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BRITISH INFLUENCE AT CONSTANTINOPLE.
To the Editor of the Portfolio.
Constantinople, October 5, 1836.
The long expected answer from our Government on the Churchill affair arrived on Sunday last, brought by Mr. Bell in eighteen days, and fully approving of all Lord Ponsonby's conduct. The definitive despatches were only to be forwarded a few days after, so that it yet remains to be seen what communications our Ambassador is authorized to make to the Porte on the subject, and how any demands are, in case of refusal, to be enforced. It is high time that our dignity should be rescued from the discredit thrown upon it by the late arrogant message of M. Boutenieff against Pertez Effendi, and the insinuations in the continental journals, that Lord Ponsonby had been abandoned by his Government, as having advanced farther than it dared venture to follow up. To coincide with the credit, on the contrary, given him by the Cabinet for the spirit he has displayed, he must be instructed to insist on the dismissal of Achmet Pacha from the councils of the Sultan, no matter under what form carried into effect, or we shall be bearded and taunted by Russia as much as ever. Has our Ministry then resolved to go the whole length required in the Turkish question? For all this is involved, in order to ensure the Sultan's compliance with the terms, which would restore our Ambassador to the proper position and influence befitting the representative of the British Sovereign.
The termination of the war in the Kurdistan was not achieved without a near approach to the junction of Persia with the rebels. An act of treachery on the part of that Court missed taking effect, which is almost unparalleled in modern politics: at whose instigation could this have taken place? certainly not that of England. The subserviency of Persia to Russia has been already discovered and signalized ; and the latter, if unjustly accused of any participation in the intrigues of her protégé, must throw the blame on the proverb, "noscitur a sociis." Ravenduz Castle was the last stronghold of the rebel Curdish Pacha, Mohammed. When pressed to extremity, he had a few days before his surrender entered into a compact with envoys from the Persian Miri Asker, or commander on the frontiers, to receive the assistance of twelve thousand troops, the greatest part only five hours' distant within the Turkish territory, and the third division on its march to follow. A portion of the price stipulated for this succour, and for an asylum in Persia in case of need, had already been paid, when the rebel Pacha was induced to dismiss its emissaries, and forego the desperate resource. He surrendered instead unconditionally to the Turkish General-in-chief, Reschid Pacha, and has thrown himself on the Sultan's mercy. The Persians not only had the perfidy to offer support to a rebel against his Government with which they were at peace, but previously tendered the co-operation of their army to the Porte against the same chief, in order to receive double wages. Had the intrigue succeeded (of which the particulars given are perfectly authentic) Kurdistan would still have remained unsettled, and the presence there of the main Turkish army been indefinitely prolonged, or as soon as it evacuated the country after the conquest of Ravenduz Castle, the rebel Curd having first escaped, would have returned from Persia to renew the same horrible disorders. Persia must also
have connected herself with his cause, and entered as a principal into the war, if the Porte did not choose to overlook an egregious injury and open affront. These are the fields in which Russia gathers her harvest-can it be doubted that she has been the sower?
We have her again at work here to embarrass the finances of the Porte, in the remittance of the last instalment of the indemnity for the evacuation of Silistria. This sum, amounting to twenty-five millions of piastres, £250,000, had been paid over in Turkish coin, under a verbal understanding between the mint and the Russian mission that it was to be exported in the same specie, and some compensation made for the loss. It was ascertained, by the unusual demand for bills during two posts previous to the last, that part of the money had been secretly invested by friends of the Russian Court Banker, and this in bills purchased from the Turkish Mint Agent, with which he supplies the market to any extent, in order to keep down the exchanges, and prevent the exportation of gold. The effect was to raise the exchange, which it already has done, two per cent., and prevent the mint continuing its purchases of bullion-forcing it, eventually, to issue its own coin at a loss, or resort to a further depreciation, fatal to the character and interests of the government. The Turkish authorities insist on the engagement having been given not to interfere with the exchange, and are highly indignant at its violation—but what can the Porte do whilst fluttering in the talons of the Russian vulture?
Our Consul-General in Egypt has been giving a specimen of his zeal for our commercial interests, which cannot be too highly appreciated by the country. Russia having a more advantageous tariff with the Porte than England, especially for internal trade, had induced Mehemet Ali to consent to its introduction in his territories. Representations on the
effect of this preference having been laid before our government, they were further transmitted to our Consul-General at Cairo. He has, in return, just sent up by the Nile Steamer an Ukase of his Highness Mehemet Ali, annulling the Russian privilege, and breaking through treaties made by the Sultan, which he had already put in operation. This is acting the part of a sovereign with a witness-of course to show us that he is no friend of Russia, nor cares about setting her at defiance, when he well knows she will be extremely obliged to him for any mask he can throw over their connexion. This is also the triumph of the British agent-instead of insisting on the Pacha's placing British commerce on the same footing as that of Russia, to be on a par with the most favoured nations-or giving the utmost possible latitude to our existing tariff.
END OF VOL. IV.
F. SHOBERL, JUN., LEICESTER STREET, LEICESTER SQUARE.