PP/GC/PO/191 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning Austrian attitudes to Turkey shown in Colonel Prokesch's correspondence, 5 April 1834
Letter from John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby, [British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople], Therapia, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: he encloses some letters from Colonel Prokesch, which he thinks clearly show Austrian thinking. He thinks that Lord Grey would be interested in seeing them also. 5 Apr 1834 This letter is marked: "Private". Enclosed is a copy of a letter in French, from Colonel Prokesch, Austrian consul at Constantinople to ? Constantine Masurus, Turkish ambassador to Vienna concerning raising the issue in Europe of the Turkish blockage of Samos as the lack of stability and likelihood of war worries Europe. Spain is on the brink of revolution where Martinez de la Rosa has succeeded Zea. The scandal continues in Portugal. In France the republic has gained some ground and meanwhile the government is prudently solid and hard in the struggle against the principle which takes its origin the position in this state are clearly drawn that augments meanwhile the danger of an explosion for them which would not end. England has been consumed with the arguments she has about the Eastern Question from the time of George Canning to the present administration, she merits little consideration and less of confidence being only a political weather vane turning by momentary impulses. In Germany they are trying to prevent the crises which have affected the other states, particularly the experience cherished by the French, Italians and Spain. The Porte's current politics are concerned with keeping of their relationship with Russia as a sincere friend and who is obligated to the Porte. They have to be afraid [of the rest of Europe] that the Russia memorandum was a great victory by the Sultan, obliging the long term possibility to persevere in the alliance. It was open to the higher political wisdom in the Divan after proof. An article in the ALLEGMEINE ZEITUNG deals with this question which Prokesch wrote [this is underlined twice in pencil on the manuscript]. He explains that Austria is very clear about Russia and holds a position which is perfectly independent - a position which the triumph of real politique of Austria. Do not tell people that Prokesch wrote the article but he would like a translation which would dampen the lights of Prince Vogoridi. Prokesch was pleased with the attention he received at court. He was given some lines of thank you to Mavrogeni on ? to be the organ of closely watching the Prince. He advises Masurus to be sensible of the offence of indifference that the Porte has shown on this occasion, where the notice was owed to Prokesch's cabinet and to the Tsar. Prokesch's zeal and efforts merit the opinion of all the world that remembrance of his mission; he is flattered that the world remembers him as having the qualities of Chief of Staff of the squadron to struggle for her with courage upholding the occasion. Masurus knows that it was in that case that his influence and his lead. For him he has all of the decoration that more or less it not about to be of much consequence to him, even more Masurus his simplicity of character, but he holds to the political ? by which he forms the same scale after the measure of tact of a cabinet. The Tsar congratulated himself for his efforts in the Porte's course that he called to Munchengratz for hearing his opinion on the Orient [this point underlined in pencil on the manuscript], finally the new desire to play a part in this region ought not forgotten by the Porte. He would like Masurus to write to Prokesch all he knows about Osman Pasha, what is the reason for his return to Constantinople ? How does he behave himself ? Prokesch also, wishes to know all there is to know about Abdullah Pasha, will he return to Egypt ? Is Monsieur Testa still with him ? The affairs of Candia threaten Mehemet Ali and could be for him a large plague if the news they receive about it is true. We are celebrating as much as we can this evening there is a grand ball with the French ambassador, he will dance or amuse himself, but not forget these affairs, his wife and his sons are wonderful, they remember Masurus's friendliness. Masurus should write in detail all that he knows on the Turkish position, it becomes impossible that Prince Vogorides, a superior man and one who is generally shrewd will not appreciate the excellent qualities of his betters if they had a thousand times before followed a route which offers a good and more splendid prospect than will be known as the diplomatic consul, but something he will always be to him an esteemed friend, always charming of Masurus to be near to him as soon as he has have an official position in the East, Greece or Turkey. Mavrogeni sends his best wishes to Vienna. 4 Feb 1834: contemporary copy Enclosed is a copy of a letter in French, from Colonel Prokesch, Austrian consul at Constantinople to ? Constantine Masurus, Turkish ambassador to Austria: he was agreeably surprised by the letter which the Prince of Samos condescended to write him on the 28 January 1834, he thanked him as in the enclosed. The letter made him think about the dangers facing the Porte which are two fold, those who wish to break up the alliance with Russia and those who wish to inflame the dispute with Mehemet Ali. They must wait and see what happens before dealing with Mehemet Ali, which they will have to do, and with Russia, the alliance should only be broken if Russia is in the wrong. They should concentrate on improving the administration but not by Europeanisation, which is not necessarily appropriate for the Ottoman empire with its laws and religion. Since his previous letter of the 4 [February] 1834, he fears to be too extreme, but he is able to defend himself, superficial people have commented on his conduct but they were jealous and venomous. If his enemies do not succeed with Metternich it is because he is too understanding and knows the people involved very well, and they are too close to the Porte. He complies with the wishes of his chief not to communicate with Mavrogeni. He encloses the letter [to the Prince of Samos] with his respects. He asks for information on Osman Pasha, because it is alleged that his flight is too absurd, and he is not a man to sacrifice his place and a million piastres of rent to a philanthropic monument, he needs other motives to understand his actions. He would not have acted as the Sultan has in this matter. 20 Feb 1834: contemporary copy Enclosed is a copy of a letter in French, from Colonel Prokesch, Austrian consul at Constantinople, Vienna, to Stephen Vogorides, Prince of Samos: he was very interested to hear of the journey ? that the Ottoman minister followed at the end of the Egyptian crisis. He is perfectly convinced that the principal merit came from exclusively to the Prince of Samos how he has the entire persuasion that the Ottoman empire confounded all the dire forecasts of the public, the newspapers, all the statesmen's theories will have a hand to the helm [of government]. He knows all the common good, he knows also a little of the truth of the debate on the future owner of the Ottoman Porte, an mistakenly thick covering is over all of Europe concerning the true state of things in this country. The false spirit of his leads to an immense difficulty to pose some simple questions and come to conclusions of a right and natural judgement. It is this that brings in the question luckily ending at the treaty of 8 July [Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi 1833] which he regards as an advantageous event which will result in the complete end to the war with Egypt. The treaty does not take up all the issues of the Porte, and if it does not deal with all the enemies internal and external to the Porte, the fault will surely not lie with Russia. He does not say that the actual disposition of this power is reached without reply [underlined in ink on the manuscript] that she acts to disavow each plan of aggrandizement on the coast of Turkey, but it does seems to him that she nourishes behindhand a hostile thought against the Porte she will not be gratuitously handed by an agreement which gives back the execution of equal projects extremely difficult, he thinks it actually impossible, in the compromise towards every ally. It is not therefore on the personal disposition of the Emperor that he bases his opinion, he asks Vogorides to observe that he places this in a secondary line. He knows the personal disposition of sovereigns changes, and even more he knows that will all the good qualities of the Emperor, Nicholas is a man like any other. He has the total conviction, it is true, that it was what Munchengratz with the perfectly friendly views to the Porte, but he has more reasons to think that it will not change, because the power which impresses to his politics the new direction, the obligation for a long term view. Russia teaches by a violent blow of fruit of the revolutionary seed thrown after the fall of Bonaparte largely in the fruitful land of Poland found herself obliged to defend herself against the enemies who since the July revolution [27-29 July 1830], threaten overtly all the governments. She sides with Austria, she needs this alliance since it is only the union of large courts which could ?influence this new Austria, and reorganise little by little the political conscience of nations, a task, which is not easy or straightforward. It was more that Austria regarded the preservation of the Sultan as an advantage of first order for Europe. For Russia could return to her traditional conquest, it will be necessary that she be distracted in her more direct interest, that Austria has so to speak in her nature a withdrawal to a foremost fundamental of politics, that is equally improbable, in short, that the Porte is by this procedure towards Russia given a wonderfully easy decision, but the Turkish government is too wise to fall into a similar error and the share that the Prince of Samos takes to the conduct of affairs, it is a sufficient guarantee. It is certain that this state of things offers to the Sublime Porte the prospect of an enduring peace on the side of European powers that will permit them to resort to devour even to show by a state of force and violence, for rehabilitating the administrative machine which ought to be the base of all other institutions in the Empire. He is of the opinion that the side of Mehemet Ali the same security is offered to the Porte now that he is busy abandoning the submission of Candie, to consolidate his power in Syria and to make war in Arabia, it is not a state of nothing undertaken against her. He thinks that the more the language of the two Imperial courts holds by this rather than that of England and France they will never be diverted to rash projects which they admitted rightly or wrongly in the last war. He has a too haughty idea of the wisdom of government. He thinks he is too informed of their interests to think that of stopping consideration betting on the game by the passionate men who tend to make sacrifices of some little resentments the sacred principles of their political conduct towards this ruling vassal. He expects that to this Turkey will continue to effect a very great calm and especially when provoked on her side to ignore or dissimulate that which passes with Mehemet Ali and in general to have the air of not thinking of the possibility of a new levy and obstruction to which she won't have provided any protest. This is the only effective and worthwhile plan. In also supposing that Mehemet Ali will give up the most of the treachery put in place in the need to lift the mask, of the overt attack without any means of apparent justification, but it is not this precisely that was in the actual state of thing he is not able to attempt. He is very touched by the benevolence that rests in each word of the letter which the Prince of Samos sent him, he as very honoured, for the restraint to the resoundingly barren administration. He has written of his ideas which to him show the very sincere interest which he takes in the Ottoman Empire. Advising on the great political stories that Turkey has not amongst the European powers a better friend that Austria, he nourishes accordingly this sentiment by obligation and by conviction and he knows always ready to be supply all the proof that is allowed the orbit of his feeble means. 20 Feb 1834: contemporary copy
Seven papers, some tied together with blue ribbon, all of them punched for disinfection
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Ottoman Empire, Sublime Porte, Turkey: government, defence
Charles Grey, second Earl Grey, British Prime Minister
Constantine Masurus or Musurus, Turkish ambassador at Vienna
Colonel Anton Prokesch, Baron Prokesch von Osten, Austrian consul at Constantinople
Samos: blockade
Lycurgue or Lykouros former leader of Samos
Francisco Martinez de la Rosa, Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs
Francisco Zea Bermudez, former Spanish Prime Minister
George Canning, deceased, former British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
Stephen Vogorides, Prince of Samos, known in Turkey as Istefanaki Bey
Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia
Munchengratz: agreement between Austria and Russia: which agreed that Russia would support Austrian policy in Central Europe and Austria would support Russian policy in Turkey
Osmen Bey or Osman Bey, admiral of the Sultan's navy, previously in the employ of Mehemet Ali
Abdullah Pasha, former Pasha of Acre 4
Paul de Testa, Turkish diplomat
Candia: Crete, ruler, governorship, constitution
Muhammad Ali Pasha, alias Mehemet Ali, Viceroy or ruler of Egypt
Admiral Albin Reine, Baron Roussin, French ambassador at Constantinople
John Mavrogeni or Mavroyeni or Mauregeni, Turkish ambassador at Vienna, former Ottoman special envoy to London
Gaspard von Testa, Dutch charge d'affaires at Constantinople
Clemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Prince Metternich-Winneburg, Chancellor of Austria
Tanzimat, Turkish reform movement, westernisation, orientalism $P Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi or Hunkar Iskelesi between Russia and Turkey, signed on 8 July 1833
Ottoman-Egyptian war, the invasion of Syria by Egypt led by Muhammad Ali Pasha, alias Mehemet Ali, Viceroy or ruler of Egypt
Napoleon Bonaparte, former Emperor of France
Poland: suppression of uprising
France: 'July Revolution' uprising against Charles X, King of France
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