PP/GC/PO/358 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the appointment of officers in the Ottoman fleet, 28 November 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: he encloses a letter from the Kapudan Pasha. He is aware that the request for the promotion of Captain Walker may not be in order, and so he is sending it privately, but he thinks Palmerston would derive great advantage from doing what is asked. The Lords of the Admiralty will speak for the merits of Captain Walker, but Ponsonby can add that Commodore Parker's view is that the placing of Captain Walker in the post described by the Kapudan Pasha would be a great advantage to the service. For a man to deal with the Turks, it is necessary to have many other qualities besides merely being a good sailor. Commodore Parker had seen Captain Walker in action, in daily communication with the Turks, and his manner is exemplary. He added that it is necessary to win the confidence of the Turks to be able to do any good with them. Everybody knows that Commodore Parker's judgement is sound, and Ponsonby believes his own opinion needs such support to give it value. "I am sure you will need sensible men who have proper manners and patience and who are not conceited to deal with these people and I am happy to say that the officers who have been named in the former list I sent you as being desired by the S[ublime] P[orte] seem to unite all the qualities requisite. I confess I extremely regret your have selected others and particularly Mr Legard who I will say in confidence to you has the character of being extremely opinionated and not a little conceited and is not thought fit for the place he is to occupy. But putting Captain Walker in the position request[ed] for him, he may be given a controuling authority over all the other British officers and then things will go on well. It is necessary that the person who is to have the controul of the British officers should be constantly near the person of the Kapudan Pasha." He encloses a letter from Captain Moresby, declining to serve in the Ottoman service. He asks Palmerston to excuse the letter: he only had five minutes to write it. The Commodore says that if the Kapudan Pasha goes on as he has begun, the Ottoman fleet will be good within a few months. "Pray do advance Walker !" 20 Nov 1838 The letter is marked: "Private" and it is noted that it was received on 23 December 1838. The details about Captain Legard have been crossed through in pencil. Enclosed are: (i) Translation, into French, of a letter from Ahmed Fevzi Pasha, Kapudan Pasha, to John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby: although the Sublime Porte asked for Captain Moresby and Captain Walker of the British Royal Navy, together with two accompanying officers, to be employed for some time with the Ottoman fleet, Ahmed has learnt that three other officers had been intended for employment in the Ottoman navy. If this is true, it would be pointless for Ponsonby to try to obtain authorisation for Moresby, Walker and the two other officers. Captain Walker spent a long time with Ahmed Pasha, and the Kapudan Pasha could not be more pleased with him if he were to lend his intelligence and skills as a sailor to him. This is why he asked Walker to stay as his aide de camp. He asks Ponsonby, with the Sultan's consent, to write to the British government, to advance Walker to the rank of post Captain, as his merits deserve. 28 Nov 1838 [11 Ramadan 1254] (ii) Letter from Captain Fairfax Moresby, Constantinople, to John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby: [Transcript] "Being very anxious to rejoin the 'Pembroke' by the 'Stamboul' which sails in a few hours, I have to apologize to your lordship for being unable to pay my respects to you before leaving Constantinople. The memorandum of which your lordship requested a copy I have had translated into Turkish and presented to His Highness the Captain Pasha. I have subsequently heard that Captain Legard of [f.1v] Her Majesty's navy has been appointed to join the Ottoman fleet; this circumstance shews that our government has acted on the requisition of the Porte made previous to my acquaintance with His Highness the Captain Pasha. My being acquainted with this fact is a sufficient reason for my requesting that your lordship will not forward my name as one of those applied for by the Ottoman government." 27 Nov 1838 (iii) Memorandum passed between J[ohn] B[ackhouse] and Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "Is this letter and its inclosures, respecting Capt[ain] Walker and Capt[ain] Moresby, to be made official ? J.B. Dec 30/38" "Extract of letter and whole of inclosures. P. 1/1-39" "Done: letter now returned to Private Secretary. J.B." 1 Jan 1839
Five papers
All images are copyright. Please contact Archives@soton.ac.uk if you wish to reproduce this material
Ahmed Fevzi Pasha, alias Achmed Pasha, Kapudan Pasha or Grand Admiral
Captain Walker of the Royal Navy, naval officer employed in Turkey as adviser to the Kapudan Pasha: ?Captain Sir Baldwin Wake Walker, later commander of Turkish naval forces on the Syrian coast
Commodore [?Sir William] Parker of the Royal Navy
Captain Legard of the Royal Navy
Captain Fairfax Moresby of the Royal Navy
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
John Backhouse, Permanent Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs
Charles Spencer Cowper, Private Secretary to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston
Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Delicious Digg RSS