PP/GC/CA/280 Copy of a letter from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, to Sir S.Canning, concerning the extradition of the Hungarian and Polish refugees from Turkey, and the change of ministry in France, 7 November 1849: 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 ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Constantinople]:<P> [Transcript]<P> "I may, I think, now congratulate you upon the peaceful termination of the question about the refugees. Brunnow has just been with me, and says very quaintly that it has from the first been raised to undue proportions, and that it ought to have been treated as an affaire de police et non pas comme une affaire de politique. The three demands, as we understand them, now are, first, the expulsion of the Poles from the Turkish territory; second, the removal of the converted Poles to Diarbekir, third, an engagement that the Porte should apply to foreign governments, and especially to England and France, to consent that Russian subjects who may become naturalized [f.1v] or denizens in England or France should not thereby be exempted from being treated in Turkey according to their original nationality. The first condition is just what the Sultan proposed to do. The second condition seems as a temporary arrangement unobjectionable, it being always understood to be only temporary, and that these men are not to be kept for the rest of their lives at Diarbekir. To the third we shall probably not be found willing to consent; a foreigner acquires by naturalization the character and, with it, the rights of a British subject; he acquires these by law, and I do not see how the English government could undertake to withold from any man the protection to which he has become legally intitled. Naturalization would not give a Russian subject British rights in Russia, but it would do so in every other [f.2r] country; but this is a question to talk about and not to be fought about. I therefore look on peace as secure and; as soon as we get the next despatches from you, we shall send orders to Parker to return to his usual station. The French are impatient to get their ships back in case they should want them against Morocco, where a petulant and self-sufficient consul of theirs has been trying to get up a quarrel with the Moors. I am glad their squadron has been out of reach: this may give time to settle the dispute peaceably. Buchanan, who has just come from Petersburgh, says that the Russians in general are much nettled at the check which their Emperor has received in his Turkish policy, and that they say he will take some opportunity to pay us off; and the way in which they anticipate that [f.2v] this will be done, is by fomenting insurrections in Bosnia and elsewhere among the Christian subjects of the Porte; and even Brunnow cannot refrain from adverting to this, as a way in which Russia holds in her hands the good and evil destinies of the Turkish empire. The Turkish government ought to be made well aware of this, and should lose no time in preparing measures to remove from the Christian subjects of the Porte all just cause of discontent, and should place the Sultan's throne upon a broad and solid foundation.<P> These late changes of ministers in France will make no other change in the foreign policy of the country except to render it more conformable with the personal feelings and views of the President, and he is more [f.3r] disposed than some of his late ministers were (though we have no great fault to find with them) to follow a course of foreign policy calculated to create community of views and action between England and France."<P> 7 Nov 1849: contemporary copy
The letter is printed in Evelyn Ashley THE LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE OF LORD PALMERSTON, (London 1879), vol. 2, pp. 116-8.
Two papers, later marked "23" and "24" in red pencil
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Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Constantinople
Philip, Baron Brunnow, alias Brunnov, Russian envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at London
Ottoman empire, Sublime Porte: reform, religious discrimination
Hungary, Magyars, invasion by Russia; refugees; exiles
Diyarbekir, Turkey
Poles, Poland, Polish uprising of 1830; Hungarian uprising of 1848
Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji of 1774: extradition of Russians from Turkish territory
Abdul Mejid, alias Abd al-Majid, Ottoman Sultan
Admiral Sir William Parker, Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean
Moroccan-French disputes
Andrew Buchanan, later Sir Andrew Buchanan, charge d'affaires at the British legation at St Petersburg
Bosnia, Balkans, religion, revolution
Russian relations with Turkey
Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, President of the French Republic
French relations with Britain
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