PP/GC/PO/133 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning his travelling to Constantinople and need for instructions, the military capabilities of Mehemet Ali and Ibrahim Pasha, and the Russian schemes to benefit from the confusion in Turkey, 10 January 1833
Letter from John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, [outgoing British envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at] Naples, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "The `Actaeon' will be here, as you have already been informed, in the last week of this month to take me to Constantinople. I understand it will occasion little or no delay to touch at Smyrna and think it very desirable I should learn there as much as possible respecting the true nature of the resources of the Pasha of Egypt for continuing the war, and also the state in which Ibrahim may be; upon \ both of / which it may be difficult at Constantinople to hear the truth. [f.1v] I presume your present policy will much depend upon the situation of those personages, and perhaps you might think it proper to give me some conditional instructions; at all events I am certain, from my own limited experience and knowledge of Turks, that it is peculiarly necessary in dealing with them, to avoid the appearances of indecision etc., that must attend my first intercourse with them if I am not then in possession of your real intentions, and I will therefore venture to suggest that you should write to me by post to Marseilles, and order the British consul there to forward your instructions to me at Smyrna, [f.2r] where it is probable they will arrive as soon as I can do, and from whence, if I should be gone, they can follow me speedily to Constantinople. From the last information we have here, I incline to believe the resources of the Pasha of Egypt to be much less plentiful than common fame has reported them to be, and also that Ibrahim Pasha may have cause to repent of his advance into Asia Minor. I have little doubt of the Russians having encouraged the Pasha, underhand, and that confusion in Turkey is their game, through which they may obtain either the immense [underlined in manuscript] advantage of becoming the protector of the Sultan or those other advantages which I need not specify. I suspect Russian money has been employed [f.2v] in creating influence in the seraglio and I know that some time ago (I cannot tell the date), Halil Pasha, who is married to the Sultan's sister, avowed himself friendly to the policy of the Sultan's looking to the Emperor Nicolas alone for protection, Nicolas being, he said, the only sovereign on whose generosity the Sultan could depend and the person to whom he owed his throne. I trust the Sultan has more pride and sense than his relation !" 10 Jan 1833 This letter is marked: "Private"
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John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby, outgoing British envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Naples: credentialed as British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople
`Actaeon': British naval frigate
Ottoman empire; Sublime Porte; Turkey
Ottoman-Egyptian war; invasion of Syria by Egypt
Muhammad Ali, alias Mehemet Ali, Pasha of Egypt
Ibrahim Pasha
Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia
Marseilles: France
Alexander Turnbull, British vice consul at Marseilles
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
Halil Mehmed Rifat Pasha, Kapudan Pasha or Grand Admiral
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