« AnteriorContinuar »
occasions, on which it may be the duty of that they have neither done injustice the Government to resist the production of themselves, nor connived at, nor encourpapers, and when it would be inexpedient aged it in others. It is, then, a matter of for the House to press for such production ; deep interest and high importance, that but in those cases, the Government should we should know what have been the stand upon its denial, and refuse informa- principles upon which our Government tion absolutely and entirely; but when the have acted; what has been the spirit in time has arrived, at which the Government which the influence of England has been think, that information may be communi- exerted; what objects have been aimed cated to Parliament, without detriment to at; and by what means we have sought the public service, surely it is incumbent to attain them. A revolution has been upon them to give such papers as shall effected, and an usurpation accomplished, really elucidate the transactions to which almost in the presence of a British force ; they relate, and shall afford such complete solemn engagements, to which we were explanations, as may enable Parliament to parties, have been broken; gross indignity, arrive at a sound and correct judgment by the admission of the Ministers themupon the course which has been pur- selves, has been offered to our King; sued : but to give imperfect informa- Europe has been strewed with victims tion, mutilated extracts, and fragments of rained by their confidence in us;-negocorrespondence, from which the most im- tiations on all these matters have been portant parts have been cut off, is to make undertaken, and have ended in acknowa mockery of Parliament, under pretence ledged nothing; England, or at least its of submitting to its jurisdiction. That Government, is loaded with the reproaches this has been done with respect to the of Europe: we hear affairs of Portugal, it will not be difficult
On all sides, from innumerablc tongues, to shew. For several years past, we have A dismal universal hiss, the sound been engaged, actively and incessantly, in
of public scorn.”-interference in the affairs, internal and But upon all these affairs, so deeply external, of Portugal; we have carried on affecting our interests, so nearly touching important correspondence on those affairs, our honour--we have been kept in prowith many of the great powers of Christen- found ignorance; and the Government dom; we have been parties to solemn have preserved a gloomy silence, broken transactions, deeply affecting the welfare only partially, by a few oracular and mysand destiny of Portugal; we have lately, terious sentences in Speeches from the even undertaken the task of attempting to Throne, and by the imperfect and unreconcile the conflicting rights and preten- satisfactory papers, which were extracted sions of the Princes of the House of Bra- : last Session from the pigeon-holes of the ganza, and of settling the order of suc- Foreign Office, by the motion of my right cession to the throne of Portugal: but in hon. friend, the Member for Knaresall these negotiations and transactions, is borough. When I am criticising, let me it Portugal alone that has been concerned ? however be just. The fault of this silence Is it Portugal alone, whose interests have does not rest solely with the Government : been involved, and whose honour has this House must also come in for its share. been staked upon the issue ? England, It was not to be expected that the Goalso, is seriously affected by these transac- vernment should volunteer the production tions; in her interests far less indeed than of papers, on a subject which it was so Portugal, because with Portugal it was a much their interest to keep, as far as question almost of life and death, with possible, out of sight, and out of mind, England only a balance of profit and loss; No man is bound to criminate himself; but in honour, we played by far the deepest and no man can be expected of his own game; for it was ours to arbitrate, hers accord to stir up a discussion, which he only to suffer: she lay prostrate and power- has too much reason to fear, must end in less with the dagger at her throat, and it his own condemnation. It is no wonder, depended upon the turn of our hand, then, that this silence should have been whether she should be sacrificed or saved; preserved, so long as Parliament acquiesced and when the mighty intermeddle with in it; but therefore it is, that I intreat the the destiny of the weak, and make them- : House to take this matter in hand, and to selves the arbiters of fate, it behoves them require the production of that informato render a clear account, and to shew tion, which it is so fitting and necessary
for it to have. I know that there are school, their mancuvres and intrigues, many persons in this House, who look whenever they may attempt them, are sure with great indifference, if not with actual to be nipped in the bud, and to be blasted repugnance, at discussions which turn as soon as born, by immediate and unmerupon our foreign relations ; who think ciful exposure. I say then that every that they sufficiently perform their duties English gentleman, who brings to the in this House, by devoting themselves debates of this House, an honest mind, sedulously to our domestic concerns; who and a manly and generous spirit, will find are willing to leave our foreign affairs to it just as easy to judge of these matters, the unquestioned discretion of his Majesty's if he will only insist upon having proper Ministers; or who, at least, believe those information, as he would of any thing else, affairs to be matters of peculiar mystery to which he may direct his attention. I and craft, upon
which none, but the fully- therefore implore this House to rouse initiated, are capable of arriving at sound themselves from that apathy as to our and satisfactory opinions. Why, as well foreign affairs, which has prevailed so might a man think, that provided he long; for they may be assured, that never looked carefully after his estate, and upon a matter of high national concernmanaged his household with economy and ment, was the salutary control of their order, it was unimportant to him, what interference more urgently required. The might be his behaviour towards his neigh- case between me and his Majesty's Minisbours : a fair character, a good name, the ters, as to the affairs of Portugal, is esteem and respect of others, are not less shortly this; they condemn, (as who could valuable to a nation than they are to an not) the conduct of Don Miguel, in vioindividual : reputation gives influence, lating his engagements to and power, and security from molestation, usurping the throne of his niece; they to the one, as well as to the other. When say, indeed, that his bad conduct, and bad we consider how much our purely domestic qualities have been somewhat exaggerated, interests are concerned in our diplomatic but they admit that as regards us, he has relations with other countries; when we broken his faith to England, and has reflect what influence the foreign policy of personally insulted our Sovereign, and that so great a power as England must neces- as regards Portugal, he has been treachersarily have upon the transactions of the ous, and perjured, and tyrannical, and world, and how much it must affect the cowardly, and cruel. They assert, howwelfare and peace of nations, it is plain, ever, that we have not been so mixed up that both those who look only to our own
with these transactions, as to give us any selfish interests, and those whose views right to interfere; that our practice and take a higher flight, ought equally to principle have invariably been, non-interwatch with jealous anxiety every step ofference and neutrality; and that any the Government in these matters. But other course on this occasion, would not then as to the difficulty of understanding only have been unjust, but would inevitathese things. It may suit the purposes bly have involved us in war. I maintain of some, to endeavour, like the High on the contrary, that their alleged princiPriests of Egypt, to keep knowledge to ple of neutrality and non-interference, has themselves, by locking it up in mystical only been a cloak, under cover of which and unintelligible language; but the days they have given effectual assistance to are gone by, when diplomacy was an that party, whom they secretly favoured; occult science; the intercourse of nations I maintain, that in all times, but more must now be conducted upon the same especially in recent times, England has principles as that of individuals. Plain been so mixed up with the affairs of Pordealing, sincerity, and a regard to justice, tugal, that to say, that it has been our are the most successful policy in the one, practice and principle not to interfere in as well as in the other; the communica- those affairs, is to contradict the records tions of cabinets are now so frequent and of history; that not only have all former unreserved, that nothing can long be kept | Governments so interfered, but that this secret in Europe, and if there are a few very Government itself has never ceased ultimi Romanorum, not indeed citizens of so to interfere, from the first day of its the republic, but rather subjects of the existence, down almost to the present empire, who still linger on the stage as hour; but that its interference, whether specimens of an obsolete and exploded by negotiation, or by open force, has invariably been directed to assist and have reached the Brazils, sent from Engconfirm the usurpation of Don Miguel : I land after the death of Don John was maintain, that the solemn engagements known in London.
It will be seen, taken by Don Miguel, and to which he therefore, that in point of fact, it was chose to make the King of England a absolutely impossible that the English party, gave us rights of interference with Government could have had any thing to respect to him, which we should not do with this grant, and that it must have otherwise have had ; that a due regard to been the spontaneous act of Don Pedro the dignity and good faith of the nation, himself; an act, however, not arising and to the personal honour of its Sove- from levity or caprice, but suggested by reign, required us to enforce those rights; the use of his own experience, and by a and I further maintain, that so far from prudent attention to the signs of the incurring any danger of war by so doing, times. I am speaking now, not of the we might have accomplished our purpose, details of this Constitution, which might without any war at all; whereas the or might not have been better adapted to course which has been pursued has the existing state of parties and interests brought us to a situation, in which the in Portugal, but of its character as a free Ministers themselves confess, they are not institution, and as contrasted with pure free from apprehensions as to the con- and absolute monarchy. I look upon that tinuance of peace. It has been a disputed Constitution as having arisen out of the question, whether the Government of events, which had happened in the world, England were counsellors beforehand to during the preceding twelve years. When the Portuguese Constitution ; be this as Bonaparte was to be dethroned, the it may, there can be no doubt, that by Sovereigns of Europe called up their circumstances, over which that Govern- people to their aid; they invoked them in ment had no control, the name of England ihesacred names of Freedom and National was so much mixed up with the introduc- Independence ; the cry went forth tion and establishment of that Constitu- throughout Europe : and those, whom tion, that public opinion in Portugal, Subsidies had no power to buy, and linked together that Constitution and Conscriptions no force to compel, roused English connexion, in such a manner, by the magic sound of Constitutional that no official disclaimers could effectually Rights, started spontaneously into arms. destroy the impression. As to the ques- | The long-suffering Nations of Europe rose tion itself, however, my firm conviction is, up as one man, and by an effort trementhat the English Government had nothing dous and wide spreading, like a great whatever to do with the granting of the convulsion of nature, they hurled the Portuguese Constitution. I say not this, conqueror from his throne. But promises as a vindication from an imputation, but made in days of distress, were forgotten as the statement of a truth. I confess, in the hour of triumph; and the events that if the English Government had of that period furnish an additional proof advised the Emperor Don Pedro, to
How soon bestow free institutions on his Portuguese Height will recall high thoughts, how soon unsay subjects, as a parting gift, upon abdicating
What feigned submission swore; how ease recant the throne, I think they would have done
Vows made in pain, as violent as void.” a wise and praiseworthy act; and one, The rulers of mankind, like the Persian which, so far from denying, they might fisherman, had set free a gigantic spirit justly have been proud of; but if we will from its iron prison, but when that spirit only solve this question by chronology, had done their bidding, they shrunk back and pay the slightest attention to dates, with alarm, from the vastness of that we shall see that it was physically impossi- power, which they themselves had set ble they could. King John died at into action, and modestly requested, it Lisbon on the 10th of March, 1826. The would go down again into its former news of his death reached Rio de Janeiro dungeon. Hence, that gloomy discontent, about the 26th of April, and it appears, that restless disquiet, that murmuring from the papers before Parliament, that sullenness, which pervaded Europe after within a few days afterwards, Don Pedro the overthrow of Bonaparte; and which had determined upon giving a Constitution were so unlike that joyful gladness, which to Portugal; by which time it was im- might have been looked for, among men, possible that any communication could who had just been released from the
galling yoke of a foreign and a military | ther convulsions, and of securing an untyrant. In 1820 the long brooding fire disturbed succession to his daughter, lay burst out into open flame; in Germany it in establishing in Portugal, not the wild was still kept down and smothered, but in and democratic and impracticable constituItaly, in Spain, and in Portugal, it over- tion of 1820, but that mixed and modified powered every resistance.
We all re system of Representative Government, member that succession of revolutions, which had produced in the Brazils so which in Portugal marked the struggle much tranquillity and satisfaction. It for ascendancy between two parties, who was this consideration beyond a doubt, fought, the one for the maintenance of and not any advice from England, that abuses by which they lived, under the led Don Pedro to send to Lisbon, what protection of arbitrary power; the other was nearly a transcript of the Constitufor the suppression of those abuses, and tion of the Brazils. But the papers now for security under a constitutional system. before us prove, that although we were no In 1820, a revolution established in Por- parties to the original determination, yet tugal the Spanish Constitution of 1812; those who saw only the outside of things a crude ill-digested system, unfit for any must have considered us, as mixed up country, but especially for one just emerg- with its execution. The Constitution, as ing from arbitrary government; but which is shewn by these papers, was brought the Portuguese probably laid hold of, as over by an Englishman; accidentally and the first thing that came ready to their unforeseen, but still so it was. Its adophand, and for want of time and capacity tion in Portugal was brought about by the to frame any thing better. In 1821 King direct and active interference of an EngJohn returned to Portugal from the Brazils, lishman; acting in his capacity of Portuwhere he had been since 1807, driven from guese Plenipotentiary I allow, but still it thence by a revolution, which had broken was the interference, active and direct, of out there in the beginning of that year; an Englishman. England was asked and on his landing at Lisbon he swore what Portugal should do; and the advice allegiance to the new constitution. In of the English Cabinet, in which, never 1823 a military revolution, headed by Don let it be forgotten, the leading Members Miguel, overthrew the constitution; the of the present Government had seats, the insurrection was repressed, and Don, advice of the English Cabinet was, imMiguel banished, and the popular party mediate acceptance of the Charter. This again began to shew themselves; and in was not indeed given as peremptory adiice, 1824 Don John, for the purpose of ap- but submitted as an element of decision, peasing parties, and gaining time, publish-, but still such was the public and official ed an evasive decree, proclaiming that advice of the English Cabinet. I know the ancient constitution of Portugal, con- well that the distinction between an Engsisting of three estates, was still in actual lish Minister, and a Portuguese Plenipovigour. From that time till the death of tentiary is not merely technical, but subDon John in 1826, the two parties remain- stantial ; I know well that there is a real ed in a state of balanced truce, each of difference, between giving peremptory them waiting for events. In the mean advice, and submitting advice as an eletime the revolution which had broken out ment of decision; but these differences in the Brazils in 1821, had led, by a suc- and distinctions were of a nature to escape cession of events, to the separation of the general observation, and were capable of two countries, to the erection of the being easily explained away, by those who Brazils into an Independent Empire under had an interest to do so; and we were, thereDon Pedro, and to the establishment of fore, in this respect, clearly in the situation the representative system of Government, of persons, who are fettered by having granted by him in 1823. Was it then excited in others expectations beyond what surprising, that, when in 1826, Don they themselves fully intended; and who Pedro heard of the death of his father will be judged, not by intentions known only Don John, and found that by this event, to themselves, but by the interpretation and by the separation of the Crowns of which others may have put upon their Brazil and Portugal, the latter would de- conduct. On this first branch of the volve upon his infant daughter, Donna subject I ask for no other papers; those Maria, he should have thought that the which we have, though scanty in quantity, best chance of saving Portugal from fur- are abundantly ample in substance; every
one of these eleven pages is full of traces patch from Prince Metternich, and the of English interference in the affairs of protocols, are enough for my purpose.Portugal. We find an Englishman enter- This despatch and those protocols estabing into, what he calls, altercation with lish beyond the possibility of question, first, Don Pedro about the Constitution of the fact of the continued and direct interPortugal; we find an Englishman actively ference of England, in the most important engaged in persuading the Portuguese to concerns of Portugal; and secondly, the adopt that Constitution ; we find the existence of a formal compact between British Cabinet consulted, and advising Don Miguel and the King of England, the immediate acceptance of the Charter; every tittle of which compact Don Miguel and we find the abdicating sovereign of has contemptuously violated. The desPortugal, soliciting, for the arrangements patch from Prince Metternich to Prince which he had made for the internal affairs Esterhazy, proves that England and Ausof his kingdom, the approbation and sup- tria took upon themselves the tutelary task port of the King of England. And then of arranging the affairs of Portugal; we are gravely assured that it is contrary Austria in consequence of the relationship to our principles and practice, ever to in- between the two royal families, England terfere in the internal affairs of Portugal. by virtue of its ancient political connexion The second portion of these papers gives with Portugal. This despatch sets out an account of the transactions which took with a reference to a communication made place at Vienna, in 1827, previous to Don to Prince Metternich, of the principles Miguel's departure for England; and it and wishes of the English Government, as explains the negotiations carried on there, to the then present and future position of to induce the Infant to bind himself to the Infant; that is, as explained by the maintain the Constitution; to forget and despatch, the wishes and principles of forgive all offences against himself, or to England, as to the conditions on which speak more correctly, his offences against Don Miguel was to be allowed to leave others; and to give up his Regency to Vienna, and as to the line of conduct he Donna Maria, in conformity with the was to pursue in administering the affairs Charter; and it contains also copies of of Portugal, as Regent, after his arrival at the conventions, for protocols have the Lisbon. It further recites specifically, force of conventions, by which Don certain deliberations to which the English Miguel bound himself to Austria and ambassador was a party, and which were England, to perform these engagements. held for the purpose of conquering the reI am unwilling to ask for more papers sistance of Don Miguel to the arrangethan are absolutely necessary, and there- ments proposed to him; and also for the fore, I rest contented with what we have purpose of concerting, without delay, such on this branch of the subject; but I measures as might be immediately necesshould have liked to know, whether any sary, in order to put an end to a hazardous of the communications from the Cabinet state of uncertainty in Portugal. But of England to that of Austria, during this still, I suppose, we shall be told, that period, expressed a strong and earnest England has never interfered in the inanxiety for the maintenance of the Portu- ternal affairs of Portugal. Then come guese Constitution; whether the Court of the protocols, and the letters attached to Fienna was plainly told, that the only them, and what do these establish? Why condition upon which Don Miguel could Miguel appoints plenipotentiaries to treat expect any countenance, or aid, or friend in his name with the ambassadors of Ausship from England, was his undertaking tria and England ; negotiations follow, in to govern Portugal by means of the insti- the course of which, it appears that the tutions of Don Pedro; and whether his consent of England was held necessary, visit to England in his way, or rather out even to decide the apparently unimportant of his way, to Lisbon, was the public sign question, whether certain letters which and symbol of such an engagement on his Don Miguel was to write, should be signed part. But this is not necessary for my case; by him with the title of Lieutenant simply, such documents, if they exist, would shew or with that of Lieutenant and Regent indeed the contrast between the feelings jointly. In consequence of these negoof the Cabinet of that day, and those of tiations, Don Miguel contracts a solemn the Cabinet of this, as far as the latter engagement, to maintain religiously the çan be gathered from events ; but the des- | institutions of Don Pedro, to bury the