Front Page Titles (by Subject) SPEECH ON MOVING FOR PAPERS RELATIVE TO THE AFFAIRS OF PORTUGAL. DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, ON THE 1 st OF JUNE, 1829. - The Miscellaneous Works
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SPEECH ON MOVING FOR PAPERS RELATIVE TO THE AFFAIRS OF PORTUGAL. DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, ON THE 1 st OF JUNE, 1829. - Sir James Mackintosh, The Miscellaneous Works 
The Miscellaneous Works. Three Volumes, complete in One. (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1871).
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SPEECH ON MOVING FOR PAPERS RELATIVE TO THE AFFAIRS OF PORTUGAL.
I think it will be scarcely necessary for any man who addresses the House from that part of it where I generally sit, to disclaim any spirit of party opposition to His Majesty’s Ministers during the present session. My own conduct in dealing with the motion which I regret that it is now my painful duty to bring forward, affords, I believe I may say, a pretty fair sample of the principle and feeling which have guided all my friends in the course they have adopted since the very first day of this Session, when I intimated my intention to call public attention to the present subject. For the first two months of the session, I considered myself and my political friends as acting under a sacred and irresistible obligation not to do any thing which might appear even to ruffle the surface of that hearty and complete co-operation which experience has proved to have been not more than necessary to the success of that grand healing measure* brought forward by His Majesty’s Ministers,—that measure which I trust and believe will be found the most beneficent ever adopted by Parliament since the period when the happy settlement of a Parliamentary and constitutional crown on the House of Brunswick, not only preserved the constitution of England, but struck a death-blow against all pretensions to unbounded power and indefeasible title throughout the world. I cannot now throw off the feelings that actuated me in the course of the contest by means of which this great measure has been effected. I cannot so soon forget that I have fought by the side of the Gentlemen opposite for the attainment of that end. Such are my feelings upon the present occasion, that while I will endeavour to discharge my duty, as I feel no hostility, so I shall assume no appearance of acrimony. At the same time, I trust my conduct will be found to be at an immeasurable distance from that lukewarmness, which, on a question of national honour, and in the cause of the defenceless, I should hold to be aggravated treachery. I am influenced by a solicitude that the councils of England should be and should seem unspotted, not only at home, but in the eye of the people as well as the rulers of Europe,—by a desire for an explanation of measures which have ended in plunging our most ancient ally into the lowest depths of degradation,—by a warm and therefore jealous regard to national honour, which, in my judgment, consists still more in not doing or abetting, or approaching, or conniving at wrong to others, than in the spirit never tamely to brook wrong done to ourselves.
I hold it, Sir, as a general principle to be exceedingly beneficial and wholesome, that the attention of the House should be sometimes drawn to the state of our foreign relations: and this for the satisfaction of the people of England;—in the first place, in order to assure them that proper care is taken for the maintenance of peace and security;—above all, to convince them that care is taken of the national honour, the best, and indeed only sufficient guard of that peace and security. I regard such discussions as acts of courtesy due to our fellow-members of the great commonwealth of European states; more particularly now that some of them are bound to us by kindred ties of liberty, and by the possession of institutions similar to our own. Two of our neighbouring states,—one our closest and most congenial ally,—the other, in times less happy, our most illustrious antagonist, but in times to come our most illustrious rival—have adopted our English institutions of limited monarchy and representative assemblies: may they consolidate and perpetuate their wise alliance between authority and freedom! The occasional discussions of Foreign Policy in such assemblies will, I believe, in spite of cross accidents and intemperate individuals, prove on the whole, and in the long-run, favourable to good-will and good understanding between nations, by gradually softening prejudices, by leading to public and satisfactory explanations of ambiguous acts, and even by affording a timely vent to jealousies and resentments. They will, I am persuaded, root more deeply that strong and growing passion for peace, which, whatever may be the projects or intrigues of Cabinets, is daily spreading in the hearts of European nations, and which, let me add, is the best legacy bequeathed to us by the fierce wars which have desolated Europe from Copenhagen to Cadiz. They will foster this useful disposition, through the most generous sentiments of human nature, instead of attempting to attain the same end by under-rating the resources or magnifying the difficulties of any single country, at a moment when distress is felt by all:—attempts more likely to rouse and provoke the just sense of national dignity which belongs to great and gallant nations, than to check their boldness or to damp their spirit.
If any thing was wanting to strengthen my passion for peace, it would draw new vigour from the dissuasive against war which I heard fall with such weight from the lips of him,* of whom alone in the two thousand years that have passed since Scipio defeated Hannibal at Zama, it can be said, that in a single battle he overthrew the greatest of commanders. I thought, at the moment, of verses written and sometimes quoted for other purposes, but characteristic of a dissuasive, which derived its weight from so many victories, and of the awful lesson taught by the fate of his mighty antagonist:—
Actuated by a passion for peace, I own that I am as jealous of new guarantees of foreign political arrangements, as I should be resolute in observing the old. I object to them as multiplying the chances of war. And I deprecate virtual, as well as express ones: for such engagements may be as much contracted by acts as by words. To proclaim by our measures, or our language, that the preservation of the integrity of a particular state is to be introduced as a principle into the public policy of Europe, is in truth to form a new, and, perhaps, universal, even if only a virtual, guarantee. I will not affect to conceal that I allude to our peculiarly objectionable guarantee of the Ottoman empire.‡ I cannot see the justice of a policy, which would doom to perpetual barbarism and barrenness the eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean,—the fair and famous lands which wind from the Euxine to the Atlantic. I recoil from thus riveting the Turkish yoke on the neck of the Christian nations of Asia Minor, of Mesopotamia, of Syria, and of Egypt; encouraged as they are on the one hand to hope for deliverance by the example of Greece, and sure that the barbarians will be provoked, by the same example, to maltreat them with tenfold cruelty. It is in vain to distinguish in this case between a guarantee against foreign enemies, and one against internal revolt. If all the Powers of Europe be pledged by their acts to protect the Turkish territory from invasion, the unhappy Christians of the East must look on all as enemies; while the Turk, relieved from all foreign fear, is at perfect liberty to tyrannize over his slaves. The Christians must despair not only of aid, but even of good-will, from states whose interest it will become, that a Government which they are bound to shield from abroad should be undisturbed at home. Such a guarantee cannot be long enforced; it will shortly give rise to the very dangers against which it is intended to guard. The issue will assuredly, in no long time, be, that the great military Powers of the neighbourhood, when they come to the brink of war with each other, will recur to their ancient secret of avoiding a quarrel, by fairly cutting up the prey that lies at their feet. They will smile at the credulity of those most distant states, whose strength, however great, is neither of the kind, nor within the distance, which would enable them to prevent the partition. But of this, perhaps, too much.
The case of Portugal touches us most nearly. It is that of a country connected with England by treaty for four hundred and fifty years, without the interruption of a single day’s coldness,—with which we have been connected by a treaty of guarantee for more than a century, without ever having been drawn into war, or exposed to the danger of it,—which, on the other hand, for her steadfast faith to England, has been three times invaded—in 1760, in 1801, and in 1807,—and the soldiers of which have fought for European independence, when it was maintained by our most renowned captains against Louis XIV. and Napoleon. It is a connection which in length and intimacy the history of mankind cannot match. All other nations have learnt to regard our ascendant, and their attachment, as two of the elements of the European system. May I venture to add, that Portugal preceded us, though but for a short period, in the command of the sea, and that it is the country of the greatest poet who has employed his genius in celebrating nautical enterprise?
Such is the country which has fallen under the yoke of an usurper, whose private crimes rather remind us of the age of Commodus and Caracalla, than of the level mediocrity of civilized vice,—who appears before the whole world with the deep brand on his brow of a pardon from his king and father for a parricide rebellion,—who has waded to the throne through a succession of frauds, falsehoods, and perjuries, for which any man amenable to the law would have suffered the most disgraceful,—if not the last punishment. Meanwhile the lawful sovereign, Donna Maria II., received by His Majesty with parental kindness,—by the British nation with the interest due to her age, and sex, and royal dignity,—solemnly recognised by the British Government as Queen of Portugal,—whom all the great Powers of Europe once co-operated to place on her throne, continues still to be an exile; though the very acts by which she is unlawfully dispossessed are outrages and indignities of the highest nature against these Powers themselves.
His Majesty has twice told his Parliament that he has been compelled, by this alike perfidious and insolent usurpation, to break off all diplomatic intercourse with Portugal. Europe has tried the Usurper. Europe is determined that under his sway the usual relations of amity and courtesy cannot be kept up with a once illustrious and still respectable nation. So strong a mark of the displeasure of all European rulers has never yet been set on any country in time of peace. It would be a reflection on them, to doubt that they have been in some measure influenced by those unconfuted—I might say, uncontradicted—charges of monstrous crimes which hang over the head of the Usurper. His crimes, public and private, have brought on her this unparalleled dishonour. Never before were the crimes of a ruler the avowed and sufficient ground of so severe a visitation on a people. It is, therefore, my public duty to state them here; and I cannot do so in soft words, without injustice to Portugal and disgrace to myself. In a case touching our national honour, in relation to our conduct towards a feeble ally, and to the unmatched ignominy which has now befallen her, I must use the utmost frankness of speech.
I must inquire what are the causes of this fatal issue? Has the fluctuation of British policy had any part in it? Can we safely say that we have acted not merely with literal fidelity to engagements, but with generous support to those who risked all in reliance on us,—with consistent friendship towards a people who put their trust in us,—with liberal good faith to a monarch whom we acknowledge as lawful, and who has taken irretrievable steps in consequence of our apparent encouragement? The motion with which I shall conclude, will be for an address to obtain answers to these important questions, by the production of the principal despatches and documents relating to Portuguese affairs, from the summer of 1826 to to the present moment; whether originating at London, at Lisbon, at Vienna, at Rio Janeiro, or at Terceira.
As a ground for such a motion, I am obliged, Sir, to state at some length, though as shortly as I can, the events on which these documents may throw the needful light. In this statement I shall first lighten my burden by throwing overboard the pretended claim of Miguel to the crown, under I know not what ancient laws: not that I have not examined it,* and found it to be altogether absurd; but because he renounced it by repeated oaths,—because all the Powers of Europe recognised another settlement of the Portuguese crown, and took measures, though inadequate ones, to carry it into effect,—because His Majesty has withdrawn his minister from Lisbon, in acknowledgment of Donna Maria’s right. I content myself with these authorities, as, in this place, indisputable. In the performance of my duty, I shall have to relate facts which I have heard from high authority, and to quote copies which I consider as accurate, of various despatches and minutes. I believe the truth of what I shall relate, and the correctness of what I shall quote. I shall be corrected wheresoever I may chance to be misinformed. I owe no part of my intelligence to any breach of duty. The House will not wonder that many copies of documents interesting to multitudes of men, in the disastrous situation of some of the parties, should have been scattered over Europe.
I pass over the revolution of 1820, when a democratical monarchy was adopted. The principles of its best adherents have been modified by the reform of 1826: its basest leaders are now among the tools of the Usurper, while he proscribes the loyal sufferers of that period. I mention only in passing the Treaty of Rio Janeiro, completed in August, 1825, by which Brazil was separated from Portugal, under the mediation of England and Austria;—the result of negotiations in which Sir Charles Stuart (now Lord Stuart de Rothesay), one of the most distinguished of British diplomatists, acted as the plenipotentiary of Portugal. In the following spring, John VI., the late King of Portugal, died, after having, in the ratification of the treaty, acknowledged Dom Pedro as his heir. It was a necessary interpretation of that treaty that the latter was not to continue King of Portugal in his own right, but only for the purpose of separating and settling the two kingdoms. He held Portugal in trust, and only till he had discharged this trust: for that purpose some time was necessary; the duration could not be precisely defined; but it was sufficient that there should appear no symptom of bad faith,—no appearance of an intention to hold it longer than the purposes of the trust absolutely required. For these purposes, and for that time, he was as much King of Portugal as his forefathers; and as such was recognised by all Europe, with the exception of Spain, which did not throw the discredit of her recognition on his title.
To effect the separation safely and beneficially for both countries, Dom Pedro abdicated the crown of Portugal in favour of his daughter Donna Maria, who was to be affianced to Dom Miguel, on condition of his swearing to observe the Constitution at the same time bestowed by Dom Pedro on the Portuguese nation. With whatever pangs he thus sacrificed his daughter, it must be owned that no arrangement seemed more likely to secure peace between the parties who divided Portugal, than the union of the chief of the Absolutists with a princess who became the hope of the Constitutionalists. Various opinions may be formed of the fitness of Portugal for a free constitution: but no one can doubt that the foundations of tranquillity could be laid no otherwise than in the security of each party from being oppressed by the other,—that a fair distribution of political power between them was the only means of shielding either,—and that no such distribution could be effected without a constitution comprehending all classes and parties.
In the month of June, 1826, this Constitution was brought to Lisbon by the same eminent English minister who had gone from that city to Brazil as the plenipotentiary of John VI., and who now returned from Rio to the Tagus, as the bearer of the Constitutional Charter granted by Dom Pedro. I do not meddle with the rumours of dissatisfaction then produced by that Minister’s visit to Lisbon. It is easier to censure at a distance, than to decide on a pressing emergency. It doubtless appeared of the utmost importance to Sir Charles Stuart, that the uncertainty of the Portuguese nation as to their form of government should not be continued; and that he, a messenger of peace, should hasten with its tidings. No one can doubt that the people of Portugal received such a boon, by such a bearer, as a mark of the favourable disposition of the British Government towards the Constitution. It is matter of notoriety that many of the Nobility were encouraged by this seeming approbation of Great Britain publicly to espouse it in a manner which they might and would otherwise have considered as an useless sacrifice of their own safety. Their constitutional principles, however sincere, required no such devotion, without these reasonable hopes of success, which every mark of the favour of England strongly tended to inspire. No diplomatic disavowal (a proceeding so apt to be considered as merely formal) could, even if it were public, which it was not, undo the impression made by this act of Sir Charles Stuart. No avowal, however public, made six months after, of an intention to abstain from all interference in intestine divisions, could replace the Portuguese in their first situation: they had taken irrevocable steps, and cut themselves off from all retreat.
But this is not all. Unless I be misinformed by those who cannot deceive, and are most unlikely to be deceived, the promulgation of the Constitution was suspended at Lisbon till the Regency could receive advice from His Majesty. The delay lasted at least a fortnight. The advice given was, to put the Charter in force. I do not know the terms of this opinion, or the limitations and conditions which might accompany it; nor does it import to my reasoning that I should. The great practical fact that it was asked for, was sure to be published, as it instantly was, through all the societies of Lisbon.—The small accessories were either likely to be concealed, or sure to be disregarded, by eager and ardent reporters. In the rapid succession of governments which then appeared at Lisbon, it could not fail to be known to every man of information, and spread with the usual exaggerations among the multitude, that Great Britain had declared for the Constitution. Let it not be thought that I mention these acts to blame them. They were the good offices of an ally. Friendly advice is not undue interference: it involves no encroachment on independence,—no departure from neutrality. “Strict neutrality consists merely, first, in abstaining from all part in the operations of war; and, secondly, in equally allowing or forbidding the supply of instruments of war to both parties.”* Neutrality does not imply indifference. It requires no detestable impartiality between right or wrong. It consists in an abstinence from certain outward acts, well defined by international law,—leaving the heart entirely free, and the hands at liberty, where they are not visibly bound. We violated no neutrality in execrating the sale of Corsica,—in loudly crying out against the partition of Poland. Neutrality did not prevent Mr. Canning from almost praying in this House for the defeat of the French invasion of Spain. No war with France, or Austria, or Prussia, or Russia, ensued. Neutrality is not a point, but a line extending from the camp of one party to the camp of his opponent. It comprehends a great variety of shades and degrees of good and ill opinion: so that there is scope within its technical limits for a change from the most friendly to the most adverse policy, as long as arms are not taken up.
Soon after, another encouragement of an extraordinary nature presented itself to this unfortunate people, the atrocious peculiarities of which throw into shade its connection, through subsequent occurrences, with the acts of Great Britain. On the 30th October following, Dom Miguel, at Vienna, first swore to the Constitution, and was consequently affianced by the Pope’s Nuncio, in the presence of the Imperial Ministers, to Donna Maria, whom he then solemnly acknowledged as Queen of Portugal. This was the first of his perjuries. It was a deliberate one, for it depended on the issue of a Papal dispensation, which required time and many formalities. The falsehood had every aggravation that can arise from the quality of the witnesses, the importance of the object which it secured to him, and the reliance which he desired should be placed on it by this country. At the same moment, a rebellion, abetted by Spain, broke out in his name, which still he publicly disavowed. Two months more, and the perfidy of Spain became apparent: the English troops were landed in Portugal; the rebels were driven from the territory of our ancient friends, by one of the most wise, honourable, vigorous, and brilliant strokes of policy ever struck by England. Mr. Canning delivered Portugal, and thus paid the debt which we owed for four centuries of constant faith and friendship,—for three invasions and a conquest endured in our cause. Still we were neutral: but what Portuguese could doubt that the nation which had scattered the Absolutists was friendly to the Constitution? No technical rule was broken: but new encouragement was unavoidably held out. These repeated incentives to a nation’s hopes,—these informal but most effective, and therefore most binding acts, are those on which I lay the stress of this argument, still more than on federal and diplomatic proceedings.
There occurred in the following year a transaction between the Governments, more nearly approaching the nature of a treaty, and which, in my humble judgment, partakes much of its nature, and imposes its equitable and honourable duties. I now come to the conferences of Vienna in autumn, 1827. On the 3d of July in that year, Dom Pedro had issued an edict by which he approached more nearly to an abdication of the crown, and nominated Dom Miguel lieutenant of the kingdom. This decree had been enforced by letters of the same date,—one to Dom Miguel, commanding and requiring him to execute the office in conformity with the Constitution, and others to his allies, the Emperor of Austria and the King of Great Britain, committing to them as it were the execution of his decree, and beseeching them to take such measures as should render the Constitutional Charter the fundamental law of the Portuguese monarchy.* On these conditions, for this purpose, he prayed for aid in the establishment of Miguel. In consequence of this decree, measures had been immediately taken for a ministerial conference at Vienna, to concert the means of its execution.
And here, Sir, I must mention one of them, as of the utmost importance to both branches of my argument;—as an encouragement to the Portuguese, and as a virtual engagement with Dom Pedro: and I entreat the House to bear in mind the character of the transactions of which I am now to speak, as it affects both these important points. Count Villa Real, at that time in London, was appointed, I know not by whom, to act as a Portuguese minister at Vienna. Under colour of want of time to consult the Princess Regent at Lisbon, unsigned papers of advice, amounting in effect to instructions, were put into his hands by an Austrian and an English minister. In these papers he was instructed to assure Miguel, that by observing the Constitutional Charter, he would insure the support of England. The tone and temper fit to be adopted by Miguel in conversations at Paris were pointed out. Count Villa Real was more especially instructed to urge the necessity of Miguel’s return by England. “His return,” it was said, “is itself an immense guarantee to the Royalists; his return through this country will be a security to the other party.” Could the Nobility and people of Portugal fail to consider so active a part in the settlement of their government, as an encouragement from their ancient and powerful ally to adhere to the Constitution? Is it possible that language so remarkable should not speedily have spread among them? May not some of those before whose eyes now rises a scaffold have been emboldened to act on their opinions by encouragement which seemed so flattering?
In the month of September, 1827, when Europe and America were bewailing the death of Mr. Canning, a note was given in at Vienna by the Marquess de Rezendé, the Brazilian minister at that court, containing the edict and letters of the 3d of July. The ministers of Austria, England, Portugal, and Brazil, assembled there on the 18th of October. They began by taking the Brazilian note and the documents which accompanied it, as the basis of their proceedings. It was thus acknowledged, solemnly, that Dom Pedro’s title was unimpaired, and his settlement of the constitutional crown legitimate. They thus also accepted the execution of the trust on the conditions under which he committed it to them.
It appears from a despatch of Prince Metternich to Prince Esterhazy (the copy of which was entered on the minutes of the conference), that Prince Metternich immediately proceeded to dispose Dom Miguel towards a prudent and obedient course. He represented to him that Dom Pedro had required “the effectual aid of Austria to engage the Infant to submit with entire deference to the orders of his brother;” and he added, that “the Emperor of Austria could, in no case, consent to his return through Spain, which would be contrary to the wishes of Dom Pedro, and to the opinion of all the Governments of Europe.” These representations were vain: the good offices of an August Person were interposed:—Miguel continued inflexible. But in an interview, where, if there had been any truth in him, he must have uttered it, he spontaneously added, that “he was determined to maintain in Portugal the Charter to which he had sworn, and that His Majesty might be at ease in that respect.” This voluntary falsehood,—this daring allusion to his oath, amounting, virtually, to a repetition of it,—this promise, made at a moment when obstinacy in other respects gave it a fraudulent credit, deserves to be numbered among the most signal of the perjuries by which he deluded his subjects, and insulted all European sovereigns.
Prince Metternich, after having consulted Sir Henry Wellesley (now Lord Cowley) and the other Ministers, “on the means of conquering the resistance of the Infant,” determined, conformably, (be it remembered) with the concurrence of all, to have a last and categorical explanation with that Prince. “I declared to him,” says Prince Metternich, “without reserve, that, in his position, he had only to choose between immediately going to England on his way to Portugal, or waiting at Vienna the further determination of Dom Pedro, to whom the Courts of London (be it not forgotten) and Vienna would communicate the motives which had induced the Infant not immediately to obey his brother’s orders.” Prince Metternich describes the instantaneous effect of this menace of further imprisonment with the elaborate softness of a courtier and a diplomatist. “I was not slow in perceiving that I had the happiness to make a profound impression on the mind of the Infant. After some moments of reflection, he at last yielded to the counsels of friendship and of reason.” He owned “that he dreaded a return through England, because he knew that there were strong prejudices against him in that country, and he feared a bad reception there.” He did justice to the people of England;—his conscious guilt foresaw their just indignation: but he could not be expected to comprehend those higher and more generous qualities which disposed them to forget his former crimes, in the hope that he was about to atone for them by the establishment of liberty. Nothing in their own nature taught them that it was possible for a being in human shape to employ the solemn promises which deluded them as the means of perpetrating new and more atrocious crimes.
Here, Sir, I must pause. Prince Metternich, with the concurrence of the English Minister, announced to Miguel, that if he did not immediately return to Portugal by way of England, he must remain at Vienna until Dom Pedro’s further pleasure should be known. Reflections here crowd on the mind. Miguel had before agreed to maintain the Charter: had he hesitated on that subject, it is evident that the language used to him must have been still more categorical. No doubt is hinted on either side of his brother’s sovereign authority: the whole proceeding implies it; and in many of its parts it is expressly affirmed. He is to be detained at Vienna, if he does not consent to go through England, in order to persuade the whole Portuguese nation of his sincerity, and to hold out—in the already quoted words of the English Minister—“a security to the Constitutional party,” or, in other language, the strongest practical assurance to them, that he was sent by Austria, and more especially by England, to exercise the Regency, on condition of adhering to the Constitution. Whence did this right of imprisonment arise? I cannot question it without charging a threat of false imprisonment on all the great Powers. It may, perhaps, be thought, if not said, that it was founded on the original commitment by John VI. for rebellion and meditated parricide, and on the, perhaps, too lenient commutation of it into a sentence of transportation to Vienna. The pardon and enlargement granted by Dom Pedro were, on that supposition, conditional, and could not be earned without the fulfilment of all the conditions. Miguel’s escape from custody must, then, be regarded as effected by fraud; and those to whom his person was intrusted by Dom Pedro, seem to me to have been bound, by their trust, to do all that was necessary to repair the evil consequences of his enlargement to the King and people of Portugal. But the more natural supposition is, that they undertook the trust, the custody, and the conditional liberation, in consequence of the application of their ally, the lawful Sovereign of Portugal, and for the public object of preserving the quiet of that kingdom, and with it the peace of Europe and the secure tranquillity of their own dominions. Did they not thereby contract a federal obligation with Dom Pedro to complete their work, and, more especially, to take care that Miguel should not immediately employ the liberty, the sanction, the moral aid, which they had given him, for the overthrow of the fundamental laws which they too easily trusted that he would observe his promises and oaths to uphold? When did this duty cease? Was it not fully as binding on the banks of the Tagus as on those of the Danube? If, in the fulfilment of this obligation, they had a right to imprison him at Vienna, because he would not allay the suspicions of the Constitutional party by returning through England, is it possible to contend that they were not bound to require and demand at Lisbon, that he should instantly desist from his open overthrow of the Charter?
I do not enter into any technical distinctions between a protocol and a treaty. I consider the protocol as the minutes of conferences, in which the parties verbally agreed on certain important measures, which, being afterwards acted upon by others, became conclusively binding, in faith, honour, and conscience, on themselves. In consequence of these conferences, Dom Miguel, on the 19th of October, wrote letters to his brother, His Britannic Majesty, and Her Royal Highness the Regent of Portugal. In the two former, he solemnly re-affirmed his determination to maintain the charter “granted by Dom Pedro;” and, in the last, he more fully assures his sister his unshaken purpose “to maintain, and cause to be observed, the laws and institutions legally granted by our august brother, and which we have all sworn to maintain; and I desire that you should give to this solemn declaration the necessary publicity.” On the faith of these declarations, he was suffered to leave Vienna. The Powers who thus enlarged him taught the world, by this act, that they believed him. They lent him their credit, and became vouchers for his fidelity. On the faith of these declations, the King and people of England received him with kindness, and forgot the criminal, to hail the first Constitutional King of emancipated Portugal. On the same faith, the English ambassadors attended him; and the English flag, which sanctioned his return, proclaimed to the Constitutionalists, that they might lay aside their fears for liberty and their reasonable apprehensions for themselves. The British ministers, in their instructions to Count Villa Real, had expressly declared, that his return through England was a great security to the Constitutional party. Facts had loudly spoken the same language; but the very words of the British Minister must inevitably have resounded through Portugal—lulling vigilance, seeming to dispense with caution, and tending to extinguish the blackest suspicions. This is not all: Count Villa Flor, then a minister, who knew his man, on the first rumours of Miguel’s return obtained the appointment of Ambassador to Paris, that he might not be caught by the wolf in his den. It was apprehended that such a step would give general alarm:—he was prevailed upon to remain, by letters from Vienna, with assurances of Miguel’s good dispositions, which were not unknown to the British Ministers at Vienna; and he continued in office a living pledge from the two Powers to the whole Portuguese people, that their Constitution was to be preserved. How many irrevocable acts were done,—how many dungeons were crowded,—how many deaths were braved,—how many were suffered—from faith in perfidious assurances, accredited by the apparent sanction of two deluded and abused Courts! How can these Courts be released from the duty of repairing the evil which their credulity has caused!
I shall say nothing of the Protocol of London of the 12th of January, 1828, except that it adopted and ratified the conferences of Vienna,—that it provided for a loan to Miguel to assist his re-establishment,—and that it was immediately transmitted to Dom Pedro, together with the Protocol of Vienna. Dom Pedro had originally besought the aid of the Powers to secure the Constitution. They did not refuse it;—they did not make any reservations or limitations respecting it: on the contrary, they took the most decisive measures on the principle of his proposition. So implicitly did Dom Pedro rely on them that, in spite of all threatening symptoms of danger, he has sent his daughter to Europe;—a step from which he cannot recede, without betraying his own dignity, and seeming to weaken her claims; and which has proved a fruitful source of embarrassment, vexation, and humiliation, to himself and his most faithful councillors. By this decisive measure, he has placed his loyal subjects in a more lasting and irreconcilable state of hostility with those who have mastered their country, and has rendered compromise under better rulers more difficult.
Under all these circumstances, Sir, I cannot doubt that the Mediating Powers have acquired a right imperatively to require that Miguel shall renounce that authority which by fraud and falsehood he has obtained from them the means of usurping. They are bound to exercise that right by a sacred duty towards Dom Pedro, who has intrusted them with the conditional establishment of the Regency, and the people of Portugal, with whom their obligation of honour is the more inviolable, because it must be informal. I shall be sorry to hear that such duties are to be distinguished, by the first Powers of Christendom, from the most strictly literal obligations of a treaty.
On the 28th of February, Miguel landed at Lisbon, accompanied by an English ambassador, who showed as much sagacity and firmness as were perhaps ever combined in such circumstances. The Cortes met to receive the oaths of the Regent to the Emperor and the Constitution. A scene then passed which is the most dastardly of all his perjuries,—the basest evasion that could be devised by a cowardly and immoral superstition. He acted as if he were taking the oaths, slurring them over in apparent hurry, and muttering inarticulately, instead of uttering their words. A Prince of one of the most illustrious of Royal Houses, at the moment of undertaking the sacred duties of supreme magistracy, in the presence of the representatives of the nation, and of the ministers of all civilized states, had recourse to the lowest of the knavish tricks formerly said (but I hope calumniously) to have been practised by miscreants at the Old Bailey, who by bringing their lips so near the book without kissing it as to deceive the spectator, satisfied their own base superstition, and dared to hope that they could deceive the Searcher of Hearts.
I shall not follow him through the steps of his usurpation. His designs were soon perceived: they were so evident that Sir Frederick Lamb, with equal sense and spirit, refused to land the money raised by loan, and sent it back to this country. They might have been then defeated by the Loyalists: but an insurmountable obstacle presented itself. The British troops were instructed to abstain from interference in domestic dissensions:—there was one exception, and it was in favour of the basest man in Portugal. The Loyalists had the means of sending Miguel to his too merciful brother in Brazil: they were bound by their allegiance to prevent his rebellion; and loy alty and liberty alike required it. The right was not doubted by the British authorities: but they were compelled to say that the general instruction to protect the Royal Family would oblige them to protect Miguel against attack. Our troops remained long enough to give him time to displace all faithful officers, and to fill the garrison with rebels; while by the help of monks and bribes, he stirred up the vilest rabble to a “sedition for slavery.” When his designs were ripe for execution, we delivered him from all shadow of restraint by recalling our troops to England. I do not mention this circumstance as matter of blame, but of the deepest regret. It is too certain, that if they had left Lisbon three months sooner, or remained there three months longer, in either case Portugal would have been saved. This consequence, however unintended, surely imposes on us the duty of showing much more than ordinary consideration towards those who were destroyed by the effect of our measures. The form in which the blockade of Oporto was announced did not repair this misfortune. I have never yet heard why we did not speak of “the persons exercising the power of government,” instead of calling Miguel “Prince Regent,”—a title which he had forfeited, and indeed had himself rejected. Nor do I see why in the singular case of two parties,—one falsely, the other truly,—professing to act on behalf of Dom Pedro, both might not have been impartially forbidden to exercise belligerent rights at sea until his pleasure was made known. The fatal events which have followed are, I have serious reasons to believe, no proof of the state of general opinion in Portugal. A majority of the higher nobility, with almost all the considerable inhabitants of towns, were and are still well affected. The clergy, the lower gentry, and the rabble, were, but I believe are not now, adverse. The enemies of the Constitution were the same classes who opposed our own Revolution for fourscore years. Accidents, unusually unfortunate, deprived the Oporto army of its commanders. Had they disregarded this obstacle, and immediately advanced from Coimbra, it is the opinion of the most impartial and intelligent persons, then at Lisbon, that they would have succeeded without a blow. It is certain that the Usurper and his mother had prepared for a flight to Madrid, and, after the fatal delay at Coimbra, were with difficulty persuaded to adopt measures of courage. As soon as Miguel assumed the title of King, all the Foreign Ministers fled from Lisbon: a nation which ceased to resist such a tyrant was deemed unworthy of remaining a member of the European community. The brand of exclusion was fixed, which is not yet withdrawn. But, in the mean time, the delay at Coimbra, the strength thence gained by the Usurper, and the discouragement spread by the retreat of the Loyalists, led to the fall of Oporto, and compelled its loyal garrison, with many other faithful subjects, to leave their dishonoured country. They were doubly honoured by the barbarous inhospitality of Spain on the one hand, and on the other by the sympathy of France and of England.
At this point, Sir, I must deviate a moment from my line, to consider the very peculiar state of our diplomatic intercourse with Dom Pedro and Donna Maria, in relation to the crown of Portugal. All diplomatic intercourse with the Usurper in possession of it was broken off. There were three ministers from the legitimate sovereigns of the House of Braganza in London:—the Marquess Palmella, ambassador from Portugal, who considered himself in that character as the minister of Donna Maria, the Queen acknowledged by us,—the Marquess Barbacena, the confidential adviser appointed by Dom Pedro to guide the infant Queen,—and the Viscount Itabayana, the recognised minister from that monarch as Emperor of Brazil. They all negotiated, or attempted to negotiate, with us. The Marquess Palmella was told that the success of the usurpation left him no Portuguese interests to protect,—that his occupation was gone. The Viscount Itabayana was repelled as being merely the minister from Brazil, a country finally separated from Portugal. The Marquess Barbacena was positively apprised that we did not recognise the right of Dom Pedro to interfere as head of the House of Brazil, or as international guardian of his daughter. By some ingenious stratagem each was excluded, or driven to negotiate in an inferior and unacknowledged character. This policy seems to me very like what used to be called in the courts, “sharp practice.” It is not free from all appearance of international special pleading, which seems to me the less commendable, because the Government were neither guided nor hampered by precedent. It is a case. I will venture to say, without parallel. The result was, that an infant Queen, recognised as legitimate, treated with personal honour and kindness, is left without a guardian to guide her, or a minister to act for her. Such was the result of our international subtleties and diplomatic punctilios!
To avoid such a practical absurdity, nothing seemed more simple than to hold that nature and necessity, with the entire absence of any other qualified person, had vested in Dom Pedro the guardianship of his Royal daughter, for the purpose of executing the separation of the two countries, and the abdication of the Portuguese crown. His character would have had some analogy to that of the guardian named in a court of justice to a minor party in a law-suit. Ingenuity would, I think, have been better employed in discovering the legal analogies, or political reasons, which are favourable to this natural and convenient doctrine. Even the rejection of the minister of a deposed sovereign has not always been rigidly enforced. Queen Elizabeth’s virtues were not indulgent; nor did her treatment of the Queen of Scots do honour to her character: yet she continued for years after the deposition of Mary to treat with Bishop Leslie; and he was not pronounced to have forfeited the privileges of an ambassador till he was detected in a treasonable conspiracy.
A negotiation under the disadvantage of an unacknowledged character was, however, carried on by the Marquess Palmella, and the Marquess Barbacena, between the months of November and February last, in which they claimed the aid of Great Britain against the Usurper, by virtue of the ancient treaties, and of the conferences at Vienna. Perhaps I must allow that the first claim could not in strictness be maintained:—perhaps this case was not in the bond. But I have already stated my reasons for considering the conferences at Vienna, the measures concerted there, and the acts done on their faith, as equivalent to an engagement on the part of Austria and England with Dom Pedro. At all events, this series of treaties for four hundred and fifty years, from Edward III. to George IV.—longer and more uninterrupted than any other in history,—containing many articles closely approaching the nature of a guarantee, followed, as it has been by the strong marks of favour showed by England to the Constitution, and by the principles and plan adopted by England and Austria (with the approbation of France, Russia, and Prussia), at Vienna, altogether hold out the strongest virtual encouragement to the Constitutionalists. How could Portugal believe that those who threatened to imprison Miguel at Vienna, would hesitate about hurling him from an usurped throne at Lisbon? How could the Portuguese nation suppose that, in a case where Austria and England had the concurrence of all the great Powers, they should be deterred from doing justice by a fear of war? How could they imagine that the rule of non-interference,—violated against Spain,—violated against Naples,—violated against Piedmont,—more honourably violated for Greece but against Turkey,—should be held sacred, only when it served to screen the armies and guard the usurpation of Miguel? Perhaps their confidence might have been strengthened by what they must think the obvious policy of the two Courts. It does seem to me that they might have commanded Miguel to quit his prey (for war is ridiculous) as a mere act of self-defence. Ferdinand VII. is doubtless an able preacher of republicanism; but he is surpassed in this particular by Miguel. I cannot think it a safe policy to allow the performance of an experiment to determine how low the kingly character may sink in the Pyrenean Peninsula, without abating its estimation in the rest of Europe. Kings are sometimes the most formidable of all enemies to royalty.
The issue of our conduct towards Portugal for the last eighteen months is, in point of policy, astonishing. We are now bound to defend a country of which we have made all the inhabitants our enemies. It is needless to speak of former divisions: there are now only two parties there. The Absolutists hate us: they detest the country of juries and of Parliaments,—the native land of Canning,—the source from which their Constitution seemed to come,—the model which has excited the love of liberty throughout the world. No half-measures, however cruel to their opponents, can allay their hatred. If you doubt, look at their treatment of British subjects, which I consider chiefly important, as indicating their deep-rooted and irreconcilable malignity to us. The very name of an Englishman is with them that of a jacobin and an atheist. Look at their treatment of the city of Oporto and of the island of Madeira, which may be almost considered as English colonies. If this hatred was in any degree excited by the feelings of the English inhabitants towards them, from what could such feelings spring but from a knowledge of the execrable character of the ruling faction? Can they ever forgive us for degrading their Government and disgracing their minion, by an exclusion from international intercourse more rigorous than any incurred under a Papal interdict of the fourteenth century? Their trust alone is in the Spanish Apostolicals. The Constitutionalists, who had absorbed and softened all the more popular parties of the former period, no longer trust us. They consider us as having incited them to resistance, and as having afterwards abandoned them to their fate. They do not distinguish between treaties and protocols,—between one sort of guarantee and another. They view us, more simply, as friends who have ruined them. Their trust alone is in Constitutional France. Even those who think, perhaps justly, that the political value of Portugal to us is unspeakably diminished by the measures which we have happily taken for the security of Ireland, cannot reasonably expect that any nation of the second order, which sees the fate of Portugal, will feel assurance of safety from the protection of England.
If we persist in an unfriendly neutrality, it is absurd voluntarily to continue to submit to obligations from which we may justly release ourselves. For undoubtedly a government so covered with crimes, so disgraced by Europe as that of Miguel, is a new source of danger, not contemplated in the treaties of alliance and guarantee. If Mr. Canning, with reason, held that an alliance of Portugal with the Spanish Revolutionists would, on that principle, release us from our obligations, it cannot be doubted that by the standing infamy of submission to the present Government, she well deserves to forfeit all remaining claims to our protection.
Notwithstanding the failure of the negotiations to obtain our aid as an ally, I believe that others have been carried on, and probably are not yet closed, in London and at Rio Janeiro. It has been proposed, by the Mediating Powers, to Dom Pedro, to complete the marriage, to be silent on the Constitution,—but to obtain an universal amnesty. I cannot wonder at Dom Pedro’s rejection of conditions, one of which only can be effectual,—that which imposes on his daughter the worst husband in Europe. What wonder that he should reject a proposal to put the life of a Royal infant under the care of murderers,—to join her youthful hand, at the altar, with one embrued in the blood of her most faithful friends! As for the other conditions, what amnesty can be expected from the wolf of Oporto? What imaginable security can be devised for an amnesty, unless the vanquished party be shielded by some political privileges? Yet I rejoice that these negotiations have not closed,—that the two Powers have adopted the decisive principle of stipulating what Miguel must do, without consulting him; and that, whether from the generous feelings of a Royal mind at home, or from the spirit of constitutional liberty in the greatest of foreign countries, or from both these causes, the negotiations have assumed a more amicable tone. I do not wonder that Dom Pedro, after having protested against the rebellion of his brother, and the coldness of his friends, should indignantly give orders for the return of the young Queen, while he provides for the assertion of her rights, by the establishment of a regency in Europe. I am well pleased however to learn, that the Mediating Powers haye advised his ministers to suspend the execution of his commands till he shall be acquainted with the present state of affairs. The monstrous marriage is, at all events, I trust, for ever abandoned. As long as a negotiation is on foot respecting the general question, I shall not despair of our ancient Ally.
Sir, I must own, that there is no circumstance in this case, which, taken singly, I so deeply regret as the late unhappy affair of Terceira. The Portuguese troops and Royalists who landed in England, had been stationed, after some time, at Plymouth, where their exemplary conduct gained the most public and general marks of the esteem of the inhabitants. In the month of November, a proposition to disperse them in the towns and villages of the adjacent counties, without their officers, was made by the British Government. Far be it from me to question the right of His Majesty to disperse all military bodies in his dominions, and to prevent this country from being used as an arsenal or port of equipment by one belligerent against another,—even in cases where, as in the present, it cannot be said that the assemblage was dangerous to the peace of this kingdom, or menacing to the safety of any other. I admit, in their fullest extent, the rights and duties of neutral states. Yet the dispersion of these troops, without their officers, could scarcely fail to discourage them, to deprive them of military spirits and habits, and to end in the utter disbanding of the feeble remains of a faithful army. The ministers of Donna Maria considered this as fatal to their hopes. An unofficial correspondence was carried on from the end of November to the beginning of January on the subject, between the Duke of Wellington and the Marquess Palmelia,—a man of whom I cannot help saying, that he is perhaps the individual by whom his country is most favourably known to foreign nations,—that, highly esteemed as he is among statesmen for his share in the greatest affairs of Europe for the last sixteen years, he is not less valued by his friends for his amiable character and various accomplishments,—and that there is no one living more incapable of forgetting the severest dictates of delicacy and honour. The Marquess chose rather to send the faithful remnant of Donna Maria’s troops to Brazil, than to subject them to utter annihilation. Various letters passed on the reasonableness of this dispersion, and the mode of removal, from the 20th of November to the 20th of December, in which Brazil was considered as the destination of the troops. In a letter of the 20th of December, the Marquess Palmella, for the first time, mentioned the Island of Terceira. It had been twice before mentioned, in negotiations, by two ministers of the House of Braganza, with totally different views, which, if the course of debate should call for it, I trust I shall explain: but it was first substituted for Brazil by the Marquess Palmella on the 20th of December. I anxiously particularize the date, because it is alone sufficient to vindicate his scrupulous honour. In the month of May, some partisans of Miguel had shaken the loyalty of a part of the inhabitants: Dom Pedro and the Constitution were proclaimed on the 22d of June; the ringleaders of the rebellion were arrested; and the lawful government was reestablished. Some disturbances, however, continued, which enabled the priests to stir up a revolt in the end of September. The insurgents were again suppressed in a few days; but it was not till the 4th of December that Donna Maria was proclaimed as Queen of Portugal in conformity to the treaty of separation, to the Constitutional Charter, and to the Act of Abdication. Since that time I have now before me documents which demonstrate that her authority has been regularly exercised and acknowledged in that island, with no other disturbance than that occasioned by one or two bands of Guerillas, quickly dispersed, and without any pretence for alleging that there was in that island a disputed title, or an armed contest.
On the 20th of December, then, the Marquess Palmella informed the Duke of Wellington, that though he (the Marquess) had hitherto chosen Brazil as being the only safe, though distant, refuge for the troops, “yet, from the information which he had just received of the entire and peaceable submission of Terceira to the young Queen, and of the disappearance of the squadron sent by the actual Government of Portugal to blockade the Azores, he now intended to send her troops to that part of her dominions where she was not only the rightful but the actual Sovereign, and for which he conceived that they might embark at Plymouth, without any infringement of the neutrality of the British territories.” This letter contains the explanation of the change of destination. Unarmed troops could not have been safely sent to Terceira, nor merchant vessels either, while there were intestine divisions, or apprehensions of a blockade, or indeed till there was full and authentic information of the establishment of quiet and legitimate authority The Marquess Palmella thought that the transportation of the troops had now become as lawful as it was obviously desirable. To remove the Queen’s troops to a part of her own actual dominions, seemed to him, as I own it still seems to me, an act consistent even with the cold and stern neutrality assumed by England. Had not a Queen, acknowledged in England, and obeyed in Terceira, a perfect right to send her own soldiers home from a neutral country? If the fact of the actual return of Terceira to its allegiance be not denied and disproved, I shall be anxious to hear the reasons, to me unknown, which authorise a neutral power to forbid such a movement. It is vain to say, that Great Britain, as mediator in the Treaty of 1825, was entitled to prevent the separation of the Azores from Portugal, and their subjection to Brazil; for, on the 4th of December, Donna Maria had been proclaimed at Terceira as Queen of Portugal, in virtue of the possession of the Portuguese crown. It is vain to say that the embarcation had a hostile character; since it was immediately destined for the territory of the friendly sovereign. Beyond this point the neutral is neither bound nor entitled to inquire. It was not, as has been inconsiderately said, an expedition against the Azores. It was the movement of Portuguese troops from neutral England to obedient and loyal Terceira,—where surely the Sovereign might employ her troops in such manner as she judged right. How far is the contrary proposition to go? Should we,—could we, as a neutral Power, have hindered Miguel from transporting those of his followers, who might be in England, to Lisbon, because they might be sent thence against the Azores. It is true, the group of islands have the generic name of the Azores: but so,—though the American islands are called the West Indies,—I presume it will not be contended that a rebellion in Barbadoes could authorise a foreign Sovereign in preventing British troops which happened to be on his territory from being despatched by His Majesty to strengthen his garrison of Jamaica. Supposing the facts which I have stated to be true, I can see no mode of impugning the inferences which I have made from them. Until I receive a satisfactory answer, I am bound to say, that I consider the prohibition of this embarcation as a breach of neutrality in favour of the Usurper.
And even, Sir, if these arguments are successfully controverted, another proposition remains, to which it is still more difficult for me to conceive the possibility of an answer. Granting that the permission of the embarcation was a breach of neutrality, which might be, and must be, prevented on British land, or in British waters, where is the proof from reason, from usage,—even from example or authority, that England was bound, or entitled, to pursue the expedition over the ocean,—to use force against them on the high seas,—most of all to levy war against them within the waters of Terceira? Where are the proofs of the existence of any such right or duty? I have searched for them in vain. Even if an example or two could be dug up, they would not affect my judgment. I desire to know where the series of examples from good times can be found which might amount to general usage, and thus constitute a part of international law. I never can consider mere general reasoning as a sufficient justification of such an act. There are many instances in which international law rejects such reasonings. For example, to allow a passage to a belligerent through a neutral territory, is not in itself a departure from neutrality. But to fire on a friendly ship within the waters of a friendly state, for a wrong done in an English harbour, is an act which appears to me a most alarming innovation in the law of civilized war. The attack on the Spanish frigates in 1805 is probably reconcilable with the stern and odious rights of war: yet I am sure that every cool-headed and true-hearted Englishman would desire to blot the scene from the annals of Europe. Every approach towards rigour, beyond the common and well-known usage of war, is an innovation: and it must ever be deplored that we have made the first experiment of its extension beyond former usage in the case of the most ancient of our allies, in the season of her utmost need.
I shrink from enlarging on the scene which closed,—I fear for ever,—a friendship of four hundred and fifty years. On the 16th of January last, three English vessels and a Russian brig, having aboard five hundred unarmed Portuguese, attempted to enter the port of Praya, in the island of Terceira. Captain Walpole, of His Majesty’s ship “Ranger,” fired on two of these vessels, which had got under the guns of the forts protecting the harbour: the blood of Her Most Faithful Majesty’s subjects was spilt; one soldier was killed; a peaceable passenger was dangerously wounded. I forbear to state further particulars. I hope and confidently trust that Captain Walpole will acquit himself of all negligence,—of all want of the most anxious endeavours to spare blood, and to be frugal of violence, in a proceeding where such defects would be crimes. Warmly as I rejoice in the prevalence of that spirit of liberty, and, as a consequence, of humanity, of which the triumph in France is so happy for Europe, I must own that I cannot contemplate without mortification the spectacle of the loyal Portuguese exhibiting in a French port wounds inflicted by the arms of their ancient ally, protector, and friend. The friendship of four centuries and a half should have had a more becoming close: it should not have been extinguished in fire and blood.
I will now conclude, Sir, with the latest, and perhaps the saddest incident in this tragic story of a nation’s “hopes too fondly raised,” perhaps, but surely “too rudely crossed.” I shall not quote it as a proof of the Usurper’s inhumanity;—there is no man in this House who would not say that such proofs are needless: I produce it, only as a sample of the boldness with which he now throws down the gauntlet to the governments and nations of Christendom. On Thursday the 7th of May, little more than three weeks ago, in the city of Oporto, ten gentlemen were openly murdered on the avowed ground, that on the 16th of May, 1828, while Miguel himself still pretended to be the lieutenant of Dom Pedro, they followed the example of Austria and England, in treating Dom Pedro as their lawful sovereign, and in endeavouring to carry into execution the laws established by him. Two were reserved for longer suffering by a pretended pardon:—the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. One of these two was condemned to a lingering yet agonizing death in the galleys of Angola; the other, the brother of the Ambassador at Brussels, was condemned to hard labour for life, but adjudged first to witness the execution of his friends;—an aggravation light to the hard-hearted, heart-breaking to the generous, which, by a hateful contrivance, draws the whole force of the infliction from the virtues of the sufferer. The city of Oporto felt this scene with a horror not lessened by the sentiments which generations of Englishmen have, I would fain hope, left behind them. The rich fled to their villas; the poor shut up their doors and windows; the peasants of the neighbourhood withheld their wonted supplies from the markets of the tainted city; the deserted streets were left to the executioner, his guards, and his victims,—with no more beholders than were needful to bear witness, that those “faithful found among the faithless” left the world with the feelings of men who die for their country.
On the 16th of May, 1828, the day on which the pretended treasons were charged to have been committed, the state of Portugal was, in the light most indulgent to Miguel, that of a contest for the crown. It was not a rebellion: it was a civil war. At the close of these wars without triumph, civilized victors hasten to throw the pall of amnesty over the wounds of their country. Not so Miguel: ten months after submission, he sheds blood for acts done before the war. He has not the excuses of Robespierre and Marat:—no army is marching on Lisbon; no squadron is entering the Tagus with the flag of deliverance. The season of fulness and safety, which stills the tiger, rouses the coward’s thirst for blood. Is this the blind instinct of ferocity? Is it only to carry despair into the thousands of loyal Portuguese whom he has scattered over the earth? No! acts of later date might have served that purpose: his choice of time is a defiance to Europe. The offence here was resisting an usurpation, the consummation of which a few weeks after made the representatives of Europe fly from Lisbon, as from a city of the plague. The indignity is chiefly pointed at the two Mediating Powers, who have not yet relinquished all hopes of compromise. But it is not confined to them: though he is aware that a breath would blow him away without blood or cost, he makes a daring experiment on the patience of all Europe. He will draw out for slaughter handful after handful of those, whose sole crime was to trust the words and follow the example of all civilized nations. He believes that an attempt will at length be made to stop his crimes by a recognition of his authority,—that by dint of murders he may force his way into the number of the dispensers of justice and mercy. He holds up the bleeding heads of Oporto to tell sovereigns and nations alike how he scorns their judgment and defies their power.
[* ] The Bill for removing the Roman Catholic disabilities.
[* ] Alluding to a passage contained in a speech of the Duke of Wellington on the Catholic Relief Bill.—Ed.
[† ] Pharsalia, lib. vii.—Ed.
[‡ ] Which formed part of the basis of the arrangements for liberating Greece.—Ed.
[* ] See the Case of Donna Maria.—Ed.
[* ] Martens, Précis du Droit des Gens, p. 524.
[* ] “Je supplie V. M. de m’aider non seulement à faire que cette régence entre promptement en fonctions, mais encore à effectuer que la Charte Constitutionelle octroyée par moi devienne la loi fondamentale du Royaume.”—Dom Pedro to the King of Great Britain, 3d July, 1827.