PP/GC/PO/326 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the decision to ask Milosh to send deputies to Constantinople, and enclosing letters concerning the ill health of the Sultan's son and money sent by Russia to Muhammad Ali, 11 March 1838
Letter from John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby, [British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Constantinople], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: Palmerston's messenger arrived the previous night. Hodges must have informed Palmerston that the Porte has decided to call Milosh to send deputies to Constantinople and Ponsonby put it in a despatch. He has told Hodges that it would not be prudent at present to meddle in the affair of the Turkish garrison at Belgrade, nor with the Pasha. "I have found the advantage of not meddling with men unless under the constraint of necessity to do so." Ponsonby received a letter from Lord William Russell saying the same as Palmerston about Fisher and Vinck [MS "Finke"]. He has seen them as often as the bad weather permitted, and he likes them both. Muhlbach seems clever. Lord William says Molkte is in the pay of Russia, but Ponsonby is doubtful about this. "There is no help for poverty. I think economy very fine and it is the fashion but I dread the bill that will be to be paid for the modish article." He hopes Palmerston will have time to read Mr Mill's letters, which show what the Russians are doing. Palmerston must make up his mind in time about the East. Circumstances are progressing faster than Ponsonby expected and will perhaps force Palmerston into a decision. Ponsonby hopes Palmerston approves of his attempts to "keep the Sultan within the strictest line of pacific policy consistent with measures for self defence" and the advice not to be provoked into fighting a general action. It seems that the Russians have been making secret efforts to push the Sultan and the Pasha. The Porte asked Ponsonby for information about a large sum of money that had been sent from Constantinople by Russians to Mehemet Ali, but he could only reply that he had heard about it on good authority. He encloses a note from Mr Samuels, the nephew of the late Rothschild of London, the contents of which he believes are correct. He has talked to du Plat "nearly to death" about affairs in Turkey so that du Plat will be able to answer any questions Palmerston may have. He is very intelligent and has shown such judgement and tact that he is a great favorite with the Turks. Ponsonby hopes Palmerston will get him the promotion he deserves. "The proceedings here about the exchanges were in fact an attempt to obtain a temporary fall in them in order that particular merchants might gain thereby, and the end was obtained to a certain extent for the exchanges fell, I think six per cent, during three or four posts. I am working day and night to bring the tarif to bear and I am trying what can be done for the convention. I will not at present speak on these points because I am not sure what I can state with certainty on them. I have left in repose the question of the Greek commercial treaty. The Russians have forbidden the Porte to acknowledge Isabella 2nd and Reschid Pasha asked me as a personal favor to himself not to press the matter at present. As I knew it would be useless to proceed, I made a favor of my acquiescence and with the concurrence of Cordova I have settled that a letter shall be written by the Sultan to Queen Christina full of fine things, in answer to Her Majesty's letter announcing the death of Ferdinand the 7th. I have to add that I consented to hold my hand only for the present, Reschid Pasha is content because he expects to get away and out of 'cette galere' where he is as miserable as can be. I will give him your message which I am certain will delight him." Ponsonby has just received the enclosed letter from Dr MacGuffog. Ponsonby mentioned some time previously that the state of succession to the crown in Turkey should be taken into consideration. 11 Mar 1838 The letter is marked: "Private" and it is noted that it was received on 10 April 1838. Enclosed are: (i) Letter from Dr. Samuel MacGuffog, [physician at the British embassy at Constantinople] to John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby: [Transcript] [f.7r] "I have this instant heard that the courier has arrived. I have been the whole day in the seraglio by the request and wish [f.7v] of the Sultan, and he, the Sultan, has requested me to return again tomorrow morning. As I may be detained then for some time it is possible I may not be able to call on you before Tuesday. The Prince, the heir [f.8r] apparent, was attacked with scarlatina about forty days ago, and in consequence of not having attended strictly to diet and exposure to cold his legs and face are very much swelled, anasarca, even the abdomen is not free [f.8v] and there is danger to be apprehended lest it should extend itself to the cavities of the brain and chest, in which case it might prove suddenly fatal. A bleeding has been judged necessary and after, * and after * a great [f.9r] deal of opposition we have at last gained the promise, that if the Prince is not better tomorrow morning the operation shall be performed. I have taken a great interest in him. He is so mild and gentle in manner [f.9v] and so willing to do anything except being bled. He entertains a very great horror of the lancet, but which is absolutely necessary I think to save his life. I saw him some days ago, a week ago, when I had the honour [f.10r] of being presented to, and conversing with, the Sultan for some minutes, he presented \ me / before taking leave with a very handsome snuff box in diamonds adding "You will tell Elteli Bey of this". Nothing could be more condescending and affable [f.10v] than the Sultan's reception of us, the doctors, on that occasion. I will dilute all that passed to you * as also * on that occasion and also this days, when I see you. I think it will answer you, at least it will be something new. I feel, my lord, that in attending to the wishes [f.11r] of the Sultan on this occasion I shall be doing what will be personally pleasing to \ you / and also agreeable to the wishes of my government. I hope, however, that there will be no necessity for my calling on the Prince on Tuesday, and in that case I shall make a point [f.11v] of calling on you, as I have two or three things of some importance to mention to you previous to the departure of the courier. I will put my box in my pocket for your inspection. In the mean time I have not neglected your lordship's instructions." 11 Mar 1838 (ii) Letter from George Samuels, Pera, to John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby: he would have liked to accept Ponsonby's invitation for that day, but has to make arrangements for his departure the following Monday. He has made enquiries about the money said to have been sent to Mehemet Ali and how it was transported. He could not find out the exact amount, but a very large sum has been sent to the Viceroy of Egypt. It was not forwarded by any of the Lloyd's or French steamers, or any merchant vessel. Samuels believes it was carried by the Russian brig of war currently stationed at Constantinople, and sent through the house of Zaccaria Zaccharoff. He thanks Ponsonby and his wife for their kindness and attention. His family have most pleasing recollections of Samuel's visits to Ponsonby at Therapia. n.d. [10 Mar 1838]
Seven papers, punched for disinfection, tied with blue ribbon
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Colonel George Lloyd Hodges, British consul in Servia
Milosh, alias Michael Obrenovic, Prince of Servia
Lieutenant Colonel Lord George William Russell, with a local rank of brigadier general, British envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Berlin
Fisher, Prussian army officer employed in Turkey
Vinck, Prussian army officer employed in Turkey
von Muhlbach, Prussian army officer employed in Turkey
Helmuth Karl, Count von Moltke, Prussian army officer employed in Turkey
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
Muhammad Ali Pasha, alias Mehemet Ali, Viceroy or ruler of Egypt
George Samuels, nephew of Nathan Mayer Rothschild
Nathan Meyer Rothschild, former head of the London bank of Rothschild, deceased
Captain Gustavus Charles du Plat of the Royal Engineers
Isabella II, Queen of Spain
Reschid Mustapha Pasha, alias Reshid Mustafa Pasha, Reis Effendi or Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs
Don Antonio Lopez de Cordova, Spanish ambassador at Constantinople
?Maria Cristina, Queen Regent of Spain, widow of Ferdinand VII, King of Spain
Ferdinand VII, King of Spain, deceased
Dr Samuel MacGuffog, physician at the British embassy at Constantinople
Abd al-Majid, eldest son of Mahmud II
Turkey: disease; infection; illness
Elteli Bey
Zaccaria Zaccharoff
Emily Francis, Lady Ponsonby, wife of John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby
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