PP/GC/PO/181 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning British support for the Sultan, an uprising in Candia, the Russian influences and demands for Turkish territory, the treaty concerning shipping rights in the Bospherous, a possible foreign loan, constitution of Samos, Greek indemnity payments, Dawkins' dispute with King of Greece, a report from MacGuffog, and the need for a new British embassy building at Constantinople, 3 February 1834
Letter from John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby, [British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople], [Constantinople], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: he sends Palmerston copies of all notes that he has shown to the Sultan, which included an extract from Palmerston's own despatch number 23, and so the Sultan is well aware of English policy towards Turkey. He has told the Sultan all of that which Palmerston wanted put to him, and the Sultan showed his approbation of them. He had a six hour meeting with Prince Vogorides, on the 28 January [1834], whom the Sultan sent to tell Ponsonby his express pleasure at what had passed between the Sultan and Ponsonby. Ponsonby asked Vogorides how sincere the Sultan was, and whether it was not just a ploy to get control of Candia, and get concessions from the Tsar. Vogorides defended the Sultan and said that the Sultan would be afraid of the Russians until England "chose to take him [the Sultan] actually into our power and protection." Ponsonby and Vogorides would do their best to try to influence the Sultan and prevent him doing anything that would be advantageous to Russia. Ponsonby said that he supported the Sultan on Candia but not officially, and that in the event of war the Sultan would only win if supported by England rather than Russia. England was determined that Russia would not gain control of the Sultanate and Turkey and so would fight despite the Sultan's position. "The strength of England and France was infinitely superior to that of Russia and Austria combined". Vogorides is to emphasise to the Sultan the need to be concerned and also, that if the Sultan came clearly out on the side of England, they could send him guns. The Sultan is very happy that there appears, according to extracts, shown to him by Ponsonby, from Colonel Campbell's reports from Cairo, that Britain would not permit Mehemet Ali to attack him. Ponsonby and Vogorides both think that any treaty to protect the Bospherous will need to have strong measures to reinforce it. "The demands of Russia for the sandjake in Asia are made a sine qua now at St Petersburgh and when objected to by Achmed Pasha, he was told that without that concession there was [this sentence is underlined in pencil on the manuscript, up unto this point] an end to all the negotiations". Ponsonby suspects that the ceding to Russia had already happened and emphasised that the Sultan should be informed that England would not allow land to be given to Russia, Vogorides denied that the concession had been agreed. He has embarked upon a relationship with the Sultan, who seems happy with it so far, but Ponsonby needs further instructions to enable him to convince the Sultan that England would support Turkey if she cast off Russia. He will send in the note concerning Ricord's squadron and the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, the following day, as will Baron Roussin, on the orders of the French government. Ponsonby will send copies of these notes and a report on Samos, Greek indemnity, on the 12 February [1834] when a French messenger leaves. [Nat] Rothschild is still in Constantinople and Ponsonby hopes that this is a hopeful sign for the indemnity question. It seems that Katakazi, the Russian minister and Heideck inspired Dawkins' problems at Nauplia. The King of Bavaria thinks he is the King of Greece and can give Greece to Russia. Palmerston must not allow Dawkins to resign as to do so would make the Russian happy. Armansperg has retired. Russian control of Greece would be difficult to reverse. It is a very serious prospect. He has only said a small percentage of that which he wishes to say but he does not wish to tire Palmerston out. He encloses Doctor MacGuffog's notes to Ponsonby, although they are more meaningful to Ponsonby than they can be to Palmerston he hopes that Palmerston will find them interesting. He hopes that Palmerston has not forgotten of the need for a new ambassador's house, as Lady Ponsonby is still suffering. 3 Feb 1834 This letter is marked: "Private". It arrived on 26 February 1834. Enclosed is an extract, in French, of a report [to unknown], by the Russian consul general to Smyrna: the Egyptian navy have obtained the guarantees of the bankers of Europe needed for restocking. The stamp of Mehemet Ali and this effect or demand to the Porte that she made the viceroyalty of Egypt hereditary, or that she recognise at the very least that Ibrahim Pasha should succeed his father, or hope success in this step and on the offer of compensation of this concession of total and immediate disarmament of Egyptian forces of land and of the sea. General Debinski decided to leave the service of Mehemet Ali, where he only met with bad behaviour by Ibrahim Pasha. It is a serious step as this general is without fortune, without resources that he had in Egypt where his appointment was more than 60,000 francs. 10 Jan 1834: contemporary copy Ponsonby has annotated this letter "I send this merely to show the means the Russians are constantly using to excite the Sultan against Mehemet Ali." Enclosed is an extract of a despatch number 23 from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, to John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby, British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople: [Transcript] [f.7r] "That if the alarms of the Sultan are really excited by Mehemet Ali, Great Britain can effectually control the Pasha and protect the Sultan from such dangers; and it may be added that so long as the Ottoman empire continues really independent and does not become the satellite of any other power the disposition of Great Britain to assist the Sultan will always be equal to her power of doing so, but if the British government should ever be reduced to the necessity of choosing between the establishment at Constantinople of the [f.7v] power of Mehemet Ali or the subjection of the capital to the power of Russia it would be impossible that we should not prefer the former of these alternatives. Such a choice His Majesty's government hope never to be compelled to make; and it surely cannot be wise in the Sultan to pursue any course, which might tend to force upon Great Britain so unwelcome an option." 6 Dec 1833: contemporary copy Copy of notes of Dr MacGuffog of his meetings with the Reis Effendi: [Transcript] [f.9r] "19 January 1834 The Reis Effendi, after having expressed the usual compliments of the Sultan towards His Majesty, said as follows. 'That the Sultan was not only highly satisfied with, but obliged by the confidential communication made to him by your lordship thro' me - that he hoped England did not think that they had made application to Russia for assistance voluntarily [f.9v], or had been reduced to do so by surprise or ignorance, but by necessity arising from the circumstances (i.e. Mehemet's revolt) which are already known to your lordship, not having received any favourable answer to the application they made B.M. ministers for assistance: that their anxious wish is to avoid giving Russia any cause or excuse for passing troops or fleets by this route before the termination of the [f.10r] conference at St Petersburgh, the evacuation of Walachia and Moldavia and the reoccupation of Silistria by Turkish troops. That it is in the spirit of this system of precaution and prevention that we have written to Ahmet Pasha to the following effect (the Emperor of Russia being very indignant at an answer which he had received from England said to him (Ahmet Pasha) that he had given orders in every direction how to act in case of any attack [f.10v] on the part of the maritime powers that the Porte should make every effort to fortify and strengthen the passage of the Dardanelles, and that in case of any menace on the part of France and England he was always ready to send him (the Sultan) assistance by land and sea. He inquired what were the news from Constantinople ? Whether there were any fleets at the Dardanelles ? If there was any danger and [f.11r] in that case to let him know) that we have in truth replied, 'that in fact the combined fleets of France and England had arrived at Vourla, but after having ascertained (as he hear) that there were no preparations making in the Crimea they departed. We beg the Emperor to rest tranquil; respecting the Dardanelles every place being well guarded and fortified, and that for the present we have nothing to fear from [f.11v] the French and English.' January 21 [1834] [blank] informed me that the whole of my conversation with the Reis Effendi had been put on paper, and sent in to the Sultan, and that he was highly satisfied with it, adding that it entirely coincided with his own plans and wishes on the subject therein mentioned. He recommended strict secrecy and said that there was only himself, the Kiahaya Bey, the Reis Effendi and Vogoridi to [f.12r] made acquainted with them (the Seraskier) and Halil Pasha not to be initiated). The Russians, since the arrival of the last courier sent in a note to the Porte, saying that [the next thirteen words are marked with pencil on the manuscript] 'as France was indifferent on the subject in discussion between Russia and England, she had interfered to keep peace; that in consequence the language between England and Russia was much more moderate, and they therefore hoped that no rupture would take place.' [f.12v] January 25 [1834] Received the 27 [January 1834] 1. The Porte to give such an answer to Russia as to deceive her respecting their real plans for two months and at the same time to content the foreign ministers. 2d The necessity of his excellency sending in such a note as will remove the suspicions of France and at the same time to be couched in such terms as may enable the Porte to shew it to Russia and thereby afford the (the Porte) the means of more effectively blinding [f.13r] her respecting their true plans. The French dragoman expressed his surprise that the English embassy had not sent in a note according to promise. He could not explain it, perhaps Monsieur Pisani had forgot to deliver. The Austrian had said to the Porte some days ago that the French were more disposed to side with them than with their ally England. The demands of Russia on the Asiatic frontier consist [f.13v] [the next twelve words are underlined in pencil on the manuscript] of two or three sanjacks, one of which is named Kecplisa Sanjack. The acquiescence of the Porte to the demand is considered absolutely necessary to the continuation of the negotiation now pending at St Petersburgh. The Grand Signor is quite charmed with everything that is going forward respecting Russia. He said the other day with great glee to the Seraskier Pasha 'we have at last adopted a system from which I expect much good' putting his fingers on his [f.14r] lips at the same time to employ secrecy. January 26 [1834] Vogoridi told me in particular confidence that the Russians have offered to take two millions of piastres off the debt [the passage containing the next twenty five words is marked in pencil on the manuscript] on condition of the cession of two or three provinces on the Asiatic frontier where they said they desired to place Armenian refugees from Persia. The provinces from Walachia and Moldavia to be evacuated and two months after the evacuation the Prince [f.14v] to be named. Not a word about Silistria. The government is dissatisfied with the conduct of Russia and in council have generally expressed dissatisfaction at Ahmed Pasha's conduct." n.d. c.Jan 1834
Eight papers
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Ottoman empire, Sublime Porte: economy, debt, trade, colonies, provinces, regions
Serail: seraglio
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
Stephen Vogorides, Prince of Samos, known in Turkey as Istefanaki Bey
Dr Samuel MacGuffog, physician at the British embassy at Constantinople
Candia: Crete, ruler, governorship, constitution
Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia
Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Campbell, British consul general and agent at Alexandria
Muhammad Ali Pasha, alias Mehemet Ali, Viceroy or ruler of Egypt
Admiral Ricord, Russian resident of Constantinople?
Ahmed Fevzi Pasha, alias Achmed Pasha, Turkish special envoy to St Petersburg
Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi or Hunkar Iskelesi between Russia and Turkey, signed on 8 July 1833
Admiral Albin Reine, Baron Roussin, French ambassador at Constantinople
Greece, independence, loan, debt
Nathaniel Rothschild or Nat Rothschild, son of Nathan Mayer Rothschild, head of London bank of Rothschild
British embassy building at Pera, proposed
Edward James Dawkins, British resident and agent at Nauplia
Katakazi or Catacasi, Russian charge d'affaires at Nauplia
Louis Charles August, King of Bavaria ?Ludwig Karl
Charles Heideck or Major General Karl Wilhelm von Heideck, regent for Greece
Count Joseph von Armansperg, president of the regents for Greece, leader of the Bavarian constitutional party
General Debinski
Ibrahim Pasha, son of Muhammad Ali Pasha, alias Mehemet Ali, Viceroy or ruler of Egypt
Akif Muhammad Effendi, alias Akiff Mehmed Pasha, Reis Effendi or Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs
Silistria or Silistra: Bulgaria
Wallachia or Walachia: occupied by Russia after Treaty of Edirne
Moldavia: invaded by Russia
Pertev Mehmed Seid Pasha, alias Muhammad Said Pertew, Kiahaya Bey or Turkish Minister of the Interior
Husrev Mehmed Pasha, alias Chossrew Muhammad Pasha, Seraskier or Turkish Minister of War
Halil Mehmed Rifat Pasha, former Kapudan Pasha or Grand Admiral
Monsieur Lapierre, dragoman to the French embassy at Constantinople
Frederic Pisani, dragoman to the British embassy at Constantinople
Sanjacks or sandjak or sanjak: an administrative district in the Ottoman empire, division of a pashalik
Persia: Iran
Armenia: refugees
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