PP/GC/PO/141 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the delay in his journey to Constantinople, Mehemet Ali's aspirations for Africa, and Russian intentions toward Turkey and the Ottoman Sultan, n.d. March or April 1833
Letter from John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, [outgoing British envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Naples], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: he is unable to start out for Constantinople as the weather is so violent that no ships have been able to leave [Naples] successfully for weeks. He has not received any more news about events at Alexandria and Constantinople. Ponsonby has had many conversations with Signor Drovetti, well known to Palmerston as an old friend of Mehemet Ali. Drovetti thinks that Mehemet Ali may still prefer to try to gain more land in Africa rather than overthrow the Sultan, which would lose him the support of France, England and probably Austria. Ponsonby thinks that Drovetti may be correct in this; it would be better for the Pasha to establish his African power: a drive towards Constantinople and the Sultan would give Russia too much of an excuse to intervene. "I confess, notwithstanding all that is said to the contrary, I shall not be surprized to see, ere long, Russia and Mehemet Ali invited to destroy the G[rand] Signor and offering a share of the plunder of his dominions to Austria." Ponsonby has a high opinion of the power of France and England, but fears it being strong enough to resist that combination in the Turkish states, and one of the many causes of difficulty with such a union would be religious bigotry. France and England do have the capability to stop such an alliance, but it would lead to general war. It is regrettable that Palmerston was not able to send ships to Constantinople as he wanted. He believes that the Russians are more involved than their appearance of friendship [towards Turkey] shows, and that England ought to be armed in Turkey to meet the Russian armed forces there. Russia does not yet dare to resist France and England or to draw Austria into co-operation with her, but can now prepare for the future when she can execute her plans. She ought to be deprived of her current advantage for laying those plans. He writes with the freedom of opinion that Palmerston has always allowed him. If the Russian fleet is near Constantinople, Palmerston should send forces there. "The possession of the Dardanelles forts by a Russian force would be a serious affair". n.d. Mar or Apr 1833 This letter is marked: "Private". It is not dated but the docket gives the date as March or April 1833.
Two papers
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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
Turkey; Ottoman empire; Sublime Porte: reform, army
Ottoman-Egyptian war
Ibrahim Pasha
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
Barbary: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia
Arab: language, culture, nationalism, religion
Signor Drovetti, former French consul at Cairo
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