§ PRESENTED BY HIS MAJESTY'S COMMAND TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, PURSUANT TO THEIR ADDRESS OF FEB. 15, 1808.
§ No. I.—TREATY between his Majesty and the Ottoman Porte.
§ In the name of God Almighty.—The uninterrupted good understanding which has always subsisted between the august Court of London and the Sublime Ottoman Porte, and the circumstances of that state of war in which the two sovereigns of the British and Ottoman empires are engaged, in consequence of the perfidious and multiplied aggressions of the French, have created in them a mutual desire to cement the ties of their ancient friendship; and a defensive alliance having just been concluded between the Sublime Porte and his maj. the emperor of all the Russias, the friend and ally of his Britannic maj.; in which alliance, founded upon the basis of a mutual guarantee of their empires, of the re-establishment and continuance of tranquillity, and of the preservation of other powers, it is agreed that his Britannic maj. shall be invited to accede to it: their said majesties, namely, his maj. Geo. 3. king of Great Britain, &c. and his Imperial maj. Sultan Selim the 3rd the most mighty Ottoman emperor, being equally desirous of contributing to the safety and interests of their respective subjects and to the restoration of general tranquillity in Europe, have to this effect nominated for their Plenipotentiaries, viz, the king of G. Britain on 498 his part, sir W. Sidney Smith, knight, commander and grand cross of the royal military order of the sword, and commander of his squadron at present in the Levant, and John Spencer Smith, esq. his minister Plenipotentiary to the Sublime Ottoman Porte; and his Imperial majesty on his part, the right exc. and right hon. Esseid Ibraham Isinet Bey, with the title of Cazi Asker of Roumili and formerly of Cadi of Constantinople, and Ahmed Aalif, Reis Effendi; who having reciprocally communicated their full powers, proved to be in good and due form, have agreed upon the following Articles:—Article I. His Britannic maj. already connected with his maj. the emperor of Russia by the ties of the strictest alliance, accedes by the present treaty to the defensive alliance which has just been concluded between his majesty the Ottoman emperor and the emperor of Russia, in as far as its stipulations are applicable to the local circumstances of his empire and of that of the Sublime Porte; and reciprocally, his maj. the Ottoman emperor concludes by this treaty the same engagements with his Britannic maj. that by virtue of the present defensive treaty, and of the alliances and treaties which already exist, there shall be established for ever between the three empires, peace, good understanding, and perfect friendship by sea and by land, so that for the future the friends of one of the parties shall be the friends of the other, and the enemies of the one shall be equally regarded as the enemies of the others: it is for this reason that the two high contracting parties promise and engage to communicate freely with each other in all affairs which may interest their tranquillity and reciprocal security, and to take with one accord the necessary measures to oppose all projects hostile to themselves, and to bring about general tranquillity.—Art. II. In order to give full and intire effect to this alliance, the high contracting parties mutually guarantee their possessions to each other: his Britannic majesty guarantees to the Ottoman Porte all the possessions without exception,which it held immediately before the invasion of Egypt by the French; and reciprocally his maj. the Ottoman emperor guarantees to G. Britain all its possessions without any exception whatever.—Art. III. Although the two contracting parties reserve to themselves the full right of entering into negotiation with other powers, and of concluding with them any treaties which 499 their interests may require, they nevertheless mutually engage, in the most binding manner, that those treaties shall not contain any condition which can ever cause the least injury, damage, or prejudice to either of the two, or be detrimental to the integrity of their states; they promise on the contrary to consult and to preserve to the best of their power their reciprocal honour, security, and advantage.—Art. IV. In all cases of hostile attack against the states of one of the contracting parties, the succour to be furnished by the other shall be regulated by the principles of good faith, conformably to the intimate friendship which exists between the two empires, and according to the nature and the exigency of the cases in question.—Art. V. The two contracting parties acting together, either with the whole of their forces or with the Succours furnished in virtue of this alliance, one of the parties shall not conclude any peace or permanent truce without comprehending in it the other party, and providing for its security; and in case of an attack upon one of the parties, in consequence ,of the stipulations of this treaty or of their faithful execution, the other party shall assist him in the manner the most expedient and most conformable to the common interests, according to the exigency of the case.— Art. VI. The two high contracting parties are agreed and have determined, that when their fleets, squadrons, vessels, and other ships of war shall meet, they shall salute each other, observing, as to which side shall commence the salute, the superiority of the rank of the commanders, indicated by their flags. And in case their rank shall be equal, they shall not salute each other. The salute shall be returned by an equal number of guns. On a meeting taking place, boats shall therefore be sent in order to concert mutually, and to avoid all misunderstanding.—Art. VII. The trophies and all the booty which may have been taken from the enemy, shall belong to the troops which have taken them.—Art. VIII. The two high contracting parties being actually at war with the common enemy, agree to make common cause, and not to conclude any peace or truce but with one accord, as has been stipulated in the fifth Article; so that on one side the Sublime Porte, notwithstanding the cessation of the present attack directed against her states, shall be bound to continue the war, and to remain faithfully attached to the cause of her august allies, 500 until the conclusion of a peace, just and honourable for them and for herself; and on the other side, his Britannic maj. shall be equally bound not to make peace with the common enemy, without providing for the interests, the honour, and the security of the Ottoman empire.—Art. IX. The two allies thus making common cause, promise to communicate to each other their intentions relative to the continuance of the war and the conditions of peace, and to concert with each other on these subjects, guiding themselves by the principles of justice and equity.—Art. X. In order to render more efficacious the assistance, to be furnished by both parties in the present war, according to the spirit of this treaty of alliance, the two high contracting parties shall concert together on the measures which may be best calculated to defeat the pernicious projects of the enemy in general, and particularly in Egypt, and to destroy his trade in the Levant and the Mediterranean; and to this effect his maj. the Ottoman emperor engages not only to shut all his ports without exception to the commerce of the enemy, but also to employ in his states against him, in order to impede the execution of his ambitious projects, an army of at least 100,000 men, and to augment it, if the case should require it, to the utmost extent of his forces. He shall also put his naval force in a state of preparation, to act in concert with that of his allies in the seas before mentioned; and his Britannic maj. reciprocally engages on his part, to employ in the said seas, a naval force always proportionate to that of the enemy, in order equally to annoy him, concerting with the fleets of his allies the means of throwing obstacles in the way of the execution of the enemy's plans, and more especially of preventing any attack upon the states and provinces of the Ottoman empire.—Art. XI. It being understood that the continuance of the British forces in the Levant has for its principal Object the defence of the Turkish coasts, and that desertion by weakening the means must infallibly prove detrimental to that object, the two high contracting parties engage not to tolerate it under any motive or pretext whatsoever.—Art. XII. Although the two high contracting, parties are anxious to preserve these engagements in force as long as possible, yet as circumstances may in time require some change in them, it is agreed to fix the term of eight years for the duration of this definitive treaty of alliance, counting from the day of the ex- 501 change of the ratifications. At the expiration of that term, the two parties will enter into amicable discussion for its renewal, conforming themselves to the existing situation of affairs.—Art. XIII. The present treaty of defensive alliance shall be ratified by his Maj. the king of G. Britain, and his maj. the Ottoman emperor, and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Constantinople in 3 months, or sooner if possible. In witness whereof, we the undersigned, ministers plenipotentiary aforesaid, have signed the present treaty of alliance, and have affixed to it the seal of our arms, together with that of the legation of his Britannic maj. at the Sublime Ottoman Porte. Done at Constantinople, the 5th of Jan. 1799. WM. SIDNEY SMITH, JOHN SPENCER SMITH, IBRAHIM ISMAEL BEY, AHMED AATIFF REIS EFFENDI.
§ No. II.—Extract of a Dispatch from the Earl of Elgin to Lord Grenville, dated Constantinople, 25th Nov. 1799.
§ On Saturday (Nov. 23) I had the honour of presenting my credentials to the Kaimacam who now supplies the place of the Grand Vizier, and by particular request, at the same time exchanged the ratification of the treaty with which his mat. had been graciously pleased to intrust me.
§ No. III.—Extract of a Dispatch from the right hon. Ch. Arbuthnot to Mr. Secretary Fox, dated Buyukdere, 25th Aug. 1806.— Received 29th Sept.
§ It was yesterday settled at the. Porte that the present Hospodars of Moldavia and Wallachia should be recalled, and that prince Charles Callimaki, the First Dragoman of the Porte, should be named to the government of Moldavia, and prince Alexander Suzzo to that of Wallachia; at the same time Mr. Bano Hanchyry was appointed Dragoman in the room of prince Callimaki. To give you a perfect idea of the disrespect with which Russia has been treated in this instance, it is necessary that I should transmit to you an extract from the Regulations respecting Moldavia and Wallachia, which were published in the year 1802. As no accusation whatever has been brought. against either of the Hospodars who are now removed, there can be no excuse for breaking the convention; by which it was stipulated with Russia that 7 years should be the period of each prince's government. You will probably expect to hear that this measure has originated with the French ambassador; in effect there are proofs sufficient that it is his work. 502 (Translation of Inclosure, referred to in No. 3.)
§ The term of the continuance of the Hospodars in their governments shall from henceforth he fixed at 7 complete and entire years, to date from the day of their nomination, and if they are not guilty of any open offence, they shall not be displaced before that term is expired; if they do commit an offence during that time, the Sublime Porte will inform the minister of Russia of the circumstance; and if, after due examination is made into the affair on both sides, it shall appear that the Hospodar has ready committed an offence, in that case only his deposition shall be allowed.
§ No. IV.—Extract of a Dispatch from Mr. Arbuthnot to Mr. Secretary Fox, dated Buyukdere, 29th Sept. 1806.
§ On the 18th of this month the Dragoman of the Porte communicated to Mr. Pisani* for my information, a Note which had been presented by the French ambassador a copy of which I have herewith the honour to inclose.
§ Inclosure referred to in No. 4.—Note presented by the French Ambassador at the Porte, to the Reis Effendi. Dated Pera 16th Sept. 1806.
The undersigned, general of division, ambassador of his maj. the emperor of the French, king of Italy, has the honour to lay before his exc. the Reis .Effendi the following Considerations.—He has been positively informed, although in an indirect manner, that the Russian legation has delivered a Note to the Sublime Porte, in which it is said that the emperor of Russia has refused to ratify the treaty of peace signed at Paris by his plenipotentiary. This refusal places Europe in the same situation in which she was 6 weeks ago, but it unmasks the projects of Russia. This treaty of peace stipulated for the independance of the seven islands; a stipulation which removing the Russians from the Mediterranean, where they had established themselves in order to attack the Ottoman empire at various points, could not be acceptable to them.—Ragusa was restored to its independance under the protection of the Sublime Porte: this arrangement rendering it impossible for the Russians to keep up their intelligence with the Montenegrians and with the revolted Servians, was contrary to their views.—Doubtless it is the arti-
*First Dragoman or Interpreter attached to the British mission.
cle which stipulates for the independance of the Ottoman empire and the integrity of its territory which has occasioned the rejection of the peace at Petersburgh; Russia then perceived that she could no longer seize provinces of that empire by force of arms as she seized the Crimea, or extort them from her in time of peace, as she did with regard to Georgia and the passage of the Dardanelles.—This treaty of peace, in fine, leaving the French in Albania and Dalmatia, placed upon the frontiers of Turkey her most ancient ally and her most faithful friend, who would have remained and will ever remain ready to defend her. Such are the motives which have lend the cabinet of Petersburgh to this refusal. I do not give way to vain declamation; I lay facts before you; I beseech you to weigh them with all the attention to which they are entitled.—If in these difficult circumstances the Porte does not form a true estimate of her dangers and of her force, if she does not form the decision her interests require of her, I shall perhaps ere long have to lament her fate.—The undersigned has received the most positive orders from his maj. the emperor of the French, king of Italy, to declare to the sublime Porte, that not only the principles of friendship, but those of the strictest neutrality, require that the Bosphorus should be shut against all Russian ships of war, as well as against every other vessel of that nation, bringing troops, ammunition, or provisions; and that the said passage cannot be opened to them without committing an act of hostility against France, and without giving his maj. Napoleon the great a right of passage over the territories of the Ottoman empire, in order to combat with the Russian army on the banks of the Dniester.—Any renewal or continuation of alliance with the enemies of France, such as England and Russia, would be not only a manifest violation of the neutrality, but an accession on the part of the Sublime Porte to the war which those powers wage against France, and his maj. would see himself compelled to take measures conformable to his interests and his dignity.—The Sublime Porte cannot maintain her relations with two missions from Naples, and his maj. the emperor of the French cannot suffer his august brother Napoleon Joseph King of Naples and the two Sicilies, to meet with difficulties here which he does not experience from any power in amity with France.—His maj. the emperor has a large army in Dalmatia:
this army is collected for the defence of the Ottoman empire, unless an equivocal conduct on the part of the Porte, and a condescension towards Russia and England, which might again throw her into their power, should compel his maj. the emperor of the French to bring forward his formidable forces for a purpose totally opposite to that which he had in view.—His maj. has ordered the undersigned to state to the Sublime Porte in the most friendly, though energetic manner, these demands, for the purpose of obtaining an answer in writing; and it is expected that this answer shall be positive and categorical.—No further delay can be allowed; and his maj. has no doubt that the Sublime Porte will give him the assurances he desires, and which are so much in unison with the interests of the Ottoman empire.—The undersigned has no wish to make a vain display of the formidable forces of the great Napoleon; his friends know how to estimate their importance; his enemies have felt their power.—The genius of his august master is well known; his determinations are wise and prompt, his personal attachment to his highness is sincere. He only seeks the independance, the integrity, and the glory of Turkey. He desires nothing. He asks nothing. What inducements to an union with him! At the same time what reason to apprehend the loss of his good-will by adopting a timid, uncertain, or inimical line of conduct! Under these circumstances the answer of the Sublime Porte .will regulate the conduct of my august master. Let not the threats of the enemies of France impose upon the Sublime Porte; they have been vanquished, and they will ever be so. The great Napoleon will employ all his resources for the glory of his highness Selim III. his friend; and his resources are immense, his genius is still greater.—This Note is of sufficient importance to be submitted to the profound wisdom of his maj. the emperor Selim III. and your exe. is requested to take the earliest opportunity of laying it before him. The undersigned &c. HORACE SEBASTIANI
§ No V.—Extract of a Dispatch from Mr. Arbuthnot to Mr. Secretary Fox. Buyukderé, 17th Oct. 1806.—Received 2d Jan. 1807.
§ On the 15th inst. a conference with M. d'Italinsky took place according to appointment. The Ex-Chiaya Bey was present, and there was still an effort made to negotiate. The Russian minister, however, 505 would of course listen to nothing but the immediate and unconditional restoration of the Hospodars, which before they parted was agreed to in the manner that he required.
§ No. VI.—Extract of a Dispatch from Mr. Arbuthnot to Lord Howick, dated Pera, 1st Dec. 1806.
§ In the short dispatch which I wrote to your lordship on the 25th of last month, I had the honour of informing you that I was in daily expectation of the arrival of admiral Louis with a squadron at the Dardanelles. At the time I was writing to your lordship, the squadron, consisting of three line of battle ships, was anchored off Tenedos; from whence, however, in consequence of a letter from me, it was immediately removed to the Dardanelles, and the admiral himself having left two of his ships at that place, came up in the Canopus to Constantinople. He arrived here on Friday evening the 27th ultimo, and his ship, together with the Endymion, is now at anchor in this harbour.
§ No. VII.—Dispatch from Lord Howick to Mr. Arbuthnot, dated 14th Nov. 1806.
§ Sir; Your dispatches to No 69, inclusive, have been received and laid before the king.—In obedience to his maj's commands, I have the greatest pleasure in expressing to you his royal approbation of the whole of your conduct, in the discussions which have taken place between Russia and the Porte.—It is much to be lamented that any thing should occur to divide, and perhaps to turn against each other, the efforts of those powers which a sense of their mutual interests should unite against the common enemy; and on this account, however adverse the conduct of the Turkish government may have been to any expectation of its success, every practicable mode of calm and amicable remonstrance should be used in the hope of recalling the Porte to a better policy.—The fatal effects of French influence in the councils of other powers are not in want of any illustration; and indeed if the situation of so many nations, once independent, and now the vassals of France, did not place in the most striking view the nature of the security to be derived from an alliance with that power, whilst it holds a position enabling it to act offensively against the object of its promised protection; the little disguise observed by M. Sebastiani would alone be sufficient to open the eyes of any government not abso- 506 lutely blind to its own preservation. It is distinctly avowed in the Note of that minister, that the possession of Dalmatia and Albania by the French, whilst it is asserted to be for the defence of the Porte, may at any time be used for its destruction. Even the offer of protection is accompanied by a direct menace of attack on the Turkish dominions; if the Porte does not at once renounce its connexion with allies whose powerful and disinterested support it has already experienced, and become unfaithful to its subsisting engagements.—The evident tendency of such conduct on the part of the French government, and the effect it must inevitably produce. with respect to the allies, if the Porte should yield to an influence so fatal to its security, are very properly pointed out in the Notes which you have delivered. You will immediately state that they have met with the decided approbation of this government; and you will add, that there can exist but little hope of preserving the relations of amity between the two powers, whilst a minister, whose influence has already been so prejudicial to the friendship subsisting between them, is suffered to remain at Constantinople. The insulting and faithless propositions made by M. Sebastiani, which it is much to be regretted the Porte did not immediately reject With indignation, justify the allies in requiring that he should be removed. You will therefore, in enforcing the representations which you are hereby instructed to make, of the necessity of immediate satisfaction with respect to the just demands of Russia, urge this point also in the strongest manner, as of the greatest importance to the preservation of a good understanding between the two powers.—It was thought right to lose no time in forwarding to you this dispatch, at the same time that an additional naval force is preparing to be sent to lord Collingwood, which may enable him to detach a sufficient squadron to Constantinople, to give weight to, and if necessary to enforce an acquiescence in your representation.—Whether it may be prudent immediately to avow this intention, it will be for you to consider. The commercial establishments formed by British subjects in the Turkish dominions, and the danger to which their persons as well as their properties may be exposed from the violence of a power restrained by none of those rules of conduct which govern civilized nations, will not fail to be duly weighed by you in forming 507 your determinaiton.—When this force sails, further instructions will be sent to you, which the additional information that may be expected will probably enable me to apply with more certainty to the existing circumstances.—In the mean time, as a rupture appears but too probable, you will take all necessary measures of precaution for securing every thing that belongs to your mission, and for guarding the persons and property of the British merchants against any injury.—I am preparing instructions relative to the Dragomans, and other objects mentioned in your former dispatches, which shall be sent by the earliest opportunity. HOWICK.—P. S. I have every reason to expect that the proposed reinforcement to lord Collingwood will sail in 4 or 5 days, and his 1dp. will have orders immediately to detach a sufficient squadron to the Dardanelles.
§ No. VIII.—Dispatch from Lord Viscount Howick to Mr. Arburthnot, dated Downing Street, 20th Nov. 1806.*
Sir ; The particulars of the late conduct of the Porte, as detailed in your dispatches, have engaged the most serious attention of this government; they but too clearly demonstrate the prevalence of the French influence in the Divan, and impose on his majesty the necessity of taking the most prompt and vigorous measures for the security of his own interests, and for the fulfilment of his engagements to his ally the emperor of Russia.—You have been already apprized of the king's intention to send a powerful squadron to Constantinople for this purpose. The departure of that squadron now enables me to furnish you with these further instructions for your conduct.—You will immediately on its arrival declare to the Turkish government the reasons which have induced his majesty to take this measure. You will state that the British fleet comes either to attack or defend, as the conduct of the Porte shall determine; that it would always be more consonant with the most earnest wishes of his majesty's heart, to appear rather in the character of a friend than an enemy to a power whom interest should unite with him in support of the common cause, and with whom the increased dangers of the present crisis would dispose his majesty to strengthen the bonds of his alliance; but that the determination of
*Not received by Mr. Arbuthnot until after he had quitted Constantinople.
which of these characters his majesty is to assume, must now rest with the Porte; and that his Majesty feels himself under the necessity of peremptorily proposing this alternative, either the influence of France must cease, or the friendship so long established between the two powers, a friendship beneficial to both, but eminently advantageous to the Turkish government, can no longer continue.—Nor are the proofs which his majesty requires of the destruction of an influence so fatal to the best interests of the Porte, unreasonable in themselves, or difficult to be given. They consist simply in a faithful observance of the engagements which the Porte has contracted with the allies. By treaty the Porte is bound not to dispossess the Hospodars of Wallachia and Moldavia for a certain time, or without the consent of Russia. By treaty the Porte is also bound to permit the passage of Russian ships of war, with the necessary transports to convey stores and provisions, through the canal of Constantinople.—Let the deposed Hospodars be re-instated in the governments of which they have been unjustly dispossessed. Let the passage of the Russian ships be granted, free from impediment, according to the terms of the treaty, and all appearance of hostility on the part of Great Britain shall immediately cease.—Upon these two points, therefore, you will immediately and peremptorily insist, as indispensable to the continuance of peace. Upon receiving a satisfactory answer, you will declare that the British squadron shall remain only so long as its presence may be necessary for the security and protection of the Porte itself; and you will give the strongest assurances of his majesty's support and assistance, if the Turkish government, adopting a better policy, should disengage itself from its connections with France. But if this satisfaction should unfortunately be refused, or improperly delayed, you will deliver in a note recapitulating the complaints which his majesty has to urge against the Porte, and declaring your mission to be at an end; and taking care, as far as may be possible, to secure the persons and property belonging to it, as well as to the British factory, you will retire on board the fleet, or to a place of safety, and immediately signify to the British admiral, that hostilities are to commence.—There are indeed other points which, even if the Porte should acquiesce in the demands which you are above
more particularly instructed to make, must not be overlooked; and particularly the removal of M. Sebasliani from Constantinople, and the renewal of the treaty with Great Britain. The first, more especially, should be much insisted on, as of the utmost importance to a preservation of the good understanding between the two powers; but neither of them are such as, if the principal objects in dispute are conceded, would of themselves justify a declaration of war.—The former part of these Instructions having been written in the hope that the Russian minister may not yet have quitted Constantinople, it still remains for me to provide for the case of war having actually begun between Russia and the Porte.—In this case you will offer the mediation of his majesty on the ground of immediate compliance with the two principal demands above referred to, viz. the restitution of the Hospodars, and the free passage of Russian ships to and from the Black sea. Should this offer be accepted, you will immediately dispatch a confidential person to the general commanding the Russian army, and to M. Italinsky, if he should be in a situation to receive such a communication, requesting a suspension of hostilities for the purpose of commencing a negotiation for peace, for the conclusion of which you will continue to employ your good offices.—If, on the contrary, this just offer should be rejected, you will, as in the former case, terminate your mission, and send the necessary information to the officer commanding his majesty's ships of war, that be may proceed, according to his instructions, to enforce, by the power of the British navy, those fair and equitable demands, a compliance with which it would have been so much more satisfactory to his majesty to have obtained from the Porte through a sense of its own interest, and an acknowledgment of their moderation and justice. Should the Turkish government unhappily persevere in listening to the councils of France, his majesty is confident, that the events which must follow cannot be imputed to Great Britain or Russia: their conduct towards the Porte has been uniformly that of the most disinterested friendship, and the Porte has, in more than one instance, experienced the efficacy of their power in defending her against the designs of France. Those designs, though not now pursued by open force, are not less apparent than when France, faithless to her engagements at the
same time that she insolently professed to act as an ally of the Porte, invaded and conquered one of the dependencies of the Turkish empire; that conquest was wrested from her, and restored to the Porte, by the successful arms and generous policy of Great Britain. In the same spirit the allies have still continued to act towards the Porte, and that government must be under the influence of a blindness hardly to be conceived if, in opposition to such recent experience, and to her most evident interests, she shall reject an alliance in which she has hitherto found security and honour, under the belief that either can be attained under the promised protection of France. Are the designs of France doubtful? Let the position which she occupies in Dalmatia and Albania, which cannot be stated to be in any way necessary to the security of her own frontier—let the language of M. Sebastiani himself, declaring that, from that point offensive measures may be taken, and openly threatening the destruction of the Turkish empire—answer that question. The proofs of the designs of France are indeed too numerous to be recited, and the invasion of Egypt serves as an example of the attempts which that government is prepared to make, not on that country only, but on Greece, on Syria, and on other valuable dependencies of the Turkish empire. In such a situation of affairs, the intrigues and the menaces of France equally render any temporizing measures impracticable; the Porte is placed in a situation in which a real neutrality can no longer be preserved, and she must choose between those powers whose friendship she has experienced, and those whose promises she has so much reason to distrust. Against France, more fatal to the interests of Turkey as an insidious friend than as an open enemy, his majesty and his august ally have offered their generous protection, and having exhausted all the means of conciliation consistent with their interests and their honour, his majesty awaits the result, whatever it may be, with an entire confidence, that the uniform disinterestedness of his intentions will be fully manifested to the world. I am, &c. HOWICK.
§ No. IX.—Extract of a Dispatch from Mr. Arbuthnot to Lord Howick, dated Pera, 27th Jan. 1807.
§ Late at night on the 23d inst. my servant arrived with your lordship's dispatch of the 14th of last Nov. It has been the highest gratification to me to learn from your lord- 511 ship that my conduct has met with his majesty's approbation. Your lordship will have the goodness, I hope, to take an opportunity of expressing to his majesty my deep sense of this distinguished favour, and you will allow me at the same time to offer my sincere thanks to yourself for the obliging manner in which you made to me so flattering a communication.—After the receipt of your lordship's dispatch I lost no time in asking for a conference. It was fixed for the 25th inst.; and on my arrival at the Porte I found Ismet Bey, the Reis Effendi, the Chiaya Bey, and the Ex-Chiaya Bey, all assembled.—As the conference lasted more than four hours, it would require a length of time to set down on paper all that was said on that occasion. Being anxious to inform your lordship without delay of my having received your instructions, and having also to forward my eight preceding dispatches, which have been detained till now by a contrary wind, I shall for the present do little more than refer to the contents of the letter herewith inclosed, which was sent by me yesterday to the Reis Effendi. Indeed that letter may give a tolerable idea of what passed at the conference; for the Ottoman ministers, who of late had been displeased at what they called my personal partiality to Russia, and who all along have expressed their conviction that his majesty was not acting in concert with Russia, were now so amazed and dejected, that they did not utter a single word which is worth repeating to your lordship. They confined themselves entirely to their usual professions of friendship for his majesty; to the complaints, which I had often heard before of the treatment they had received from Russia; and to excuses for their own conduct, grounded on the changes which have taken place in Europe. They declared, however, that they could give no official answer until the Sultan's pleasure had been known.—I have only to observe, in addition to what your lordship will find in my letter to the Reis Effendi, that as it was left to my discretion, either to announce or to conceal the approaching arrival of a second squadron, I determined on the former after some deliberation.—I was convinced that the only chance of opening the eyes of the Porte would arise from its being proved that his majesty's final resolution had been taken; and for this reason, I made to the Ottoman ministers the communication in question, and read to them such parts of 512 your lordship's dispatch as would be right for them to know.—Your ldp. left it also to my discretion how to act with respect to the eventual departure of the merchants. I knew that many of them had outstanding debts to a considerable amount, and here in particular, it would be impossible to settle their accounts at a short warning. I therefore informed the Porte that I should immediately prepare our factories for their departure, which had likewise the effect of shewing that his majesty's government was really serious; and I obtained a solemn promise that, should it be necessary, the British merchants, as had been the case with the Russians, should have firmans to pass the Dardanelles.—I have since made known to the factory here the present state of things; and should his majesty's subjects be ultimately obliged to leave the country, I will take every possible care to procure for them the means of departing in safety. I am no less attentive to the factory at Smyrna, and to the British commercial establishments at the other states of this empire.
§ (Inclosure referred to in No. 9.)—Letter from Mr. Arbuthnot to the Reis Efendi, dated Pera, 26th Jan. 1807.
§ Sir; Your excellency expressed a desire of receiving in writing, the substance of what I had the honour of stating to you in our conference of yesterday. In compliance with, this desire, I shall recall to your recollection the several topics which, by my sovereign's orders, I had to lay before you; and in again pointing out the line of conduct which his maj. expects from the Porte, I shall in their very words, repeat the orders which I have now received, and which, as they admit but of one construction, it will be my duty most literally and most faithfully to obey.—That your excellency and the other ministers who assisted at the conference might understand more clearly the motives which had induced his maj. after a long enduring patience, to change his conduct towards the Porte, it was necessary for me to allude to the first conference I had after my arrival in this country. I told you that Mahmood, who was then Reis Efendi, had scarcely given me time to leave the frigate, before he invited me to a conference; that his first question was, whether I was authorized to renew the treaty; and that to give me a convincing proof of the Sultan's desire to continue that connection with his maj, which had already been productive of such 513 inestimable benefits to this empire, be read to me a note from his highness to the Vizir, which had been written as I was coming round the point of the Seraglio, and which, as I remember well, contained these words: 'I see that the ambassador of my friend the king of England is arrived; let my Reis Efendi see him immediately, and let me know whether he has brought powers to renew the Treaty.' I should not presume to quote the words of the, Sultan's note, if even one of them had escaped my memory; but his highness I am sure will own the accuracy of my statement, and in revolving in his mind the feelings by which he was then influenced, he will regret perhaps that new counsellors soon inspired other sentiments.—I then informed you of the answer which I had given to Mahmood; and which, notwithstanding it contained the most satisfactory reasons for my not having been able to be myself the bearer of full powers, and was expressive of ray conviction that they would soon arrive, Was received however by that minister with marks of mortification which could not but prove that he, no less than his master, was aware that an alliance with England was the only means of insuring prosperity to this empire.—To save your excellency the trouble of reading the long details into which I was obliged to enter yesterday, I shall pass rapidly over all that intervened between that conference with Mahmood, and the arrival at Constantinople of the present French ambassador. Not that I consider the, events which happened during that period as of inferior importance, and am therefore inclined to notice them but slightly: I feel on the contrary that the conduct of the Ottoman government in regard to those events, has been the cause of all the evil which we are now witnessing; and as that conduct has been no less lamented by your excellency than by me, it would be with yourself that I ought chiefly to discuss it. To you, indeed, I might with peculiar propriety express my feelings of sorrow that the wise principles which I heard from you on your first entrance into office, have either been forgotten, or, what I think is more probable, have unfortunately been opposed by superior influence.—But to save time and to save you trouble, I shall briefly observe that consistently with what I had declared to Mahmood, full powers for negotiating the treaty did almost immediately arrive. Though your exc. was not then in office, you are 514 not ignorant of the joy which was expressed when it was known that my sovereign was willing to renew his connexions with the sultan. You remember well that the approach of the Ramazan alone prevented the immediate commencement of the negociation; and you are equally aware, that when that time of religious retirement was expired, the sentiments of the Ottoman ministers had entirely changed; and that, without frankly confessing the real truth, there was an attempt to justify delay by the most absurd pretences. You know that the misfortunes which had happened to Austria (instead of being considered as additional reasons for consolidating that system which in times of danger had proved the surest bulwark of this empire,) were the signal on the contrary for abandoning the principles which till then had influenced the Ottoman councils. As if, total blindness had been produced by a sudden panic, this government abandoned the security which had been derived from acting in conjunction with its allies; and imaginary perils gave place to real ones, when a connexion with that power was sought, whose professions of friendship have uniformly been more baneful than its open enmity.—By referring to the minutes of the conferences which I had at the time with your immediate predecessor, your exc. will find that when I discovered the intention to deceive me; far front insisting upon a renewal of the treaty, I expressed no more than the sense I justly entertained of the indignity which had been offered to my sovereign, and only demanded an explicit avowal of the real determination of this government.—Such an avowal the ministers of that day were not inclined to make to me; nor even did they think it necessary to advise the Sultan to open his mind confidentially to my sovereign, though some valid reasons were undoubtedly wanting, as an explanation for declining to renew the treaty which here and not in England had been so earnestly desired; though I as a friend had pointed out that a letter to that effect ought in prudence to be written; and though, as recent facts have proved, there is not the same unwillingness to address his maj. when his powerful interference is wanted, as was evinced when an offence against him was to be accounted for and explained.—But the advisers of his highness were then otherwise engaged. They were wholly occupied in receiving, with signal marks of distinction, the per- 515 son who had come to demand the acknowledgment of Buonaparte's new imperial titles, and in preparing the answer which was to announce to that chief of the French nation, that his demand had without hesitation been agreed to.—It is true that both to M d'Italinsky and to me communications were made of Buonaparte's overture; and as it came from the head of a government with which the Porte ought at least not to have considered herself as on terms of friendship, for treaties with G. Britain and Russia were existing by which she had expressly stipulated that their enemies should be hers, it was not unreasonable to suppose that in the communication made to us there was a desire to consult our opinion. —Our answers were not delayed, for the danger of becoming thus connected with the French government was sufficiently evident without deliberation. With a warning, and as it now appears, with a prophetic voice, we cautioned the Ottoman government against the admission of a minister whose unceasing efforts would be to sow dissension between the Porte and her allies: but though twenty-four hours had not elapsed between the time of the communications made by the Porte, and of our answers, the deed had been already done; and in an evil hour, a last and fatal blow had been given to the system which the Sultan's enemy, as well as ours, had so long and so unceasingly been endeavouring to undermine.—It was then that the triple alliances may be said to have been virtually dissolved; and then was prepared that new state of things which we are now witnessing, and which, from the effects it has already produced, does not argue great wisdom in its contrivers.—Tired out with such constant failure in our endeavours to save the Porte from the false measures she was pursuing, the Russian minister and I would both of us have gladly been relieved from long and unsuccessful labours. But still it was our duty to have constant discussions with the Porte; and still had we to lament that all our efforts to obtain justice for our governments, and to inspire councils wiser for herself, were equally without avail.—On commercial subjects:—On that of Protections, in regard to which ray sovereign in particular was treated with disrespect, for, to gratify the Porte, he had voluntarily abandoned long enjoyed privileges: On the right to carry the Russian flag, which my colleague had to assert: On the passage of Russian ships of war 516 through the Bosphorus, though it formed an article of a treaty but just renewed: On all these subjects, and on various others which could be enumerated, I and the Russian minister had daily to remonstrate with the Porte; and, as your excellency well knows, it was scarcely ever that we remonstrated with effect. Indeed so notorious was the disinclination of the late ministers to give us satisfaction with respect to our just demands, that your excellency at our first meeting assured me in expressions which did You honour, 'that the time of evil conduct was gone by, and that the commencement or your ministry should make an epoch more worthy of the Sultan, and more satisfactory to his allies.' Your excellency I am confident was sincere in these professions: to give them effect you wanted only that influence which I wished you to obtain; but which was still possessed by persons who had had their share in separating the Sultan from his allies; and who having now to work in secret, unchecked by the responsibility attached to public situations, had thereby the means of baffling more effectually your efforts as well as ours.—I come now to the event which was naturally to be the consequence of the acknowledgment of Buona-parte's title. I allude to gen. Sebastiani's arrival. He found the ministers of the allies injuriously treated by the Porte; and it was not to be expected that, after he was present, the conduct towards their governments would be improved; and in effect his arrival was the signal for those more overt acts of aggression which have so justly excited the displeasure of our sovereigns.—I shall pass by unnoticed the attentions shewn to the new ambassador: they were irregular and unprecedented; but I feel that they were more disgraceful to those to whose instigation they were owing, than it has been disreputable to us not to share them. But I shall confine myself to those two acts by which the embassy of M. Sebastiani has been principally marked. To the note he presented on the 16th of last Sept. and to the deposition of the Hospodars, which was so equally his deed that he did not scruple to take the glory of it.—Respecting the note, I need say the less, as the Ottoman ministers had at the time my written sentiments on the subject, as your excellency and your colleagues saw yesterday in the instructions sent to me from England, that those sentiments bad met with the most decided ap- 517 probation of his maj.'s government; and as, what is far more deserving your attention, you have from the very words of his maj.'s cabinet minister learnt the effect which the conduct of the Porte with regard to that note had produced in England. You have seen that the insulting and faithless propositions made by M. Sebastiani ought, in the opinion of my government, to have been immediately rejected with indignation; and you have perceived that little hope was entertained of preserving the relations of amity between the two powers, whilst a minister, whose influence had already been so prejudicial to the friendship subsisting between them, was suffered to remain at Constantinople.—On the other subject, that of the Hospodars I mean, it will be necessary to re-state to you as accurately as I am able, what I mentioned yesterday. It is true that you did restore them; but may I not ask, as I have done before, whether the unwillingness manifested to repair the injury you had committed, and whether the time which was allowed to elapse before you could be persuaded to give new effect to violated engagements, were not sufficient grounds for suspicion, and sufficiently strung motives for demanding some more solid security? May I not ask, whether this suspicion has not since been fully justified, and whether in your notes and Manifestoes, you have not avowed the reluctancy you felt in fulfilling your most solemn treaties?—Our governments were not to be deceived. The confidence I had placed in the assurances of your excellency, and your unqualified disapprobation of that conduct towards Russia, which is now represented as perfectly justifiable, had led me to give the praise of sincerity to this government which I find to have been ill deserved. But our sovereigns did not partake of the delusion which, I must fairly own, had blinded their ministers. They had not heard the strong and repeated professions of your exc.; they had only to calculate the time which had passed in negotiation, and to observe the difficulties which we had every instant to encounter, and they had already obtained too convincing proofs, that the influence inimical to the friendship between the Sultan and his allies still prevailed. They resolved therefore on such measures as would remove all doubt as to the real designs of the Porte; and these measures were to be accompanied with such declarations as cannot but prove that, notwith- 518 standing all that has happened, friendship, and not enmity, is their real object.—Gen. Michelson marched into Moldavia, and, in the proclamation which he then issued, you will have found the terms on which the emperor has offered the renewal of his friendship. You would have heard the same from his late minister at this court, if you had not hurried him from your country; and if, in contradiction to the solemn assurances given to me, you had not rashly committed an act of hostility by the seizure of the Russian brig, which had been the bearer of explanatory dispatches.—Of what is expected from you by my sovereign, I had the honour of informing you yesterday. You know the reasons why his maj. feels himself justified in requiring the removal of M. Sebastiani. He is convinced, as I have already told you, that the presence of that minister is incompatible with the existence of friendship between the Porte and the allies; and he thinks with the emperor, that a false and hollow peace would be worse than open war.—It is therefore for the Porte to make her choice between France and her allies.—Should the boastings of France continue to be credited; should faith be placed in her professions of friendship, and should the menaces which accompany those professions excite no alarm; then, most probably his maj.'s offer will be rejected, and gen. Sebastiani will remain. Should there, however, be some recollection of what Russian armies have atchieved, and of what British fleets have been known to execute, it may occur to the Porte that her late conduct has not been wise. She may, as I said yesterday, then wish to place herself in that situation in winch I found her when I first arrived. She has still the means of doing it. She has only to comply with the just demands of his maj. and the emperor; and both these sovereigns will, with greater joy, concert measures for her defence, than they have now concerted those which they found essential to their interests.—I might now conclude, for I have retraced to your exc. nearly the whole of what I stated in my conference, and I feel that I have fully executed all my instructions. But I cannot close the last letter which perhaps I may ever write to your exc. without exhorting you to exert that influence which belongs to your high and distinguished situation. Make those feel whose errors have caused the evil which is now impending, that, whatever changes may have taken .place in 519 Europe, there are none which ought to affect the ancient system of this empire. Make them understand, that the armies Russia being concentrated are become more powerful, and that Great Britain has not lost the means of protecting her allies, and of injuring her enemies. Your exc. by enforcing these truths, may be the saviour of your country. You may renew the friendship which had existed between the Sultan and his allies; and you may thus render even to my sovereign a most grateful service. His maj.'s regard for the sultan remains unaltered. It has been with grief that he has been forced to measures so little consonant to his personal feelings; but he was aware, that it was the duty of a sovereign to make every sacrifice to the honour of his crown, and the interest of his people. He would rejoice if his private wishes could be made to accord with his public sentiments; and it may, I trust, be your exc.'s work to destroy the effects of evil councils, and to renew those happy days when Great Britain and Russia were united in successfully endeavouring to promote the interests of this empire. I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed) CHARLES ARBUTHNOT.
§ No. 10.—Extract of a Dispatch from Mr. Arbuthnot to Lord Howick, dated Canopus, off Tenedos, 3d Feb. 1807.— Received 2d May by Mr. Sec. Canning.
§ The dispatch which I wrote on the 27th of last month will have informed your lordship of my having received your Instructions of the 14th of Nov. and of the conference which immediately after their arrival I had with several of the Ottoman ministers.—It is now necessary that I should state my reasons for having joined his maj.'s squadron, instead of remaining at my post until I had been ordered to quit it by your lordship; and I feel perfectly confident that my conduct on this occasion will not subject me to any censure.—I shall be able to prove clearly that there was an avowed design to cut off my communication with his maj.'s government; and I shall have to relate some other circumstances which will make it no less evident, that I was residing in a country, where, in conjunction with our enemy, measures of hostility against his maj. had been already organized.—As the last dispatches which I transmitted to your lordship were of considerable importance, it was thought adviseable that a firman or passport should be procured for the officer of the Endymion, who was to convey them by sea to adm. Louis.—I accordingly di- 520 rected Mr. Pisani to apply for a firman, and to prevent any delay on the part of the Porte, I sent him to the Reis Effendi very early in the morning of the 27th of Jan. it being my intention that the boat with my dispatches should leave Constantinople on the evening of the same day.—Instead of bringing the the firman, Mr. Pisani came to me about 5 in the afternoon, to let me know that he had not succeeded in his application; that he hoped however to have better success on the following day, but that the Reis Effendi seemed to dislike my transmitting any dispatches to England, as my writing so immediately after my conference, and before I had an answer from the Porte, gave ground for apprehension that I was not inclined to an amicable termination of our differences.—Not having at the moment any idea that the Porte could really intend decidedly to refuse a firman, I had no scruple in authorizing Mr. Pisani to assure the Reis Effendi in writing, and to give my word of honour for the truth of what he was to advance, that I could not delay sending a messenger to your lordship, as I had several dispatches to transmit which had been prepared before the arrival of the late instructions from England; and that with respect to those instructions, I had merely informed my government of what had passed at our conference, but that I had scrupulously avoided to give any opinion as to the nature of the answer which I was expecting to receive. I was anxious to make it clear to the Porte that I had not acted so unfairly as to prejudge the question; and your lordship will in fact have seen that I confined myself to a bare statement of what had passed, without venturing to form a conjecture whether the demands I had made would be agreed to or refused.—Mr. Pisani wrote that evening to the Reis Effendi, and very early in the morning of the 28th be went to the Porte for the purpose of renewing his application for a firman, and with the hope that the explanatory letter which I had enabled him to write, would certainly have removed every difficulty.—It did not appear however, that my assurances had produced the desired effect. The Reis Effendi could not continue to alledge the same excuse for delaying to deliver the firman, but now he took another ground, and after keeping Mr. Pisani waiting at the Porte the whole of the day, he at last did not scruple to say, that in the actual state of affairs it would be extremely embarrassing for the 521 Porte if I held a communication with the adm. of the British squadron.—It might, he observed, be my intention to write in such terms to the adm. as would cause hostilities against the Porte, and as I had declared in my conference that the strictest union existed between his maj. and the emperor of Russia, measures might be taken, in consequence of my letters, for the fleets of the two nations to attempt in concert the passage of the Dardanelles. Mr. Pisani has not informed me whether it was intended that all these particulars should be related to me; but I recollect his saying that he was desired by the Reis Effendi to endeavour to persuade Me that the delivery of the firman had only been delayed, and was not decidedly refused.—As there was not a moment's time to be lost I quitted Mr. Pisani, and going immediately to capt. Capel, who happened fortunately to be in my house, I desired him to acquaint the Officer who was to carry my dispatches with the critical situation of affairs; and to give him orders to wait till it was dark, and then to set off for the Dardanelles without a firman.—I had hopes that the officer by taking this precaution might be able to reach the squadron without being detained, and I have been happy to learn since, that I was not deceived in my expectations.—With the view of ascertaining precisely what conduct towards me I might now expect from the Porte, I immediately wrote an official note to the Reis Effendi, in which I required to be informed whether the not allowing me to Communicate with my government, had been owing to a mistake, and whether any thing of the like nature could ever again happen. This note, of which I herewith inclose a copy, was sent to the Reis Effendi, with no other loss of time than what was required to have it translated, and it was accompanied by a letter from me to Mr. Pisani, in which it was expressly stated for the information of the Porte, that it would be absolutely impossible for me to remain at Constantinople, if passports for my messengers were refused.—In the mean time I had heard from various quarters that the Porte, elated by the news of a great defeat which was said to have been suffered by the Russians on the 22d of Dec. had determined not to attend to the representations which your lordship had ordered me to make; and that the intention was to seize the Endymion, and to thwart the operations of his maj.'s government, by keeping me and the 522 British factory as hostages.—As the Porte in the very recent instance of M. d'Italinsky had both verbally and in writing made no scruple to justify that treatment of foreign ministers, to which, in defiance of the usages established between civilized nations; she has always been accustomed; and as her not violating the rights of nations in her conduct towards the Russian mission, had been represented as a mark of peculiar condescension, I had no reason to expect that any the most reprehensible measures would be abstained from, which might afford the means of rendering it difficult for his maj. to defend his interests. Unless some such determination had been taken as I was informed of, it would have been difficult to account for the boldness evinced by the Porte in refusing passports for my messengers, and it might have been still less easy to explain her imprudence in having avowed her union with France, by employing in her service the military talents of gen. Sebastiani, and by distinguishing that ambassador, notwithstanding what had so recently been said on that subject, by new and unexpected honours. This minister of France had been appointed by the Porte to mark out the places where new batteries should be raised; he had been desired to station the ships where their range of shot would be most destructive; and to prove to him that in his person a defiance should be given to the English, he had been decorated with the insignia of that order which had been instituted by the Sultan as a token of gratitude to his maj. and as a lasting memorial of what had so gloriously been atchieved against the French by the British troops in Egypt.—Although I had so many and such strong reasons for mistrusting the Porte, and although capt. Capel had begun to be extremely alarmed for the safety of the Endymion, it was not till about 9 in the morning of time 29th of Jan. that I formed my resolution of endeavouring to quit Pera. I had not long resolved to do it before I learnt from a person who was not likely to deceive me, that according to the information I had already received, we were all of us really to be detained as hostages; and as Mr. Pisani came soon afterwards to inform me that he could neither obtain a firman nor an answer to my note, the Reis Effendi not having been prevailed upon to do more than to direct him to call again on the ensuing day; I had no doubt remaining as to the propriety of my retiring from a 523 post where I was not allowed the means of doing my duty to my sovereign.—But the more I was impressed with the indispensable necessity of taking measures for my removal from Constantinople, the more I was struck with the extreme difficulty of being able to effect it. I had to provide for the security of the British merchants, and I had also to convey my own family on board of ship without suspicion being given of what I was intending.—As all depended upon the secrecy of my plans, and as there could be no hope of impressing upon each member of the factory the danger which would arise from a premature discovery, I determined to have them assembled on board the Endymion under the pretence of their being invited to dine there, capt. Capel having given orders before-hand that no one who entered the ship should be allowed to leave it without his permission.—This precaution was necessary, as all communication with the shore was thereby prevented; and as my secret was confided to no one, except to capt. Capel and to a merchant who had been selected to take care that none of his countrymen should be missing; I was sanguine in my expectations that all my arrangements would be successful.—When I had reason to believe, that every British subject was already gone to the Endymion, I went on board myself, and had the satisfaction to find, that not a single person was missing.—I then assembled the merchants, and made them acquainted with the motives which had induced me to withdraw them thus privately from Constantinople. I told them that, as the conduct of the Porte, particularly since it was known that the Russians had been defeated in Poland, had destroyed all hope of attention being paid to my representations, a rupture with us must probably ensue; and that, in that event, they could have expected nothing less than the loss of all their property and imprisonment. I made them understand, that by the measure I was pursuing, their persons would at any rate be placed in safety. The merchants seemed to be unanimously of opinion that I had acted properly. It had come to their knowledge as well as mine, that there was an intention to seize the frigate, and thus to prevent their departure; and as most of them had been witnesses of the cruel treatment, which in the war with France the merchants of that country had suffered, they could not but congratulate themselves on finding that they were unex- 524 pectedly relieved from so distressing a situation.—Every discussion respecting our departure being now ended, I wrote the note to, the Reis Effendi, which I intended to leave behind, and gave it to one of my servants who was to remain at Pera, with orders to him not to deliver it before the next morning.—I have herewith the honour of enclosing a copy of that note; and I trust, that the contents of it will appear to your ldp. sufficiently expressive of my earnest wish to avoid hostilities.—At 9 at night, when it was so dark that our departure was not likely to be perceived, capt. Capel ordered his cables to be cut. Without troubling your ldp. with a long account of what happened to us on our passage, it will be sufficient to say, that after having had some reason to apprehend that the Capitan Pacha, who was with the Turkish fleet, might attempt to detain us, we had the satisfaction to find that our salutes were returned; and shortly after, it being early in the morning of the 31st Jan. we anchored in the midst of his maj.'s squadron, which, instead of removing to Tenedos as was intended, had been unexpectedly obliged to remain at the Dardanelles.—I cannot help considering it as most fortunate that sir Thos. Louis was still in sight of the Turkish ships, as I much doubt whether otherwise we should have been allowed to pass without molestation. That the Capitan Pacha might know exactly the real situation of affairs, I sent Mr. Pisani to give him the strongest assurances in my name, that my removal from Constantinople was merely a measure of precaution, and that it would rejoice me if the answer which I was expecting from the Porte should permit me to return.—When Mr. Pisani came back from the Capitan Pacha, who had charged him with an extremely civil message for the adm. and for me, and who I really believe deprecates the idea of a war with England, the whole squadron weighed anchor, and we repaired to our present station off Tenedos. It was right to lose no time in changing our position, for adm. Louis had given his word that this movement should not be delayed, and besides, I was desirous that nothing which could be construed into an hostile intention should appear to be the consequence of my arrival.
§ No. XI—Extract of a Dispatch from Mr. Arbuthnot to Lord Howick, dated 14th Feb. 1807.—Received 2d May.
§ I yesterday received from Mr. Pisani the 525 translation of two Notes addressed to me by the Porte, and I herewith enclose copies of them.—One of these notes is perhaps intended as a kind of answer to the letter which I wrote to the Reis Effendi on the 26th of last month. The other is a circular note sent to the different foreign missions after I had retired from Pera.—It is asserted by the Porte, that I had no sufficient cause for removing from my post; and an attempt is made to explain away the refusal of a passport.—Having in a preceding dispatch most fully explained the motives of my conduct, I shall not trouble your ldp. with the numerous observations which the language of the Porte might enable me to make. I shall only say, that it was my duty to demand a firman for the boat which was to pass the Dardanelles, for it had been expressly declared to me, that in consequence of the war with Russia, every sort of vessel would be stopped, the navigation of which was not sanctioned by a permission from the Porte. If any thing had been wanting to prove the improper intention of the Porte, this part of the subject would have been placed in the clearest point of view by the unworthy quibble of endeavouring to make a distinction between an officer and a messenger. The officer, as the bearer of my dispatches, was to be my messenger, and it is a service on which officers are perpetually employed.
§ (First Inclosure referred to in No. XI.)—Translation of a Note from the Porte to his maj.'s ambassador, dated 25th Zilkaadé 1221, (5th Feb. 1807).
§ At an official conference which was held at the Sublime Porte by the request of the English ambassador the most esteemed Mr. Arbuthnot, the 16th of this present month Zilkaadé (25th January) after making some propositions not altogether of a proper nature, he declared in his statements that a fleet of English ships is to be joined by a Russian squadron at the isle of Tenedos; that the same was to force its passage through the Dardanelles to come to Constantinople; that he should send directions for the English dwelling in the capital and in the provinces abroad, to prepare shortly to depart or return to their own country; and that he intended to present a note after the conference, to which he should absolutely expect an answer from the Sublime Porte, in writing.—Three days after a very long and detailed note was received from him, written in a foreign language, and consisting of 13 pages. As a trausla- 526 tion was making, in view to consider of the contents, and to give an answer in consequence, he all of a sudden embarked in an English frigate which was here on Thursday after sun-set, and went away without leave or advice in the shape of a fugitive; which being an event whereof there is no example, it could not fail creating, much astonishment.—The Sublime Porte, in pursuance of the sincere friendship which she has professed for the court of Great Britain since time immemorial, and ever faithfully bent on the observance of treaties, has uniformly maintained every stipulation, and has bestowed the most perfect attention upon fulfilling the object and obligations of the alliance which had been contracted between us, for a time,—nay, this line of conduct to her best and most favourite friend Great Britain having constantly produced strong remonstrances and complaints on the part of the French court, who was at war with England, the Ottoman Porte, in the sole view of preventing the intervention of the least coolness between us, has never been brought to recede in the smallest degree from the system of regard and friendship she bore to that crown.—Moreover, when about two months since the Russian troops, unawares and without cause, passed the Ottoman frontier, and by employing artifices arid tricks inconsistent with the maxims of independent governments, took possession of the imperial Ottoman provinces without previous notice being given (as is known to all the world, and is manifest to all impartial persons, who see things in a right and equitable point of view) the Sublime Porte refrained notwithstanding from waging war all at once, because of that constant disposition which ever makes her prone to avoid parting and being at amity with her friends.—She being therefore in hopes that the British court, far from ever assenting to so improperly hostile a conduct on the part of Russia, would have on the contrary employed its good offices to prevent so glaring an injury and injustice as was offered to its sincerest friend the Ottoman empire, with a true interest, she waited during a space of more than 30 days, and she consented to use her calmness and patience in expectation of obtaining a better insight into the state of things—Such was the position of the Sublime Porte when the Russian troops continued to push on this way, and to encroach on our territory. Their persisting to advance at this rate, afforded a sufficient 527 proof what little likelihood there was of Russia's giving up a project of encroachment she had framed 7 or 8 months before, be the behaviour of the Sublime Porte ever so friendly towards her in the present case; and it being a positive fact by this time, that one moment of further hesitation and delay would have been attended with the most injurious consequences for the state, the Sublime. Porte compelled by necessity has ultimately complied with the tenet which prescribes that, "an invader must be repelled by force."—In the contest however thus occurred with Russia, there is nothing that can affect the stipulations and treaties subsisting between the Sublime Porte and Great Britain. There is not in fact the least subject between us to necessitate an interruption of the ties of friendship, or any one thing of a nature to lead to a discussion, much less to a rupture. On the other hand, no answer has as yet been received that we expect, to two official and confidential letters which have been written on a preceding and subsequent occasion, by his imperial Maj. to the most august king of Great Britain, upon the Russian business. It is certain that we are not without some flattering hopes of undoubted proofs coming to light of that august king's zealous and ancient friendship to this empire.—Under these circumstances we could not help being greatly surprised at the ambassador's running away, as above stated, by night, without waiting for an answer to the propositions of a groundless unprecedented nature, which he has made in terms of an equally unpalatable tenor; and at its being stated in a paper he left with the Danish charge d'affaires to be presented to the Sublime Porte after his departure, that, because a passport which he had asked for two days before, had not been given immediately, he considered himself as insecure; which was the motive of his going precipitately away from hence.—As to the passport above alluded to, at the time the ambassador's long note was presented, a firman had in fact been demanded for a courier to go to the Dardanelles, but at first the demand being stated with the word, 'Courier,' then with that of Officer,' this appeared contradictory. Next to that, there never has been an application made for a firman of the kind for the Dardanelles in former times. Besides, he having announced in the conference that a fleet was forcibly and infallibly to pass 528 through the Dardanelles, it became expedient to use some demur until the translation of his note might be gone through, and a clearer notion conceived of the state of the question; and after all, no decisive answer was given to say that the firman in question should not be granted, but the delivery of it was deferred till the next day.—Such being the case, and nothing of any kind, either of an important or trifling nature having occurred to cause a suspension of security in regard to the ambassador, and respecting his dependants, it is altogether needless to dwell on explaining in what light such open steps must be seen as his alledging such vague pretences destitute of every foundation, and leaving the residence with an air of abandoning the mission, and cutting off all connection with this place.—Notwithstanding all this, the Sublime Porte, ever bent on that pacific system which is her professed habit with her friends, actually considers G. Britain as being at peace with her, and unless hostilities be committed on their part, the Ottoman empire will refrain from shewing enmity to them: and whereas the Sublime Porte has determined to take under her protection the English dependants that have remained in Constantinople, and to treat them. with courtesy and attention, which measure appears stated in a circular note which has been sent to the ministers of all friendly powers resident here; that these circumstances may be likewise known to the aforesaid ambassador, a copy of that circular has been subjoined to this present official note, and the same is transmitted to him in consequence. 25th Zilkaadé 1221, (5th Feb. 1807.)
§ Second Inclosure referred to No 11.— Translation of a circular Note from the Porte, dated 29 of the Moon Zilkaad— 1221, (9th Feb. 1807.)
§ The Sublime Ottoman Porte having ever been intent on fulfilling every obligation of amity and friendship toward the court of G. Britain, not one thing did exist between them of an nature to bring on a rupture or a coolness.—The English ambassador resident at the Sublime Porte, Mr. Arbuthnot having in a conference held 5 or 6 days ago, made some strange propositions, the Turkish ministers in their answer limited themselves to saving that the Sublime Porte at this present epoch, was at war with Russia and at peace with G. Britain. Soon after the conference, the same ambassador presented a note, in 529 which he stated his claim of having an answer in writing. The same being taken into consideration, some hope was entertained of his drawing back from pretensions of a nature contrary to the rights of nations and independent governments, when immediately, after giving in that note, he all of a sudden, without sending advice and without the cause being known, embarked in an English frigate which was in the harbour at the time, and taking his people and some merchants with him, left Constantinople and absented himself in the middle of the night, by cutting and leaving the ship's anchor behind: a conduct which has created much astonishment.—After going away, he left a letter behind to be tendered to the Sublime Porte, wherein he alledges as a main subject of complaint, that some difficulty was strewn in granting a passport to a courier going to the Dardanelles, which had been asked for by him; and that under that circumstance he could not safely continue to remain here.—In the instance he alludes to, no answer having in fact been given him in the negative, it is clear that an incident of the kind could not be a matter to occasion his departure from Constantinople; and it is equally notorious that no circumstance, no proceeding, either of an important or a trifling nature, has Occurred to take away the security either of the ambassador, or of any one individual belonging to the English nation.—Things having come to this pitch, that is to say, the English ambassador leaving the residence in this way, all of a sudden, without receiving an answer, being an event susceptible of many constructions, it would appear incumbent upon the Sublime Porte to act in the same manner on her part, by placing her confidence in the help and mercy of that sovereign conqueror the Almighty God. Yet, being unwilling to depart from that system of equity which she is ever accustomed to follow, and she being never persuaded of a proceeding occurring from the court of G. Britain, which is not consistent with the dictates of justice; orders have been sent to the different Ottoman officers to whom it appertaineth,for those English dependants who have been left here, and for the families of such as have gone from their residence, to remain under the shade of his imperial majesty's protection, in perfect security; and the Danish chargé d'affaires our friend Mr. Hubsch, whom the said ambassador has left as his agent, has been charged with the care of the effects and 530 property belonging to the same ambassador here. Directions having also been issued to the same Turkish officers that no molestation be given to such ships as there may be in this harbour, every thing being to continue in its actual state for the present.—And that the Sublime Porte's perseverance in her uniform system of moderation and equity may also be made known in this instance, this present official note is written, and is delivered to the ministers of all friendly powers resident here, in order to their transmitting the same to their respective courts.
§ No. XII.—Dispatch front Mr. Arbuthnot to Lord Howick, dated Royal George, 14th February 1807.—Received 2d May.
§ My lord, when I wrote to your ldp. the letter marked private of the 10th instant, from on board the Endymion, I fully expected that on the ensuing morning I should have an interview with his highness the Capitan Pacha, and that it would be ascertained, whether our passage though the Dardanelles was to be amicable or hostile.—The wind however blew so hard on the following morning, that on account of the surf it was impossible to attempt to land me; and as the forts fired upon the Endymion, there was an evident unwillingness to permit the frigate to run into sufficiently smooth water, for me to be put on shore.—Nothing therefore remained to be done, but to write a letter to Mr. Pisani, in which the cause of my not landing should be explained; and in which one more effort should be made to inspire the officers of the Sultan with the pacific disposition by which we ourselves are influenced.—I have the honour of transmitting a copy of this letter to your ldp. which in the course of the day we had the means of sending by a Turkish boat into the Dardanelles, although the increased violence of the wind rendered it more impossible than ever to land me on the open beach.—Yesterday morning, and not before, the weather had become so moderate that I was enabled to pay a visit to the Capitan Pacha, and I accordingly went on shore to meet him.—With his highness personally I had the greatest reason to be satisfied, but he could agree to nothing which would have authorized me to propose to Sir J. T. Duckworth not to force the passage. He wished me to go with him in the Endymion to Constantinople, that I might propose my terms to the ministers of the Porte, and that the British 531 Fleet should in the mean while remain at anchor off Tenedos.—I told him that I could not return to the admiral with such a proposition, but that I would make an endeavour to stop the progress of the fleet towards Constantinople, provided it should be permitted to remove to the anchorage within the entrance of the .passage which had been lately occupied by sir Thomas Louis, and provided a British officer was allowed to remain at each fort for the purpose of ascertaining that no additional works were carried on during the time that the negotiation with the Porte was pending. I added, that should his highness adopt this idea, and should it be approved by the admiral, to whom I had not as yet had an opportunity of mentioning it, I would most readily go up to Constantinople; but that instead of taking the Endymion, I should, for the sake of saving time, prefer a Turkish row-boat.—The Capitan Pacha assured me that be dared not assent to what I had suggested, as he should have to answer with his head for having presumed to disobey the Sultan's orders. He observed likewise, that the rapid march of the French army towards the Dniester would oblige the Porte to be still more cautious in her negotiations, as should the alliance with Russia be at this moment renewed through the mediation of Great Britain, Buonaparte might have a pretence for considering the sultan as his enemy, and that then he would not fail to invade the Turkish empire.—To this I replied, that the misfortunes which, according to his highness's statement, had happened to Russia, would be an additional motive with us, as we were sure it would be with our sovereign, to give assistance to our ally, when it appeared to be most needed: that on account of the present situation of affairs, I might perhaps be induced to recede in some instances from what the interests of my own sovereign might have authorized rue to demand; but that every effort must be made on our part to relieve the emperor of Russia from the war which the Turks were carrying on against him, and that I would willingly, to effect this object, go myself in company with a Turkish negotiator to general Michelson's head quarters, and there employ my good offices to restore peace.—The Capitan Pacha seemed to listen with pleasure to all I said.—He regretted only that he did not venture to transgress his orders; and appearing to hope that sir J. T. Duckworth could be 532 prevailed upon not to remove from his present station, he earnestly desired me to use my influence for the attainment of this object.—On my return to the fleet I made the admiral acquainted with all the particulars of my conversation with the Capitan Pacha.—I cannot say what might have been the decision of the admiral if the Capitan Pacha had readily consented to all that I had proposed; but when he learnt that nothing whatever was to be obtained as a compensation for loss of time, he gave it without hesitation as his decided opinion, that we must pass the Dardanelles before we again attempted to negotiate.—I immediately wrote to inform Mr. Pisani (who was remaining with the Capitan Pacha) of our final determination; and the letter to him, of which I inclose a copy, shall be sent on shore the very moment that the boat arrives which is to come for my answer.—The die therefore is now cast. Every effort has been made by us to avert hostilities; and should the Turks commence them against us, every effort shall still be made to prove to the Porte, that the wish of our sovereign is peace. With this view I have directed Mr Pisani to inform the Capitan Pacha, that on our arrival before Constantinople, I shall once more offer to negotiate, and that no hostile measures shall be undertaken by us, while a hope remains that our pacific intentions will be justly appreciated.—Should we ultimately fail in our endeavours to preserve peace between his majesty and the Porte, every exertion will, I am certain, be made by sir J. T. Duckworth to succeed in those measures which he has been directed to undertake. But it is to be recollected, that ever since the commencement of the war with Russia, this government has been encreasing, and to a great extent, its means of defence, and should the Turkish navy have been removed into the Bosphorus, there would, I imagine, be an absolute impossibility of withdrawing it from under the new and strong batteries, which, under the inspection of general Sebastiani, have been now erected.—I mention this, because it is not unlikely that there may be a failure in some of the objects which we have in view. This apprehension, however, world have no effect on the decision of the admiral, or, if I may so say, on that of myself. Our sovereign and his ally had been greatly injured. A powerful Fleet has been sent to secure those interest which had been endangered; and though the 533 passage of the Dardanelles in its present fortified state cannot be undertaken without great risk, any probable loss would in my opinion be preferable to that dishonour which would be attached to his maj.'s arms if a menace had been made, which in the day of trial we had not dared to act upon.
§ First inclosure referred to in No. XII.— Endymion, off the entrance of the Dardanelles, 11th Feb. 6. A. M. 1807.
§ Sir; I am come in the Endymion according to appointment, but now I am here, captain Caper will not attempt to land me. He says, that he has no boat which in such weather as this could put me on shore.—It therefore only remains for me to repeat again for the Capitan Pacha's information, that our wish is to go up as friends; that we shall not fire the first shot; but that should hostilities be commenced against us, our demands will be greatly ,increased.—We now require no more than that the Porte should place herself in that situation with regard to her foreign relations in which I found her on my arrival in this country. She was then the friend of Great Britain and Russia. She is now the friend of France. She is called upon to make her choice; and our conduct towards her will be regulated by that choice.—If I were to see the Capitan Pacha I could say no more to him than what I have written before, and what I am now writing.—Admiral sir J. T. Duckworth dares not to disobey the orders which force it upon him as an indispensable duty to appear with his fleet off Constantinople, and the first fair wind will convey him thither. The Capitan Pacha must know better than we can, whether he can venture to save his country by not carrying into effect such orders as may have directed him to fire upon our fleet; for of course it will be obvious to his highness that, without meaning to speak arrogantly or presumptuously, we should not, as I have remarked before, be so easy to treat with after the commencement of hostilities as we are now.—My personal wish for peace is so great that I have no scruple in assuring the Capitan Pacha that if we are not treated now as enemies, I shall be found in future, having such a force to give weight to my representations, far less positive and far less peremptory than I thought it my duty to be, when, being left to my own individual exertions, I had to convince the Porte that my court was really in earnest.—It cannot be offensive to the Capitan Paella to be told that 534 with such means in our hands, we think ourselves, under the blessing of Providence, certain of success; and having this sentiment, I feel it no pusillanimity on my part to implore his highness not to plunge his sovereign and his country into irrecoverable woes. This is to be considered as my final declaration that the admiral is determined to avail himself of the first favourable wind; and you therefore have nothing further to do than to go as expeditiously as you can to Constantinople, and there to join me. Signed C. ARBUTHNOT.
§ Second inclosure referred to in No. XII. Copy of a letter from Mr. Arbuthnot to B. Pisani, esq. dated Royal George off the Dardanelles, 13th Feb. 1807.
§ sir; I did not fail to relate to vice admiral sir John Duckworth all the particulars of the conference which I had to-day with his highness the Capitan Pacha.— The vice admiral learnt from what I said, that his highness could not even adopt the idea which I had thrown out, of the fleet remaining at the anchorage occupied, within the passage, by the squadron under sir Thomas Louis. It therefore was evident that nothing was to be granted to us, while by my going up alone without the fleet, that greatest of all disadvantages, the loss of time which could never be regained, would be suffered by us. Under these circumstances the admiral feels that he has no option left to him, but that it is become his bounden duty to obey literally his sovereign's orders, and to proceed up the Dardanelles whenever the wind may permit it.—But the admiral to the very last will be amicably inclined. After he has forced the passage of the Dardanelles, he will again give to the Ottoman government an opportunity of terminating by a friendly negociation the differences which have arisen. For this purpose he will in the first instance anchor his fleet at such a distance from the town of Constantinople, as will remove every apprehension of his being hostilely inclined; and he will not proceed to extremities, even when the means of doing it shall be within his hands, until he has learnt from me that the negociation I shall propose has been fruitless.—I wish much that the Capitan Pacha had been invested with discretionary powers to treat with me. His highness says he has none such. He therefore must obey the orders of his sovereign, and we must be equally obedient to the orders of ours. I am, &c. CHA. ARBUTHNOT.535
[PAPERS RELATING TO PORTUGAL.] Mr. Abereromby
said, that the information obtained relative to the Expedition to Copenhagen, was just enough to excite suspicion, but was not sufficient to give any satisfactory explanation of the conduct of ministers. He hoped this temper of reserve would not be shown in respect to the Papers he should apply for in a transaction that was said to bear so near an analogy to that proceeding: he meant the Papers connected with the negociation with Portugal. He did not think it was necessary to make any comment upon the propriety of acquiring this intelligence, until objections should be made, which he was not disposed to anticipate. He should, therefore, propose his first motion, which would be followed by several others. It was, "That an humble address be presented to his majesty, that he will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this house, copies of the Instructions to earl St. Vincent for the direction of his conduct at Lisbon, in 1806; and also copies of the Instructions given on the same occasion to the earl of Rosslyn and to general Simcoe."
Mr. Secretary Canning
said, that not having had any communication with the hon. gent. on the subject of his motion, and not having collected from his speech what would be the extent of it, he wished to know what additional documents he meant to require, before he acceded to the proposition.
Mr. Abercromby ,
replied, that his other motions would apply to the communications from the three persons he had named to the prince regent, and the replies to them; and further, the particulars of the interview with the prince regent prior to their departure from the Tagus.
Mr. Secretary Canning
objected, that a motion so general did not admit the exclusion of matter, however delicate in its nature, and however dangerous to impart. Applications of this kind, to provide the house with the particulars of a private interview with a sovereign prince, had never been attempted before, and if acceded to must have the most pernicious consequences. It was well known, that while the British ministers were waiting in the anti-room with the servants of Imperial princes, the French accredited agents had passed our envoys, and had bearded sovereigns within the recesses of their own cabinets. This preference had occasioned some complaints, and the result had been that, on various 536 occasions, the British agent had been admitted to the like privilege. But this footing of equality must be destroyed, if it were permitted that the private communications with an independent sovereign should be laid on the table of the house, subsequently become the matter of debate, and again be indecently circulated through the kingdom in the public newspapers. He was happy on this occasion to make a stand, and openly to resist such propositions. There was no country in Europe where direct intercourse between the foreign ministers and the monarch was so strictly guarded as in our own: none here were suffered to approach the throne, unless the servants of the crown were present; and in proportion to the difficulty of immediate access with us, were the obstacles presented to the same access of our ministers abroad.
§ Mr. Adam
opposed the principle laid down by the right hon. secretary, and expressed his surprise at hearing such doctrine first broached by the person, who, on a former night, read in that house extracts of documents which belonged to the crown, and so far insulted the constitution as to withhold the document, which he had partially quoted, from parliament. He should shortly bring forward a motion on this subject, in order that the house might be convinced how it stood in this respect, and where the boundaries of the crown were limited.
suggested an amendment, by which the Instructions to lord Rosslyn, &c. and an account of their Expedition, would be given, so that the substance only of what passed at the court of Lisbon would be obtained.—The amendment was then agreed to.
Upon Mr. Abercromby's
third motion being put, for obtaining copies of the Order of Recall of earl St. Vincent, &c. and of the dispatches containing an account of what passed at their audience of leave, Mr. Canning made an objection to the latter part of the motion, also upon grounds of delicate attention to etiquette, and the mischief that might arise from publishing official communications of that nature.
§ Mr. Sheridan
observed, that if an ambassador from England held conferences with no other person but the sovereign at whose court he resided, we could have no other source of information concerning his conduct, but the conferences with such sovereign; and was it to be said that these conferences should never be disclosed? 537 At the time when we made the late peace with France, we acknowledged the first consul as sovereign of that country. When this peace was put an end to, by the renewal of hostilities, were not the private conferences that passed between that sovereign and lord Whitworth, published in this country, as the justification of the war? Now, he contended, that no representation or misrepresentation of the words used by a foreign sovereign, could ever be so mischievous as the practice of reading partial and garbled extracts of letters and other documents, and refusing to produce the whole of them when called for.
could not bear to hear in silence such language as had been used by the right hon. secretary. In the best times of English history, the conduct of persons in the highest stations, whether minister or prince, were openly, fairly, and boldly discussed in parliament; it was only at the most disgraceful periods that we find great men have shrunk from publicity, and parliament too easily led by confidence in a great name, or a high-sounding title. If members of parliament were to understand that the power of France had this effect, they had better say to their constituents, that the power of Buonaparte was so great, that it not only subverted or raised up kingdoms at will upon the continent, but that it succeeded in robbing them of their free constitution.
§ Mr. Windham
said, the house and the country might now be congratulated on having in the person of the right hon, secretary, a new defender of those rules of propriety, which he himself had so lately broken. Sometimes a smuggler made a very good custom-house officer. This was analagous to the right hon. gent. who spoke with such animation against the practice of disclosing confidential communications.—The house then divided—For the motion. 82. Against it 142. Majority 60.
The following are copies of the papers laid before the house in consequence of the above motions: viz.