PP/GC/CA/243 Letter from Sir S.Canning to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning his dispute with Colonel Rose at the British embassy in Constantinople, 26 December 1851
Letter, in the hand of a secretary, from Sir Stratford Canning, [British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople], Therapia, [Turkey], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "I down to answer your private letter of the 3rd. The correspondence to which it refers could not be read with pleasure by any one, but whatever may be the amount of your annoyance, you cannot in fairness attribute it to me. Even now I do not feel myself bound to go into any details of explanation. I am anxious only to state with fairness and decision the little I have to add, studiously avoiding any just and natural movement of indignation. [f.1v] When Colonel Rose came here as a travellor we received him with kindness and entertained him hospitably to the last. Some antecedent circumstances might have warranted a colder reception. During his stay, which was tediously protracted, he had occasion of his own seeking to learn for the second time that I looked with no favor on his long-formed wish to return as secretary of embassy. I did not communicate my thoughts to you, as it seemed unlikely that you would select a consul in preference to diplomatic candidates of long standing and acknowledged merit. When he succeeded, nevertheless, to Jerningham's place, I respected your appointment and received him with courtesy. There were no rooms for him to occupy at the embassy, but I asked him frequently to dinner [f.2r] and when we \ were / leaving Pera for the summer I gave him the choice of an apartment either in town or in the country. He preferred the latter and has remained here ever since. Not satisfied with this, he sought an every day admittance into my family circle. I thought myself at liberty to reserve that piont and I endured with patience his indelicate persistance. My opinion is still unaltered and I am glad to find that it has met with your assent. I go further, and maintain, not only for myself but for my colleagues and successors that I am entitled to act upon it without giving offence or explanation to anyone. In my only conversation with Colonel Rose on this subject I tried to soften him by figuring cases [f.2v] calculated to put the liberty I claimed in a plain and indifferent light. I assured him also that our invitations were accompanied with a sincere wish that he should accept them. Such being the case, I leave you to judge whether I could have used with any idea of pointing at him the expressions which you have been let to quarter on me. Even supposing them to have been used, which my recollection peremptorily rejects, would not the perversion of their meaning show what hazard I should incur by opening the door to familiar daily intercourse with a man so liable to false impressions and so prone to take offense ? It is truly surprising that you who have known [f.3r] for so long should have been ready to entertain an imputation which your sentiments as a gentleman would no doubt have repelled with disgust had the case been your own. After my conversation with Colonel Rose he was again on dining terms with us and there was an accepted invitation when the incident of Djibran the Abyssinian \ lad / took place. It was then, as you know, that he sent me a formal notice fo his complaint to you. He at teh same time withdrew his previous acceptance of our invitation. You are yourself of opinion that he was wrong in not having first applied to me about the Abyssinian and you must admit that he alone is [f.3v] answerable for the interruption of our social relations and its natural consequences. To what degree he has to answer for them you will best understand when I state that at one time he declined or evaded firm consecutive invitations from us. Our present complete separation, while it occasions much personal inconvenience is discreditable to the embassy and might prove detrimental to the public service. My former impressions far from being weakened, are confirmed by further notices of his temper, disposition and conduct. Not that I have any charges to prefer beyond what you know already, but on behalf of the public service I claim for my convictions that latitude which [f.4r] the duties of a high and responsible station at a distance from home emphatically require. In short, I must beg that you will bring the matter to a final issue. After all that has happened there is evidently no rational prospect of our being able to act or associate together. It is to you that I naturally and necessarily look for the remedy. You cannot surely expect me to serve the government without that confidence which I claim individually at your hands and that consideration which is due to me as head of Her Majesty's embassy. Allow me to add that the terms `aversion' and `strong dislike' are somewhat highly [f.4v] coloured. My sentiments are those of decided disapproval, indignant annoyance and painful misgiving. In general society, and even in private, I have found Colonel Rose, as others have found him, agreable, and elsewhere, under other circumstances, I might perhaps find him so again. At present we stand in peculiar relations towards each other adn within their range I find the rule of my judgement and determination. I have borne the persecution of exaggerated pretensions, but in matters of public service I will not consent to put up wiht any kind or degree of disparagement. The proceedings against `Djibran' have closed in the lad's acquittal after so much [f.5r] suffering as to endanger his life. Aali Pasha has since sent me a memorial from him complaining of ill treatment from Colonel Rose, demanding arrears of wages and praying that the whole affair may be examined by the Porte." 26 Dec 1851 The letter is marked: "Private" and was written by a secretary but signed by Stratford Canning. [Postscript] in Stratford Canning's hand: "Have the goodness to excuse the liberty I have taken in using another's hand." 26 Dec 1851 PP/GC/CA/244 refers to the same subject.
Three 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
Diplomatic appointments
Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Henry Rose, later first Baron Strathnairn, secretary of the British embassy at Constantinople
George Sulyarde Stafford Jerningham, former secretary of British embassy at Constantinople
Djibran, an Abyssinian servant of Colonel Rose in Constantinople
Aali Pasha, alias Ali Pacha, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs
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