§ Viscount Palmerston
rose to submit to the House the Motion of which he had given notice, relative to the Affairs of Portugal. His lordship spoke to the following effect:—I feel that I ought, in the first place, to apologise to the House, for having fixed upon a day which, by the general understanding of all sides, is usually devoted to relaxation from Parliamentary duties; but it has been my misfortune, and not my fault. I have already been obliged twice to postpone my Motion. I have failed in an endeavour to make an arrangement with the Government, which would have enabled me to bring it on to-morrow; and I had no alternative, but either to make my Motion to-day, or else to put it off till April; and I did not think, that under all circumstances, I could with propriety, delay it so long. The Motion with which I shall conclude, will be for further information as to the conduct of the Government, with regard to the affairs of Portugal; and I trust I shall be able to establish such grounds for my Motion, that it will be impossible for the House to refuse to accede to it. There may be many 77 occasions, on which it may be the duty of the Government to resist the production of papers, and when it would be inexpedient for the House to press for such production but in those cases, the Government should stand upon its denial, and refuse information absolutely and entirely; but when the time has arrived, at which the Government think, that information may be communicated to Parliament, without detriment to the public service, surely it is incumbent upon them to give such papers as shall really elucidate the transactions to which they relate, and shall afford such complete explanations, as may enable Parliament to arrive at a sound and correct judgment upon the course which has been pursued: but to give imperfect information, mutilated extracts, and fragments of correspondence, from which the most important parts have been cut off, is to make a mockery of Parliament, under pretence of submitting to its jurisdiction. That this has been done with respect to the affairs of Portugal, it will not be difficult to shew. For several years past, we have been engaged, actively and incessantly, in interference in the affairs, internal and external, of Portugal; we have carried on important correspondence on those affairs, with many of the great powers of Christendom; we have been parties to solemn transactions, deeply affecting the welfare and destiny of Portugal; we have lately, even undertaken the task of attempting to reconcile the conflicting rights and pretensions of the Princes of the House of Braganza, and of settling the order of succession to the throne of Portugal: but in all these negotiations and transactions, is it Portugal alone that has been concerned? Is it Portugal alone, whose interests have been involved, and whose honour has been staked upon the issue? England, also, is seriously affected by these transactions; in her interests far less indeed than Portugal, because with Portugal it was a question almost of life and death, with England only a balance of profit and loss; but in honour, we played by far the deepest game; for it was ours to arbitrate, hers only to suffer: she lay prostrate and powerless with the dagger at her throat, and it depended upon the turn of our hand, whether she should be sacrificed or saved; and when the mighty intermeddle with the destiny of the weak, and make themselves the arbiters of fate, it behoves them to render a clear account, and to shew 78 that they have neither done injustice themselves, nor connived at, nor encouraged it in others. It is, then, a matter of deep interest and high importance, that we should know what have been the principles upon which our Government have acted; what has been the spirit in which the influence of England has been excited; what objects have been aimed at; and by what means we have sought to attain them. A revolution has been effected, and an usurpation accomplished, almost in the presence of a British force; solemn engagements, to which we were parties, have been broken; gross indignity, by the admission of the Ministers themselves, has been offered to our King; Europe has been strewed with victims ruined by their confidence in us;—negotiations on all these matters have been undertaken, and have ended in acknowledged nothing; England, or at least its Government, is loaded with the reproaches of Europe: we hear—On all sides, from innumerable tongues,A dismal universal hiss, the soundOf public scorn."—But upon all these affairs, so deeply affecting our interests, so nearly touching our honour—we have been kept in profound ignorance; and the Government have preserved a gloomy silence, broken only partially, by a few oracular and mysterious sentences in Speeches from the Throne, and by the imperfect and unsatisfactory papers, which were extracted last Session from the pigeon-holes of the Foreign Office, by the motion of my right hon. friend, the Member for Knaresborough. When I am criticising, let me however be just. The fault of this silence does not rest solely with the Government: this House must also come in for its share. It was not to be expected that the Government should volunteer the production of papers, on a subject which it was so much their interest to keep, as far as possible, out of sight, and out of mind. No man is bound to criminate himself; and no man can be expected of his own accord to stir up a discussion, which he has too much reason to fear, must end in his own condemnation. It is no wonder, then, that this silence should have been preserved, so long as Parliament acquiesced in it; but therefore it is, that I intreat the House to take this matter in hand, and to require the production of that information, which it is so fitting and necessary 79 for it to have. I know that there are many persons in this House, who look with great indifference, if not with actual repugnance, at discussions which turn upon our foreign relations; who think that they sufficiently perform their duties in this House, by devoting themselves sedulously to our domestic concerns; who are willing to leave our foreign affairs to the unquestioned discretion of his Majesty's Ministers; or who, at least, believe those affairs to be matters of peculiar mystery and craft, upon which none, but the fully-initiated, are capable of arriving at sound and satisfactory opinions. Why, as well might a man think, that provided he looked carefully after his estate, and managed his household with economy and order, it was unimportant to him, what might be his behaviour towards his neighbours: a fair character, a good name, the esteem and respect of others, are not less valuable to a nation than they are to an individual: reputation gives influence, and power, and security from molestation, to the one, as well as to the other. When we consider how much our purely domestic interests are concerned in our diplomatic relations with other countries; when we reflect what influence the foreign policy of so great a power as England must necessarily have upon the transactions of the world, and how much it must affect the welfare and peace of nations, it is plain, that both those who Look only to our own selfish interests, and those whose views take a higher flight, ought equally to watch with jealous anxiety every step of the Government in these matters. But then as to the difficulty of understanding these things. It may suit the purposes of some, to endeavour, like the High Priests of Egypt, to keep knowledge to themselves, by locking it up in mystical and unintelligible language; but the days arc gone by, when diplomacy was an occult science; the intercourse of nations must now be conducted upon the same principles as that of individuals. Plain dealing, sincerity, and a regard to justice, are the most successful policy in the one, as well as in the other; the communications of cabinets are now so frequent and unreserved, that nothing can long be kept secret in Europe, and if there are a few ultimi Romanorum, not indeed citizens of the republic, but rather subjects of the empire, who still linger on the stage as specimens of an obsolete and exploded 80 school, their manœuvres and intrigues, whenever they may attempt them, are sure to be nipped in the bud, and to be blasted as soon as born, by immediate and unmerciful exposure. I say then that every English gentleman, who brings to the debates of this House, an honest mind, and a manly and generous spirit, will find it just as easy to judge of these matters, if he will only insist upon having proper information, as he would of any thing else, to which he may direct his attention. I therefore implore this House to rouse themselves from that apathy as to our foreign affairs, which has prevailed so long; for they may be assured, that never upon a matter of high national concernment, was the salutary control of their interference more urgently required. The case between me and his Majesty's Ministers, as to the affairs of Portugal, is shortly this; they condemn, (as who could not) the conduct of Don Miguel, in violating his engagements to us, and usurping the throne of his niece; they say, indeed, that his bad conduct, and bad qualities have been somewhat exaggerated, but they admit that as regards us, he has broken his faith to England, and has personally insulted our Sovereign, and that as regards Portugal, he has been treacherous, and perjured, and tyrannical, and cowardly, and cruel. They assert, however, that we have not been so mixed up with these transactions, as to give us any right to interfere; that our practice and principle have invariably been, non-interference and neutrality; and that any other course on this occasion, would not only have been unjust, but would inevitably have involved us in war. I maintain on the contrary, that their alleged principle of neutrality and non-interference, has only been a cloak, under cover of which they have given effectual assistance to that party, whom they secretly favoured; I maintain, that in all times, but more especially in recent times, England has been so mixed up with the affairs of Portugal, that to say, that it has been our practice and principle not to interfere in those affairs, is to contradict the records of history; that not only have all former Governments so interfered, but that this very Government itself has never ceased so to interfere, from the first day of its existence, down almost to the present hour; but that its interference, whether by negotiation, or by open force, has 81 invariably been directed to assist and confirm the usurpation of Don Miguel: I maintain, that the solemn engagements taken by Don Miguel, and to which he chose to make the King of England a party, gave us rights of interference with respect to him, which we should not otherwise have had; that a due regard to the dignity and good faith of the nation, and to the personal honour of its Sovereign, required us to enforce those rights; and I further maintain, that so far from incurring any danger of war by so doing, we might have accomplished our purpose, without any war at all; whereas the course which has been pursued has brought us to a situation, in which the Ministers them selves confess, they are not free from apprehensions as to the continuance of peace. It has been a disputed question, whether the Government of England were counsellors beforehand to the Portuguese Constitution; be this as it may, there can be no doubt, that by circumstances, over which that Government had no control, the name of England was so much mixed up with the introduction and establishment of that Constitution, that public opinion in Portugal, linked together that Constitution and English connexion, in such a manner, that no official disclaimers could effectually destroy the impression. As to the question itself, however, my firm conviction is, that the English Government had nothing whatever to do with the granting of the Portuguese Constitution. I say not this, as a vindication from an imputation, but as the statement of a truth. I confess, that if the English Government had advised the Emperor Don Pedro, to bestow free institutions on his Portuguese subjects, as a parting gift, upon abdicating the throne, I think they would have done a wise and praiseworthy act; and one, which, so far from denying, they might justly have been proud of; but if we will only solve this question by chronology, and pay the slightest attention to dates, we shall see that it was physically impossible they could. King John died at Lisbon on the 10th of March, 1826. The news of his death reached Rio de Janeiro about the 26th of April, and it appears, from the papers before Parliament, that within a few days afterwards, Don Pedro had determined upon giving a Constitution to Portugal; by which time it was impossible that any communication could 82 have reached the Brazils, sent from England after the death of Don John was known in London. It will be seen, therefore, that in point of fact, it was absolutely impossible that the English Government could have had any thing to do with this grant, and that it must have been the spontaneous act of Don Pedro himself; an act, however, not arising from levity or caprice, but suggested by the use of his own experience, and by a prudent attention to the signs of the times. I am speaking now, not of the details of this Constitution, which might or might not have been better adapted to the existing state of parties and interests in Portugal, but of its character as a free institution, and as contrasted with pure and absolute monarchy. I look upon that Constitution as having arisen out of the events, which had happened in the world, during the preceding twelve years. When Bonaparte was to be dethroned, the Sovereigns of Europe called up their people to their aid; they invoked them in the sacred names of Freedom and National Independence; the cry went forth throughout Europe: and those, whom Subsidies had no power to buy, and Conscriptions no force to compel, roused by the magic sound of Constitutional Rights, started spontaneously into arms. The long-suffering Nations of Europe rose up as one man, and by an effort tremendous and wide spreading, like a great convulsion of nature, they hurled the conqueror from his throne. But promises made in days of distress, were forgotten in the hour of triumph; and the events of that period furnish an additional proof——How soonHeight will recall high thoughts, how soon unsayWhat feigned submission swore; how case recantVows made in pain, as violent as void.The rulers of mankind, like the Persian fisherman, had set free a gigantic spirit from its iron prison, but when that spirit had done their bidding, they shrunk back with alarm, from the vastness of that power, which they themselves had set into action, and modestly requested, it would go down again into its former dungeon. Hence, that gloomy discontent, that restless disquiet, that murmuring sullenness, which pervaded Europe after the overthrow of Bonaparte; and which were so unlike that joyful gladness, which might have been looked for, among men, who had just been released from the 83 galling yoke of a foreign and a military tyrant. In 1820 the long brooding fire burst out into open flame; in Germany it was still kept down and smothered, but in Italy, in Spain, and in Portugal, it overpowered every resistance. We all remember that succession of revolutions, which in Portugal marked the struggle for ascendancy between two parties, who fought, the one for the maintenance of abuses by which they lived, under the protection of arbitrary power; the other for the suppression of those abuses, and for security under a constitutional system. In 1820, a revolution established in Portugal the Spanish Constitution of 1812; a crude ill-digested system, unfit for any country, but especially for one just emerging from arbitrary government; but which the Portuguese probably laid hold of, as the first thing that came ready to their hand, and for want of time and capacity to frame any thing better. In 1821 King John returned to Portugal from the Brazils, where he had been since 1807, driven from thence by a revolution, which had broken out there in the beginning of that year; and on his landing at Lisbon he swore allegiance to the new constitution. In 1823 a military revolution, headed by Don Miguel, overthrew the constitution; the insurrection was repressed, and Don Miguel banished, and the popular party again began to shew themselves; and in 1824 Don John, for the purpose of appeasing parties, and gaining time, published an evasive decree, proclaiming that the ancient constitution of Portugal, consisting of three estates, was still in actual vigour. From that time till the death of Don John in 1826, the two parties remained in a state of balanced truce, each of them waiting for events. In the mean time the revolution which had broken out in the Brazils in 1821, had led, by a succession of events, to the separation of the two countries, to the erection of the Brazils into an Independent Empire under Don Pedro, and to the establishment of the representative system of Government, granted by him in 1823. Was it then surprising, that, when in 1826, Don Pedro heard of the death of his father Don John, and found that by this event, and by the separation of the Crowns of Brazil and Portugal, the latter would devolve upon his infant daughter, Donna Maria, he should have thought that the test chance of saving Portugal from fur- 84 ther convulsions, and of securing an undisturbed succession to his daughter, lay in establishing in Portugal, not the wild and democratic and impracticable constitution of 1820, but that mixed and modified system of Representative Government, which had produced in the Brazils so much tranquillity and satisfaction. It was this consideration beyond a doubt, and not any advice from England, that led Don Pedro to send to Lisbon, what was nearly a transcript of the Constitution of the Brazils. But the papers now before us prove, that although we were no parties to the original determination, yet those who saw only the outside of things must have considered us, as mixed up with its execution. The Constitution, as is shewn by these papers, was brought over by an Englishman; accidentally and unforeseen, but still so it was. Its adoption in Portugal was brought about by the direct and active interference of an Englishman; acting in his capacity of Portuguese Plenipotentiary I allow, but still it was the interference, active and direct, of an Englishman. England was asked what Portugal should do; and the advice of the English Cabinet, in which, never let it be forgotten, the leading Members of the present Government had seats, the advice of the English Cabinet was, immediate acceptance of the Charter. This was not indeed given as peremptory advice, but submitted as an element of decision, but still such was the public and official advice of the English Cabinet. I know well that the distinction between an English Minister, and a Portuguese Plenipotentiary is not merely technical, but substantial; I know well that there is a real difference, between giving peremptory advice, and submitting advice as an element of decision; but these differences and distinctions were of a nature to escape general observation, and were capable of being easily explained away, by those who had an interest to do so; and we were, therefore, in this respect, clearly in the situation of persons, who are fettered by having excited in others expectations beyond what they themselves fully intended; and who will be judged, not by intentions known only to themselves, but by the interpretation which others may have put upon their conduct. On this first branch of the subject I ask for no other papers; those which we have, though scanty in quantity, are abundantly ample in substance; every 85 one of these eleven pages is full of traces of English interference in the a flairs of Portugal. We find an Englishman entering into, what he calls, altercation with Don Pedro about the Constitution of Portugal; we find an Englishman actively engaged in persuading the Portuguese to adopt that Constitution; we find the British Cabinet consulted, and advising the immediate acceptance of the Charter; and we find the abdicating sovereign of Portugal, soliciting, for the arrangements which he had made for the internal affairs of his kingdom, the approbation and support of the King of England. And then we are gravely assured that it is contrary to our principles and practice, ever to interfere in the internal affairs of Portugal. The second portion of these papers gives an account of the transactions which took place at Vienna, in 1827, previous to Don Miguel's departure for England; and it explains the negotiations carried on there, to induce the Infant to bind himself to maintain the Constitution; to forget and forgive all offences against himself, or to speak more correctly, his offences against others; and to give up his Regency to Donna Maria, in conformity with the Charter; and it contains also copies of the conventions, for protocols have the force of conventions, by which Don Miguel bound himself to Austria and England, to perform these engagements. I am unwilling to ask for more papers than are absolutely necessary, and therefore, I rest contented with what we have on this branch of the subject; but I should have liked to know, whether any of the communications from the Cabinet of England to that of Austria, during this period, expressed a strong and earnest anxiety for the maintenance of the Portuguese Constitution; whether the Court of Vienna was plainly told, that the only condition upon which Don Miguel could expect any countenance, or aid, or friendship from England, was his undertaking to govern Portugal by means of the institutions of Don Pedro; and whether his visit to England in his way, or rather out of his way, to Lisbon, was the public sign and symbol of such an engagement on his part. But this is not necessary for my case; such documents, if they exist, would shew indeed the contrast between the feelings of the Cabinet of that day, and those of the Cabinet of this, as far as the latter can be gathered from events; but the des- 86 patch from Prince Metternich, and the protocols, are enough for my purpose.—This despatch and those protocols establish beyond the possibility of question, first, the fact of the continued and direct interference of England, in the most important concerns of Portugal; and secondly, the existence of a formal compact between Don Miguel and the King of England, every tittle of which compact Don Miguel has contemptuously violated. The despatch from Prince Metternich to Prince Esterhazy, proves that England and Austria took upon themselves the tutelary task of arranging the affairs of Portugal; Austria in consequence of the relationship between the two royal families, England by virtue of its ancient political connexion with Portugal. This despatch sets out with a reference to a communication made to Prince Metternich, of the principles and wishes of the English Government, as to the then present and future position of the Infant; that is, as explained by the despatch, the wishes and principles of England, as to the conditions on which Don Miguel was to be allowed to leave Vienna, and as to the line of conduct he was to pursue in administering the affairs of Portugal, as Regent, after his arrival at Lisbon. It further recites specifically, certain deliberations to which the English ambassador was a party, and which were held for the purpose of conquering the resistance of Don Miguel to the arrangements proposed to him; and also for the purpose of concerting, without delay, such measures as might be immediately necessary, in order to put an end to a hazardous state of uncertainty in Portugal. But still, I suppose, we shall be told, that England has never interfered in the internal affairs of Portugal. Then come the protocols, and the letters attached to them, and what do these establish? Why Miguel appoints plenipotentiaries to treat in his name with the ambassadors of Austria and England; negotiations follow, in the course of which, it appears that the consent of England was held necessary, even to decide the apparently unimportant question, whether certain letters which Don Miguel was to write, should be signed by him with the title of Lieutenant simply, or with that of Lieutenant and Regent jointly. In consequence of these negotiations, Don Miguel contracts a solemn engagement, to maintain religiously the institutions of Don Pedro, to bury the 87 past in oblivion, and to restrain with firmness the spirit of faction in Portugal; and to this engagement, England becomes a party. Nay, more; to these protocols are annexed, as part and parcel of this formal proceeding, three letters from Don Miguel: one to Don Pedro, to whom he vows obedience; one to the Infanta Isabella, then Regent at Lisbon, through whom he proclaims to Portugal, Amnesty, Constitution, Impartiality; and a third to the king of England, from whom he solicits good-will and support, upon the distinct undertaking, that he will govern Portugal by means of the institutions of Don Pedro. Here then we find Don Miguel entering into a convention with the King of England, by plenipotentiaries authorized on both sides; the purport of which convention is, that he shall administer Portugal according to the Constitution. It has been said, I know, that the English Ambassador attended these conferences, and signed these protocols only as a witness, and not as a party; but there is nothing in these papers, which at all bears out this assertion. If there is any document by which that is proved, that document ought to have been produced. But the very reverse appears from these papers. It is evident from them, that Austria and England held negotiations with Don Miguel, as to the line of conduct which he was to pursue as Regent of Portugal; and that when at last he was brought, and with much difficulty, to accede to their wishes, and agree to certain engagements,—those engagements were formally recorded by the plenipotentiaries of the negotiating parties, in the shape of these conventions. I maintain that the subsequent violation by Don Miguel of these engagements so contracted by him, gave us a right to enforce them if we liked, by whatever means we might think most expedient; and I contend, that the publicity which was unavoidably given to the whole transaction, and by which thousands of Portuguese were led to acts, by which their fortunes and their lives have since been placed in jeopardy, so committed the honour of England, as to leave us nothing to choose, but the means by which this right should be enforced. After this second part of the papers, comes an important gap. These protocols are dated at Vienna, in October 1827, and they are immediately, followed by an extract from a despatch 88 from Sir Frederick Lamb, dated at Lisbon, on the 1st of March. Here then, we jump at once over an interval of five months, and transport Don Miguel from Vienna to Lisbon, passing over unnoticed, his intervening residence in England, and every thing that happened while he was here. Will it really be asserted, that his visit to England was merely a progress of pleasure and parade? that we brought him here for no other purpose than to show him how hard it could snow at a review, and how drenchingly it could rain at a stag-hunt? was there no Portuguese business done while he was in England? were there no protocols signed? were there no arrangements made, as to how he was to govern Portugal, when he got there? was nothing settled as to the oaths and engagements, by which he was to bind himself still deeper to the Constitution, on entering upon his office of Regent? and if such things were, why are they not produced? is it for fear of completing that chain of evidence, which would demonstrate the incessant interference of England, in all the transactions connected with Don Miguel's return to Portugal? Why, Sir, there was such a protocol, in January, 1828; for it has appeared in print; and therefore it ought to be laid before Parliament. And what was it about? why it was about a loan of 200,000l. which we were to assist in procuring for Don Miguel, to enable him to assume the reins of government; it was about the return of our troops from Portugal, which at the special request of Don Miguel, was agreed to be delayed, so as to enable him to express his wishes on that subject, after his arrival at Lisbon; it was about the separation of the crowns of Portugal and Brazil; it was about the abdication of Don Pedro, which England and Austria again pledged themselves to press; and lastly, it was about a treaty to regulate the order of succession to the throne of Portugal, which England and Austria undertook definitively to settle, and then to communicate for general recognition, to the other powers of the world. Here then is this England, whose principle and practice it is, never to interfere in the internal concerns of Portugal, helping her to a loan, separating her from Brazil, urging her Sovereign to abdicate, and undertaking to settle the order of succession to her throne. For this protocol I intend to move. But was nothing 89 else settled in England? I must infer that something else was settled in England, because I find in these papers, an extract from a despatch from Sir Frederick Lamb of the 1st of March 1828, in which he mentions that he had successfully objected to a form of oath which Don Miguel proposed to take, and which Sir Frederick Lamb declares would have been "a total departure from all that had been settled in England." It is important that we should know what was settled in England, as to Don Miguel's proceedings in Portugal; and therefore I shall move for a statement with reference to this passage in the papers. From this point forwards, these papers become less and less satisfactory; and I must say, without meaning any thing uncivil, that there never was such a mystification practised upon Parliament, under pretence of giving them information, as these twenty pages of the Lisbon correspondence exhibit. They contain indeed a very clear and concise narrative of the successive steps by which, between the 1st of March and the 1st of July, Don Miguel transformed himself from the obedient and oath-taking lieutenant, into the rebellious and perjured usurper. But nearly the whole of this information might equally be found in the columns of private correspondence of the newspapers of the day, and is by this time safely entombed in the pages of the Annual Register. These papers are indeed ingeniously swelled by a copious infusion of Portuguese decrees, and addresses, and dissertations extracted from the Lisbon Gazette, and the Trombeta Final, and circumstantial accounts of military festivities, and loyal speeches from power-loving Bishops, which occupy full one-third of this part of the volume, and which seem put in, to swell the size, or to deter some from attempting to open it, and to bewilder those who do, and lead their attention astray; but which serve, as I can see, to give no useful or important information. But we look in vain for any thing to shew, what, during any part of this period were the sentiments and views of the English Cabinet; we look in vain for any thing to shew, what instructions they had given to our ambassador, when first he set out upon his mission, and what orders they conveyed to him afterwards, in consequence of his report of the doings in Portugal; we look in vain for any thing to shew, what were those earnest and re- 90 peated remonstrances, which the Speech from the Throne, in July 1828, informed us, his majesty had been advised to make, "against those measures in Portugal by which the just expectations of his majesty had been disappointed," remonstrances too, which that same Speech informed us, had been utterly disregarded; we look in vain for any thing to show, what steps the advisers of the Crown took, to hold Don Miguel to his engagements with England, and to resent the gross indignity, which they them selves declare, he had put upon our sovereign. Here then I call for further information. We ought first to have a copy of the original instructions given to Sir Frederick Lamb; these are indispensable; they are necessary in order to shew what were the views and intentions of the Government, at the time when Don Miguel sailed from England; we ought next to have copies or extracts of all communications made to Sir Frederick Lamb, after his arrival at Lisbon, expressive of the sentiments of the Government upon Don Miguel's progressive departure from his engagements; and particularly it is fitting that we should have those earnest and repeated remonstrances, which were mentioned in the Speech from the Throne. When it is admitted by the Ministers themselves, that a gross indignity has been offered to the King of England, it is right that Parliament should know the nature and extent, of that indignity, and the steps which have been taken by the advisers of the Crown, to assert the honour of the Crown. This is a matter which touches the honour of the country, and any attempt at concealment must necessarily excite a suspicion, that that honour has been imperfectly guarded. These instructions given to our ambassador, and these remonstrances, which he was ordered to make, would of course not be sufficient, without his report of the manner in which he executed those instructions, and of the temper in which those remonstrances were received; and further extracts are therefore necessary from the despatches of Sir Frederick Lamb; for these also, therefore, it is my intention to move. It has been stated, and there can be no doubt of the fact, that the usurpation of Don Miguel was unfortunately much assisted by the presence of the British troops at Lisbon, after his arrival; inasmuch as all possibility of resistance to the first steps of his 91 proceedings, was prevented by the instructions under which our general was acting, to put down disturbances in Lisbon, and to protect the persons of the royal family. These instructions were given under other circumstances, and with far different views; but they became unluckily a powerful engine in the hands of the usurper. For these instructions I propose to move. I cast no blame upon these instructions. I do not censure the delay in removing the troops. To the latter I was myself a party, and however unfortunate its effects, it was ordered for the best, under the circumstances of the moment; but I do say, that as England had in this manner, however unintentionally, given to Don Miguel the powerful aid of her military protection, in the early execution of his revolutionary plans, we were on that account the more bound to have interposed in the after-stages, to compel him to adhere to his engagements. With this extract from the instructions to Sir W. Clinton in December 1826, we ought also to have any communication upon the same subject, which may have been made at the same time, to Sir W. A'Court, our then ambassador at Lisbon. With the Terceira branch of these papers, I shall not at present meddle. A right honourable friend of mine has given notice of a motion specifically upon that subject: I am glad he has done so. That outrage upon the laws of nations, that open and violent departure from all our boasted principles of neutrality and noninterference, is a matter of too much importance to be made an incidental topic in a general discussion, and well deserves the undivided attention of the House. I shall purposely abstain from saying anything at present on that transaction; and I hope honourable Members will reserve their opinions upon it, till my right honourable friend shall bring it distinctly before the House. But among the papers which have been given relative to this affair of Terceira, there is a letter from the Duke of Wellington to Lord Aberdeen, of January 1829, in which the former states, that he incloses to the latter, a correspondence which had passed between himself and the Marquises of Barbacena and Palmella, regarding the arrival in this country, of the Queen, Donna Maria da Gloria; and with this correspondence Parliament ought, I think, to be made acquainted. It is well known, 92 that the King of England, acting of course by the advice of his responsible counsellors, has recognised Donna Maria as lawful Queen of Portugal; and that, during her residence here, she was not veiled in that unpretending incognito, under which other sovereigns de Jure have shrouded their misfortunes, while taking refuge in this country, during periods of actual dethronement; but that she was received on all proper occasions, with those honours which are due to an apparent Queen. We have had a hint, not very obscurely given, in the Speech from the Throne, that the time might not be far distant, at which his Majesty might be advised to recognise the usurper of the crown of Donna Maria. It may be useful, and must be instructive, to be able to compare this correspondence, which took place upon her arrival in this country, with the announcement, whenever it may be made, that we have recognised and sanctioned her dethronement. We have been informed in a Speech from the Throne, that negotiations have been undertaken for the purpose of reconciling the Princes of the House of Branganza, or, as I should say, for that of inducing Don Pedro to acquiesce in the usurpation of Don Miguel; and I intend to move for the production of those negotiations. In the Speech from the Throne at the close of the Session of 1828, it was stated, that "his Majesty relied upon the wisdom of the august head of the House of Braganza, to take the course which should be best calculated, to maintain the interests and honour of that illustrious family, and to secure the peace and happiness of the dominions over which it presides." Very sound doctrine this, and perfectly consistent with the principles of non-interference. It informed us that the head of the House of Braganza was the best judge of matters which concerned the interests and honour of his own family, and which affected the peace and happiness of his own dominions. But one could not help thinking that its enunciation at that particular moment, was intended to convey a hint to the sovereign in question. But what happens in February 1829? Why then it comes out, that this reliance upon the wisdom of the head of the House of Braganza, had been neither very firm nor very long lived; and that, with all our reliance upon the wisdom of this august person, we had thought that this wisdom might be much assisted by a 93 little advice from an English ambassador, as to the best means of maintaining the honour and interests of his family, and of securing the peace and happiness of the dominions over which that family reigns: and accordingly an ambassador was sent for that purpose to the Brazils. And the Speech of February 1829 informed us, that "his Majesty, deeply interested in the prosperity of the Portuguese monarchy, had entered into negotiations with the head of the House of Braganza, in the hope of terminating a state of affairs which is incompatible with the permanent tranquillity and welfare of Portugal." Why, Sir, do what we will, and say what we like, there is a fatality, which draws us, like the moth into the candle, to mix ourselves in Portuguese affairs: for the truth is, and no Government can deny it, that the real interests of England are concerned in maintaining the tranquillity, and protecting the welfare of Portugal: and even those very Ministers, who professed to abandon that tranquillity and welfare to their fate, find themselves compelled to step in, though too late and without success, and to make an attempt to restore them. The communication from the Throne at the end of last Session, implied, that the negotiations which had been announced at the beginning of the Session, were still going on, as it stated "the determination of his Majesty to use every effort to reconcile conflicting interests, and to remove the evils, which still pressed upon Portugal." But the Speech at the opening of this Session, informed us in plain terms, that those negotiations had entirely failed, as it stated that "His Majesty lamented that he was unable to announce the prospect of a reconciliation between the Princes of the House of Braganza." Now, I apprehend it is usual, I am sure it is becoming, that when Parliament has been informed from the Throne, that negotiations have been entered into, and has learnt from the same quarter, that those negotiations have failed, some information should be laid before Parliament, to enable them to judge whether the failure is in any degree imputable to those, who have been the advisers of the Crown in the course of the transaction; and it might have been expected, that, without waiting for a motion upon this subject, the Government should themselves have laid before Parliament the details of this negotiation. But as they have not done 94 so, I shall propose to the House to ask for this information. I am the more induced to do this, because a part of these negotiations has already appeared in print, and I am sorry to say, that what has so appeared, shows, that the Government of England placed these negotiations upon a basis, which has been unequivocally condemned by Parliament; and that they made the immediate marriage of Donna Maria to Don Miguel, if not the sine quâ non, at least the fundamental principle of the only arrangement which they were willing to propose. Now, I know perfectly well, that this marriage formed part of the original plan of Don Pedro, in 1827, and was, on that account, encouraged by the English Government at that time; but will any man tell me that this marriage could rest, in 1829, upon the same grounds as in 1827? Could it in fact be called the same marriage? What had happened in the interval? What, as far as this marriage is concerned, had not happened in the interval? One short year only, had indeed elapsed, but upon the records of that one short year, Don Miguel had foundAmple room, and verge enough,The characters of Hell to trace.Will any man venture to assert, that if, in 1827, Don Pedro, or Mr. Canning, could have read forward into the Book of Fate, and have foreseen the events of 1828, they would for one instant have entertained the project of such an alliance; and could we have believed, if we had not known it to be certain, that in 1829, with the events of 1828 fresh before their eyes, an English Cabinet could have proposed to a Father and a Sovereign, to consign his infant daughter, with her rival right upon her head, to the care and custody of a man, who had shewn that he dealt with perjury as an amusing exercise of ingenuity; in whom, by their own admission, cowardice makes cruelty an instinct; and who, in yielding to his fears, in glutting his revenge, or in grasping after regal sway, has spared neither infancy nor age, and respected neither sex nor station. Could such a proposition have been made with any other view, but to secure to Don Miguel the fruits of his violence and in-justice; and does not this tally with all the rest, and bear out those, who maintain, that throughout the whole of these transactions the Government of England has incessantly laboured to assist and 95 confirm the usurpation of Don Miguel. The basis upon which this negotiation was founded, seems to have consisted of five principal propositions.
There was also a sixth condition of minor importance, that as a preliminary to this arrangement, the Queen should immediately be removed from this country, and placed under the care of the Court of Austria. Upon the project of the marriage, I shall not say another word; but I must remark upon that latter part of the first article, which proposes that Don Miguel should, upon his marriage, assume the title of King, that this would be a direct violation of the laws of Lame go, relative to the succession to the throne;! which have for nearly seven hundred years been considered as the fundamental laws of the Portuguese monarchy. The laws of Lame go declare, that a Queen of Portugal shall marry only a Portuguese Noble; but they add, that this Noble shall not assume the title of King, till there has been issue male of the marriage. How then, consistently with that law, could Don Miguel assume the title of King, immediately upon his marriage with a child of nine years old? As to the second article, relating to the family compact, it was perhaps natural, considering the family connexion, that if an umpire were required, the Emperor of Austria should be chosen. But the third article is most remarkable and ominous. I wish to say as little as possible, of those words of evil import, which contemplate the early and premature death of this unhappy child. The ancients, indeed, thought it unlucky distinctly to mention such things, and had a superstitious belief, that deaths too plainly spoken of, were also too likely to happen; but such refinements are unsuited to diplomatic transactions; and truth compels me to 96 confess, that any arrangement, which had for its object, the immediate marriage of Donna Maria to Don Miguel, would have been imperfect in its details, if it had not provided, at least for the possibility, that she might never live to pass the age of childhood. But the latter part of this article abrogates the rights of three members of the House of Braganza, in direct violation of the laws of Lamego. By those laws, the daughters of the King of Portugal, provided they are born in Portugal or its dependencies, succeed to the throne equally with sons, in preference to his brother; unless such daughters should marry a foreigner, and thereby forfeit their right to the throne. Now, Don Pedro has three daughters besides Donna Maria, who were all born in the Brazils, before the final separation of that country from Portugal, and while it was still a dependency of Portugal; and all these three Princesses have therefore, in reversion, precisely the same right to the throne of Portugal, as that, of which we have recognized the validity, in the person of Donna Maria. These reversionary rights could not be affected by the manner in which the reign or the right of Don Pedro came to an end; and they are equally valid, whether we hold with some, that Don Pedro forfeited his right to the crown of Portugal by accepting that of the Brazils, when it was separated from Portugal, and by thus becoming the sovereign of a foreign country; or whether we maintain with others, that his reign over Portugal ceased only by his own act of abdication. For if we take the most unfavourable assumption, and admit, that Don Pedro forfeited his rights to Portugal, from the moment when he became Emperor of separated and independent Brazil, still that forfeiture could only be personal to himself, and prospective to children to be thereafter born, to him; but it could not be retrospective in its operation, and it could not extinguish rights, which had been created previously, and which had accrued, to his children already born, from the hour of their birth, and which were inherent in them, from the first moment when they began to breathe. But if we take the other view of the case, and consider Don Pedro's right to Portugal to have ceased only by his own abdication, it is clear, that that abdication could only be tantamount to political death, and that. instead of extinguishing the rights of those who derived through 97 him, it only tended to bring those rights sooner into operation. Upon either view of this question, therefore, in the event of the death of Donna Maria without issue, the Crown of Portugal would descend to her next sister; and so on to the other two, before it could come to Don Miguel; and consequently this article, by which it was proposed that if Donna Maria should die without issue the Crown should pass to Don Miguel, was a positive violation of the fundamental laws of the Portuguese Monarchy; and set aside, by a stroke of the pen, the birth-right of three members of the House of Braganza, who, by reason of their tender age, could not possibly be consenting parties to the arrangement. The fourth article proposes that, which at first sight appears unnecessary, but which looks as if it was put in for the purpose of implying a doubt of the title of Donna Maria, upon the assumed validity of which title, however, the whole arrangement is founded. For if, as we maintain and admit, Donna Maria reigns by her own inherent birth-right, and if Don Miguel's proposed title of King, was only to accrue to him by reason of his marriage with her, how could his death, although it would put an end to his matrimonial title, bring into question her pre-existing and independent right? and why, therefore, could it be necessary to stipulate, that she should still continue to reign notwithstanding his death; and does not this article seem proposed, for the purpose of implying, that her right was in some way or other dependent upon his? The fifth article requires no comment; it proposes that no notice should be taken of the changes which have happened in the Government of Portugal; and this might naturally have been looked for, in any arrangement proceeding from the quarter from which this was proposed. Such were the terms, which our Government proposed to Don Pedro, as the basis of an arrangement for restoring the tranquillity of Portugal; and it does seem strange, that we, who profess never to interfere in Portuguese affairs, should quietly propose to subvert those laws, which for 700 years, have regulated the order of succession in the Portuguese monarchy, and to cut off the rights of three members of the House of Braganza. But what is stranger still, it appears that when these propositions were declined by Don Pedro, our Government turned round, and declared, that after all it did not much 98 signify, for these were not British propositions. Not British propositions indeed! why then, whose propositions are they? Brazilian propositions they cannot be, because they were made to Brazil, and by Brazil rejected; are they by chance Spanish propositions? do they happen to be Miguelite propositions? and have we been making ourselves the gratuitous Plenipotentiaries of Don Miguel and of Spain, for the purpose of persuading Don Pedro to agree to an arrangement, the effect of which would have been, to establish in Portugal that influence of Spain, which it has always heretofore been the great aim of English policy to exclude? All these circumstances render it absolutely necessary that these negotiations should be laid before Parliament. In the present state of this affair I do not propose to Parliament to pronounce any opinion, I only call for papers. The Government by presenting papers have pleaded to this tribunal; they are therefore bound to furnish us with the necessary elements of judgment. I ask Parliament to pronounce no opinion, because I am very sure, that for the present, there is no intention of recognizing Don Miguel. Events which have happened in the Brazils, determinations which the Emperor is understood to have taken, and circumstances which we hear are about to happen in Terceira, must necessarily induce our Government to pause, and wait the course of events, before they take a step which might prove so embarrassing to them; and, indeed, if the reports, which we hear, are founded in truth, the Government is more likely to be under the necessity of recognizing a Regency at Terceira, in the name of Donna Maria, whose rights, as Queen of Portugal, they have openly acknowledged. Sir, when upon former occasions, I have felt it my duty to bring under the consideration of the House, the foreign policy of his Majesty's Ministers, and to point out, what I think, the false and injurious principles upon which they have acted; my right hon. friends, for want perhaps, of better arguments to assail me with, have endeavoured to put me down with a cry; and one and all hare exclaimed to the House, "Listen not to him, for he would involve you in war?" and I dare say I shall hear the same charge repeated this evening, as the readiest way of dealing with a difficult discussion. Sir, I deny the charge, both in argument and in fact. I say that war 99 neither is the object of my wish, nor would have been the consequence of the measures which I would have advised. I maintain that, on the contrary, war is much more likely to result from the system of policy pursued by his Majesty's Government. I am neither mad, nor destitute of ordinary sense; how, then, is it possible, I could wish to plunge my country into unnecessary war? A celebrated writer, who lived in a country where military glory, beyond all other things, dazzles the public mind, has justly observed, that none are really fond of war, but those who are ignorant of its evils. And if there are any in this country whom a love of national glory can blind to the magnitude of the price, by which alone that glory can be purchased, sure I am, that the trophies of that war, which ended at Trafalgar and at Waterloo, might satiate the most ardent imagination, and reconcile it to a century of peace. But peace is best maintained, by a dignified, and above all, by a just behaviour; by she wing that we respect ourselves, and by gaining the respect of others; by neither doing, nor bearing injustice; by neither offering, nor brooking affront; by neither seeking a quarrel, nor inviting insult, by proclaiming that we never will accept one. But above all, the maxim of a great country ought to be, "Be just, and fear not." We should steer a straightforward course, diverted neither by timid apprehension of the strong, nor by the temptation of preying upon the weak: and then, if war should be forced upon us, by the violence and injustice of others, we should be strong in that union which arises from a consciousness of right; and we should carry into battle that cheering encouragement which the sympathy of bystanders inspires. But by pursuing an opposite course, by leaguing with the oppressor, and trampling upon the oppressed; by submitting to wrong from others, and perpetrating wrong ourselves; by making personal and party objects, instead of great principles, the rule of our conduct; we break down and confound all those moral distinctions, in which our strength ought to he; and we find ourselves at last involved in a labyrinth of complications, out of which there is no escape, except by humiliating concessions, or else by unjust, and therefore disadvantageous war. That this is no visionary picture, recent declarations demonstrate. Ministers themselves have admitted, that 100 the state of this Portuguese question is not what it ought to be; and that because other nations have not chosen to accept from us, our interpretation of what we chose to call their duty, the chances of the preservation of peace are not what they would otherwise have been. Why this is undoubtedly true; and it is impossible to deny, that the course which the Government has pursued with respect to Portugal, may lead to results which may seriously threaten the tranquility of Europe. Changes have taken place in councils beyond the Atlantic; changes may take place in councils on this side the Atlantic; other nations of Europe may not continue to leave the affairs of Portugal, as matter exclusively belonging to England; popular feeling may stimulate other Governments, to give to a rightful Queen and her suffering subjects, the same protection and aid which England is considered as having afforded to a faction and an usurper; and if, in the mean while, we should have committed ourselves by an act of recognition, we may be placed in a situation, in which we should have no alternative, but either to abandon and desert Don Miguel and his friends, as we have already abandoned and deserted the constitutional party, or else to engage in war, for the support of Don Miguel! Speeches which have lately been made from foreign thrones are well deserving of attention. The Speech from our Throne at the beginning of this Session, informed us, that the King of England could announce no prospect of a reconciliation between the Princes of the House of Braganza; another Monarch, in a recent speech to his legislature, says, that he is engaged in concert with his allies, in endeavours to promote the tranquillity of the Peninsula. Besides the difference of action, there is a difference of expression here which is well deserving of attention; our communication has reference to Portugal only, the other to the whole Peninsula; and does not this seem, to indicate that the last-mentioned negotiation has reference to Spain also, and is calculated to extend and establish her influence in Portugal. It has been the ancient and invariable policy of England, not only to draw close our connexion with Portugal, but to exclude from Portugal the influence of Spain; but I maintain, that the tendency and effect of the system recently pursued has been, to destroy our influence in Portugal, and to establish 101 there the influence of Spain. The triumph of Don Miguel has been the triumph of Spanish influence; the fruit of usurpation, indeed, has ripened at Lisbon, but the root: has drawn its nourishment from Madrid. It might, perhaps, have been thought by some, that the eminent services, civil and military, rendered by us to Don Miguel, might have inspired him with some grateful feelings in return. That our promptitude to recognize his blockades, our vigour to defend his colonies, and our zeal to undertake his negotiations, might have entitled us to the release of a prisoner or two, if we had chosen to content ourselves with such a boon. But I have understood that our Government have vainly endeavoured to obtain from Don Miguel, any relaxation of that system of persecution and oppression, which he has been carrying on towards his subjects. Like the Highlander who, having in battle cut down his opponent, and being asked for quarter, exclaimed, "My dear friend, ask me for any thing else in the world,"— Don Miguel, it is said, would be ready to oblige us by taking up any body we please, but begs that we will not press him about letting any of his prisoners out; and if report does not much mislead us, the Government of England, repulsed and rejected by their ungrateful favourite, have been obliged to become suppliants to Spain, and to intreat the Spanish Government to use its influence with Don Miguel, to prevail upon him to do, what we have been unable to obtain at his hands. It has further been reported, I know not how truly, that the recognition of Don Miguel by Spain, took place either by our advice, or upon previous consultation with us. Now, if all this be true, is it not a proof, that the system pursued by the Government has not only failed in maintaining-that influence in Portugal which, in former times, it has been our object to preserve, but has established there that influence of Spain which we have always endeavoured to exclude. But if we have lost our influence in Portugal, how has fared our character in Europe? In 1826, a Sovereign, in alliance with us, gave to his subjects free institutions; and all Europe immediately exclaimed, "This is the advice of England!" In 1829, another Sovereign, in alliance with us, called to his councils an administration, repugnant to the liberal feelings of his subjects, and looked upon by them as hostile to their 102 Constitutional rights; and all Europe immediately exclaimed, "This is the nomination of England!" Mr. Canning, in 1826, disclaimed the boon, and could hardly prevail upon any body to believe him; the present Government, in 1829, denied the infliction, and the world are equally incredulous. In 1826, when rational freedom seemed to dawn upon Portugal, and to hold out a promise of prosperity and happiness, all men fancied they could trace in that auspicious event, the secret working of the beneficent hand of England; in 1829, when a cloud over spread France, and seemed to threaten the subversion of her dearest institutions, all mankind pronounced, that it must be the handiwork of England. Whence has arisen this great and sudden change in public opinion? Why is it, that England, who only three short years ago was hailed as the author of good, should now be branded as the instigator of evil? Why, the reason is, that here, as well as hereafter, men will be judged, not by their professions, but by their deeds. I say, then, I that we have shrunk from solemn and; public engagements; that we have abandoned to exile, to beggary, to dungeons, and to death, thousands of men, whom a knowledge of those engagements, might justly have led to count upon our protection; that we have lost our influence in Portugal, and have thrown her into the arms of Spain; that we have tarnished our character in Europe, and endangered the permanence of peace; and if any man shall ask me, what has been accomplished, by sacrifices so many, and so great, the only answer I can make to him is, that Constitutional freedom in Portugal has been destroyed. Sir, I will now read to the House what it is that I propose to move for. "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:
- 1. The immediate marriage of the Queen of Portugal with the Infant, Don Miguel, who should take the title of King.
- 2. The conclusion of a family compact, of which the Emperor of Austria should be umpire.
- 3. That in case of the death of the Queen without issue, before Don Miguel, (quod Dî prius omen in ipsum convertant) the crown should pass to the royal branch of Portugal; (that is, to Don Miguel.)
- 4. That in case of the death of the King Regent, the Queen should reign.
- 5. That no notice should be taken of the changes, which had happened, in the form of Government in Portugal.
- 1. Extract of so much of the instructions given to Sir W. H. Clinton, on his taking the command of the British Force, sent to Portugal, in December 1826, as relates to the interference of the troops under his command, in suppressing disturbances in Lisbon, and in protecting the persons of the Royal Family of Portugal.
- 2. Extract of such parts of any communications made to Sir William A' Court, as relate to this interference.
- 3. Copy of the Protocol of the conference held in London, on the 12th of January 1828,
103 between the Ministers of England, Austria, and Portugal.
- 4. Copy of any Document explaining what "had' been settled in England," relative to the course to be pursued by Don Miguel on his arrival in Portugal; as referred to by Sir Frederick Lamb, in his despatch of 1st March 1820, (No. 17, of the Papers presented to Parliament in June 1829.)
- 5. Copy of the Instructions given to Sir Frederick Lamb, on his proceeding to Portugal, as His Majesty's Ambassador, in 1828.
- 6. Extracts of such further parts of the despatches from Sir Frederick Lamb, as relate to the proceedings in Portugal, in violation of the engagements entered into by Don Miguel, and to the execution of the instructions given to Sir Frederick Lamb, in consequence thereof.
- 7. Extracts of such parts of any dispatches addressed to Sir Frederick Lamb, while in Portugal, as relate to the proceedings in Portugal, in violation of the engagements of Don Miguel, and to the earnest and repeated remonstrances made in consequence thereof, in the name of his Majesty, and mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, on 24th July, 1828.
- 8. Copy of the instructions given in 1828, to Lord Strangford, on his proceeding to the Brazils, and Copies or Extracts of such parts of all despatches to or from him, and to or from the Marquis of Barbacena, as relate to those negotiations for the settlement of the affairs of Portugal, which were announced in the Speech from the Throne, on the 5th of Feb. 1829.
- 9. Copies of the Correspondence between the Duke of Wellington, and the Marquises of Barbacena and Palmella, regarding the arrival in this country of the Queen, Donna Maria da Gloria, referred to in the Duke of Wellington's Letter to Lord Aberdeen, Jan.1829. (No. 37, of the Papers presented to Parliament in June 1829.)
, on the Motion being put, rose and claimed the indulgence of the House while he stated a few objections to the Motion of his noble friend, and a few reasons why the House should not comply with the Motion. He would not pretend to determine the decision of the House, knowing, as he did, that several of his right hon. friends were ready and better able than he was to answer the noble Lord; he would only enforce some points the noble Lord had slurred over, and explain the incorrect view he had taken of others. The noble Lord had already made as serious an attack as he could make if he had all the papers he moved for, and they corresponded entirely to his supposed view of their contents. Though the noble Lord's speech was nominally for the production 104 of certain documents, it really was a censure on the present Administration; and that delivered, too, with the confidence of a belief that the documents would bear him out in his animadversions. The only object, indeed, for which the speech of the noble Lord was made, was to attack the Administration now in existence; but he would beg to remind the noble Lord, that most of the actions complained of were begun under the Administration of which he was a member, and which must share the blame, if blame were due to them, with the present Administration. He could show that the course pursued by the present Ministers in relation to Portugal was the same in principle as that of their predecessors in office. He should first object to the production of papers during the progress of negotiations, which might frustrate the objects of them. The noble Lord did not directly assert that the Government had advised the giving, and had supported the Constitution, but he said that which implied as much. The question for the House to determine was, was the British Government the originator of the Portuguese Constitution, or was it not? His noble friend knew well that the official documents would prove the negative of such a proposition, and therefore he adroitly confined himself to insinuating, that though we were not literally, we were morally bound to guarantee that Constitution. Now he begged leave to explicitly deny that such was the fact, and to state, that neither as originators, nor as suggestors, nor as abettors, was this country bound to maintain that Constitution. Dates, as the noble Lord very well knew, clearly showed that this country had no act nor part in the framing of the Constitution which Don Pedro granted to his Portuguese subjects. Without taking up the time of the House with proving this fact, which was, as his noble friend well knew, indisputable, and on which the whole question virtually rested, he would at once appeal to the very best authority on the subject.—he need perhaps not say, he meant the late Mr. Canning. The speeches of Mr. Canning had been collected and edited with no ordinary care, and might be considered as the correct records of his sentiments, and nothing could be stronger than Mr. Canning's declaration, in his speech of December 12th, 1826, which never could be forgotten by any one who had the good fortune to hear it. That lamented states- 105 man then said, "It has been surmised that this measure, as well as the abdication which it accompanied, was the offspring of our advice. No such thing. Great Britain did not suggest this measure. It is not her duty nor her practice to offer suggestions for the internal regulation of Foreign States." Again Mr. Canning stated—"I am neither the champion nor the critic of the Portuguese Constitution. But it is admitted on all hands to have proceeded from a legitimate source—a consideration which has mainly reconciled continental Europe to its establishment; and to us, as Englishmen, it is recommended by the ready acceptance which it has met with from all orders of the Portuguese people." That was the principle, and that alone, on which Mr. Canning had countenanced the Portuguese Constitution; and that, he contended, had been the guiding rule of the present Government "with respect to Portugal. Further on, Mr. Canning continued, "Nothing shall be done by us to enforce the establishment of the Constitution; but we must take care that nothing shall be done by others to prevent it from being fairly carried into effect." And in a still more striking passage, showing that it was only in the event of foreign aggression that we should interfere—" Let us fly, he said, to the aid of Portugal, by whomsoever attacked—because it is our duty to do so; and let us cease that interference where our duty ends. "When the time arrived for producing the several official documents relating to our recent transactions with Portugal, it would be seen that no departure had been made from the principles so eloquently asserted by Mr. Canning; but till that time arrived, he thought it but fair that the House should at least refrain from expressing any censure on those transactions. He did not agree, indeed, with the noble Lord, that the time was arrived when these papers could be laid before the House. It was yet too early for the noble Lord to obtain the object he had in view. The noble Lord had argued his case on the strength of a number of documents which were piled on the seat behind him, and from which he made frequent quotations. He did not know what might be the degree of authenticity which those documents possessed, but this he must say, that when called on to produce the papers which might be an answer to them, and which might prove the noble Lord's statements not to be 106 authentic, he would reply, that these documents were in a course of preparation, and that when laid on the Table of the House, they would prove that the noble Lord's arguments were not quite so well founded, and that the imputations which he threw out against the Government could not be so well supported as he would have the House to believe. The noble Lord had alluded often to the question of the propriety of interference. Now, he would not enter into that question at the present moment. He would merely beg the House to observe, that when the papers were laid on the Table, they would show that strict attention had been paid to the principle laid down in the oft-repeated declaration of Mr. Canning, that it was not the feeling of this country to interfere with the internal affairs of Portugal. It seemed, however, to be the object of the noble Lord by this Motion to procure; premature production of a portion of these papers, in order to find a cause of censure on the conduct of the Government. Against this it was the duty of his Majesty's Ministers to guard; and, inasmuch as it appeared to him likely to be prejudicial to the great interests that were at stake, and to throw an impediment in the way of the successful and prosperous conclusion of the negotiations then pending, he felt that the Government, consistently too with what had been the practice on all former occasions, ought not to produce a portion of the documents, nor give the information required, until these negotiations were brought to a termination. Ministers had no personal reluctance to produce those documents, for they knew they would prove their best justification; but they deemed it as yet premature to make a disclosure, which might thwart them in attaining the great object they had in view—the preservation of the British alliance with Portugal. He believed, too; that the production of those papers at this moment would injure the interests of all the parties concerned in the pacification of that country. When produced, which he hoped would be at no distant time, they would prove, that the present Ministry had acted throughout these unpleasant transactions in the full spirit of Mr. Canning's policy of non-interference with the internal concerns of the Portuguese nation, and it was only a just regard for these considerations which induced the Government, on this occasion, to abstain from promulgat- 107 ing a triumphant defence from all the loose and idle accusations that had been levelled against them. His noble friend would, in some of his ingenious surmises, which were wrapped in his usual strain of eloquence, have the House to believe that Ministers had, in the policy which they had adopted, been influenced by, or subservient to, the insidious policy of some foreign power. For this, again, there was not a shadow at' foundation: he would give it a positive and peremptory denial, as would be demonstrated when the papers were forthcoming. Indeed, he had expected more from the candour of his noble friend than sin insinuation, that the moment the Government lost the co-operation of his support, then, and not till then, they determined to pursue quite an opposite course, and to negative the former policy of which he and they had been previously the advocates. The Government had, throughout the whole course of these transactions with Portugal, looked solely to the maintenance of the honour and dignity of this country. The noble Lord had himself been very lately a party to these transactions; and what, he would ask, did the noble Lord see in the conduct or principles of the Government now, which could justify him in supposing there had been so great a departure from that honourable course of conduct pursued during the time the noble Lord formed a part of the Administration? He could assure him that its principles were as pure and as honourable as during his official life, and that the production of the papers would prove them to have been so. The noble Lord, if he understood him correctly, had blamed the Government for withdrawing the English troops from Portugal, and so allowing the usurpation of Don Miguel: but the noble Lord must know that it was the intention of the Government, in furtherance of their principle of non-interference, to withdraw the troops before even the arrival of Don Miguel at Lisbon. This determination was taken while that Government was in existence of which the noble Lord was a member, and it was carried into execution as soon as Portugal was secure from foreign aggression, in strict conformity with Mr. Canning's principle of non-interference with its internal concerns. He begged the House to remember, that he did not pretend, in the few remarks he had offered, to refute all the noble Lord's vague assertions, but he could not hear so many ac- 108 cusations brought against the Government without replying to some of them. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by asserting that the papers connected with the negotiations would, when produced, prove an ample vindication of the conduct of the Government; but that he was so deeply impressed with the injury to the public service which must result from the premature production of a part of them, that he must give the Motion of the noble Lord a decided negative.
§ On the Question being put, strange's were ordered to withdraw, but
Lord John Russell
rose and said, he could not allow the Question to go to a division, although reluctant to detain the House, without stating his reasons for supporting the Motion of the noble Lord, when the Speech from the Throne stated, "that the numerous embarrassments arising from the interruption of our diplomatic relations with Portugal increased his Majesty's desire to effect the termination of the evil;" and when they were told that the recognition of Don Miguel was not far distant, he thought there was no to so proper for the production of the papers connected with the negotiations as the present, in order that the House might be able to judge of the propriety of the course of conduct pursued by his Majesty's Ministers. If the papers were not to be produced now, he did not know when they would be. It was now more than two years since the usurpation took place. It was more than one since a motion of a right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Mackintosh) obtained a portion of the papers connected with the negotiations which ensued; although it was now contended that to produce any part of the correspondence would be premature and unjust. Premature information was given twelve months ago, but further information was withheld now, because it was not mature enough for production. This was the argument of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman, feeling himself unable to answer the noble Lord, had shown a discretion much to be commended, by passing over in silence all the most important topics of his speech. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, however, that the Government of this country, as a government, did not give the Constitution to Portugal. But it interfered, as it were individually, and the ambassador of this country, Lord 109 Stuart, had concurred in its propriety, had been instrumental in its transmission from Brazil, and instrumental in persuading Don Pedro to adopt it. Mr. Canning, also, when it arrived, declared distinctly, in one of his despatches to our ambassador at Lisbon, directing him to recommend the Portuguese Regency to put in operation that Constitution, "that any other course than the adoption of the Constitution would be lull of danger, not only to the safety of the Crown of Portugal, but the Monarchy of Brazil." This was certainly on the part of Mr. Canning, giving strong advice to the authorities in Portugal, and in considering these transactions, it should always be remembered that Portugal was the weaker power, long accustomed to look to England for support in her struggles and difficulties, and assistance in her times of danger. The right hon. Gentleman said, that while this Government felt bound to protect Portugal from aggression, it had repeatedly declared it would abstain from all interference in her internal concerns Well, then, it was during this noninterference the Constitution was accepted. Yet it was said, that it never was received by the people, and that its overthrow was to be attributed to their want of attachment. Then how came it to be established? How came Don Miguel to send the Duke of Cadaval on a mission to Don Pedro, to compliment him upon his acts, if the Constitution were deemed worthless by those for whom it was intended? But the question, as regarded England, was simply this,—was the Government at liberty to recommend the adoption of this Constitution, considering the relative connection of the two countries; and then to withhold all moral support from the constitutionalists, who stood forth to vindicate the legitimate authority of the throne of Portugal. If any reliance were to be placed upon the faith and honour of national support, these men, he thought, had a claim to it, after the adoption of a Constitution had been recommended by the British Minister. Those persons who are called the friends of that Constitution, and who have suffered grievously for their adherence to it, were not disposed to become parties at any time to a rebellion against the existing Government. They accepted the Constitution because it came to them guaranteed by the credit of England; and they afterwards rose in 110 support of it, because they considered themselves to be supporting a legitimate authority, which would receive the aid and countenance of the English Government. It was cruel to think to what a fate these unhappy persons had been subjected, and to feel that their chains and the dungeons to which they had been dragged, and the scaffolds on which they had perished for their support of the Constitution, were the work of the English Government, and the result of that course of conduct which had proved it so inconsistent with itself. It was asked, bad as the transaction was, what remedy was there hut a declaration of war against Don Miguel? His firm belief was, that no such stop would have been necessary, but. that the firm and prompt language of remonstrance would have availed to save the Portuguese Constitution—sustaining it by inspiring the constitutionalists with confidence in the good faith of England. From that part of his noble friend's speech, in which he spoke of the manner in which Don Miguel had dealt with the Constitution immediately upon his return to Portugal, he unfortunately differed. After that prince left England, his noble friend was one of the Ministers who signed the order for the British troops to remain some time longer in Lisbon. Now, he must say, that had he been a party to these transactions, he should have been averse from leaving these troops in Lisbon after the prince's arrival: had he, however, consented to their so remaining, it would only have been upon condition that instructions should have been given, to our Minister at Lisbon, to have kept a steady eye upon the movements of such a person as Don Miguel. Mr. Canning had eloquently said, "That where the British flag waves, foreign dominion shall not come:" he (Lord J. Russell) would have added, to have rendered the position more secure, "Where British influence rests, perfidy, treachery, and disloyalty shall not be allowed to prosper." That would, he confessed, have been his decision, and the British ambassador, supported by British troops, would have controlled and baffled the intrigues and knavery of the profligates of Don Miguel's court. By his remonstrances he would have prevented him from proceeding step by step towards the destruction of the Constitution which he had sworn to defend. The first step of the tyrant plainly 111 evinced what were his intentions; he began by displacing some of the governors of the provinces, and by removing particular colonels from regiments, substituting in their places creatures of his own. Two regiments became, however, exasperated, and refused to submit to this change. Now there was a remarkable anecdote which he could mention, as connected with the treacherous movements of Don Miguel. When thus his views became apparent, some Portuguese officers of rank determined at once to seize him by stratagem, and transport him to his brother, in Brazil. They had completed their arrangements, and the execution of the plot was to have been done without bloodshed: it was thought advisable, however, to impart a knowledge of it to the British Commandant, the consequence of which was the assurance, that the project would, if attempted, be immediately resisted by the English troops, who were bound to protect the persons of the Royal Family of Portugal. Thus was British interposition rendered useless for the protection of the Constitution, but sufficiently effective to maintain Don Miguel until he had completed its overthrow. But here he would call the attention of the House to a book lately published in Paris, which professed to give, in the appendix, important official communications alleged to have passed, during these transactions, between the Marquis of Palmella and the Earl Dudley; and between the Marquis of Barbacena and the Earl of Aberdeen. This book was a sort of manifesto in favour of the rights of Donna Maria, and explanatory of her situation. The Ministers were not to imagine, that because they chose to withhold information, and to garble documents, doling out miserable portions of them as it suited their purpose, that the representatives of other Powers, who were seriously involved in these negotiations, would likewise refrain from publishing more full and fair details. In this book it would be seen, that in a correspondence between the Marquis of Barbacena and the Earl of Aberdeen, some discussion arose about a proposition which was supposed to have been carried to Brazil from the British Government, the object of which was, to induce Don Pedro to consent to the marriage of his daughter with Don Miguel, and then to recognize him as the legitimate possessor of the Portuguese throne. In referring to this correspon- 112 dence, he could not help remarking how strange it appeared, that in the case of Don Miguel, who had perfidiously violated all his oaths, who had given a grave affront both to the dignity of the Crown of his British Majesty, and likewise to the nation, the first step taken by a Minister of that Sovereign and people should be, not to oppose or disavow the traitor, but send a mission to a distant country to endeavour to carry into effect all the wishes, views, and designs, of this false individual. According to this mission, the crown of Portugal was to be placed on the head of Don Miguel, the only accompanying provision being that he should marry Donna Maria, and have thus placed in his hands the person of the only individual who could be successfully opposed to him as a legitimate rival. It would seem from this correspondence, that there were five propositions submitted by the Earl of Aberdeen to the Marquis of Barbacena, but the Earl of Aberdeen, in his reply, intimates that they were merely suggestions. The Marquis rejoins, that he was glad of it, and begs, that to prevent future mistakes, they may be submitted to him in writing. The five propositions were, 1st, that the Queen should immediately marry Don Miguel, he holding the title of King; 2nd, that a family compact should be concluded under the mediation of the Emperor of Austria; 3rd, that in case of the Queen's death, the crown should pass to the Portuguese branch of the royal family; 4th, that in case the King should die, the Queen should reign; 5th, that no notice should be taken of the changes in the government. Lord Aberdeen then stated, "That it is indispensable for her most faithful Majesty the Queen Donna Maria to continue her journey to Vienna, as at first intended by her father." Why this should have been held indispensable he confessed himself at a loss to comprehend; unless perhaps Ministers thought that, because Don Miguel had taken a journey to Vienna, and had come from thence to take his seat upon the throne of Lisbon, and afterwards succeeded in his usurpation, the young Queen might, from the same jaunt have equal luck in ejecting the intruder: or whether it was, that as the air of Vienna had impregnated Don Miguel with good sound principles of loyalty, there was an equal chance of the same success with the young Princess, and thereby some security that she would be weaned 113 from any violent propensity towards new opinions. Which, or whether either of these causes had influenced the British Ministers, he could not say, but it was due to Lord Aberdeen to add, that with the proposed recognition of the sovereignty of Don Miguel was to be a recommendation of a political amnesty, as an essential preliminary to the pacification of Portugal. Now, it was singular enough, that the visit of the young Queen to Vienna was to be an indispensable requisition, while the amnesty was to be a mere recommendation. The utter hopelessness, however, of any amnesty which could flow from a source so foul as that, to use the words of the noble Secretary of State, of "a false, perfidious, cruel, and cowardly prince," must be apparent, unless it were supported by something more than a recommendation, and made as indispensable as the young Queen's going to Vienna. He must state his admiration of the answers of the Marquis of Barbacena, who, when required to surrender his master's daughter into the hands of Don Miguel, said he would concur in any measures calculated to place Donna Maria on the throne of Portugal; but that the principles of good faith and of paternal tenderness which marked the character of the Emperor Don Pedro, would never permit him to marry his daughter to the usurper of her crown—a sentiment which, the Marquis said, he was sure his Britannic Majesty would participate in: which, however, the sequel proved that the King's Ministers did not adopt; and in this he rejoiced they had been defeated. He rejoiced that among the other vicissitudes which had befallen the young Queen, she had not been consigned to the palace of the usurper; that she had escaped the last calamity of being the companion of his bed,—Nec victoris heri tétigit captiva cubile!He rejoiced at that escape, he rejoiced that Miguel had not another crime to answer for in his conduct to his niece; and if she had not this additional suffering, he had not to answer for that other crime; it was not to be attributed to any sense of honour, good feeling, or policy, displayed by the members of his Majesty's Government. He lamented to say that a noble Lord was the minister to whom the negotiation at Brazil, for the attainment of these objects, was specially intrusted. In referring to all these trans- 114 actions he was compelled to say that they tended to lower the high tone and liberal policy of this country, to suit the feebler policy of arbitrary states, and to weaken and disfavour the growth of popular rights. He thought that other powers of Europe, instead of withholding approbation from the conduct of the unfortunate Portuguese, who had been driven from their country, and had not found a very hospitable shelter amongst us, would wish them success, and give them rather support; for theirs was the cause of loyalty, of freedom, and of justice.
§ Mr. Calcraft
was not surprised at the natural indignation which had been expressed by the noble Lord against the perfidy and treachery which had placed Portugal in its present situation. But Ministers, whose duty it was to consult the honour and true interests of the country, must not allow themselves to be induced to swerve from the direct path of their duty by any considerations having reference to the personal character of the princes with whom they had to treat. His object in rising, was to refute the imputation that the subversion of the Portugal Constitution had been occasioned by the influence of those Ministers. Any other line of policy than that which they had followed, particularly the line of policy so warmly, he might say passionately, recommended by the noble Lord and his friends, would be immediately followed by war; and war without any adequate reason, which, in their cooler moments, the noble Lord and his friends would condemn. Nothing else could be the result of the present Motion, and of the manner in which it had been brought forward; nothing else could be the result of calling on statesmen to act with a view to the personal character of Sovereigns, than war. War! war! interminable war, without any adequate motive, or any justification, either of interest, or of honour. He recollected that several of his hon. friends, whom he saw sitting on the other side of the House, had deprecated the interference in foreign affairs which had led to the late wars, and been the cause of imposing great burthens on the country; and he hoped they would pause, and not suffer themselves to be carried away by indignation against the personal character of a prince. Whatever indignation, therefore, they might feel at the past conduct of the 115 prince who had seated himself on the Portuguese throne, which became them admirably as men of honour and humanity, but which ill became statesmen; whatever might be their feelings now, he called on them, recollecting their former opinions, to pause in their design of hurrying his Majesty's Government into a course which could only lead to an aggravation of the acts they had formerly so loudly deplored. As to the question of interference in the affairs of foreign countries, they who had lived as long in the world as he had done, knew the evils of such interference. There was no one thing which Mr. Canning more distinctly disclaimed, on the occasion of sending the troops to Portugal, than the right of this country to interfere in the internal affairs of any other. He completely concurred in the principles of Mr. Canning on that point. Those troops were intended to resist foreign aggression, not to take part in domestic strife. In Mr. Canning's principles on this point, he fully concurred, and if he wanted any proof of that statesman's determination strictly to abide by those principles, he should find it in his conduct towards Sir Charles Stuart. That ambassador exposed himself to many imputations for making himself the bearer of the Constitution. And what was Mr. Canning's conduct. Why he instantly disclaimed any part in Sir Charles Stuart's proceedings; and would not interfere to take the least share of the responsibility. He called, then, upon all the admirers of Mr. Canning, who disclaimed all interference in the internal affairs of Portugal, a policy in which he repeated he concurred, to resist the policy recommended by the noble Lord, which was that of interference. The question at issue between the Government and the noble Lord was, "has the Government done its duty," and to ascertain this, the noble Lord wished for further information. That wish had been replied to by his right hon. friend, who had said, that when the pending negotiations were at an end, the information should be furnished; but that any communication at the present moment would probably interfere with the negotiations in progress. Such an answer would probably satisfy the House. To persist in a motion for papers after such an answer, betrayed a determined mistrust in his Majesty's Government. Should the House be of the same opinion, 116 it must at once say that the Government was unfit to conduct the business of the country. That some documents were furnished last year seemed to him no argument to shew that more ought now to be furnished, when it was distinctly stated, that doing so would interfere with pending negotiations. He could not perceive any ground for the mistrust expressed by the noble Lord, except that he was no longer a member of the Government. In fact, its policy towards Portugal had not varied from that adopted by the Government of which the noble Lord was a member. No fact had been stated by the noble Lord to show that anything short of actual hostility on the part of his Majesty's Government could have prevented what had taken place in Portugal. Unless the perfidy of Don Miguel towards Portugal were to be considered, therefore, a sufficient cause for war unless a different course, likely to bring matters to a pacific and satisfactory conclusion, could be pointed out to his Majesty's Government from that which they had adopted, then it must be admitted to be the safest and the wisest. It had been said, that if Mr. Canning were living, he would have protected the lives and property of the unfortunate Portuguese refugees; but unless his sentiments had materially changed, Mr. Canning would have abstained from the interference recommended by the noble Lord. He would have exerted the energies of his great mind to mitigate the sufferings of these people; but he would not have plunged his country into the calamities of war. Every thing short of that had been done by the present Government. Negotiations had been entered into, remonstrances had not been spared, moderation had been recommended, humanity had been enforced, and unless the country were to make war for the support of the Portuguese Constitution, it was not in the power of the Government to do more. It had also been said, that we ought to behave like good neighbours to Portugal. True; but that behaviour consisted in doing good offices to a neighbour, and not in interfering in his domestic matters. It had been said, that neither wit nor talents could compensate for want of prudence; and if the Government were to be compared to a private man, he was sure that for him no maxim was more applicable than that he should not interfere with his 117 neighbour's family quarrels. His right hon. friend had, however, so completely answered all the noble Lord's arguments, that he felt it to be quite unnecessary to trespass any further on the attention of the House.
§ Lord Morpeth
said, he was of opinion, that his noble friend had completely established his case, and a painful case it appeared to him to be. Enough had been proved to justify his noble friend in deploring the fallen credit of this country, and arraigning the conduct which had been pursued by her Government. The conduct of England had been such as at first to give hopes to the liberal party in Portugal of support; but that afterwards it had contributed to crush their cause. By this conduct, England had lost one party in Portugal which had always been attached to her without gaining the affections of any other. It had been asked, what were the Government to do? But he would tell them what it ought not to have done. It ought not to have permitted the correspondence of Lord Beresford, boasting of the friendship of his party for Don Miguel; it ought not to have acknowledged with breathless haste, the blockade of Oporto; it ought not to have allowed the occupation of Portugal by our army to appear as the proximate cause of the downfall of the Portuguese Constitution. The right hon. Member for Wareham deprecated any interference in domestic affairs; but how could we interfere more effectually in the domestic affairs of any man than by recommending him a wife? The right hon. Gentleman also talked of the evils of war. Thrice he repeated the words bella, horrida bella! He always rejoiced to hear the invaluable, and he feared in the present state of the country, the necessary word, peace; but, as a right hon. Gentleman had observed in the discussion on the Navy Estimates, the best way to avert war was to show a readiness for it if required. In his opinion, however, the policy which our Government had pursued was most calculated to lead us into war. In the speech, indeed, to which he had just referred, there seemed to him to lurk some dark forebodings of a state of hostility. It would be a most lamentable circumstance, he thought, if the conduct of England with respect to Portugal should lead to war. Without noticing the effect it would have 118 on the internal prosperity of this country, he would look at the position in which we stood with respect to the continent of Europe. In that continent there might be said to exist two chief powers, the military power of Russia, and the power of the liberal party of France. Both these powers were once disposed to admit the ascendancy of England; but we had contrived to irritate and offend Russia; what effect our conduct had had in France, it was likely we should learn in a few days. He hoped the noble Lord would press his Motion to a division: and if so, he should certainly give his vote in favour of it, in consideration of the justice of his reasoning, and the righteousness of his cause.
said, that his noble relation had shown the correspondence to which the noble Lord referred to the noble Duke at the head of his Majesty's Government, who had expressed it as his opinion, that that correspondence was not calculated to compromise his Majesty's Government.
§ Mr. E. Davenport
said, he gave his cordial thanks to the noble Lord who had introduced the subject to the House, and he congratulated those who had preceded him in the debate on the manly stand, they seemed disposed to make against our disgraceful conduct towards Portugal. Two years ago, when he brought forward a motion on the subject, the House appeared to look with perfect apathy at the matter, though he believed that there was scarcely a period of our history, in which such an appeal as that which had been made continually to the honour and humanity of Englishmen, by the unhappy Portuguese, during the last two years, would have been made in vain. At that time, however, the watchfulness of Parliament over foreign affairs, had gone to sleep. It was first wholly occupied by the Finance Committee, and afterwards by the Catholic Question. If Ministers had taken care of our internal interest, which certainly the present state of the country did not prove, they had been unmindful of the national honour abroad. It was quite evident at that time, that a despotism, founded on treachery and perjury, was to be established in Portugal, under the connivance, if not by the assistance, of England. England, he believed, assisted in establishing that despotism. She had got enshrined in her 119 foreign office the spirit of Metternich, and she had become the willing instrument of tyranny. She had aided that despotism by the withdrawal of the British troops just at the time when they might have done some good, and compensated for the evil they had been the means of effecting, by the unconditional surrender to Don Miguel of those fortresses which were the keys of the Tagus, and by a peer and privy councillor having corresponded with the friends of the usurper. Another great error was, promoting the author of this correspondence, instead of dismissing him entirely from office. It was to such men as Lord Beresford and Lord Aberdeen that the honour of this country was now confided. The troops had been withdrawn, according to the latter, because it was time; but, why were they not withdrawn before Miguel was secure in his usurpation? The forts had been given up, it was said, because we had no right to retain them; but, for what purpose, or by what right did we ever occupy them? If we had a right to go to Portugal at all, we had a right to keep our troops there, and garrison the forts till the purpose for which we went was completed. That purpose was the security of Portugal, which was not yet accomplished. The noble Lord at the head of Foreign Affairs, seemed to like tyrants; he had favoured them by paper blockades; he seemed disposed to recognise one. The celebrated negotiator who could not pronounce the name of Buonaparte hastily ran to bow himself before the throne of a royal usurper. But it was said that any interference on our part would lead to a war. He denied that such would be the case; but even if such a crisis should arrive, the apprehension of it should not prevent us from interfering on the side of liberty and justice. But with whom, he would ask, were we to go to war—with the wretched Government of Lisbon? Two brigades would, he believed, be amply sufficient to settle all disputes with it. Had we kept our troops in that country, at an expense of a few thousand pounds, till the will of Don Pedro had been known, we should have conferred on Portugal the lasting benefit of a free Constitution, and ensured the peace of Europe. The foreign policy of this country was at present disgraceful to its character. And he called on the Members of that side of the House, to 120 vindicate the national honour in the face of Europe. He hoped, indeed he was certain, that notwithstanding the distressed state of the country, it was not so fallen and so poverty-stricken as not to be able to sustain our honour and our character amongst foreign nations. We had been the champions of freedom in every clime, and now we had become, under the guidance of those men who had assented to the occupation of Naples and, Piedmont, and Spain, the ready abettors of tyranny and oppression. The Ministers, indeed, seemed to think that free institutions on the continent were a nuisance, like the smoke of a steam-engine, or the effluvia of a gas-work, which every despotic power was bound to abate. But though that were the opinion of Ministers, it was not the opinion of the country. It was not yet in love with the cold, and formal, and blighting tyranny of Austria, or the ruthless and destroying virulence of Don Miguel. The country would not consent to acknowledge that usurper, however much the Ministers might recommend him, and he was sure that Ministers did not possess sufficient courage to fix such an indelible disgrace on our national honour, as, in spite of the country, to recognize that despotic tyrant.
Sir F. Burdett
, after complimenting the noble Viscount upon the eloquent and argumentative manner in which he had introduced this Motion to the House, proceeded to say that he felt that this was a subject in which the character of this country was at stake, and for that reason he wished, as an Englishman deeply concerned for the national honour of his country, to declare his opinions upon the question. As yet, indeed, no answer had been given, nor even an attempt at answer had been made to the able speech with which the question had been introduced. It was not, therefore, necessary to offer any of his sentiments to the House, nor did he mean to do so with any view to make that clearer which was already as clear as the noon-day, but only to make known his own opinions. The national character of this country, he knew from experience, was at present at a very low estimate amongst the people on the continent of Europe, and that was entirely attributable to the foreign policy which had been latterly pursued by our Government. The Motion of the noble Lord, if acceded to, was calculated in some degree to raise our 121 character amongst foreign nations, and to prove in the face of Europe that the House of Commons at least was not indifferent to the national honour. All the most important portions of the documents bearing upon this question were still withhold by Government, and it was absolutely necessary that those which were called for by the noble Lord should be laid before the House, before it could possibly pronounce any opinion as to the transactions to which those documents had reference. It was absolutely necessary, he would repeat, that all those papers should be laid before the House. The right hon. Gentleman, the Master of the Mint, who had attempted to answer the able speech of the noble Lord had offered a most flimsy pretence for refusing to give those documents and the information which the noble Lord required. The right hon. Gentleman, said, that that would be interfering with pending negotiations. Why, a mere reference to the dates of those papers would show that there was not one of them, or at most, not above one of them, the production of which could possibly interfere with any pending negotiations. In the result of those negotiations the character of this country was deeply involved: it was plain that Ministers were not very chary as to the maintenance of that character; indeed, it was impossible to confide in them in that respect, after what had already occurred; and under such circumstances he conceived that the Mouse ought to insist upon the production of every species of information with regard to the manner in which those negotiations had been conducted. It used to be the characteristic policy of England throughout Europe to aid the cause of liberty and independence—to cherish the feelings of patriotism and love of freedom, to restrain the strong, to assist the weak, to resist the encroachments of despotism, and to afford a refuge to the destitute and oppressed. But the present character of her system of foreign policy was quite the reverse. Although Don Miguel was stigmatized equally by friend and foe, the House could not tell how far he deserved such abuse, unless the papers were produced, and he did not know but the time would soon come when many persons would call him a much calumniated person. He was far from knowing that such language might not speedily be used in reference to Don Miguel by his best 122 friend, Lord Aberdeen, who had lately and justly depicted him to the people of Europe, as "cruel, base, cowardly, false, and treacherous." He did not know how far such language could be reconciled by that noble Lord with the line of policy he recommends, he did not know that Don Miguel deserved the application of such terms, to the noble Lord, he was sure that person might well say——nam si ego dignus hâc contumeliaSum maxume, at tu indignus qui faceres tamen.He was of opinion that the whole of these transactions should be fully detailed to the House and the country. He would like to know how and why Don Miguel was first brought hither, and afterwards confirmed by England in the possession of power in Portugal; how it was that, when there, he acted a part so different from that which he had promised, and we had sanctioned, to which he had bound himself, when here, to perform; and for the performance of which this country was in some measure a guarantee; he should like to know why his conduct, which was a disgrace and insult to the Crown of this country, had not been indignantly chastized? He was convinced that, but for the death of Mr. Canning, Don Miguel would never have played such a part; he would not have dared to falsify his engagements with this country for fear of well-merited punishment. He would have known, if Mr. Canning were living, that he could not enact such a part with impunity, and he would not have had the countenance or supposed good understanding of the English Government to support him in his doings in Portugal. To what extent or amount that countenance went, and how far it was maintained by the correspondence of Lord Beresford, it was not possible to say, unless the House had the whole of the documents before it. If a different line of policy, if the policy of Mr. Canning had been pursued in reference to Portugal, it would have prevented all those difficulties in which we now found ourselves placed. He should say nothing as to the propriety of removing Don Miguel from custody at Vienna, nor should he say whether it devolved upon an English ambassador to return from Brazil with a Constitution in his pocket for Portugal; but he was sure that Mr. Canning, when he found that Don Pedro was determined to give a Constitution to Portugal, was convinced of the necessity of some interference; 123 and he thought it wise and prudent to give our support to the establishment of that Constitution, in order to secure the good will of the party there attached to liberty and England. Mr. Canning, at the time, very properly thought, that if the Constitution were established with the aid of England, the gratitude of the party attached to it, for our exertions, would render the connection between the two countries still more intimate and advantageous. By the countenance then afford- ed to the constitutionalists, we induced them to come forward and risk their lives and fortunes in support of the Constitution; and by the policy which we had since adopted, we delivered them up to be massacred by Don Miguel, or punished and degraded in any way that his malice and cruelty could devise. We abandoned them to be sacrificed in their own country, or to be driven out of it; and what was the species of refuge we afforded them? Upon that point, however, following the example of the noble Lord, he would not dwell, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. C. Grant) was pledged to bring all the transactions relating to Terceira before the House. He would only say, that one mind appeared to pervade all these transactions. But it was asked, why suspect the conduct of England in these transactions? Why suspect it—who could doubt it?Who finds the heifer dead, and bleeding fresh,And sees, fast by, a butcher with an axe,But will suspect't was he that made the slaughter?If there were not grounds for suspicion, why not let us know every thing relating to these transactions? "Peace, peace," was now the word. He trusted that this country was not so fallen in condition and in energy as to be afraid of war. The Minister who would declare that this country durst not go to war did not show any respect for the honour and character of the country which were here so deeply concerned; and if the mere word "war" were to silence all argument, suppress all inquiries, and frighten the House and the country, then must he say that the nation was undone. Though greatly distressed at present, not indeed in comparison to other countries, but compared to herself —to what she had been, and to what she might be but for bad legislation—yet he had no hesitation to give it as his opinion, that in spite of all depressions and distresses, the country was as capable of 124 maintaining its honour as it ever had been. When he heard English Gentlemen get up in that House, and state that the country was in such a condition that she must avoid war at the expense of honour and character, he could only say, that if such were the state of England, the Ministers who had reduced her to it deserved that their heads should be brought to the block. A great man, whose memory he respected and admired, and than whom no man could be a greater enemy to war—he meant the late Mr. Fox—had well said, that the cases in which war might be disputable, were those which included a war for aggrandizement, which was dishonest; a war of ambition, which was indefensible; and a war of interest, which was disgraceful; but he added, that whenever our honour was concerned, we should be always ready to stand forward in its defence, and that unless we did so, we should be no longer fit to hold, and we could not keep, our station in the eyes of the world. Was a dread of war to induce us to recognize that despot Don Miguel—Monstrum nulla virtute redemptum?Was it come to this, that the least resistance being exhibited on his part, we should submit at once, and all because, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Calcraft) had asserted, that we were unable to go to war? That was the surest way to involve us in war; and if we were not prepared at all times for war, we could have nothing but a disgraceful, miserable, and unprofitable peace. He could not, however, believe that we were unable to go to war, after what had been said by the noble Duke at the head of the Government in another place. Indeed, the present Administration seemed to be composed of Ministers who, like the fabled monster with two mouths, spoke one way in one place, and another way in another place. The noble Duke said the country was never more ready for war; the right hon. Gentleman opposite said war was impossible. Peace was his word. England, it appeared, no longer dared to raise her standard of glory aloft before the world, and to bear her streamers against the driving thunder-storm, and all the winds of heaven; no, she must yield to every wind that blows, and even to the blast of Don Miguel; and must be content to put her honour in her pocket, because the Minister declares that she could not 125 go to war. Mr. Canning was not the man who would have adopted such policy, or could have brought this country to such a pass. If we are not able to go to war, why, in the name of common sense, should we retain our present immense military establishments?—why not at once——Doff the lion's hideAnd hang a calfskin on those recreant limbs?If the heart was gone—and in truth the head seemed not able to direct the heart or hands to any noble enterprise—if that were the case, the sooner we got rid of our enormous establishments the better. If the Government were to be abject let it also be frugal. If it were afraid to wield its weapons, let it then lay them aside, nor call on the country to pay for extravagant armour that seemed to crush its wearer. The right hon. Gentleman had argued the question as one of pounds, shillings, and pence. If that were the proper view of it, what did we want with ambassadors? and why keep up an army of soldiers and diplomatists? If we were only to mind our own shop, and not have any thing to do with the affairs of our neighbours, we should at least get a chance of saving our money. He was sure that the people of this country would support Ministers in any wise course of measures for the support of the national honour, and he should be sorry if our timidity should lead to stamp eternal infamy on England, which it would do if Don Miguel were to be acknowledged King of Portugal. He trusted that the papers required by the Motion would be produced, and the noble Lord had made out such a case that he did not see how they could be refused; and he trusted that the noble Lord who had done his country so much honour by his exertions upon this subject, would again bring it under the consideration of the House, with a view to calling for some specific resolution, that should serve to redeem the honour of the country, to wipe off from England the curses that were then heaped on her, throughout the Continent, and restore her to that high and estimable situation she formerly enjoyed, in the eyes of all Europe. The noble Lord had made out a complete case for the production of these papers, and he did not see how they could be refused.
§ Mr. Calcraft
explained. He never meant to say, according to the extravagant misrepresentation of the Member for Westminster, that this country was not able to 126 go to war. He never conceived a doubt on that point, if there were good grounds and a just cause for going to war, but he contended, and would still contend, that no such grounds existed here.
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, that in rising upon this occasion, he felt it necessary to ask for more than the usual indulgent consideration of the House. He could not but regret that it had been deemed advisable by the noble Lord, no doubt for good reasons, though he could not divine their nature, to submit a motion of this important description to the House, upon a day which was usually devoted to relaxation, and upon which there was a distinct arrangement and understanding among men of all parties that no public business whatever of any consequence should ever be brought forward. His own time had been so much and so incessantly occupied, in consequence of the lateness of the debates during the last two days, that he really conceived he had some claim upon the noble Lord's forbearance, and that he had some right to expect that such a motion as this should not have been brought forward upon this day, which was a sort of parliamentary dies non. He had been detained in the House, by public business, till four o'clock the preceding morning. He was afterwards obliged to devote a considerable portion of the day to the transaction of public business connected with the office over which he presided, and which could not be postponed: and he felt, therefore, that he entered under great personal disadvantages upon the discussion of this question. While his noble friend who brought forward the Motion had an opportunity to select his points of attack, he had not considered it necessary to communicate previously to Government, and he therefore was called upon, on the part of Government, to enter upon an explanation of transactions that were spread over a wide extent of surface, which embraced a considerable period of time, and which did not particularly relate to the peculiar department over which he presided. He mentioned these circumstances, in order that the House might make due allowance, should he fail in giving satisfactory answers to all the accusations of his noble friend, though he trusted, notwithstanding the disadvantages under which he laboured, that he should be able distinctly to refute all his insinuations and charges. In doing so, however, 127 he hoped also that allowance would be made for the peculiar situation in which he was placed, owing to his inability to refer publicly, at present, to the documents and particular facts of the case, which would furnish a complete refutation of the noble Lord's charges, And here he could not avoid declaring, that in the whole course of his public life he had never found his private feelings clash so much with those public considerations from which he could not, consistently with his views of the public interest, depart, on this occasion. If he could refer to all the papers connected with those transactions, they would furnish a most triumphant answer to the charges of his noble friend: they would afford a full explanation of the whole case, and they would show why his noble friend had selected some of those transactions for animadversion, and why he had prudently abstained from referring to others. He was confident that even without those documents, he should be able satisfactorily to vindicate the conduct of his Majesty's Government, and of the course which, as a Minister of the Crown, he thought it most proper to advise in reference to the interests of that country, with the administration of the affairs of which he was charged. The hon. Baronet, the Member for Westminster, had made a speech which could easily be made, and it would be very easy for any man to make, if it were only conceded to him that he had the right to make, not only his own speech, but the speech of his opponent to which he meant to reply. It was easy to make charges against his Majesty's Ministers, and then call upon them to answer them, when the expressions to which they had reference were never used by them. His right hon. friend, the Pay-master of the Forces, had however sufficiently answered for himself. When, he would ask, did the hon. Baronet hear from that side of the House that the country was unable to sustain the charges of a war? What Gentleman upon the Ministerial Benches had ever said that the country ought to submit to dishonour, or to put up with degradation, or abandon its interests, from an apprehension of war, or from a consciousness that she was not in a condition to bear its expenses? But the hon. Baronet had assumed this to be the language of Ministers; and this assumption made, he proceeded to argue in its refuta- 128 tion. He conceived that of all the just causes of war, the vindication of the honour of a country was that which was most just. He could conceive few cases in which mere considerations of interest could justify a country for involving itself in war. He concurred most cordially with the doctrine of Mr. Fox, that the best vindication which a country could plead for embarking in war was, that it was necessary to the vindication of the national honour; but making a concession of all these points to the hon. Baronet, he still thought that it was matter for legitimate inquiry, whether, when we were invited to enter into a war, there was any engagement, expressed or implied, made by the country; any formal or moral obligation; any consideration of interest which required it to involve itself in that war, or to hold that menacing language, which, if it were disregarded, left us no alternative but to follow it up by the commencement of war. He did not expect that either his noble friend or the hon. Baronet would conceive him to be arguing the question unfairly, if, after making these admissions, he proceeded to contend that it was our interest not to involve ourselves in war, except for some great and paramount consideration. He thought that his noble friend would not consider him as stating his argument unfairly, when he assumed it to be this:—that his noble friend was of opinion, first, that there were certain engagements in existence which compelled this country to pursue a different course from that which it actually had pursued. His noble friend did not state himself to be an advocate for war, but without being guilty of any unfairness, he must say that his arguments led to the conclusion that we must have war. If war were necessary, let us have it; but if it were not necessary, let us not conjure up such a phantom to deter men from following the dictates of reason. His noble friend, he repeated, did not demand that we should go to war; he was of opinion that we ought to have done something different, though he did not state what that something different should have been; he said, indeed, that we ought to have assumed a different tone in the language which we addressed to the Government of Portugal, and enforced certain rights which we possessed by treaty, and which we had failed to enforce. His noble friend had likewise said, for he had taken down his words. "That we have 129 shrunk from solemn and public engagements, that we have abandoned to exile, to beggary, to dungeons, and to death, thousands of men, whom a knowledge of those engagements might justly have led to count upon our protection. "Now, if he were not much mistaken, he should be able to show, that if we had basely shrunk from our engagements, his Majesty's present advisers were not the only persons who ought to bear the disgrace of such misconduct,—that if we had failed to enforce our claims on Don Miguel, the noble Lord and his friends were equally implicated in such failure; for the period when the execution of such engagements, if such engagements there were, could have been most effectually compelled was when his noble friend himself held office under the Crown, and at that time he had never heard from his noble friend any of those remonstrances which he had made so vehemently that night. He would admit to his noble friend, that even supposing that there were no express engagements, there might be moral obligations on the country which ought to have the same force. He would, in the course of his speech, consider that question fully, and would inquire whether there were any engagements, expressed or implied, requiring our interference with the government of Portugal, or whether there were any moral obligation possessing the force of a formal contract. He must here stop to vindicate the memory of his late right hon. friend, Mr. Canning, from the imputations which had been thrown on it that night, if the assertions of the hon. Baronet opposite were well founded. He must contend that the whole of Mr. Canning's language in that House, and the whole of his written communications with foreign ministers, which were on record, contradicted the assertion, that there was any thing either in the mode in which the Portuguese charter was granted, or in the mode in which it was conveyed to Lisbon, imposing any obligation upon England to maintain it in full and undiminished integrity. If our troops were, as it was contended, sent to Portugal to interfere with the internal institutions of that country—
understood the noble Lord and the hon. Baronet to have both said, that the circumstances under which the Charter had been carried to Portugal ex- 130 cited expectations there which we were bound to realize. If that were so, how-was it to be reconciled with the language held by Mr. Canning? Mr. Canning had not disapproved of Sir Charles Stuart's conduct in bringing the Charter from the Brazils to Portugal; as to the granting of that Charter, England could not be responsible, and he would therefore leave it out of consideration; but because Mr. Canning had not disapproved of Sir C. Stuart's conduct, his noble friend argued that expectations were raised in Portugal which we were bound in honour to fulfil. Now that was not the view taken by Mr. Canning of the consequences which were likely to arise from the Charter's having been conveyed to Lisbon by a Portuguese agent, who happened to be a British subject. The directions which Mr. Canning sent to Sir C. Stuart were, that he having left the Charter at Lisbon with the parties who were commissioned to receive it, should return immediately home to prevent any such impression from being made, either upon the Portuguese people, or upon other nations. That was evident from the language of Mr. Canning's despatch to Sir W. A'Court. On the 22nd of July, 1826, he wrote thus to Sir W. A'Court: "It is the anxious wish of his Majesty's Government, that nothing may have been done by Sir Charles Stuart, whether under the commission of the Emperor Don Pedro, or at the solicitation of the Portuguese authorities, which can be liable, cither in Portugal, or throughout Europe, to be misconstrued as an authoritative interference in the internal concerns of Portugal. Should any thing of that sort unluckily have occurred, his Majesty's Government relies confidently on your Excellency for doing away the impression which it would be calculated to create, by a discreet use of the explanations and declarations contained in my despatches to your Excellency, and in those of which I have transmitted copies for your information." Again, on the same day, Mr. Canning wrote thus to Sir C. Stuart:—"It is the desire and determination of his Majesty's Government to avoid, as far as possible, the appearance of any direct interference of British agency in the establishment of the new order of things in Portugal." He did not suppose that any Gentleman would contend, that because Mr. Canning enjoined Sir C. Stuart to avoid the appearance of British interference, he in- 131 tended to authorize him to carry on that interference in a secret manner; by no means: Mr. Canning intended to deny the existence of any desire on the part of the British Government to interfere in the establishment of the new order of things in Portugal. Mr. Canning expressly said, that he founded his approbation of the Charter on the implied assent of the people of Portugal to it; and in a despatch dated the 17th of July, 1826, and addressed to Sir W. A'Court, he says—"It appears to us, upon the whole, that the best chance of a safe and tranquil issue to the present extraordinary crisis in Portugal will be to be found in an acceptance (as immediate as may be suitable with the importance of the measure) of the Charter of Don Pedro, coupled as it is with his abdication of the throne. Any other course must, as it appears to us, be full of danger." But what did Mr. Canning say afterwards?—"But if, nevertheless, another course shall be pursued, we shall not be the less anxious for its peaceable and happy issue, than if it were one which we had ourselves advised." He thought that he had now satisfactorily shown that Mr. Canning had never admitted that he was responsible for the establishment of the Charter in Portugal; and that the bringing of it to Lisbon by Sir C. Stuart, who, though a British subject, was a Portuguese agent, was no claim upon England to support that Constitution against the wishes of the majority of the Portuguese nation. The next point which he had to notice in the speech of his noble friend referred to the protocol of Vienna. His noble friend, and after him the hon. Baronet, had both argued that because the signature of a British Minister was attached to that protocol, we had contracted an engagement to see that the engagements into which Don Miguel had entered were faithfully observed. As the House had been told that this Motion had been made not so much with a view of obtaining any new documents, as with a view of casting a censure upon his Majesty's Government, he hoped that the House would, although it was an unprecedented night, for debate, listen to him with patience whilst he entered at some length on the defence of Government. The circumstances under which we became parties to the protocol of Vienna were very fully explained in a despatch sent by Prince Metternich to Prince Esterhazy, the Austrian Ambassador to 132 this country, and by him communicated to this Government. Hon. Members would find it at page 29 of these papers. He could assure the House that no instructions had been given to Lord Cowley, the British Ambassador at Vienna, to be present at the conference between Don Miguel and Prince Esterhazy, and his Lordship only joined the conference at the desire of Prince Metternich. The intention of Don Pedro to constitute Don Miguel his lieutenant in Portugal was known at Vienna, and was communicated by Prince Metternich to Don Miguel. In consequence of the excitation which then unfortunately prevailed in the minds of the people of Portugal, it was thought necessary that Don Miguel should go forthwith from Vienna to that country. Prince Metternich proposed to him to go thither by way of Paris and London. To this plan Don Miguel expressed great reluctance; and this was the manner in which Prince Metternich explained the matters on which he invited the British Ambassador to a conference, "Seeing ourselves thus arrested in our progress by the unexpected resistance we had met with from this young Prince, I determined at once, confidentially, and in the fullest detail, to make the British ambassador (whom I had previously informed of the object and end of my conferences with the Portuguese plenipotentiaries) acquainted with all that had passed between them and me, and between his Majesty and the Infant I afterwards invited Sir Henry Wellesley to meet those gentlemen and me, to take together into consideration the means which we could yet adopt, in order to overcome the resistance of the Infant, and in the event of our not succeeding, to conceit such measures, as, with the consent of his Government, from which we were quite determined not to separate ourselves in this affair, it might be necessary to adopt without delay, in order not to prolong such a dangerous state of things in Portugal." Such were the circumstances, he repeated, under which Lord Cowley had become a party to that protocol. But Lord Cowley never engaged to see that Don Miguel should perform the engagements into which he had entered towards his brother and towards his countrymen. He never gave any guarantee for the execution of those engagements. He was nothing more than a witness to their having been made; and thus he thought that there was an end to 133 the assertion that Lord Cowley, and through him the British Government were a party to the arrangements which Don Miguel formally made with his brother and with his people. His noble friend had likewise stated, that there was a protocol in London, signed by Don Miguel previous to his departure for Lisbon, and that such protocol must have been fixed on before Don Miguel's arrival here, as it was alluded to in a despatch written about the same time from Lisbon by Sir F. Lamb. He did not feel himself at liberty to state to the House the contents of that protocol; for in arguing on official documents, of which he had determined to refuse the production, he did not think it right to describe their contents. Whenever these transactions should be brought to a final issue, that protocol should be published, and then his noble friend would see that there was no engagement, either express or implied, compelling us to prevent Don Miguel from acting as he had done. Much stress had been laid, in the course of the debate, on the appearance of the British troops in Portugal when Don Miguel first landed at Lisbon, and afterwards when he commenced his violation of the rights of his brother, and of his niece. He believed this to be the most important part of his noble friend's speech, and he knew that it was that which had created the greatest impression on the House. His noble friend had stated, that the appearance of our troops in Portugal was a direct interference in its internal affairs. "It muttered not whether it was intentional or not," he said, "but a direct interference it certainly was." ft was true that the British troops were at Lisbon when Don Miguel arrived. It was true that instructions were given to our commanders to avoid interfering in the internal dissensions of Portugal, with this proviso, that in case of necessity, they were to grant protection to the members of the royal family. "Nothing" said the hon. Gentleman opposite, "could have been more easy than for us to have retained possession of the forts on the Tagus," and on that point he agreed with the hon. Gentleman, that if we were right to go to war with Portugal to support the Constitution, or to control Don Miguel, the time for going to war, or for using those menaces, which, if disregarded, left no alternative but war, was when Lisbon was occupied by our forces. Could there be any question upon that point? The 134 period during which we had 4,000 or 5,000 efficient troops in Portugal, was the period when it would have been most expedient for us to interfere; but when we omitted that opportunity, and directed our troops to withdraw entirely from Portugal, we abandoned all right of interference for the future. It was only right that he should state to the House that the British minister had withheld the order for the withdrawal of the troops, contrary to his instructions, but in conformity with what he considered the interests of his country. The British Government, in the instructions which they had given him, had maintained the position laid down by Mr. Canning—that the troops were not sent to take any part in the internal dissensions of Portugal; and thus they were allowed to stay at Lisbon when Don Miguel arrived, and also when he assumed the royal signature, and usurped the throne of his brother. The British minister, from good motives, disregarded his instructions, acting therein with such perfect propriety as to receive for it the approbation of the Government at home. His reason for disregarding them was his desire to ascertain whether there was any engagement binding us to correct the extraordinary conduct of Don Miguel, or whether the interest of the country required that a menacing tone, or even war, should be adopted towards him and his intrusive government. All this took place, he ought to observe, after several appearances of an intention, on the part of Don Miguel, to assume the royal authority, and to place himself upon the throne. The decree for convening the Cortes at last came out, having the royal signature, instead of the signature of the King's lieutenant attached to it. The question, whether it should interfere or not, then came regularly before the British Government, and yet, though such was the question brought before it, the order that every British soldier in Portugal should be withdrawn was repeated, and, if he were not mistaken, the letter which contained that order bore the signature of William Huskisson. Thus, if the King's Government had basely shrunk from the performance of its engagements, it was at the very time that it could have interfered with the greatest effect; and if it were base to shrink from the performance of such engagements, the King's present advisers were not the only persons obnoxious to that imputation. There was another 135 circumstance, to which it was painful even to allude, but to which he undoubtedly must allude, because it formed one of the combination of circumstances which led his noble friend to suppose that we were under engagement to make Don Miguel perform his contract towards his brother and his people, and that was the oath which Don Miguel had taken before the Emperor of Austria, the King of England, and the British Government, to stand faithfully by the Constitution. He admitted that such a promise was given in the most solemn, and that it had been violated in the most shameful, manner. God forbid that he should say one word in vindication of Don Miguel's conduct upon that head. He was well aware of the alliance which his noble friend was sure to form with the sympathies of all who heard him, when he had to deal with the engagements of a person upon whose character such reflections could be cast, and cast with justice. He was also well aware that his noble friend had availed himself largely of that natural sympathy which he was certain to excite when he pleaded in behalf of that young person whom we admitted to be the legitimate Queen of Portugal, and whose right Don Miguel had usurped. He (Mr. P.) was bound, as a Minister, to consult the great interests committed to his charge, and to decide on the merits of the question, not by listening to appeals to his feelings, but by pursuing the dictates of reason and expediency. It was true, then, that Don Miguel had disregarded the oath which he had sworn to his brother. What were the circumstances under which that oath was disregarded,—how far the violation of it was in compliance with the prevailing feeling of Portugal,—were points into which he declined to inquire, for he was not prepared to vindicate them. He had, however, heard it whispered that the same circumstances had happened before in the same family, and they might therefore entitle him to some allowance, though he admitted that they could not palliate his oblivion of the most sacred engagements. Honourable Members could not have forgotten that the Brazils had been separated horn Portugal some years before in nearly the same manner as Portugal had recently been separated from the Brazils. Me was afraid that it somehow or other had happened that Don Pedro had contracted towards his father engagements similar to those which Don Miguel had contracted 136 towards Don Pedro. He was afraid that it likewise had happened that Don Pedro, relying on the support of the people, had violated his engagements towards his father as decidedly as Don Miguel had since violated them towards Don Pedro. He had some reason to believe that when Don Pedro was administering the Government of the Brazils in the name of his father, he took the following oath in a letter he wrote. "John, King of Portugal:—I protest to your Majesty that I never will be a perjurer. That if the people of the Brazils were mad enough to think of electing me Emperor, the election should not be until I and all the Portuguese in the Brazils were cut to pieces, and that I swear all this faithfully to your Majesty, writing in my own blood, this oath to be faithful to your Majesty, the Portuguese nation, and the Constitution. "Circumstances arose shortly afterwards, which proved the value which Don Pedro set upon this oath. The prevailing feeling of the Brazils was so strong in favour of erecting the Brazils into an independent state, and of separating them from Portugal, that Don Pedro felt that he had no alternative but to yield to that feeling, and to declare himself Emperor, if he wished to preserve any amicable relations with Portugal. It was true that the cases of Don Pedro and Don Miguel were not analogous; for in the case of Don Pedro there was not even the shadow of an obligation made with England; still there was enough of resemblance between them to show that Britain ought not altogether to disregard the way in which such engagements had been violated by another member of the royal family of Braganza. There was another argument of his noble friend, which might appear to possess some importance—"You repudiate," said his noble friend, "all interference now, though I have shown that all your former course has been a course of interference. I claim your adherence, not to your exception, but to your rule. You have interfered often before in the affairs of Portugal, all I ask of you is to interfere again now." Now this, he begged leave to say, was a fallacious argument. He admitted that England had often interfered with the affairs of Portugal. The relations of England to Portugal were so peculiar, that it was impossible for England not to interfere in them. We had guaranteed in repeated treaties the independence of Portugal; and that guarantee 137 gave us a right to interfere in the management of her affairs. His noble friend had said, "You interfered at Vienna about the separation of the Brazils from Portugal, and also about the appointment of Don Miguel to be Lieutenant of that kingdom: why do you not interfere for the restoration of the Charter?" He (Mr. Peel) would tell his noble friend shortly why. We interfered in the case of the Brazils, because under our mediation a negotiation had been entered into for separating the Brazils from Portugal, and for placing the crowns of the two countries on different heads. When Don Pedro, by the death of his father, united the two Crowns on his own head, we were compelled, by the treaty which had been signed under our mediation, to interfere in order to compel him to make his election of the Crown which he would prefer to wear. The treaty of 1825 rendered it necessary for us to call on Don Pedro to fulfil his obligations under it, and to separate Portugal and the Brazils for ever. Such interference as this might possibly be found by his noble friend in numerous cases; but where could his noble friend find any interference on our part with the internal regulations of the Government of Portugal? We had been connected with Portugal for four centuries, and in that time many changes had occurred in the form of government of both countries. There were treaties formed with Portugal in the reign of Charles 1st, and also in the time of the Commonwealth, and by those treaties we were bound to nothing more than maintain her independence against all assailants. When the Cortes met in 1822, and claimed our interference in their behalf, what was the answer given to their application by Mr. Canning? It was this—"We have undertaken to guarantee, and are ready at all hazards to guarantee, the independence of Portugal from foreign powers, but we have nothing to do with, and we decline to interfere in, its internal regulations." He therefore said, that there was no moral obligation, having the force of a formal obligation, arising from our past interference in the affairs of Portugal, which called upon us to interfere at present for the restoration of the Charter. But then came another question,—did any considerations of interest compel us to interfere otherwise than we hitherto had interfered? He really did not understand the course which his noble friend wished 138 the Government to pursue. We had taken every other alternative but war, or the menace of war. We had withdrawn our Minister from Portugal some time ago, and he was still absent. The English Government had, as was generally known, become the guarantee for the payment of a loan made in this country to Don Miguel. The money was sent off to Lisbon, but as soon as Don Miguel refused to take the oath of fidelity to his brother and to the Charter, the British Minister sent back the first instalment of the loan, which had actually reached the port of Lisbon. On the affairs of Terceira, he did not intend to speak, for it appeared that they were to form the subject of another motion. He knew not to what acts, save those which he had mentioned, England could have resorted, short of war, or the application of such menaces as, if disregarded, would render war a natural consequence. Now, was it for the interest of England, he would ask, to go to war for the purpose of compelling Don Miguel to perform his engagements, or of enforcing on a reluctant people a Constitution for which they had no predilection? Under what circumstances, he would ask, was that Constitution granted? The House had been told that it was the duty of England to range herself on the side of free constitutions, and against despotic governments; and that she ought, upon that principle, to throw her sword into the balance of parties which were now dividing Portugal. In plain English, the argument of the hon. Baronet, and of his noble friend, when stripped of its dazzling rhetoric, was nothing more than this—"We ought to go to war for the Portuguese Constitution." Now, whatever the feelings of the people of England might be at present regarding the propriety of such a war, he would venture to predict that two months would not elapse after its commencement, before the supplies for prosecuting it would be withheld. Was, then, that Constitution granted with such deliberation and consideration of circumstances as ought to precede the grant of a form of government? It was true that that Constitution emanated from a legitimate source. But under what circumstances? Don Pedro received intelligence of the death of Don John on the 26th of April. On the 30th of April he had an interview with Sir Charles Stuart, when mention was first made of the Portuguese Constitution. Sir C. Stuart, in his 139 despatch to the British Government on the subject, said, "he produced the project of a Constitution for Portugal, to the compilation of which he had devoted the greater part"—of what would the House suppose? Of his life? No; Sir Charles Stuart added, "of a week." This was the manner in which Don Pedro had framed a Constitution by which a country 2,000 or 3,000 miles from the Brazils was to be governed. Before this country resolved to go to war, in support of such a Constitution, it would at least be material to ascertain how far the affections of the people of Portugal were enlisted in its favour. On the 1st of March, 1828, Sir Frederick Lamb wrote, in a despatch to the British Government—"Don Miguel is constantly assailed with entreaties to make himself King. That the assumption of sovereign power by Don Miguel was likely to be popular with the majority of the inhabitants of Portugal." In the course of the same month Sir F. Lamb stated, in another despatch—"No party here of any consequence attaches the least value to the Charter." These facts being perfectly undeniable, he implored the House to reflect upon the consequences of forcing upon a reluctant people a Constitution, however good in itself. It should not be forgotten that an effort had been made in Portugal to oppose the assumption of power by Don Miguel. The army aided that attempt, all the disciplined force of the country was in its favour, and yet the attempt signally failed. The failure of this attempt to dispossess Don Miguel of his usurped authority warranted the assumption that we should meet with no cordial support from the people of Portugal, if we entered upon a war in support of the Constitution. It was said that Brazil had proposed to us to enter into a treaty, the object of which was to dispossess Don Miguel of his power and re-establish the Constitution; but it was quite evident that this would be merely a nominal treaty on the part of Brazil, and that the whole burthen of the war, if it were undertaken, would fall upon us. Besides, there were good reasons for supposing that even if the government of Brazil were inclined to defray its share of the undertaking, the people of that country would not consent to such a sacrifice in favour of Portuguese interests exclusively. On the ground, therefore, that there was nothing which palled upon this country, in vindication of 140 its honour, to go to war, or to pursue any other course than that which had been pursued, on the ground that the interests of the country, apart from considerations of honour, were opposed to war, he would resist the Motion, the object of which was to express an opinion in favour of another line of policy. He wished, on his own account personally, and as connected with the Administration, that the papers moved for could be produced; but in the present state of our relations with Portugal, he was bound to state his opinion, that it would not be for the interest of England, it would not be for the interest of Portugal, it would not be for the interest of that party with which the sympathies of his noble friend were so justly and so honourably engaged. On these grounds he was bound to state, on his responsibility as a Minister of the Crown, that it would not be wise to produce the documents at the present moment. The noble Lord had stated, that the papers already produced on the subject were garbled extracts. He denied that most distinctly. He trusted that the House would not be imposed upon by whatever they might have heard with respect to the predilections of his Majesty's Government for arbitrary power and despotic institutions, and of its indifference to free institutions, and to the fate of those who had been engaged in maintaining them; he hoped, he repeated, that the House would not allow itself to be led away by vague accusations, that Government was insensible to the painful situation of those persons who had involved themselves in difficulties from their adherence to the free institutions of Portugal. He could state with truth that Ministers were at the present moment labouring earnestly and solicitously for the protection of the interests of those unhappy persons, and he could assure the House that one of his main grounds for withholding his assent from the Motion before them, was his deliberate conviction that the unreserved communication of documents would not promote their interests. An attempt bad been made to raise a prejudice against the Government by asserting that Ministers had insisted that Don Pedro should give his daughter in marriage to Don Miguel. He could only meet that positive assertion by as positive a denial. The British Government had never attempted to press the marriage upon Don Pedro since he declared 141 his insuperable and very natural repugnance to the union. Indeed, all communications with Don Pedro on that subject had been made rather with the view of ascertaining his sentiments than any other object. After the explanation he had offered, he was sure the House would bear him out in the assertion that the British Government had done nothing to disgrace the honour of England. The Government professed no friendship for arbitrary power, it expressed no approbation of the course of conduct which Don Miguel had pursued. He claimed permission to share in the sympathy which was felt for those individuals who were suffering on account of their attachment to free institutions, and their adherence to the cause of Don Pedro, whom they considered their legitimate monarch; but he trusted it was possible to reconcile that feeling with obedience to the dictates of calm and sober judgment. He thought it was the true policy of England to maintain peace as long as it could be maintained consistently with honour, and not for one hour longer than it could be so maintained. In the present instance he was of opinion that the maintenance of peace was perfectly consistent with the honour and interests of England; and let the judgment of the House be what it might, he, for one, never would be a party to a vote, which would have the effect of contravening the policy which the Government had hitherto pursued, and of which he believed the House would, at no remote period, have cause to repent [cheers].
§ Mr. Huskisson
said, that he was well aware that that day was not ordinarily devoted to debate a great public question; but it having been admitted that his noble friend had no alternative but to bring forward his Motion on that day, or forego it altogether, that was a full vindication of his course of proceeding. It had always been admitted that one of the highest privileges of that House was to superintend the conduct of the Ministers, and never was there a time, perhaps, in which the exercise of that privilege had been so long suspended. He had reason to fear that ere long the country might regret that the House had, on the subject of our foreign relations, neglected its duty. Perhaps that might be attributed to the satisfaction which the conduct of the Ministers had given when they sacrificed, on a great public question, their individual opinions 142 to the voice of the country. For that they bad received and deserved praise; and he thought if the House would take the same trouble in enforcing a different line of foreign policy, that it had taken to improve our domestic relations, similar beneficial results would arise. He regretted to say, that while our domestic policy met with general approbation, our foreign policy was as generally condemned, not only in this country, but by all the enlightened people of Europe. He could easily shew sufficient grounds to justify that general opinion, were he to examine the foreign policy of Ministers during the last ten years. But he would not travel over so wide a held. He would content himself with remarking, that our foreign policy had altered for the worse since the period of Mr. Canning's death. Since that national calamity, for in his opinion the death of that great man was a national calamity, the country had been losing ground in the estimation of foreign powers, and her name, then revered in every corner of the world, was now little respected. The confidence of Mr. Canning had arisen from his conviction that his line of policy was equally adverse to that faction—that, he believed, incurable faction—which desired that every thing should return to the condition in which it was before the French Revolution, and that other faction, not loss incurable, which was ever fanning the flames of revolution, and ever striving again to abolish the sacred marks of property, and to disturb that happy state of peace and tranquillity which had been the lot of Europe since 1815. Whatever might be the defects of the general arrangements among the great Powers of Europe, made at that period, they had certainly preserved it in peace, and the nations had become so sensible of its blessings, that the statesman must be little less than insane who sought to revive the calamities of war. For himself, he must declare, that he abjured all community of feeling with those who wished again to disturb the repose of Europe. Nothing but the preservation of national honour, or of national independence, could justify a renewal of hostilities. It had been truly stated, that Mr. Canning had no share in. the formation of the Portuguese Constitution, and the fact was so notorious, that no arguments were required to prove it. But that Mr. Canning had never interfered concerning this Constitution was a very 143 different proposition. He was able to bear his personal testimony to the feelings of Mr. Canning on the subject of the Portuguese Constitution; for he happened to be in his company when tidings were transmitted from Paris of that Constitution having been brought to Europe by Sir C. Stuart, and the mode in which it had been received in Portugal, and the vexation that right hon. Gentleman ex pressed on the occasion was extreme. He took great pains to make it known that he had not advised the giving of that Constitution, but when it had been given, he did not refuse it his countenance. Considering who was the bearer of that to Europe, and considering the activity of Sir C. Stuart who was stated, in a despatch of Sir W. A'Court, to be solicitous for its adoption, it was a very natural inference on the part of the Portuguese, that this country was anxious to support it. In the autumn after it had been sent to Europe, it was acknowledged by persons of all classes in Portugal; and when a faction, supported by Spain, or as it was called by Mr. Canning, a furious fanatical cabal swaying the King of Spain in his own Cabinet, and supplied with arms and stores from thence, made its appearance in opposition to the Constitution, a force was sent by Great Britain to protect Portugal from the invasion. After such conduct, it was in vain to state that we did not undertake to defend the Constitution against foreign enemies: from that moment the connection between Great Britain and Portugal was identified with the maintenance of those free institutions, and from that moment Portugal was necessarily divided into two parties—British and Spanish. He could further assert, that from the moment our ambassador at Vienna signed the Protocol concerning the government of Portugal, from that moment we were as much bound by his acts as if his Majesty's Government had sent out special instructions to him upon that subject, and that he had communicated the fact of having received those instructions to the other parties engaged in the negotiation. Yet his right hon. friend had referred to the papers connected with that negotiation, and had contended from them, that in consequence of Sir Henry Wellesley having received no instructions from his Majesty's Government, therefore that Government was pot bound by his acts. Now let the 144 House see how that statement agreed with the facts. In adverting to the present point in dispute, he was not about to betray any information which he might have obtained while holding a place in his Majesty's Council. He would state nothing but what he had heard from others—he would state nothing except what had been made a matter of the most perfect notoriety—nothing but what had been supplied from documents already published—and the House would see that his right hon. friend had not stated all the facts. Nothing could be more distinct and explicit than the statement put forth, that it was the first object of the British Government to establish peace between the different branches of the House of Braganza, and to maintain the Constitution sent to Portugal by Don Pedro. Of that principle Sir H. Wellesley was perfectly apprised, and nothing, he confessed, could exceed the surprise with which he heard his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Trade give a denial to such a statement. He should be able to show, from documents already before the public, that the British Ambassador at Vienna was instructed, and did all in his power, to bring about the maintenance of the Portuguese Constitution of Don Pedro. It was not denied in any quarter that that Constitution had an advocate in the negotiations at Vienna: did anyone suppose that that advocate was Prince Metternich? Which was it more likely, that he or Sir H. Wellesley would act the part of advocate upon such an occasion? When he heard that our ambassador was passive and not active in those negotiations, he could not help referring to the Protocol of the 23rd of October. He found that set out with stating, that. "after the Protocol of the last conference had been read and approved, the British Ambassador announced that he had a confidential and important communication to make." What, the House might naturally inquire, was that important and confidential communication? Nothing less than that it had been discovered that persons at Paris and Madrid had organized a plan to overthrow the liberal institutions of Portugal, and for the purpose of indisposing Don Miguel to act fairly and honestly by the Constitution sent by his brother; and therefore it would be necessary to call on Don Miguel to pledge himself strongly in support of that Constitution. Thus, then, it 145 was obvious that England had, in every part of those conferences, maintained the attitude and position of an advocate and supporter of the Portuguese Constitution, and had given the people of Portugal reason to believe that those amongst them who also supported it should have the benefit of her assistance, countenance, and support. Soon after this Don Miguel wrote to his brother, Don Pedro, and in that Letter pledged himself to govern according to the Constitution; he also wrote a letter of the same purport to his sister. Then came his proclamation to the Portuguese people, containing similar assurances, and last, though to the Parliament of Great Britain, not the least important, there was the letter of Don Miguel to our own Sovereign—there was the contract made with the people of England through their Monarch—a contract made in the face of Europe, and of which the people of Europe looked for the performance to the moral weight and character of the English Government and the English nation. All Europe, he would affirm, was led to place confidence in Don Miguel, in consequence of the intervention of England, and the communication which he had had with that power. He would not add to these circumstances all the personal honours which Don Miguel received in this country, in consequence of the apparent fairness of his conduct, and which further proved the feelings of our Government with reference to the Portuguese Constitution. But he desired the House to remember the Protocol of the 12th of January, to which it was said that the Plenipotentiary of Don Miguel was no party; but England was a party to it, and Austria was a party to it, and the subsequent acts of Don Miguel made him a party to it; yet, from his acts immediately after his return to Portugal, it could not be doubted that he had previously plotted and planned for the abandonment and destruction of that Constitution altogether, and for the establishment of a system directly its reverse. Don Miguel left this country accompanied by the British ambassador, and supported by a British force. He arrived at Lisbon, and before six or seven days had elapsed, he manifested the fullest disposition to reject the Constitution, to disregard the solemn pledges he had given, and to break the sacred oaths by which he ought to have been bound. He seemed desirous 146 to show, under the tuition of his bad mother, that he could trifle with the most sacred obligations, and gratuitously deceive those who placed confidence in him. His conduct soon shewed that no reliance could be placed on his honour, no faith could be put in his oath. They had been told that the British ambassador had remonstrated against his proceedings; but they ought to have the exact words in which he did so remonstrate, in order that they might judge of the spirit and tendency of the instructions which he had received, and the principles which governed the advisers of the King in the course which, upon that occasion, they thought proper to adopt. Let the instructions on which these remonstrances were founded be produced, and he would prove to the House, that even then the maintenance of the Portuguese Constitution was the great object of the British Government. When his right hon. friend endeavoured to implicate him and his noble friend in some of the proceedings which were complained of, he would say to his right hon. friend, "Give us the papers, give us the papers, and then we can defend ourselves." He admitted that the despatch which actually recalled the troops did bear his name, but he was sure that his right hon. friend, when he made that assertion, had not given himself time to look at the documents, imperfect as they were. The Letter to which he wished particularly to refer (that from Sir Frederick Lamb), was dated the 7th of May, and was received in London on the 27th. Now, it happened, that before the 27lh of May he had resigned the seals of the Colonial department. This letter referred to the copy of a note from the Foreign Secretary (Lord Dudley) to the Marquis Palmella. Why had they not that note before them? On the day on which that letter was written, the council of Don Miguel resolved upon convoking the Cortes. That was the first indication which they had of a disposition upon his part to be guilty of the treachery which marked the succeeding part of his course. He said again, he was perfectly ready to admit that the order was signed by him which was sent for the recal of the British troops, and that that order was sent after the conduct of Don Miguel had given some cause of uneasiness to his Majesty's Government; but it was not to be forgotten that the Government of that day directed 147 their Ambassador to address to Don Miguel the strongest remonstrances upon the nature and tendency of his conduct; and he much wished that that remonstrance was then upon the Table of the House, that Parliament might be enabled to judge of the manner in which the then advisers of the Crown had acted. The result of the despatch which was received on the 22nd of June was, that Sir Frederick Lamb suspended his functions at Lisbon until further orders, and the other Powers all followed the example of England. On the 13th of July his Majesty's Ministers received a very laconic letter from Sir F. Lamb, in which he said, "I enclose the proclamation of Don Miguel, in which he claims to be recognized as King." Thus it appeared, that on the 13th of July his Majesty's Ministers received the notification of his having usurped the throne of Portugal, long after he ceased to be connected with the Government. On the 13th of July, Ministers received this information, and he would remind the House, that only three days after the receipt of that despatch, when one would suppose that the Government would have been filled with indignation at the imposition which had been practised on his Majesty—when one would imagine that the deceit of Don Miguel would meet with their strongest reprobation—only three days after the arrival of that information, the Secretary of State for the Foreign Department (the Earl of Aberdeen) declared—his regret at the usurpation? or his sorrow for the fate of the persons whose lives and properties were sacrificed by the usurper? No such thing; he declared that the friends of Don Miguel spoke the sentiments of the Portuguese people. Thus did it go forth to the world, that the moral influence of Great Britain had expired; thus did it appear that our friendship and assistance were mere shadows. Well might the Portuguese say, when an English minister again proffered them assistance, noscitur à, sociis—heaven defend us from such friends. But it seemed, we were to be friends of neither party. As if to make up for the praise thus bestowed on these actions, the noble Lord had lately spoken of the character of this wretched Prince in good set terms of horror and detestation. There are no terms in our language, he believed, which could adequately describe the compound enormity of baseness, perfidy and villany 148 in so young a man. Before the age of 26 he had attempted or perpetrated every crime, and displayed every vice which historical truth and poetical fiction have accumulated upon the head of the most sanguinary and remorseless usurper that ever waded through the blood of innocent kindred and betrayed friends to the British Throne. The parallel might, perhaps, not end here. Portugal, like England, may have a Bosworth Field. For one, I should not be sorry to see it. It would be something, at least, for the honour of high lineage and Royal blood, if, like our Richard, Don Miguel should thus be permitted to veil the infamy of his life by the courage which marked its close; and that it should not be said of him, in the page of history, as it was said the other night by a noble Lord, that he was cowardly because he was cruel. Let him not descend to posterity blacker than Richard, and then, God knows, he will still be black enough. But could they talk of this individual abstractedly, and without reference to the engagements into which he had entered? Could they forget the pledge which he had given to the King of England? Could they overlook the indignity with which his subsequent conduct visited the monarch of this country? To use a military metaphor, a gallant body of British troops, including a portion of his Majesty's household forces, had been sent out as a covering party, to facilitate the assaults and attacks which Don Miguel was about to make on that Constitution which he had sworn to maintain—they were sent out to look on his brutal violence, and to view, unmoved, the judicial murders which he was committing. Was it for the honour of this country that there should be now some 30,000 or 40,000 Portuguese wandering all over Europe? He could assure his right hon. friend, whatever he might think, that the impression throughout the world was, that the Constitutional party in Portugal had suffered deeply for their strict adhesion to this country. His right hon. friend had argued, that Ministers were justified in the course which they had adopted, and that they would have acted improperly if they had, under the existing circumstances, interfered with. Portugal. Why, the history of Portugal, for the last thirty years was nothing but the history of English interference; and it could not be otherwise, in consequence 149 of the engagements which bound this country to that limited and feeble state. All must know the reason of the engagements which bound us to defend Portugal from any aggression, come from what quarter it might. It was evident, when an engagement so binding, and yet so inconvenient to this country, was so long preserved, that there must be some leading and paramount interest which called for it. That leading and paramount interest was to prevent Portugal from falling into the hands of any of those great powers which adjoined that state, and which this country was accustomed to view with jealousy. Besides, the situation of Portugal was such as would enable this country the more easily to repel any design which the Spaniards might meditate with respect to Gibraltar. Supporting that power against her continental neighbours, we kept a long line of sea, of sea coast harbours of great utility, and a considerable maritime population in the hands of an ally. Portugal ought, therefore, to claim as a right a paramount interest in our councils. What had been the history of our connection with Portugal for the last thirty years? Early in the late war, an application was made by Spain to Portugal, calling on her to shut her ports against Great Britain. And what representation did Portugal make to this country? She said, that either we must defend her at our own expense, and with our own army and navy, or else that she must comply with the unjust and improper requisition of Spain. This country then entered on the defence of Portugal, with a most unbounded profusion of men, of money, of military, of naval, and of every other description of succour. Did we not train up in that country a well-appointed force? Did we not give strength to her government, and inspire her whole population with a spirit warmly devoted to the preservation of her rights? All this was done, and in what situation stands that country now? All that we did had been overturned; and general corruption, folly, feebleness, and immorality prevailed. Portugal was now in a state of absolute inability to make any defence against foreign aggression. She was as inefficient to defend herself in 1827 as she was at any time when she called for our assistance. It was the paramount duty then of this country to give to Portugal 150 such institutions as would render her government sufficiently strong and powerful, as not to be dependent on England on every trifling occasion of danger. If he were called on to state instances of our interference, not during the period of war, but since the peace, he would say, that before the Constitution was sent over from Rio Janeiro, a large British force was lying in the Tagus. That force was stationed there, not to assist one party or another, but to preserve the government inviolate. And when Don Miguel attempted the foulest treason to his sovereign and his father, how was it prevented? Why, by the intervention of the British ambassador, who placed the captive monarch on board a ship in the harbour, and sent him for safety out of the country. Speaking of interference, he would suppose that when Don Miguel was engaged in the subversion of the Portuguese Constitution, in violating the most solemn pledges, and profiting by the presence of the British force to perpetrate a series of the most odious treachery, he would suppose that Donna Maria, the rightful Queen of Portugal, had then arrived in that country, and had placed herself at the head of the patriotic party; and what then, he would ask, would have been the conduct of the British ambassador. Would he have deserted her, or would he not rather like the ambassador in 1824, have protected her by the British force against domestic treason. Did the relationship of the parties make any difference, the rights of the parties being the same. Did absence make any difference as to these rights? He thought not. And if the British ambassador received the sanction of the Government in one case, he would not have deserved its censure in another; he would not have merited condemnation, had he protected the Constitution and Donna against this latter outrage of Don Miguel, as he had protected the father of that Prince against the former. His right hon. friend seemed not to like the Constitution of Portugal, because it appeared that the Emperor had framed it in less than a week, and because it was not suited to the disposition of the Portuguese. He did not stand up to defend that Constitution; but it was no answer to him to say that it must be defective because it was framed in so short a time. Let his right hon. friend recollect how 151 long Louis 18th was occupied in framing the Charter of France. He believed the Charter of France—and he hoped it would not die a premature death—was promulgated in three days after the necessity of such a measure was pointed out. When the House was gravely told that England ought not to interfere with other countries, that this was equally contrary to her practice, and the law of nations, he begged to ask what was the history of Europe for the last fifteen years, but a history of such interference? Naples, Spain, Piedmont, all the smaller states of Europe, had been so interfered with; the fact was, that the sort of constitution to be interfered with justified or condemned interference. Did any people, urged by their wants, proceed in a peaceable, orderly, and quiet manner to remodel their ancient usages, giving themselves institutions intended to secure life and property, and encourage the growth of improvement, while they afforded a protection against arbitrary power; if those institutions involved the liberty of discussion, and the freedom of the press, and promised to establish a regular and free Constitution; if they were brought about by the instrumentality of the people, all the despots of Europe immediately joined to crush them. No question was asked whether the Constitution were good or bad, fit or unfit; the only question was, did the constitution flow from the people, was it the spontaneous growth of the public sentiment, and if it were, it was to be unhesitatingly crushed. That the Portuguese Constitution came from a legitimate source, even the despots of Europe could not deny; that it was well received by the most intelligent of the Portuguese people was equally certain; but when this Constitution was put down by a fanatical rabble, headed by priests, and stimulated and supported by a neighbouring sovereign, then the people of England heard of nothing but the doctrine of non-interference, then his right hon. friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, though never over-anxious to recognise the power of the people,—founded their principle of non-interference on the impropriety, the impolicy of appealing against the voice of the people. The Constitution had the marks and stamps of freedom, and that was the 152 reason why it was not supported. Though recognised by all the legitimate sovereigns of Europe, it was not for one moment to be defended. Had an attack been made on an absolute Monarch by the people, their armies would instantly have marched to his rescue. They looked, however, with complacency, and with approbation, on the overthrow of free institutions. It was not for England to hold counsel with those who entertained such doctrines respecting the duty of sovereigns. He had already referred to the language used on hearing of Don Miguel's usurpation, and was that the only indication we had given of our readiness to support him? What was the reason, he would ask, of the breathless haste with which the blockade of Oporto was recognized,—a blockade so utterly inefficient, and even ridiculous, that whilst the government at Oporto was sitting devising measures against Don Miguel, the first intimation of it was conveyed by the newspapers? AH Europe was astonished that Great Britain should so prematurely have thrown its great influence into the scale of usurpation. His right hon. friend (Mr. Peel) had said "Would you go to war?" Why, if England had manifested her opinions in the tenour of her conduct, and especially if she had declared those opinions to her allies, such a declaration would alone have been sufficient to crush the usurper. Even if war were the result, no man could deny that a war against an usurper, a rebel against his sovereign, and a persecutor of his people, would have been just. But had we merely blockaded the Tagus, or issued a declaration, or made a display of force, that would have been sufficient, and there would have been an end of the usurpation. But the fact of this interference in support of the usurper, and against the legitimate sovereign of Portugal, was no longer an inferential charge against the Government. It had lately been avowed by the head of that Government, that his proceedings in respect to Terceira were pursued with that intent. With grief and mortification, greater than he could trust himself to express, had he heard it declared that the state of Terceira was not such as it ought to have been, and. would have been, had the other Powers of Europe done their duty as this country had done hers. What was the plain meaning of this declaration? That we had done every thing 153 in our power, and more, as it would be made too plainly to appear, than the law of nations, sanctioned for the odious purpose of putting Terceira under the dominion of Don Miguel; and that he complained that other powers had not co-operated with us in this iniquitous project. We are disappointed, forsooth, because the King of the Netherlands would not send his ships of war to prevent Count Villa Flor and his gallant companions from finding an asylum in that Island—and yet the King of the Netherlands was not committed, as England was committed, to the protection of those who had stood by the Constitution and their legitimate Sovereign, and who had been taught by us to believe that, in so doing, they were standing by the connection of their country with Great Britain: but, if not committed to them, he felt himself bound by the law of nations, and the claims of misfortune. Sir, (said Mr. Huskisson) at the time I am now speaking, this ill-omened declaration has probably reached the young and gallant hero, Count Villa Flor, who is charged with the defence of that Island, and who has shewn how worthy he is of that trust, by the brilliant manner in which he repulsed the Miguelite forces last autumn. What must have been his feelings at reading this declaration? amounting, as it does, to an expression of regret and disappointment, that he had been able (able unassisted, able in spite of the hostile interference of England) to save himself and his loyal countrymen, by their own prowess, and their own resources, from the scaffolds, the tortures, the dungeons of the usurper. I think I see him casting his eyes round that little Island, now so endeared to him by all the noblest ties of patriotism and honour—I think I hear him exclaim, in the agony of embittered, but indignant feelings, "I was but a stripling, when, in 1810, Lord Wellington made his stand in the lines of Torres Vedras. That last little nook of the land of my birth was then the only spot in the west of Europe, from Venice to the mouth of the Vistula, which was not under the yoke, or in immediate subjection to one overwhelming usurpation. It was there that I saw Lord Wellington plant that standard of defiance against the countless armies of Buonaparte, which, three years afterwards, flying triumphant across the Pyrenees, was waving in victory, 154 and amid the shouts of general peace, upon the ramparts of Thoulouse. The sight of Lord Wellington shut up at Torres Vedras first kindled in my youthful bosom the love of freedom, and the aspirations of honourable fame. If from Terceira I now defy the tyrant of Portugal, it is because the example of the Duke of Wellington has taught me what may be achieved by indomitable fortitude, and by unshaken perseverance in a just cause. It is with unbounded admiration of those virtues in him, that I have studied to make him my pattern, and that I raise my daily prayers to Heaven, that I may have the constancy to emulate them for the restoration of my lawful sovereign, and the deliverance of my native land." If these be the feelings of Count Villa Flor, when he receives the declaration to which I have alluded with so much pain and regret, I can only say that, with those sentiments, I had rather be Count Villa Flor, shut up with his faithful band at Terceira, than the Prime Minister of England, regretting that he and they are still able to defy the vengeance of Don Miguel; and fearing that from thence, they may at last accomplish the downfall of his tyranny, and the restoration of peace and happiness to Portugal. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by saying he thought on the whole, whether Parliament looked to the honour of Great Britain or its interests, whether it looked to the opinion of foreign states on the necessity of encouraging freedom; it was bound to interfere, it was bound to call for that information which could alone enable it to form a correct opinion of the conduct of Ministers. He wished for inquiry, and for the interposition of the authority and opinion of Parliament, in order to prevent those further proceedings which would make the Ministers of England appear disadvantageously in the eyes of Europe, and a blot in our history in all time to come. There was but one feeling throughout Europe, that this country ought to interpose, for the protection of that party which were now the agents of persecution for a measure which we had countenanced. Something had been said of a treaty of Amnesty; he would only say that unless it were guaranteed by something more trustworthy than Don Miguel's oath, no man ought to rely on it.
Mr. Secretary Peel
explained, that his 155 right hon. friend had complained that he had stated that the British army had been recalled from Portugal, whilst he (Mr. Huskisson) was Colonial Secretary, at a time when it was known that Don Miguel had violated the Charter. But he had not stated that when his right hon. friend recalled the British troops Don Miguel had taken the title of King, though he had given indications of his intentions to usurp that title. The order was given on the 26th of March; and, previous to giving it, a letter had been received from Sir F. Lamb, stating that the officers of the army had been displaced, and that other steps had been taken, which were the evident precursors of more violent measures. On the 24th of March, Sir F. Lamb notified to Lord Dudley, that the Chamber of Deputies had been dissolved, without requiring that another should be convoked, which was directly contrary to the Charter. It was subsequent to the former despatches received from Sir F. Lamb that the order had been used for the recall of the British troops, and he therefore inferred that his right hon. friend concurred in the policy of the British Government not to interpose by force for the protection of the Portuguese Constitution.
§ Mr. Huskisson
explained. What he complained of was, that his right hon. friend quoted despatches of his which he did not produce, and he challenged his right hon. friend to produce the letter signed by him.
(with warmth.)—"I deny the charge, [loud cries of 'hear.'] I did not quote the letters of the right hon. Gentleman. There is an end of all discussion, if I cannot refer to facts. I said that an order was given for the recall of the British troops by a Secretary of State, and that Secretary was Mr. Huskisson. I quote no letters: I relate facts."
§ Viscount Sandon
said, that he did not think an armed interference was required; but Ministers had other means, even stronger than arms: and it would have been sufficient had they expressed their opinion against the usurpation. A foreign Minister of the country had declared that the friends of Don Miguel were the friends of this country; and a few nights after, the same Minister had declared that Don Miguel was cruel because he was cowardly. Both these sentiments were, in his opinion, improper; and he could not give his confidence to a foreign policy so conducted. 156 He admired the domestic policy of the present Government; but if he was put to the test, he must say that he could not place confidence in the foreign policy of the Government. He saw an absurd readiness to recognize the blockade of Oporto by Don Miguel, and a determined opposition to every blockade instituted by the Greeks. He said the expedition to Terceira was beaten back, and that to Mexico allowed to pass unmolested. It was because he disapproved of the policy that he meant to support the Motion of the noble Lord.
§ Viscount Palmerston
replied.—He was not, he said, desirous of occupying the House at that hour, but some observations had fallen from his right hon. friend, to which a reply was necessary. His right hon. friend had complained that he had made choice of his points of attack, but he had forgotten to add, that the Motion was communicated to Government some time before, and it embraced every point on which he had made any observations. His right hon. friend (Mr. Peel) had charged him too with broaching opinions which he had not avowed whilst a member of the Cabinet; but, looking to dates, that reproach would not appear well founded. It was true, that he (Lord Palmerston) made no objection to withdrawing the British troops from Portugal; but he denied that the government of Portugal had then taken a decisive course. He (Lord Palmerston) felt himself in an embarrassing situation, for he did not know whether he was entitled to use, even hypothetically, the expressions in the remonstrances made by the English Government to Don Miguel; but he challenged his right hon. friend to produce them. The order for the recall of the troops was sent on the 6th of March. The arrival of the first communication of any thing like the assumption of royal authority on the part of Don Miguel was on the 7th of May. On the 19th of May, he (Lord Palmerston) attended the last Cabinet Council on this subject. He wished the right hon. Gentleman would produce the answer to that despatch of the 7th of May. It would appear from that despatch what was the tone held by the British Government towards Don Miguel. He challenged his right hon. friend to produce these papers, which would decide the difference between them. If his right hon. friend would produce the others, he would not press for 157 those which regarded the negotiations with the Brazils, and he did trust that the House would support his Motion to this extent.
§ Strangers were then ordered to withdraw, and a division took place. The numbers were—For the Motion 73: Against it 150:—Majority against the Motion 77.
|List of the Minority.|
|Bankes, Henry||Macdonald, Sir James|
|Beaumont, T. W.||Macqueen, Potter|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Maberly, J.|
|Bernal, Ralph||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Blake, Sir F.||Norton, G. C.|
|Burdett, Sir F.||Nugent, Lord|
|Canning, Sir Stratford||O'Connell, Daniel|
|Carter, John B.||Ord, William|
|Calthorpe, Fred.||Peech, N. W.|
|Cave, R. Otway||Pendarvis, E.W.W.|
|Cavendish, Henry||Philips, Sir George|
|Cavendish, Wm.||Philips, Geo. R.|
|Chichester, Arthur||Phillimore, Joseph|
|Davenport, E.||Price, Robert.|
|Duncombe, hon. W.||Protheroe, E.|
|Denison, J. E.||Rice, T. S.|
|Dundas, hon. Thomas||Robinson, Sir H.|
|Ebrington, Viscount||Rumbold, E. C.|
|Ellis, hon. Geo. Agar||Russell Lord John|
|Ellis, hon. Augustus||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Encombe, Viscount||Smith, W.|
|Ewart, W.||Stanley, E. G. S.|
|Fazakerly, John N.||Tennyson, Chas.|
|Fyler, Thomas B.||Thomson, C. P.|
|Graham, Sir J.||Townshend, Lord C.|
|Grant, rt. hon. C.||Vyvyan, Sir R.|
|Grant, R.||Uxbridge, Earl of|
|Heneage, G. F.||Warrender, Sir G.|
|Hobhouse, J. Cam||Wetherell, Sir C.|
|Howick, Viscount||Whitmore, W. W.|
|Honywood, W. P.||Wood, C.|
|Horton, rt. hon. R.W.|
|Huskisson, rt. hon. W.||TELLERS.|
|Inglis, Sir Robert||Palmerston, Lord|
|Jephson, Chas. D. O.||Sandon, Lord|
|Labouchere, Henry||PAIRED OFF.|
|Lamb, hon. George||Hume, Joseph|
|Lambert, Jas. S.||Ingilby, Sir W. A.|
|Lennard, Barrett||Gordon, R.|
|Littleton, Edw. J.||Wilson, Sir R.|