PP/GC/CA/259 Copy of a letter from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, to Sir S.Canning, regarding the policy of the British government on Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Ottoman-Egyptian war; and news of Ireland and the coercion bill, 24 May 1833: contemporary copy
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]: "I have received your note of the 13th, in which you say that you shall probably leave Madrid about the 18th or 20th and come home by Irun. I cannot but hope that later accounts which may have reached you from Portugal may have induced you to linger on a little longer at Madrid; a crisis seems approaching in Portugal which may compel even Zea to strike, and in such case your presence at Madrid would be invaluable. The spirit of disaffection to Miguel seems spreading fast and far, and to have taken a deep root even in the [f.1v] army before Oporto. Sorell's letter, of which I send you a copy, is curious in this respect. Pedro will certainly make an offensive movement either from Oporto, or in the Algarves, and if he obtains any marked advantage in either quarter, the consequences may be important, in the present temper of men's minds. Lisbon has been stripped of troops except the police and stationary force; while money and men find their way from thence to Oporto. Sartorius's fleet has been paid and is ready for sea; that of Miguel cannot sail till towards the middle of next month. I have reason to believe that a steam flotilla will soon arrive at Oporto commanded [f.2r] by an enterprizing English officer, which may much improve Pedro's means of operation. Palmella is gone to Oporto, and his presence will restore confidence and bring with it good counsel. I consider Zea's rejection of our proposals as setting us free to act as we may like under new circumstances which may arise, and I take it that Spain has no physical means of impeding our doing so. Besides which, France would, in such a case, give Zea a hint which he would not be slow to take. I have no confidence whatever in Addington, who must be removed as soon as I can make arrangements for that purpose. He has not the sort of understanding [f.2v] that we like to employ, and his own opinions and feeling being evidently quite opposite to ours, he cannot be an efficient instrument for the execution of our instructions. I should not like, therefore, to have to settle through him, any important arrangements of Portuguese affairs.<P> If Pedro gains an advantage at Oporto, or can send from one to two thousand men round to land in the Algarves, the disposition of the Miguelite chiefs to cast off their present nominal leader and to unite with the other party in proclaiming Dona Maria may bear fruit, and the arrangement we wish to accomplish may be carried into effect by the Portuguese themselves.<P> If this letter meets you on the [f.3r] road, we do not, of course, mean that you should return to Madrid in consequence of it, but you may slacken your pace and travel at your ease, and wait at Paris till we can communicate with you there, after we know of your arrival. It is not, of course, a light matter that would induce us to wish you to go back again to Madrid, after having left it in consequence of Zea's absolute refusal to listen to our proposals and we should be disposed, probably, to take our own course, and proceed henceforward in Portuguese affairs without consulting Spain, but circumstances may arise which might render your services and assistance at Madrid of much importance.<P> [f.3v] You will see that we have at last signed a preliminary convention with the Dutchman, which I trust will be ratified in a few days. This leaves still much to be squabbled about, and I have personally a pleasing prospect of conferences and discussions interminable about florins and tons; but the European question may be looked upon now as settled. There can henceforward be no more fighting between the parties or their backers. The Belgian and Dutch army will be speedily be reduced to their peace establishments. The separate and independent political existence of Belgium is virtually, though not formally, assented to by the King of [f.4r] the Netherlands. These are points of general interest, the remaining discussions concern chiefly those who will have to carry them on. This convention will set us a little more free, both as to force and as to time, to deal with the other important matters in which we are engaged.<P> The oriental question seems settling itself, as far as concerns peace between the master [the Sultan] and the man [Mehemet Ali]; Adana was the only stumbling block by the last accounts and, though it were better that the Sultan should keep it, yet it is not very important which way the question is decided. Ship timber Mehemet can get in future as he has in the past without Adana; [f.4v] and though the passes of Adana may be geographically reserved to the Sultan, yet in a military sense they will be at the command of Mehemet whenever he pleases again to advance.<P> I regret that we did not determine in October to side with the Sultan and put an end to the contest; and we should probably have then been in time to do so. Now that the Sultan has thrown himself so completely into the arms of Russia, and now that it seems so evident that it is Mehemet and the whole Turkish people on one side, and Mahmoud and the Russian garrison on the other, one's view of the matter begins to alter, and one begins to doubt whether [f.5r] England and France ought not rather to try to make something out of the Egyptian, as an element of future resistance to the undisguised, though most emphatically disclaimed, ambitious intentions of Russia.<P> At home we are going on well; the radical attempt at a meeting at Birmingham entirely failed; O'Connell is for the moment extinguished by the coercion bill; and the police will not break ragamuffins' heads the less, for the verdict of the coroner's jury."<P> 24 May 1833: contemporary copy <P> The letter is marked: "Private". It is the reply to Canning's letter numbered PP/GC/CA/142.
Four papers, tied together with a blue ribbon
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Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British ambassador to Russia, on a special mission to Madrid
Portugal, Spain: politics
Francisco Zea Bermudez, Spanish Prime Minister, formerly Spanish ambassador at London
Don Miguel, declared Miguel I, King of Portugal
Lieutenant Colonel Sir Thomas Stephen Sorell, British consul at Oporto
Dom Pedro, formerly Pedro IV, King of Portugal and Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil
Sir George Rose Sartorius, British naval captain in charge of a fleet supporting Dom Pedro
Henry Unwin Addington, British envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Madrid
Dona Maria da Gloria, Maria II, Queen of Portugal
William I, King of Holland, formerly King of the Netherlands
Partition of the Netherlands; relations between French, Belgium, Britain and Holland
Relations between Britain and Turkey
Sublime Porte, Ottoman empire
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
Ottoman-Egyptian war; invasion of Syria by Egypt
Muhammad Ali Pasha, alias Mehemet Ali, Viceroy or ruler of Egypt
Ibrahim Pasha, son of Muhammad Ali Pasha, alias Mehemet Ali
Adana, Turkey: its annexation by Muhammed Ali as part of the peace settlement with the Ottoman Sultan
Relations between Russia and Turkey
Birmingham Political Union; political societies; local government
Daniel O'Connell, Member of Parliament for Dublin, known as "the liberator"; Catholic Association
Ireland: politics; coercion bill; suppression of disturbances (Ireland) act, 3 William IV, cap. 4, 1833
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