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No. 160.-BRITISH PROTEST against Russian Mani
festo, respecting Poland. London, 3rd July, 1832.
Viscount Palmerston to Lord Durham.
(Extract as laid before Parliament.)
Foreign Office, 3rd July, 1832. It is impossible to give your Lordship instructions for your guidance without adverting to the subject of Poland.
You will find in the archives of the Embassy a record of the opinions of His Majesty's Government upon the proceedings of Russia with respect to Poland, and of the manner in which those opinions have at different times been communicated to the Russian Government. Those opinions remain unaltered. His Majesty's Government think that Russia was not justified by the Polish Insurrection in depriving the Kingdom of Poland.of that Constitution which the Emperor Alexander had granted, and which the Emperor Nicholas had sworn to maintain. His Majesty's Government think that the abrogation of that Constitution was inconsistent with the true spirit and meaning of the Treaty of Vienna (No. 27), and that Great Britain, as a party to that Treaty, is entitled to object to that abrogation, and to Protest, as she has done against it.*
If the view which Her Majesty's Government takes of that question had been shared by Austria and Prussia, as it was by France, the representations of the 4 Powers would probably have been attended with success; but Austria and Prussia having concurred with Russia in her interpretation of the Treaty of Vienna (No. 27), and having approved of the changes which the Russian Government proposed to make in the Polish Constitution, it was evident that the remonstrances of Great Britain and France could not be effectual unless they had been supported by a threat of war -a threat to the execution of which so many obstacles were opposed both by the general state of Europe and by the negotiations in which, in concert with Russia, Great Britain has been, and still is, engaged.
In adverting, therefore, to the affairs of Poland, great delicacy
* See Note of 23rd November, 1831.
and caution will be required. It would be inconsistent with the power and dignity of the British Empire to insist too strongly upon points which, from the considerations stated above, it might be inexpedient, if not impossible, to enforce by arms. On the other hand, His Majesty's Government cannot be expected to see measures taken which they believe to be at variance with the true spirit of the Treaty of Vienna, and which have excited so strong a feeling in Europe, without a clear though amicable expression of their opinion upon them.
Your Lordship is, therefore, instructed to treat the abrogation of the Constitution of Poland as a measure which His Majesty's Government deeply regret, as inconsistent with the true construction of the Treaty of Vienna, and as injurious to the interests of Russia herself. You will refer at the same time to the representations already made upon this subject by Her Majesty's Ambassador at the Court of St. Petersburgh, but you will not press this matter in such a manner as, without producing any benefit to Poland, would incur the hazard of increasing the difficulties already existing on the various subjects to which your attention has been called in this despatch.
The Treaties of 1815, to which Russia was a party (not only the General Act of the Congress of Vienna, but the separate Treaty between Russia and Prussia (No. 13), clearly stipulate that the nationality of the Poles shall be preserved. But statements have reached His Majesty's Government which, if true, tend to show a deliberate intention on the part of the Russian Government to break down the nationality of Poland, and to deprive it of everything which, either in outward form or in real substance, gives to its people the character of a separate nation.
The abolition of the Polish Colours ; the introduction of the Russian Language into public acts; the removal to Russia of the national Library, and public collections containing bequests made by individuals upon specific condition that they never should be taken out of the Kingdom of Poland; the suppression of Schools and other establishments for public instruction; the removal of a great number of Children to Russia on the pretence of educating them at the public expense; the transportation of whole families to the interior of Russia; the extent and severity of the military Conscription ; the large introduction of Russians into the public employments in Poland; the interference with the National Church ;-all these appear to be symptoms of a deliberate inten
tion to obliterate the political nationality of Poland, and gradually to convert it into a Russian province.
It is evident, upon the slightest reflection, that such a project could not be accomplished. To change 4,000,000 of Poles so entirely as to impart to them the character of Russians is an attempt for the success of which it would be difficult to assign a limit, either of time or perseverance. But the endeavour would lead to a severe and continued exertion of arbitrary power, which would create a strong and general feeling against Russia, and must be regarded as a decided violation of the engagements contracted by Russia at Vienna in 1815.
Your Lordship will endeavour to obtain accurate information as to what is true on these points, and if you should find that the reports which have reached His Majesty's Government are well founded, you will take every favourable opportunity of urging the Russian Government, on the part of His Majesty, with the earnestness, and at the same time with the freedom of a sincere friend, to adopt a milder and juster system; founding yourself upon the Treaty of Vienna, as the basis upon which rests the right of His Majesty to interpose this expression of his feelings on the affairs of Poland.
It is unnecessary to remind your Lordship that it is of great importance, not only for the accomplishment of the various objects pointed out in these instructions, but also for the permanent interests of Great Britain, to cultivate and to increase, if possible, the friendly relations now so happily subsisting between this country and Russia. Your Lordship, therefore, will use your discretion as to the manner of pressing the various topics to which I have adverted, so as to produce the greatest possible effect, giving, at the same time, the least possible offence; and your Lordship will omit no proper opportunity of assuring the Emperor of the sincere and cordial friendship which His Majesty entertains for His Imperial Majesty, and of declaring His Majesty's desire to maintain, and, if possible, to draw closer the bonds of alliance which connect two Powers whose union must have so salutary an effect in preserving the Peace of the World.
PALMERSTON. The Earl of Durham.
[Continental Limits of Greece.]
No. 161.- ARRANGEMENT between Great Britain,
France, Russia, and Turkey, for the Definitive Settlement of the Continental Limits of Greece. Signed at Constantinople, 21st July, 1832.*
TABLE. Preamble. 1. New Boundary. 2. Indemnity to Turkey. 3. Appointment of Boundary Commissioners. 4. Payment of Indemnity. 5. Turkish Evacuation of Greek Territories. 6. Passage of Greek Vessels through the Gulf of Arta. 7. Permission to Individuals to quit Ceded Territories and to sell their
Estates. Similar Privileges to Inhabitants of Eubea and Attica and
Proprietors of Thebes. 8. Appointment of Commercial Agents. Definitive Settlement of Greek
Question. Confirmation of Arrangement to have same Force as a
(Translation.t) The Representatives of the 3 Powers, parties to the Treaty of London, of the 6th of July, 1827 (No. 136), namely, the Right IIonourable Sir Stratford Canning, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of His Britannic Majesty, on a special mission to the Ottoman Sublime Porte; the Sieur Appolinaire Bouteneff, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias; and the Sieur Jacques Edouard, Baron Burignot de Varenne, Chargé d'Affaires of His Majesty the King of the French,-having made known to the Sublime Ottoman Porte the changes which it was necessary to make in the Frontier of Greece, and having communicated to it the object of the instructions, and of the powers with which they were furnished, to propose to it a Definitive Boundary line, upon condition of compensating, by an equitable indemnity, the losses which might result therefrom :--the Sublime Porte, animated with the desire of consolidating the arrangements to which, out of consideration of the 3 Allied Courts, and relying on their sincere
* Affirmed by the Conference of London, in its 52nd Protocol of 30th August, 1832. See also Act of 21st February, 1833 ; and Treaties of 13th July, and 14th November, 1863; and 29th March, 1864. † For French version, see “State Papers," vol. xxii, p. 934.
[Continental Limits of Greece.)
intentions, it had previously agreed, has consented to enter upon a negotiation for this purpose, and has charged therewith two of its Ministers, namely, Ilis Excellency Mustapha Behdjet Effendi, Ex-Cazesker of Roumelia, at the present time First Physician of His Highness, and His Excellency Elhadj Mehemed Akif Effendi, present Reis Effendi.
The above-mentioned Plenipotentiaries, filled with the sentiments of their respective Governments, and having no other object in view than that of terminating the Greek Affair in a way that shall be durable, and calculated to prevent all further discussion on this question, have met several times for this salutary purpose ; and the complete result of their conferences has been recorded in the present document, exchanged between the Parties as the instrument of their final transaction.
New Boundary.* It was agreed that:
ART. I. With respect to Boundary :-On the eastern side, the extreme point of separation of the two States shall be fixed at the mouth of the little River which flows near the Village of Gradiza. The Frontier line shall ascend this River to its source, shall thence reach the chain of Mount Othryx, leaving to Greece the Passage of the Klomo, provided the crest of that chain be not passed : thence it shall follow, in a westerly direction, the crest of the same chain along the whole extent thereof, and especially the Peak of Varibovo, in order to attain the height which, under the denomination of Veluchi, forms the point of connection of the three great chains of mountains of the country. From this height the line shall continue, adapting itself as much as possible to the salient features of the country, across the Valley of the Aspropotamos to the Gulf of Arta, terminating at that Gulf between Coprina and Menidi, in such manner as that in any case the Bridge of Tartarina, the Defile and the Tower of Macrinoros shall be comprised within the Limits of Greece, and that the Bridge of Coracos and the Salt Springs of Coprina shall be left to the Ottoman Porte.
Thus, the shore of the Gulf of Arta to the north and west of the point where the Boundary line meets its waters, will be retained by the Ottoman Empire ; and the shore of this Gulf to the south and west of the line is assigned to the State of Greece, with the exception of the Fort of Punta, which will con
* See Map facing page 908.