odessa steam packet. He saw Aali Pasha yesterday; but I have [f.4v] not had time to inquire into the nature of the conference." 5 Nov 1850 [Postscript] "I had the singular satisfaction of presenting to the Sultan a few days ago the first Lord Mayor of London ever seen in his chain at Constantinople. The meeting appeared to be mutually interesting. I took occasion to throw in a reminder about reform. Allow me to remind \ you / of our greatest desiderata here, plate and furniture. My hospitality and the interests therewith connected are fairly curdled by the want of them." 5 Nov 1850 The letter is marked: "Private".
Three papers, tied together with blue thread
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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: economy, corruption
Tanzimat; Turkish reform movement; westernisation
Reschid Mustapha Pasha, alias Reshid Mustafa Pasha, Grand Vizier
Aleppo, Syria: revolt, uprising of bedouin
Abdul Mejid, alias Abd al-Majid, Ottoman Sultan
Damat Mehemet Ali Pasha, brother-in-law of the Ottoman Sultan
Damat Ahmed Fethi Pasha, brother-in-law of the Ottoman Sultan
Roum, or Rayahs: Greek population in Turkey; similarities between the Greek and Russian orthodox churches led to Russia taking an interest in their welfare
General Jacques Aupick, French ambassador at Constantinople
Refugees, exiles, fugitives from Hungary in Turkey
Kutahya, alias Kutahia, Turkey
Russian invasion of Hungary
Louis, alias Ludwig, Count Batthyani or Batthyany
Arif Effendi, Turkish ambassador at Vienna
Felix, Prince Schwarzenberg, President of the Austrian Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs
Turkey: relations with Persia; border dispute between Persia and Turkey
Aali Pasha, alias Ali Pacha, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs
Vladimir Pavlovich Titov, alias Titoff, Russian ambassador at Constantinople
British embassy at Constantinople: furnishings, equipment; hospitality; diplomatic society
?Sir James Forrest, first Baronet, Lord Mayor of London
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