PP/GC/CA/275 Copy of a letter from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, to Sir S.Canning, concerning sending British squadrons to support the Turks in their refusal to extradite the Hungarian and Polish refugees, 6 October 1849: contemporary copy
Copy, in the hand of a secretary, of a letter from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, Carlton Gardens, [London], to Sir Stratford Canning, [British ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Constantinople]:<P> [Transcript]<P> "Here at length are our official instructions which I have been unable to send you sooner, but I conclude that you received in due time my private letter of Tuesday last [2 October 1849], which I sent by messenger through Vienna to give you the earliest information of the decision of the cabinet of that day. We have today heard from Parker, who wrote on the 25 [September] from Corfu and meant to wait between that and * Corfu * Athens for orders from the Admiralty. Captain Slade of the navy was sent off this evening to Marseilles to go from thence by the monthly steamer to Malta, and thence to Parker with instructions of which I send you a copy. Captain Slade is to go on with Parker to the [f.1v] Dardenelles and thence up to Constantinople, if you send for him. Captain Slade has been much in Turkey, has, I believe, been employed at one time in the Turkish service, and Sir Thomas Baring has sent him out in order that he may be employed by the Turks, in their fleet if they wish to have him. He is a good officer and would be useful to them. We shall see if we can find a few more to send after him.<P> I do not myself think that the Emperor of Russia will make an attempt upon Constantinople. He will feel that there he would come into conflict with England and France, and that, there, they would be stronger than he would be. If he does not yield, or if the question is not settled by the departure from Turkey of the Poles and Hungarians, who are the objects of demand, I should expect that he would rather avail [f.2r] himself of his military position in the principalities, and hold the language that he would not give them up to the Sultan, till the Poles were given up to him. This would be a diplomatic conflict in which, if Schwarzenberg has as much brains as a woodcock, Austria would necessarily come over to our side, and the end of it would be that the Principalities would at last be evacuated. In this affair we are trying to catch two great fish, and we must wind the reel very gently and dexterously not to break the line. The government have indeed resolved to support the Sultan at all events, but must be able to shew to Parliament that we have used all civility and forbearance, and that if hostilities ensue, they have not been brought on by any fault or mistake of ours.<P> There never was such unanimity in [f.2v] England upon a question not directly affecting the immediate interests of England; but that unanimity would cease if we did not play our game with great discretion. It is for this reason, among others, that we have tried to make our communications to Vienna and Petersburgh as civil as is consistent with a firm statement of our opinion on the case, in order that there might be no pretence for saying that we held out a threat and had thereby made it impossible for the Emperor to recede.<P> I have upon this ground some doubt whether it would be expedient that the squadron should come up to Constantinople, but you will be the best judge. Whatever we say in our despatches as to what is to be done by the two squadrons would apply to our own squadron singly, if the French were not to act with us, which, however, [f.3r] is a case not to be supposed.<P> Callimachi has, at Normanby's suggestion, made to the French government an application similar to that which Mehemet Pasha has made to us; this was a necessary step and ought to be approved by Aali and Reschid Pashas. If we are to succeed, as I trust we shall, in heading Austria and Russia in this matter without war, we shall have done much towards emancipating Turkey from the thraldom in which Russia has so long held her.<P> The feeling of this country on this matter is unanimous. I have had talk with both Brunnow and Colleredo, and both acknowledge that the Sultan has a full right to refuse to give up the refugees. Of course their opinions must not be quoted because to do so might [f.3v] get them into a scrape without helping us."<P> 6 Oct 1849: contemporary copy
Two papers
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Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Constantinople
Ottoman empire, Sublime Porte
Admiral Sir William Parker, Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean
General Aupick, French ambassador at Constantinople
Hungary, Magyars, invasion by Russia
Refugees, exiles, fugitives from Hungary
Adolphus Slade, later Vice Admiral Sir Adolphus Slade, attached to the Turkish navy as Mushaver Pasha
Sir Francis Thornhill Baring, later first Baron Northbrook, First Lord of the Admiralty, formerly Chancellor of the Exchequer
Sir Thomas Baring
Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia
Poles, Poland, Polish uprising of 1830; Hungarian uprising of 1848; refugees
Felix, Prince Schwarzenberg, President of the Austrian Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs
Prince Callimachi, alias Kallimachi, Turkish ambassador at Paris
Constantine Henry Phipps, first Marquis of Normanby, British ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Paris
Mehemed Pasha, alias Mehemet Pasha, Turkish ambassador at London
Aali Pasha, alias Ali Pacha, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, later Ottoman Grand Vizier
Reschid Mustapha Pasha, alias Reshid Mustafa Pasha, Ottoman Grand Vizier
Philip, Baron Brunnow, alias Brunnov, Russian envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at London
Franz, Count von Colloredo Waldsee, Austrian minister at London
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