rose and said:—My lords, the information, to obtain which I rise to move an Address to the Crown, relates to two important branches of our foreign affairs; I mean those connected, first, with the Treaty of Triple Alliance, and the situation of Greece, and Turkey, and Russia; and secondly, with our ancient Ally, the kingdom of Portugal. These are both subjects of great interest; and the attention of parliament was directly called to them by the Speech from the Throne, at the commencement of the session, and expectations were raised, that the results would be made known to your lordships on both these subjects; but, during the whole session, no further information has been laid before your lordships. My chief motive for submitting that motion to your lordships, with which I shall conclude, is, to protest against the appearance of indifference, which, if real, is a great calamity to the country, and must lead to the loss of that character of importance which this country has so long maintained. My motion, my lords, will be simply a motion for information. At the same time, I should be acting disingenuously, in submitting this motion for information, were I to say, that I see nothing peculiar in the situation of the country—no changes which have taken place within the last few months, in the general situation of affairs, which persuade me that we ought to congratulate ourselves on that confidence in his majesty's government, which is quite unparalleled in the history of parliament, and which may 1710 not, perhaps, lead to the honour of the Crown and the interests of his majesty's subjects. I shall state, first, the situation of your lordships, with respect to the information I propose to have supplied; and, next, I shall refer to the changes which have taken place in Europe, and which require that parliament should obtain that information. My lords, we were told in the King's Speech, at the commencement of the session, that "in maintaining the national faith, by adhering to the engagements into which his majesty has entered, his majesty will never lose sight of the great objects to which all his efforts have been directed—the termination of the contest between the hostile parties, the permanent settlement of their future relations to each other, and the maintenance of the repose of Europe upon the basis on which it has rested since the last general treaty of peace." My lords, a transaction like this, in my judgment, calls on the House to ask, why some further explanation has not been given to parliament. A long time has now elapsed —it was early in April, 1826—since the protocol of the Treaty was signed at Petersburg by the noble duke opposite. On July 6th, 1827, the Treaty for the furtherance of the objects set forth in the protocol was also signed —a treaty of as much wisdom, and founded as much on justice, and as likely to produce permanent advantage to this country and to all Europe, as any treaty that ever was signed. That treaty was signed on the 6th of July, 1827. It was not till the meeting of parliament, on January 29th, 1828, that the existence of the protocol or the Treaty was communicated, and laid before parliament. We were then told, that further communications would be made, and our expectations were raised, that all the benefits promised by that Treaty would be attained. It was stated that his majesty had the greatest hopes, that the objects of that treaty would be attained without further hostility, by the active co-operation of his Allies. Neither in that protocol, nor in the Treaty, the object of which it was hoped to attain without further hostility, was any provision made for the security and preservation of that power which has of late been somewhat ostentatiously, but incorrectly, called our "ancient ally;" words which, when examined, will be found to be a modern blunder. No, my lords, I hope I never shall see—God forbid 1711 I ever should see—for the proposition would be scouted from one end of England to another—any preparations, or any proposition, or any attempt, to defend this our ancient ally from the attacks of its enemies. There was no arrangement made in that treaty, for preserving the crumbling and hateful, or, as Mr. Burke called it, the wasteful and disgusting empire, of the Turks from dismemberment and destruction; and none of the powers who were parties to that treaty will ever, I hope, save the falling empire of Turkey from ruin. Now, my lords, what has happened? I am informed, but I may be mistaken, that our "ancient ally" imagined, that every thing which had been directed against her interest had been concocted in this country. He has rejected all our overtures; and the consequence has been, that our ambassador, and the ambassadors of the other powers, have left Constantinople. What followed? Soon afterwards, the Turkish government explained the motives for its conduct, and its situation in relation to its own subjects. The Turkish government published a haitischeriff, entirely directed to its own subjects; as if directing it to them was a sufficient reason for avowing a system of profiting by its oppressions, and for expressing its insolence to other states; and it seemed to think, that because the haitischeriff was published to inform its own subjects, it might express its suspicions of the conduct of other governments. The Turkish government published its haitischcrift"; and Russia, which, for a long period had paid the greatest attention to all the considerations and objections which had been urged on her, or felt by the other powers of Europe—which had, for a long period, out of deference to their feelings, foregone the fair object of all her ambition—which, with an attention to the general policy of Europe, and a magnanimity unparalleled, had long resisted the strongest temptations —had attended only to the representations of this country and her allies, and had waited faithfully to the last moment, before she had taken any open measures to oppose the insults of Turkey—had resisted the disposition of her people to engage in war; Russia had now engaged in war, which upon all principles of policy and public law, she had a right to wage—nay, was called on by her duty to wage. The Russian government explained its motives to its subjects and even to its allies; she 1712 renounced completely all objects which might excite their suspicion and jealousy. France, also, has given an explanation to her people and her parliament, and has explained the alteration in her views, occasioned by the alterations in the situation of affairs. Russia, France, and Turkey, then, have explained to their people the situation in which they now stand; and the government of England stands, like the little dog in the "Two Gentlemen of Verona," and says not a word. This is, in my opinion, a very strange proceeding. We are entitled to know, if not our exact situation, at least the reasons why no explanation has been given. This is the narrow ground, on which I rest my motion. This would be the only narrow ground, if I could hope that there was nothing in the situation of the country to rouse parliament from its slumbers. If nothing I had grown up to darken our prospects there would be some reason to suppose, that we were not committing an error, in preserving our confidence; but I cannot say that I see the state of the country in this light. There are strong appearances of great changes, not to our advantage. The cordial co-operation of the three contracting powers was one of the advantageous points formerly under their consideration; they had not only signed the treaty in the spirit of peace, but they had continued to maintain it in that spirit. But it is now stated, that the treaty stands upon different grounds, and that these parties differ on several material points. We were told, at the commencement of the session, notwithstanding the "untoward event" which had taken place, that the objects of the treaty would be attained without further hostility. But your lordships know, that the king of France, and the emperor of Russia, have viewed that "untoward event" in a very different light from that in which it was viewed by our ministers. The emperor of Russia has stated, that if the battle of Navarino was followed up with courage and consistency, that great victory seemed to have been well calculated to enforce and secure the objects of the treaty. The king of France has not called that battle an "untoward event." While he manifested his regret at the effusion of blood, he considered the event as glorious to the arms of all the three allied powers, and likely to promote the cause of humanity and secure the objects of the treaty. If I am not misinformed, 1713 there were made at a very early period of the alliance, offers by the governments of France and Russia to lend money to Greece, which our government did not adopt. I do not speak of the wisdom of not adopting these offers; but this difference was a strong symptom of a want of that community of feelings, which it was so desirable should subsist, and which did subsist, particularly between the Russian government and Mr. Canning's government at the time of signing the treaty. I have been told, that when the offer of lending money to the Greeks at the early period of the treaty was rejected by our government, the French government concurred. I do not say it would have been wise in Great Britian to lend money. I think it would not; but such a resolution must be concurred in by all parties. It is not correct to encourage one party to do more than the others; but, when it has been found necessary to send money to the Greeks, the French government sent it; it sent, as I am informed, half a million of livres secretly to the Greek government. The parties agreed, that if the mediation was refused by Turkey, and accepted by Greece, consuls should be sent to Greece by the contracting parties. I have not heard that any have been sent from this country; but the Russians and French have sent consuls to Greece. Let me tell your lordships, that it was possible not to agree on this great question of policy, when the protocol was signed, and when the treaty was signed: the subject only so remotely affected the interests of this country, that it was a fair question for doubt; but when once our policy was decided on, it became necessary to the honour of Great Britain, and essential to the well understood interests of the country to take measures to execute the object of the treaty, and to carry it through with the same intention with which it was begun [hear, hear ! from the duke of Wellington]. I see by the cheer of the noble duke, that he thinks the manner and mode was purely mediative—that the negociation was intented only to take that course. I shall be ready to meet the noble duke on this point; and I tell him to his face, that, according to the accredited principles of public law, that protocol gave the Turks a just cause of war. I ask, if it were not the intention of those who signed the protocol, and who used no menaces, no threats, if they found difficulties in 1714 their way, to enforce it? And, if it were not, I say they stultified themselves. If ever the parties to a treaty intended to enforce it, the parties to that treaty did. I refer to the individual who signed the protocol; and unless the parties to it did mean to protect that country for which the mediation was undertaken—unless they meant to secure for that country a free civil government, which intention excited the admiration of mankind—unless they meant to provide against the consequences which might ensue from that treaty to the Greeks —unless they meant to do all this—will any man tell me that it was necessary for the three great powers of Europe to unite against Turkey? I say, that unless this were the intention of the parties to the protocol, those who signed it did not know what they were signing. If the noble lords opposite will lay the despatches of that period before parliament, I will undertake to shew, that all the governments, who were parties to that treaty, were resolved, if necessary, that it should be enforced by power. I pledge myself to prove, that it is impossible that such a treaty could be carried into effect without coercion. Nay,' more, if the intention of his majesty's government was not to carry the stipulations of that treaty into effect by power, if they resolved to refuse to act against Turkey in the event of Turkey refusing to fulfil the conditions of that treaty, that their conduct was much worse than foolish; it was disingenuous, dishonourable, and treacherous. For, by the protocol, Russia consented to give up some objects that were very essential to her. She not only gave up the opportunity 'of acting in favour of the independence of Greece, single-handed, but she gave up, by inference at least, any advantage to herself in the Mediterranean, or in Greece, which she might otherwise have been able to extort from the Turkish government. If it was the intention of those who signed the treaty, to sign it with a mental reservation, which was to enable them to avoid carrying it into effect, if necessary, by the exercise of power, their conduct would resemble that of some infidel Christian in Constantinople—some dog, as he is there called—who would prostrate himself at the feet of the grand seignior, and say, "I shall be obliged to your sublime highness to emancipate all the rebellious Greeks, to enable them to buy and sell property, to enjoy perfect freedom intrade, and toleration in religion; and if 1715 you do not consent to make these concessions, why I will go home, with my tail between my legs, and take no ulterior measure to enforce my request." I have alluded to the protocol as the foundation of the treaty. The terms of that protocol were wise and just in appearance; but they were wise and just in reality, only as far as it was intended to follow them up by action. What was the preamble to that protocol? That it was framed "for the interests of religion and humanity." If the exercise of coercion, if necessary, was not contemplated, what was it but to say, "We will go to this infidel power, and require him to do what we know is disagreeable to him; if he refuse to submit, we say nothing more about it, and leave the interests of religion and humanity to take care of themselves." I contend, that the reserve and silence on such a subject manifested by his majesty's government, although it is no evidence of lukewarmness and insincerity, is calculated to excite great suspicion; and great suspicion, under the present circumstances is calculated to be almost as detrimental to the honour and interests of this country, as the existence of the lukewarmness and insincerity. If we arc engaged honestly, manfully, and straight-forwardly, in an attempt to accomplish the objects held out as indispensable in the protocol and treaty in question, there is nothing that could give more force to the representations of his majesty's government, even in Constantinople—nothing that could give more confidence to our allies—nothing that could excite more sympathy throughout the world, than a frank, unreserved communication on the subject to parliament. Where silence and mystery are observed, suspicion must always arise. I am far from meaning that on such matters it is not competent to a government to exercise a sound discretion. There may be cases in which it would be perfectly justifiable on the part of government to conceal steps which it was intended to take upon a treaty concluded with foreign powers: but in a case like the present, in which by public events, by a speech from the throne, and by the general interest awakened, the attention of parliament and of the public has been powerfully called to the subject, it appears to me that it was the duty of government to state the reasons by which their conduct was influenced. Upon these grounds it is, that I 1716 mean to propose a string of motions, for the purpose of procuring the information which has not been spontaneously afforded. As Turkey is now at war with another of our allies, I think it right to call for the production of any treaties that have been concluded between Great Britain and Turkey, since Feb. 1809. The second motion is for copies or extracts of all such dispatches from his majesty's ambassador at Constantinople, as relate to engagements made, by word of mouth, for mutual defence and support, with any of the diplomatic agents of the Sublime Porte since January, 1809. I should have thought it almost ludicrous to suppose that any engagement or alliance could be formed between two states "by word of mouth," had it not been for what has been said by a noble viscount opposite, (Strangford) as to the accuracy of the Sublime Porte, and its fidelity in fulfilling even its parole engagements. I certainly was very much surprised to be told, by the noble viscount, that there are traditional agreements between Turkey and this country; and that Mussulmans were so superior to Christians in their adherence to their engagements, that he would trust the word of a Turk, more than he would a Christian's oath. Really, I think, the noble viscount's experience must pretty strongly contradict this declaration. When the noble viscount first went to Constantinople, all relations between Russia and the Porte were suspended. Great Britain, Austria, and the other powers of Europe, were anxious that those relations should be renewed. When the emperor Alexander was applied to on the subject, he answered, that he had no objection to renew those relations; but that, after the manner in which his ambassador, baron Strogonoff, had been compelled to quit Constantinople, he could not, in honour, send any diplomatic agent to the Porte, unless the amende honourable were previously made to him. Upon that, the noble viscount entered into a negotiation, which he conducted with great ability; and suggested to the Reis Effendi a number of concessions to Russia, in the propriety of all of which the Reis acquiesced. Pleased with the successful issue of this discussion, the emperor Alexander took advantage of these proffered concessions, and sent a diplomatic agent, M. Minziacki, to Constantinople to receive them. M. Minziacki, was somewhat surprised to find, that, 1717 after several months' residence in Constantinople, he was not able to obtain an interview with the Reis Effendi. At last he saw him, expressed the delight which his government felt that the Porte had come to its senses, and had agreed that it would do so and so. Upon which this Turk, who either was troubled with a short memory, or was not quite so honest as the noble viscount supposed all Turks were, threw his arms up in the air, and exclaimed "Allah ! Allah ! Allah ! I say those things ! If I were to say a tenth part of what you have been describing, my head would soon be rolling in the gutters of Constantinople!" If, after such an occurrence as this, the practice of forming engagements with the Turks by "word of mouth" has been continued, it is high time that that practice should be abandoned. What I wish for, therefore, is information on the subject, and I shall therefore move for copies of all dispatches from our ambassadors at Constantinople, communicating such engagements. The next motion is for copies of all public documents communicated to our government by Russia, in which the emperor has declared his intention of adhering to the conditions of the treaty of the 6th of July, 1827, notwithstanding the war with Turkey in which he is at present engaged. It is right that your lordships and the public should be put in possession of that declaration; and I have little doubt that when it shall be produced, it will highly redound to the honour of that great prince. I shall also move for extracts from the minutes of such conferences between the ministers of the three allied powers, since October, 1827, as relate to the protocol of April, 1826, and the consequent treaty of the 6th July, 1827.
§ My lords, I have done with the first division of my subject. I now enter upon a portion of it, which I confess I approach with considerable difficulty, and with some feelings of regret. I have always maintained, that the existence of a firm, friendly, and cordial alliance between Great Britain and Portugal, is of infinitely more importance to the interests of this country, than an alliance with all the other powers in the world put together. Splendid as have been the achievements of the noble duke in the profession which he adorns, no benefit that he has ever conferred on his country or on posterity has equalled in value the exercise of those powers of mind, 1718 and that decision of character, which enabled him to show that the lines of Torres Vedras, were capable of being maintained against the world in arms. I am satisfied that at all times, but more especially at periods when Portugal is surrounded by nations with feelings hostile in any manner to this country, Lisbon is a point which it is of vital importance to the character and to the interests of England that we should defend. I do not found this opinion on any notions of the honour of maintaining an ancient ally; although, God forbid I should disparage any such notions; and, although I might easily show, by a reference to existing treaties, that we are bound to maintain the rightful government in Portugal against all foreign enemies, and against all domestic usurpation. My lords, I do not approve of such treaties; but I think it very questionable if treaties by which we are pledged to the government of Portugal to assist it in resisting domestic usurpation do not exist. It is, perhaps, a topic more suitable to the antiquary than to the statesman; but I very much doubt if the treaty concluded by this country, in 1642, with the House of Braganza, soon after it had recovered its independence, did not renew all our ancient treaties with Portugal, as far back as the reign of Edward 3rd; and if so, the introduction in the treaty concluded in that reign, of the words "vassalos et rebelles," is certainly a strong argument in favour of the presumption, that we are bound by treaty to assist the rightful government of Portugal in suppressing domestic usurpation. But I do not put the case upon this ground; 1 do not put it upon the necessity of sustaining the honour of this country; although God knows I value that honour much more, perhaps, than those who talk a great deal about it; but I put it on the ground of mutual interest and affection. There is no part of our continental policy so indelibly written on the hearts of Englishmen, as that their own interests and a generous attention to the interests of an ancient friend are inseparably involved in the maintenance of the safety and independence of Portugal. The attention of parliament was strongly called to this subject by the Speech from the Throne, on the opening- of the present session. In that speech we were told—" His Majesty has the greatest satisfaction in informing you, that the purposes for which his Majesty, 1719 upon the requisition of the court of Lisbon, detached a military force to Portugal, have been accomplished. The obligations of good faith having been fulfilled, and the safety and independence of Portugal secured, his Majesty has given orders that the forces in that country should be immediately withdrawn." Such might have been supposed by his majesty's government to be the case at that period. But, will any of your lordships say, that the safety and independence of Portugal are now secure? Putting aside the question—whether the government of Don Miguel is a government of treason or not—is there any man who knows so little of the present state of political feeling throughout Europe, as to deny, that Don Miguel is necessarily, if not at the head of the faction, connected with the faction in Europe, which bears a rooted and implacable hatred towards the constitution, and the free institutions of this country? It is highly important, therefore, that we should know what were the causes which led to the present unfortunate results in Portugal. It is highly important that we should know whether or not this country can be justly charged with having directly or indirectly contributed to those results. I am far from expressing any suspicion on the subject; but, as a member of the English parliament, I have a right to receive from his majesty's government the information which I now require. I put it on the narrow ground, that every thing which happens in Portugal is necessarily interesting to Great Britain. But, at the same time, I must ingenuously acknowledge, that the events in Portugal wear an appearance not at all calculated to diminish my desire to obtain information how far the faith and honour of the country have been preserved with the constitutional party in Portugal; and how far we have fulfilled our engagements with the emperor of the Brazils, or with his daughter Donna Maria da Gloria, as queen of Portugal. I throw out no imputation; but I am anxious to hear his majesty's government openly disclaim all connexion with the odious usurpation in Portugal. I do not charge his majesty's government with having any such connexion. God forbid I should do so! But, although I have a thorough confidence in the intentions of government, I cannot forget, that it frequently requires the exercise of great capacity, ability, and address, to carry even good intentions into 1720 effect. One of the reasons which induce me to seek for the information, is to know whether the fall of Oporto, and the present calamitous state of affairs in Portugal generally, have not been, in some degree, occasioned by a mistaken confidence on the part of his majesty's government in certain persons in that country. I believe the noble lords opposite will declare that it was their intention to preserve the strictest neutrality between the two parties in Portugal. In the first place, it may be fairly mooted, how far, consistently with our honour and interests, we had a right to adopt the line of strict neutrality? But if we did adopt that line, I then ask for information, in order to see if the course pursued by government did really treat both parties equally; or whether it did not sometimes happen, that the party against whom all our wishes were directed, did not derive all the benefit of the course, which was meant to be one of strict neutrality. It is not unworthy of remark, that the first advantage gained by the cause of usurpation was gained while our troops were in Lisbon. It was very possible, without the slightest intention on the part of his majesty's government, or on the part of the agents or officers of his majesty's government; but it is highly probable, that the bare circumstance of the British troops being in Lisbon deprived the constitutionalists of the best opportunity of resisting the early encroachments of usurped power. I know that what I am about to say may expose me to much misrepresentation; but I believe that the anxiety which, in several instances—in Naples and in Portugal—we have pushed too far on the subject, has caused a notion to prevail, that the preservation of the person of a prince, is the paramount consideration with an English commander; and that that notion may have prevented the constitutional party in Lisbon from taking those measures which were absolutely necessary for the success of their cause. A question was lately asked respecting the correspondence of a noble viscount (Beresford) with certain persons in Portugal. I am the last person to say, that any English subject is not fully entitled to correspond with whom he chooses, and on what subject he chooses. The correspondence of the noble viscount may have been innocent—it may even have been judicious. I do not remember whether the noble duke stated, that he had 1721 seen the whole of that correspondence.—But I know that this correspondence has been represented in Lisbon to be of a character very different from that which the noble duke attributed to it. It is a fact, which the production of the papers I am about to move for will prove beyond all possibility of dispute, that that correspondence has contributed materially to the success of Don Miguel. To my knowledge, the expressions in that correspondence were bandied about in every quarter of Lisbon; and the inference which I draw from that fact is, that it is quite, impossible but that his majesty's diplomatic agents in that city, must have complained to his majesty's government of the injurious effects which had thereby been; produced. I will venture to say, that if the papers for which I shall move be produced, it will appear, that there has not been a single person employed by his majesty's government in an official situation in Lisbon who has not, in his communications to government, described the; correspondence of the noble viscount as having had the effect of thwarting the objects which this country bad in view.—The least that can be said of this occurrence is, that it was "an untoward event." I bring no charge against the noble viscount; he has a perfect right to be a Miguelite, if he chooses to be so; only, if I had been in the place of the noble duke, I certainly should not, under such circumstances, have promoted the noble viscount to the high situation which he now holds, at the very moment when he had it in his power to inflict the greatest injury on the cause that I was desirous to support.
§ Then comes the blockade of Oporto.—The annunciation of that blockade by our government was certainly not accurately worded; for it gave Don Miguel a title which he had forfeited. As to the principle of the blockade, it was one, the justice of which I not only acknowledge, but am prepared to contend for; for it was the principle of protecting the weak against the strong. I cannot, however, but remark on the breathless haste with which this principle was acknowledged, when it was in favour of Don Miguel's cause; and the absence of breathless haste in acknowledging it, when it was in favour of a people contending against tyranny. Besides, the blockade scarcely-amounted to a real one; which is evident from the fact of the ease with which ships 1722 were allowed to go in or out of the port without interruption. It is said, that the Constitutionalists in Portugal have shown themselves to be cowardly and pusillanimous. I do not mean to assert, that they have shown themselves heroes; but I beg leave to observe, that persons who have the happiness of living in countries not subject to such great vicissitudes of government, are scarcely fair judges of the matter, and at least ought to abstain from severe criticism upon the conduct of individuals whose situation and feelings they can but very inadequately appreciate.—The only way in which an Englishman should look at the recent occurrences in Portugal, is to ask, "What effect has my conduct, or that of my government, had in producing them?" However anxious we may have been in this country for the success of the constitutional party in Portugal, we ought not to forget what might have been the very natural reflections of an individual of that party during the late struggle. "The constitution is connected with the interests of the emperor and his daughter. Is it supported by England? By the answer to that question will it stand or fall. What I see induces me to doubt the fact. If I exert myself against Don Miguel, and he should become king, I shall be hanged. But if the constitution be really cherished by England—if the shield of Achilles be really thrown over it, let that be seen, and; I will boldly adhere to the cause." There is no doubt that many individuals in Portugal sided with the constitutional party, because they thought that that party had the support of the government of Great; Britain; but there is also no doubt, that; many individuals abstained from siding with that party, because they thought that: the government of Great Britain had not acted openly and ingenuously on the subject. I believe that that is the reason of much of the indifference that has been shown in Portugal to the cause of the constitution. But when I use the term indifference, I do not mean that the indifference has been real, anymore than that it was real in Spain. The French enabled the faction opposed to the constitution to triumph in Spain. I fear that our lukewarmness towards the friends of the constitution in Portugal, has enabled the faction opposed to the constitution to triumph in Portugal.
§ I think I have laid sufficient grounds for asking for information, looking to the 1723 events which have taken place, and to the consequences which have in part, and which are yet likely to flow from them. Whilst upon these subjects I cannot forbear from adverting to a distinguished statesman, under whose direction the foreign policy of this country had been recently placed. With that minister (Mr. Canning;) I had been intimate in early life; but that intimacy was discontinued, owing to differences of political opinion—until last year, when it was renewed. Of that minister, injustice it should be said, that, whether owing to a fortunate combination of circumstances, or to whatever other causes, he left this country, as far as referred to its foreign relations, in the highest and most glorious situation [hear, hear!]. He left her powerful and respected—he left her connected with two of the greatest powers of the continent, and engaged in a triple alliance to accomplish objects which must be dear to the heart of every man of moral and virtuous feelings. Mr. Canning was engaged at the period of his death in this noble undertaking; in which he had the sincere co-operation of the states, in concert with which he acted. Mr. Canning left this country in military possession of Portugal; and in what more desirable situation for the welfare of Portugal itself, as well as for England, could we be, to dignify and illustrate the position which this, a great nation, should occupy? The advantageous positions which Mr. Canning had obtained have not been maintained, certainly not improved. We had been told, that we were not in a situation to face war. I am one of those who consider this the greatest of calamities to any country, and peculiarly so to this; but there is one calamity greater, and that would be the loss of cur independence.—Anxious as I am to protect the interests of the fund-holder, and to attend to the interests of land, I would risk the sacrifice of them for the independence of the country. Both would I readily sacrifice to the ascendancy of that independence, without which, instead of being the high and mighty nation that we were, we should crumble into insignificance in the scale of nations. We had been already freed from the incubus of the Holy Alliance; and let me hope that there is no intention of returning to the counsels by which it was sought to connect us with it. Indeed, in noticing the acts of commission, as well as of omission, I do not sus 1724 pect it to be the design of ministers to have recourse to such pernicious counsels. But, after what we have seen—after the appearances which have presented themselves, and from the consequences which are to be anticipated, it is but right that we should be put in possession of the amplest information on subjects so important. The noble lord concluded by moving for the several documents referred to in his speech.
§ The Earl of Aberdeen
said, that with respect to the documents for which the noble lord had moved, some of them were not in existence, others had appeared in the newspapers, and others were of such a nature, that it would be inexpedient to produce them, whilst transactions so delicate as those to which they referred were pending. If he declined, therefore, acceding to the motion, it was upon these grounds. But the noble lord had dwelt upon two main points, and he felt it necessary to notice the observations which the noble lord had made respecting them. Of these points, he should deal with the last first. In the expressions of regret to which the noble lord had given utterance, at the events which had recently taken place in Portugal, the noble lord must have expected complete concurrence, on the part of the government and of the House.—They were unquestionably subjects of regret; and every one must feel them to be so. Here, then, there was no charge against the government; but it was his wish to see the particular points on which the noble lord rested his charge or suspicion against government. For one of those there could not be the slightest foundation. The noble lord had said, that the professed principle on which we had acted with respect to Portugal was that of strict neutrality, and in this the noble lord was perfectly correct; but the noble lord had complained, that there were appearances which justified the suspicion that that principle had not been observed; and in support of this position the noble lord had mentioned the rapid acknowledgement, on our part, of the blockade of Oporto, and the title which we had given to the person who caused that blockade, in our notification of it. The latter complaint was a strange one indeed; for, whatever might be the title of Don Miguel now, the title given him, in the notification of the blockade, was certainly his title at the time that notifica 1725 tion was written. With respect to the rapidity with which the blockade was acknowledged, it was their duty to notify it immediately. If the question had involved any doubt or difficulty, time for consideration might have been necessary; but it was thought unworthy of the British ministry to delay doing that which they thought it their duty to do in a matter on which they had already made up their mind. The noble lord, too, had said, that we were left in military possession of Portugal; but were we to continue in possession of Portugal? If the noble lord thought we were, he would ask him by what right we could have retained possession of Portugal? Our troops were not sent there to maintain possession of Portugal; they were sent there in fulfilment of treaties, the execution of which left them no option. It was possible there might be some good reasons for keeping our troops there longer. If there were, he was unacquainted with them; but this he did know, that there were none when our troops were withdrawn. He should wish to ask the noble lord, if he thought, supposing we had not preserved a strict neutrality, that we had favoured Don Miguel? Let the noble lord consider for a moment what our conduct had been.—Don Miguel left this country, taking with him, through our intervention, supplies of money. No sooner had Don Miguel given indications of a departure from those professions which he had made in this country, than he was deprived of those supplies. From that day until the day in which the functions of our ambassador were suspended, remonstrance, on our parts, had followed remonstrance, each couched in stronger language than the preceding; and at length we suspended the functions of our ambassador. Did this show any thing like a leaning in favour of Don Miguel? Did it display any disposition to oppose the party who were against him? Had we not now thrown off all diplomatic relation with the person whom the noble lord had supposed that we favoured? If, therefore, we had not preserved a strict neutrality, it was at least certain, that our partiality had been exercised rather against than in favour of Don Miguel. But the noble lord seemed to entertain a very erroneous notion of the nature of our relations with Portugal, and of our obligations towards that country.—Our obligations were simply a guarantee 1726 against foreign invasion to the house of Braganza; but the notion of the noble lord, that this obligation extended to internal dissensions, was the most preposterous that man ever entertained. It would be quite impossible for us to fulfil such engagements, if they had, which they had not, ever been entered into.—There would be no end to our interference, if we were called upon, in every internal dispute, between the members of that I family, or between the king and his people. Then, as to our obligations to the constitution, we had no obligations of the kind, we had nothing to do with the constitution. The accident of our troops being in Lisbon might have contributed to the success of that constitution; but they were not sent there for any such purpose. Whatever might be our wishes to see the establishment of liberal institutions; to enforce such institutions in a country, contrary to the inclinations of the people, would be to do that which he was sure would not meet with the approval of the noble lord. The noble lord had intimated that he did not believe any such disinclination to exist in Portugal. He did not pretend to be a good judge of the matter, but certainly events and appearances were against the noble lord; for it was generally found, that that which people loved they defended, and that that which they disliked they resisted. In his opinion, if it had not been for the accidental presence of the British troops in Portugal, the constitution would not have lasted as long as it had lasted. He believed, that it was with Portugal, as he recollected to have heard Mr. Canning declare that it was with Spain, that the feelings of the majority of the people were against such institutions. Be that, however, as it might, we had nothing to do with the matter. Our engagements were known and explicit;—those engagements had hitherto been fulfilled, and, doubtless, they always would be fulfilled, whenever we were called upon to perform them. Certainly, the noble lord had not exaggerated the importance of a close connexion between Portugal and this country; but he thought that, in this particular, the noble lord had indulged in the most preposterous apprehensions of the result of events now passing in Portugal; for he could not bring himself to imagine that any sovereign of that country —let him be a despot, or of whatever other character—could be insensible to how 1727 much it was to his interest to be nearly connected in alliance with this country. The form of government in Portugal had never disturbed that alliance. He was very much mistaken if those persons who supported Don Miguel, though they might not, perhaps, be actuated by the most enlightened views, were not the friends of this country. He confessed, too, that he was afraid that among the other party, there were not a few, who were not only not the friends of this country, but not friendly to good government in any country. He trusted he had proved that his majesty's government had been sincere in their desire to preserve the principle of strict neutrality, and that if there had been any departure from that principle, it had not been in favour of Don Miguel. He now came to the treaty of the 6th July, 1827. He would not say one word upon the wisdom or the spirit which had dictated that treaty. The treaty was in existence, and being in existence, he would yield to no man living in earnest and honest endeavours to carry it into full execution. At the same time, he thought the noble lord had mistaken the spirit of that treaty. The noble lord, in his indignation at the existence of the Turkish government, seemed to think, that a part of the plan of that treaty was the destruction of the Turkish empire. The treaty, so far from having in view the destruction of the Turkish empire, proceeded upon an opposite principle. Now, the noble lord seemed to think, that appearances were against their executing this treaty, in the spirit in which it had been framed. Proof that any such intention existed the noble lord could not have. He admitted that, at the beginning of the session, a hope had been held out respecting the execution of that treaty, which had not been so speedily realized as might have been expected. But, were there not circumstances which accounted for the realization of that hope having being protracted? The emperor of Russia, for reasons which they knew not, had thought it necessary to declare war against the Porte. Now, he must beg of noble lords to recollect, in what a situation this circumstance placed the other parties to the treaty. It was their declared wish, to execute the treaty without a war. One of the parties became a belligerent. Did not this alter the situation of the other parties to the treaty?—In this fact was to be found the cause of 1728 the delay that had taken place. This fact gave rise to hesitation, and to explanations, which, he was sure, the noble lord himself would not think unreasonable.—His Imperial majesty at once divested himself of the character of a belligerent in the Mediterranean; and no one would deny that the sincerity and the generosity the emperor of Russia had displayed in doing this, were entitled to the highest praise. But, until that was done, it was impossible that the two neutrals could cooperate with the belligerent, under the treaty. Now, he could by no means agree in the general view which the noble lord had taken of the Turkish empire; which seemed to be the great object of the noble lord's indignation. It might be true that, strictly speaking, Turkey was not an ancient ally of this country, but certainly Turkey was an ancient friend of ours; certainly there had seldom been any cause of complaint between us; certainly there was none at present. And when the noble lord was so loud in his exultation at the prospective downfall of the Turkish empire, he thought the noble lord had taken a very erroneous view of the policy of this country towards Turkey. In his opinion, the existence of Turkey as an independent power—as a power of weight, and of considerable influence in the affairs of Europe—was essential to the preservation of that balance, which it had always been the policy of this country to preserve. In his opinion, if any very material diminution in the power of Turkey took place, it would be felt by all the great powers of Europe; and if that was the case, it would be our duty to preserve it as entire as possible. He thought it very fortunate that such views were entertained by the emperor of Russia, as those which he had expressed. In the magnanimity of his Imperial majesty, he placed more confidence than the noble lord. As to another point which the noble lord thought suspicious, he must take the whole blame upon himself. But, so far from the delay to which the noble lord had alluded, arising from any indisposition to prosecute the treaty, or to any lukewarmness on his part, the fact was, that since his present duty had devolved upon him, he had not been able to fix upon any person with whom to trust so important and delicate an affair. The noble lord had thought proper to contrast the situation of the country now with the situation in 1729 which it was last year. He had talked of the policy of Mr. Canning, and had hinted that there had been a deviation from it. Now, he had heard the same fear expressed before; but he had never yet been able to tell what was meant by it. He should say, that the general policy of this country was the same now as it had been for many years past—namely, an earnest desire to preserve peace, not only to England, but to the whole world. Now, he would ask, how was this object to be effected? Surely not by vilifying every sovereign in Europe, or by reprobating the institutions of other countries, because they were not deserving of the same admiration as those fostered under the free constitution of England. He thought it would be well, if noble lords would exercise, with reference to political matters, a little of that toleration which they so strongly recommended their lordships to act on, when religious questions came under their consideration; and that they would believe it possible for the subjects of other states to live very happily under a system of government entirely different from ours. The time would come when he should feel anxious to impart all the information which the noble lord was desirous to obtain; but at present their lordships would, in his opinion, be acting injudiciously, if they demanded the production of the communications which the noble lord required.
§ Viscount Goderich
said, he felt it to be his duty to oppose the motion on the same grounds as those which had been taken by his noble friend; but, at the same time, he must say, that he was not at all surprised at the motion which the noble lord had submitted to their lordships; because he agreed with the noble lord, that it would have a very bad effect, if it were supposed that the British parliament was ignorant of the march of public affairs amongst foreign states, or that it did not feel a deep interest in their proceedings. But, while he concurred with the noble Secretary in the propriety of not producing the documents which had been called for, his noble friend would excuse him if he said that their lordships had not derived from his explanation any precise information on the subject to which the attention of the House had been called. Now, listening as he had done, with great attention, to the speech of the noble mover, it was, he thought, quite impossi 1730 ble for any man not to enter into those generous feelings which the noble lord had expressed, as to the situation of that unfortunate country—Greece. It was impossible for any man, whose feelings were in their right place, not to experience a deep interest in the fate of such a people; and there was scarcely a human being, he believed, who would not deplore the truth of the picture which the noble lord had drawn, and heartily sympathise in the feelings which he had expressed. But he felt the necessity, and he had equally felt it when he was a member of the government, of stifling those feelings which, individually speaking, did honour to those who entertained them as men; and, therefore, however deeply he was interested in the extrication of the Grecian people from the tyranny under which they had so long groaned, he did not think it would be wise, or expedient, that the interference of this country, with regard to the Greeks, should proceed solely from feelings of that nature, however exalted. There were other considerations to which they were bound to attend. The principle on which the English government had taken a part in the affairs of Greece, previous to the signing of the protocol by the noble duke, was not founded on any abstract desire to see Greece freed from the tyranny of Turkey, but to put an end to a state of things which had continued for many years, and which seemed likely to lead to universal strife and confusion throughout Europe. Therefore, he contended, that the principle on which the noble duke was sent to St. Petersburgh was, not to rescue the Greeks from the domination of Turkey, but to prevent universal war. They were perfectly justified in authorising the noble duke to sign the protocol; and they were equally justified, with reference to the treaty of the 6th of July, because they found that the representation which was made to Turkey had not produced the least effect on that power. If they were justified, on English principle, and with reference to English interest, in taking the step they had done in 1826, then he argued, that they were no less justified in adopting that more direct and coercive interference, to which they had resorted last year. But though this country was, in his opinion, justified in the course which she took in July, 1827, he was not prepared to say that the government was to go every possible length, for the pur 1731 pose of achieving the freedom of Greece. The great object of the treaty of July, 1827 was, to settle the affairs of Greece, without the necessity of going to war; and looking to the union growing out of that treaty, and the feeling of common interest by which the three parties to it were bound together, he would venture to say, though Russia was at war with Turkey, partly on her own particular grounds, and partly on account of Greece, that they would not, but for the treaty of July, have had that declaration of fair and disinterested views on the part of Russia, which that power had sent forth, and on which he placed the most implicit reliance. With respect to Portugal, it was impossible for any man to look at the situation of that country without experiencing emotions which it was hardly within the power of language to express. Every thing which had previously occurred had led him to believe, that Don Miguel would carry into effect the arrangement to which he had agreed, and abide by the solemn oath which he had sworn. There was something in the course of tergiversation which Don Miguel had pursued totally inexplicable. He appeared to have no notion of what honour or a just consideration of that which was due to his brother and sovereign should have counselled him to adopt. There was something in his proceedings which he could not characterise without using language which it would be unpleasant for him to adopt. He fully admitted the importance of the connexion of Portugal with England; but he could not see, in the long run, how it depended on the nature of the government of that country.—The noble mover had stated, that this country was bound by ancient treaties to defend Portugal against foreign inroads, and also against the designs of domestic traitors. There might be such treaties, but certainly they had not been acted on. In 1820, when the absolute power of the monarch of Portugal was attacked, this country was not called on to protect the king of Portugal against his rebellious subjects. He was no great friend to revolutions generally, unless occasioned by crying grievances. The revolution of 1820 was, however, the worst of all revolutions, because it was effected by an army; and his great objection to such a revolution was, that, let the constitution established be ever so good, the army had it in their power to destroy that constitution when they pleased. So it was in Naples, 1732 with this difference, that the army there did not destroy the constitution, but they ran away, and would not defend it, which amounted to nearly the same thing. The military force, in 1820, overturned the Portuguese government; and the same military force, in a short time afterwards, established absolute power under this very Don Miguel. Now, when the military force overturned the constitution of Portugal, the event created a good deal of agitation in this country, and a disposition prevailed to see whether some assistance ought not to be sent to that country. Some persons maintained, that it was the duty of this country to assist, by a military force, those who remained true to the constitution. But government asked, "Where is the danger of Portugal from foreign powers? It is true that you are troubled with intestine commotions, and we are sorry for it; but we cannot assist you with a military force, except in case of foreign invasion. We cannot, support the royalist party on the one hand, neither can we on the other assist the sovereign against those who are disposed to alter the institutions of the country." Then, when the constitution was sent over by the emperor Pedro from Brazil, this country did not interfere with those amongst the Portuguese who were not favourable to it. The noble lord seemed to think that this government was intimately connected with the formation of the constitution sent over from Brazil; but he declared, upon his honour, that they had no more to do with it than the emperor of China. Whether it were a wise or an unwise measure, he certainly thought it was a wise one, he thought the emperor Pedro was perfectly right, and that those who now opposed the constitution were wrong. Still, the government of this country had nothing to do with it, in any way whatever. Though this charter was altogether the spontaneous act of the sovereign,—though no attempt was made to force it improperly on the people,—still a number of persons thought it so objectionable a measure, that they set about removing it. On that occasion this government did not say—"We are placed in such a situation, that we must uphold this new constitution." The government did not stir until they received the most urgent statements as to the danger which threatened the constitution of Portugal from the machinations of Spain. Our interference then proceed- 1733 ed on the grounds of ancient alliance. The appeal of Portugal was acceded to, and troops were sent to that country. That step unquestionably tended to support the Portuguese constitution, and to give it a certain degree of stability; and he thought it was very likely, if the British troops had remained in Portugal, that the constitution would have been still in existence. Such a proceeding would, however, have been contrary to the principle on which the troops had been sent out; and therefore they were not allowed to remain there, when the necessity of the case appeared not to demand their presence. Now, he did not think it would be right, even for a moment, to depart from their original situation, with respect to Portugal. With regard to the position which this country retained in Europe, and which the noble mover thought was prejudiced by events that had recently taken place, he could not at all agree with the noble lord on that subject. Nothing had taken place to lower the honour, the dignity, or the power, of Great Britain, or to lessen that universal respect which all the nations of the world took good care to display towards her.
§ The Duke of Wellington
said, that although he was perfectly satisfied with the answer given to the noble lord by the noble Secretary for the Foreign Department, and by the noble viscount, he could not allow the question to be put without troubling their lordships with a few observations. He did not blame the noble lord for bringing forward this motion; but he could not suffer his majesty's government to undergo censure, because they had not given occasion for a similar discussion. Ministers could only have given rise to such a discussion in two ways—either by coming down to parliament for a vote of credit, or by making a communication to parliament, if any particular event occurred which would oblige them to apply to the legislature to grant their aid, in support of the measures which it might be the policy of his majesty to adopt. But they had no occasion to take either the one step or the other. The noble lord had, he admitted, shown a sound discretion in refraining from bringing this subject before parliament at an earlier period; and he conceived that ministers had also manifested a sound discretion in not introducing the question, as they conceived it to be quite unnecessary to take such a 1734 step. What his majesty's ministers anxiously wished was, that when the transactions referred to were brought to a close, their lordships should ask for information; and he could assure them that the fullest information should then be laid before them. With respect to the proceedings now carrying on in the east, he must say, that during the time he had had any thing to do with the political affairs of this country, which extended over the last fourteen years, it had been the most anxious object of this government, and he would say of all Europe, to preserve peace between the Russian and Turkish empires. He said this in the hearing of those who could bear testimony to the truth of his statement, when he said, that not only this, but all the governments of Europe, were anxious to preserve peace between those powers. The noble lord had said, that the Russian government wished to bring Turkey under its despotic sway. Now, he was authorized by the minister of that power to say, that Russia did not desire the destruction of the Turkish empire, of even the dismemberment of it. He would say, that the transaction in which he (the duke) was particularly engaged, as well as the transaction of the sixth of July, was founded on an anxious desire to maintain peace between those empires. In the instructions which he had received, the preservation of peace was not only the great object specified, but it was, in point of fact, laid down as the sine qua non of any arrangement that might be entered into. He was absolutely forbidden to make any arrangements with respect to Greece, if measures of force or violence were the means by which that object was to be carried into execution. The noble lord said, "If that were the case, then we must have deceived the emperor." Why, the fact was, that the emperor saw the instructions; the instructions were shown to the emperor by himself; and it was there particularly laid down, that every exertion should be made to prevent hostilities. The noble lord next observed, that ministers were a set of drivellers, for thinking to carry into effect such an arrangement without force. Perhaps they might have been deceived on this point; but before their lordships came to a decision, they ought to see in what a situation Turkey and Greece were, when the mediation was proposed. They had been at war for six years. The Greek navy was supposed to be superior to that 1735 of Turkey; the Turks had been unsuccessful; Turkish army after Turkish army had been destroyed in the Morea, and that which was essential to the carrying on of war in that country, namely, a fleet, was not possessed by the Turks. In such a state of things, government naturally thought that there was some chance of mediating successfully between the two powers; and it was thought, above all, that the originator of the negotiation, Russia, aided by this country, might have secured a peace between Greece and Turkey. Peace was the object then; peace was the object of the treaty in July last; peace was the object when he and his colleagues came into the government in January, and to restore peace was the object at the present moment. It was with that view that ministers recommended to his majesty to hold the language which he had held to parliament at the commencement of this session. They had endeavoured most strenuously to realize the hopes held out in his majesty's speech; and if they had failed, it was owing to circumstances over which they had no control. Those circumstances happened six weeks before the speech of his majesty was delivered in parliament, and before the present ministers had come into office. The war in which the emperor of Russia had engaged since the meeting of parliament had made a material change in the affairs of the east, and must necessarily have had a great influence on the negotiation which was going on at the time. It must have interfered considerably with the object which that negotiation had in view; —namely, an arrangement between the Greeks and the Turks.—Having said so much on this point, he would now advert to the other subject to which the noble lord had alluded. On the last occasion on which any thing was addressed to parliament relative to this subject by his majesty's government, a British force was in possession of Lisbon. It was settled very properly, that that force was to come away the moment the Prince Regent arrived in that country. The Prince Regent had made arrangements in Vienna before he quitted that city, arrangements to which this country was not a party, but which were entered into in the presence of the British Ambassador. He had subsequently subscribed to arrangements in this country, as he was passing through it on his way to Portugal, to which we were 1736 more immediately parties. He entirely agreed with his noble friend in thinking it to be a most extraordinary thing, that the Prince Regent had not acted up to those arrangements. It was, indeed, most extraordinary that when he arrived in Portugal he should have broken all those arrangements which he had entered into, with reference to his sovereign and his brother, or to those allies before whom he had made them. It was, however, certainly true, that in a few days after his arrival in Portugal, he manifested symptoms of his intention to break through those arrangements; and the very instant that intention appeared, the British Ambassador at Lisbon did that which alone he could do to show the feelings of his government, —he at once sent away the means which otherwise the Prince Regent would have had, to carry more speedily and more securely into execution the intentions which he harboured. The British Ambassador sent away the money which had been procured, by the assistance of his majesty's government for the use of the Prince Regent. The only measure, therefore, that could be adopted, under all the circumstances, was adopted at once. Besides this, an intention existed to leave the British troops for a short time in Portugal, before the Prince Regent manifested his determination to overturn the institutions of his country which he was called on to support, in order that he might have the appearance of receiving the countenance of the British government. But the moment his conduct was known, those troops were re-called. When, at length, the Prince Regent threw off his disguise, and declared his intention of assuming the crown of his brother, and of taking the title of king, the diplomatic relations between this country and Portugal were immediately broken off, and the British Ambassador left Lisbon. Prior to that, however, every thing was done that could possibly be done to show how much the conduct of the Prince Regent was disapproved of by his majesty's government.—The noble lord had alluded to the blockade of Oporto, and had complained, that that blockade was admitted and notified by the British government. The truth was, that as soon as it was ascertained that the blockade existed, it was found necessary for this country to respect it, in accordance with all former precedents, and with the practice which had 1737 been uniformly pursued by this country in such cases. It was sufficient for the government that the blockade existed, and that its existence was notified to it, to call for its respect. It was true that this blockade had not been notified to his majesty's government, in the way in which blockades generally were notified. But the truth was, that owing to the suspension of our diplomatic relations with Portugal, this blockade could not be made known to his majesty's government by a regular notification. They found, however, that it was notified in the Lisbon Gazette, and they ascertained, that such notification had been deemed sufficient in similar cases; and under such circumstances they considered it the duty of this country to respect a blockade so notified. It was true that there had been since an irregularity in the maintenance of this blockade, and that some ships had come out of, and had gone into the Douro. But as far as the government was concerned, the transaction was a regular one, and not only in that transaction, but in all others with which they had been connected, they did their utmost to carry them into execution. No man could regret more than he did, the situation into which Portugal had been brought,—no man could feel more strongly the advantages resulting from our alliance with Portugal. At the same time he must say that, having looked into all the treaties, and having considered all the transactions which had taken place between the two countries under those treaties in former times, as well as in recent times, and particularly within the last thirty years, he would say that we had no right to take any part in the internal measures of the Portuguese government. Even within the last six years he could instance occasions, on which the most pointed refusal had been given by this country to guarantee a constitution to Portugal, or to interpose its aid in supporting a constitution there, or to have any thing to do with the internal concerns of the kingdom of Portugal. Our situation at present was this—that having recognized the sovereignty of Don Pedro, and subsequently the sovereignty of his daughter, with which she had been invested by her father's abdication and concession, at the same time we had no right to interfere in the transactions at present in progress in Portugal. We did not know as yet, under what circumstances the emperor of Brazil might choose to as 1738 sert his own right or that of his daughter, to the crown of Portugal; we were not aware of the line of conduct which he might determine to adopt, and which might, in a great degree, govern that to be pursued by his majesty's government. Having clearly no right to interfere in the internal concerns of Portugal, they should wait to see what line Don Pedro would take. He could assure their lordships that while his majesty's government refrained from producing these documents at the present moment, conceiving that it would be improper to do so, whenever a proper time arrived for their production, there would be no objection on their part to afford every information which might be required upon the subject.
The Earl of Dudley
said, that having lately filled the office of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, he was desirous to state his sentiments on this subject. He would say, that he was entirely satisfied with the grounds upon which his noble friend had resisted the production of the papers asked for. Some of the documents to which the motion referred were already before the public, and others related to transactions at present in progress, and the production of which would be improper, at the present moment. There was one single point in the speech of the noble mover, upon which he wished to offer a remark. His noble friend did not appear to be altogether satisfied with what had been done by government, towards the preservation of the constitution in Portugal. He believed the opinion of his noble friend would be much altered, whenever the documents could be produced, which had reference to that transaction. He would then see, that every thing had been done which could be effected by the moral and political influence of this country, towards the maintenance of the constitution in Portugal. It was under the influence and advice of this country, that Don Miguel was induced to enter into those engagements which he had made, and which had been proposed by the government of this country, with the expectation and the hope that, as a prince and a gentleman, he would have felt himself bound to adhere to them. That attempt had been made in vain; but its failure was solely attributable to the conduct of Don Miguel, who had violated all the engagements which he had promised to observe when he arrived, in. 1739 Portugal. Every thing, in fact, short of force bad been employed by this country to preserve the constitution in Portugal. His majesty's government did not consider themselves authorised to employ force for that purpose. If they had a right to resort to force, there was no doubt that with the aid of some five thousand or ten thousand troops, any sort of a free constitution might have been imposed upon the people of Portugal. But it did not appear to him, that the employment of military force was a good way for establishing a free constitution. The only mode which was open to this country for supporting the free constitution of Portugal, consisted in the exercise of its moral and political influence. That influence was completely and entirely employed by this country for that purpose, and if it was exercised in vain, that was not our fault. The documents, whenever they were produced, would prove the truth of what he asserted; and he would venture to say, that as far as related to that portion of these transactions with which he had been connected, whenever the circumstances were disclosed, it would be found that every thing short of force had been employed by this country to preserve the constitution in Portugal.
The Marquis of Lansdowne
said, he felt himself bound to thank his noble friend for having brought the subject before their lordships, because it had drawn forth declarations which shewed that the government felt no indifference on the important topics referred to, and that they deemed it their duty to give the explanations required, as soon as they could be given consistently with prudence and expediency. After that declaration of the king's advisers, he thought it was not necessary for his noble friend to press his motion. The noble marquis then recapitulated the various points dwelt upon in the debate, contending, that the change in the situation of Europe effected by the conflict in which Russia had engaged with Turkey, was one which might by possibility demand the interference of this country.—With respect to Portugal, the separation of that country from the empire of the Brazils had been with the concurrence of Great Britain, and under circumstances which procured to this country the ascendancy which she had beneficially exercised, in Portugal for so many years. He agreed with his noble friend, that; the principle on 1740 which our troops had been sent to Portugal, was that of non-interference in the political affairs of that country; and that the same principle should prevent our interference at present. The noble duke had observed upon the forbearance of noble lords, in having abstained from demanding explanations on those important subjects earlier; but he ought to have given them credit for having so refrained, lest some disclosures should be incidentally made, that would have the effect of filling men's minds with apprehension. He thought his noble friend had been fully justified in bringing forward his motion; at the same time he was of opinion, that the subject ought not to go further at present.
said, that two or three times during the session the noble mover had done him the honour of repeating an opinion of his, regarding the fidelity of the Turks, and the sincerity evinced by the Turkish government in keeping their verbal promises. He was not surprised that he had been misunderstood, in this instance, by the noble baron; indeed, he should have been more surprised if any thing that had fallen from so humble an individual should have been accurately recollected by that noble lord. He had never said or asserted that there existed any verbal treaty, or any other engagement which was considered as stronger than a written one, between this country and Turkey. What he said was this—that promises made three hundred years ago by the Turks, and which were now mere traditions, had been as faithfully observed by them as the most binding obligations of a written treaty. He had known other governments, who did not adhere half so faithfully to solemn, recent, and written treaties; and he trusted that the day would soon come when this House and the country would be taught by experience to entertain a similar opinion with him of those calumniated Turks, upon whom it pleased the noble lord to pour the vials of his wrath. The noble lord had alluded to an anecdote, as to a transaction which had taken place between M. Minziacki and the Reis Effendi. He knew nothing of that transaction, as he was not present when it was said to have occurred; but it would be most gratifying to him, if every document illustrative of his diplomatic intercourse with the Reis Effendi were laid on the table of that House. He felt no fear or shame, as to any thing that 1741 he had done, or written, or said, while acting as ambassador at Constantinople.
said, that as the noble duke considered it his duty to resist his motion, he felt it necessary to persist in it; as he thought it would have a bad appearance in the eyes of the public and the world, if that House seemed indifferent on the subject of the great events which were passing on the theatre of Europe.
§ The motion was put, and negatived.