PP/GC/PO/288 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, enclosing a copy of an article from THE TIMES criticising Ponsonby's behaviour and a letter from General Chrzanowski on his situation in Turkey, 15 March 1837
Letter from John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby, [ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: he need not repeat his previous letters and despatch of that day's date regarding his situation at Constantinople, but sends a copy of part of a letter in THE TIMES, signed "O", which is the signature of Dr Millingen, Urquhart's puppet. Palmerston will not think Ponsonby wrong for taking care that his enemies are not able bring charges against him which cannot be disproved by facts. People are so ignorant about Turkey that the lies in THE TIMES will be widely believed, despite evidence to the contrary. He encloses in a despatch Chrzanowski's plan for the defence of Turkey which has been approved by Pertev Pasha, and submitted to the Sultan. Ponsonby hopes he likes it: it seems reasonably good to him. The friends of Mr Ongley are very pleased with Palmerston's appointment of him as consul at Candia. He is a young man who can be relied on and he is active and zealous. Ponsonby wishes Candia could be rescued from the tyranny of Mehemet Ali. Husrev Pasha, the former Seraskier, told a friend of Ponsonby's, very indignantly, that Mehemet Ali wanted to get the islands of Rhodes and Cyprus from the Sultan. Husrev's source is believed to be the Sultan himself, who has met with Husrev recently and shows signs of wanting to restore him to his old post. Ponsonby does not think this will be done, as there are watchful and able persons near the Sultan who will do all in their power to prevent it. Ahmed Pasha, the Kapudan Pasha, is fast losing the extraordinary favour he once had. It is even said he may soon be dismissed from his post. Ponsonby encloses a letter from Chrzanowski, to which he has not replied. The Sultan has obtained Prussian officers who will be used to strengthen the fortifications of the Dardanelles. This is due to the influence of Russia. "The Turks tremble, that is, the Sultan trembles, when Russia orders, for he has no belief in the probability of receiving aid from anybody if he should venture to oppose his master." The plague is increasing everywhere. Ponsonby is impatient for Palmerston's decision on Urquhart. It is degrading for Ponsonby to remain at Constantinople while Urquhart remains secretary of embassy, and he trusts the government will "think fit to lure one of us out". Urquhart says that he has given Palmerston the power to suppress the PORTFOLIO, in consequence of the attacks on Palmerston that have appereared in it. Urquhart declares he will carry his point or resign, although Ponsonby does not know what this point is. It is in the interests of the King's service that an end is put to the present situation. 15 Mar 1837 The letter is marked: "Private" on the docket, and it is noted that it was received on 11 April 1837. Enclosed are: (i) A letter, in French, from General Adalbert Chrzanowski, Pera, to John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby: he is applying to Ponsonby for orders. If the British government do not want to act decidedly, Chrzanowski's stay in Turkey should not be prolonged. After communications from the Russian ambassador, the Turks will not dare to employ Chrzanowski without immediate support from England, and Chrzanowski's presence, if not a scandal, will at least provoke argument between Ponsonby and Butenev, which would perhaps be avoided were the British government to decide to delay further about the eastern question. Having had a good past record with the Turks, Chrzanowski could always return with the hope of being welcomed by them, when, assured of the co-operation of England, the Turks would no longer fear compromising themselves as regards Russia. Until then, from Europe, Chrzanowski could continue to enlighten the Turks on their questions, and thus continue his same course of action as at present, without major disadvantage. 15 Mar 1837 (ii) A manuscript extract from private correspondence from Constantinople, published in THE TIMES on 16 January 1837: [Transcript] [f.8r] "Lord Ponsonby having repeatedly expressed the intention of returning to England in January, the members of the Divan have for some time betrayed the utmost impatience to ascertain positively whether his lordship entertains as yet the same resolution, and especially to know who, in the event of his departure, is to act as British representative at Constantinople. Although assured every day that no preparations for a voyage have been observed at Therapia, they persist in expressing their conviction as to the impossibility of his lordship prolonging his sojourn in the capital one day longer than he can help. Acquainted with the morbid susceptibility of Lord Ponsonby's vanity, they infer from it, that he is peevishly impatient of retiring from a scene where - sneered at by his colleagues, disowned by his own government, and an incubus to the one to which he is accredited - he is hourly exposed to the most galling humiliations. They expect that on the arrival of the next messenger from London, Lord Ponsonby will take French leave. I have everyday opportunities of observing proofs of Lord Ponsonby's unpopularity among all classes. The bitter animosity which, after the Churchill affair, Lord Ponsonby displayed against a person of so high a standing in the esteem of the Sultan's ministry as Achmet Pasha has drawn upon him so profound an odium that I am convinced no human means could ever restore him to the consideration he once possessed. Errors of judgement may be forgiven; ingratitude never. It is, however, satisfactory to perceive that [f.8v] instead of bringing about the results Lord Ponsonby predicted as inevitable, the refusal on the part of the English cabinet to countenance the unjust and unprincipled demands of its representative has had the effect of encreasing beyond measure the respect the Divan entertained in its behalf. British influence at no period stood so favorable a chance as at this very moment. The tide should be taken at the flood, or else our ventures will be lost. Everything in Turkey connected with foreign policy depends so much on the qualifications and personal dispositions of diplomatic agents, that no wonder if the Divan considers the choice of Lord Ponsonby's successor as a vital question. The eyes of the Turkish ministry are turned towards Mr Urquhart. They have expressed already to the British cabinet the satisfaction which it would give them were he appointed in his place. To such a degree has Mr Urquhart succeeded in winning the esteem and affection of the most influential members of the Turkish councils; so implicit is the confidence they place in his talents and principles, that no doubt can exist that his nomination to the post of British representative [f.9r] in Turkey would give to England's influence an ascendancy which it never has hitherto attained, nor cannot otherwise secure. Signed 'O'." n.d. c.15 Mar 1837
Six papers
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Dr Julius Michael Millingen, correspondent for THE TIMES at Constantinople
David Urquhart, secretary of the British embassy at Constantinople
Newspapers; the press; journalism
General Adalbert Chrzanowski, alias Skranowsky, Polish officer in English employ in Turkey
Pertev Mehmed Seid Pasha, alias Muhammad Said Pertew, Kiahaya Bey or Turkish Minister of the Interior
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
H.S.Ongley, incoming British consul general at Candia
Candia, or Crete
Muhammad Ali Pasha, alias Mehemet Ali, Viceroy or ruler of Egypt
Husrev Mehmed Pasha, alias Chossrew Muhammad Pasha, Seraskier, or Turkish Minister of War
Ahmed Fevzi Pasha, alias Achmed Pasha, Kapudan Pasha or Grand Admiral, former Turkish special envoy to St Petersburg
Apollinariy Petrovich Buteniev, alias Butenev, former Russian envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Constantinople
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