PP/GC/PO/316 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning relations between Russia and Turkey, 7 December 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: [Transcript] "After I have again thanked you for your good nature about the sec[retar]y of embassy and assured you that I will do everything in my power to please him, I will proceed now to set down without a order such things as I think it may be interesting to you to hear and to begin with Turkey. The Captain Pasha said, the other day to a person from whom I had it, a great maritime power had offered Mehemet Ali an independant flag two years ago. England was meant. That Mehemet Ali said he did not fear a maritime [f.1v] power, for all it could do against him w[oul]d be to destroy his fleet. I have followed the clue afforded me by the above story and I think it probable that Ahmed Pasha, the Capitan Pasha, told the story to the Sultan with such ornaments as he chose to add and that he thus brought about the mission of Sarim Bey from the Sultan to Mehemet Ali intended to discover what Mehemet had done and the facts, etc. This no doubt was a Russian trick, it is exactly in the best Russian manner. Such things produce an effect for a short period of time and they are renewed and renewed in various ways so as to keep up [f.2r] an almost continual excitement here, the Turks being credulous through ignorance. In conversation the other day Reschid Bey said, 'It is not possible to establish in this country good regulations for the administration of the gov[ernmen]t'. Reschid Bey is troubled by the Sultan's having told him to write privately to me whenever there was anything secret to be communicated. Reschid mentioned this to Said Bey, the Sultan's private sec[retar]y, and observed that it might place him, Reschid, in difficulty by creating jealousy amongst the ministers. Said replied that each minister might write to the Sultan on the affairs of his own department. The object of the Sultan is to keep up divisions between his ministers. He is forced by his position of [f.2v] despot to adopt the cunning of a slave. Feriz Ahmed Pasha, late ambassador at Vienna said, 'How can we go on here without some fixed institutions of gov[ernmen]t, something stable, something not purely personal by which our affairs shall be directed ? One day as at present it is Halil Pasha, who governs, another day it is somebody else and everything obeys the person in power.' Halil Pasha has an ambition so extravagant that I sh[oul]d not be surprized if he aspired to the throne. The French ambassador told me that when the Duke of Saxe Weimar [MS "Sax Veimar"] was here on his return from barracks, His [f.3r] Serene Highness had mentioned to him that the Emperor Nicolas attacked him furiously for the marriage of the Duke of Orleans. That H[is] I[mperial] M[ajesty] said, "So you have condescended to contract an alliance with that degraded family," or words to that effect. The Duke spoke with disgust of the language of the Emp[ero]r. The ambassador adds, "The speech has been reported to Louis Philippe who is furious and our relations with Russia are on the worst footing. I shall not be surprized to hear immediately of the departure of our ambassador from St Petersburg." I believe it was not intended to say [f.3v] the amb[assador] would be recalled in pique and open anger, but that all connection except that purely necessary between the crowns would be put an end to. I do not recollect anything more to repeat. I think the feeling between France and Russia will produce fruit and will affect the affairs of this country seriously. I hope you approve of the pains I have taken to keep the Turks clear of all dispute with France. I believe the Russians are extremely uneasy as to their position and feel that they must eventually be beaten. Austria, I suppose, [f.4r] is playing the old game of finess, and will continue to appear, if not really, to support Russia 'till the fit occasion shall offer for giving her a coup de grace if we are stout, or joining with her if we flinch I hear from good authority accounts of the Queen that give me the most sincere pleasure as they state that she is really friendly to the Whigs. 7 Dec 1837 The letter is marked: "Private".
Two papers, punched for disinfection
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Muhammad Ali Pasha, alias Mehemet Ali, Viceroy or ruler of Egypt
Ahmed Fevzi Pasha, alias Achmed Pasha, Kapudan Pasha or Grand Admiral
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
?Sarim Bey
Reschid Mustapha Bey, alias Reshid Mustafa Bey, later Reschid Mustapha Pasha, Reis Effendi or Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs
Said Bey, or Seid Bey, private secretary to Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
Feriz Ahmed Pasha, formerly Turkish ambassador at Vienna
Carl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia
Ferdinand, Duc d'Orleans: marriage to Helene, daughter of Friedrich Ludwig, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg Schwerin
Admiral Albin Reine Roussin, French ambassador to Constantinople
Louis Philippe, King of the French
Amable Guillaume Prosper Brugiere, Baron de Barante, French ambassador at St Petersburg
Victoria, Queen of England
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