Title:
PP/GC/CA/257 Copy of a letter from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, to Sir S.Canning, regarding the British policy on Spain and the disputed succession in Portugal, 7 March 1833: contemporary copy
Date:
07/03/1833
Content:
Copy, in the hand of a secretary, of a letter, from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, Foreign Office, Whitehall, London, to Sir Stratford Canning, [British envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Madrid]:<P> [Transcript]<P> "I have to thank you very much for your full and frequent and most satisfactory communications, both public and private, and for having succeeded in at least opening to us a better prospect of success than, I confess, I expected when you left me. The difficulties you have had to contend with are great, but you have dealt with them most ably.<P> The instruction which we are tempted to give in answer to [f.1v] your serious questions is 'do your best, according to your own judgement under the circumstances of the moment', but as it would not be fair by you to appear to throw too much responsibility upon you, I have given you the best answers I can to your enquiries. But these answers must necessarily be imperfect and we must leave you the greatest latitude of discretion.<P> It would be a great thing if Zea could be got rid of. He is a man of narrow mind and obstinate prejudices and by Russian habits devoted to the Holy Alliance. [f.2r] You are, of course, aware that he was a wine merchant as well as consul at Petersburg, that he failed in business and was under very considerable obligations to the Russian government, even it is said, of a pecuniary kind.<P> If he [Zea] could be ousted, there might be better hopes both for your mission and for Spain. I have had a letter from Palmella a few days ago, stating that he had a conversation with Louis Philippe and that from that conversation Palmella had drawn the conclusion that a marriage between Donna Maria and a prince of [f.2v] Naples would smooth the difficulties of your mission, and Palmella further says that the Duchess of Braganza would make no objection to such an arrangement. The suggestion strikes me as well deserving of consideration and as a bait which might usefully be thrown out at Madrid. The alliance could in all respects be suitable, it would excite the jealousy of no great power, it ought to be agreeable to the Queen of Spain and to the Spanish government, since without forming a direct connection between the Royal families of the two countries, it yet [f.3r] would bring them into close relation with each other. The third prince of Naples [?Prince Antoine Pascal, Conte de Lecce] would probably be the best for such a purpose because there would be less chance of the crowns of Portugal and Naples centering on his head, than on that of the second prince. Of their relative personal merits we know nothing.<P> To the French government such an alliance would, of course, be agreeable and why should it not be so to the Portuguese nation ? As far as we are concerned all we want is a good government for Portugal, but [f.3v] an independent one.<P> You will have thought me very slack in answering your letter and dispatches but in the first place I have been overwhelmed by every sort of pressing occupation and in the next place, I feel that you can succeed only by sap and not by assault and that a little unavoidable delay by the non receipt of instructions gives time for matter, to improve at Oporto and that any material change for the better there will have an essential influence in your favour.<P> Our last accounts from Oporto [f.4r] were dated the early part of February but, from reports since received from Lisbon, we are led to hope that Miguel's army was melting away under the rains and that Pedro might be able to extend himself and stretch his legs, even if he could not advance upon Lisbon.<P> I do not myself fear that he would be intractable, either as to the regency or the constitution, if he saw any fair prospect of the establishment of Donna Maria.<P> My last accounts from Brazil tends to prove that his party there [f.4v] is considerable and, on the increase and as he was supposed to have been influenced to abdicate at Rio, by the hope of being received with open arms at Lisbon, * [words erased] * perhaps he may be induced to give up all idea of settling at Lisbon, by the expectation of getting back to Rio. I believe the French government have advised him to come to Paris, if Solignac should have any success and to leave a national regency in Portugal. But this to you in confidence.<P> [f.5r] We have felt much difficulty in answering your question as to what should be done if the mediation is refused, for we should not like at once to engage that if it were accepted by Miguel and refused by Pedro, we would let the Spaniards go to work and establish Miguel. But the answer to this question must depend upon the nature of the understanding which may have come to between England and Spain before the mediation is proposed. If we go into the mediation, England aiming at the establishment of [f.5v] Maria and Spain at that of Miguel, as the ultimate object to be attained, then indeed each might ask of the other to abandon its protege, should that protege refuse and the other accept; but this is an engagement to be avoided although the danger of its applying to Pedro would not be great, for it is more probable that the refusal would come from Miguel than from Pedro, unless Miguel were privately informed by Spain of his ultimate views in her favor.<P> But the mediation cannot, I fear, lead to much good, unless both Spain and England go into it with a [f.6r] common object, that object being to get rid both of Pedro and Miguel and to establish Maria. If both the brothers know such to be our object, they would, perhaps, both be inclined to refuse our offer, but we should have got so far on our road by agreeing upon our object and by having made the joint offer, that I should then have little apprehension of our not finding the means of executing our common purpose.<P> We highly approve of your conduct about the entrance into the camera and the King was much pleased with it."<P> 7 Mar 1833: contemporary copy <P> The letter is marked: "Private". It was written in reply to Canning's letters numbered PP/GC/CA/125, PP/GC/CA/126 and PP/GC/CA/127, which includes the incident of the camera.
Extent:
Three papers, tied together with blue ribbon
License:
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Subject:
Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British ambassador to Russia, on a special mission to Madrid
Francisco Zea Bermudez, Spanish Prime Minister
Dom Miguel, declared Miguel I, King of Portugal
Dom Pedro, formerly Pedro IV, King of Portugal and Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil
Dona Maria da Gloria, Maria II, Queen of Portugal
Holy Alliance: Russia, Prussia and Austria
Pedro de Sousa Holstein, first Marques de Palmella, formerly Portuguese ambassador at London
Louis Philippe, King of the French
Maria Cristina, Queen of Spain
Ferdinand VII, King of Spain
Jean Baptiste Solignac, French general
Dona Isabella or Infanta Isabella, Maria Isabella Louisa, later Isabella II, Queen of Spain
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