PP/GC/PO/360 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning relations between Russia and Turkey, 4 December 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: the messenger arrived that morning. He read Palmerston's instructions to Lord Clanricarde with great pleasure, since they will enable Palmerston to take a stand against Russia whenever he pleases. He is glad Russia has refused Palmerston's proposition. He has heard, on very good authority, that Emperor Nicholas is mad. "You will know how the fact is, but supposing his mind to be at all disordered and that he shall continue to govern his empire, might he not lose sight of that prudence by which he ought to be governed and yield to passion so as to order some blow to be struck here ? The geographical position of his territories and of Turkey makes it possible to execute the rashest project, and you might be all involved in war when you least expect it." Ponsonby is afraid of accidents, and longs for a final settlement of Turkish affairs. He wishes Palmerston would guard against unforeseen occurences by keeping the fleet at Voucla or by ordering it to keep visiting the Porte. The Sultan is sometimes alarmed, and feels that he be may be left in the lurch by England and exposed to the anger of Russia. Measures should be adopted to calm the fears of the Porte and inspire confidence, in order to bring to end the present "tedious and dangerous" state of affairs. "I will not bore you by recurring to the cry of the Black Sea, but say in a word that you can settle the whole question of the east and secure future tranquillity by opening it. I speak positively, because I am convinced." 4 Dec 1838 The letter is marked: "Private" and it is noted that it was received on 1 January 1839.
One paper, punched for disinfection
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Ulick John De Burgh, first Marquis of Clanricarde, British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at St Petersburg
Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia
Mahmud II, Ottoman Sultan
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