PP/GC/CA/96 Letter from Sir S.Canning to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the state of Greece, the Greek government and Russian influence in Greek affairs, 26 December 1831
Letter from Sir Stratford Canning, [British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary on a special mission to Constantinople], Nauplia, [Greece], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "I have expressed myself so fully in my dispatches on the subject of Greek affairs that I have little or nothing left for a private letter, except to request that you will consider my description of the country as much within the truth. Greeks, one and all, lie; but there is no denying that Capodistrias has pursued a bad system of government. The present government, which is only provisionally provisional may possibly strengthen itself and survive; but if so, I am satisfied that it will owe its existence to Russian aid. Depend upon it there is far too much of Russian influence here. [f.1v] The face of the country is in a melancholy state. There are some new buildings and a few of the old proprietors have returned to scratch the soil here and there. But there is a sad want of people and capital, yet both would assuredly follow the settlement of the government; and the climate is everywhere a fine one and the soil in many places rich, and the inhabitants are clever and enterprising; and, then, what noble positions for trade ! Let me only entreat of you to send the Prince as fast as you can. If he has spirit enough to bear the shock of a first view and some privations for a year or two, he would soon discover that there may be worse principalities in the world. If it had not been for these miserable quarrels, my arrival here so many days before the frigate would helped me very much. As it is, I shall probably have to stay here a week or ten days longer. [f.2r] By this time, however, I expect to have the use of the Admiral's steamer, and in that case the remainder of the voyage may be speedily accomplished. He is now pretty well inclined to give me a large frigate instead of the `Actaeon', but the arrangements are not yet complete. I like Captain Grey so very much that I shall have real regret in leaving his ship; but the inconvenience of living on board so small a vessel at Constantinople would be really serious. It is possible, however, that I may hear of a house being at my disposal and in that case there would be less reason for a change. I should have preferred sending my dispatches to you a few days later; but I send to intercept the return Malta steam packet, which waits for no man. I have not an idea of what you are about in England, not a word of news having reached [f.2v] us of later date than November 25 [1831]. The Grand Vizier appears to have made a clearance in Rumelia, so that I do not expect to get much good out of him. Urquhart is probably with him now. He will at least supply me with good information of what is going on there. It really seems to be true that Greeks have left this country for places under Turkish sway, in disquiet at the system of government pursued here." 26 Dec 1831 The letter is marked: "Private"
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Sir Stratford Canning, later first Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary on a special mission to Constantinople
Turkey; Ottoman empire; Sublime Porte
Agostino, Count Capodistrias, head of the Greek provisional government
John, Count Capodistrias, deceased, formerly head of the Greek provisional government
Greece: civil war
Greek war of independence
Prince Otto, alias Otho, of Bavaria, later Otto I, or Otho I, King of Greece
Admiral Ricord, Russian resident and leader of convoy at Poros
Vice Admiral Sir Henry Hotham, Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean fleet
Captain Frederick Grey, later Sir Frederick Grey
Reschid Muhammad Pasha, alias Reshid Mehmed, Grand Vizier
David Urquhart, secretary of the British embassy in Constantinople
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